New episodes in the new year. Sorry for the delay.
Please rate and review this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts.
You can also support it at http://www.patreon.com/michaeljpatrick
A horror anthology podcast regarding strange occurrences in the town of Amon Heights.
New episodes in the new year. Sorry for the delay.
Please rate and review this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts.
You can also support it at http://www.patreon.com/michaeljpatrick
Hello. I’m Michael J Patrick. Creator of Nothing Is Wrong.
I’d like to make a few announcements.
First of all I’m moving house the next couple of weeks so there will be a short break in episode releases. I’ll be back to posting by early December at the latest.
Second, I am planning to do a Q&A episode soon, so if you have any questions about this podcast feel free to ask. You can ask at my tumblr, where my username is michaeljpatrick, on twitter where it is EmJayPatrick (that’s e-m-j-a-y-patrick), in the comments at nothingiswrong.net or by shouting into that weird hole in your basement.
I hope to have the Q&A up by the end of this calendar year, so get to it.
Also, if you are liking this podcast and want it to survive then please consider supporting my patreon at patreon.com/michaeljpatrick. I produce all of the episodes myself at great cost to my soul and my sanity, but no pressure.
Alternately you can support Nothing Is Wrong simply by sharing it on your own social media, constantly blabbing about it to your friends, coworkers, and enemies, or by getting a face tattoo with the url nothingiswrong.net on it.
I’ll have new episodes for you as soon as I can. Thank you for listening.
The Blood Red House
David and Linda bought the house on Cooperton Avenue from the Raymonds. It came at a pretty good price considering the neighborhood and size of the place. The previous owners moved away because Mister Raymond took a job in Philadelphia and wanted to live in the city. He was what the real estate agent called a motivated seller. Three bedrooms, a sizable downstairs, an attic and a basement was a little more than what they needed at that time, but they wanted to start a family and it would be great to be moved in before they began. David could afford it on an electrician’s salary, and it was directly across the street from the local grade school.
“This place is perfect.” said David as he carted box after box into their new home.
“What do you think about that color, though?” asked Linda.
“Red? It’s ok. I think it used to be a schoolhouse back in the old days. Before they built the elementary school.” he said nodding toward the red brick school.
“It’s an ugly color, if you ask me.”
“We can change it if you like.”
They spent the next couple of weeks getting settled into their new home.
One night Linda woke her husband from a sound sleep.
“What?” he groaned.
“I heard a noise.”
“Tell it to go away.”
“No seriously David, I think I heard someone downstairs.”
“It’s an old house. It’s settling.”
“David. Please. Just check it out.”
David groaned and lurched to his feet. He staggered down the stairs and searched the entire first floor of their home- through the parlor, dining room, living room and kitchen. Nothing seemed amiss.
As he turned to head back upstairs David spotted movement out of the corner of his eye near the basement door.
“Who the hell is there?” he spat, but as he moved closer saw nothing but shadow,
David approached the door. He felt a slight breeze blowing from beneath it as he yanked the door open and bellowed down into the basement. “You better come up now!” to whomever, if anyone, was hiding below. After a second he added, “I got a shotgun!” A lie, of course.
No one responded. David hit the light switch to the basement and crept down the stairs. The space was unfinished, with a cement floor and bare-brick walls. In one corner a fat old furnace squatted like an iron dragon, with its belly full of fire. Opposite it stood a washer and dryer behind a pile of laundry. On the wall beside the dryer, the basement window was open.
The window was tiny. Too small for an adult to fit through, but David was certain it had never been opened during the time since he and Linda had moved in. Glancing around the room he made sure that no intruder was hiding to ambush him, and went to close and latch the window. Peering out into the side yard of the house he saw no sign of whomever had opened it.
“Probably just some kids, looking for trouble.” he muttered to himself.
As he turned to go back up the stairs David tangled his feet in some article of clothing in the laundry pile and tripped. Caught completely unaware he bashed his head against the furnace and fell to the floor, nearly passing out.
LIfting himself to his knees, David felt blood drip from his forehead onto the cement floor.
“Fuck.” he said, as he wiped the blood with a piece of laundry. The droplets that hit the floor trickled into a crack in the foundation of the house.
David locked the basement door and placed a chair in front of it just to be safe before returning to bed.
Linda was hiding under the covers, terrified.
