the hatch

THERE WAS A HATCH in the living room floor, one I hadn’t noticed until last night. And there was someone living under the floor whom I could only see when she lifted the hatch to watch me, only to disappear again into the darkness. I want to say it was a younger woman with blonde hair. Her skin, at least, was light. Her eye color could not be discerned in the twilight. She only lifted the hatch, watched my movements, and then closed it when she saw I was watching. I tried to wake my daughter to tell her about the woman living in the cellar and the heretofore undiscovered wooden hatch in our home, but when I went to rouse her, something strange happened. My father was in her bed instead, wearing an old-fashioned knit cap. “What is it?” he said. “Dad! What are you doing here?” “Oh,” he yawned. “I just came in here to get some sleep.” “Dad, there’s a hatch in the living room. A young woman is living under the floor.” “Oh her? She’s always been there. Now, please, boy, let me get some sleep. We can talk about her in the morning.” I walked back into the living room and saw her rather pretty face from underneath the hatch. Then she shut it and retreated back away into her hiding place.

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