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Two young children, a boy and girl. Neither could be older than five or six and both blond like the Swedish Bikini Team. They live next door and were playing ball on the street in front of their house while I sat on our front porch reading a book. I could hear them talking and laughing, as kids will do; kicking, shouting, footsteps…

…and suddenly, silence.

Turning in the direction I expected them to be, I was initially taken aback by the sight of them, lurking at the end of our driveway. There they stood, like two wily horror movie villains, with Charlie’s car standing between us, their faces tinted green from the glare of the vehicle’s back window. No sound, just a static and suspicious gaze.

They looked like something out of Children of the Corn.

“What the hell are they doing?” I thought to myself.

Their vacant stares then seemed to develop into concern followed by an argument of sorts which went something like this:

“We have to get the ball.”

You get the ball.”

“No, you get it!”

Finally, without explanation or agreement, they both turned away from our driveway and ran home.

“Did what I think happen, just happen?” I wondered.

Did these two little blond kids accidentally kick their ball into my dad’s yard and were too afraid to retrieve it? Is this what Charlie has become? The scary old man in the creepy house with the un-mowed lawn? When I’m not here, do the neighborhood children dare each other to ring our doorbell and run away? I had to investigate to be sure. (more…)

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