“It’s fine. I’m fine.” he said, as she peeped out at him.
“I just need a bandaid. I tripped over the stinking laundry.”
Linda fetched a bandage from the medicine cabinet then washed and patched David’s little wound.
The next day while David was at work Linda attacked the pile of laundry that had built up during the settling in period of their new home.
While separating colors she noticed the crack in the floor. The cement there seemed quite uneven. Stepping on it she felt the hard substance shift beneath her weight. Linda got to her knees and examined the crack in the foundation. She fit her fingers in and gave it a tug, A sizable chunk of cement tore off the floor in her hand.
“Shit.” she said to herself. “This can’t be good.”
Beneath the thin cement floor was a layer of brickwork. Linda pressed her hand against one of the bricks. It felt quite loose. Not sure what she was attempting, she gave it a pull. It popped out easily, revealing a hollow beneath the floor.
She saw something shiny in the darkness.
Linda grabbed a flashlight from David’s toolbox and shined it into the hole. It contained an old glass jar, a small chest about the size of a shoebox, and some crumbling old papers.
Intrigued, she got to work pulling out the rest of the blocks. When she was finished Linda took her findings upstairs and laid them out on the kitchen table.
There were three sheets of old parchment with dense writing on them in a very archaic script. They looked as if they had been torn from a book- or rather from different volumes entirely as they were not all the same size and the coloration varied. She picked one up and tried to read the writing. Most of the letter was illegible to her. The penmanship was loopy and old-fashioned, and the letter was written in a language she did not know, perhaps German, but the bottom showed a signature that she could make out as, “Johann Konrad Dippel”. The second page was written by another hand in English and seemed to be the middle of a set of instructions that read:
After this time, it will look somewhat like a man, but transparent, without a body. If, after this, it be fed wisely with the Arcanum of human blood, and be nourished for up to forty weeks, and be kept secure, a living human child grows therefrom, with all its members like another child, which is born of a woman, but much smaller.
The final page was titled “THE KEY” in a rougher script than the others. Upon it were several strange words and symbols arranged like a glossary.
The writing was difficult for her to understand so she set it aside. The jar was filled with a dark red jelly-like substance. Old preserves, perhaps. But the box intrigued Linda most of all. It smelled dry and musty, but with a certain sweetness.
The lid was stuck, but after several minutes Linda managed to force it open.
Her heart sank into her stomach when she saw its contents, the dried, and long rotted remains of a tiny infant, swaddled in old silk. Its mummified face frozen in a smile as it appeared to gaze out of its miniature casket with empty eye sockets.
Linda ran to the sink and retched. After several seconds she gained her composure and looked again. It was real to be certain, not some sick leftover Halloween decoration and not a doll that had been tucked away for centuries. This was a dead baby...or fetus by the size...that someone had hidden away. Should she call the cops? She wondered. But it looked so very very old. The papers looked like something from colonial times. Maybe they were of historical value. And the jar...did it really contain preserves? Or something else?
She thought it best not to open the jar, but lifted it up to the light. The red substance was decidedly not raspberry jam or anything similar, but exactly what it was she could not discern. Tilting the jar displaced the liquid somewhat allowing her to examine the bottom of the glass vessel. It contained a bed of rice. Hundreds of little white grains.
Did they even have rice in colonial times? She thought to herself.
The rice moved. Linda yelped and dropped the jar on the table. Thankfully it did not shatter.
Were those little worms? She thought.
She closed the chest containing the mummified fetus with a broom handle then scooped all of her findings into a cardboard box which she closed and stuck in the corner, out of sight.
Too shaken to return to the laundry, Linda went outside for a walk and some fresh air.
With no destination in mind Linda found herself walking along Westfield avenue, toward the library. She just needed to get away from that house and the terrible things she had found there. The library was open and she could quietly gather her thoughts there without attracting attention. Linda found a newspaper and took a comfy seat in the periodicals section to rest and forget about what she had seen.
A conversation between the librarian and a teenage girl interrupted Linda’s silence.
“Are you sure it’s not there?” asked the girl.
“I’m sorry, but it’s not in the catalog, that means it’s not here.” replied the librarian
“Not always.” the girl said.
The librarian took this as churlishness and said, “Look missy. If the catalog says we don’t have any books by Johann Konrad Dippel then we don’t have ‘em. That’s it.” before stomping off.
