A quiet descended, and Isabelle felt the fuzziness of slumber pull her into a place of emptiness and peace. Guttural cries made Isabelle snap open her eyes. She held her breath at the sound of gulping sobs that grew louder. She tried to move, but her arms and legs became heavy as if invisible hands pressed them down. A truck whizzed past the window and the whole place shook. The sobbing stopped and the pressure on her limbs eased. Isabelle pulled the duvet up to her chin.
A scratching sound began.
Isabelle swallowed. Her mouth was dry and her head hurt. She massaged her temples with her thumb and forefinger in an attempt to relieve the pressure that was building up around her nose and cheekbones. The dim light made her eyes water, so she reached out and switched it off. ‘Shush.’
Shush, now, shush, there’s a good girl.’
‘Who’s there?’ Isabelle said. Her throat tightened and her heart thumped against her ribcage.
‘Shush, don’t make a sound or the devil’s dog will come for you.’ The woman’s voice was raspy and low. ‘He has a special hound for those who don’t do as they’re told Can you hear it? It’s coming.’
There came a distant howl.
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