All Grown Up

“I know you’re there.”

The darkened bedroom was still and silent. A car passed by outside, headlights illuminating the posters of moody, teenage vampires and their girlfriends. Annie leaned over the edge of the bed and folded her arms.

“You’re not fooling me,” she said, matter-of-factly. A low muttering drifted out from under the bed.

“Supposed to be scaring you,” said a rough, growling voice that hinted at a slobbery mouth full of sharp fangs.

“I’m not frightened of monsters any more,” Annie said, proudly, and then added, “I’m almost ten, you know.”

“Don’t suppose…” The voice trailed off, laden with embarrassment. “Don’t suppose you’d hide under the covers while I go? No-one’s meant to see us when we’re working. Heard but not seen. They make us learn that. Over and over and over and…”

“Seeing as you asked nicely,” Annie said, “I’ll hide for a minute. Is that OK?”

For a moment, there was no answer.

“Thanks.” The voice sounded wet and sniffly. Annie leaned further over the edge.

“Are you crying?”

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