In the dark and cold kitchen in the last house on La Pierre Drive, crammed into a corner behind the  swinging door, Ivy Plum is listening to her family, her Father, her Mother and her two sisters dying in their bedrooms.

They are coughing and wheezing and gurgling like raging creeks during a spring flood and her Father is calling out in agony for his dog Prince that he had when he was just a little boy.

She clasps her phone to her chest and try as she might, she cannot open her hands, they are locked over her phone and they will not open no matter how hard she tries

Her family is dying above her head and Ivy Plum is too terrified to move, to scream or to push herself out of the corner to the backdoor across the kitchen that is open and is inviting her, it is begging her,  to run.

Ivy Plum is trapped in the Hell inside of her head where all she can here is her Father crying out in fear for his dog to help him, to come right now and help them all.

“Come on Prince, come on boy!” Ivy hears her Father is begging his long dead dog, his first and always best friend. ” Good boy. Come on boy.”

She tries to unfold her hands and as she pushes them against her chest she takes a breath and she falls forward. Her hands fall away from each other. One hand is still clutching her phone. She nearly cries out in relief but remembers to not make a sound. All that matters now is- she moved!

Ivy braces he shoulder against the wall and holds herself up, she pushes the door away with her free hand and she walks slowly because she is  dizzy and everytime she turns  she sees stars but she takes one step and another and another and she is halfway across the kitchen to the backdoor when she hears a thump on the stairs.

It’s a gentle thump, soft, padded.

Someone is coming down the stairs, someone is trying now to take each step slowly because, Ivy knows-

someone is looking for her.

Ivy looks at the  back door and the phone in her hand and she keeps moving until she reaches the door and the cold icy air hits her in the face and she takes a long deep breath and tries to scream for help and then she see it all

this terrible night is going to show her everything.

It shows her the tracks in the snow that lead into the kitchen and she turns her head slowly and sees the puddles of water, the melted snow go through the kitchen and out the kitchen door into the hallway and then

she sees the bloody footprints coming into the kitchen and her eyes obediently follow them into the corner behind the kitchen door.

She goes to the counter and she looks out of the kitchen window above it and into the dark and endless snowy night.

Still looking out the window, she lets the phone fall from her grasp into the sink so that she could wash her bloody hands.

She picks up the bloody knife that is sitting in the bottom of the sink next to her phone and she washes it too…

because she has too, because she always does.

Ivy hears the kitchen door whisper open and she hears the clicking of dog paws behind her. Prince growls and she can’t hear it as much a she can feel it and she waits from him to close in on her.

Sometimes it seems to take years before he jumps and sinks his teeth into the back her skull and bites down and begins to tear her apart.

She wonders, as she always does, if every night in her Hell will be like this.

In the end, she thinks, it probably will be.

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