You are startled awake suddenly from a deep sleep. There is a loud crash from outside. You hear Mary groaning, groggily prying herself from sleep in the other room. There is another crash followed by a loud thud. Something slaps against the door down the hall with a wet, fleshy sound. There is a low, mournful moan coming from somewhere nearby. The sound of glass shattering fills the air. You hear Mary frantically moving in the other room. The faint sound of three buttons being pushed on the phone in rapid succession. Mary mutters angrily under her breath. The clatter of the phone dropping to the floor. More crashes from outside. You hear the wind whistling. Is a window broken? Your heart beat thundering in your ears so loudly that for a moment you think it’s coming from somewhere else, another of those strange sounds that erupted out of the night. Something heavy falls to the floor in the living room with a jarring thud. Mary’s door opens. “Hello? Is someone there? I’m warning you, I have a gun!” Mary’s voice falters. You know she doesn’t have a gun. You don’t think she has ever even touched one and you are sure that she wouldn’t know how to use it. Mary couldn’t hurt a fly. Soft footsteps down the hall. Mary is coming to get you. Relief floods you, warming you like hot chocolate. Mary knows what is going on. She will make everything alright. You hear her turn the doorknob slowly, gently. It clicks open and you hear Mary breathing heavily. The sound of the door closing softly behind her. The click of the lock sliding home. Mary’s footsteps on the carpet coming towards you. The sharp tang of sweat. Your bed sags a bit under Mary’s weight as she leans on it. You feel her hand on your bare arm. It’s hot and slick with moisture. Mary is breathing very heavily now. She’s scared, which makes you even more scared. Mary is not only your older sister, but also your protector and guardian. If she’s scared then there is a good reason. Fear consumes you and you start to feel a bit sick. Sweat beads on your brow and you can feel yourself shivering. Another loud thud from the hall makes you jump. Closer than the last one, near end of the hall. There is a faint scent of something like the meat counter at the Val-U-Mart where Mary takes you to buy groceries sometimes. Then comes the sound of something being dragged along the floor. Mary is pulling you close to her. You can smell the sweat on her, mingling with her Jasmine lotion. She grasps your shoulders so hard that her nails dig in to your skin, hurting you. “I need you to listen to me, OK?” She whispers, frantic. “I am going to go out there and see what’s going on. I want you to lock the door behind me and stay under the bed until I get back. Don’t open the door unless you know it’s me, ok?” Frightened, you start to cry. “OK?!” Mary demands shaking you roughly. “OK” is all you can manage to reply. Mary yanks you out of bed, making you stumble and almost fall. She drags you roughly to the door. “I’m going out there now, OK? But I’ll be right back. Remember, don’t you open that door for anything!” She hugs you fiercely, almost making it hard to breathe, before she unlocks the door and slips into the hallway, leaving you alone. You lock the door behind her, and then lean against it, pressing your ear to the smooth, cold wood. Soft footsteps moving down the hall. Mary is getting farther away from you. A long, loud moan, dry and deep. Mary whimpers. You press your ear tighter against the door, straining to hear what’s going on. A sudden hard thump on the other side makes you jump and fall backwards. You scoot along the floor until you find the bed and crawl under it. A crash from the living room. More groans. Mary screams. Your heart thuds in your chest so hard it’s painful. Footsteps run down the hall. Mary? Pounding on the door, frantic. “LET ME IN! OH GOD OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!” You’ve never heard Mary swear before. You scramble out from under the bed and move for the door. More thuds. Mary pounding frantically, screaming. Her screams die in a gurgle just as you reach the door. The sound of something ripping from the other side. The floor under the door is warm and wet. The smell of something coppery mingles with the raw meat smell. You reach for the doorknob, but draw your hand back, hesitating. Is Mary still out there? You’re terrified. You can’t protect yourself. Mary is all you have. Banging on the door. The meat smell intensified, mixed with something like wet garbage. It makes you want to gag. You are frozen, unsure of what to do. More pounding on the door, harder this time. A crack as the door begins to give. You panic and back towards your bed, scooting as quickly as you can manage although you feel rug burn on the backs of your legs. You wedge yourself between the bed and your nightstand as the pounding grows louder, the door is breaking. “Mary?” You call, but you are answered only by a chorus of moans. You’re crying uncontrollably now, breathing hard and trembling. Your pulse sounds like the ocean in your ears. A heavy thud as the door falls to the floor, a rush of air as it hits the carpet. Something wet slaps against it. Something heavy falls near the doorway. The meat/garbage smell is overwhelming. You can only sob and press against the wall as rough hands grab you and yank you into the open. “Mary?” you whimper as sharp fingernails dig into your flesh. You feel breath on your neck, and then an eruption of pain. Warm blood flows down the front of your shirt, mingling with urine as you wet yourself. The last thing you smell is sweat, blood, and jasmine lotion.