Atkins hasn't bested me yet, back to the book! Another quickie from The Man on Little Creek -- work in progress...
“Damn it, Amy, just leave me alone!”
Loud yelling echoed down the hallway, waking me up, sticky and hot. My pajama top was damp with sweat. My heart was beating so fast, for a moment I couldn't place who was hollering; I thought Daddy must be back in the den and had fallen asleep with the TV on too loud.
“Dan, please be quiet, you're gonna wake the kids!” Mama's voice sounded just like it did when she was trying to be calm, but really wasn’t. That’s when I realized it wasn't a movie I was hearing.
“Be quiet, you'll wake the kids!” Daddy fake-whined in a lousy imitation of Mama's voice. “I'm so sick of you trying to blame me for everything, Amy! You just jab, jab, jab, and then pretend you didn't start the argument every time.”
“Dan, come on –” Mama tried, but Daddy cut her off again.
“No, you come on! You know, I almost think you're glad I lost my job just so you can say 'I told you so' and complain about me to your friends!”
“Dan, you cannot honestly believe –”
“Really? Really? You think I can't believe that about you? You love being right. You want me to be the bad guy. Well, I'm done, do you hear me?”
The whole house can hear you, Daddy, I thought, squashing my hands so hard over my ears that my head hurt. I didn't hear what Mama answered but Daddy's stomping through the house and out the garage door was plain as day.
I heard Mama mutter, “For the hundredth time, Dan, don't slam the door!” Then she started to cry. Out loud. My stomach was doing flip flops now and I felt really hot. Should I get out of bed and go find Mama, or should I pretend I hadn't heard a thing?
Her footsteps outside my door made the decision easy and I quickly closed my eyes and curled up on my side. I heard her come into the room and pull the blanket back over Bailey and then she tugged my sheet up onto my shoulders. As she walked back out the door, I opened my eyes and looked across the room at Bailey. His eyes were open, too, and his bottom lip stuck out in an upside down half-moon. I put my finger to my lips and he nodded his head, pulling in his lip and sniffling quietly.
“It's OK, Bailey,” I whispered when I was sure Mama had gone back to her room. “Daddy's just mad 'cause of his job.”
Bailey shook his head, and pointed a chubby, shaking finger at the closet door. I turned to look and saw the tiniest beam of orange light coming from inside and then, with a click so quiet I almost missed it, the door shut.
I turned back to Bailey and we looked at each other for the longest time.
“Monster in our house,” Bailey whispered.
I didn't say a word.