Linda was struck by the coincidence. That was the name on the papers she’d found. How could it be that this young girl was looking for a book by the same author as the letter?
“Excuse me, young woman.” Linda said to the girl.
“Yes?” the girl responded, seemingly annoyed.
“Did you say Johann Konrad Dippel? That’s the author you’re looking for?
“Yeah. It’s for...a report. For school.”
“Interesting.” said Linda, “I’ve never heard that name before and now it comes up twice in one day.”
“What do you mean?” the girl asked her.
“I found some old papers. At least one of them might have been written by him. But I don’t understand German.”
“You found an old paper written by Herr Dippel?”
“Yes. I think so. I don’t know who that is. Is he one of the founding fathers or something?”
“Oh no. He’s older than that. Johann Konrad Dippel was an alchemist and occultist. He wrote several volumes about anatomy and theology. Most of which are lost.”
“And you thought you could find one here at the Amon Heights Library.”
“You’d be surprised what’s kept in this town. The founder, Nathaniel Amon, was a huge fan of Johann’s and kept an extensive library. Much of it has been lost, but several volumes from Amon’s personal collection have been housed here in the past. So it’s not so far-fetched.”
“What kind of person was this Dippel?” Linda asked this incredibly well informed girl.
“He was a controversial figure in his time.” the girl said, “He may or may not have engaged in a little grave-robbing to study human anatomy.”
“Would he have dissected a baby?”
“Umm...maybe.” said the girl, “Officially he only ever dissected animals, but there are rumors. Of course, back then anyone who wanted to further medical knowledge had to do so in secret since the idea of examining human remains was shunned and sometimes even forbidden.”
“If I show you the paper I have, would it be useful to you? For your school report?”
“Maybe. I’d love to see it in any case. Where did you find it?”
“In my basement, actually,” said Linda. As she spoke she thought of the other things she’d found with the letter and decided it best to not mention them. Still, she would prefer to have another person alongside her while she decided what to do with the mummified infant and jar of stubby little worms.
Linda led the way to her home on Cooperton Avenue. As they got close the girl appeared to tense. When Linda gestured to her house at the end of the block the young woman stopped dead.
“That’s where you live?” she asked Linda.
“Yes, we just purchased the place.”
“I used to live there.” She said, “I’m Lucy Raymond. You must have bought the house from my father.”
“Well,” said Linda, “This day is just full of little coincidences.”
An odd looking car, small and dark red, sat parked in front of the house. Neither Linda nor Lucy recognized it.
When they approached the front door of the house it was ajar.
“Did you leave it unlocked?” asked Lucy.
“I don’t remember. I left in a hurry. I needed to get out of the house.”
They cautiously entered.
“Hello?” called Linda, “Is anyone here?”
“I am here, madam. I beg your pardon for entering.” came an accented voice from the kitchen.
“Who the hell are you? My husband will be home any minute now!” spoke Linda, trying her best to sound threatening.
He stepped out into the parlor with his hands outstretched in an attempt to appear harmless. He was a man of average height with an oddly long nose and ruddy complexion. He wore a dark red suit that matched his car. His breast pocket contained a checkered handkerchief.
“I am so sorry, madam, I assure you.” said the man, “I am Mr. Chino. I do not mean you any harm. I have come to help you.”
“Help me with what?”
“I am, how you say, a private investigator. You are in some danger, madam. The things you have discovered have made you a target of a very unsavory bunch,”
“How do you know about the things she’s found?” asked Lucy, “She only just found them today,”
“I have my sources.” he said.
Did someone at the library hear our conversation? Thought Linda. Then she realized that she didn’t really know this Lucy kid. Maybe the two of them were working together somehow. How foolish she’d been to let them both into her home. Oh how she wished David really was on his way home now.
“What is it that you’re looking for, exactly?” she asked him, hoping that he knew only about the papers and not the baby.
“My fair lady, the dangerous characters you need to be wary of are in search of a key. A key that will allow them to unlock a valuable treasure.”
“A key?” asked Lucy.
“When you say key,” said Linda, “do you mean a literal key or more like a code?”
“Which is it that you have found?”
Linda went to the corner of the kitchen where she’d stashed the cardboard box and pulled out the papers. Both Lucy and Mr. Chino watched her intently.
“Is this what you want?” she said.
Mr. Chino reached for the parchments, but Linda pulled them away.
