First preview of ‘Digital Children’

‘Cynthia was just drifting off to sleep when she heard a noise from Guy’s room. She jolted awake, remembering that her son’s window was open. The last thing she needed was a midnight prowler, especially after all that she and Guy had been through recently.
The poor kid had nightmares enough as it was.
She scowled into the dark, wishing, not for the first time, that her husband was with her. He had been a mean son of a bitch, but that would come in handy if there was a prowler. The one time she’d seen him in a fight with someone other than herself, he’d shattered a bouncer’s jaw with a single left hook. His hard man persona had been one of the things that had initially attracted her to him.
She was tenacious, but was shitting herself at the idea of an intruder in her home. It set the responsibility of defending her son squarely at her feet.
She groaned, wishing she had something that would make a good weapon close to hand. Her hair straighteners were the closest thing she could find. She was torn between turning the light on and maintaining the element of surprise over the intruder.
In the end, she kept the light off as she crept across to her bedroom door. The darkness made everything surreal and terrifying. Every dark shape was a hidden psychopath until further inspection proved otherwise. Her heartbeat echoed in her ears as her breath fought its way in and out of her lungs.
Guy’s bedroom door was open by a few inches. The light from his nightlight cast the room in a dim glow that was more a curse than a blessing. With a little light, it was easy to see shadows, to imagine twisted things lurking.
She saw her sleeping son. Nothing obviously seemed to have disturbed him, he was sleeping peacefully for a change. Poor fucker couldn’t last the night without a nightmare since the horrifying incident.
Growing in courage, she flicked on Guy’s light, brandishing the straighteners like a baseball bat in case the intruder charged her to avoid his cover being blown.
Nothing happened.
She scanned the room, looking for anything that appeared out of place. She saw nothing until she reached the window sill. A few of Guy’s toys were overturned. The curtain was flapping in the breeze from the open window. Suddenly it all made sense; the curtain had knocked the toys over.
Relief flooded into her like water into a drought victim.
She tiptoed out of the room, knocking off the light to avoid disturbing her sleeping son. She checked the rest of the house just to be on the safe side, but found no intruders.
Despite this, she couldn’t settle when she tried to sleep. The terror she’d felt at the thought of an interloper kept her wide awake.
She knew that she wouldn’t sleep like this, so she drew a hot bath and got a couple of beers out of the fridge. Alcoholic amnesiac, she thought with a smile.
She made the bath extra bubbly, needing all the relaxation she could get after recent events.
‘Hey, this might be nice,’ she said, realising how little time she got to herself these days.
She brought in the tiny TV from the spare room and carefully placed it on the window sill above the bath. After running an extension lead to the socket on the landing and plugging the TV in, she rushed to turn down the volume as Match of the Day started to blare. Last thing she needed was to wake Guy.
She picked out a repeat of Sex in the City and settled back into the bubbles, a cold bottle of Bud in her hand.
‘I’ll have to do this more often,’ she smiled to herself. This was nice. Well worth being woken up for.
She was so intent on the TV that she didn’t hear the muffled cries from Guy’s room. Didn’t hear the footsteps coming along the hall towards the bathroom. Didn’t see the bathroom door being edged open by a tiny, blood-smeared hand’…

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