Art by Lori Michelle Adams
Jenny had managed to find a job. She had found a babysitting job on a flyer in the mall. She really needed one, since her mother, as a secretary, didn’t have enough money to pay the rent. It’s a really tough time right now, so she pulled a receipt out of her pocket and borrowed a pen from her friend, Sarah, and wrote down the address, the street name and phone number.
“Thanks,” she said as she handed the pen back to Sarah.
Sarah grabbed the pen and stuffed it in her pocket. “No prob,” she said. She turned her head and looked into Jenny’s eyes. “Are you sure?”
“Sure what?” asked Jenny.
“Sure enough to try out for the job.”
“Well, I’m still not so sure. I’ll call them, though.”
Sarah adjusted the bag she held tight in her hand. “Well, look at the consequences. The kid might be a monster, they may not pay you much, the house might not be clean…” Her voice trailed off.
All these thoughts made Jenny more nervous. She tried to think of the good things that might happen… nope. She couldn’t find any. “Let me just do my job,” she said.
“Fine,” Sarah replied. She leaned back on her leg and looked around the mall. Something caught her eye. “Oh, look!” she said, pointing. Jenny followed to where she was pointing. “Want to go to The Gap?”
“Sure,” said Jenny. They trotted off with each other to the cloths store.
“Alright, we’ll be back soon,” said Mrs. Wesley, as she hurried to the door. “Johnson!” she shouted to her husband.
“I’m coming,” he said as he stumbled down the stairs. “Remember, Jack is in his room. We’ll be back soon–”
“Oh, she’ll be fine,” said Mrs. Wesley as she tugged on Mr. Wesley’s tuxedo. Jenny just stood there, watching them be in such a hurry. “We’ll be back,” she said as she shut the door. Some parents, thought Jenny.
Jenny slowly walked upstairs to the son’s bedroom. I haven’t even seen him, she thought. What if he really is a monster? Waiting on two hind legs, ready to leap out and attack me…
Her imagination took over. Just settle down, she thought. Eight dollars an hour. Not bad.
Jenny reached his room. Okay, she thought. Here we go. She slightly knocked on the door. No answer. She twisted the door knob and poked her head inside. She felt a flood of relief. Only a baby, she thought.
The baby sat on the floor with some Hot Wheels cars sitting in front of him. He grabbed two cars with each of his hands and smashed them together, making a sound effect with his mouth. How cute, Jenny thought.
She calmly walked up to Jack and lifted him up by her arms. She then set him down on his bed, put the covers over his chest and put his green teddy bear at his side, under the blankets also. The baby just stared at her without making a sound.
“Rock, oh my baby, on the tree top,” she sang in a quiet voice. “When the wind blows, the cradle will fall.” Jack’s eyes dozed. He woke back up and dozed again. His eyelids were heavy and his eyes were cold. She continued to sing, until Jack was finally asleep. She smiled, congratulating herself for not having to do the diapers or handle crying.
She tip toed back outside of the room, not making a single sound. She pulled down the door handle and closed the door and started tip toeing down the stairs. They pay me to do this? She thought. I could do this all summer!
She plopped down onto the couch and switched on the television. She lowered it, trying to not wake the baby.
The phone rang which made her jump. She immediately picked it up, afraid that it might wake the baby. “Hello? Wesley residence,” she said.
“Hey, what’s up?” said Sarah at the end of the line.
“Nothing, really,” replied Jenny.
“How’s the babysitting thing going?”
“Oh, good. It’s only a baby and I just put him to bed. Wait a minute, how did you get this number?” asked Jenny.
Sarah leaned back on her chair. “I called your mom; she said you might be busy. But I thought I’d might call at a later time.”
“You mean at eleven thirty five? Look, I think it’s not a good idea for you to call me right now, I’m kind of busy…”
“Watching TV, I see,” said Sarah. “Well, I’m coming over.”
“No, don’t!” shouted Jenny. She shuddered, hoping that she did not wake the baby.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back here before the Wesley’s come back,” said Sarah.
Jenny sighed. “Fine. But only for a few minutes.”
