Chapter Seven

They sent her back. Louise couldn’t believe her luck. The Coatracks sent her back to before it all went wrong, and she had one more chance to make it right. She didn’t wonder why.

It was exactly the same. Of course it’s the same. It has to be the same. Becky was sick, and Margaret had let her go to take a nap instead of finishing her schoolwork. Margaret had a headache too, and was resting on the couch in the meantime. Louise didn’t feel too hot herself, but she had work to do.

She knew it would happen this time. Lacing up her boots, she tried to remember just how it was before. Couldn’t they have given me more time? Just to talk to Becky, that’s all I want.

She almost thought to take the gun, but decided against it. It has to be the same, or it won’t count. Guns won’t hurt them anyway. The weapon became a flashlight in her hand. That’s right. I can’t have anything I didn’t have before. But I have to win this time.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. I’m still safe. They don’t come out until I get to the barn. What if it isn’t the same? It has to be the same, or it isn’t fair. They’re giving me one more chance, I can do it this time.

It almost seems real.

It is real.

You know it’s not.

It was real then, and it’s real now.

It was never real. You made it up. You know that.

Don’t say it’s not real. Who are you to say that? My daughter is dead.

Ah, that part…

Louise was at the barn already. How did that happen? Why did I come here again?

To fight shadows.

But why did I come the first time?

Does it matter?

It has to be the same, or they won’t come.

So you want them to come after all. If they never came, Becky would still be alive. Margaret would still be alive.

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