I pretended to work on homework while listening to my parents reprimand Jess for breaking curfew.
She stayed silent, but I knew the reason.
My sister was possessed.
No, really. Something had got to her, gotten in.
Growing up, Jess had always been a little off. Nothing textbook diagnosable, but she only used earth safe shampoo that reeked of overcooked herbal tea. Unforgivably chamomile. When asked about her vegetarianism, she said something like, “This is my time of adjustment.” Whatever that meant.
But things got weird after the earthquake, the one that shook our house so hard grandmother’s antique mirror fell to the floor and shattered.
First, Jess stole the last of my definitely not organic hair gel to slick her mane into a ridiculously tight ponytail. Mom didn’t notice at first, but my poor out-of-control curls sure did.
Then, I saw her sneak bacon at breakfast and slurp regular milk, not soy, with her cereal. Dad saw it, too.
Little things like that, little telling things, continuing all the way through the week until now when Mom and Dad sat Jess down to discuss the, “Recent unsavory developments in her behavior.” But Jess didn’t say a word. She just sat, staring mutely at my parents and silently scaring the hell out of our cats.
Finally, forty minutes and no response later, my parents sent Jess to her room. For no reason, they said I should also get to bed.
Unfair. I’d been the good daughter all week, finishing my schoolwork, avoiding possession.
When I walked past Jess’s door, I peeked in. She sat pouting into her shell pink vanity, but the reflection staring back was not my sister or human.
It grinned at me with too many teeth. And waved.
I ran to my room and slammed the door shut. No use. No lock. I shoved my hope chest over as a barricade and hopped in bed, fully clothed, clutching the sheets to my nose, wondering what I was supposed to do next. I held my breath, straining to hear movement from my sister’s room. Nothing but silence answered.
I didn’t remember falling asleep.
“Hannah, I think it would be nice if we spent more time together. I really think it would be nice.”
I opened my eyes. My door was ajar, the hope chest pushed over. Jess sat in the hallway, crisscross applesauce. The nightlight haloed her golden hair, casting a shadow over her face.
I glanced at my clock. Midnight. My parents were definitely asleep. How fast would they wake up if I started screaming?
“Hannah, I think it would be nice if we shared the same room again,” Jess said, crawling on all fours into my room.
I froze, not knowing what to say to the thing controlling my sister.
“Hannah, I really think it would be nice if we slept in the same bed again,” she said, clawing up my sheets. Then she snuggled her overheated body next to mine and started eating my hair.