Short Story

June 5, 2008
By Kieran Corrigan, Havertown, PA

Russ jumped up from his bed, the noise from his alarm clock startled him. He walked over to his mirror, “I don’t think I’ve ever looked right without at hat on,” Russ mumbled to himself. He popped on his black and white flat brimmed Tigers hat. He looked at his face for a second, “now I look like normal,” Russ thought. Russ had a very square face that slimmed down once it got to his chin. He had always had a rather thick neck. He also noted how large his ears looked since he got a haircut. “Wow, I look like Dumbo,” Russ murmured to himself. Russ’s nose was wide and rounded at the tip, just like his father’s.
Russ made his way over to the calendar hanging on the door in his room. “December 21, only 4 day until Christmas and 9 until my birthday,” said Russ. He was very excited about this upcoming birthday because he was going to be 16. His Mom and Dad promised to take him to the DMV to get permit the day of his birthday.
Russ stayed in the clothes he slept in as he slowly walked down his dirty shag carpeted stairs. He got to the kitchen and grabbed a Pop-Tart out of the wooden cabinet next to the black grime covered oven. “When is the last time anyone has cleaned that thing, it has its own life forms growing on it ,” commented Russ. He looked around his house for his family members. The rooms were all eerily quiet. He went to his mom and dads’ room to check if they were still lying in bed, they weren’t. Then he went to his brother Jack’s room, he wasn’t there either. From Jack’s window Russ could see that the car was still in the driveway. Frantically he searched for his other brother and his 3 other sisters, none were inside the house. Russ then called all of them on their cell phones, none of them answered. “This is the most ridiculous thing that has happened in my life ,” Russ exclaimed. He decided that it would be best if he went inside and waited for them. As he sat on the couch Russ noticed that his whole house was in disarray. It was just filth in the kitchen but in the living room there was a chair overturned in the corner. “This place is a warzone,” Russ thought. He was now frantic, it was his first day of winter vacation and he had no clue where anyone in his family was.
Russ went to check his mail box. The mailbox was black with white writing that read “1203” and “The Tangerines”. Russ knew that if he panicked then the situation would just get worse. Russ tried to not think about nobody being home and just sat down and watched T.V. Russ watched T.V and played video games all day. When it was dinner time he was really worried about where his family went. He just decided to get some money and walk to the McDonalds down the street. Russ ate his meal and sat down on his couch until it was time for him to go to bed. He slept until about 11 o’clock. He decided to look and see if his family was home yet. Still nobody was at his house and still nobody picked up their phone.
Russ decided that the best thing for him to do today was to call the police. He called and explained his situation. An officer arrived at his house in a few minutes. When the officer checked out Russ’s house he noticed that there was a pair of skid marks on the driveway. The officer called in a few other cops to investigate it. two more cars came in with two cops in each car. When they came out the obvious leader of them introduced himself. The officer said his name was officer Stevens and was going to head the investigation. “He’s an absolute monster,” Russ thought to himself. His voice was very calm and soothing. He went to the marks and noticed that they were from different tires then the ones on Russ’s car. He said they were the tires of a large truck. He told Russ to stay inside and keep all the doors and windows locked until they found out where his family was.

Russ went inside, stunned at the thought that his family could have been taken away in the middle of the night. He sat down on his couch for another day of T.V and video games when he noticed the blue flashing light coming from his neighbor’s basement. Russ walked outside to see if he could tell what was going on in the basement. He could hear a very loud noise like a power tool, than there was a noise like a smothered scream. Russ’s stomach turned at the thought he had. He looked at the truck parked in the garage, “that thing is a monster,” Russ thought. He ran to the front of their house. He stopped and thought about it, if his family was in there then why were there tire tracks in his driveway. He pushed the thought out of his mind and walked up to the porch. He was very cautious as he walked. The neighbors had scared him ever since they had moved in. When they first came to the neighborhood his whole family went to greet him. He let them in but he was extremely creepy. Almost all the lights in the house were out and he had all the blinds covered. He had them in the house but said that he was working on a big project in the basement and that he had to get back to it. Russ remembered how everyone in his family left with an eerie chill running down their spines. Russ opened the front door. He walked through the uncarpeted floor that led directly to the kitchen. Russ stopped at the basement door. He heard footsteps coming up the steps. Russ scrambled and hid in the closet right outside the kitchen. Russ looked through the crack in the door. He saw his creepy neighbor Mr. Jenkins emerge from the basement door. He had a slight smirk on his face. Russ would have usually thought of it as a smile but he knew that he had never seen a smile like that in his life before. Then the oddest thing that Russ had ever seen happened. Mr. Jenkins walked up to the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room and walked through it. He had to be a ghost Russ thought. It was too strange now. Russ was frantic sitting in the closet. He was so frantic that he tripped on a broom. Mr. Jenkins had heard it and started to walk over towards the closet. Russ stood paralyzed in fear. He knew Mr. Jenkins had seen him. Mr. Jenkins walked up to the door and stopped, he opened the door slowly. Looking up Russ saw Mr. Jenkins smiling. “You shouldn’t be afraid Russ,” Mr. Jenkins said. “Why not I just saw you walk through that wall,” Russ replied. “Let me show you something Russ,” Mr. Jenkins said. Afraid of what Mr. Jenkins might do if he tried to run Russ followed him to his basement. When he got down he was shocked at what he saw. Russ’s whole family was sitting on the couch watching a huge television. “Wow” exclaimed Russ, “That must be the biggest T.V. in the world”. “Have you guys been down here this whole time?” asked Russ. “Yeah, we’re sorry we left you in the dark about this whole thing,” Russ’s dad replied. “So what happened?” Russ asked. “The truth is that Mr. Jenkins is my brother,” Russ’s dad answered. “So he is my Uncle?” Russ asked. “Yes,” Russ’s mother replied. “What a relief,” Russ said as he let out a deep breath. “But how can you walk through walls,” Russ asked Mr. Jenkins. “He can because he’s a ghost,” Russ’s father replied grimly. Russ had to sit and think about what he had heard for a minute. His family left him alone to watch the television. Russ watched the screen, it was a movie about a family at a carnival. Russ went upstairs to talk to everyone. They explained that Mr. Jenkins real name was Derek Tangerine. He was in a chemical accident that altered his DNA. He had the powers of a ghost but he was still alive. Russ was stunned to hear about it. “That explains everything but the Monstrous tracks in our driveway. “That’s easy Russ,” said his uncle Derek, “I’m a reckless driver.” The whole family laughed in unison.

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