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A Hallowe'en story...

It was a dark and stormy night (isn't it always?!) and the house was filled with the sound of thunder and of those mysterious things that go bump in the night. For Toby, a six-year-old who was convinced he was the Incredible Hulk, this was nothing! His folks had gone out to some Hallowe'en party with their cronies and he had been left with, horror of horrors, the babysitter! This, to Toby, was worse than any monster or ghoul. He was a big boy now, he even went to "big school" and just the thought of a babysitter embarrassed and angered him but he didn't have an option and he didn't even bother to argue with his folks this time because he knew that it was futile. There was an up side to having the sitter though, and that was staying up late to watch his favourite horror movies because the sitter always wanted to watch them herself and she couldn't see a reason why he couldn't watch them also, besides, if he was watching them with her then he wasn't getting himself into trouble elsewhere, right? Right.

And so the evening saw Toby and his sitter watching the classics of the horror genre. What they didn't realise was that every movie made them more and more afraid. They watched "Night of the Living Dead", "Halloween", "Scream" and the first "Nightmare on Elm Street". Slowly every noise around the house became more and more sinister. A dripping tap was, in Toby's mind, blood dripping from a corpse and a branch tapping a window was a skeletal hand trying to get some attention. Fear.

Suddenly, like a sunbeam from another planet, a beam of light pierced the darkness of the living room which had previously only been lighted by the telelvision. Toby and his sitter froze. They had no idea where the mysterious light had come from and they were not going to hang around to find out! Toby ran for cover, finding sanctuary in the hall closet and the sitter ran through the kitchen and into the laundry room.

A strange rumbling could now be heard from the area from which the strange light had come from and Toby was afraid. The seconds felt like hours and the minutes felt like days. His life flashed before his eyes, it didn't take long but it scared him anyway. He thought about all the bad things he had done and he decided that he was not going to do any more bad things if God would be so kind as to let him live. Just then a loud knocking came from the front door and Toby jumped. That the mystery creature had knocked did not surprise him because everyone knew that ghouls and ghosts could not enter a house uninvited! But that did not mean that it was safe, oh no! Maybe this one didn't need an invitation but was only warning the residents of its arrival, or maybe the sitter didn't know and thought it was okay to open the door! All kinds of horrible thoughts streamed through Toby's mind.

A creak, and a scraping sound, then the door opened and Toby sat shivering in the closet. Footsteps came towards the closet and Toby was almost prostrate with fear. Then it happened! The closet door was flung wide and the mystery creature was revealed. Toby yelped and tried to hide himself in the tangle of winter coats, but to no avail for he knew the monster had seen him and that it was tickets.

He slowly opened his eyes and what he saw amazed him for it was not al all what he had suspected. It was his mother, still dressed as Cleopatra, removing her coat and talking to the sitter who was now laughing off the scare she had been given. None of them had noticed Toby yet and he breathed a sigh of relief. He snuck out of the closet and rushed for the entrance to the living room where he turned and pretended to enter the hall quite casually from the comfort of the living room. He smiled to himself, he had made it, ego intact!

Unbeknown to Toby, however, his mother and the sitter had both noticed his sneaky dash out of the hall. It had become one of those little stories that mothers like to tell at important occasions.