the short story project


Benjamin Mailloux

Unnatural Babysitting 

I grew up thinking that I would never babysit as a job. Living in Underford, I needed anything that I could get. I lived on Howard street, which was in the woods. The street itself was mostly abandoned, with my house and a couple others, one north of us and the other one south. I decided to try it out, this whole babysitting thing. I was not excited about it, but I knew that having some money was the best thing that a seventeen year old girl could have. 

“The Roland Family is going to need a lot of help, since when they are having another kid.” My Dad said.

“Another one?! Don’t they already have five?” My Mom asked.

My Dad nodded. 

“God bless them. I don’t think six kids in this house would be fun.” My Dad said.

My Dad was right. The three of us lived together in one house towards the end of Howard Street. The next house down from us, the Roland household, was at least fifteen to twenty minutes away by driving. Both sides of the street, besides power lines, was all thick forest. My only friend was Sarah. She lived on the last house of the street, in fact, the one north of ours. She was always here and my parents treated her as family. I finished my steak, said my goodnights, and went to bed. The first day of school was tomorrow and I had to be at the Roland’s house when school was over. 

The next day, I woke up and got ready for school. Underford High was the only high school in the area. Many kids, despite how far up we were, went to the school. Three other towns send their kids to our school because they are not as big as Underford is. The towns of Carlyne, Thellen, and Lenstir send their kids to Underford High when they are old enough. None of these towns have the funding to build high schools of their own, which is sad to me. Once when I was up, I took a shower, brushed my teeth, ate my breakfast, and packed up my bag. My Dad was already gone on business in Lenstir, which was a good hour and a half away from Underford. My Mom was sleeping on the couch and said a half asleep goodbye to me as I went out the door of my house. Howard Street snaked up in both directions as forest lined both sides of it. My house and Sarah’s were well kept houses, both painted blue and had nice windows. It was the Roland’s house that I was concerned about. I went over to the side of my house and grabbed my bike. I pulled my bike along towards the end of the driveway. Once when I got to the end of the driveway, I waited for Sarah to come down on her bike. She was always up earlier than me, but always took her time when it came to school. I saw Sarah coming around the bend, her backpack and her helmet on. Sarah’s parents gave her a new bike helmet, after it was broken. I asked my parents if I was able to take the broken one, but my Dad said that it would be better to buy it on my own than to take it from a friend. Plus, it was broken and would have not saved me if I got into an accident. Sarah pulled up to me house.

“Are you ready Claire?” Sarah asked. 

“Not really.” I said. 

Sarah smiled. 

“Then let’s go.” Sarah said. 

The both of us biked down Howard Street. Thankfully it was early in the morning and no cars were on the road. Every kid in Underford and the other towns had bikes and used them all the time. The next was cars and only adults had those. Sarah and I kept a good pace with each other, driving down the left side of the street. The trees were leaning out over the edge, trying to grab me with their branches. There was then a clearing on the right side of me and a house loomed into view. It was the Roland’s house. It was a large brick house, with three floors and large chimney on the back of it. Windows lined the front of the house and two white columns were at the front of the house. A small porch was visible to the both of us. The house itself was all quiet. No one has ever claimed to see the Roland children at all, but they were registered in the school system. Soon they had to get up and get ready. The windows were dark, meaning that the lights were not on inside, which was strange. 

“Did you get the job?” Sarah asked. 

I nodded.

“Mrs.Roland said to come by after school.” I said. 

“I see. I don’t see any cars.” Sarah said. 

She was right. The driveway was empty. Only a line of bikes on the side of the house were visible. 

“Maybe Mr and Mrs Roland already left.” I said. 

“Could be.” Sarah said. 

The two of us continued on Howard Street and passed by the Roland house. I got the feeling that I was being watched and I stopped for a second. Sarah stopped her bike.

“What is it Claire?” Sarah asked. 

I didn’t answer her right away and just kept looking at the house, scanning it and the woods behind it. I thought I saw a shape. 

“Claire?” Sarah asked. 

