A six-year-old girl finds herself alone in a house that's making strange noises.
|Allegra awoke with a start.
Clutching her mommy's pillow tight against her chest, she looked around the room. The light from the lamp next to the bed made funny shadows on the wall. A strange noise was coming from outside. It sounded like one of those big tools that the construction men used in the city. What had Daddy called it?
"A jackhammer," Allegra said to herself. "A jackhammer. A jackhammer." She repeated the word over and over to herself as she slowly sat up, still holding tight to Mommy's pillow. Mommy loved this pillow; Grandma had made it for her.
Allegra wondered when Mommy was coming back to get it.
She dangled her feet over the edge of Mommy and Daddy's bed as she stared at the floor.
"One, two -" she was cut off as the noise of the jackhammer broke into her counting. Allegra gave an angry sigh and tried again. "One, two, three, four, five -" the jackhammer rattled again. Allegra yelled as she put her head down and covered her ears. "Six, seven, eight, nine, ten....."
After counting to a hundred, Allegra jumped off the bed. She carried the pillow to the window and slowly peeked out. It was still dark. It had been dark for a long time. Allegra wondered when the sun was coming back. The jackhammer sound came again, making Allegra jump. It was closer this time. She frowned, then walked to the wall and put her ear to it. She jerked back as the wall vibrated against her.
"The jackhammer is in the wall," she said. "In the wall. In the wall." She put her hand to her mouth and began chewing her fingernails. Carrying the pillow with her, she carefully walked out into the dark hallway. Breathing hard, she looked left and right as the jackhammer continued to make noises in the walls.
"In the wall. In the wall. In the wall."
Allegra let out a whimper as she stood frozen in the hallway.
"Come back Mommy. Come back Mommy. Come back Mommy."
With a scream, she ran as fast as she could down the hallway to the kitchen. She bolted underneath the table to her hiding place. Wrapping her arms tight around Mommy's pillow, Allegra brought her head to her knees and cried and cried and cried.
"Daddy," she cried out. "Daddy! Daddy!"
The jackhammer kept getting closer. Allegra shut her eyes as tight as she could.
"Stop! Stop! Stop!"
The sound stopped for a moment, just long enough for her to hear her stomach rumble. Allegra glanced at the open bag of Goldfish crackers on the counter. She was just about to crawl over and grab them, when the sound came again, this time so close that the bag of crackers fell off the counter and onto the floor. Smiling Goldfish scattered everywhere as Allegra let out a scream and covered her ears. She kicked her feet as she continued screaming.
Then suddenly, there was a loud cracking sound and a beam of light burst through the kitchen wall. Allegra carefully opened her eyes and peeked out from under the table. She cringed as a hole started forming where the light came through the wall. As it got bigger and bigger, she whimpered to herself again. She started scooting backward, when she heard a familiar voice call her name.
Allegra's eyes went wide. "Mommy?"
She scampered out from under the table. Through the hole in the wall, she could see lots of people on the other side. Most of them were construction workers making a mess of the house, but just behind them were two familiar figures. Allegra gasped.
"Mommy, Daddy!" she cried, running toward her parents.
"Oh Honey!" her mommy said, reaching out for her. Allegra clambered through the wall and into her mommy's waiting arms. Somebody was crying really loud, but Allegra couldn't tell who it was through all her tears. She clung to her mommy as hard as she could and wouldn't let go. She could feel her daddy's hand on her back, rubbing up and down.
Somewhere near them, Allegra could hear other grown-ups talking, but none of it made sense to her.
"....Unexpected mudslide. Covered the whole house. The parents were able to make it out, but their six-year-old daughter ran back inside to get a pillow. That poor little girl was inside this house for two days by herself."
Allegra felt her mommy begin to carry her away from the house.
"Your pillow," she said, lifting her head up. "Your pillow. Your pillow."
Mommy's eyes watered up. "Allegra, Honey, we can get the pillow later."
Daddy stroked Allegra's hair. "Let's go get you something to eat."
Allegra looked at both of them, then laid her head back on Mommy's shoulder. As her parents took her away from the house, she closed her eyes and let out a sigh.
"One, two, three...."