The last four days had been entirely normal. I learned to get more comfortable in our new house. I also noticed that the Harmon’s weren’t around all that often. Mr. Harmon stayed in his room or in his workplace, while Mrs. Harmon spent most of her time in the garden or in her room cracking up at some talk shows.
I’ve been starting to feel lonely lately. I mean, can you blame me? I wasn’t in school yet, no one lived close to the Harmon’s, and I had no one to do anything with. I couldn’t even play hide and seek! Even Caleb avoided me. He spent most of his time playing with his toys or his scooter, which he found out was electric. Whenever he saw Mr. Harmon, he’d get excited and would follow him around. Mr. Harmon seemed to like that because he would take Caleb’s hand and they would walk around and talk.
Bored out of my mind, I decided to go to the garden. Mrs. Harmon was there watering the plants. She looked exhausted. I went over to her and asked her if she needed help.
“Why thank you,” she said, standing up and wiping her forehead. “This is the last one. Boy, even though I love flowers, I sometimes regret buying and growing so many.”
I smiled. “Yeah, it looks pretty tiring.”
She sat the flower sprinkler on the ground and wiped the dirt off of her hands using a rag that she carried on her shoulder.
“I wish Mr. Harmon would let us hire someone to do this, but he’s so worried about people stealing from him. We’ve had some occasions like that,” she said.
Okay. In my, mind I was thinking, they have someone…right? I needed to ask because I already met their gardener, Rose. She was here, watering the plants and talking to me. Even Caleb saw her.
“I thought you had a gardener,” I said, realizing my voice shook as I spoke. “I mean, Caleb and I met her. She was out here watering the plants like you do. She said her name was Rosemary.”
Mrs. Harmon looked at me like she was unsure if she should believe me or not. She opened her mouth to speak then closed it and nodded. “Rosemary, huh? She was our old gardener. She’s been doing that for some time. I think it’s time for a restraining order,” she said with a laugh.
I laughed too. “Wow.” I felt better knowing that now.
“If anyone ever comes here, just come inside ASAP,” she said in a serious tone. “Don’t talk to them. People often come here, and I can’t say if they’re all friendly or not. We have some priceless things in this house so if you ever see anyone around just come on inside and let us know. Got it, peanut?”
My mom used to call me peanut too. My small smile was replaced with a frown. I scratched my hair a bit then nodded.
“You okay?” she asked, placing her hand on my shoulder.
“I think so,” I replied. “I was wondering if we would start school in September. I think I’m just a bit lonely and need some friends.”
“Of course you will start school. Mr. Harmon already hired some teachers for you and Caleb. You two will be home-schooled,” she said.
Ew, I thought. I did not want to be homeschooled.
“But…but what about having friends?” I argued.
“Well, no one lives close enough. Besides, friends aren’t going to help you be successful in life. A good education will,” she said, looking at the house. She then turned her gaze back to me.
My eyes widened at her statement. It upset me more than it should have. That was a bunch of nonsense. Sadly, before I could say anything, she started toward the house.
“Gotta start dinner now, darling,” she called to me before walking inside the house.
I woke up in the middle of the night. I was sitting on a chair and in front of me was my window. The outside seemed to be zoomed in at me. The moon was a huge ball of white perfection. The light from the moon made the garden glow. It was truly beautiful.
All of a sudden, a man walked into the garden. He was dragging a woman around by her hair. Her screams were terribly loud. She struggled to get away from him, trying to pry his hands off of her. He dropped her to the ground and started beating her face with a rock he had picked up off the ground. He yelled words of hatred, but I could only hear her screaming. She screamed and screamed as he beat the life out of her.
Then it was over.
At least, I thought it was over. The man looked into the window that I was sitting in front of. My eyes widened, and my heart started racing. He stood up and balled his hands into fists. That was when I saw his face. It was Mr. Harmon. His angry face stared at my terrified face through the window.
“Why won’t you be a part of us!” he yelled. He started to yell words of hatred and ran back toward the house until I couldn’t see him anymore.
I couldn’t seem to sit up. I could only look out the window. My body sat there, completely paralyzed. I yelled for help, but my voice was muffled and unclear for some reason. Somewhere behind me, I heard footsteps approaching me. I felt the presence of someone behind me. The figure walked out in front of me. It wasn’t Mr. Harmon. It was a girl.
I couldn’t seem to sit up. I could only look out the window. My body sat there, completely paralyzed. I yelled for help, but my voice was muffled and unclear for some reason. Somewhere behind me, I heard footsteps approaching me. I felt the presence of someone behind me. The figure walked out in front of me. It wasn’t Mr. Harmon. It was a girl. She stood there, mouthing words that I couldn’t make out.
I can’t explain how horrified I was. There was a time in my life where I never would have imagined something like this happening. I could tell that it was a girl, I was sure of that but get this. Her hair was ripped out in patches. There were some long, bald, and short strands of hair. Her face had some serious deep slashes where the blood dripped out of them and onto the floor. Her body, well I couldn’t see it due to the darkness of my room.
By now, I was starting to feel my body loosen from the paralysis. The girl was still mouthing words to me. As soon I realized I could move, I got up from the chair. I ran outside of my room and into the hallway. I bumped into a silhouette about my size. I looked behind me to find the girl slowly walking toward me.
Someone yelled my name from downstairs. It was Mr. Harmon. So far, I was dealing with a girl, a silhouette and an angry, crazy Mr. Harmon. I closed my eyes because, well what else could I do?
I woke up in my bed looking around like crazy. The sun had just risen, and everything in my room was normal. There was sweat on my forehead. My heart felt heavy. I told myself over and over again that it was just a dream. But it felt so real. Too real. However, I was thankful it was just a dream. I tried to shake it off, but my horror quickly became a reality.
In my room, in front of the window, was a chair. As I edged toward the chair from, I saw the footprints on the floor begin to fade. The footprints weren’t the only thing fading. The blood was being sucked into the floor.
And just like that, the footprints and the blood are completely gone, leaving behind no sign of their presence.
Hide & Seek © Copyright Jakayla Toney.