Little Jamey watched with awe as the hypnotic flashes of red and blue flickered across the front living room window before they suddenly vanished out of sight. He'd been told to stay inside by his father, saying that the adults had "grown-up" stuff to talk about outside. It was something he'd heard a lot before. He remembered asking his mom about why he wasn't allowed to talk with the grown ups sometimes. She had smiled at him in her kind and loving way she always smiled at him. It was the kind of smile that would always cheer him up, even when he got really sad sometimes. The kind that made him feel like everything was happy in the world.
"They just want to shelter you from all of the bad things in the world sweety, that's all. It's nothing to be upset about." She'd said to him that day.
So, he waited patiently on their living room sofa like a good little boy. Just like his mom had taught him.
It was a dark night outside and cold too. It always got cold in the fall where they lived. He pulled his blanket up closer to him, hoping to ward off the night's chill. His eyes wandered from the front window, back to the sliding glass door that led out to the porch. It was from there that he got the best look out at the night sky. He frowned when he noticed there was no moon. He often wondered why it did that, hide every so often from him. Maybe the moon was afraid too? Tonight was Halloween night, a night that he usually enjoyed like all the other little kids on their street. He very much loved the mystique and fun of dressing up as some strange creature of the night, going door to door trying to scare the inhabitants and then being rewarded with candy. But not tonight. Sadly...not tonight.
The front door opened and his dad came back inside the house. He looked tired and a little worried, but he changed his face as soon as he started approaching the living room couch. He wore that look that all adults give their kids when they don't want them to know about something bad. Little Jamey knew that look well too. His dad crouched down to his height while he laid on the couch, putting on a fake smile.
"Hey champ," he started, "I talked to the nice police officers and they're gonna start lookin' for mommy as soon as they can. I'm sure they'll find her soon." He said, ruffling his hair playfully like he always did. "I know it's a little late, but we can still go trick-or-treating if you want. I'm sure there's still plenty out there for ya!"
Little Jamey smiled. He knew his dad was only trying to make him feel better. "No thanks dad...I'm feeling a little tired. I think it's bedtime for me." He said, rubbing his eyes and producing a fake yawn. It was more for his dad than him.
His dad chuckled. "Alright son," He said, moving in and wrapping his arms around him tightly. "Goodnight champ. I love you."
He hugged his dad back just as hard. "I love you too daddy."
And with that, his dad kissed him on the forehead and headed back to his and mom's room, switching off the lights as he passed the switch. The room was then cloaked in darkness and silence. The only sound came from the wind rustling the leaves of the two trees in their backyard, but even that was muffled by the slider door. It was alright though. Little Jamey didn't mind. He wasn't scared of the dark. He never had been. Now, he waited. Waited for the TV in his parent room to turn on, waited the next hour until it shut off, and waited the next few minutes after that until he heard it. His dad's light snore.
It was time.
Little Jamey rose from his curled up spot on the couch, taking the blanket with him. He walked slowly and quietly down the small hallway that led towards the bedrooms. To his right lie his own bedroom and his parents room was straight ahead, but these were not the only rooms of the hallway. There was one more, to the right of his dad's, and behind that door, was the basement. He had to stand on his tippie toes to reach the doorknob, but with a little effort, he managed to open it quietly. The door revealed a dense expanse of inky blackness and a small draft rose up to blow against his face. It was much colder down there. He welcomed it.
As he descended the staircase, one step at a time, Little Jamey smiled to himself. He'd been very happy that his daddy believed him when he said his mommy had gone back to work shortly before he got home. And after four full hours of not hearing from her, he called the police. He searched the house too, but not here. Not down in the dark, cold, basement.
Once he stepped off the last step, he made his way past the washer and drier and on towards the only closet down here. Again, he stood on his tippie toes to reach the knob and when he opened the door...there she was. Mommy. She sat there, slumped up against the wall, greeting him with a wonderfully twisted expression of horror even though her eyes were now blank. Her skin had turned a beautiful tone of pale that contrasted well against her Red Riding Hood costume, her hands clutching the kitchen knife that'd been thrust into her gut.
Little Jamey walked in and sat down next to her, throwing the blanket over them both. "Happy Halloween Mommy. You look perfect tonight." He said as he snuggled up against her cold skin. "I can't wait until tomorrow...when daddy joins us down here."