In the process of discovering the secrets the oldest boy is keeping, two brothers and their friend go through their own individual trials and tribulations and wand up discovering themselves.
As he stood there staring at the telephone and listening to it ring incessantly, he prayed that the person on the other end of the line was not one of his parents. He knew he had an obligation to tell them the true about Craig’s reckless behavior, but he didn't want to be the barrier of bad news and add to their burdens.
He snatched the phone up just before it stopped ringing. And as he placed the receiver to his ear, he said, “Hello,“ in a lackluster tone.
The unfamiliar female voice on the other end said, “Well,your twenty four hours has past and you was a no show." As she paused for a response,Tray yelled into the phone. “Who is this?" "Oh is that your excuse; you want me to believe that you are having a problem remembering because of the beating Maddog and Snake gave you?" Tray chuckled and said, "What! Miss you got the wrong number." But as Tray continued to laugh, the woman said in a seductive voice, "Poor Baby, perhaps you need more time. You were a bit disoriented weren't you. I'll give you another twenty four hours, but if you are a no show, we’ll continue to turn your life upside down!”
Tray yelled into the phone. “Who is this? Who are you? You obviously have the wrong number!” But, the anonymous caller quietly disconnected the call.
When he realized the call had been disconnected, he slammed the phone down. Within seconds, the anonymous caller called back. When Tray answered the phone again, there was nothing but silence on the other end.
He repeatedly yelled into the phone, requesting that the caller identify him or herself, but there was no response. Charles ran into the kitchen just as Tray was slamming the phone down.
“Who was that on the phone? I heard you yelling in here. What did the person say to you?”
Tray took a moment to collect his thoughts. He took a deep breath and shrugged his shoulders.
Charles was determined to know where the calls had come from so he picked up the phone and dialed star six nine. The recording on the other end said that the last incoming call was not traceable because it was out of the calling area.
When Charles placed the phone on its hook, the phone rang again. Charles snatched the phone up and placed it to his ear. His mother was on the other end. She sounded as if she had been crying.
“Charles, baby don’t be alarmed, but there’s been an accident. I’m at the hospital with your father.”
“Mommy are you and Daddy all right? What happened?”
“Sweetie, we’re going to be fine. I’m just a little bruised, but your father is having x-rays taken of his back.
Some crazy man rammed his Jeep into the rear of your father’s Jag and almost caused him to have a head on collision with oncoming traffic.
When he forced your father’s Jag out into the oncoming traffic, your father tried to avoid having a head on collision with another car so he swiveled in the opposite direction and hit a cliff in the road.
Fortunately, I was wearing a seat belt, but your father wasn‘t. Your father’s Jag is totaled; but by the grace of God, we both were able to walk away from the accident even though your father injured his back.”
Tray ran up the back stairs to get on another phone. Charles had been relaying everything their mother had been saying to his brother.
Tray picked up the phone. “Mommy! Are you and Daddy all right?”
“Yes Sweetie. We’re going to be fine. I’m just here for observations, but your father’s injuries are more serious than mine.”
“Mommy is Daddy going to be all right? What’s wrong with his back?” Tray asked.
He’s having some back pain, but he’s able to walk. I believe his physician wants to keep him here just over night for additional testing, but I’ll be coming home after I spend sometime with your Dad.”
“All right Mommy, but who’s bringing you home? Tray asked.
“I’ll call your Aunt Audrey to see if she can bring me home since she lives nearby. Did Craig leave already to go to the Halloween
Tray hesitated. “I think he’s staying home tonight.” He said nervously while wishing his mother would stop questioning him about his brother’s activities.
“Why isn‘t he going to the Halloween party?” She asked inquisitively as if she could sense something wasn’t quite right.
“I think he fell asleep in a chair in the living room.” Tray said taking a deep breath afterwards and blowing it out slowly. He feared she would sense something was wrong and question him more thoroughly.
