Amelia froze, suppressing a scream that would have carried down the street. Of all the nights, why did it have to be tonight?
Her mum only left five hours ago, with a bulging suitcase and a worry-filled mind. These early morning business meetings halfway across the country didn’t come up often, and she was always back by teatime the following day – but this trip was different. This trip, Amelia’s usual sitter had bailed, and every other person she could think of as a replacement was either busy or not answering her calls. She’d wanted to ring up her boss and cancel there and then, until her daughter persuaded her otherwise:
“I don’t need a sitter,” Amelia had foolishly convinced her. After all, she was fourteen. She was a grade 7 student who hated house-parties and knew how to cook; the dishwasher had already been set off and it’s not like they lived on a rough estate – where was the harm in leaving her in charge?
So, like the responsible adult she’d made herself out to be, Amelia checked both the front and back doors were locked, drew all the curtains and switched off every light before heading up to bed.
She’d never envisioned this, though …
There was no time to grab her phone. It would have been pointless calling for help, anyway. By the time anyone could get to the house, he’d be long gone.
Amelia sprinted just in time, before the eight-legged creepy-crawly could scurry under the duvet with her.