Something knocked on the door loud enough to yank one of the Allan Kupers awake. He lay there in a cold sweat, waiting for his heart to slow down before he got out of bed. His hand slipped beneath the pillow automatically, finding the handle of the broad bladed knife that was there. He could just see a sliver of moon through the window. Three o’clock?
It knocked again. It wasn’t a loud knock, but it was inarguable. I am not going away, it said. I can wait as long as you can. The Allan Kuper rolled onto the floor, crouched low just in case, knife searching the air in front of him. It paid to be paranoid; he’d heard stories about Cleveland, and didn’t intend going out that way.
It knocked again. He was standing just to the side of the door, back against the wall. He reached out and let the door swing open toward him, so he was standing behind it. One of the Allan Kupers came into the room, faster than fast, but he was ready for him, and his broad knife was catching the moonlight before the door was more than half open.
By four there was one less Allan Kuper, but he was still hungry. That, at least, was the same.