What can I do? She is terrified, convinced it’s outside, lurking, lying in wait. Neither of us will rest until her fears are mollified. Hiding my annoyance, I grab the electric tea-kettle and prepare to leave the little house, to venture outside into the dewy dark and show her, prove to her there is nothing there.
The door thumps shut in its frame behind us, and she clings to me, fingers digging through my shirt. I’ll wear the mark of her nails — scarlet crescents incised into the flesh of my right arm, right shoulder. Lighting our way, the tea-kettle gleams softly — a pale beacon, full of freshly boiled water. Steam escapes its wedge of spout in diffuse, curling trails.
A dirt path leads away from the house, winds through clots of damp grass. We follow its unravelling toward a stone structure that thrusts up from a small hillock ahead. Drawing nearer, the structure slowly resolves into a crypt. A heavy, teal green door is pressed into its recessed face, and pale moonlight limns worn stonework. A dark twist of tree mimics the bent, low, wrought-iron fence encircling the crypt. The fence’s gate leans open on creaking, rusted hinges.
Suddenly, my companion shrieks, tugs at me to halt our forward advance. Emphatically, frantically, she points. Heart racing, I follow the luminous sweep of her arm and see…nothing. Again, her shriek threatens to deafen, and her arm describes a wild arc, pointing. I swing the electric tea-kettle and release a spume of steam and scalding water at…nothing. Jabbing her finger at darkness, this way and that, she continues shrieking, all the while pulling me backward, back toward the little house.