|Hide and Seek
I looked down, Annie’s eyes were so wide, each pupil looked like an island in a round, white sea. I’m the grown-up, the fixer. I wasn’t sure how to fix this. We were playing hide and seek. At four, my granddaughter, Annie is good at hiding, and she knows every inch of this house.
When I couldn’t find her, I started listening for giggles. As I get close, little snickers always escape her excited self. We’re allowed to use the whole house now, the cellar added just this year by her parents when she proved she could handle the stairs and all the things not to touch. But we hadn’t used it for hide and seek yet because we were usually outside.
She was in the cellar, but no snickers, no sound even, just a gaping hole near the corner. The broken flooring was my clue. Running, I turned on my phone light and there, ten feet down, I saw those eyes. “Gram?” she whispered.
I called the police to get her out, she wasn’t hurt, thankfully, though her parents rushed home anyway. They concluded it had been a dry well in the early years of the old house, no longer needed, they’d likely boarded it up, and it was forgotten. The former owners probably didn’t even know it was there.
Later that night, Annie and I were talking in her room.
“I was so scared!” I said to her. “I’m so glad you weren’t hurt!”
“What will they do now?” she asked.
“Someone’s coming tomorrow to fill in the hole.” I reassured her.
“But,” she asked, suddenly worried, “where will Tandy go?”
“Who’s Tandy?” I ask, unfamiliar with the name.
“You know,” she answers, as if it should have been obvious, “the little man who lives in that hole...”