Security by Jada Dean

I feel a gust of autumn air push my hair from in front of me. I walk the stone path that’s littered with leaves of warm tones. Ah, Halloween. I sigh, happy that it’s my favorite time of year again. Even though I’m not a kid anymore, Halloween day fills me with such childish excitement. My walking emits a light, rhythmic tapping sound as my shoes hit the stone path. My blue backpack weighs heavily on my back, and my shoulders ache from the long school week that’s behind me now. 

Suddenly, I feel my phone vibrate steadily. I slide my hand in my pocket and wrangle out my phone. “Avery?” I ask myself as I answer my phone. “What’s up?” I question him. 

“Hey! I wanted to know if you’d be willing to walk around town with me tonight? Spook some kids, maybe get some candy, rate the costumes we see. You down?” he explains, excitedly. 

“No, I’m okay. My parents are going on a Halloween date tonight, so they want me to stay home and keep the house safe from stupid kids toilet papering us again,” I respond, feeling sad to miss out on having fun. 

“Maybe I could come over to hang out, then?” he asks. 

“You know how my parents are about having boys over,” I pause to sigh, “We’ll hang out soon, I promise.”

“Alright. Well, have a good Halloween, okay? Call me if someone toilet papers your house, and I’ll come help bully them,” we laugh. 

“See you, Avery,” I say. 

“See you,” he responds. I hang up and put my phone back in my pocket as I walk up the steps to my house. Our front yard is decorated with skeletons and fake spider webs with autumn leaves stuck in them. I get out the key to our thick front door and open it. It makes a long and solemn squeak as I step inside. 

“Front door, open,” the monotone feminine voice of the security system states as cinnamon, apples, and sugar fill my nose. 

“Annabelle! So glad you’re home, dear!” My Mom sings from the kitchen, “Your Dad is in the bathroom taking a shower for tonight.” I walk out to the kitchen, leaning on the island counter as I watch my Mom take out cinnamon apple cookies from the oven. 

“Are you sure I have to watch the house?” I ask, “I really want to hang out with my friends.” 

“Yes, I’m sure,” she turns to look at me, taking off her Halloween themed oven mitt, “As a thank you, we’ll bring home a nice bag of candy and maybe some cash.” She starts to put the cookies on a plate. 

“Well, if I’m getting candy and money, I think I might survive not hanging out with my friends for one night,” I chuckle. She looks at me with a smile. 

“Ah, there you are,” I hear my Dad’s voice behind me, “Going to be okay with the house tonight?” 

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I’ll make sure to lock all the doors and such and chill out in my room. I’ll call you guys if I have a problem,” I say to them. 

“Well, if it’s a big problem, make sure you call nine-one-one first,” my Dad says. Mom takes off her apron and hangs it up. She’s in a comfortable red gown for their date. 

“You look nice, mom,” I say, admiring the details of the dress. 

“Thank you,” she says sweetly as she moves behind me towards the front door with Dad behind her. I hear keys. 

“You guys are leaving already?” I ask. 

“My work planned a Halloween party that both of us are invited to,” Dad explains as they both get on their coats, “After the party, we’re going on our date to the restaurant.”

“Alright, you guys have fun!” I say, hearing the squeak of the front door again. 

“Front door, open,” the security voice repeats. 

“We will,” Mom says as they step out, “Love you!” 

“Love you, too,” I say. Once the front door is shut behind them, I lock it. I turn around and sigh, looking at the lonely house. I slowly make my way up the stairs. Some creak as I step on them. I make my way into my bedroom and put my bookbag down in its designated corner. I change into comfortable pajamas and lay down on my bed. Once I get into a cozy position, I slide my hand off the bed and grab my laptop. I turn on my favorite spooky show and relax. 

Suddenly, I hear “Front door, open,” from the security system, then a loud alarm rings through the house. I jolt upwards, pausing my show, and I realize how dark it is outside. How long has it been since I got home? I put my laptop aside as I stand up, grabbing my phone as I make my way over to my closet. In the darkness of the closet, my hand finds the cool, clothed grip of a baseball bat. I pull it out. The security alarm is still blaring as I make my way out of my room, down the hallway towards the stairs. My nerves are starting to eat through my chest and up my spine with their chilling teeth. I prepare myself as I walk down the stairs. 

My eyes search the living room as I skip the stairs I know would give me away from how loud they are. Once my feet reach the floor, I dart towards the security box on the wall, I flip it open and enter the security code to turn off the alarm. I start searching the living room, my shaky hands still holding the bat. No movement, nothing under the couches, and no abnormal sounds. I close the front door. As I make my way towards the kitchen, I feel vibrations coming from my pocket, slow and rhythmic. Someone’s calling me. I pull out my phone and answer it, putting it up to my ear as I search the kitchen. 

“Hello, this is Northwick Home Security. It appears your alarm went off recently, do you need immediate assistance?” I hear a man’s voice say. 

“My parents are out on a date. I’m supposed to be alone. If you could get a police officer on his way here, that would be great,” I say as my voice trembles. 

“No problem at all. There’s one about four minutes away, I’ll go ahead and give him your location,” he says. I guess being close to officers is one of the benefits of living near town. 

“Thank you. Do you think you could stay on the line, please?” I ask. Talking to another person has seemed to calm me down a bit. I start to look around the kitchen, analyzing sounds and movements that could be an intruder. 

“I’ll stay right here, don’t worry,” he says, almost seeming bored, “So, Halloween night and you’re stuck at home? Are you grounded or something?” 

“Is this your way of distracting me?” I ask. 

“Perhaps. Humor me, yeah?” he says. 

“My parents wanted me to watch the house,” I explain, “I was watching a show before the alarm went off, so I wasn’t bored.”

“Oh!” he makes an excited sound, “What were you watching? Dexter? Law & Order? How to Catch a Murderer?” 

“You’re into crime shows, aren’t you?” I say. This small talk is helping my nerves, but they’re still screaming at me. I internally tell myself that the kitchen is clear. “What’s taking the deputy so long?” I ask. 

“He’s about two minutes away, now,” he replies. This nightmare will be over soon. I start to breathe a sigh of relief. I look around the kitchen one more time before slowly making my way back into the living room. I was hit with a chilly breeze. I search for the culprit of the sudden chill. My eyes are met with a slightly open window. I stop in my tracks, not wanting to move out of fear of drawing attention to me. A cold hand of dread wraps around my throat. I push myself to move. Standing like a statue isn’t going to help my situation. I quietly move over to the open window. I look around the living room and see nothing suspicious. I decide to turn around and close the window. 

My hands grip the window, ready to pull it down and finally shut the chill air outside. I start thinking. The deputy should be about a minute away now. All that I hear is distant children laughing and yelling. “Shouldn’t I be able to hear the deputy’s siren by now?” I question into my phone. 

“Oh, come on. Don’t you enjoy the suspense?” he asks as I pull down the window and lock it. “Besides, the question you should be asking right now,” he pauses for a moment, “is if you just locked me in or out.”

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