“No way, Jose.” she told him. “What’s so important about this stuff? And the other things I found?’
“What else did you find?” asked Lucy, but Linda ignored her.
Mr. Chino tilted his head toward her and said, “My dear, for your own safety I must insist you hand the papers over to me.”
“You’re in my house, I should call the cops.”
“Madam, please do not make me angry. I can be most irrational...”
“Get out, now.” she said, reaching for the phone.
Mr. Chino performed a flourish with his hand and seemingly from nowhere produced a thin paddle, the flat blade of which consisted of two small planks of wood connected by a hinge.
He brandished it like a sword.
Linda squealed and ran behind the table.
Lucy yelled out the name, “MOLLY!” and from beneath her sprang a shadowy figure.
It moved along the floor until it reached the intruder and wrapped itself around him.
“Oh no.” said Mr. Chino,unperturbed, “I’ve heard all about you!”
The shadow twisted around him like rope, but one of his hands remained free. He managed to grab a bread knife from the counter and used it to saw away at the shadow, cutting his arm loose.
“Molly, no!” cried Lucy as the shadow struggled to contain the man though its tenebrous substance was being torn.
“It seems your Voiceless protector can be harmed after all!” declared Chino as he cut and cut at Molly’s dark material. The shadow writhed as if in pain but never made a sound.
Linda crawled under the table to avoid the fray. Lucy picked up a cast iron skillet and began smashing the man’s head with it.
Mr. Chino laughed. With each blow he expanded and grew. His suit changed as the checkered pattern of his handkerchief spread throughout it, becoming a diamond motif of black, white, and red. His arms and legs stretched to become freakishly long and his face turned into a leering harlequin mask, with elongated nose, twisted grin, and exaggerated brow.
“What the hell are you?” shouted Linda, but her voice was drowned out by the ceaseless laughter.
As he became larger the shadow expanded around him. The bizarre man had to stoop down to keep from hitting his head on the ceiling. With each blow from Lucy he grew more and more.
“Stop it!” Linda cried out to the teenager, “You’re just making him stronger!”
But the girl didn’t listen. She kept crashing and smashing away with the skillet until finally he burst out of the bondage the shadow had created.
Molly, the shadow exploded in a flash of darkness. The entire room turned to blackness for several seconds.
When her vision returned Linda was alone. No Chino. No strange shadow. No Lucy and no papers.
The only things remaining to remind her of her strange encounter were the wooden box and that awful jar.
She had a few hours before David would come home and decided that if she told him what she saw that day he would have her committed.
She figured the best thing to do was to bury the evidence and act like nothing had ever happened. She had no desire to return to the basement any time soon. The laundry would have to wait.
Searching the yard for a good spot she found the ground was too hard to dig everywhere except just beneath the beautiful oak tree that grew on the easement. It was broad daylight, but she was certain no one saw her and if they did she would claim to be planting marigolds or something.
The soil beneath the tree practically opened up for her, as if yearning to receive the artifacts Linda had discovered that day. She buried the jar, the box, mummy and all beneath the oak tree in front of the blood red house on Cooperton Avenue.
Episode 009 - The Halloween Special
Christopher and his 8-year old sister, Marie, were having the worst Halloween ever. All the grown-ups could talk about was the Tylenol murders which had occured during the previous month. Most towns were discouraging trick-or-treating this year.
“We’ll be OK.” Marie said to their mom. “I won’t take any medicine from people. Just candy.”
“I don’t think anyone will be giving candy out this year, kiddo.” said mom. “No one wants any more kids dying.”
“We won’t die as long as no one puts poison in the candy.” cried Christopher. “It’s not like the people who give out candy are all trying to kill kids.”
“The first girl to die from the cyanide in her Tylenol was only a couple years older than you.” said mom. “It’s too risky. You aren’t going out this year.”
The kids sat in the living room with their costumes ready to go. Christopher had saved his lunch money to purchase a realistic grim reaper mask with articulated jaw, the kind that fit to the wearer’s face with spirit gum, which he had painted himself for extra realism. Marie wore a curly copper-haired wig she’d found in the closet along with an old red dress to be Little Orphan Annie. They were ready.
“Mom.” protested Christopher, “This is, like, my LAST Halloween. I’m in double digits now. I won’t get another chance.”
