R uvi, don’t look back, but Professor Cohen is right behind us,” I whispered.

“Where?! Where?!” Ruvi shouted as he swiveled his head in every direction like a dreidel.

I knew he’d look back.

“Ooooh, he looks cross,” Ruvi whispered into my ear.

I pulled Ruvi behind a bungalow. We watched Professor Cohen pass by. He was very, very tall and very, very thin.

He wore round glasses, had a black mustache, and he was frowning, as usual.

“What’s he doing here?”

I shrugged. “Dunno. He sure wasn’t here last year. I wonder if he has children.”

“If he does, he probably makes them wear seat belts when they eat dinner!”

We giggled.

Professor Cohen wasn’t really a professor. He was our bus driver. We called him Professor, because he looked like a professor. Every day, he wore ironed shirts, pressed suits, and his shoes were always shiny like marbles. He was strict and made us wear our seat belts on the bus. Hello? Who ever heard of wearing seat belts on a school bus? I never even knew that buses had seat belts.

So we nicknamed him Professor Cohen. And here he was showing up in my bungalow colony!

“Let’s follow him,” Ruvi said.

We crept behind him. He walked and walked. We reached the last bungalow and still he walked on.

“Where’s he going?” Ruvi asked.

“Noooo!” I grabbed Ruvi’s arm. “He’s going into the creepy house! Run!”

We raced back to the safety of our bungalow and plopped down on a patch of grass.

“No way.”

The creepy house belonged to the bungalow colony, but was not really part of it. To get there, you had to push your way through lots of bushes and rotting logs. It was a creepy old hut that was once the color of the sky, but now looked like an angry storm had put it through a wash and blow. The screen door flapped and creaked. The windows were all cracked and the wood floors inside smelled moldy and sank down when you walked on them.

When we were little, Ruvi and I would hang out there. One afternoon, when we were playing in there, we somehow got locked inside. We banged on the door and yelled, but we were too far away from the bungalows to be heard.

We cried and bellowed and it got darker and darker. We were petrified. We heard weird noises coming from the kitchen, cats meowing and bizarre chirping. It took a while, but finally our parents found us. From then on, the hut was known as the “Creepy House.”

We never went inside again.

Professor Cohen was living there?

“I’m going to see if he really lives there and who he lives with.”

“No, you’re not!”

“I am too. You coming?” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 671)