Houses on May 28th

by Reagan Prior, age 16
Houses on May 28th Reagan Prior is a sophomore at Clarkstown South High School. She writes fiction and poetry and especially likes science fiction. She recently found out that badminton used to be called shuttlecock.

“Mary went upstairs later that night to check on Jamie. She knocked on his door quietly. ‘Jamie… are you there? It’s Mommy.’ Mary jiggled the handle and the door was locked.There was no sound. ‘Jamie… I’m sorry I yelled at you earlier.’ Still, no reply came.”

Mary went upstairs later that night to check on Jamie. She knocked on his door quietly.

“Jamie… are you there? It’s Mommy.” Mary jiggled the handle and the door was locked.

There was no sound. “Jamie… I’m sorry I yelled at you earlier.”

Still, no reply came.

“Jamie, listen. How about we go to the arcade? You and Lisa would have much more fun there than picking out a toy from a store.”

Mary went downstairs and got the emergency key they kept in case somebody accidentally locked themselves in a room. She unlocked the door and the room was empty. Everything was completely untouched. Peter’s books were all in order by genre on his shelf and the globe he got for his birthday was in its regular spot.

“Peter!” Mary yelled.

Peter came running up the stairs.

“Mary, what’s wrong?” Peter was out of breath, although lately he’d been trying to work out more.

“Jamie’s gone! He’s not in his room!”

“I’m sure he’s in the house somewhere. You check the bathrooms and I’ll check Lisa’s room.”

Minutes later, Peter and Mary met up again in front of Jamie’s room.

“He’s not in the bathrooms!”

“Lisa’s gone too!”

“Where do you think they went?” Mary asked.

“The arcade!” Peter replied quickly.

“No, you ass! They wouldn’t be able to get to the arcade by foot.”

“Maybe they went exploring. You know how much Jamie loves exploring. And how courageous Lisa is.”

“You get the car keys and I’ll get some flashlights and we’ll go!” Mary said.

Together, they left to find their children.

 

***

“Jamie, are you sure this is a good idea?” Lisa asked.

They were walking in the woods behind their house, and it was about half past one. A slight breeze blew through the air and the sky was clear.

“I think it’s a great idea.” Jamie answered.

“We’re gonna get in trouble.”

“No, we’ll be home before Mom and Dad wake up.”

“Are you sure,  Jamie?”

Jamie paused. Lisa’s flashlight was flickering. The bushes were rustling and a small figure stepped out from behind them.

“Good morning, kiddos.” It was a boy about eleven years old, the same age as Jamie. He had blue eyes like the ocean and chocolate colored hair.

“I’m the same age as you, Scott,” Jamie said.

Scott laughed. “It’s a figure of speech.”

Lisa looked grumpy. She reminded Jamie of the floating rainclouds over grouchy people’s heads in cartoons.

“Why the long face, Lisa?” Scott teased.

“Scott, I’m eight years old. Don’t call me kiddo.”

“Alright. If it really bothers you guys that much, I won’t do it.”

“Scott, where are we even going?” Jamie asked.

Scott smiled and his eyes lit up.

“It’s this old house that I live next to. It’s really cool and I wanted to explore it with you guys.”

“I’ve got two water bottles, my flashlight, a pack of batteries I stole from the kitchen cabinet, and a box of Girl Scout cookies.”

“Yep, that’s everything we need to survive,” Jamie said sarcastically.

“What kind are they?” Scott asked.

Lisa looked inside her yellow backpack.

“Shortbreads,” she said.

“Goddamnit. I wish they were Thin Mints.”

The kids continued walking to the house. They approached train tracks that smelled of rust after rain, which was strange because it hadn’t rained that night or the day before.

“Jamie, please don’t go on the train tracks,” Lisa said.

“Why not?” Jamie said.

“I don’t want anything to happen. I have a really bad feeling.”

“What do you think, Scott?”

Scott froze. “I think you should listen to your sister. For some reason I think she’s right.”

“Are you really sure, Lisa?”

“Yes.”

Jamie got off the tracks and they continued to walk along them. It had been about five minutes when Lisa turned around and they noticed a light in the distance.

“Jamie, do you see that?” Lisa asked.

“What?” Jamie said and then turned around. He saw the light.

Scott saw it too. “It’s a train. And it’s getting faster.”

Scott was right. The kids could hear the sound of the train huffing and puffing. The train whisked by them.

“Lisa, if I had stayed on those train tracks, I don’t even want to think about what would have happened,” Jamie said.

“You made a good call,” Scott said.

“Are there trains on this track often?” Jamie asked.

“Not usually… ” Scott said, and trailed off.

The house was the size of a mansion with tiles coming off the roof and a mailbox practically grasping to hang onto its pole. It was covered with vines and the bushes were overgrown. On the porch was a cracked light and a wooden rocking chair. There was also a small driveway, which was strange, because the house was in the middle of the woods.

