Heather stopped dead in the doorway, mouth agape, transfixed. A man hovered by the bed. She watched in silence as he bent down over its occupant—her son, Aidan. Her boy was only five years old, sweet, innocent. Inwardly, she prayed for his safety; outwardly, she did nothing.
The man bent still closer and Aidan stirred as if touched by the man’s rank breath. Heather choked on its death and decay from a distance. The man stretched out one gnarled finger and laid it gently on Aidan’s cheek. Aidan’s eyes shot open, desperately searching the darkness. He opened his mouth to cry out but that gnarled finger was ready. It pressed down hard on Aidan’s lips, cutting off his cry. Only a short, sharp bark escaped, masking his mother’s gasp.
Terrified, Heather sprung into action, wailing as she rocketed across the room.