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“Shhh, go back to sleep,” Uncle Erick told us. But we could not.

“What are you doing out here?” I asked. But he only shook his head and said, “Don’t worry about it girls.”
We were not to be deterred. And I threw back the top of my sleeping bag in sync with my cousin to demand an answer. He could not withstand us for long, we thought. We were masters at the puppy-eyed look. But he sighed and looked down at his feet.

“I must have just had a bad dream” Uncle Erick said, smiling half-heartedly. My cousin and I exchanged a look. We’d had those.

“We can handle that,” my cousin said, though I wasn’t so sure.

“It’s nothing, really,” he started to say. But my cousin wasn’t having it. “Come on!” she goaded. Uncle Erick looked pale, despite the smile. But he looked like we’d worn him down enough to talk.

“Actually, I’m glad you girls are awake. Last night, I kept hearing these clicking noises,” he started. His eyes were red and puffy as if he’d been rubbing them with his knuckles. “So I looked around the room,” he paused, looking at our wide eyes, “for you kids making mischief!” he joked. “But there was no one there.”

“The sound kept happening though so I couldn’t get back to sleep,” he shrugged. “Then I thought maybe it was just one of the trees scratching at the window, but none of the branches were near, and there wasn’t a breeze stirring outside.” The hushed sounds of the sleeping house surrounded us as he paused and looked toward the room with a haunted look on his face.

“For a minute the clicking stopped,” he continued. “And I got back into bed. But once I closed my eyes the noise started up again. This time the clicks were followed by this soft whirring noise.” My cousin nudged me with her elbow. He saw it and asked, “Should I be telling you girls about this?” We nodded frantically. He couldn’t hold back now.

“I searched the rest of the room, but there was nothing there.” He paused, waiting for our reaction.

“What happened next?” I whispered.

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