Why Couldn’t They Just Watch Shrek?

by Eavan Anderson, age 12
Why Couldn’t They Just Watch Shrek? When Eavan was five, she was scared of a lot of things, such as zombies. Now, she is scared of different things, such as climate change. She lives and writes in Brooklyn.

“‘What are you watching? Are you watching Shrek?’ I asked.
‘No. We’re watching this thing about zombies,’ Nat said.
‘What’s zombies?’ I asked.
‘It’s like when somebody dies, but then they come back to life. And they’re all bloody and gross and have arms falling off of them and want to eat your brains!’ Talia said, trying to scare me.
I snuck a peek at the screen. There was scary music and a hand coming out of the ground.”

My name is Tate. I’m five years old. I have a big sister named Talia. She’s fourteen years old. Last night, Talia had a sleepover with her friends Ellie and Nat. I like Ellie and Nat. I think they probably like me more than Talia, because she’s boring and mean. I think they probably only had a sleepover with Talia so they could hang out with me.

I decided to be nice to Ellie and Nat. I was going to ask them to stop watching their scary movie with Talia and watch Shrek with me instead. So, I went into Talia’s room.

“Hi, Ellie! Hi, Nat!” I said.

“Go away, Tate,” Talia said. See? I told you Talia was boring and mean.

“What are you watching? Are you watching Shrek?” I asked.

“No. We’re watching this thing about zombies,” Nat said.

“What’s zombies?” I asked.

“It’s like when somebody dies, but then they come back to life. And they’re all bloody and gross and have arms falling off of them and want to eat your brains!” Talia said, trying to scare me.

I snuck a peek at the screen. There was scary music and a hand coming out of the ground.

What I did next was not my proudest moment. I screamed and ran away.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want a zombie to eat my brains. I wanted Mommy and Daddy. But Talia and her friends were still watching scary movies in the living room, and if I went to get Mommy and Daddy, they would see, and Talia would make fun of me.

I decided to scream as loud as I could instead. Mommy and Daddy would run in, and Talia would probably think I was dying. She would be sorry she had been so mean to me.

So I screamed.

Somebody shadowy and big ran into my room fast. It was Daddy. Probably. It was hard to tell.

The big shadowy thing dropped something. The thing was long and thin. It was an arm! Talia had said that zombies had arms falling off of them!

“Tate, honey, are you okay?” That was Daddy’s voice. Daddy had arms falling off of him! Daddy was a zombie!

Then he turned on the light. I was confused for a second, because he still had both arms. I looked at the floor to see what he had dropped. It was a little too long and a little too thin to be an arm. It was the broom that sat on the other side of my door.

“Yes, Daddy, I’m okay,” I said.

“Why did you scream like that?” Daddy asked. “You scared me!”

“No reason,” I said.

“Okay, Tate-bug. Don’t do that again, okay?”

“Okay,” I said, and then I went to sleep.

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