When someone steals his Halloween candy, little Timmy tries to find out what happened. But he might not like what he finds.
His candy was gone again.
He gritted his teeth and slammed the top back on his special treasure box.
“Mom! Dad! Billy stole my candy!”
He rushed down the stairs to the main floor, stomping into the kitchen.
His mother was making dinner, while his father was finishing some papers from work. Both were occasionally eyeing his sister Emmy, who was strapped into her high chair, making a mess of some very squishable green peas.
“Billy stole my candy again!”
The front door slammed. The little boy popped his head out to see his brother walking through the living room, bat in hand.
“I didn’t do anything!” the teenager shouted.
“Did you take Timmy’s candy?”
Billy pushed Timmy out of the way, heading straight for the fridge, “No. I don’t like eight-month-old candy. That crap’s all the way from Valentine’s Day.”
“No it isn’t!” Timmy glared at his brother, “It’s candy from my birthday!”
“Whatever. Still, wouldn’t eat it.”
With a soda in hand, Billy skirted passed his brother again, avoiding a tiny fist that wished to collide a little too close to the middle of his jeans.
Timmy huffed, angry at himself for missing. He turned his attention back to his mother, hoping she would resolve everything.
“But I put candy in my treasure box just yesterday! And now it’s gone!”
His father finally looked up, “You know you’re not supposed to have food in your room. That’s how you get cockroaches and insects in there.”
“Big ones too.”
His mother sighed, putting down the spoon she was using. She wiped her hands on her apron and crouched down to her son’s level. “Now, Timmy, you know that accusing people is wrong. Especially if you have no evidence to prove it.”
“But nothing. Your brother leaves the house before you do, and comes back home late because of practice. When would he be able to get into your room?”
Timmy never thought of that. But who could have stolen his precious candy? When he realized someone was taking it from his treasure box, he had hidden the rest somewhere else. It was only the last few nights he tried setting a trap for the burglar, but every time he tried to catch him, he would be too late.
He heard a snicker from behind him, “Told ya’ I didn’t steal anything, brat.” Billy came back in and nudged his brother aside. He could hear Emmy laugh. Stupid baby being on his brother’s side.
“Billy, please don’t make this worse.”
“But mom! Who’s been stealing my candy then?!”
His brother snorted. “Probably dad. You know he hasn’t been keeping his diet.”
“My diet is none of your business.”
“It’s true, though.”
“Billy. You know your father’s been having a hard time keeping up with his diet since the firm has been putting more work on his plate.”
“Don’t you always tell me excuses are never the answer?”
“What? It’s true, right?”
Knowing he wasn’t going to get an answer as the daily argument between the three started up, Timmy huffed and puffed all the way back to his room. Before he reached the stairs, though, he thought he heard a thud from beyond the basement door.
“Mom! I just heard a sound from the basement!”
“It’s just the laundry, dear!” his mother shouted, trying to be heard over the debate forming between the other two. “You know how the washer gets unleveled easily.”
As she went back to her work of cooking and playing referee, Timmy thought he heard another noise. He decided to open the door, though he was never supposed to without his mother or father right there. He was only going to peek in, though.
The door creaked opened slightly. He didn’t really see anything, except the washer and dryer at the end of the stairs. The basement wasn’t creepy or anything; his parents redid it last summer, making it into a giant T.V. and play room – plus laundry, which they couldn’t move anywhere else. They had even put a blue-tiled ceiling up to make it more enjoyable for him. But that didn’t mean he was not afraid of being down there alone.
Without seeing anything except two dead machines, he shut the door again and walked back to his room.
That night, Timmy woke to his sister’s whining. He looked over, finding her baby monitor sitting on his bedside table. He wondered how it got there.
He knew that he didn’t put it in his room; his mother and father never allowed him to play with the baby Walkie-Talkies. But why was it there? He heard a shushing sound coming from the other end of the monitor. He wondered who it was.
Out of pure curiosity, he got up and walked to his door. He automatically noticed the hallway nightlight was off. Holding on tightly to his teddy bear, Mr. Fuzzy, who was the best protector against evil and all things bad, Timmy peered out into the hall.
From what he could tell, nothing seemed out of place. He didn’t see his brother’s light on, so he wasn’t sure if he was the one who put the monitor in his room. Though he wouldn’t put it past Billy to try and scare him anytime he could with anything he could get his hands on.
Behind him, a shuffling noise rang out of the tiny speaker, followed by more of Emmy’s whining. Gathering all the bravery he could, he decided to check on her to make sure she was safe.
With Mr. Fuzzy in hand, Timmy made his way towards his sister’s room. He shuffled past his parents’ room, which was right in the middle of his and Emmy’s. He glanced to the other side of the hall. The bathroom sat with its door wide open, its nightlight off as well. His eyes went to his brother’s room. No lights. No sound.
He made it to his sister’s room. Her door was slightly opened. No light shone, but Timmy could see his father was in there, standing over Emmy’s crib, whispering to her.
Timmy spoke up in a voice as quiet as he could get, not wanting to scare his dad or wake his sister, “Daddy? Is Emmy okay?”
The man looked up at him and made a low shushing sound.
Timmy nodded. “Okay, daddy. I love you.”
As quietly as he could, the boy backed up and turned down the hallway again. But right as he got to his parents’ door, an idea popped into his head.
He scuttled into the room and up to his mother’s side of the bed. “Momma,” he tugged at her shoulder, “I think Dad needs your help with Emmy. He can’t get her to stop crying.”
She groaned, barely waking up to the sound of his voice, “What do you mean, sweetie?”
“Daddy needs your help with Emmy.”
“Don’t be silly,” a yawn escaped her lips, “Your dad’s right here. And Emmy hasn’t cried all night.”
Timmy looked up at her, confused. He started to walk to the other side of the bed until he saw his father lying right beside his mother. Wasn’t he just in Emmy’s room, though?
At that moment, Timmy heard rushing footsteps go by. He ran to the hallway, seeing a big, dark figure run down the stairs.
He rushed to his sister’s room. But she wasn’t there.
He ran back to his parent’s bedside, screaming and shouting, “Emmy’s gone! Emmy’s gone!”
His parents shot out of bed and rushed into their daughter’s room.
She wasn’t there.
“Honey! Call the police!”
Timmy’s dad grabbed a bat and headed downstairs.
“Early this morning, police had found 38-year-old Tom Brown in the basement of a local family, holding their one-year-old daughter in his arms,” the newscaster said. “Apparently, Brown had been living in their basement’s ceiling for the last few months. Among the man’s possessions, they found a sleeping bag, clothes, an old backpack, various candy wrappers and cans, and a set of knives. When the police took Brown away, he merely just laughed, stating ‘I was only planning to kill them. No harm done.’ At this time, the police are preparing for a formal investigation into the case. Though all five members of the family are safe, they are still trying to figure out how this man got into their house in the first place –”
The T.V. switched off, leaving a young man in the dark. A mischievous grin had painted itself onto his face.
“Looks like my little shadow creatures are doin’ their jobs just fine. Ain’t that right, sweetie?”
Seeping from a nearby corner, a group of shadows slithered across the floor, up the couch, and around his shoulders, seeming to hug him.
“Wait until Talos hears about this. He’s going to love it!”
The shadows hugged him closer as the air filled with his own unnerving cackle.
© E.N. Chaffin 2017. All rights reserved. Any reproduction without author permission is against the copyright laws of the United States of America.