Entry # A2

Linda Butler

Maryann stood at the bus stop, disappointed, cold and hungry. Dressed in green hospital scrubs, covered in fake blood, she looked and felt more pathetic than scary.

Her car had broken down again leaving her stranded. No chance of making it to her seasonal job at the local fair's annual Halloween Fright Night. Without roadside service, or even a cell phone, she knew she'd never make it and had decided to just take the bus home.

The bus was taking so long to arrive and she was really beginning to get cold. A dark October night in Canton was no time to be on a bus stop with no coat. She looked down the dark street, straining and hoping to see the bus' head lights emerging from the darkness. Nothing. She sighed and turned to sit on the bus bench when she was him sitting there.

Younger than her, by the way he dressed: jeans, sneakers, hoodie, and a baseball cap. His hands were in his pockets and his head angled toward his feet, shielding his face. Maryann was initially startled at the sight of him. She hadn't heard him walk up, and he was just sitting there looking down.

After her first shock, she was glad to have company. His presence assured her that the bus was on its way. She sat down at the other end of the bench, hugging herself from the cold.

"Why aren't you wearing a coat?" The boy spoke. His voice was flat, and Maryann felt a different kind of chill at hearing his words. They were delivered in a monotone fashion and he was still looking down. The brim of his baseball cap hid most of his face, the street light illuminated his mouth.

Maryann cleared her throat and faced the boy's profile, trying to sound light, " I didn't know I'd be on a bus stop tonight. My car broke down two blocks away. Now I'm just trying to get home."

"Why are you covered in blood?" The same flat, dead voice spoke. Now Maryann was getting very uncomfortable. There was something wrong with the way he spoke, and he still hadn't looked up when speaking to her.

"It's Halloween", she chuckled. Her words comforted her, as they explained the boy. Obviously, he was dressed for some Halloween adventure and was trying to creep her out with his strange speaking pattern she felt better and stood up to look again for the bus.

"Do you like being scared?" This time there was something different in the boys words. Maryann couldn't exactly understand, but something about him now made her want to run. She was alone at night at a bus stop in a part of Canton that had closed down for the evening. There was no where to go, she had to wait for the bus.

"I'm dressed like this because I work at the haunted house at the fair," The lightness was gone from Maryann's voice. She was almost pleading with him to understand. "My car broke down on my way to work..."

The boy interrupted her, "do you like being scared...like you are now?"

The streetlight still illuminated the lower part of his face and Maryann could see his mouth turned into a sneer. He was now breathing in a way that almost shook his body. The boy finally turned his head to meet Maryann's gaze, she felt herself swooning. She fought to keep control, then a yellowed fluorescent light bathed over her.

She turned to find the bus parked directly in front of her, its doors open. She hadn't seen or heard it approaching. She was lost in the strange boy. She turned back to see him, to finally see that face, and he was gone.

"Miss, are you coming or what?" The heavyset female bus driver barked at Maryann. She got on, took a seat, her eyes still scanning the darkened night for the boy.

Maryann made her way home without event, although she still felt odd after her encounter, she tried to shake it off. Once home, she'd called her brother about her car, showered and put on some chicken soup. She still felt cold to the core and hoped the soup would warm her.

Wearing a fluffy robe and slippers, she was about to sit down in front of the TV when there was a knock at the door. Her brother, Jeff she thought. He'd fixed the car and was dropping it off. She was about to open the door when a feeling of unexplained fear washed over her, she could barely catch her breath. Tentatively, she looked through the security viewer. She could see a figure, but could not make it out. She called out forcefully, "Jeff?" The figure didn't move. Without taking her eye away from the viewer, Maryann fumbled for the porch light. She flipped it on to see the top of the boy's baseball cap.

When the porch light hit the boy he began chanting, "Open, open, open," in that same dead fashioned. Maryann backed away, covering her mouth to stifle her scream. "Get away from my door or I'll call the police!" Maryann shouted, tears now streaming down her face. She could still hear the boy knocking and repeating, "inside, inside, inside."

She picked up the phone and dialed 911. The call connected just as the power went off in her apartment. Darkness engulfed her and everything, including the boy, went silent.

Panicked and wanting to escape, Maryann began to crawl toward her bedroom. After finding her way, she engaged the door's lock and cowered in the corner next to the closet. She tried very hard not make a sound. Silent prayers filled her mind as she waited; waited for the lights to come on, for her brother to arrive, or for that boy to make his presence known. How had he found her? What did he mean by "inside"? She had no intention of finding out. She wanted this nightmare and Halloween to be over.

A light tapping sound slowly began to fill the room. Maryann peered in the darkness, her mind trying to identify it. Just then, movement beyond the bedroom window caught her attention. Tiny pins of fear pricked her entire body. There, outside her second story window, against all rationality, hovered the boy, his finger tapping the window. The light of the full moon made his features clearer than ever before. His mouth was still twisted in a maniacal sneer.

For the first time, the boy removed the baseball cap, allowing Maryann to see his full face. Over the maniacal sneer were a set of abnormally large black eyes, like those of a shark. No irises, just pools of black. Looking into those eyes, Maryann felt fear like, unlike anything she'd known before. Those dark eyes transfixed her, as the boy now commanded, "OPEN, OPEN!" Maryann, under the spell of those eyes, obliged. The boy floated in, the power returned to the apartment, and after a short, muffled scream, the night was again quiet.

Two nights later, the bus driver that picked up Maryann was on her usual route. as she approached the stop, she was taken aback by the sight the young woman in blood covered scrubs waiting on the bus bench sitting next to the boy in the hoodie and baseball cap. The driver stopped the bus, opened the door and peered at the pair. After a few seconds, she barked, "You coming or not?"

When the young woman looked up, the driver almost recognized her, except for the strange, large, black eyes. The driver closed the doors before the couple could move and floored the bus as fast as it would Go. When she looked into the rear view mirror, the bus bench was empty.


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