The gentle thud of the closet’s sliding door shut out the last of the light, and she worked to calm her breathing. She’d ran to the closet to find a hiding spot and her chest heaved in response to the burst of exercise her body endured. She leaned back against the clothes, careful not to make too much noise as she disturbed the hangers.
She could hear the monsters looking for her, their determined footsteps smacking the wood floors. They called to one another, searching one room and then the next, making excited noises every time they thought they’d found her hiding place.
She just had to wait them out.
A bead of sweat trickled down her face. Damn getting old sucks. And getting out of shape only made it worse. She’d start that 30-day move more challenge tomorrow, for sure…always tomorrow. Today, her sole goal was to survive.
Screams from the other end of the house revealed the monsters’ whereabouts.
Shifting her weight, she checked her watch. She’d been hiding a solid two minutes and considered her options. She’d found a good hiding spot and could stay here to erase maybe five more minutes from the hour she’d agreed to play. But if she stayed too long and the monsters got bored with this game, she’d have to come up with a new way to entertain them.
“Where is she?” she heard her son say.
“We’ve checked everywhere,” her daughter commiserated.
“Let’s look again.”
There was only one thing to do. She slowly slid open the closet door a crack, the sunlight attacking her senses.
“Your room is the only place left. She has to be in there.”
Quiet time, all maybe three minutes of it, was over. She would now be the monster.
Her tiny daughter led the way, followed closely by her older brother.
“Look…the closet door is cracked…it wasn’t before,” her daughter whispered.
You’d survive a horror movie.
“Let’s see what’s in there,” her son said.
You would not.
She raised her arm, careful to not disturb any of the items in the closet, poised to strike. Her calves threatened to cramp at holding her awkward position, but she refused to move.
Tentative fingers curled around the closet door and attempted to rip it open. The door shuddered, but did not slide. She held her position, waiting…it was the buildup of fear that made this game fun, and she wouldn’t ruin it for her kids.
“You have to slide it!” her daughter yelped.
“You do it. It’s YOUR turn,” he whined.
“It’s ALWAYS my turn.”
She was about to reveal her hiding place and triumphantly announce that if the monsters fought over the game, they’d stop playing it – but then she saw her daughter’s hot pink nails wrap around the door, sliding it open further as her son faced what was to be revealed.
Her single arm slashed out of the closet like a velociraptor while her children screamed in delight and turned to run away. She flashed out of the closet, feeling all fifty extra pounds as she raced after them, roaring down the hall and turning to the playroom, doing her best to tag them before they flopped onto the air mattress now known as base.
Huffing in defeat, she smiled at her children’s uncontained laughter. The sounds of their pure joy swirled around her out of shape, sweaty body. She’d be the monster again and again, until she finally fulfilled her committed hour of play.
“Start counting,” she smiled, hoping to find another few minutes of peace in a new hiding spot.