This spooky story is told in installments, you can use the menu to locate earlier episodes.
[2.5 minute read]
When J opened the front door later that afternoon his ears were assaulted by the squeals and screams of hyper little girls from his sister’s class. Her party was in full swing so everywhere he looked he saw princesses in pastel coloured party wear. His Dad had laid on cakes and crisps, biscuits and sweet treats. The party-goers had emptied the plates and now there was crushed food on the laminate floor.
Excitable girls were dancing around the living room and taking it in turns to use the karaoke machine. J couldn’t handle the noise and frantic activity. He snagged some sandwiches, crisps and a couple of fairy cakes then scurried up to his room. The harassed dog followed close on his heels.
He fired up his laptop and spent an hour or so on his homework, with a few YouTube tabs open in the background. He was still researching the hypnotism topic, but he was at a loss to understand who’d benefit from controlling the willpower of children. Shortly the noise levels downstairs reduced, just a few cheers and whoops of excitement. Evidently the clown was keeping the girls spellbound.
J continued to rack his brains; what was the link between arty, drama loving Katie and brainy top-set guy Laurie? He was pretty sure their schedules didn’t overlap for any classes and he knew they hadn’t attended the same primary school. Eventually, he decided to let his subconscious run through the possibilities while he got on with his maths homework.
J was jolted awake, the digital read-out said 2.58 am and, like the previous occasions, he sensed that something menacing was nearby. From his bedroom, he moved onto the landing, pale silvery light streamed through the hall window making it easy to pad downstairs silently. He scanned around the kitchen, nothing amiss there. The dog was breathing heavily and twitching his paws, but J still detected a creepy vibe.
He moved along the hall, and that’s when he heard sniffing and whimpering, coming from the family room. J peered around the door. He saw a hunched shape amongst the floor cushions. He crept further in the room. With distress, he realised it was his little sister Lulu who was sobbing into the fabric. He crouched closeby, careful not to startle her.
“Lulu … what’s the matter Lulu?”
She continued crying and sniffing, but raised her head to look at him, her eyes as big as saucers.
“He scared me,” she whimpered, “he wasn’t nice.”
“Who Lulu? Who was here?”
“They let him in.” Lulu’s small body was again wracked with sobs. J sat there rubbing her back to console her. Logic had him puzzling who could have come into the house without disturbing the dog.
“Did he hurt you sweetheart?” J felt very protective of his little sister. He was relieved when she mutely shook her head. He reached forward and enveloped her in a hug.
Suddenly his alarm clock started blurting and J surfaced from his dream with a shock. This was bad, really bad! J leaped out of bed and hurtled down the stairs, but the only person there was his Dad in the kitchen.
“Where’s Lulu?” he asked in a panic.
“Not up yet.” His Dad threw the reply over his shoulder, concentration fully on the eggs he was frying. He grabbed toast and laid one on each plate and then used a spatula to place an egg on top. He put one in front of J, then went upstairs to call Lulu again.
J cut into his breakfast without much enthusiasm. Before long his Dad was downstairs again.
“She’s not very well. I need to ring the school. She’s cold and clammy, I couldn’t even wake her properly.” He stood at the counter and distractedly cut into the egg on toast he’d just put on a plate for Lulu.
Immediately J’s appetite was completely gone. The worst had happened, his little sister had joined the ranks of the zombies. And he had dreamed it! He could no longer deny that appearing in his dreams was part of the pattern. J was deep in thought, hastening to prepare for school and get Alex’s take on this development.
Alex’s response was shock and upset. Lulu was like a little sister to him, he’d known her since she was a toddler.
“But who came into your house?” Like J, he was struggling to imagine the intruder.
“No idea mate. There has to be some link to the other kids too, that makes it even harder to puzzle out.”
The boys trudged down the hill in silence, their brains churning through the possibilities.
[To be Continued …]