“Maybe if we’re quiet, they’ll go away,” Jude said.
Despite Molly’s fear, she glared at her cowardly friend. She took a deep breath and walked towards the door, placing her hand on the aging wood.
“Leave us alone. We can’t help you,” she said.
“Please, let us in. We need to contact our parents,” the boy said.
“We don’t have a phone,” Jude lied. Her voice wavered so badly that even Jenny looked at her in disbelief.
“Stop helping,” Molly whispered. Willoughby strode to the door and pounded her fist against it.
“Just leave us the fuck alone!” She shouted.
The knocking sound reverberated through the room. It became so loud that it drowned out Jenny’s screams and Jude’s cries. Molly sank to her knees at the foot of the door and put her hands on over her ears.
“Stop it! Just stop it,” she said.
Jude was a sobbing mess on the floor. Jenny screamed and beat her thighs with her balled up hands. Willoughby knelt by the couch, tears streaming down her face.
The knocks stopped. The door knob turned. Molly jumped as the door pushed open.
“Molly? Jenny? What’s going on in here?” Molly ran to her father and wrapped her arms around him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. He pulled away from her and knelt down.
“There were these kids,” Molly said. Her breath hitched with each sentence. “They were bothering us.”
Her father looked from Molly to Jenny to Jude, who was done sobbing but now sniffled and wiped her nose with the back of her hand.
“They scared you so bad you cried?” he replied.
Her cheeks grew warm. She kept her eyes on the floor as he stood and walked over to Jenny.
“I’m sorry you got scared,” he said to her. He walked into the kitchen and out of Molly’s sight.
That night, Molly’s dreams were filled with images of the black-eyed kids. They stood just outside her window, leering at her. She woke up several times in the night, desperate to shake off the nightmares. When the sun finally shone through her window, Molly was already dressed, sitting on the edge of her bed. Her stomach was sour. Her body ached. She dreaded going outside. It was almost as if she could feel their presence, waiting outside, waiting to ask her to be let in.
“Molly, breakfast is ready,” her mother called. Molly stood. As she walked passed her window, she saw a handprint pressed against the glass.
The day passed by in a blur of classes and time with her friends. It wasn’t until she was on the bus to come home that her heartbeat quickened and she became short of breath. She walked up her driveway slowly, and looked over her shoulder several times, checking for the children. But there was no one there. She opened the front door with a sigh. She walked into the living room, where her parents sat with Jenny and watched television.
“Hey,” Molly said. She kicked off her flip flops and walked into the living room.
Her heart stopped as she saw the two children, with eyes as black as coal, sitting on the couch beside her sister. Molly stifled a scream and lifted a hand to her mouth.
“Get away from her,” Molly yelled. She grabbed Jenny from the couch and pulled her away.
“Molly, what the hell?” her father said.
“Those are the kids that were here yesterday,” Molly pointed at them. Her father looked from Molly to the black-eyed kids, who sat perfectly still with their hands folded on their laps.
“Honey, there’s no need to be afraid,” her mother said. “These kids need our help. Remember what we learned in church about helping our fellow man.”
Molly gulped. She never paid attention to any of the lessons in church. It was always too boring for her. She looked down and hoped her mother wouldn’t ask her to quote scripture. When her mother said nothing, Molly nodded.
“We just need to find our parents,” the girl said. Her voice was still level, still creepy.
Her father picked up the wireless phone from the coffee table and pressed the talk button.
“What was your parents’ number, again? It’s been a while since we called them last and they didn’t answer. Let’s try again.”
The boy slowly recited a number for Molly’s father to call. Her dad pressed the phone to his ear then scowled.
“This number is disconnected,” her father said. He looked at the boy and they seemed to have a silent exchange before the boy hopped off the couch and walked to the door. The girl followed suit, never taking her black eyes off of Molly as she did so.
“But wait, we haven’t gotten ahold of your parents yet,” Molly’s mother said. The girl smiled, and Molly’s stomach lurched. She wanted nothing more than for these things to leave and never come back.
“It’s alright. Our parents are waiting for us just outside.”
They both walked out the door before Molly’s parents could respond. When the door closed, an eerie silence fell over the room.
Seconds later, her father broke the silence with a groan. His nose was bleeding.
“Oh my God, Tommy!” Her mother shouted. She ran to him and tried to touch the sides of his face. His pushed her away then brought both hands to his nose and ran to the bathroom. His nose stopped bleeding an hour later. He went to bed early, saying he had a migraine.
The next day, he lost his job. Molly’s parents fought that night. Though she’d heard them fight plenty of times before, this was the first time that he raised his voice. Her mother sounded scared.
When Molly came home two days after the kids were in the house, her mother was laying on the couch with the lights off and the curtains drawn. She’d had a nose bleed earlier that day, and now a migraine set in.
Molly’s dreams were still haunted by the black-eyed kids. By the end of the week, she’d only gotten three hours of sleep each night.
Jenny seemed to the be the only one unaffected by the kids’ presence. She bounced around the house while the rest of them moved like zombies, bodies buzzing with exhaustion and rage.
Her parents fighting got worse. By the weekend her mother had bruises on her arms and by Tuesday, there was one under her left eye.
Molly stayed home Wednesday. She was now having what must have been a migraine, and she chided herself for thinking that this was not a big deal when her mother had agonized on the couch.
She was in and out of sleep all day. Her dreams were a mix of black-eyed kids and her parents arguing. When she woke up for minutes at a time, it seemed as though their arguments carried over to her waking life. It wasn’t until after dark – when she heard a thud and a scream – that she realized she wasn’t dreaming.
She tiptoed to her door, filled with dread and feeling all the while like there were eyes on her. She cracked open her door and peaked out. Her sister was on the floor beside her mother. They were both crying and her mother had her hands wrapped around Jenny. Her father stood over them, his nose bleeding and his fists clenched. He held a baseball bat in his hand, the end already cherry red.
Molly’s body shook. As her father brought the bat down to her mother’s side, a stream of pee trickled down Molly’s thigh. She raised a hand to her mouth and stifled her screams as her mother and sister yelped and writhed in pain. Her father was silent. His face was expressionless. Molly watched as he brought the bat down again and again on her mother and sister. She watched as the end turned crimson. She watched as her mother’s hands fell from Jenny’s side.
Then, there was nothing but silence.
They’d stopped moving. The carpet around them was covered in blood. If her father hadn’t been breathing so heavily, Molly would have thought he was a statue, frozen in bloody time.
She stepped back and the floor creaked beneath her foot. She froze, hoping he’d been too zoned out to hear. But the footsteps that thundered down the hallway told a different story.
Molly Samuels slammed her bedroom door. She leaned against it and prayed.