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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Thriller/Suspense · #2293992
When two sisters are woken up by scratching, they think it's a mouse. They are so wrong.
Scratch. Scratch. Something clawed behind the plaster, waking Bridgette. Freaked out, she yanked her blankets up to her chin. Her blue eyes widened with fear as she studied the stucco.

"Cat. Cat. Catherine!" she whisper-yelled.

"Mmmumph." Her older sister’s face was buried in her pillow.

"Catherine, wake up! There's something in the wall, I can hear it scratching." Bridgette’s voice shook.

The tired thirteen-year-old raised her head and glared at her. "Baby! It's probably just a mouse."

"I don't think so," she said.

Plus, even if only a mouse, she didn't want it in their room. Mice bite and her mom said they carried disease.

"It's a mouse." A heavy sigh announced her climb out of bed. Exasperated, she walked over and tapped on the wall. "We just have to scare it away."

At the sharp rap of her knuckles, the scratching stopped. A smug tone joined the flick of her hand. "See?"

Before she walked away, something pounded back so hard that a couple of picture frames fell from their perches. She jumped back. Bridgette squeaked and threw the blankets over her head.

"Okay," the older girl tried to keep her voice calm but failed. "Maybe it's not a mouse."

The wall loomed over them in silence. Bridgette tucked her nose out of the covers and peered anxiously at her sister.

"If not a mouse, what is it?" she asked.

Catherine looked over at the seven-year-old and shrugged her shoulders.

The scratching began again, but it moved from its current location. Bridgette leaped out of her bed as it scuttled through the wall beside her, digging hungrily at the thin layer of plaster. It didn't stop though, it scraped its way into the closet.

The door stood open with a small gap. But the crack morphed into a huge cavern, hiding anything in its depths. Catherine walked over until she perched within an arm’s reach of the ominous entry.

"Cat, don't," Bridgette said, terrified of whatever lurked within.

In a matter-of-fact tone, the older girl said, "It can't come through the wall. It's not actually in the closet."

"Yeah, and you said it was just a mouse." She reminded her big sister.

Catherine didn't speak, but thankfully, neither did the closet. The opening revealed silent, yawning blackness. As the quiet grew, so did Catherine's courage. She stepped closer to the door and her hand reached towards the knob.

"Please don't. Just shut it, we'll go back to sleep," Bridgette said, but Cat continued to stretch for the door. "Okay, please, please... just let me turn on the light!"

Catherine gestured for her to do so. Bridget raced over to the bedroom door, bathing the room in bright, overhead lamplight. A small whimper of relief escaped her.

The older sibling chucked the door open with a "hi-ya" motion. Nothing attacked. Nothing moved. Nothing made a sound.

She shook her head and turned to her baby sister with the same attitude she demonstrated earlier. "See? I told you there's nothing in there."

As if listening to her, the scratching began from behind their clothes. She whipped back around. As she studied the space, her forehead furrowed until her eyebrows almost touched.

"What the hell?" She reached in, yanking the hangers aside to reveal the back wall.

The plaster rippled and contorted. The surface shifted like liquid.

"Catherine, leave it alone. Let's get Mom and Dad." All the pleas didn’t slow her sister down.

The mesmerized child extended her hand, touching the fluid. Her limb sank into the putty-like stucco. She tried to tug it back out, but every move she made pulled her deeper into the goop.

They screamed in unison when something on the other side dragged Catherine through.

Their mother and father burst through the bedroom door. They found their youngest daughter pressed against the light switch, shrieking over and over at the open closet. Her mother scooped her in her arms and crooned into her neck, attempting to calm the hysterical child.

Her father scanned their shared room and asked, "Where's Cat?"

She swallowed her screams with a sharp hiccough. A single, shaking finger pointed at the closet. Her father stalked over and threw clothes aside, looking for his eldest.

"Bridgette, she's not in here. Where is she?" Red stress patches painted his face and neck when he spun around.

She recognized that tone. He was trying not to come unglued. Trying not to try, she burrowed her face into her mother’s neck.

Catherine was gone.

When the scratching in the wall began again, Bridgette bellowed so loud her father covered his ears. She clawed at her mother like a wild animal, desperate to escape the room. Her mother squished her hands against her chest so she couldn't wiggle. She exchanged a wide-eyed glance with her husband.

"I’ll take care of Bridgette. You call 9-1-1," she said.

Without a word, he nodded and fled the room. She followed him, carrying her trembling daughter. Blissful ignorance kept her unaware of the scratching that stopped the moment they left the room.

Sometimes, it's not a mouse...
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