Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Missing Children of Maple Street     

“One more time from the beginning Mr. Smith.”

“Detective Brown, PLEASE, we are wasting time.”

“It’s important that we have all the details. Once more from the beginning.”

“It started with a sign that read, “HAUNTED HOUSE, 135 Maple Street, October 30th and 31st only, Noon until 7:30 PM, Children under 12 FREE, all others $5 per person.

I never liked haunted houses, but how bad could this one be? After all, it was catering to young children with its times of operation and its pricing. Be a man I thought. My 10 year-old-daughter Kelly would love it. I could be “The Cool Parent” for a change.

Her mom wanted me to take her on the 31st even though it wasn’t my usual day to have her. My Ex was going to an office Halloween party. She just didn’t want Kelly around if she brought her boss home from the party for some overtime.

I picked Kelly up at my Ex’s house… It used to be OUR HOUSE. I asked Kelly if she wanted to do the Haunted House thing, half hoping she would say no, but she jumped out of her skin with excitement.” “That’s so RAD I thought you were going to make me do some lame trick or treat thing. “Daddy I love you,” she said.” At this point Mr. Smith started to fight back his tears.

“Mr. Smith? Mr. Smith, is there a problem? Did you think of something you would like to add?”

“ I think that’s the last time she said I love you.”

“I know this is difficult for you Mr. Smith. Please, take a deep breath and continue.”

“We pulled up in front of 135 Maple. There was another Haunted House sign in the front yard. The house was the same cookie-cutter design as the rest of the neighborhood, but this one was very nicely decorated for Halloween. I walked up and rang the doorbell, but it did not go Ding-Dong, it screamed. Kelly loved it and kept ringing it and laughing. The door was answered by a guy in really good Living Dead make-up who said his name was Joe. I handed him my $5, and we walked in. 

The place was freezing cold. Day-Glow painted arrows led the way through the house. Fake cobwebs and rooms converted from dens and bedrooms into crypts and graveyards.  When we got to what I assumed to be the dining room, I saw a very attractive woman with whom I struck up a conversation. That’s when Kelly wondered off. I looked around for her, but the woman said “Don’t worry, she’s with my daughter, I saw them go into the Haunted Disco room together. Girls just want to have fun.” She said her name was Margie.” She was kind of hot and started flirting with me. Then all of a sudden I heard a bunch of children scream. The next thing I remember is that Patrol Officer over there shaking me back to consciousness at the corner of Maple and Montauk.”

“Detective Brown, the Lieutenant wants to talk to you right now.”

“Excuse me for a few minutes Mr. Smith,”


“What do ya have for me Detective Brown?”

“Well Lieutenant, his story jives with the calls 911 got yesterday about the children going to a Haunted House on Maple Street, and not coming home.  Mr. Smith gave us a few names, just the first names of people he met inside the house. A female customer who called herself Margie and a guy named Joe who was one of the actors in the place.”

“This little girl plus yesterday’s 911 reports brings the missing children total to five. Detective Brown, I have to tell ya. 135 Maple is an empty lot. Gas explosion five years ago on Halloween night. Mother, Father, and five kids all perished. The Mother’s name was Margie, the Father’s name was Joe. Whatever you do Detective Brown, don’t talk to the press.”

Then came a long rumble of thunder. Detective Brown saw them first. Standing by the 7-11 across the street were five children; Kelly, three other young girls, and a little boy. All very frightened, and covered in blood.

The sight of the children shocked my brain halfway back to reality. I awoke from my dream to see my wife in bed next to me. I got up to check on Kelly.  When I opened Kelly’s bedroom door, her bedroom was empty. As empty as it has been every night for the past five years. Ever since she died along with four other children in the Halloween sleepover fire at her best friends house, on Maple Street.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lies My Mother Told Me


Do I dare go up the stairs?

I must. It has been a very long time since Mother came down to feed me. I have been very hungry, and I have slept twice between the hungry times. The light in the window crack has come for the third time now.  Mother has not brought my food. We have not done any adding and subtracting, no drawing. We have not read from any book. Nothing. Where is my Mother? She has never left me for so long. Why did she leave me?

What if the Evil Ones have come to get her? What if they took her away? Did she save me from them by sacrificing herself? I must go up the stairs. I must. I know I’m not allowed to go up the stairs, but it has been so long. Mother, where are you?

The steps creek announcing each step like a trumpeter announces a prince as he climbs the steps to his throne, but this is no story in a book. I can see the doorknob as I reach the top landing. What if it’s locked? Should I open it, or just call out for Mother?

“MOTHER!” I grab the doorknob and hold it closed. What if the Evil Ones are out there? Oh I’m so stupid, so very stupid. Why did I call out like that?

Nothing.  Nothing but silence. No answer from Mother. No attack by the Evil Ones. Nothing at all.

I turn the knob and the door is open. I am blinded by the light. It is so bright up here where Mother lives. So bright it hurts my eyes. Then I see her.

She is facedown on the floor. There is blood. She is not moving. “Mother! Mother please. Please, Mother, please talk to me, please!” Mother does not answer.

She is still, and cold. She smells bad. “Mother please wake-up. I’ll be a good boy. I’ll go back downstairs. I promise.”

I hear a noise. THE EVIL ONES ARE HERE! I scream and run for the stairs leading back to my secret home, but one of them grabs me just as I reach the basement door. I fight and scream and kick, but he pushes me to the floor and ties my hands behind me.

“It’s okay son. Everything is going to be okay.” The room is filled with Evil Ones in their blue uniforms, with their sticks and guns. Then another Mother person comes to me, and puts her hand on my head. “Tommy? Tommy my name is Jennifer. I’m going to make sure nobody ever hurts you. We are going to take care of you, Tommy.”

That was six years ago. I spent one year in an institution for juvenal care. One year in a halfway house, and the last four years in foster care with the Jakubowskis. Nice people the Jakubowskis.  I’m eighteen now.  The system no longer supports me. I’ve been turned down for military service. Now I’m out on my own.

I think I’m dangerous.