“I don’t wanna go out.”
Marty McKenzie was scrunching up his face, looking very much like that prune-faced old guy in the Six Flags commercials. He had been lying on the floor playing with his Legos which were splayed out before him like the ruins of an ancient city.
“See, that’s the thing,” said Marty’s older sister, Allison. She pushed her glasses up onto her nose. “You’re not goin’ with me.”
Marty’s expression shifted, morphing from one of protest to one of concern—dire concern. He stopped playing and sat up. They weren’t real Legos. His father had bought the blocks for Marty’s sixth birthday when he visited almost a year ago. He told Marty they were Legos, but Marty new better. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t want his father feeling bad about being gypped at the Lego store. The Legos were one of the few gifts Marty’s father had ever bought for him. He treasured them.
“You can’t leave me,” he said, his voice going high and whiny, like a baby’s. Even he heard it.
“I’m not leaving you. I’m treating you like a grownup for once in your life. You don’t want me treatin’ you like a little baby anymore, right?” Allison knew full well no little kid wants to be treated like a baby, especially one as close to being a baby as Marty was.
“But Mommy says I’m not to be left home alone,” Marty replied, his voice going even higher. He tried keeping it level. Put some base into yer voice, I say! Yet the babiness crept back in.
“That’s because mom thinks you’re a little baby,” Allison said laying on the word—baaaby extra heavy. “But I know better.” She winked at him. “We both do, don’t we?” she said, playing her six year-old brother like a well-worn instrument.
Marty nodded. He was ascared of being left in the apartment all by himself. But he knew if he told Allison about the monster that lived in the closet, or the one that hung out under his bed, she’d laugh and call him a scaredy-cat, or worse, a baaaby.
Even at his age, Marty was wise enough to know that at twelve, Allison was too old to understand there really were monsters out there, monsters that had their eyes on tasty little kids.
A few years ago she would have sympathized with him. A few years ago they’d both hidden under the covers, quaking in the darkness and talking in loud voices until the monsters went away. But somewhere between the sixth and seventh grades the monsters stopped being real for Allison, around the same time she started writing boys’ names on the inside cover of her notebook.
“Where’re ya goin’?” Marty asked, trying to add some grownup to his voice and failing miserably at it.
A thorn of guilt scratched at Allison’s heart, he sounded so afraid, but giving in was not an option, not since two days ago when Allison’s life had changed forever.
Two days ago, Allison was killing time in the yard before first period. She was alone. Always alone. It was a new school, her second in two years, but that wasn’t the reason she kept to herself.
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The Memory Giver (#Wattys2014)Horror
When Turtle Dawson’s 14 year-old brother returns after being dead for two years, he brings with him fond memories of the old days, and a chance at redemption for the entire family. But there's something different about A.D., something dark and sinis...