When she paused to collect her thoughts, her sons worried that she would have more questions to ask about Craig and they would be compelled to tell her the truth about his drug use, but to their surprise she said, “Oh okay then, I’ll be home after I convince your Father to cooperate with the hospital staff. You know how cranky he gets when he isn’t feeling quite himself. He can be a big baby at times.”
Okay, Mommy I love you and I hope you and Daddy feel better.” The boys had said this almost simultaneously.
After Charles placed the receiver on the hook, he went into the living room to see what Craig was doing. Charles was surprised to see that Craig had gone. He went to the door and looked outside. The drenching rain and the Halloween decorations contributed to his eerie vibes.
Charles closed the door and yell. “Tray! You won’t believe this, but Craig left the house while we were on the phone!”
Tray ran down the front stairs. “I can’t believe he had the audacity to leave this house after we saved his butt from getting arrested!” Tray said looking wildly.
“Charles said, “This is unbelievable! With everything that’s going on with Granddad having a stroke, the robbery at the bookstore, and Mom and Dad being in an automobile accident, we now have to worry about that nutcase out there somewhere overdosing on rat poison! What are we going to do about Craig?”
Tray shook his head and said, “I know we can‘t stop him from hanging out with those thugs, but we can’t just sit back and let him kill himself! We have to go to Stan’s Halloween party and bring him home!”
Charles said, “Okay, I’ll go upstairs and wake Little Tony. We can’t leave him here by himself. No one should ever leave a small child unsupervised.”
While Charles was getting Little Tony dressed, he telephoned John. Although John was in his room trying to concentrate on his homework assignment, Charles persuaded him to sneak out the house and go to Stan‘s deceased foster parents house with them.
Stan’s deceased foster parents’ house was huge. It was not only the largest house in the neighborhood, but it also had the most acreage of land. Even though the landscaping had not been kept up since the deaths of his foster parents a little over two years ago, Stan had gone to great lengths to make the place look festive for his Halloween party.
Stan’s foster parents had adopted Stan and his twin brother, Dan when they were at the tender age of five. Prior to adopting the twins, the foster parents had also adopted two other children whom were slightly older than the twins. And seven years prior to their deaths, they had adopted the juvenile known as Bug-boy.
Bug-boy had been the youngest of the foster children. He was only fourteen when his foster parents passed, but everyone else was of legal age. As rumor has it, the two adopted girls and Stan’s twin brother Dan had already left the foster parents’ house prior to the elderly couple‘s deaths.
But, Stan and Bug-boy were still living at home when the elderly couple passed. The two of them continued to live in the house afterwards, but Bug-boy was strung out on crack cocaine and he was in and out of juvenile detention centers.
The circumstances behind the elderly couples’ suicide was puzzling to the people in the community, but law enforcement officers had closed the case shortly after discovering the bodies due to their history of depression.
The local hospital’s medical records had shown that it was almost a regular routine that one or both of the elderly couple would end up being transported to the hospital to have his or her stomach pumped from abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.
Hospital staff had even reported the number of incidents to a social worker, who had frequently visited the elderly couple making sure that they were taking their medication properly. But even with the foster kids living in the house and the social worker’s visits, there wasn’t any way of knowing how much medication the elderly couple were consuming.
And since the couple had grown accustom to having a drink now and then, there was nothing anyone could say or do to stop them from drinking. Mrs. Bridle was in her seventies, but she was known to frequent the local liquor stores.
Prior to the old couple’s sudden deaths, they both had been active members of the church. And even though the congregation were aware of the couple abusing alcohol, most of the members of the church found it hard believe the couple committed a double suicide.
The rumor in the community was that Stan and Bug-boy were the only foster children that had inherited their foster parents’ estate.
The other foster children had been disinherited prior to the elderly couple’s deaths.
Although no one actually knew the dollar amount of the foster children’s inheritance, Stan did not seem to want for anything. He drove the old couple’s Mercedes Benz and had rented out sections of the estate. But his foster brother, Bug-boy’s physical condition had progressively disintegrated after the couple’s demise. He was strung out on crack and living on the streets.
