Autumn Night (Day 14)
Billy sat on the windowsill, gazing absently at the street and surrounding houses bathed in darkness. The tears had stopped, but his eyes felt swollen and his eyelids raw where he’d been rubbing them in weak efforts to stem the flow. He was now in the dizzy calm phase after the crying, and he breathed slowly and steadily and began to lull himself into a kind of half-sleep, though his eyes remained open.
Even in his eight-year-old brain, he’d come to terms with the fact that he was at fault, but had absolutely no plans to admit it to his parents, let alone his little brother, even though they were both equally in trouble at this point. He’d just stay here and stare out the window until he died. That seemed like a good plan to him, and he reached over and grabbed a fluffy blanket from his chair because he was going to be there for a while. Sitting by the window made him chilly, but as he pulled the blanket snugly around him, he felt comforted and warmth soon followed.
But being eight and now in a slightly better mood, his attention span, it turned out, was quite short because, within thirty seconds or so, he’d already memorized every inch of the neighborhood outside his window and now longed for his book to take his mind off the trauma of the afternoon. Figuring that it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to sit there until he died, he began to untangle himself from the blanket preparing to leave his little nest, but as he glanced down once more unto the street below, he saw four figures dressed all in black, each wearing a different mask that entirely covered their faces. Billy peered down at them curiously, but in a split second his curiosity turned to fright when he realized that each also carried a long knife that glinted in the moonlight as they walked purposefully down the sidewalk.
Terrified of being exposed in the window, Billy tumbled down onto the floor and sat there for a moment, his breath becoming faster. He peeked over the windowsill and sure enough, the four figures were now turning off the sidewalk and striding across the street. Coming directly towards their house.
They wouldn’t even bother knocking. They’d bust down the door and he’d hear the screams of his parents as they were tied up and got to know the business end of the four knives. Billy didn’t want his parents to die of course, but he didn’t know if he’d be brave enough to try and fight the murderers off. He could get his brother to help, but that would only put him in danger too. And even if they each grabbed their baseball bats in the hall closet, they were no match for the masked intruders downstairs who were almost certainly possessed by satan. So he and his brother would hide. Billy pondered the best hiding spot, his adrenaline already rushing. Yes! He’d hide in his closet and cover himself with the huge pile of clothes that he’d told his mom he already put away. But what if his brother needed help hiding? His brother couldn’t hide in his usual much-too-easy hide-and-seek spot. They’d find him right away and stab him to death.
Billy shivered. It was time for action, but his body didn’t seem to want to go anywhere, so he just sat there. It wasn’t until the doorbell rang that Billy came to his senses and dashed over to the door and threw it open. It banged loudly. Not good! This would alert the intruders that there were more people upstairs. He pelted over to the hall closet and retrieved the two baseball bats, then ran back as fast as he could to his brother’s bedroom door and only realized he’d been holding his breath once it was closed behind him.
His brother was lying in bed with his book and jumped at the sound of the door slamming shut. Billy rushed over to him and explained as quickly as he could that mom and dad were in trouble and they had to protect them. It didn’t take much to convince his brother who was wide-eyed and looking as frightened as Billy felt. But he had to stay strong. Billy shoved a baseball bat into his brother’s arms and they crept to the door.
Terrified that he might freeze again and be too late to save his parents, he told his little brother to follow him closely and attack when he attacked, then he threw open the door and tore off down the hall with his little brother in tow, who was grasping his bat with tiny white-knuckled hands. When they reached the top of the stairs, Billy tried to let out a battle cry, but it came out only as a feeble squeak. This didn’t encourage him.
The intruders were probably tying up mom and dad right now and preparing to stab them to death to fulfill their contract with satan. This horrifying thought gave Billy a sure of energy and he raced down the stairs and into the living room to find his parents standing by the door.
Had they managed to fight off the killers already? Why were they just standing there with the door open? Hearing their two children bounding across the floor, mom and dad turned and regarded their sons with amused expressions, until they saw that their faces were ghostly pale and horrified.
“Are you okay?” Their mom asked, frowning.
So glad to see that their parents were still alive, Billy and his little brother both dropped their bats and ran up to her and hugged her as tightly as they could, bursting into tears. Billy explained that he saw four people walking towards the house carrying knives and thought they were going to be killed.
“Oh sweetie, it’s Halloween. Remember? They were just wearing costumes.” She hugged them close. “It’s gonna be okay… This is why I told you not to watch that scary movie.”