And every night, Aggie crept out of bed to steal a plateful of baked macaroni, or a swig of soda, a thick slice of cake. He ate his midnight snack at half-past two in the early morning, in the light from the opened door of their refrigerator. Every day this week, he managed to sneak past his brother, asleep on the bed nearest their door and never once caught.
Aggie crept down the stairs, each step narrower than the last; the cold marble nosing rose an entire foot from the tiled kitchen floor. The fridge was across the stairs, past their breakfast table with its spindly legs and five squat stools. He groped for the light switch high upon the wall. As light flooded the small kitchen, Aggie straightened up, his bare feet flat upon the cold tiles. Licking his lips, he could almost imagine the plate of lechong kawali he coveted since their mother sent them up to sleep at half-past nine. But when he opened the refrigerator, a half-frozen little man smiled up at him. The little person had tucked himself in between the shelves and in his sharp, tiny hands, he held the tightly crumpled ball of aluminum. The lechong kawali was nowhere to be seen.
The little man burped. "Mabuti na lang narito ka, Aggie. Huwag mo isara ang pinto! Masyadong malamig dito sa loob." He wore a tight little shirt over grimy with grease stains. The pointed face was hairless but cruel, the eyes dark round boles small as marbles. And he was dirty. Where he leaned against the refrigerator walls, he left round black marks. He was barefoot like Aggie, but where his toes should have been, there was another pair of hands, larger and longer.
"Masyado pa maaga para mag-meryenda!" The little man said, pointing at Aggie. Who are you, Aggie stammered, afraid. The little man's laugh was shrill and loud and Aggie worried that his parents might hear. "Hindi nila maririnig, Aggie. Walang bababa."
Aggie should have shut the door, then. But the little man was looking at him, fixing him from the inside out. "Pinanood ka namin, Aggie. Gabi-gabi, hinintay ka namin. At gabi-gabi, dumating ka!" He grinned gleefully. With a long finger, he beckoned Aggie closer so that the boy bent over, leaning into the refrigerator, squinting at the little man on the second shelf.
And the refrigerator door closed upon them.