He Came with the House
First, the house.
"Come on!" Nicholas tugged at my nightgown sleeve. I got out of bed and followed, rubbing my eyes. Streetlights shone in the windows bright enough to show us the hall. He led me to the stairs and we went down. As you may know, if you have ever gotten up in the middle of the night in a house full of sleeping people, every step on a staircase announces your coming like a thunderclap.
And yet I didn’t hear the other noises until we were just outside the swinging kitchen door. Nicholas looked up at me with eyes identical in size and hue to the flow blue plates mama collected and kept on a shelf. Mine probably looked the same. Through the door I could hear a steady buzz, high pitched. Hand shaking a little, I pushed the door open, still wanting to be like the brave heroines in my books. Catherine wouldn't flinch in the face of a queer night sound, I thought to myself.
We looked in. No one was readily visible and nothing looked disturbed. I stepped through the door, held it open for my brother who followed on tip toe. By the way he absently tugged on his pajama pants, I could tell he had to pee. I did too. The buzzing stopped. In the silence rather than the noise itself, I identified it as a drill. Now a new sound took its place - the rough back and forth rhythm of a hand saw. Nothing at the windows or the door that led to the garden. Nicholas knew what I was looking at and redirected my focus.
"The refrigerator, Elizabeth."
He was right. The sounds came from, or rather from behind, the refrigerator. We watched, waiting for the door to open, or I think for the whole thing to expolde. The sawing stopped and I walked toward the refrigerator. Nicholas stayed where he was. I stopped within reach of the handle when a noise like snapping wood came through. Summoning my last bit of courage and picturing Catherine, I grabbed the cool dark handle. I would have opened it; my grip tightened, my weight shifted from front foot to back, when I heard a man sneeze. I jumped, feet literally separating from the floor, and spun around. I ran back across the kitchen and grabbed Nicholas' arm on my way through the door. He was still staring at the refrigerator with his mouth open. He flew behind me in my rush up the stairs. We both slept in my bed huddled under the covers....