Neville 4. More Pretend

“Viola.” Her name was a hushed whisper that floated towards her on the wind.

Moaning in her sleep, Viola rolled over onto her back. Reaching up, she ran a hand across her face as she took a deep breath. The sandman had her in his grasp, and she danced on the strings made up from his golden sands of sleep.

“Viola.” He called to her in the darkness.

Her brow creased for a moment as her name slipped into her unconsciousness, wrapping around her like a rope. She felt its tug, lightly at first.


Something hit her hard in the forehead.

Pulled completely out of sleep, she shot up in bed, her wide eyes looking around the room. Reaching up, she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and waited for them to adjust to the darkness.

In the corner, her closet door slowly creaked open.

Looking into the blackness inside, she reached down and ran her hands over her blankets.

Her hand closed over a cool globe. Picking it up, she squinted to see it in the darkness.

A ball.

Looking back at her closet, she tossed it inside. “Neville.” She groaned before lying back in bed and pulling the covers over her shoulders. “I’m trying to sleep.” She told him.

“Viola.” He said again.

She shushed him, rolling over so her back was facing the open closet. “I’m tired.” She complained. “Leave me be, Neville.”

The ball flew through the air, hitting her in her back.

Hissing, she sat up in bed and picked up the ball. “Neville!”

“It’s time to continue our game of pretend.” He told her.

Picking up the ball, she wound her arm back. Thinking better of it, she shoved it under her blanket. “I don’t want to play pretend tonight. I am too tired.”

“That wasn’t the deal.” He told her. “I told you we would play pretend last night, again tonight, and one final time tomorrow night. You agreed… and got more story. Now it’s time for you to continue to hold up your end of the bargain.”

Viola lay back in bed.

“Don’t make me come over there to rouse you.” He warned her.

Sighing, she pulled the blankets up over her head. “Don’t you ever sleep?”


“Well I do. And I am very tired now, so you go on.” Her voice was groggy as she closed her eyes and willed the sandman to come for her once more.

The cool air of her room suddenly assaulted her as the blankets were pulled off her. Her eyes snapped open in time to see them disappear into the closet.

Swinging her feet to the floor, she let out a low, frustrated growl before marching over to the closet. Reaching blindly inside, she wrapped her hands around the blanket and pulled.

Neville held the other side tightly.

“Neville!” She said through her teeth. “Let go!”

Viola leaned back, trying to use all of her weight to get her blankets free from him. When the blanket slipped through her fingers, she fell back, landing hard on her butt on the floor.

Groaning, she pushed herself up off the floor and marched to her bed. Climbing in, she looked over her shoulder at the open closet door. “Fine!” She hissed. “You keep it. I don’t care, I am going to sleep.” Pulling her knees up to her chest, she pulled her nightgown over her feet and closed her eyes.

“Viola.” Her name was a hiss, hinting at Neville’s building impatience.

Rolling her eyes, she squeezed them close.

A few minutes passed and her lids became heavy. Her mouth slightly opened as she felt her body sink into her bed. The sandman floated towards her, wrapping his arms around her, inviting her to snuggle in closer.

She desperately wanted to accept that invitation.

Most of her day had been spent pretending to look for Edward’s rattle and hoping Neville had hidden it somewhere far away from her room.

It had been an unsuccessful search.

Thank goodness.

As she drifted off to sleep, her heart jumped up into her chest. Her foot was pulled out from under her nightgown, her body dragged across the bed as she was pulled across the room through the air and into the closet. Her eyes ripped open as her mouth let out a yelp.

A cold hand clasped against her mouth as she was held floating in the air, suspended in the shadows.

“I could remove my hand, but should you make anymore noise I am sure your mother will come marching in here.” Neville’s voice was quiet, calm. But she could sense something, some thickness in the shadows that made her aware of his rising temper.

Viola nodded against his hand. When he removed his hand, she snarled at him. “Neville.” She whined his name. “What are you doing? I can’t believe you tonight.”

“Play pretend.”

Pushing him away in the shadows, she turned away from him and looked out of the closet into her room. “Okay, okay. What are we pretending tonight? Since I don’t think you will let me sleep until we do.” Sighing, she turned around to look at him. “What’s it to be tonight?”

Leaning forward in the darkness, she could feel his hot breath on her face. A slice of brightness cut through the dark as he grinned. “Your father.” He whispered.


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