I pulled my cardigan around me as I walked to the shed, the wind slamming the open door repeatedly against its frame. The sun disappeared behind heavy rain clouds, removing all warmth from the air, the cold clawing at me with skeletal fingers that sent goosebumps exploding across my skin.
The shed was pitch black inside.
I glanced back at the house, hoping the bath wouldn’t overflow before I returned. Alice was still in front of the TV, shovelling sticky caramel corn into her mouth, eyes glued on the screen.
She’d had a meltdown when I said I was going outside, saying she’d seen something scary in the trees that day. She’d been frantic until I handed her the bag of caramel corn and turned on her favourite show. It distracted her enough for me to sneak out the back door.
I was latching the shed when I heard a whimper. The sun broke through the clouds as I opened the door, flooding the interior with light. Alice sat in the corner, her knees drawn to her chest, eyes wide with terror. I froze in confusion.
Skin crawling, I looked at the house where my daughter sat in front of the TV, the bathwater visibly seeping into the hallway. I turned back slowly. The other Alice tilted her head and grinned.