An open envelope drops onto the table. Another one. A third, then one more.
My hands are shaking, stained with ink. Papercuts line my fingertips. I don’t want another letter.
Several more fall onto the table. The boy next to me works with a vacant stare, stamping addresses indifferently. I wish I was that mindless.
I reach for the next envelope, folding back the flap. I pause.
What if I didn’t close this one?
A shadow appears on my right, sensing my hesitation. Inching closer, it seeps like ink over the floor, the table, my clothes. Until I can feel it’s darkness on the back of my neck.
I will myself to move, but I can’t even breathe, frozen.
“Aw honey, cat got your tongue?”
The voice purrs above my ear, sour breath so close I gag.
“Get back to work. NOW!”
The words shatter my defiance, sending ice slithering down my back. My hand jerks to my mouth. I run my tongue over the envelope so fast I cut it. My mouth fills with metal, but I reach for another.
“Much better, kitten.”
The shadow slinks away, hovering just out of sight.
I reach for another envelope.