Another Piece of the Puzzle
When I was young, I lived in a mobile home park. It was a wonderful place not unlike Disneyland, that is, if you replaced the cute cartoon characters with meth and the rides with arsons. It was a fascinating little social bubble, where nearly every married couple consisted of a morbidly obese wife and a skinny, geeky husband. This is a phenomenon that I have labeled "Jack Sprat Syndrome."
Our home life there was interesting. Possums would sometimes run into the house through some sort of crawlspace, the location of which I was never able to ascertain. My sister used to tell me that the ghost of an old woman would visit her at night, sitting on the edge of her bed and talking to her. I never saw any ghosts, but the walls of my room were laden with toxic mold. My lungs are still haunted by those abundant spores.
One Sunday morning, my mother went to go get the newspaper, leaving my sister and I home alone for a few minutes. I was about ten years old, which would have made my sister maybe seven. Anyway, shortly after my mother departed, there was a knock on the door. The knock was heavy and insistent. It was accompanied by a deep, gravelly voice moaning, "Open the door, little boy." I would do no such thing.
The knock quickly escalated into a heavy pound. The door was visibly shaking, and actually caving slightly inwards due to its shoddy construction. The voice kept repeating, "Open the door, little boy," over and over, its volume increasing with the intensity of the pounds. Regardless of volume, I was not going to be persuaded to open the door, though it seemed that the door was eventually going to open one way or another. I took my sister into my parents' room, and we hid underneath their bed. We were both crying and I was hoping to God that my mom would come home and scare away whoever was at the door and that he would not hurt her and that we would not die that day.
The pounding and the voice stopped abruptly. Moments later, my mom came in the house with the newspaper and some orange juice. My sister and I hugged her, bawling. We told her all about the incident, but she didn't seem all that concerned. This was very suspicious, so I asked her if it had been a joke that she had pulled on us. She swore up and down to us that she didn't do it and sort of brushed the whole thing off. I suppose I should have found it odd how cavalier her attitude about the whole thing was, but frankly, I was too thrilled to be alive and un-kidnapped to question it all that much.
A decade or so later, my mom finally admitted that the entire incident had been a joke she was playing. After that revelation, she always became angry whenever the topic was brought up, so it has long been relegated to the dropped conversations file. In retrospect, it was kind of funny, I suppose.