Tuesday, October 26, 2004
While baby-sitting the new neighbors' children for the first time, Katie answered the phone.
"Hello?" she asked ... Nothing. "Hello? Is anyone there?" she asked again.
She sat the phone down and waltzed into the living room, swaying to the sing-along song on the TV.
"Who was dat 'Atie?" gurgled Sam.
"It was Santa, and he said that if you and Meg don't get into the bed then he will have to give all your presents to some other good little kids. You will only get COAL!" she joked.
Sam and Meg sat staring at the TV, but their heads snapped up as Katie said Santa. It was near Christmas, and Sam had wished for a red firetruck, and only a red firetruck. Meg, Sam's twin, wished for a baby doll and a stroller to go along with it.
The twins jumped up. Sam knocked over his table of blocks, but he did not stop to pick them up. "Slow down you two!" Katie hollered as they rushed past her. Meg was faster than Sam and she ran into the bathroom and shut the door.
"ATIE! Make her leave!!"
Ring ... ring ... ring ...
"Settle down you two," Katie soothed. "Hello?!"
"Yes, may I ask you ... ? Are you alone?" asked a male voice.
"Ugh, who is this?" Katie asked.
"Are you alone?" the voice said more forcefully.
"NO, my father is here with me."
"Ha, ha, you're such a pretty girl, don't lie ... You look really beautiful tonight."
Katie whirled around and slammed down the phone. She then came face to face with the wall-length windows that covered the Taylor's walls. Forgetting the caller, she turned and scooped up the sleepy children in her arms. One by one, she dropped them into their separate beds and tucked them in.
She straightened up and walked toward the door, shutting it on her way out. She was then faced with a problem, the house was a mess. So with a sigh she began to clean up. The phone began to ring again.
Ring ... ring ... ring ...
Almost finished with the blocks, Katie just let the answering machine pick it up. 'Hello, you have reached the Taylor house, please leave your name after the beep, and we'll be sure to get back to you.'
"Hello, Katie. I know you're there. I can see you."
Katie stood up straight, not moving a muscle. She didn't know what to do. Should she stand there looking like an idiot or should she take action?
"Don't play dumb with me Katie, I know you can hear me."
She kept moving like she didn't hear the voice coming from the far corner. She still had to plan her moves carefully. Her stomach tied in knots, waiting for something to happen. Then she heard what she had been waiting for.
The man had hung up the phone, getting tired talking to the answering machine. Katie moved toward the Taylor's bedroom hoping to find something that would help her hold off the man if he decided to come into the house. She looked and found nothing. The parents kept all their valuables in a safe. Frustrated, she came out empty-handed, then she lurched as she heard the phone, once again ring.
"Good evening, Katie, we meet once again," the voice said calmly. "You really shouldn't leave the children alone, all by themselves. What would happen to them if someone was to say ... Take them out of their beds?!" the voice cackled and then hung up.
Katie nearly knocked over the dining room table as she ran to the twins' room. She stopped dead in her tracks and opened the door. The twins, Sam and Meg, slept soundly in their beds. She gave a sigh of relief, but that sigh suddenly turned into a scream of terror as a cold, clammy hand slipped over her head and tightened around her mouth. She wriggled free, and spun around in time to see Mr. Taylor and his wife standing, dumbfounded, staring at their new baby-sitter. She suddenly blushed and gasped for air.
"Sorry...You just, startled-d m-me. T-the children are in b-bed and t-they already took b-baths and b-brushed their t-teeth," Katie stammered.
"Thank you, dear," Mrs. Taylor said sweetly. "Would you like us to take you home?"
"No, thank you. I think I will walk," Katie said.
As Katie stumbled out the door she stopped and stared through the windows. She stood there, transfixed at the sight she was witnessing. There in the corner of the window was writing, in black paint. She stopped to read it. Then she quickly bolted upright. The writing said ...
Watch Out Behind You.
Lindsey Gonser is a ninth-grader at Tonganoxie Junior High School.