Who Are You, and What Are You Doing Here?

Who Are You, and What Are You Doing Here?

Horror woman behind the matte glass ,style black and white, Blurry hand and body , soft focusBy: James G. Boswell –

“Sophia, there’s a monster under my bed!” the little girl cried. Sophia looked up from her Instagram profile on her phone and rolled her eyes. She said, “Charlotte, you’re eight years old now. That means you’re a big girl, and big girls don’t believe in monsters.”

“Please, Sophia. Come look under my bed,” came the girl’s reply.

Sophia scoffed and said, “All right, but we both know there’s nothing there.” She put her phone into her purse on the coffee table, then got up off the couch in the living room and walked down the hallway to the girl’s bedroom. She pushed open the door which had been left slightly ajar, and a ray of light from the hall spilled into the room. There, she saw the girl sitting up against the headboard in her pink pajamas. She had a look of fright on her tiny face.

Sophia glanced around the room and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Dolls, coloring books, and other toys were strewn everywhere. “Why don’t your parents ever ask you to clean up after yourself?” she said as she approached the bed.

Ignoring the question, the girl said, “There’s a monster under my bed, I swear. Please just look under there and make him go away.”

The insistence in her little voice made Sophia’s heart melt, and she said in a soothing tone, “Alright, sweetie. I believe you. I’ll make the monster go away.”

The girl smiled as she laid her head down on her pillow and said in a sing-song voice, “Thank you.”

Sophia crouched down next to the bed and lifted up the sheet to reveal the space underneath. There was nothing there besides the carpeted floor and some crayons. She rose up on her knees and said, “What did I tell you, silly? There isn’t anything there at all.”

The girl sat up and opened her eyes as if she’d been asleep, then looked at Sophia with an expression of terror and screamed. Her high-pitched wail punctured Sophia’s eardrums like a needle, and Sophia covered her ears and said, “Charlotte, what is it? What’s wrong?” However, the girl continued to scream.

Sophia heard footsteps thunder down the hall and then the door burst open. A man in boxers and a t-shirt stood in the doorway holding a metal baseball bat. Behind him, Sophia could see a woman in a nightgown look over the man’s shoulder with concern.

“Who are you, and what are you doing here?” he demanded in an outraged voice.

“Tom, Mary, it’s me, Sophia, the babysitter, remember? You hired me to watch Charlotte tonight while you were out to dinner. I didn’t realize you’d come home already. I thought you’d be gone until later.”

The man and woman looked at each other with confused expressions, then the man said angrily, “You thought we were gone? Are you trying to kidnap our daughter?”

“What? I… I…” Sophia stammered.

The girl began to cry and said, “Mommy, daddy, help me!”

The woman rushed over to the girl and said, “Shhh, sweetie. Mommy’s here. It’s ok.” She looked at Sophia, then at the man and said, “She’s bleeding.”

“What?” the man said. He then took a threatening step towards Sophia as he gripped the baseball bat tight with both hands and said menacingly, “What did you do to my little girl?”

“Not our daughter. Her…” the woman nodded to indicate Sophia.

Sophia looked down at her left hand and saw that a deep cut ran down the side of it. Before she had time to think about how it got there, the man took another step toward her with his arm outstretched. She wriggled away, then ran out of the room and down the hall. “Come back here!” he shouted.

With tears streaming down her cheeks, Sophia ran into the living room. She went to grab her phone and purse off the coffee table, but when she looked, she saw that they were gone.

Sophia heard the man’s footsteps as they pounded down the hallway, and she turned and went for the front door. Broken glass crunched under her shoes on the tile entryway as she flung the door open, and she saw that there was a torrential downpour outside. She looked for her car where she parked it at the end of the driveway but saw that it too was gone. In a panic, she decided to run through the rain to her parents’ house, which she knew was only a few blocks away. Rain pelted her and soaked through her clothes as she ran, and the man shouted after her from his doorstep, “I’m calling the cops!”

Once she arrived at her parents’ house, she was perplexed to see that all the lights were off. She thought, “They’re always at home and awake at this time of night.”

She reached into her pocket for her keys but remembered they were in her purse. In desperation, she pounded against the door and called out, “Mom! Dad! Let me in! Please!”

She beat on the door for several minutes until finally the porch light came on. A woman opened the door slightly and Sophia pushed it all the way open as she bolted inside. She threw her arms around the woman and sobbed into her shoulder as she said, “Oh, mom, it was horrible. My babysitting clients went crazy. They treated me like a stranger who was intruding in their home. I think they might have stolen my purse and my car.”

The woman, instead of hugging her back, went completely stiff. After an awkward moment, she put her hands up to Sophia’s chest and shoved her hard through the open doorway. Sophia sprawled out into the rain and landed painfully on the house’s front porch. She looked up with an expression of heartbreak as the woman slammed and locked the door.

Three police cars and an ambulance pulled up, their red and blue lights flashing off the houses and trees in the neighborhood. An officer got out of his car, pointed his gun at Sophia and shouted, “Keep your hands where I can see them!”

“Please, I don’t know what’s happening.” Sophia said as she sat behind an old wooden desk in the police station’s interrogation room. “Why won’t anybody listen to me?”

“What’s your name?” asked the detective who sat across from her.

“Sophia Larson.”

“Sophia, I’m Detective Anita Benson. I need to ask you a few questions. First, how old are you?”

“I just turned 16 last May.”

Detective Benson stared at her expressionless for several moments, then asked another question, “Whose house were you at earlier this evening?”

“Tom and Mary Smith’s house. I’m their babysitter for their daughter, Charlotte. I’ve been their babysitter for two years, ever since Charlotte turned six years old.”

“How did you get into their home?”

Sophia made a confused expression and said, “They let me in. I was there to watch Charlotte while they went out to eat. I have no idea what’s going on or why they reacted to me like they did. They treated me like they thought I was trying to kidnap their daughter. I also think they stole my purse and my car, but I don’t know why.”

“How did you cut your hand?”

Sophia looked at where the paramedics had bandaged her left hand before they brought her to the police station. She said, “I don’t know.”

Detective Benson asked, “Whose house were you at when the police arrived?”

“My parents’ house. My mom opened the door, but when I hugged her she didn’t say anything, she just shoved me back out into the rain. I’m so confused.”

“Sophia, would it surprise you to know that the people at the first house said they don’t know who you are, and that you broke into their home?”

“Yes, of course it would. Like I said, I’m their babysitter. They’ve known me for years. Why would they say that?”

“When we arrived, we found that a small window next to the front door had been smashed. Someone apparently broke the window, then reached through it to unlock the door and let themselves in. We also found a trail of blood drops and muddy footprints that led from the front door to the little girl’s room where her parents saw you.”

Detective Benson continued, “The names of the people who live there are not Tom, Mary, or Charlotte. I can’t tell you what their names are for their safety. Furthermore, the woman at the house you say belongs to your parents and whom you say is your mother doesn’t have any children, and she’s not married. We checked.”

Sophia looked at her dumbfounded. “This… can’t be true.”

“I’ll ask you again,” said Detective Benson. “How old are you?”

As Sophia stared at her in confused silence, Detective Benson reached into her jacket pocket and took out a small mirror. She held it up, and Sophia gasped. Instead of her young face that she’d seen that morning and every morning before, Sophia saw the unfamiliar face of a haggard old woman. Her white, stringy hair was disheveled and matted against her forehead. Her wrinkled face was drawn in an expression of shock. She screamed.

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