The sound of the door closing behind her felt wrong. So wrong, that she immediately turned around and pounded on the door with her skinny fists, though not going so far as to shout - she wanted to see if she could open the door all by herself. She was a big girl, after all, and she wasn't going to let any door stand in her way. Kitty certainly didn't start sobbing, or shouting for her father, or even her mother, who was at work still. She certainly didn't spend a few minutes rolling back and forth on the carpet, writhing in almost infantile agony.
What she did do, though, after all the time spent definitely-not-doing those childish things, was sit up and look around, swivelling her head around like an owl's, spinning herself dizzy in the dark.
The dark that wasn't trying to take her away, wasn't breathing on her with damp, heavy breath.
No, nothing like that. She was...fine?
It seemed like being in the dark wasn't so bad after all.
No, at least, not at first. There weren't any monsters in the closet after all, which was encouraging. With a finger to her lip - she'd seen her mother do that when lost in thought, so she figured it must be something you do when you're confused - she waddled around the small room in the dark. It didn't take long for her to brush up against clothes, and after a sufficient amount of rubbing her tear-stained cheek against the long, drooping sleeves of some of her father's coats, she found herself bumping against walls. Being in the dark seemed comforting to her, even if it was somewhat scary. She had fully explored every inch of the small closet, and she had enjoyed the darkness. Now, it was time to leave.
Kitty stumbled forward out of the clothes, falling onto the ground. Picking herself back up with a soft grunt, she made her way forward towards the door.
"Daaad!" Kitty shouted, pressing her mouth up against the side of the door. Silence. Rejuvenated by her short walk in the dark, she hopped up in the air a few times, reaching her arms out for a door knob. Nothing.
"Daaaddyyy!" she yelled again, as loud as she could. Again, there was no response.
"Daaaddyyy, I'm stuuuck!"
The house felt strangely empty. Suddenly it became as if she could feel the entire house shake and sway in the wind, rocking back and forth with her on her heels, stumbling around in the dark all over again. At once, she was four years old, and a gazillion, or however old the house turned out to be. However high the number may have been, it would have been too high for her to wrap her mind around. Anything past around ten was hard for her still, and the house didn't look like a ten year old. No, it didn't frown at her in the grocery store or run past her at the park, almost making her fall over without so much as touching her. It must've been closer to her mother's age, then.
She kept shouting more and more, trying to get her father's attention. Any semblance of being a big girl was lost in those precious moments. Kitty tried to make herself cry, but the tears were already coming to her eyes. Bawling didn't get her dad's attention. Was he mad at her? Was it something she did? Did she do something bad? What did she do? Did dad not love her anymore? Did mom not love her anymore either? Did they leave her in the closet on purpose because they didn't like kids? Did they want to do more mommy-daddy stuff together without her? Was that it? Did they just forget about her and leave her there because they didn't care? Did they get an actual kitty and were they playing with it right now without her? Were they hiding? Were they hiding from her? Was she hiding? What was she doing in there anyways? Was this all her fault? Did she make a mistake? Was she stupid?
Yes, yes, yes, she forgot, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, probably not, yes, yes, unsure, something dumb, yes, yes, and, most important of all, yes.
By now, she wasn't shouting as loud. All she could do was repeat the word "Dad" over and over as she lay on the carpet floor, her eyes wide open and empty of tears, making a dust angel with her arms and legs. Her voice rang out with varying degrees of loudness, lost in the fabric of the hanging clothes and absorbed by the walls and carpet. Eventually, the voice lost all meaning to her. It wasn't her own, just something that was making a sound. It didn't even sound much like a person to begin with. More like some weird frog or something. Croak.
She was gonna croak in here.
The realization hit her like a school bus. She shot up from the ground with a start, her head whipping around frantically, her neck knowing no such thing as whiplash, and she stood up, staggered backwards, and collapsed against the wall. Everything moved and swirled around her, shapes in the dark looming over her, bearing down on her fragile head. She wanted none of it. With one last defiant cry, she stomped over in the direction of the clothes and waded through, passing through trees of leather, silk bushes, tall linen grass, until she bumped her head at the back end of the closet. There, she plopped down, pulled her knees up to her chest, and shut her eyes. The thought went that, at the very least, if she had her eyes closed, then she wouldn't be able to see anything. The line of thought made no sense, though, not even to her stupid kid brain. She wasn't able to see anything anyways, but at least with her eyes closed, she was trapped in a new, deeper kind of darkness. It was her own darkness, the tightest zero space there could be, an absolute point as dark as the night sky, all alone, inside of her own mind.
Her eyes shot open. That idea was the scariest thing she had ever thought.
Kitty tipped over, curled up in fetal position on the ground, and stayed there forever.
Eventually, forever ended.
The door swung open, and light poured into the small closet.
A chorus of voices enfolded her limp, tired body, and a thousand hands lifted her up and out into warmth.
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