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They didn’t believe him.

They never did.

That’s always how it went. The boy cries wolf until the wolf makes a happy meal out of him.

Still...

The crack ran from the top of the doorframe to the ceiling. A simple crack in the plaster. Nothing ominous about it. This was the way of old houses. His dad was on this big kick of restoring an old two-story house. Overdosed on too many episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Danny thought. So now, here they were, stuck in Benton, Arkansas, living in a dump that would “one day be a grand, beautiful house.” At least according to Dad.

Timmy and he had chosen the bedroom upstairs. The one with the attic door in their room. Timmy wanted the room across the hall but their big sister, Lee, had claimed possession of it. The first two nights Timmy had lain in his bed, staring at the attic door, whimpering softly like a dog that had been kicked too many times.

The attic door, secured only by a bent nail, was the least of Danny’s worries, however. He was more concerned about that crack.

After all, he had caught a glimpse of what was in it.

His belly tightened at the memory, feeling like he had swallowed a bowl of ice cubes. They had all gone to bed early. Dad was drinking again. They could still hear him yelling and throwing things.

Then he saw it.

Thin tendrils slipping out of the crack, wiggling around in the air, looking for something. He had watched with fascinated terror as the (Bug? Spider? What was it?) thing crawled out. It had far more legs then he could count in the moonlit darkness. It moved in a crab-like fashion, making a soft clicking sound. It descended the wall, to the floor. Danny sat up and watched it scurry across the hallway, into Lee’s room.

Was that a startled gasp? Cut off in mid-breath?

Defying its size, it crawled back into the room and up the wall, carrying the limp body of his sister. He watched in stunned disbelief as it pulled and yanked her lifeless body into the thin crack.

That had been two nights ago. His parents thought Lee had run off with some new boyfriend. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Danny had tried to tell them but a sound whipping with Daddy’s belt silenced that. Momma said nothing. She never did.

Parents never believe the kid.

He looked over at his brother who also watched in wide-eyed terror. Still at the attic door. If he only knew.

Unless, of course, something even worse lurked just beyond that door. If giant spider-bugs lived in cracks, wouldn’t something larger be waiting in a huge attic?

”Timmy.” He said, soft as a breath. Wanting to reassure him. An almost inaudible prayer was on his lips.

Thin tendrils slipping out of the crack, wiggling around in the air, looking for something. Then it moved towards Timmy’s bed.