She hides in the thicket of shadows under the stairs, tucked behind the shabby hedge of old coats, the long-boned broom, the mop nesting its claws in a bucket. She bites her tongue, hooks fingernails into her palm. It hurts less than the end of bedtime stories. She wants to be as small as a cup handle you cannot push your finger through. One day she will escape in the stomach of a giant fish, like Sister Bernadette’s story of the man who was patient. She counts back from one hundred, holding onto the sneeze that is swarming her nose with wasps. She is listening for his key screeching in the lock. for tonight’s game of coming, ready or not.