There are things in the dark

The only rule in the orphanage, other than the golden one, was don’t open the window after dark.

Xander didn’t want to. None of the children in the orphanage wanted to. Not with the Night Children tapping against them all night, moaning. Let us in. Please, let us in. Help us.

“What do they need help with?” a little girl asked.

“They don’t,” Xander told her. “They just say they do.”

For a little while, Xander worried the girl might be too concerned for the Night Children. That she might open a window to let them in. However, she was just as terrified of them as everyone else.

Xander tried to sleep. The children’s rooms were the ones without windows. Therefore there would be no accidents at night. And they could get some sleep, without hearing the Night Children’s pleas. Xander occasionally got up for water and would stop near one of the windows. Let us in, please. Help us, let us in.

The windows were covered, as they were every evening before the sun went down. An adult, as always, sat up in the hall, dozing in a chair. He came to sometimes, seeing Xander standing there.

“You all right?” the man asked kindly.

Xander nodded, showing his glass.

“Good night then, Xander.”

Xander went to bed with their water. Only at that point did they wonder how the man knew their name.

Then Xander wondered why they didn’t know anyone else’s name.

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