5 Hiding

Posted: April 18, 2015 in Book I Terror in Texas
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The big blue dumpster sat at the side of the building her mother had pointed toward. With the boxes of empty bottles and lack of food garbage, Amy was pretty sure it was a bar where people spent their time drinking beer.

When she saw the metal lid on the dumpster, she wondered if they would be safer in the building with the people or in a big metal box. She knew drinking men were not always nice so she decided on the box.

“We’re going to hide in the box, Claire Bear,” Amy whispered. “I have to put you down for a few minutes. Don’t cry. We have to stay quiet.” She handed the baby a toy from her pocket.

Amy dropped the diaper bag at the side of the metal box and sat her sister on a clean piece of cardboard. She slid cases of empty bottles to the side of the blue dumpster and made steps with the boxes. She propped open the lid with an empty cardboard box. It left her just enough room to ease a single case of empty bottles over the side and slide it inside the dumpster. She worked two more cases over the edge of the dumpster. When she was satisfied with her steps up and down, she made her way back down to the alley. She could still hear moans from beyond the fence when she picked up Claire and the bag.

The baby whimpered and Amy pulled her close and whispered. “It’s okay Claire Bear. Mommy will come for us soon. We’re just going to play hide and seek, okay?”

Amy held Claire close while she made her way up the stacked boxes. She eased the bag over the edge and dropped it. She stepped over the side and climbed down the steps of stacked boxes inside.

She flattened a piece of clean cardboard on the bottom of the dumpster and set Claire down. She stood up and pushed the lid high enough to pull the cardboard free. She tossed it away and lowered the lid.

The enclosure was dark inside and smelled of wet cardboard, but Amy felt safe for the first time since her mother had pulled them from the car. Tears slid down her face as she hugged her sister.

Even with a heavy quilt wrapped around the baby, Amy was worried Claire would get cold in the metal box if mommy didn’t come before night. But this was the safest place she could find.

Inside the dumpster, Amy looked around. In the gloom of the closed up dumpster, she saw cardboard boxes and a couple bags of trash. She turned on the fairy light toy Claire had been playing with and shined the pin light around the container. She decided she could make it better. She let Claire play with the flashlight and moved across the container where she flattened boxes across the floor. She slid a larger box to the corner and turned it on its side.

She picked up one of the bags of trash and stood up. She pushed the lid up an inch, peaked out and saw no one in the dimming afternoon light. She tossed the bag out then closed the lid. She listened for a moment then tossed out the second bag.

When she was finished cleaning, she picked up Claire and slid back into the open box with the diaper bag at her side and the small flashlight turned on. She settled into the corner and laid Claire between her legs. She changed the baby’s diaper and tossed it to the far corner.

Amy whispered. “Stinky. Pew! Mommy must have fed you peas for lunch.” She tickled Claire’s bare tummy when she was finished taping on the clean diaper. Claire smiled and giggled. Amy drew her hand away with a start and whispered. “Shush…baby girl. Bad people might be out there.”

The ten-year-old poured water into a bottle liner and added two scoops of formula powder just like Mommy had taught her. She covered the top with a clean nipple and shook the bottle to mix the formula. She settled Claire on her lap and nudged her lips with the nipple. The baby sucked greedily at the bottle and Amy turned off the fairy light.

The sounds of the monsters grew louder and closer. Amy listened to the sucking noises Claire was making and hoped the monsters couldn’t hear her.

Amy sighed as she hoped her mother would come soon. When Claire was done with her bottle, Amy set it aside and raised the baby to her shoulder. Claire squirmed and pulled at Amy’s hair playfully.

After a soft explosion of air, Amy settled Claire on her lap. Within minutes, the baby was sound asleep in her sister’s arms. Outside the dark haven, she had created, Amy could hear distant screams. As time passed the screams grew louder. Then they would fade away and shrieks from another direction would take their place.

Amy felt tears fill her eyes, but she blinked them away. She had Claire to protect and care for. When she was sure Claire was asleep she slid a box lid close and covered the bottom with the quilt her grandma had made. She settled the baby in the makeshift crib and pulled a granola bar from the bag.

While she ate the bar and sipped at the opened bottle of water, she worried the sound of distant screams and moans of the sick people would wake Claire, but the baby slept on. Amy leaned her head against the side of cardboard and her eyes drifted close only to pop open again when the moans of the sick people grew a lot louder.

She ignored the tears trailing down her cheeks as she listened to the screams of terror and pain filling the night. They were so close. In the gloom of the dumpster, Amy was terrified and felt so alone in the big metal box. How would her mother ever get to them.

Still hearing the sick in the night, Amy pulled her sister’s make-shift cradle deeper into the corner of their cardboard sanctuary. She leaned her head against the side of the box, closed her eyes and prayed. “Please God,” Amy whispered. “I don’t want to be alone.” She hoped the night would pass quickly and her mom would find them soon.

Just as Amy dozed off, the dumpster lid quietly opened and something heavy dropped into the metal container. Whatever was thrown in the dumpster landed with a heavy thud when it hit the bottom on the box. The lid eased back into place and then a funny, zipper sound came from outside. Amy waited and the zipper sound came two more times. There were whispers then a heavy knock on the metal.

Harried words called out, but Amy couldn’t understand the words with the cacophony of the moaning outside. Footsteps landed on the lid then danced across the metal. The moaning surrounded the dumpster. After a minute, angry voices taunted the bad people from far away then disappeared and the moans fade got further and further away.

A moan inside the dumpster made Amy’s breath catch. For a heartbeat she was sure someone had dropped one of the bad people inside the dumpster with them. She sat there with the darkness surrounding her and pulled Claire into her arms. She was almost too frightened to breath.

When she did take a breath, Amy could smell liquor and hear the sound of the heavy breathing. He mumbled and whispered harshly. “Fuck! Where the fuck, am I?”

Did the sick people speak? She was sure they didn’t. She had not heard them speak, so he was just a drunk.

“Shuuuuush,” Amy whispered. “Be quiet. Go to sleep.” She waited for an answer, but there was only the return of snoring. She finally decided the man must have passed out. At least he was quiet. She slowly pulled boxes in front of her to hide herself and Claire from the drunk.

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