they decided to make a tent. a large tent. they grabbed pillows, blankets, mum’s scarfs, dad’s mufflers, and some giant books. they started from windows and doors. after half an hour and maybe more than two hours, they had a small house in a giant house. she crawled inside. she found it much safer and she sighed. it was better, she said as she watched his figure from the blanket. the phone began to ring. he was not supposed to pick calls but he took it.
“Hello,” he said as if he was stabbed by something on the other side.
“hello” it was a thick voice, a man’s voice indeed.
“Who are you, mister?”
“where's your parents?”
“i..don’t know” he almost whispered
“what? put them on call, please”
“no..” there were moans from the background as the phone went silent.
he was petrified for a moment
“hello...ma...pa...are you there? come home”
nobody spoke and the line went dead. he cursed himself for picking it up. he was still for a moment and began to reason. it’s a fake call, he told himself.
“brother, what happened?”
“nothing” as if out of shock.
“crawl inside,” she said.
but there was someone at the door. he walked towards it but stopped. she saw his figure shiver. I should not open this, he told himself. he went up and saw from the window of his room. he could see nothing but a vague shape pounding at the door even though there was a bell to his house. he went downstairs. his sister was about to open the door. he grabbed and covered her mouth. there was pounding. he took his ten-year-old sister upstairs and begged her not to scream or to speak. he took a baseball bat and slowly, slowly went down the stairs. the pounding grew with magnitude. the door was vibrating in its frame. the door was threatening to break from the frame. she came outside silently realizing they are stuck in something. he was half-way down the hall and twenty or so steps close to the door. she was holding a pencil in her hand. she was grabbing it tightly with each step he was taking. the pounding became stronger as if someone was hammering it from outside.
suddenly, it stopped.
everything was calm. they were both still with their respective weapon gripped tight in hand. their hearts racing with the speed of a bullet. if it starts the second time, they wouldn’t know what to do. he started running to the window. he saw no one. no one the street or outside of their houses. no one’s light is on at 11 pm, he reasoned. there wasn’t any light outside except the street from the old house which was abandoned years before they were born so the parents told them. there was only two street light on. one of their own house and another one was from the abandoned house. just a coincidence, a coincidence and nothing else. don’t think of anything. it doesn’t mean anything. he thought. she came down to watch the same window.
he was startled but made very fewer moments.
“what was that?” she asked
“I am still trying to figure out”
“where are ma and pa?”
“would you please stop questioning?” he asked irritated
“i ... I want to know. tell me!!” she started to cry and throw the thing at him in anger.
“shush. they will know we are inside,” he said playfully countering her throws even catching some.
“Who are they?” she asked mocking him.
his playful expression faded away.
“i.....don’t know. please help me here rather than asking questions”
there was no sound for a while. the street was silent. only crackling noise from the street light outside
“I am afraid,” she said after a while of dead silence.
he was startled. she was always bolder than him. always in front of him no matter what they do. even though he was older, she was always chosen over him. she always knew what they had to do. she was always a straightforward and parents-teacher favourite. he had always envied her. she would be the one with all the toys and praises and he would stand in a corner regarding her. he was always lonely in this large house. they were rarely alone together like this otherwise it would be a dangerous fight of pillows and someone would end up getting hurt and most of the time it was him. from head injuries to broken bones everywhere. he was getting lectures every day that he has to protect her and be polite with her no matter how mischievous or naughty or angry she gets. he tried his best all these years to hide his hate from everyone. he hated her to the very core but would always forgive her. he was forced to. he was mama’s boy. he would listen to her no matter what happens.
they locked eyes for a moment. he broke the gaze and looked outside. how dare you, he thought, to say something like this right now. she kept looking at him. his twitching shoulders, his empty unblinking eyes gazing outside, his fist clutching, his teeth on gritting tighter every moment, he was on verge of crying, she noticed. suddenly he got up and stared outside of the window attentively.
“Someone opened the door”
“there, the one to the abandoned house. he must be the one to knock on our door”
“just a knock?” she smiled mischievously
he ignored and grabbed a few things i.e a torch, a bat, a small voice recorder, a dad’s video camera pen. he went into the kitchen and looked at the knife. it’s important. I will explain mom later, he thought and dashed out taking the butcher’s knife.
“where are you going”
“to the house and you are not coming”
“you are going to leave me alone in the house?”
he thought for a moment maybe I should take her. I have the butcher’s knife. I will kill whosoever in the house tries to touch her or whosoever knocked in our house and almost broke the door.