The children met in the back of Stan’s foster parents’ house.
They discussed ways to sneak into the Halloween party without becoming the center of attention. Since they knew someone had to stay with Little Tony, Charles and John volunteered to enter the house while Tray and the little boy remained vigilant outside.
To shield themselves from the drenching rain, Tray and Little Tony stood under the overlap that extended from the main house to the green house. Tray was hoping that the cluster of trees surrounding the greenhouse would conceal their presence.
Although the children were wearing Halloween costumes, Charles and John feared they would stand out like a sore thumb if they tried to enter the building through the main entrance. They both figured their heights would give them away and someone would discover them. Therefore, neither one of them was in favor of entering through the main door.
They decided it would be more practical to enter the house clandestinely, so they decided to enter through a rear window or a back door. As the two boys walked slowly toward the main house, they often ducked behind trees and walked along the shrubbery.
As they walked around the side of the building looking for an unsecured window or a door to enter, they both were frightened by Stan’s Halloween decor. There were a number of ghastly looking scarecrows and monsters standing in the yard that seemed to be swaying back and forth due to the strong autumn wind.
And the more hideous looking monsters were either crouched down behind trees or standing in the darkest corners of the yard. As the boys searched for an open window or a door to enter the premises, they both feared they would somehow get separated once they entered the house; so they vowed to stay within close proximity of one another.
As they searched for an entryway, they talked about their ultimate fears. They both feared that somehow they would be discovered by one Stan’s unmerciful goons, who would use them for drug experimental specimens.
They both feared they would each be turn into drugged zombies and be placed in a cage if they were found snooping around the premise. Still, they mustered the strength to continue their search.
Suddenly, John let out a loud squeal and took off running after looking back at a hideous looking scarecrow that he had passed earlier. When Charles caught up with John and said in a low voice, “What’s wrong with you? Are you trying to get their attention?“
John insisted that he had noticed a change in one of the scarecrow’s positions, but Charles tried to convince his friend that he was only imagining things. Still, John was petrified. He was reluctant to go back into the yard, but Charles begged him not to quit.
As John followed Charles into the yard, he said, “You know it would be easy for Stan or one of his goons to stand out here and pretend to be one of these hideous looking monsters.”
Charles said, “But why would they be masquerading as monsters when no one suspects us to be out here snooping around?”
Although Charles tried to quell his friends fears by telling him that the creepy atmosphere was probably playing tricks on his mind, John was not convinced. It was difficult for him to believe that what he had seen moving in the yard was just a figment of his imagination.
Yet, he tried to be brave. He inhaled a big gulp of fresh air and tried his best to rationalize the movements of each of the monsters he saw swaying in the yard. It helped to know that the wind factor was contributing to the dispositions of the hideous monsters. Still, he was quite nervous about venturing further down in the yard.
As he walked further down the yard searching for an open window or a door, he tried to ignore his suspicion of someone being in the yard with them and disguising himself as one of the scarecrows in order to spy on them. The boy tried hard to quell his anxiety even though he had felt that way from the moment they had entered the yard.
The more John looked back at the scarecrow the more adamant he was about the changes in its position. He became hysterical and took off running again. Charles ran after him, calling out his name and trying to calm him down.
Although Charles had started out yelling “John! John stop screaming,” he lower his voice out of fear of someone hearing the commotion. But, John did not stop running. The boy was too emotionally distraught to stop and try to rationalize a reasonable explanation for the scarecrow’s altered position.
When Tray and Little Tony heard the boys screaming, they also became alarmed. After John ran past the greenhouse screaming, the boys came out from their hiding places and saw Charles in pursuit of John. They also called out to John, but calling out his name had no effect on his behavior. The boy never looked back. He kept running in the direction of the main road.
As Charles reached the greenhouse, Tray and Little Tony met up with him. Tray yelled, “What happened? Why are y’all screaming and running away from the yard?”
