(Friend and English teacher, Tim Wasem [@timwasem] decided to make a Halloween tradition of writing a scary short story of two pages, calling it #twopagefright2012. He challenged anyone who wanted to join to do the same. Here’s my attempt at a hastily written scary story — well, not so much scary as it is weird. But I mean — come on! — would you expect anything less from me? I hope you enjoy! Have a great and safe All Hallow’s Eve!)

There was no rapping or tapping, but three solid metallic knocks on the back screen door. From the couch, she walked towards the back door in the room smelling of moldy wood and pondy summers, past the nearly rusted-out husks of appliances. Without showing her face, she asked around the corner, “Who’s tharr?” Nothing but the cicadas’ cacophony responded. Slowly, she moved from the corner and peered out to an empty yard.

The knocking didn’t surprise her. It was common for grifters, hobos and homeless to come a’knocking at all hours; her father, the preacher, garnered himself a generous reputation. She returned to the couch and the soft static of the radio. This was her third night alone and Momma and Daddy away at some party. Her first night night she had to convince them with skillful pleadings that she was ready to be babysitterless. Tonight, though, they left without needs of reassurance.

The doorbell rang four times. Zzz, Zzz, Zzz, Zzz. Maybe, she thought, they tried the back door and didn’t hear the hollering. Rising from her couch, she went to the front door. No one was there. The smell of wet, decaying leafs blew through the opened door. As she turned towards the couch, there were five bangs on the screen door — loud, incessant, Beethovian bangs. Swiftly, her feet crushed the soft carpet as she ran to the back. “Who’s tharr?”, she said, not showing her face.

“I’m–I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure what door to use,” came a high, sissified voice from outside. “I was wonderin’ if you had sumtan’ ta’ eat?” She hesitated  “The . . . the preacher’s gone.” He replied, “I know that, Miss, but hunger tahrs’ my belly open–do you have nothin’ ta’ spahr’?” She went around the corner regrettably, opening the door. “Papa,” she said as she went, “is always talkin’ ’bout entertain’ angels unawares.”

He was a short man. She hadn’t seen such height since she snuck into the carnival tent her mother warned her against a few years ago. He was about the height of the man that visited her nightmares afterwards. He asked, ” . . . angels unawares, huh?” She replied, “Yes, don’ you ever read the Good Book o’ nothin’?” He nodded. She began to scour cabinets.

“Well, I lied ta’ ya, Miss,” he said matter-of-factly, “I don’t need no food.” Sitting at the kitchen table, his legs swung freely. “What I came here for — what we came for — was you.” She was frightened, “–for me?” She heard the screen door open followed by multitudes of fat feet stomping to the kitchen. “Yes,” he replied. Turning from the cabinets, she saw them. She saw them all. There was the bearded lady and a man so tall he had to stoop down to fit. There were several old folks dressed like in the picture shows. She screamed, “Why are you doing this? Who are all of you?”

The short man smiled as the room grew dark; the edges of her body began to fade. She could feel it: she was dissolving. Over her broach, one of the old women looked at her. She went to the woman, the young to the old, no longer something but nothing. No, nothing at all. The old woman smiled at her. They turned to leave. “Angels unwares,” the midget mumbled, “that’s the best thing that’s ever been said ’bout us.”

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