Mom and Krystal had left in search of some food our first night in the house when it had happened.
My queen sized bed sat under the window nearest to the bathroom and was surrounded by boxes full of memories forever kept as just that: memories. One of the boxes was overflowing with pictures of my dad and my old friends, another was full of books that I had never read, but that I would now give a chance, and the largest box, by the closet, held my DVD and CD collection.
As soon as Krystal had laid eyes on my room she had started complaining about how it wasn't fair that I had come up here by myself instead of waiting for her. She suggested that I switched rooms with her because it wasn't fair that, other than the master bedroom, that I got a bathroom in my room. Mom, sensing my growing annoyance and knowing my dislike in having moved here, had found a compromise with me and had let me keep my bedroom.
My room was oddly chilly, even in the summer night, and I had to wear a sweater while walking around trying to empty my boxes. The night sky outside of my bare windows offered me a surreal night light and several clouds had gathered over the small world that I was new to. Mom and Krystal had yelled up a warning of their fast return as the heavy, wooden front door closed behind them downstairs, and I had taken the chance to shower.
The bathroom supplies that I had dragged with me from the house that we had vacated in Toronto after my parents' divorce were placed haphazardly on the counter by the sink. I had pulled a large red towel and a slightly smaller green one out of another random box and now they sat expectantly on one of the towel hangers. The light in the bathroom was a forgotten yellow from misuse and the shadows that it created came to life lazily behind the raised bottles of products. I turned the hot tap on first and waited for about five seconds as the water struggled up the pipes.
The house was new, so I didn't quite understand why it felt so unused, but I gave the idea little thought as the hot liquid raced down into the off-white bathtub. After opening the cold tap just a bit, I turned on the shower by pulling on a long metal rod in the center of the two taps. The bathroom didn't have a fan to vent out the hot air so I let it drift over me as I slid out of my clothes and stepped under the heat of the shower.
I had always loved showers. They always calmed me down when I least knew that I needed some calming and the way that the water caressed my skin was a way to forget all of my worries, like a masseuse that knew exactly where to fix you. I closed my eyes and let the water drift over me, but I opened them quickly when I heard a slight shuffling in the bathroom.
Great, I thought, mom found a house with mice.
I looked behind the glass sliding doors that separated the shower from the rest of the world and saw nothing. Not even a tiny little tail swishing around, and the bathroom window was closed so I knew it hadn't been any of the wind that was quickly overtaking the night outside.
I turned off the shower and slowly closed the taps, slightly shivering in the sudden cold breeze that seemed to occupy my room. I grabbed the green towel and wrapped it around my head and wrapped the red towel around myself. Stepping down onto the pale linoleum floor, I felt its coldness curl my toes tightly together on impact. I walked into my room and saw nothing, but the moon, full and unforgiving, outside of my window.
"Hello?" I called out, but received no answer. "Mom? Krystal?" No answer.
I commanded myself to relax, that my imagination was a bit too advanced for my own good as I stepped back into the bathroom. Something sharp and out of place caught my eye and I stared at the now foggy reflection on my bathroom mirror. Two words were written in the fog that covered my reflected world:
Then, just as I had heard before, a shuffling, like footsteps raced out of my room just as my sister and mom arrived home.