Charles gasped, “John must have seen someone standing in the yard! He just took off running without an explanation!“
Tray picked up Little Tony and they all ran toward the main road. As they came closer to the road, they could hear John talking to someone. As the boys approached the opened road, they saw a woman helping John to his feet. They heard the woman asking John was he all right.
The two boys began questioning John simultaneously. Charles yelled. “John what happened in the yard? Are you all right?” Tray said, “John what happened and why were you running?”
John’s legs buckle and he almost lost his balance as he turn around to face the boys. He looked dazed. He stared at the boys as if he was having trouble identifying them. The woman interrupted just as John was starting to respond.
“He ran out in front of my van. I tried to slow down, but the wet leaves on the road caused my car not to brake properly.” Then she placed her hand on John’s shoulder and said, “Let me take you to the hospital so you can be checked out by a physician? My insurance will cover the expense.”
John said, “No really, I’m okay. I’m just a little dizzy.”
Charles said, “John, were you struck by the van?”
The woman said, “I don’t think I actually hit him, but he did fall. When I shook him, it took him a little while to respond to me. He may have lost consciousness which means he could have a concussion!”
As she attempted to take hold of John’s hand, he placed his hand in his jacket pocket. The woman said, “Let me at least take you home if you don’t want me to take you to the hospital?”
“No, no. I jumped out the way just in time. You didn’t hit me.” He said. John seemed to be talking in slow mode and he was slurring his speech. Tray said, “You don’t sound as if you’re okay. Are you sure the van didn’t hit you?”
John said, “Yes I’m fine. She’s right; I must have slipped on the wet leaves and struck my head on the tree log in the road when I jump out of the way of the van. Maybe I did past out momentarily because the next thing I remember is you helping me to my feet.”
John placed his hand on his head and let out a little groan.
He took a minute to collect himself. Charles placed his shoulder under his friends arm to give him support.
John didn’t want to abandon the investigation even though he wasn’t exactly sure how useful he would be to the boys in his condition. After all, his body was quite sore and his head felt like it was going to explode.
After the woman repeated her offer, John took a deep breath and said. “Well, I don’t need to go to the hospital, but maybe we should go home. Charles what do you suggest?”
Charles said, “We can go home, but can you walk?”
The woman said, “I’ll take you boys home. Where do you live?”
Tray said, “Thank you for offering, but that won’t be necessary. We live just a little ways down the road.”
The woman said, “Okay. Then take one of my business cards just in case your parents have any questions.” She opened her purse and handed John one of her business cards. Then she walked back to her van, got in, and pulled off.
After the woman left, the boys walked slowly down the road in the direction of John’s house. The rain was still falling heavily. John felt badly knowing that his injury had ended the investigation.
John said, “I’m sorry y’all couldn’t complete your investigation. I just need to take a minute to rest up and then we can go back but I‘ll be the one who stays with Little Tony.”
Tray said, “It’s cool. We don’t have to go back. We have enough incriminating evidence on Craig already. Remember we saw him smoking Marijuana and playing around with a gun.”
Charles said, “That’s true. We already know that he’s on drugs so we didn’t go to Stan’s deceased foster parents house to get more evidence on him; we went there because we wanted to get him and your sister away from those losers before something else went wrong.
Even though Stan and Slim were lucky to leave the playground just before the police arrived, who knows they might not be so lucky if there’s a drug bust at the party tonight.”
John interrupted. ”What do you mean? Does the police have reason to believe there will be illegal drug transactions at the party?”
Charles looked up at the full moon and said, “I haven’t tipped the police off but I just have a feeling anything could happen tonight. Anyway it just seems like a lot of mysterious things have been happening lately when there’s a full moon.”
John tried to chuckle but instead he groaned. “Oh I didn’t know you were superstitious.”
Charles responded, “I’m not all that superstitious, but my family has had enough trauma lately. We don’t need Craig overdosing on rat poison because it‘s a full moon out tonight.
John asked, “Well what does that possibility have to do with it being a full moon?”
