As my feet crush the autumn leaves, I see his ghostly pale face in the light of the full moon and twinkling stars. Strains of stained tears sit below his droopy eyes. Ripped jeans sit on the house’s front steps.
As I get closer and closer to him, I can’t help but ask, “Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick about you. I’m sorry for what I said. Can you ever forgive me?”
It was Halloween night, and I was going to dread this outing with my little brother, Max, so much. Being forced to go trick-or-treating with my eight-year-old brother was pure torture to any sixteen year old. I would rather sit at home and watch horror movies than go with him, but of course, mom dragged me into doing so.
I remember my loud screams and desperate pleading, “Please mom. I need to go to Tiffany’s party. All my friends are going to be there. Please mom, please.”
“No, Samantha. Your father and I are going to the mayor’s Halloween bash tonight,” she said wearily.
“ ‘But mom’ nothing! Your going to spend Halloween with Max and that’s final!”
Now here I am. Stuck with him while my friends have the time of their lives.
Max was dressed in his usual zombie costume with fake blood smeared across his face and clothing while wearing a severely severed old jeans and T-shirt. In his right hand holds a pumpkin basket filled with Hershey’s chocolate bars, suckers, hard candy, and other delicious goodies.
My brother and I are getting along just fine until he skids to a stop in front of Mr. Banks’s house. Hazel eyes scan it up and down.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, noticing the scared look plastered on his face. “Come on, go knock on the door.”
“No, I don’t want to go up to that house. Look how scary it is.”
“ It’s all fake. Those are just fake spider decorations. Those are carved pumpkins. Those are fake vampires in fake cof-”
“Well, what about that fog, huh?”
“That fog is made by a fog machine,” I sneer.
“I don’t wanna go.”
Oh come on, don’t be such a baby. You wouldn’t want me telling all your friends that you’re a scaredy cat, would ya?”
“I wouldn’t care. I bet they’re scared too.”
“All right, well I’m going to get the candy for you. Just wait right there,” I say, snatching his basket.
“Noooo!” He howls. “ Stop it you monster! Stop it!”
“Whatever,” I snap as I jam my thumb into the doorbell.
“Hello Mr. Banks. I’m getting candy for my little brother. He’s too frightened to come up to the house,” I say in a sweet tone.
“Oh, that’s fine, but I must ask, where is your little brother?” he replies in a clam manner.
“That’s ridiculous,” I turn around and sure enough, he’s not there. “Oh my gosh! Where is he?”
I turn back to Mr. Banks and reply, “Um, I must be leaving now Mr. banks. Happy Halloween!”
My heart’s pounding as I run down the sidewalk yelling Max’s name like a banshee.
"What have I done? I’ve lost Max. I’ll never be able to find him. Mom and dad are going to kill me. I need to find Max," I panic, "Okay, Samantha. Stay sane. Think. Where are Max’s favorite places to go to? He likes to go to Seven Eleven. Go there."
I run like Usain bolt in the Olympics. The world around me is a blur. I can only catch glimpses through the strands of my straight, brown hair of young girls in witch costumes with witch brooms, toilet papered trees, senior citizens sitting on lawn chairs, and candy wrappers littering the floor.
When I finally reach Seven Eleven, I burst in.
“Hello. Have you seen a little boy this tall with hazel eyes and straight hair that covers one fourths of his face? He also had a zombie costume on.”
“Yes indeed,” responds the cashier. “He ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza along with a blue raspberry slushee. And his costume… Bravo! I loved how real it looked and how ama-“
“I don’t care what he ordered or how cool he looked you, you, you nitwit! I just wanna know where he went. What direction did you see him go?”
The cashier’s cheeks will soon be fire truck red. When his cheeks finally reach that color, his fists are clenched into tight balls. Through gritted teeth he snaps, “Listen to me young lady, you don’t come in my store and tell me I’m a nitwit when I have done absolutely, positively nothing to you. Gosh! You teenagers and your puzzling actions and outbursts. Losing your little brother on Halloween gives you no right to call me a nitwit.”
“I’m…I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m worried. Please, please tell me where he went.”
“Fine. I’m only telling you because of your apology. Right before your brother left, I asked him where he was going because you don’t let an unsupervised eight year old out on the streets without knowing where he’s going. It would break one of my rules for being a responsible adult. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. He said he was going to the arcade.”
“Thank you! Thank you!” I clasp the cashier’s hand and shake it vigorously.
I push past the glass doors and fly down the sidewalk without paying much attention to the boys in scary masks carrying plastic ninja swords, tombstones dug into the ground, and cute Chihuahuas in costumes.
When I run into the arcade, I hurriedly look among the millions of gamers playing Pac man, Mrs. Pac man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, etc. I try to look over the heads of the ones eating chili cheese fries, cheese glazed nachos, mustard and ketchup covered hot dogs, and greasy pizzas. But there’s no sign of Max anywhere.
As I keep on with my hunt for Max, I spot his best friend, Eric.
“Hey! Hey Eric!” I shout, arm waving in the air. “ Have you seen Max here by any chance?”
“Yeah. He left ten minutes ago. Why do you ask?” he says as a grin spreads over his face. “Did you lose him?”
“What? No! I was coming back from Tif’s party. Max was supposed to meet me here.”
“Isn’t it a little early for a high school party to end. It’s only nine thirty.”
“What? Nine thirty! Mom is going to kill me. I have to be home by this time already. Ugh! Whatever! Do you just know where he went?”
“Nope. Bye! Gotta go. Gotta get home on time,” he teases.
I leave the arcade and continue my Max hunt.
It’s ten o’ clock and I still haven’t found Max. I might as well go home. With my head bent down, I trudge there.
As my feet crush the autumn leaves, I see his ghostly pale face in the light of the full moon and twinkling stars. Strains of stained tears sit below his droopy eyes. Ripped jeans sit on our house’s steps.
As I get closer and closer to him, I can't help but ask, "Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick about you. I’m sorry for what I said. Can you ever forgive me?”
“Do you really mean that?” he sniffs.
“I do. I was so scared that I would never see you again that I told the cashier at Seven Eleven he was a nitwit,” I smile.
His face brightens. “Okay. I forgive you. Mom had a talk with me about how you’re going through changes and you’ll be very emotional. And…I’m sorry. For running away.”
“I forgive you but never say anything about how I’m going through changes in public. Please.”
All of a sudden, Dad’s car pulls into the driveway.
“Hey kids! What are you doing out here when it’s so late? It’s ten o’ clock you know.”
“We were just waiting for you and mom,” I lie and secretly wink at Max.
“Yup,” Max joins in. “Weren’t you guys supposed to be here at nine thirty?”
“It got a little wild,” Mom responds.
"So kiddo. How was trick-or-treating with your big sis?” dad asks.
“Yeah. How was it Max? Did you get a lot of candy?” Mom joins in.
“Good. It was a wild adventure. And mom. I think we’ll be going to the dentist very soon.”
“Yeah. He can feed the whole town with how much candy he got,” I chirp.
“Come on my little comedians. Let’s go inside,” mom and dad say while squeezing our arms.