June picked the paper off the stoop, shook the wet off, and took it inside. The timbre of the tea-kettle’s song was at it’s peak, with a patient cup waiting next to it. Stormy weather gave June a content smile, she didn’t need to pay attention to the world today and it needn’t worry about her.
Muffled, bone-break thunder echoed a chorus for the hermit. A dirge of relief. She poured hot water over the leaves and darkness clouded in the base of her cup. She would read her paper and what was left in the bottom of her cup. That was all she would be bothered with and all that would bother her.
But June had no control over the storm that was rolling and she had no power over the leaves that remained. She had no reign over that which suddenly summons.
First it was just a closer crack of the brewing outside. A thunder clap, or a series of them. Soon it was more than that, though. The sharp and abrupt noise clattered closer than the weather. It was at her front door.
Knock, knock, knock.
June’s head slunk down between her shoulders.
“No,” she said, I’m not–,” but she stood and went to answer.
“Please, miss,” a small boy, with an equally small voice said, “I’ve nowhere to go, you see, and it’s cats-n-dogs out here.”
June looked out at the neighborhood and into the storm. The houses seemed closed and distant. The town that was normally not too far, seemed to be gone.
“Very well,” she said, “I’ll just get the kettle on.”
The slinking slosh of wet shoes stamped through her entry way, and into the kitchen with her. It seemed to leave more puddles than she thought possible. There was a loaf of bread on the counter top, and she offered a slice to the child.
A lightning flash of wonder took his small face and he accepted. When she spread some butter and jam over the top he couldn’t contain his excitement. The boy jump up and down in his puddles and wet shoes as he ate the piece of bread, and he asked her for more.
“How far are you from home?” June asked.
But the boy was already eating her last piece of bread. He continued to eat everything she could offer and then some. His appetite was insatiable and constant.
“What is your name?”
To this he held up a finger as he plowed through the rest of her cheese, her tea, her porridge, and fruit. As he paced around the kitchen eating everything in sight, his wet shoes continued to soak the house. It was past June’s ankles now, and threatening her knees. The boy passed through it unhindered.
“My name,” he said, as if to continue after his bite.
It was grotesque to hear him speak. June was treading water and floating over countertop and stove to find the boy more food. The storm was raging all around her. She couldn’t watch him chew through any more of her cellar. It was sickening. Her skin crawled and her teeth began to scream.
Somewhere, floating in the madness of the flooding torrent all around, there was a teacup. The last peace she knew. The last piece from before she let the storm inside her home.
As June’s ears and lungs filled with unstoppable water, she heard the awful demon speak one last time.
“My name. My name.”