“It’s nothing. Come on we are going to be late.” I said, pushing my bike off the ground and continuing down Howard street. Sarah let out a sigh and followed me. After the Roland house, Howard Street was all trees until the both of us reached the stop sign at the end. The next street was Erin Street, than ran in both directions left and right. Sarah and I crossed onto Erin Street then took a right down Main Street which led to Downtown Underford. Houses were on both sides of the street, along with shops and places to park. There was not much of a Downtown anymore, but those little shops were always busy on the weekends. There was not much to do up here, so I do not blame anyone for shopping. My Mom suggested that I get a job in one of the shops, but none of them were hiring anyways. The funny thing was that only me and Sarah knew that Mrs.Roland was looking for a babysitter. No other kid in Underford was informed, just me and Sarah. I didn’t know if Sarah took the job or not, but since when she asked me, I am going to assume that she didn’t. As Sarah and I passed more houses and more shops, Underford High School came into view. It was always easy to spot because it was one of the largest buildings in town, besides the town hall, which was right across from it. Underford High was not much of a place to be honest. It was an old factory turned into a school. There were windows lining the front and sides of the school. The words “Underford High School” were in the front of it, so that everyone could see. Towards the back of the school, a parking lot with enough space for teachers to park and places for all of the kids to put their bikes. Sarah and I pulled into the parking lot, after asking a driver to stop his car and let us pass. He gave us an angry look and then drove off. 

Sarah and I always parked our bikes in the same spot, which was towards the front of the school. That way, when school was over, we were able to get on our bikes and ride home. Sarah usually didn’t go home, as she would stay over my house for awhile, then head home. Howard Street only had one streetlight, which was in between my house and Sarahs. As far as I knew, the Rolands never had a streetlight near their house. Every single kid from all four towns was here out in the back, waiting for the school bell to ring. Sarah and I never made friends with the other girls, mostly because they were rude. Sarah and I didn’t say much and the school bell rang. The first day of Sophomore year was beginning. Sarah and I walked in file with the rest of the kids and went inside. I was surprised that for the first time, Underford High was actually clean. The checkered floors were all waxed and the lockers washed. Sarah and I had our lockers next to each other as usual. There were other kids that were next to us, but we did not pay much attention to them. Sarah looked at me.

“Good luck.” Sarah said.

“Same to you.” I said.

The both of us parted ways for most of the day, until it came to lunch. At lunch, it was crowded and noisy. Sarah and I sat next to each other and talked about our days so far. Lunch ended as quick as it started and Sarah and I parted ways. The end of the day dragged on and I was so happy to reach the end of it. Sarah and I joined up at our lockers and grabbed what we needed for homework. The first day is not much, but sometimes, it can be. I was always looking around for Jack Crow. Then I saw him, coming right in our direction. He was alone, thank God, but Sarah and I didn’t want to be seen. 

“Bye.” Said Sarah as she left. 

I looked at her.

“Really?” I said.

“Yes. I will see you at your house.” Sarah said.

“Some friend.”

I turned around and it was Jack Crow. 

“Yeah, but I’m going to head home anyways.” I said.

“I bet you are.” Jack said.

“What do you want exactly?” I asked.

Jack was silent for a moment, then spoke.

“The first football game of the season is tonight. I was wondering if you were going to come?” Jack asked.

I always forget that Underford ‘s Football Team faced against our rival, Youngton, on the first day of school. 

“No I can’t. I have to go to work.” I said.

“Where do you work?” Jack asked.

Clearly he was hitting on me. Just the way he was standing and the way he was looking at me.

“I work for my Dad now, so I have to go and meet him at home.” I said.

“Ahh I see, if you change your mind, here is my number.” Jack said.

“Thanks. Bye.” I said.

I took Jack’s number and walked out of school. I got on my bike and headed back home. Thankfully I got onto Howard Street in no time. I rode my bike hard, panting as I got to the Roland’s house. I stuck Jack’s number in my pocket and never touched it again. I left my bike leaning against the side of the house and went up to the porch. A single car was in the driveway. I rang the doorbell. A women came to the door

“Hi Mrs Roland. It’s me, Claire, you asked me to babysit.” I said.

“Ahh yes. Come in.” Mrs Roland said.

I entered into the Roland house. Surprisingly, the house was clean and there was no sound of kids anywhere. Mrs Roland looked at me.

“The directions are upstairs in my room, in a locked jewelry box.” She said.

“What?” I asked again.

Mrs Roland then came closer to me and whispered in my ear.

“Whatever you do, don’t let the kids out or in. Keep the doors locked and use the gun if you have to.” Mrs Roland said.

Mrs Roland then left. I was a little scared and I dropped my backpack at the front of the door. I then went up the stairs to look for the directions that Mrs Roland laid out. Their room was right at the top of the stairs. I went inside. The bedroom was completely clean. I found the jewelry box and a key for it. I opened up the box and took out a piece of worn paper. There was only one thing on it: 

“If the kids come home, let in Billy. Don’t let in the others.”

I shivered at the note. The Roland kids went to Underford High and they should be home soon. I then went downstairs and set up a homework station for me in the kitchen. I sat at the counter and waited. . 

