She was alone. Alone as she hadn’t been for over ten years. Alone as the last time they came. They were going to come again. She knew it, down to her very bones she knew they were coming. This time they weren’t going to stop at talking. She’d avoided being alone, she’d avoided them, she’d saved her life, until now. The first time they’d courted her young mind, trying to steal her with kindness; like imaginary friends, but they weren’t imaginary, no matter what everyone else said. They sometimes whispered in her sleep, despite someone always being nearby. Jean could hear them, even in a crowded room, they whispered. She wouldn’t listen. No matter what they said she wouldn’t listen. But she was alone. They only came out when she was alone. She could resist, she would resist, she wouldn’t listen . . .
They heard someone enter the house. They heard someone walk up the stairs calling for her. She wasn’t there, they were there, they waited, they didn’t have long to wait. The door opened, someone looked in . . .