“This looks like a shack,” Lisa said.

“Scott. What. Is. This?” Jamie asked.

“A house.”  

“You know, I never really noticed that.”

“Are we gonna go in or what?” Lisa said.
Together they walked onto the porch, and Scott opened the door. The first thing they saw were crimson colored stairs.

“Where do you guys wanna go?” Scott asked, with a grin.

“Let’s go into the bedrooms,” Jamie said.

Scott led them upstairs and there were three bedrooms. The first one they entered seemed to be a guest bedroom. It was pretty bare and simple with only a bed and a dresser. The second room was a child’s room. There was a small bed with pale, pink blankets and pale, yellow pillows. There was a shelf with books, dolls, and records. Jamie reached up and picked one up off the shelf.

“Scott, do these still work?”

“When I found this place two weeks ago they did.”

Jamie went up to the record player on a table and put on a record. It was jazz music with a man singing about how he missed somebody.

Scott picked up one of the dolls. It had a crack in its cheek. The doll had green eyes and brown hair. It had on a dark blue dress with lace falling off. Its eyes seemed to glint in the flashlight’s beam. He shuddered.

Lisa looked at the books on the shelf. A Wrinkle in Time, The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Secret Garden, and Peter Pan. Lisa looked around, and she got a sickening feeling.

“Let’s go into another room,” Lisa said. They went into the next bedroom, which must have been the parent’s bedroom. There was a bed with green covers and white pillows. There was a table with old makeup products, and the mirror above was chipped. There was also a large wardrobe with a drawer hanging open.

“Hey, guys. Look at this,” Jamie said, and pulled out a large book from the drawer.

Scott frowned. “That’s strange. When I was here, that drawer wasn’t open.”

Scott hesitantly sat down next to Jamie and Lisa did the same. The book happened to be a photo album. The first picture was of a young man and woman smiling. The man was a sailor. The next photo was with the same man and woman, but she was kissing his cheek. Another photo was their wedding and there were many photos of what must have been aunts and uncles and cousins. Another photo was the house. The next one was the couple sitting by the fireplace in the living room, and the woman had a rounded belly. The photo after was a baby. The next photo was the couple playing with a female toddler. There were no other photos after that.

“You know what’s weird?” Lisa asked.

“What?” Jamie said.

“None of the pictures are labeled,” Lisa said.
“This is really creepy,” Scott said.

Lisa looked at the mirror, her eyes widened in fear.

“Lisa, what’s wrong?!” Jamie cried.

“Did you turn the record player off?” Lisa asked.

“No. Why?”

“Because it stopped playing.”

They all went silent.

“We should leave,” Lisa said.

“Yeah. Make sure you have all your stuff,” Jamie said.  

Together, the kids got up and closed the door behind them. They quietly walked down the hall as though they were trying not to disturb a sleeping dragon.

Suddenly, there was a thumping sound coming from the child’s room. It was getting louder and louder.

“Guys. Quick. Go!” Scott cried. They ran as fast as they could. The thumping sound got louder. When Jamie and Lisa got out of the house and into the woods, they stopped to relax.

“Where’s Scott?” Jamie asked.

“Scott! Scott! Where are you?!” Lisa yelled. But no matter how loud they yelled and how far they searched, Scott was nowhere to be found.

 

***

“Where’s Mom and Dad?” Lisa’s quivering voice came from upstairs.

Jamie and Lisa had arrived home after running all the way through the forest, back to their house. As soon as they got to their lawn, Lisa was filled with a burst of energy and she ran through the door, all the way upstairs. She quickly realized that her parents weren’t there.

“I don’t know!” Jamie said. “Maybe they went shopping?”

“Why would they go shopping at five in the morning?” Lisa asked.

“Right. Alright,” Jamie said, trying to calm himself down.

The front door flew open loudly and in came their mom and dad.

“Jamie! Lisa! Thank God. We’ve been looking for you for hours!” Peter said.

Mary hugged both of her kids. “What were you doing out this early in the morning? We were going to call the police!”

“Mommy, Scott’s gone!” Lisa cried.

“What do you mean?” Peter asked.

Jamie began to explain. He talked about his plan to go exploring with Scott and the house he took them into. He described the fright they got and how they left Scott. Jamie hung his head low.

“I’ll call the cops,” said their dad. “He’s probably still stuck in there.”

Jamie and Lisa were sent to their rooms as a punishment. They fell asleep with hope in their heart because they knew their dear friend would be found.

 

***

The police went and searched the house, but they found nothing. Scott’s parents were devastated. So were Jamie and Lisa. A giant search was led to find Scott. They searched for five months. At the end of the fifth month, a scrap of paper was found in the house which was believed to be in Scott’s handwriting. It said: May 28th. Nobody could figure what that meant.

A funeral was held in Scott’s name in November. Jamie and Lisa thought that the date meant something, and that Scott was still alive somewhere. They kept this between themselves.

 

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