Monday, October 25, 2004
While baby-sitting the neighbor's children for the first time, Katie answered the phone - Doug's voice was on the other end - the father paying her for the baby-sitting job.
"Oh, hi Doug," She could barely hear his voice through all the noise. The two older children were laughing and running around the house like there was no tomorrow.
"This is our first time with a babysitter stay with the kids and -well, you're doing a terrific job I'm sure- but I just wanted to, you know, double check on how they are doing."
"Nothing to fear here," Katie said, "I had some trouble with the little one, Josh, but he's fine now. I - ummm - put in a movie - You know, the one with Harrison Ford?"
The voice on the other end laughed, "Yeah, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It's his favorite. Believe me, we've tried prying him away from it but, it's impossible."
"Yeah. Yeah. So umm he's fine now and the others are just playing around I guess."
"I'm sure you're doing great. Thanks."
After hanging up, Katie walked back to the family room where she'd left Josh with his movie. The blue light of the television bounced off every object in the dark room giving it a hypnotic glow. She glanced down at the red rug where she'd left Josh, but saw no trace of him anymore. She walked to the staircase.
"Hey guys! Is Josh up there?"
The high pitch giggling response came back down in unison, "No!"
She saw the screen door bent open and flapping in the wind. It creaked and groaned heavily in the dark.
"Did he-" She paused in mid-thought, "he wouldn't."
She whipped around and yelled upstairs, "Guys! I'll be back in a second."
"K!" They giggled back down.
Katie cautiously pushed the door open. Outside it was pitch black and Katie could barely discern the towering, brick town homes on the block. In the distance she saw a short, dark figure rustle in the woods.
"Josh!" She yelled, "Josh! Is that you?"
The rustling ceased. Katie ran towards the spot.
"Josh!" She screamed, "What are you doing?"
Her footsteps pounded against the concrete and grass. She reached the forest and pushed her way through the branches. They scraped up against her body leaving little, stinging nicks and cuts. The disfigured trees looked eerie against the moonlit sky.
"Josh! Get back here!"
Suddenly, her legs were ripped out from under her. She fell face first into a deep ditch. Pain shot throughout her entire body. Footsteps crunched sticks moving closer to her.
"Josh? Is that you?"
"Josh! This isn't funny!"
As the crunching moved closer, a dark figure emerged above her through the thicket. As Katie lay in the ditch, the silhouette stood out over her and against the moon overhead. It was the figure of a full-grown man, though, not Josh. Her blood turned cold.
"Who are you?"
"I'm the voice on the phone," The figure whispered.
"Doug? Thank God you're here. Josh went outside and I can't find him."
"Close, I'm Doug's brother, Jeb," the figure whispered, "You know, Doug and I aren't exactly on good terms anymore. Ever since he cheated me out of my land, I took it kind of personal."
Katie shook uncontrollably.
"You sure are pretty, little missy. What a shame,"
A body tumbled down the hill dragging sticks and leaves behind it. It flopped and bent like a worm. It was Josh.
"Looking for this?" Jeb chuckled, "I guess he must have tripped too."
The body rolled to a stop against Katie's curled legs. Her mouth was wide but no scream would come out.
"Guess you got mixed up in the wrong job tonight," said Jeb, "But I suppose there was nothing you could do, seeing as these things were set in there way a long time ago. WellÃ- I suppose I better finish the job."
The figure moved closer, but Katie did not have time make a blood curdling scream like the ones in the movies. Her wide eyes watched a streak of metal pipe, and then saw pitch black.