Plym bit her lip, hard, to stop the cry of pain. She gingerly untangled the thorn branch from her hair and ducked under the next one, praying there weren't any spiders lurking in these bushes. Her house stood out like a lantern through the bare, dancing branches of the trees, every light pouring through the windows.
She wondered whether the car would be there all night.
It had been parked in front of her house, a long, black car with a long, black silhouette in the driver's seat. A tiny glow highlighting a sharp nose. Was it a pipe? Who smokes a pipe anymore?
She smiled as she trudged through the woods behind her house. These unknown people thought they knew so much. They didn't know about the path in the woods where she used to play hide and seek. They didn't know that her mom always turned the lights out when she left a room. The house hadn't been so lit up since Christmas.
The woods stopped abruptly, leaving about a hundred feet of the open yard to cross. Shadows smudged the edges of the swing set and left a black pool streaming out from the garden shed. Plym darted out from the trees and dashed to the shed, pressing herself up against the flaking paint. She edged along under cover of darkness to the corner of the wall, where the moonlight shone down and dried up the shadows.
She inspected the neighbor's yards. Satisfied of lonesomeness, she ran to the back door, cracked it and slipped through before the light could even contemplate escape.
She crouched on the floor, breath coming fast and heavy, squinting in too much light. Her neck tingled. She was utterly exposed if she crossed a window. And, she realized with terror, they would notice if she turned any lights out.