Charles said, “It’s like Murphy's law! Whatever can go wrong will go wrong during a full moon! And like I said, my family doesn’t need anymore mishaps. First my grandfather had a stroke. And the same day that he had the stroke, a drunk driver hits my parents’ van while it was parked; then a psychotic woman robs my parents’ bookstore at gun point! How freaky is that?
It‘s like my family members are prone to mishaps during this time period. It’s like something in the cosmos causing us to go through a lot of grief at this time. Perhaps, none of us should be involved in anything risque at this time.”
John said, “Wow! That’s messed up!”
Charles continued. “And to compound our problems, today we discovered that Craig has a drug addiction and he’s associating with criminals. Later we get a phone call from my Mom, informing us that she and my Dad have been injured in an auto accident!
And now there’s a full moon, which is known to cause people to act even stupider, so now we have to worry about my stupid oldest brother overdosing on rat poison to impress some low-life thugs!”
Sympathetically, John tried to shake his head, but the jerking only intensified his pain so he let out another groan. The pain was excruciating. The throbbing in his head was unyielding. He stopped walking, bent over, placed both hands on his head, and closed his eyes in agony.
Tray said, “Are you sure you’re all right? Maybe you should get your parents to take you to the hospital? If it hurts that bad when you move your head, you just might have a concussion. I heard that can be pretty serious.”
John said, “No. Really, I’m okay. It’s just that this lump on my head is so sore. The slightest movement seems to intensify the pain. But, I’ll put some ice on it when I get to your house.”
Charles said, “I thought we were going to your house. We already passed my house. Boy, you must be in some kind of pain cause you don‘t even know where you‘re going.”
John tried to laugh but instead he let out another groan. He said, “Oh I don’t wanna go home especially not before I put some ice on this lump on my head. Besides, my parents don’t even know that I snuck out the house. They think I’m in my room doing my homework assignment. My father had wanted me to clean up the basement, but I got out of cleaning because I told him I had a three hundred word paper to write.”
Tray chuckled and said, “Well at least it seems you’re able to remember things more clearly now.”
As the boys turn around and began walking in the opposite direction, Charles said, that’s another thing; you could have gotten killed twice today. I swear there must be something in the cosmos trying to teach us a lesson!
By the way, you never did tell us why you ran so frantically out of Stan’s deceased foster parents’ yard. When you ran passed me, you said something about the scarecrow looking different or changing its position?”
John said, “Oh yeah! Didn’t I tell you that someone was following me around in the yard? He was masquerading as one of the scarecrows.”
“Charles said, “No. But when you took off and ran out of there, I ran right behind you because I kind of figured you weren’t running for nothing!”
John said, “Yeah, I first noticed the thing changing positions when you were trying to pry open that side window. Then when I ran
further down the yard to check the rear door, I felt like someone was watching me. When I turned around and saw the thing had followed me, I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t the same one that I had seen near the gate, but I knew it was.
And after I had taken off running the first time and you had caught up with me and tried to convince me that my mind was playing tricks on me, I tried to ignore the thing but it kept following me around in the yard.
I even tried to ease my nerves by telling myself you were right, my mind was playing tricks on me and that there was more than one scarecrow in the yard. But the more I looked at the thing the more I was convince the thing was coming closer and closer toward me. That’s why I took off running the second time.
And boy! I knew it wasn’t a figment of my imagination when I ran past you and tried to tell you to get out of there and the Frankenstein monster that was standing near you slipped his hand in his pocket. That’s when I skidaddled!
Charles said, “Wow! the entire time I was in that creepy yard I felt as if someone was watching me too! I saw that hideous looking Frankenstein monster standing in the corner of the wall, but I had made up my mind that I wouldn’t let it freak me out.
Gee. You actually saw the thing slip its hand in its pocket? I didn’t hear you say anything when you ran past me. Maybe Stan‘s goons were masquerading as Frankenstein monsters and scarecrows.”
