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The Door

Tonto sails through the air, landing in a Buckeye tree before it could plummet back to earth. "Dang it," I yelled out loud while looking over at The Lone Ranger. The poor guy was already missing his mask because I couldn't wait to reveal his identity when Mom brought him home. Now thanks to me, he also lacks a sidekick. "I guess we'll have to wait for him to fall out, Kemosabe," I said before escorting my trusty ranger out of the woods. His foot was a bit deformed thanks to our fluffy calico, Muffin. I learned to put my valuables safely away in a drawer following the terrible incident.

Whenever wind whistled through the trees and up the hill, it sounded like something was attempting to speak to me. My imagination allowed me to believe it was the voice of Indians who once set up camp in the area. I could hear them laughing and dancing in the breeze as it swirled over blades of grass, providing welcome relief from the Tennessee heat.

After returning home, I placed my Lone Ranger next to my Spidey comic and Stretch Armstrong before sliding the drawer shut. I caught a whiff of the fried chicken cooking in the kitchen before stepping outside to smell the freshly cut lawn. It's odd, but I'm not sure which odor is more pleasing. With a few minutes left, before dinner, I decided to play a little more. The bus ride from school gave me plenty of time to do my homework and the weekend is ahead of me, so I have to make the most of it. One of my brother's old golf balls was partially buried in the ground under a hedge in the front yard. It's where I kept my arrowhead stash, so I knew it was there waiting for me. I plucked it from the hiding spot tossing it into the air as I approached the house. After winding up, I pitched the ball onto the roof and watched it drop to the next level, enter the gutter, and roll from the spout back into my hand. "Chris, you are going to break a window," came from inside as I returned the golf ball and headed in for dinner.

After we ate, I took my bath as fast as possible because I didn't want to miss The ABC Friday Night Movie. I dried off and hurried to my bedroom just in time to watch Curse Of The Black Widow. The only light in my room came from the tiny black and white television set on top of my chest of drawers. I got up to use the bathroom, relieved that a commercial gave me a break from the suspense. I'd left my pants lying around and decided it was best to pick them up before getting lectured. An arrowhead slipped from my pocket and fell to the floor. I must have picked it up earlier when I was outside. I dropped the relic on my dresser and continued watching tv.

By the end of the movie, I was frightened to death. The television would stay on tonight because there was no way I'd drift off otherwise. Pretty strange sounds come from an old house when it's quiet, and everyone is sleeping. Dad always told me it was nothing to worry about because older buildings settle and make noise. His words didn't help much as I made sure every inch of my body was entirely under the covers. Even with the sound of voices coming from the television, I could hear knocking and banging upstairs while faint rattling emerged from the hallway outside my door. It was difficult reminding myself it was only the house settling. "It'll be okay if I can fall asleep," I thought as the bumps and pops grew faint, and I nodded off.

Jumping from my bed in confusion, I frantically looked around while gathering my senses. My dreams were interrupted by white noise when the station signed off for the evening. Relieved, I got up to turn the volume down so I could get some rest. The soft glow from my RCA guided my steps back to the safety of my makeshift cocoon. Before reaching my destination, a strange vibration rung from the floor entered through my feet and made its way to my ears. Frozen in complete silence, I did my best to catch a breath while the worst-case scenarios flashed in my head. I heard it again! This time the unwelcomed jangle weakened my knees and forced me to sit on the edge of my mattress. Light crept halfway up the wall exposing the doorknob. With my insides shaking, I stared into the darkness waiting for the horrible racket to reemerge. My pulse finally began to return to normal right before I saw it.

(Hear me tell the story)

At first, the doorknob shook a bit; then, it began to turn. The sound reminded me of two stones rubbing together underwater. My muscles stopped working like I'd looked into the eyes of Medusa and turned to granite. Again the knob moved but with more force this time. All I could do was wait for whatever was on the other side to enter and show me its face. Some time passed before I worked up enough courage to stand and approach the monster. "Okay, on three, one-two," and before I could say three, it turned again! Without hesitation, I grabbed it and flung the door open. Raising my arm to cover my face, I peered into the dark hallway, revealing nothing. Peeking out to look around the corner, I could see the steps leading upstairs with no one in sight. Slamming the door shut, I leaped back into bed and wrapped myself up in the blanket once again.

Somehow I managed to get a little sleep, and I was thankful to be still alive to complain about how tired I was. After brushing my teeth, I noticed Muffin standing in front of my bedroom entrance. She stood on her hind legs and used her paws to rattle my doorknob. The cat ran off when she saw me approach. Shaking my head in embarrassment, I realized I had discovered the terror that haunted me a few hours earlier. Now that life made sense again, I decided to grab my arrowhead and return it to my collection outside. As I strolled toward my dresser, hairs raised on the back of my neck, and I noticed the antique was missing. The Tonto I'd gotten stuck in the tree yesterday was sitting in its place. Something came into my room last night to return my toy and to take what belonged to them.

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