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haunted-houseZara and Jaden were holding hands and walking down the hill towards their home. It was getting late. Suddenly, Jaden looked back and started running towards the black house. He loved playing trick and treat and never got tired of it. Zara knew that he wanted to knock on the door once more to see if anybody would open it this time but she was too tired to accompany him. Her treat bag was empty and she wondered what her friends would say. As she stood there watching him run up the hill, she remembered what her mother had said to her. Zara was not supposed to leave her little brother alone, even for a minute.

She dragged her feet and started following Jaden. Together they stepped into the porch and looked around. No sign of anyone. Jaden knocked on the door…once…twice…thrice! No response. She grabbed his hand and started pulling him back. He turned around to walk away and kicked the door with the back of his foot. The door flung open and they could see the inside of the house. It was dark.

They stood at the door sticking their necks inside. THUD! Something fell and they heard a shrieking sound as if someone was in pain. Jaden gripped Zara’s hand. He always did that when he was scared. He told her he wanted to go home. She waited for another minute and decided to take him home. Just then she heard it again. The faint sound of a person seeking help.

They stepped inside and searched two rooms. The third room did not have a door. A torn curtain hung loosely. Zara had left the front door open and the wind gently swayed the curtain. She saw something on the floor.

Zara could only see the silver hair. She was scared to go in but she remembered what her teacher had told her. Never walk away from anyone who needs help. She stood there for a minute wondering what to do. The window was open and she could see the rain outside. Was the old lady trying to close the window? Did she live alone in this house? Why wasn’t anyone around to help her?

Zara walked slowly towards the lady and bent over to see her face. Blood from a small cut had covered one side of her wrinkled face and eye. Suddenly the eyes flung opened and Zara found the old woman staring at her. She screamed and moved back but the lady did not move. Jaden who was sobbing till now was calling out loudly for his mom. He wanted to get out of the place but was too scared to go without Zara. He kept calling her back.

The old lady looked tired and weak. Zara reached out and tried to lift her. She was frail and light. The old lady let Zara help her into a chair. She plonked in it and did not move. The children offered her water from their bottle. She stared at them but never uttered a word. Just as Zara bent down to take her stuff, the lady moved her little finger and pointed towards a bag in the corner of the room. Zara reached out and opened it. It was a treat bag with a note… For Zara and Jaden!