The doorbell rang. I went up to the door and there was a boy, about my age, standing at the door.

“You must be the babysitter. I’m Billy.” The boy said.

There was nothing I could say. He was a little ragged. He had black hair and brown eyes. His hair was a decently long and he just looked at me.

“Can I come in.” Billy said.

“Oh, yes.” I said.

I opened the door and closed it. Billy looked at me.

“Did you get the note?” Billy asked.

I nodded.

“Good keep it.” Billy said.

“Why?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you. Dad and Mom don’t want anyone to know.” Billy said.

I was starting to get suspicious.

“Why?” I asked again.

Then Billy stopped and put one finger to his mouth. He made a shushing sound. The entire house was silent and I could only hear Billy’s breathing.

“Get the guns. They are upstairs.” Billy said silently.

I nodded and headed upstairs. All was silent, except for my feet that made sounds on the stairwell. I didn’t know that Billy followed me and when I turned around, I almost screamed. He put his hand over my mouth quickly.

“Sorry.” He said releasing his hand.

“You should be.” I snapped.

“Quiet.” Billy said.

I followed him and I didn’t understand why I had to be quiet all the time. It was not even late, almost 6 o’clock. Why be quiet at a time like this. Billy went into his parents room and went underneath the bed. He pulled out a hunting rifle and a pistol for me.

“Have you used one of these?” He asked.

“No. Why?” I asked.

“Ok, so you release the safety here, load bullets into the clip, put the clip through here, lock it in, and fire. Got it?” Billy said.

“Yes, but why?” I asked again, getting annoyed. 

Then a knocking came at the door. Billy tensed up. He gave me the pistol.

“Come.” Billy said.

He grabbed the hunting rifle and I followed him back downstairs. At the door, was another kid. I guessed he was Billy’s brother.

“Let me in Billy.”

“You know I can’t Sam.” Billy said.

“Let me in!” Sam shouted.

“No!” Billy said, pointing the rifle at Sam.

Then Sam turned into something that I have never seen before. He was an ugly green shape, with teeth sticking out. Warts covered his body and saliva dripped down.

“Get back you Goblin!” Billy shouted.

The Sam-Goblin lunged for the door, but Billy shot at the creature. The bullet passed through the Goblin and it ran away. My heart was beating out of my chest.

“You shot your brother!” I shouted.

“He isn’t anymore.” Billy said, closing the door.

I was going to ask why, but more sounds were coming from the woods.

“Help me close the back door and the windows.” Billy said.

Billy and I closed up the back door as another green shape slammed into the door.

“That’s Jenny.” Billy said.

“I can tell.” I said.

Billy huffed and went over to the windows, locking all the window panes. Sounds of snarls and grunts came from the outside. I looked at Billy.

“Why are your siblings like this?” I asked.

Billy sighed, then spoke.

“My parents refused to sell the house to a stranger from another state. He then cursed the house, saying that all kids after would become Goblins, slaves to his will, until the house is sold.” Billy said.

I couldn’t believe it.

“Is there a way to reverse the curse?” I asked.

Billy shook his head.

“No, that’s why my parents are having another kid. They believe that the curse will go away.” Billy said.

“How do we beat them, your siblings?” I asked.

“We just hunker down and wait for them to leave.” Billy said.

Then a Goblin came flying through the window and broke it. I screamed as it landed right next to me. I unloaded the pistol and the Goblin fell down before me. Billy was impressed. I was too. 

“You got Jeremy.” Billy said.

“Is he dead?” I asked.

The green Goblin shape shook and then a boy appeared where the dead Goblin was. Billy went down and listened to his breathing.

“Nope, but he looks to be back to normal.” Billy said.

“What the hell happened?” Jeremy asked as he shot up.

Billy fell back a little, shocked.

“You were a Goblin, but Claire saved you.” Billy said.

Sounds came from outside as two more Goblins came in. 

“It’s Tim. Get upstairs.” Billy said.

The Tim-Goblin was the biggest one. Billy fired his hunting rifle at the Goblins and they scattered back. Then a light came into the room. The Goblins fled the house as red and blue lights flashed from outside. Billy, Jeremy, and I watched as police officers came in, followed by Jack Crow.

“Good job son, thanks for calling.” 

It was Mr Crow, the Chief of Police. Next came in Mr and Mrs Roland.

Mr Crow looked at me and Billy.

“I’m glad to see that you two followed the note.” He said, with a smile. 

I was in shock. After tonight, I would now never babysit again.

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