Alyssa Jane watched the day turn night. She closed her eyes. Then opened them. There was nothing to see on the walls. No toys thrown about after a day of play. Hardwood floors, disjointed and smelling of dog urine, cast small shadows from the hall light slithering under the door. She looked around. A sigh came from her narrow chest.
The window framed no moon. One day, maybe, when I grow up, I’ll find a place where the moon shines every night, the sun every day. There won’t be any dark nowhere. None. Then…maybe, one day. She thought how funny the black man looked at her. She’d seen him before.
“Wonder if he comes by every day?” She said.
A smile came upon her face.
A voice vibrated through the house.
“What the fuck you mean, ‘maybe next time’!”
She threw her head back and closed her eyes. Her hands gripped the nappy blanket.
She held her breath. She dared a peek at the moonless window with its skewed curtain.
There won’t be any dark nowhere.
“You’ll do as you’re told bitch.”
Alyssa Jane heard her Momma holler back then run out the door.
The screen door slammed.
She exhaled, and then inhaled a deep breath.
Hold. Keep quiet.
Pretend to be sleep.
Alyssa Jane knew the creak of the bottom step. The wooden rattle of the rail as it struggled to keep him upright. She heard his breathing in the hallway.
“Sweetie, you awake ain’t you?”
A soft tap on the cracked oak door.
Alyssa Jane pulled her legs to her chest, clutching them with her ten-year old hands.
To keep away the dark.
To keep away his breath.
To keep her legs closed.
The door opened.
Light fell in around his silhouette.
Maybe, one day.

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