“I have to go to work, kids. You’re staying in with your sister. Watch a movie or something. There’s Jiffy Pop in the cabinet.”
“Can’t we trick or treat a little?” asked Marie. “We’re all dressed up here.”
Their mom sighed, her foot already out the door. “You can go to a few houses in the neighborhood only. Just people we know. NO STRANGERS.”
“Yay!” both kids exclaimed.
“And you can’t eat any candy until I’ve had a chance to examine it all.”
“Fine.” they said in unison.
The sun hung low in the sky when they stepped out of the row-home they’d been living in since their parents split up. It was only a few blocks from the blood-red house on Cooperton Avenue where they’d lived all of their lives up until June. The kids were still getting used to the change. Christopher liked having his own room at least, since their teenage brother, Jonathan, had decided to live in the basement. They didn’t see much of him those days.
The two children went up and down the block on both sides, knocking on every door. No one answered.
“Why isn’t anyone home?” Christopher asked.
“Maybe they’re all out trick or treating?” pondered Marie.
Christopher looked down the street in both directions, seeing no one out.
“If they are, it isn’t around here.” he said, “Maybe we should try another block down.”
“Mom said to stay in the neighborhood,”
“Yeah but...what’s the definition of a neighborhood? One block? Three blocks? Ten?”
“A neighborhood is five blocks or less!” she said authoritatively.
“Ok, let’s go five blocks this way.” said Christopher, “Then we can come back and go five blocks the other way.”
They walked street after street. Past the row-homes and into regular housing. Most houses no one answered and at one or two they just got sad shrugs from the inhabitants and excuses of, “I didn’t think we’d get trick or treaters this year, so I didn’t buy any candy.”
After five blocks of this Marie was tired.
“I want to go home.” she said, “This is stupid. We didn’t get any candy. I hate Halloween.”
“Don’t say that!” said Christopher. “Halloween is the BEST. People just don’t get it this year. They’re all scared.”
“But we’re the only people out here! We look like idiots.”
“Yeah.” said Christopher. “Where are all of the other kids?”
“They’re inside watching TV probably.”
“I don’t know, We tried Dave’s house and Jimmy’s...and a bunch of other kids from school. No one was answering there. Most of them had the lights out.”
“I’m just wondering.” Christopher said, “If all of the other kids aren’t home, then where are they?”
“Maybe the Halloween witch ate them.”
“That’s not a thing.”
“You don’t know everything.” she countered, “There’s a witch house on Cooperton avenue. Just a few blocks from our old house.”
“A witch house?”
“Yeah. Michelle Cohen and her brother told me. She tried to eat their toes.”
“Michelle and Kevin went to a witch house?” he asked. “They went to a WITCH house? And a lady there, with green skin and a pointy hat was all like, ‘gimme your toes!’? REALLY?”
“I don’t care if you believe in witches or not. I’m telling you that’s what Michelle told me.”
“Why their toes? Why not the rest of them?”
“I don’t know. Maybe that was what she needed for the potion.”
“A toe potion.?”
“You know how potions are. They always have bat tongues and spider eyes and stuff in them. Maybe she needed kid toes for hers.”
“There’s no such thing as witches,” said Christopher. “Just like there’s no such thing as Shower Curtain People.”
“THE SHOWER CURTAIN PEOPLE ARE REAL! I saw them. They live in the shower curtain.”
“That is the dumbest thing that anyone has ever been scared of ever.”
“It’s not dumb. It’s a real thing.”
“Ok.” said Christopher. Mom had warned him about making fun of his sister for the things she claimed to see, but Shower Curtain People were just too silly. He couldn’t help himself.
“Look!” shouted Marie.
She pointed at kid walking about a block away.
“It’s another kid! Let’s follow him!” she said. “Maybe he’s going to where the trick or treats are.”
The other kid walked toward the elementary school, directly across the street from Christopher and Marie’s old house.
“Is there something going on at the school tonight?” Marie asked.
“The lights are all off,” said Christopher.
They got close enough to the other kid to see he was wearing a Dracula cape, with his black hair slicked back. He headed toward the playground at the rear of the school.
“Hey kid!” Marie yelled. “Where are you going?”
The kid stopped and turned.
Seeing his face in the glow of the streetlights Christopher recognized Steve, his white hair turned black with color hairspray, his eyes still inexplicably brown as they’d been ever since the day he and Christopher went sledding last December.
