3rd Place-Halloween Story Contest: “Through the Window” by Jillian Verzwyvelt

3rd Place-Halloween Story Contest:

He keeps disappearing at night. My brother, Tom. Mother and Father don’t believe me when I tell them what I hear and what I see. They say that I’m imagining it and that it’s all in my head. But I know what I see every night through the window. I see Tom. Outside. In the dark street. Alone. And then he’s gone! Well, it’s not exactly like he just disappears though. It’s complicated and hard to explain. It’s more like he’s there, but not. If that makes sense.

Every night since the first time I noticed Tom gone from his room and on the street, I would wake Mother and Father and take them to his empty bed to try to catch him while he was away. When we would get to his room, though, his bed was never empty, and Tom was never the one in it…but they didn’t see that.

“Laura,” they would say to me, “stop bothering us with your childish fantasies. You’re a big girl now.”

Mother and Father chose to believe their eyes instead of their daughter. They refused to see that the thing lying in Tom’s bed wasn’t really him. Anyone else could have felt the body and noticed the lifelessness in it. Why wouldn’t they listen to me?

“But, Mother I –”

“Enough, Laura. Go to bed.”

Without words, I would march and pout, as a naughty child sometimes does, back to my room. I would await morning hoping that Tom would not return so I could catch him in the act, but I was always mistaken.

Each morning, without fail, he would arise from his bed and walk out of his room as if he had been there the entire night. Of course I tried questioning him about his evening strolls, but he would return my inquisitions with comments of confusion and annoyance.

“Where were you last night, Tom? I saw you outside. IT was in your bed again.”

“I’ve told you before, Laura. I never left my room. Stop badgering me with your childish accusations. Grow up a bit, won’t ya?”

Everyone was the same – Mother, Father, Tom – the only thing they could believe was that I was just a silly child with a runaway imagination.

Then everything changed…

One night, as I was watching outside the window for Tom, I became bored and began to breath onto the chilled window and watch it fog up. I then drew little faces through the fog and waited for them to disappear. As I was waiting for one of my faces to disappear I saw Tom outside through the foggy window.

Tom looked different. He seemed scared and sad, and he wasn’t as…“here”… as he normally was. Then, he did something he had never done before. He looked at me! He turned his back towards the street and looked up at my window acknowledging my presence. My eyes grew wide as I watched him lift his arm and point to my window. I then noticed the window begin to fog up again but not from my own breath. Letters began to appear followed by backwards words, and I was soon able to decipher the message.

help me

Before I knew what was happening, a man, with eyes like fire and a presence that made the flowers around him wilt, quickly appeared and grabbed Tom by the arm. Unable to free himself, my brother turned to him and began to cry. The man, creature, or whatever it was, seemed not to notice. Instead of watching his crying, struggling victim, he looked towards me. I quickly clamped my hands over my mouth in an attempt to restrain my scream. With my heart beating far beyond its normal pace, I jumped off of the windowsill and sat down trying to hide by curling my legs into my chest. I tried as best as I could to slow and control my breathing. In through my nose and out through my mouth. But I couldn’t do it. I was terrorized by the image of whatever was outside my window holding my brother.

After what seemed like hours, I finally managed to somewhat control my breathing and decided to take another look. I rolled over onto my hands and knees and slowly lifted my head just enough to peer outside through the window. It was gone, but so was Tom. With a sigh of both relief and fear, I sank back down and turned around only to see the thing that I dreaded most at that moment standing immediately above me clutching Tom with his mouth and hands bound by rags. The last thing I remember is bursting into a fit of hysterics and calling for my brother…

…then my world turned black.