The world shuddered and something cracked.
Annabell spooned the tea bags carefully out of the mugs, wrapping the cords around them to squeeze the last of the bitter liquid out. One and a half sugars in one and a splash of milk in each, a soft clink as she stirred; the spoon tapping the sides.
The boy shivered, pulling his threadbare jacket tight.
Night was the best time to get food but it was also the coldest time. He had already tried three of the bins on his usual round just one more to go.
As he reached the alley he stopped, his stomach turned and he shivered again, though not from cold.
"Hello?" he said into the dark.
And something answered.
Annabell smiled to herself as she arranged the biscuits on the fine porcelain. They were the good ones, the ones for special guests.
Gunfire and screams echoed through the night. Theresa was terrified. Mum had said to wait, and she had waited, but now she was really hungry. Her belly ached and growled and mum still wasn't back. She was scared, hungry, tired and alone.
She wasn't sure how long it had been but all the water mum had left her was gone. She had been careful with it too, just like mum said.
A thump and Theresa jumped.
"It's ok hon, mummy's home," it was her mother's voice but it was strange. "Come on out honey, I have food."
The girls stomach gave a loud rumble and she slowly made her way out of the hidey hole.
She looked up to her mum, glad she was home and screamed. Mother grinned and pounced.
The mugs of tea were cooling on the table, biscuits perfectly arranged on the tea plate. Annabell sat straight backed, waiting.
She heard the key turn in the door and smiled, straightening her skirt.
It was chaos.
People cheered as others were beaten. The strong chased down the weak. Wives stabbed husbands, siblings fought tooth and nail ripping each other to pieces.
Above them all the crack widened and something started to come through.
"Stop this, Annabell." James' voice was deep and gruff. It was an old voice.
Annabell sipped at her tea; wincing at the heat. "You know what I want James."
"There are other ways to get your way, Bell. You know there are. Now stop this foolishness, people are dying."
The woman's eyes flashed red, "No, not until I get what I want."
James watched a spider crawl out of her ear and scarper to her mouth, disappearing as quickly as it had appeared.
Reality tore and blood flowed. And a world cried out in pain.
Wind howled through Annabell's living room, tearing at James but leaving everything else untouched. James could hear the fires of another plane roaring in the distance.
"You can have it, anything, just stop." He spoke calmly, ignoring the pulling at his hair and clothes.
"And he will be mine? Mine alone?"
"Yes," James thought he heard defeat in his own voice. "It can be your's, just no more destruction."
Annabell smiled and took a sip of her tea, "Biscuit?"
The world shuddered and woke from a nightmare.
Upstairs in Annabell's house a newborn baby began to cry.