“Ice cream.” said Steve.
“What?” said Christopher. “Ice cream? It’s Halloween. Nobody eat’s ice cream on Halloween.”
From the woods behind the school came a familiar song.
It was the Mister Sillee jingle.
“Ice cream!” Marie screamed as she ran toward the source of the sound.
“Wait!” cried Christopher while chasing her but she made it halfway to the crest of the hill behind the schoolyard before he caught up.
The music grew louder when they reached the short downward slope.
Across the field that spread out from the bottom of the hill stood a dense wood which Christopher had once vowed to never enter again. Right at the edge of the wood was a Mister Sillee ice cream truck playing its neverending jingle on speakers mounted to the roof.
Dozens of children surrounded the truck.
Marie practically rolled down the hill and Christopher stumbled in pursuit.
When they reached the sea of children Marie and Christopher saw that most of them were eating enormous ice cream cones, easily twice the size of what Mister Sillee usually served. A man dressed as the red-haired clown mascot of Mister Sillee’s ice cream peered out of the truck’s side window, handing cones to every kid that approached.
“Can I have a black cat?” said Marie when her turn arrived, pointing to the drawing on the side of the truck of the signature cone with two chocolate twirls that resemble cat ears and a cherry for a nose.
The clown honked his nose at her and pointed to another picture of a cone that contained an orange soft serve with chocolate sprinkles in the shape of a jack-o-lantern. The title above the image said, “Halloween Special”.
“Umm...” she said, “I want a black cat. Black cats are for Halloween too!.”
The clown honked his nose again and handed her a “Halloween Special” identical to the one in the illustration. She sighed and took it.
Christopher also was offered a special Halloween ice cream cone. He took it and the two kids pushed their way through the crowd to find a spot to eat their ice cream in peace.
Marie took one taste and spit out her ice cream. “Ughh. I hate creamsicle flavor.”
Creamsicles were one of Christopher’s favorites so he opened his jaw to take a big mouthful when someone swatted it out of his hand.
“Hey!” he shouted as his treat fell to the ground.
Steve stood in front of him and said, “No. The ice cream is bad.”
The back door of the truck swung open and eerie blue light spilled out into the dark field. The Mister Sillee clown waved silently at the kids, beckoning them to enter.
One by one the children climbed into the back of the truck. Well over two dozen kids of all sizes entered, more than could possibly fit. Yet still more filed in.
Marie started toward the truck, but Steve grabbed the back of her collar.
“Ice cream!” she cried, fighting him.
“No.” said Steve. “There’s nothing good in there.”
“What’s happening?” asked Christopher.
“The Balatron. They’re trying to get to Amalthea.” replied Steve.
“What? Make sense.”
“It doesn’t matter.” said the brown-eyed boy. “We need to get out of here.”
The last of the kids boarded the truck. Nearly a hundred in all. Everyone except the three of them.
“What do we do about all of the kids?” asked Christopher.
“Nothing. We can’t help them.” said Steve as he dragged the struggling Marie away from the truck.
Christopher assisted him. The door of the truck slammed shut and the field became dark except for the headlights. The ice cream song continued to play.
When they reached the hill Marie stopped fighting them as if a spell had been lifted.
The engine of the truck started up.
“Let’s go.” said Steve.
They clumsily climbed up the hill in the dark, but the tangle of roots and vines made it difficult.
The truck slowly drove toward them.
“It’s gonna kill us!” wept Marie.
“He can’t drive that truck up this hill.” said Christopher. “We can barely even walk up it.”
They scrambled upward using their hands as much as their feet.
The truck reached the bottom of the hill.
Marie picked up a rock and threw it at the ice cream truck. It bounced off the darkened windshield.
“Don’t do that!” said Christopher. “You’ll make him mad!”
“He’s chasing us!”
“He can’t get us up here, that truck can-” the engine roared and the truck ascended the slope of the hill easily.
The three kids ran.
The truck made it to the crest as the kids reached the blacktop behind Amon Heights Elementary School.
They bolted across the schoolyard, around the building, and out onto Cooperton avenue.
When they hit the street Marie started crying as they looked once more at the blood-red house.
“I wish we could just go home.” she said.
“That’s not our home anymore.” said Christopher.
“Then let’s go to our house.” replied Marie with tears in her eyes.
