Dark thoughts under a broken floor hiding away from malevolent eyes.The stranger waits at dawn in the diminished darkness of the waking house.
The first sounds are the crack of a broken stair tread and patter of paws. A small boy creeps sleepily down holding the handrail all of the way with his trusty mutt following.
He reaches for cereal and milk and a cracked bowl on a brown table. Too bad for the forgotten brother watching up through the dusty floor. The dog knows and sniffs the floor and holds one eye to the gap. The stranger holds up a hand for the dog to sniff but the wood gets in the way.
It’s not long and the teenagers are up and fighting over the single bathroom. The girl loses and complains while holding her pee.
The stranger still watches the small boy spilling milk and crumbs on the floor and the dog cleans it up. The chaos and thumping of feet are not noticed by the boy. They are the usual sounds of early morning.
The stranger waits until the parents arrive to prepare lunches while refereeing quarrels. Saying “no” and “maybe” and sending the children out to the bus and school. The parents then talk quietly and dress and drink coffee and make their way to jobs and the door closes.
The stranger pushes up the boards and pats the small dog. It’s time to rest after the haunting of the night. The old leather sofa is a welcome sight and the stranger lays and sleeps with the small dog and the cat to snuggle up and keep them warm.