“Like always,” said Sarah. They both hung up. Oh no, thought Jenny. I hope the Wesley’s don’t come back.
The phone rang. It startled Jenny. She picked up the phone. “Hello? Wesley residence,” she said.
All she heard was breathing on the line. Then a man's voice came on the line. “I’m going to get you, Jenny. You’ll know what pain really feels like!” it shouted in a hoarse whisper. Jenny felt fright come upon her.
“What are you doing? What do you want you–” she didn’t know what to do. Could it just be a crank call from some punky guy?
“No more. You know exactly what I mean. Just wait. Oh, just wait,” said the man. Jenny was too frightened to say anything. She just hung up the phone. Fear invaded her body. Who was that? She thought. How did he know my name? At least Sarah’s coming over. She can help me out and keep me company.
But Jenny was still in shock. She sat there, frozen, staring at the phone. What will happen to her? She decided to go and check the baby. That wouldn’t be so hard, she thought.
She got up and went to the stairs and looked up at the dark, dark place. What am I even doing here? She thought. She felt a shiver run up and down her spine. She decided she’d go back to the den and watch TV a little longer.
Jenny sat back down on the couch. I’d better call John, she thought. He’d know what to do.
She picked up the phone and dialed his number. After about three rings, he picked up. “Hello?” he said.
“It’s Jenny. I’m at the Wesley’s place. Can you come over?”
“Oh, Jenny! Sure. But do you know the directions?” Jenny told him to get a pen and pencil. She then told him to write down the address, the street name and other instructions. “I’ll be right over. Thanks.”
She hung up. Everything will be all right, she thought to herself. I’m going to be here with all my friends.
The door bell rang and it made her jump with fright. She got up and slowly walked towards the door. She paused once there. “Hello?” she asked.
“It’s me, Sarah,” Jenny heard.
“Come on in,” said Jenny. She opened the door, letting Sarah in.
Sarah walked inside wearing a thick jacket. “Jeez, it’s cold out there,” she said.
“Tell me about it.”
Sarah walked into the den and sat down on an armchair. “Nice place you got here,” she said.
“Do you want a soda?” asked Jenny.
Jenny walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. “I invited John over, too,” said Jenny as she grabbed the coke.
“Really? Why?” asked Sarah across the house.
“Shhh. The baby’s asleep,” said Jenny. “But you’ll never believe this. While I was watching TV, the phone rang and I picked it up. There was a man on the line and he said he knows where I am. He even knew my name!” A chill went up her spine as she said that. She hoped that her voice didn’t sound as scared.
“Wow,” said Sarah. Jenny handed a soda can to Sarah as she sat down on the couch. “Is that why you invited him over?”
“Yeah,” said Jenny. Just then, the doorbell rang. “I’ll get that. It’s probably John.” She walked over to the front door and opened it. No one was there. “John?”
Almost immediately, a masked man jumped out from the beneath the bushes, carrying a knife. “I’ll kill you!” shouted the man.
“Ahhh!” screamed Jenny. Her voice echoed through the neighborhood.
The man jabbed his knife into Jenny. She dropped down on the floor, suffering.
Sarah ran into the foyer. “Ahhh!” she screamed at the sight of her friend laying on the floor with a pool of blood spreading across the floor. “Who are you!”
The man didn’t answer. He just walked over to her. “Somebody, help!” she shouted. Before the man could grab her, she sprinted and ran to the stairs. She took a peek back and she noticed that the man was right behind her. “Help!!!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.
She started to run up the stairs, but the man grabbed her by the ankle and yanked her back. He was unbelievably strong.
Sarah saw John at the door. He carried an empty wine bottle. “John, help!” She said. She tried to fight back, but the man got her in a trapped position.
John’s eyes were filled with fright. He slowly lifted up the bottle and then slammed it down on the man’s head. The bottle broke and the man fell on the floor, unconscious. They watched the man for a couple of seconds, which seemed forever.
Sarah smiled. John just looked at the man. “Thank you!” shouted Sarah as she swung her arms around John. John lightly hugged her back.
Upstairs, they heard the baby crying.
Rock, oh my baby,
On the tree top,
Parent's not home,
the killer won't stop.