Fiction by Joseph Delgado
Copyright 1996 by Joseph Delgado
I walked home one night from a baseball card convention where I had my Dad's favorite baseball with me, so some people could appraise it, it's now very valuable. He would have gone with me, but that year it was held on a Friday, so I had to go alone. I was still pretty young maybe around ten years old. So, He sat me down and we talked for close to an hour about responsibility and how important it is not to lose our baseball. He said "our" a lot when he didn't want me to lose, touch, or break things. He didn't say "our" when I was being spanked or yelled at.
Any how, half the way home and up the block I saw the three meanest boys in the neighborhood and they always picked on me. I tried to hide my Father's baseball behind my back, but they saw me and ran toward me. I was petrified. The boys' Dad was just as bad as they were, so if I lost my Dad's ball. I wasn't going to get it back.
"What you got behind your back small fry?" The biggest one said, he actually had green teeth and when everybody later caught up to him in middle school. They called him "spinach boy."
"Nothing." I tried to back away, but the other two blocked me from behind. I could have run into the street but Mom said never to do that. So I was trapped.
One of the smaller boys, still a good five inches taller than me, stripped the ball from my hand and started tossing it in the air. "That's my father's baseball give it back!"
"We just want to toss it around. Hey Johnny, the batter hits it deep into left field!" It all happened in slow motion. I saw my Father's baseball sail up into the air and Johnny chased it for a little bit, but it crashed through a window. A window that belonged to one of the scariest houses on the block. All sort of stories floated around school about that place.
"Sorry." The bully who threw it said and shrugged his shoulders and ran off laughing with the rest of the boys. I started to cry a bit and saw them turn the corner by the haunted house and disappear.
I needed to get my baseball back. So I went to the haunted house dried off my hands and went up the crooked porch. The door was pushed back and it was dark inside. Everything, even if you just thought about it, creaked. My Mom said not to go into strange houses or talk to strangers, but this house wasn't strange it was haunted. My Mom didn't say never to go into haunted houses. So I wouldn't get spanked when I got home.
Inside the house the walls were covered in cob webs and the floor smoked like my grandfather's pipe. I started to walk back to the door, but it closed by itself. I started to scream and bang on the door, but it stayed closed. I turned and walked through the hallway into the living room.
It might have been cloudy and getting dark outside, but not pitch black like here. I saw all these red eyes move around the room and a wolf howling. Some crazy laughter coming from every where. Oh I was scared. I saw these dim torches around the house. I even felt something squishy beneath my feet and the smell of fresh dirt. I started to walk backward, but I bumped into something. I started to tremble and when I turned around it was a glowing skull! I screamed again and ran into the other room. I didn't look back.
Here I saw some furniture the color of dried blood. Some of them still had dark sheets the color of bone over them, but some of them didn't. Barely any light came through the window and I saw some broken glass on the floor. My Dad's baseball had to be around here. So I started to look and I hear this moaning from the door ahead of me. I started to back away and the door opened slowly on rusty hinges. "You will not leave here." The voice was barely a whisper. "You will roam here forever like us." A ghost was looking back at me. It was white and flowing and two more were behind it. I wasn't thinking anymore. I decided I can take my Dad's spanking.
"Boo!" All three moaned in unison. They came closer as I backed to the wall, looking for the door with my left hand. Then I saw another ghost, bigger than all of them put together loom behind them. I sank down the wall to my knees. My heart echoed in my ears. "Who dares enter my home!" The huge ghost bellowed, its voice echoed off the walls and the three lesser ghosts jumped almost out of their sheets. "That's no ghost. There's no such..." Johnny stammered and pulled off the big ghost's white sheet. I looked up relieved that it wasn't ghosts, but the bullies again, but then I saw the worst.
"Zombie!" The bullies screamed. They turned white as the moonlight. They backed away from the Zombie's scarred and decayed flesh. As if on cue, the Zombie raised its arms and walked toward them with an awkward gait and a low moan.
The bullies ran from the room and then from the house screaming "Zombie" all the way down the block. I was trapped, but then the Zombie stopped walking like one and doubled over laughing for a long time.
"Bobby is that you?" The Zombie said.
"Yeah, please don't eat my brain."
"It's me, Mr. Quin. Your father's friend. Is this his ball?" He opened his hand and sure enough inside it was my Father's ball. "I was upstairs putting on my costume when I heard someone banging on the door. When I came down I found your baseball and three boys putting on sheets. So I took one from upstairs, to scare them out of the house." He laughed again. "It worked like a charm."
"You don't live here?" I took back my Dad's ball.
"No. Of course not. This place still needs a lot of work," He looked toward the broken window and sighed, "and now a little more. See, I fix houses like this all the time. This year I'm having a Halloween party here before I paint it. I invited your family." He walked through the door and picked up a cell phone. "I'll give your father a call and give you a ride home."
"Thanks Mr. Quin." In some mysterious way I got even with those boys. For a time they thought I was a Zombie and left me alone. My Mom even dressed me as a Zombie that night for the party. It was a lot of fun.