“Hush,” she whispered to her boy as the settling dust filled the stretching twilight, outside and in.
“Hush, sh-shh,” she cooed and murmured. But curiosity is a hearty weed that grows more vigorously in desert places, where the stars are distant and cold, and the mind rises up to meet them.
“Hush now,” she held him close, and rocked him gently. Sleep would still his searching mind, as it always did. Yet sleep was slow coming tonight, and already she heard whispers in the black distance.
“Hush, child,” she spoke more loudly this time, to drown out guileless questions about creatures and fiends, and fear, and silence. And always the dark.
“Boy, hush. Sleep now,” but the emphasis was a mistake; her son pressed her with renewed fascination, oblivious to the room’s creeping shadows.
“Hush!” she spat with urgency. Suddenly her own memory was betraying her, summoning ragged scraps of broken houses, broken claws, and the reek of stale blood. “Hush, be quiet!” she pled, half with her inno- cent boy and half with her experienced mind. The voices were solid now, a filthy chittering from the swelling corners. She trembled, and not with cold.
“Hush! I mean it!” she commanded, though she hadn’t needed to. Her boy had suddenly gone silent. He was staring past her.
“Baby, please! Hush!” she begged, to the din of sweaty snarling and the splintering of the walls. “Please, my love! They come when they’re called!”