The truck appeared around the building as it inched toward them, slowly approaching as if it had all the time in the world.
“This way!” shouted Steve as he led the other two in the opposite direction of the row homes.
They ran for two blocks, the truck moving behind them at a snail’s pace.
“Where are we going?” asked Christopher.
“Just keep running!” replied the other boy. They ran through a few backyards and between some houses.
The truck slowly turned the corner, the jingle droning on.
When it reached the end of the block it turned again, sticking to its leisurely pace.
Steve ducked down a driveway followed by Christopher and Marie, hopping over a small stone-wall that stood around a tree-shrouded house.
“We can’t go there!” Marie said. “That’s the witch house!”
“This is MY house,” said Steve.
“You’re the witch?”
“No. I live here with my aunt Lucy.”
“Oh. She’s the witch.”
“We’re not witches.”
Steve led the way into the tiny home.
Marie was cautious but she followed the boys as they entered.
Inside the house was well lit, with the scent of potpourri. The door opened into a living space with a sofa, a comfy chair and a tv. There were no signs of cauldrons, broomsticks or bats. She was a little disappointed.
“What kind of witch house is this?”
“It’s not a witch house,”
“Steven?” called a woman’s voice from the kitchen. “Is that you?”
“Yes, aunt Luce!” he responded. “I have some friends here.”
“Alright dear.” she said. “Do they want some candy?”
“YES!” said Christopher. “Thank you!”
A short-haired woman with dark eyes entered holding a tray of cookies and a giant cauldron-shaped bowl filled with Halloween candy.
“We can’t take cookies from an old hag.” Marie tried to whisper, but her voice tended to carry.
“I’m thirty-two.” Lucy said, smiling. “How was trick-or-treating?”
“Not great-” began Christopher before Marie interrupted.
“We got free ice cream from a clown in the woods but he’s the devil or something and he tried to eat us. He chased us all the way here and he kidnapped every kid in town!”
“Hey, slow down.” said Lucy, “A clown tried to eat you?”
“No.” said Steve, “It’s true. It’s the Bala-” There was a knock at the door.
“Do you have more friends coming?”
All three kids shook their heads no.
Lucy opened the door. A police officer stood in the doorway.
“Sorry to bother you ma’am, there’s been some disturbances in the neighborhood. You know, kids getting into mischief. Do you have any children here?”
Lucy leaned toward the cop to obscure his vision into her home.
“No officer,” she said, “I do not have any children.”
“Are you quite certain, Miss? I could swear I saw some heading into this here house.”
“Do you have a warrant, officer?”
“Excuse me, ma’am, this is just a friendly visit. No need to-
“Leave my property now, officer.”
“Bring me the children.”
“Bring me the children now!” the policeman bellowed as his mouth contorted into a forced smile, his face becoming paper white.
“Molly!” shouted Lucy.
From nowhere a silhouetted figure pounced on the threatening man, thrashing and twisting around him.
“Arrgh.” cried the policeman, his nose suddenly round and red as he stumbled away from the door.
“We will return for what is ours!” he snarled at her as he ran to a squad car on the street. As it drove off, the ice cream truck jingle could be faintly heard. The shadowy form glided along the ground and came to rest at Lucy’s feet, becoming one with her own shadow.
Marie was in tears. “What was that?”
“That was a friend, children.” said Lucy, gesturing at her shadow as she closed and locked the door, “Don’t worry. You’re safe here.”
“See, Aunt Lucy.” said Steve, “The Balatron are up to something. They took the children. All of them. And I think I know why.” He didn’t talk like a kid anymore. Steve’s voice was different. Christopher couldn’t explain it, but he sounded like a grown-up in a kid’s skin.
“Who are you?” Christopher asked brown-eyed Steve, “Who are you REALLY?”
“I don’t actually know who I am.”
“But you’re not Steve. Not the kid I go to school with.”
“I am now, but that’s not what I always was.”
“Those kids will get murdered!” wailed Marie. “We need to help them.”
“What are we supposed to do about it?” Christopher asked her. “We’re just kids.”
“Those kids will show up in school tomorrow.” said Lucy. “They will seem to be perfectly unharmed.”
“How do you know?” asked Christopher.
“Because this has happened before.”
Intro and outro theme
Music Provided By Mediacharger
Artist: Darren Curtis
Track: Demented Nightmare