I shot up in bed, listening for the sound again. What had just woken me up? It was the middle of the night and everyone in the house was supposed to be asleep. But it seemed as though there was a bang someone in the house. Slowly slipping out of bed, I tiptoed over to the door, creaking it open.
Sticking my head into the hall, I looked for any signs of someone. No one was there. I closed the door and went toward my window, looking outside into the dark of the night. At first I saw nothing. Just the shadows of the trees and bushes.
But then one of those shadows moved.
As they stepped out into the streetlight, I saw that it was a person. They were standing there, facing my house, then looked up. Their face was covered by a black Masquerade mask.
My heart pounded in my chest as I backed far enough away from the window, hoping the person wouldn’t see me. I picked up my phone and dialed 9-1-1. I was not going to sit around and wait for this.
The phone rang, and someone finally answered. “9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”
“There’s someone outside my house,” I whispered. “Someone wearing a masquerade mask. They were just looking in my window.”
“Ma’am, what’s your address? I’ll send officers over there right away to make sure everything’s okay,” the woman said.
“I think he was in my house,” I explained, trying to calm my nerves. “I woke up and heard a bang. And then I didn’t see anyone in the house, but I saw him outside. I don’t know if he was inside or not, though.”
“Ma’am, what’s your address?” the woman repeated again. I gave it to her and she said, “I’m sending officers on the way.”
Looking out the window, I saw no sign of the person in the masquerade mask. Did they know I saw them?
I jumped and said, “There’s someone in the house.”
“Is anyone else in the house with you?” the woman asked.
“My brother and parents,” I said, then stopped. Lucas. Lucas said he had seen someone with a Masquerade mask out by the buses the other day. Was this the same person? If so, what would be the reason for watching us? “My brother claimed he saw someone wearing a masquerade mask out by the buses the other day after school. I thought he was making it up…”
“So you think someone has been watching you?” the woman asked.
“Something’s definitely going on downstairs.” I opened my bedroom door and peeked out into the hall again. I didn’t see anything. Goosebumps ran over my body, causing me to shiver. “I’m going to go check it out.”
“Ma’am, stay where you are,” the woman said. “It’s a better idea to stay where you’re safe.”
Ignoring her, I walked down the stairs, peeking around the corner to see if someone was there. No one. Continuing in the downstairs hallway, I turned to go into the kitchen when I was thrown to the ground.
I screamed, but the person standing before me was intimidating. The Masquerade. And gleaming in their right hand was a knife. They lunged at me, but I quickly stood up, avoiding the blade. The Masquerade grabbed a hold of me and I shrieked when they threw me into the refrigerator, knocking me down again. Masquerade jumped on top of me, forcing their hand over my mouth, and using the other hand, held the blade to my throat.
Neither of us made a sound. Even though I could see their eyes through the hole of the mask, I knew they were watching me. I wanted to struggle, but I couldn’t. They were too strong. Masquerade lifted the knife, ready to plunge it deep into my chest, when a voice said, “Stop.”
Masquerade turned around, giving me enough time to throw them off of me. I scrambled, trying to stand up, and ran over to where I saw my brother standing. Lucas. And my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw he had a gun in his hand.
“Get out of the house,” Lucas said to Masquerade. “And don’t come back again.” He stood there, looking ready to take on the world. My little brother was growing up. But what scared me was the lack of fear in his eyes. The cold, dark stare he was giving the masked figure on the other side of the room.
“Oh my God!” a voice said from the top of the stairs. Mom.
“Mom, don’t come in here,” Lucas said, refusing to take his eyes off the Masquerade. I turned to see Mom and Dad standing there, watching Lucas stand his ground. But the Masquerade wouldn’t leave.
“If you don’t leave, I’m going to shoot,” Lucas said, cocking the gun. “Three…two…”
And with no warning, Masquerade threw a stink bomb right at us. I screamed again, running away, and Lucas shot the gun. I heard screams all throughout, none of which I could make out. I couldn’t see anything and fell over something, right on my face. More gunshots rang through the house, and sirens could be heard outside.
Once outside, an EMT was talking to me, asking me questions about what happened, but I was too scared to talk. I looked over at my brother, who had a huge gash on his arm that wouldn’t stop bleeding. I heard someone mentioned “stitches.” Someone, an officer, handed me my phone, which they found on the floor inside the house.
I had one new text message.
Opening it up, the words sent more chills down my spine.
“Tell your brother to stay out of it. This is not his game to play.” -Masquerade
Looking back over at Lucas, I knew he was hiding something from me. Underneath that strength was a dark secret. And I needed to figure out what it was.