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  • I strip my socks off as soon as he says "Go!" and the carpet is warm under my feet. His three nieces and I are now on a hunt for dark caverns, spaces between couches and walls, the black triangle behind the bathroom door. Wherever I run, I arrive and find that one of the nieces has found a spot. The youngest is in the bathtub. The oldest is inside a kitchen cupboard. The ingenious middle one is nestled under some pillows in the attic. They each giggle at my frustration when I arrive ans see them peeking out like lemurs in a Madagascar jungle. The numbers are closing in on one hundred -- at 87, and I only have thirteen seconds to scuttle across the carpet in my quiet feet and it comes to me: the guest bed downstairs.

    I tiptoe down the staircase with the stealth of a soldier and dive under the bed. It's roomier and higher than I thought it would be, and I smirk as I hear him call out the number "100." My smile widens as I hear three groans upstairs -- the tub, the cupboard, the attic. One is so disappointed she was found that she starts to cry. I hear the feet of my search party plodding on the floor, ravaging every nook.

    I won. My bed spot won.

    I sucked my feet under the bed as I heard the four of them tromping down the stairs. They searched the guest bathroom, the guest closet, and behind the doors in the guest room. A giggle escapes my lips as I can see them turning back and forth, unable to find me. Then it's still. I can't see them.

    The bedskirt lifts right behind my head and his face appears next to mine. My body freezes and I scream, not knowing what else to do. My screams get louder and I thrash, trying to escape my winning spot as the three girls clamber atop the bed and start jumping. The space suddenly is three times smaller as the springs fly closer and closer to my face. He is laughing, the nieces are squealing and I am screaming "I want to get out, I want to get out!" I don't want to win anymore.
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