Annie sat perfectly still, legs poking out from under the curtain in deliberately twisted fashion. Sooner or later they will come and find me. They will come, and they will think I’m dead, and then they will be sorry.
Only the silence came, followed by more silence. The sounds her mother made in the kitchen trickled away into the distance. Her hushed breathing became nothing more than the beating of her heart, and finally there were only her thoughts to accompany her.
You’re not my real parents. Stupid meanies. Her imagination spun to life like a tornado in her head, the same imagination that got her in trouble in the first place…
“Let me go!” she screamed. “Help! Some…”
August clamped his hand down over her mouth. “Quiet Princess,” he growled. “Ow!”
Annie bit his hand. She kicked him in his shin, but it did no good. She was just too small and she couldn’t get away. “You’re making a big mistake,” she warned. “You’ll be sorry. My Daddy’s the King of Everything and he’s gonna come after you.”
August laughed an evil laugh. “Your Daddy is powerless against me. I’ve sent the Frightful Happenings to deal with him. You’re my daughter now!”
Annie gasped. She knew all too well the dangerous Happenings in whose hands her father’s fate now lay. Furry little trolls with sharp fangs that ran in packs of three. Bad things always come in threes.
“You better not hurt my Daddy,” she said, imagining the peril he must already be in, surrounded by the hairy imps, gnashing their impish teeth.
Suddenly the Happenings were after her. She was surrounded by them. She shrieked and ran and they gave furry chase, voicing funny noises while they ran. “Gubblubble, gubblubble, gubblubble…” the sound Gubblins always make.
Then August’s strong hand grabbed her off her feet and threw her into the back of a van, slamming the door shut. The engine roared to life. This was no time to think of escape. Her father was in danger. She had to save him. August was stupid. He would lead her right to him, she was sure of it. But how to defeat the Happenings?
Annie knew there was only one way to defeat Happenings. Their only weakness was time. Time is the Master of…
“What on Earth are you doing now?” her mother’s voice interrupted her daydream. “August, supper’s ready,” she called into the other room.
Annie jumped. She’d been sitting so long, an army of pushpins that had amassed in her hip deployed and marched down her leg to lay siege to her already lifeless toes. It felt like her foot was on fire. She wondered if she could even move it if she tried, but she had to stay still. Perfectly still.
“You can’t talk to me, I’m dead,” Annie pouted in a whisper from behind the curtain. “Go away, you’re going to make Daddy know.”
“You need to finish being dead and wash your hands for supper,” her mother said. She disappeared back toward the kitchen.
Her father’s footsteps approached from the study. His fear when he saw her that way, the guilt would be too much, he would be sorry he had yelled at her about the Happenings.
The footsteps passed by. They didn’t even slow down.
“Tie your shoes, Flower Anne,” he said before he was out of earshot. “You don’t want something frightful happening.”
© 2012 Anne Schilde