Tray said, “Whew! It must’ve been a really creepy feeling thinking someone was watching you. I saw a few scary looking scarecrows near the greenhouse too, but the area where we were hiding was well lit.
I imagine if the lights around the greenhouse were as dim as the ones in the yard, those hideous looking creatures near the greenhouse would’ve freaked me out too. But, there was one hideous looking Frankenstein monster that was crouched down behind a tree. But hey, when Little Tony got spooked by it, the two of us examined that monster thoroughly.
We literally ripped it to shreds!” As Tray completed his statement, he looked over his shoulder and quivered. “Hey, I think we need to put some pep in our steps. Whoever was in that yard could still be following us!”
Little Tony said, “Oh, I’m scared. There could be lions, tigers, and bears following us too!” As the little boy buried his face into Tray’s leather jacket, the boys chuckled but they all put some pep in their steps.
The rain was still falling heavily as lightening lit up the sky. As lightening sprinkled across the sky, Little Tony clutched at Tray’s Jacket; but when the thunder roared, he let out a little squeal and pressed his face even harder against his brother‘s jacket.
The children’s house was now in sight, but it was still a little ways down the road. Everyone, including John was walking faster.
Although Little Tony weighed over forty pounds, Tray continued to carry him.
But after noticing the little boy’s reaction to the thunder and lightening, Tray decided to have some fun with his little brother.
Since their house was in view, he decided he would make Little Tony walk the rest of the way home.
As he put Little Tony down, he said “Gee you’re heavy! I think you can walk the rest of the way.”
Even though the little boy protested, he refused to pick him back up. Therefore, the child had no choice but to take hold of his big brother’s hand and try to keep up with the older boys’ pace.
There was a pickup truck parked on the road near their house. Although it looked similar to their Uncle Tony’s truck, the older boys knew that it wasn’t their uncle’s truck because the license tag number was different.
Tray said, “Little Tony! There’s Uncle Tony’s pickup truck! Go see if he’s in his truck?”
Little Tony clutched Tray’s hand as he made his statement. “No! That’s not Uncle Tony’s truck! Frankenstein monster is in that truck!
Oh, I’m scared; pick me back up?”
Tray laughed and said, “No! You’re too heavy. Besides, our house is just down the road. You can walk the rest of the way.”
The boys laughed, but they all walked even faster as they were approaching the unoccupied truck on the road. John realized that Tray was trying to scare Little Tony so he decided to join in the fun.
As they walked passed the truck, John said, “Only a serial killer would abandon his truck in all this rain! This looks very suspicious, very suspicious indeed.
I think the man who abandoned this truck was up to no good. I wonder why he wouldn’t drive right up to your house since he was going to pay y’all a visit? The way I see it, he probably didn’t drive right up to your front door because he wanted to surprise y‘all.
He’s probably a derange serial killer, wearing bloodstained clothes and carrying a gun. He parked his truck here because he didn’t want anybody to hear his engine running.
He knew by parking his truck down the road a bit he would have a better chance at carrying out his evil deeds. He’s probably snooping around inside of your house right now! Did y‘all leave your door unlocked like you said you would?”
Tray said, “Oh man! We did leave the door open. Do you really think he could be in our house?” Little Tony screamed, “I’m scared! I want my Mommy and Daddy.” The little boy began to cry.
Charles said, “Y’all need to stop scaring Little Tony. There’s no one in our house! I made sure the door was locked before I left.” When he picked up Little Tony, he felt the little boy trembling in his arms. As the child buried his face in his jacket, Charles felt badly about the times he had purposely scared his little brother and left him alone to fend for himself.
He regretted leaving his little brother unattended at the playground and at the movie theater. He had never taken into consideration that his little brother might have actually been scared to stay in those places alone. He vowed never to leave his little brother in a vulnerable situation again, and he carried him the rest of the way.
Although the children had also decorated their house with gruesome looking monsters, their Halloween decor was not as frightful as Stan’s.
Although they had been joking about someone being in their house, the children cautiously entered the house as the telephone was ringing.