“I was 10 years old the first time I realized I was strange.
Around midnight, a woman dressed in white slipped through
my bedroom window and cut out a lock of my hair with sewing
scissors. I was awake the whole time, tracking her in the dark, so
frozen by fear that I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream.
I watched as she held the curl of my hair to her nose and
inhaled. I watched as she put it on her tongue and closed her
mouth and savoured the taste for a few moments before swallowing.
I watched as she bent over me and ran a fingertip along the
hook-shaped scar at the base of my throat.
It was only when she opened my door—bound for the bedrooms
of my older sisters, with the scissors still held at her side—
that I finally screamed.
My mother tackled her in the hall. My sisters helped hold
her down. The woman was rough and rabid, thrashing against
the three of them with a strength we’d later learn was fueled by
amphetamines. She bit my mother. She headbutted my middle
sister, Vivi, so hard in the face that her nose was crushed and
both of her eye sockets were bruised for weeks.
It was Grey, my eldest sister, who finally subdued her. When
she thought my mother wasn’t looking, she bent low over the
wild woman’s face and pressed her lips against her mouth. It was
a soft kiss right out of a fairy tale, made gruesome by the fact that
the woman’s chin was slick with our mother’s blood.”
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland is out now.