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Jr. Tales: Dark Secrets

Y. Bromberg

“Scaredy-cat,” Chavie said, shaking her head. “What do you think you’re going to find out? That there are ghosts in the house?” She laughed

Thursday, February 02, 2017

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I ’m convinced that something is roaming around my house. At six every evening, the lights go off in the house. It starts with a flicker, the chandelier bulbs in the dining room start blinking on and off, and then the kitchen lights start buzzing until BOOM! All the electricity in the house shuts down and total blackness swallows up my normally brightly lit and cozy home.

The strangest thing about it is, exactly five minutes later the electricity is restored and the lights come back on! My parents tell me it’s probably because of the construction taking place down the block on the telephone wires, but that doesn’t explain why different objects in the house get moved around or go missing during those five minutes.

Yesterday, for example, I froze when the lights went off, not daring to breathe, and when they came back on, two chairs in the kitchen were knocked over and a pile of aluminum pans on top of the refrigerator had been thrown across the floor.

“What are you doing, Yossi?” my older sister Chavie asked as I walked around the house muttering under my breath one evening. She was curled up on the living room couch, flipping through a new book she’d received as a Chanukah present.

“I’m trying to remember how the house looks like now, so that when the blackout comes I’ll be able to see anything that was moved out of place,” I responded, slightly blushing.

“Scaredy-cat,” Chavie said, shaking her head. “What do you think you’re going to find out? That there are ghosts in the house?” She laughed.

“Oh, very funny,” I grumbled. I glanced at the front page of her book and froze. The cover depicted a magician covering his face with a cloak and the title read, “101 Tricks of Magic and The Art of Invisibility!”

“Maybe you’re the one moving things around!” I said, eyeing her with sudden suspicion. “Is that one of the tricks in your book?”

“Maybe....” Chavie responded with a toothy grin. “Boo!”

I clenched my fists and resolved to keep tabs on Chavie when the blackout started. The clock in the dining room showed that it was three minutes to six. I made my way to the back of the house where my little red-headed twin brothers were playing in their room.

“Who said you could play with the markers, you little rascals?” I said, laughing as the five-year-old twins looked up at me with cheeks streaked with colorful ink from the markers in their grubby fists. “Mommy and Tatty come home in 20 minutes, so you’d better put those away and wash your hands quickly!”

Avi and Akiva scrambled to the bathroom to wash off the evidence of their mischief as I watched in amusement.

“Meow....” Something soft and furry rubbed against my leg and I glanced down. Mr. Fluffy, the old, overweight cat we were watching for our neighbors for a week, was trying to get a good scratch and maybe a cat treat.

I scratched Mr. Fluffy between the ears as he purred and pressed himself harder against my leg.

“Sorry, Mr. Fluffy, I can’t feed you right this second, I need to finish mapping out the hou—”

Suddenly it happened. The hallway light flared brightly, then buzzed loudly before shutting off in a flash. I stood still in the pitch blackness, straining my ears for any sounds. I didn’t hear a single footstep, only Mr. Fluffy’s fur as it brushed against my pants.

I took a deep breath and forced myself to walk toward the front of the house.

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