Bang bang bang!
Jenny jerked upright, heart pounding from the sudden, unexpected noise. Someone was hammering violently on the screen door. She stood up, trembling slightly from the rush of fear and adrenaline, and slowly, cautiously, poked her head around the kitchen door.
"Jenny! Jenny, come quick!" the person at the door called out.
It was Gretchen, her neighbor. Kevin had gone over to her house to play with her son, Jimmy. The thought, Shouldn't she be with the boys? raced through her head. Realization struck a heavy, nearly physical, blow. Oh, God, Kevin... She ran to the door.
Gretchen stood in the front door, face pressed in to the screen, eyes wildly scanning the interior of the house. She kept pounding away on the door frame with her left hand. In her right hand she was clutching a swatch of white fabric.
"What is it?" Jenny asked as she got to the door. "Did something happen to Kevin?"
Her neighbor stopped scanning the entryway and looked at her. For a moment it seemed like she'd been struck blind. Wide, blank, unfocused eyes stared right through her and Jenny could see Gretchen was completely terrified.
"Gretchen," Jenny began to feel the first fingers of panic spread through her body, "What is it? Tell me, please."
Something seemed to snap in to place behind Gretchen's eyes. She shook her head ever so slightly and focused in on Jenny. "They're gone, Jenny."
"What?" The feeling of panic slammed in to her fully, with almost palpable force. "Who's gone?"
"The boys," she whispered. "They're gone."
"I don't know. One minute they were playing in Jimmy's room, then they were gone." She held the piece of cloth in front of her face. "All that was left were their clothes."
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