By: Dawn DeBraal

"Oh, those silly, silly parents. Sending their helpless children out in the night for cheap dime store candies. They wrap them in costumes that are dangerous. They get caught in their bikes or start on fire near the lit pumpkins. The eye-holes on the masks are too small, the nose holes even smaller make it difficult to breathe, the costumes too bulky to run and hide, and when those children end up being left behind at a creepers house, who do they blame? Surely, not themselves. They seek out the town weirdo. It is what they did tonight. Little Billy Melcher was missing. He has to be at Old Man Conway's house they say. Coming up the walk with lighted torches and pitchforks. They are foolish. Yes, you may come in and look around. They won't find Billy Melcher in my house. They may find him else where though. Do they really think I am foolish enough to hide a missing boy in my house? Especially when I was caught doing that years ago. I served my sentence, I paid for my crime. It was a shame they had found the boy before I had a chance to do my experiments. He was unharmed, just scared. I had plenty of time to think about it. All the years I sat behind those bars. They called me a pervert. The things the bad men in jail did to me were unspeakable. They thought I was a pervert. Well five years in prison showed me new perverted ways. Things I would have never thought to do. Foolishly, the town had sent me to Pervert University. And now with an honorary degree, I was ready to show off my talents. They searched high and low in my house and then finding nothing they moved on. There were other perverts in the neighborhood. Just look on your home computer, parents. We all congregate as close as we legally can to your schools and churches. Sure we're registered, but that is the quickest way to get the parents to relax. Stay away from 323 Maple Street, that is where the pervert lives, they tell their children. So they walk across the street. But across the street is another pervert that just hasn't been convicted yet. He could be your local school teacher, or cop, or minister. People you feel you should be able to trust. We wear many disguises. We wear several costumes and many hats. We are chameleons, blending in with our background. You don't see us. You don't even notice us. The boy is on my property. You have looked through my house and the outbuildings. You tried to rough me up, but I know my rights. Little Billy is not ten feet from you. I chuckle at the irony. The sheriff and her deputies talk down to me as I rock back and forth on the rocking chair. I didn't even have my porch light on. I am not allowed, but they think I lured children up my walkway. The sheriff drones on and on. I remain calm knowing that Billy is buried under the porch. I rock on the loosened boards that I will pry open when they leave, when it's safe, when they have moved on to the next creep. Billy is still a live, at least I hope he's alive. If he isn't this whole escapade has been a waste of time. How can I perform my experiments on a dead child? It just wouldn't do. So please Sheriff Armbruster, leave my porch, leave my property. I am not afraid of you or the town. I am older than the town. My kind has been around since the beginning of time. We are the horror stories told to children to make them behave. The Brothers Grimm took from me my stories, publishing them in a book. I see the frustration in their faces. They don't want to walk away. They suspect I am hiding something from them, and they are correct. I glance at my watch. He has enough air for another couple of hours. We are still good. I see there shoulders slumping. They aren't quite as proud and haughty as they were when they pulled up to my house tonight. I play the meek and scared mouse to their condescending cat. They are so easily fooled. They topple things over and empty out my drawers. What they are looking for they will not find inside. I just let them do what they wish. Cooperation is my middle name. Finally they pull away. The last strobing light moves down the street. I wait just a tad more. No one is left in the yard. I got to my kitchen and take out my butter knife. I pry up the boards under the rocking chair of my front porch. I'm pretty wiry, only need four of them opened. I sneak down into the porch digging as fast as I can with my hands. The boy is still out. The sedative has kept him sleeping. The oxygen tank mask is still supplying him with air. Turning off the oxygen and throwing him over my shoulder, I heave him up through the hole, pushing him through the opening in the porch. He is much heavier asleep than he was awake. Standing on the porch trying to drag him into the house, he is being pulled across the threshold. Come into my parlor, says the spider to the fly. I laugh a little. wondering how long it will take for the sedative to wear off. I'd only given him half a dose, hoping that isn't too much. Closing the door behind me, I leave him lay on the floor to get my tools. I have thought about this day for a long time, trying to calm myself down. Not rushing it. I don't want it to be over too quickly. Returning to the living room. The boy is gone! Where is he? I run around the house looking for him. It can't be, he was sedated. He can't have gotten away so quickly. I am angry and cry out in frustration.


I can't believe my ears. It was a trap. They pretended to leave my house so I would expose myself, and foolishly played into their hands. How could I fall for the oldest trick in the book? Underestimated their skill. Well, guess I am going back to Pervert University, seems I'm going to be taking a graduate class in it. I'm sure to be an expert when I get out in oh, ten or twelve years. Putting my hands out as they cuff me. Billy Melcher is sleeping on my couch. So sweet so innocent. Such a loss.


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