~~The Counting Brother~~
I heard my little brother scream. He didn't sound hurt--he sounded scared. It was coming from the hall closet, and that's where I ran on that fateful day.
He was crouched in the corner of the closet, staring at the doorway. He couldn't see me, but he was staring wide-eyed at the open closet door, screaming. I stepped into the closet.
"Acelin," I told him, addressing him by name."Shhh. It's okay! There's nothing there."
"Don't tell me there's nothing there!" he shouted. "IT'S RIGHT THERE!"
I looked where he was pointing. The empty hall was all I saw.
"Whatever you're seeing," I said, more gently this time. "is not real. It's not actually there."
"Keep it away...," he started moaning. "Don't let it come any closer."
I figured if I wanted to keep him quiet, I would have to humor him. So I stood from my crouching position in front of him and faced the empty hall.
"Hey you!" I said to the air. "Keep away from my brother!" I began swinging my fists left and right, pretending I was fighting something.
Acelin didn't seem content.
"You don't believe in it," he said. "You can't touch it... it's coming closer...."
I was starting to get worried. I didn't have much time to think on it, though. My little brother stood up, holding a braided cord in his hands. He screeched like an evil creature, and his eyes went bright red. He lashed out with the cord, like he was trying to gag or strangle something.
Then he collapsed, and he didn't move.