By J.D. Bagley
He was very big. He must be. She could tell by his shoe. It was nearly big enough to block out the light to the crack under the door. It would take a very big foot to fill that shoe. She stared at the shoe, one side of her face pressed against the carpet, imagining the foot inside that shoe being hard and hairy like a giant. Big enough to stomp on her, and maybe stomp her whole house. She had seen a shoe like that before. Her Daddy had worn them before. Before this place. Before they said Daddy was in the box on the table by the piano. Before this man with the big shoe started saying he was her Daddy.
The shoe took a step. She held her breath. She knew she shouldn’t make even a tiny noise. The shoe was two different colors. The back of the shoe was a light color. Like the end of a sunny day. She liked that color so much. She wanted to see that color more than anything. It was a hopeful color. The front of the shoe was a different color. Dark. Black like the night with no clouds and no stars and no moon. Dark like when all her colors are mixed together, and they make a black, angry hole on her paper like a monster’s eye that makes her feel scared. She would do anything to not see that color. To never see that color. If she was quiet, she wouldn’t see the monster eyes.
When she hid from her Daddy in their game, back when only they played it and no one else knew about it, she knew he would find her because she would laugh. Because she was having so much fun, then. When she would see Daddy’s shoes, she couldn’t help it. The laugh would slip out. She would be so happy; she knew that he would pretend to not know where she was. Then he would swoop in like the biggest and strongest superhero and lift her up. She would feel his strong hands holding her safe in the air, feel the wind on her face as he swung her around, feel the squealing laughter in her chest, feel his round, hairy face on hers as he hugged her. She knew those wonderful feelings were coming while she was hiding, and the giggle would just slip out.
Now she thought she would cry. Because this wasn’t a game anymore. Like with her Daddy, she knew the feelings that would come. Like with her Daddy, the big man would swoop in and grab her. Like her Daddy, she would feel strong hands on her, and a rough face pushed against hers. But it wasn’t a game, and no one was laughing. And it would hurt. Oh, it would hurt so bad she wouldn’t be able to sleep. She would just lay awake, crying as softly as she could so she didn’t move and make it hurt more. That was the feeling she knew was coming now. She heard something come from her throat. It was a sound. A tiny, little noise like Rambo used to make when he was stuck outside and wanted her to let him inside. She pushed a hand over her mouth, but it was too late. The shoe stopped.
She felt her heart start beating faster, and she started to feel dizzy. The happy and hopeful sunny day color was disappearing. It was turning away. The happy color got darker and darker until it was gone. The night with no stars and no moon was now turning toward her. Then she could see both shoes. Two shiny, black monster eyes staring into her one eye as she peered under the door. Another sound slipped out. And she almost screamed. One of those black eyes floated up, moved toward her, the eye growing even bigger with glee as it realized it would eat soon. Her hiding place felt so small now, like a trap she had walked into. The giant shoes came closer, and her sounds became crying—she couldn’t stop, and then she was screaming. Until all the light under the door disappeared behind the darkness with no light and no stars, and she could see no more.