When people think of Halloween, they think of pumpkins and costumes and candy and hay rides and monsters. Cemeteries provide the backdrop for stories of the undead. Mad slasher movies delight teens. The supernatural provides thrills and chills for many. Tales of mysterious occurrences abound as people try to scare each other and themselves. With that in mind, I share this true story with you. Creepy? Maybe. You decide.
It was one of those days. I had been dragging for a week, but hated staying home from school. My life revolved around the social interactions that went on within the environs of my junior high school. Besides, at our house you didn't stay home from school unless you had a temperature and were actually puking. No slackers allowed in our family. So this was no ruse just to get to stay home and watch Dark Shadows. My mother took one look at me and declared there would be no school for me that day. I was laid low with the flu. I was officially sick. She took my temperature, dosed me with aspirin and a cup of Constant Comment tea and went off to work. Mom was not one to hang around and coddle us unnecessarily.
After a short stint worshiping at the porcelain throne, I went back to bed, delirious and shivering as the sweat poured off of me. Finally I succumbed to the fevered ministrations of Morpheus. Wild dreams made me toss and turn as I slept.
Sometime around mid-day I awoke, drowsy and confused. My eyelids fluttered open and I looked up to see someone standing over me. Concentrating as hard as I could, I made out the features of my brother. He didn't way a word, but just stared down at me. In my delirium, I opened and closed my eyes several times, asking what he was doing home in the middle of the day. He didn't move, but continued to stand there silently, simply observing me. Finally I gave up trying to make conversation, called him a jerk under my breath, rolled over and went back to sleep.
Nobody else disturbed me until dinner time, when my mother came up to see if I felt like eating anything. After putting in my order for a bowl of chicken noodle soup, I asked about my brother. He was known for skipping school occasionally and I was angry with him for trying to creep me out while I was sick. I had no qualms about squealing on him for skipping school. I knew Mom would go to any lengths to get at the bottom of this latest mystery and then he would get what was coming to him.
A few phone calls later, my mother returned with my soup to inform me that my brother had actually been at school all day long. My mind must have been playing tricks on me. Case closed.
Or so we thought... until a few days later when we made an eerie discovery. Our home had been broken into... as indicated by several missing items. The most obvious evidence left behind was the remains of a plastic bank that belonged to my little sister. It was in the shape of a rabbit and the head had been roughly sawed off with a knife to empty it of the coins inside. A steak knife lay next to slivers of pink plastic.
Was the knife-wielding burglar the same person I saw standing over me? What might have happened had I not been incoherent with fever? Who's to know? We never found out. But our view of the world changed after that. For the first time, we started locking our doors even when we were all home together during the day. The world had suddenly become a more dangerous place, full of things that go bump in the night... and day.