Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2014 - Page 27

Letitia Trent | 27

an hour.

Do you want some pancakes? Mommy will make you some pancakes.

The younger boy cheered and scrambled up the tall, wooden kitchen chairs. He sat down, the tabletop reaching just below his chin.

I want blueberries in them.

The mother nodded and took all of the ingredients out. Butter, eggs, flour, milk. A tablespoon of sugar. She didn’t have blueberries, but an old bag of frozen strawberries. She set them out too. He wouldn’t know the difference.

Mommy’s going to check on something before she gets started.

The Mother opened the front door just a crack. Outside, the sun was even brighter than before. She had to blink repeatedly before she could see clearly. An expanse of white.

Sweetheart, she called into the white. You can come back inside now. Her words didn’t echo back—they were absorbed and flattened by the bulk of snow.

She shut the door and placed her hand on the deadbolt. She rested it there, her eye at the peephole.

She clicked the lock in place.

She turned to her son. You must never, never open that door again unless I tell you that you can. Do you hear me? The boy nodded and eyed the pancake ingredients.

We aren’t going to open the door for anything. She looked at him, holding his eyes for longer than normal. I want you to understand that. We’re not opening it for anything.

The boy nodded, his little hands fisted. I’m so hungry.

The mother nodded, touched by the so, that little intensifier.

They’ll be done very soon, honey.

As the Mother mixed the butter and sugar she thought she could hear the faint, familiar sound of scratching. Scratching at the siding, at the back window, claws tapping.