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"Maniac at the door" By Thomas Stewart

Friday afternoon, just off the bus from school. How could this get fucked up? That was the small question lingering in the back of my mind when I hopped off the bus at the edge of Fern Street and sprinted the rest of the way to my house. In the driveway, Ma and Pop were heaving their suitcases into the back of the SUV.

“Hey, hon, how was school?” asked Ma, smiling despite being exhausted.

“It was cool.” I replied, rushing past them. Dad strained to shove a suitcase into the SUV. I had just made it to the door and was just about to open it when I heard Dad ask me to lend a hand. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and replied, “Comin’.”

“Thanks bud.” he said after managing to cram it in with the rest of their mountain of luggage stuffed to the gills in the back. I was turning to rush back into the house when Ma stopped me again.

“Hold on, there, Chester.” I stopped and turned around, giving her a slight look of annoyance. “Before we go, I just wanna make sure you are aware of the ground rules.” I groaned.

“Ma, for God’s sake, We’ve done this a thousand times. I already know not to throw any parties or have anybody at the house.”

“Okay, first off, watch how you talk to me. Second, don’t forget I expect your chores to be done as well when we come home this weekend.” I sighed, sucking down the urge to tell her that I’d all but committed all this shit to memory.

“Yes ma’am.”

“Good. We love you, be safe, have fun. Oh, and pizza money’s on the counter. There’s $100.00, that should be more than enough to last you till Sunday night when we come home.”

“Got it.” I was about to run off again when Ma stopped me again by clearing her throat. I looked to see her with her arms outstretched, an expectant look on her face. I made a face that said “Really, Ma?”, to which her eyebrow raised, saying “Damn right, get over here and give me a hug.” Once goodbyes were said -- all ten of them -- I was finally released to go into the house.

They pulled off and I was free. At first, I couldn’t believe it. The whole weekend, the whole house was mine. I’d turned 15 just a month before and that was when it was finally decided that I didn’t need a frickin’ babysitter, that I could be left by myself for a weekend. This was the first night they’d be testing this decision. So what’s the first fucking thing I do? Why, of course, call up my boy, Reggie.

“Yo, Reg, what’s up!”

“Nothin’ man, you?”

“Bro, I got the house to myself!”

“Bro, for real?”

“Yeah, man, folks just left.”

“Dude! Say no more, I’m comin’ right over.” He hung up after that. Obviously, I wasn’t gonna tell him guests weren’t allowed at the house. I figured as long as the house didn’t get trashed and he was out before Sunday, what was the harm? After that, I turned on the Xbox and began screwing around on GTA, typical weekend fare for me.

It was getting to be around 6:30 when the sun started going down. I noticed that Reggie still hadn’t made it to my house. I checked my phone, thinking maybe he’d sent a text or something while I was playing, when my attention was snapped by the doorbell. I sprang up and ran to the door. Looking out of the peephole, there he stood, on the porch, decked out in what looked like his “Sweet Tooth the clown” costume from Halloween -- though instead of the “Fire hair” wig, he looked bald. I smirked.

Really, Reg? I thought, pulling out my phone to call him. I called the number and waited for a moment. I watched him look down at his hand like he was looking at his phone. He didn’t answer, though. The fuck?

I tried calling again. No answer again. I frowned. Okay…

I then opened the door. “Yo, what’s up, Reg?” He didn’t say anything, instead just breathing heavily. I laughed, “Dude, really? What’s with the costume?” Nothing. I waved my hand in front of his face. Nothing. “Reg? Yo Reg, come on, man, this ain’t co--”

I stopped, noticing large stains across his chest. They were in large splotches, some scattered up to his face. The longer I looked, too, the more I noticed that his face it wasn’t a mask over his face, nor was it even “Sweet Tooth”’s design, but just black makeup around his eyes and lips over some pale white facepaint. He just kept standing there, smiling at me. Starting to get a really bad feeling about this, I decided to close the door and run into the kitchen, being careful not to be seen through the windows.

I looked on my phone again, seeing this time that there were two unread texts and a photo from Reggie.

-- “Yo, On my way. There’s this maniac looking dude, though. I think he’s following me…”

-- “Hey man… I seriously think this dude’s following me… I think he’s got a hammer with him, too, and he’s smiling @ me…”

I pulled up the photo and the face that greeted me was the same as the guy outside. That was when I ran into my bathroom and called the cops. They said they’d be to me in 15 minutes, which I spent huddled in my bathtub, praying the guy didn’t try breaking in. I was about to call Reggie again when a thought occurred to me, how’d the guy get his phone? This question was answered 5 minutes later when the police arrived.

By that time, the guy had disappeared, but not before leaving behind a souvenir, Reggie’s phone, filled with pictures of his mutilated body on the sidewalk a few houses down.

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