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Fifteen year old Marissa Dubois was very excited about her very first babysitting job.
Technically, she claimed she was experienced since she did have a four year old half-sister from her mother’s second marriage, but she really didn’t spend very much time with her younger sister. Her mother and her second husband, a man five years her senior, spent a good chunk fighting over each and every little thing. Sometimes Marissa would hear them yelling so loudly with such rage that one of them would begin to throw things violently against walls, crashing noises and shattering, sudden cries would fill the air.
Her baby sister, Annalise, would begin to cry, calling out for her mother.
Marissa would lie in bed across the hall from Annalise’s room and ignore her cries, keeping her eyes screwed shut and promising herself that if she could only stay detached and find some way to begin saving some money, she could run away in a year or so and never have to deal with any of them ever again.
That was where her babysitting job came in.
The job had been an unexpected blessing; the neighbors were very strange people, and had been in the entire two years that Marissa and her new ill-fitting family had moved into the little bungalow, tightly squeezed between two nearly identical bungalows on the short, dingy street of the neighborhood they could actually afford to live in. They were as reclusive as could be; for the first year that they had lived there Marissa didn’t even believe that anyone lived in the house. There were never any lights on, and while there was one rusty old truck that resided in the driveway, it never left, not for a single hour of a single day.
Then one day late in May Marissa had been walking home from school and as she passed the neighbor’s house she saw the fleeting shadow of someone quickly ducking out of the window as her gaze reached their level. Pausing in her steps, she had frowned, looking at the window for longer and even going so far as to stop, staring in the curtained window of the house.
No one appeared, so feeling vaguely creeped out, she continued on her way up the driveway and into her own shoddy bungalow.
She hadn’t said another word about it.
Shortly thereafter, she witnessed a silver Lumina pull into the driveway one day, and out came a rather stern-looking woman with impressive posture, glasses and her dark hair pulled back into a no-nonsense bun. When Marissa nosily inquired to her mother about the strange visitors next door, her mother had irritably informed her that it was the new nanny, and that Marissa would do best to mind her own business and stop spying on the neighbors.