her story begins now...
Everyone says it’s my fault the children died. But if they’d been there, they would know that I never had the chance to save those kids.
I tightly folded my arms as I strolled down the street. The air lightly nibbled at my skin. It was October and the steel-gray Nebraska sky threatened a thunderstorm. I was in an old neighborhood near the University of Nebraska. The neighborhood was dreary but beautiful and full of Victorian mansions. I was babysitting for a fabulously wealthy young couple. They had two children: Max, who was three years old, and Lily, who was five. Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donahue, were attending a raunchy musical at the Lied, and they had offered to pay me 200 dollars to watch their kids. I had gladly accepted, even though I didn’t know the family well.
I reached the house and I marveled at its beauty. It was freshly coated in creamy white paint, the porch swing slowly rocked back and forth, and the light from inside glowed through the dark storm windows. The lawn was slowly browning, dotted with cherubic garden gnomes, and full of violets and petunias which were beginning to die.
I was warmly welcomed into their home with hugs that made me feel as if I had known the family forever. The parents gave me simple instructions for the care of the children: Make dinner, play a few games, and put the kids to bed at nine o’clock before retiring to library to labor over my school assignments. If I needed anything, I could reach the Mr. and Mrs. Donahue on their cell phone.
The children were sweet, adorable, respectful and easy to care for. Max and Lily were quiet and well behaved, providing a quiet, relaxing break from the rowdy children who lived across the street from me. When I asked what they wanted for dinner, they requested macaroni and cheese. I was relieved that they had asked for something so simple and easy. After dinner, I blew bubbles with them and played Candy Land. I helped the children brush their teeth before putting them to bed at nine o’clock. Then I went to the downstairs library.
First, I read the newspaper, hoping to find an interesting story that I could use for my Current Events presentation in American History. The front page told the story of a serial killer who invaded homes while dressed in costume.
It wasn’t until then that I noticed a life-size clown statue in the corner. It was the creepiest thing I had ever seen. His smile was so wide that it seemed as though his cheekbones could tear through his skin at any moment. His eyes were beady and seemed to peer into my soul. I wondered why Mr. and Mrs. Donahue would keep something so disturbing in their library. I shook my head and begun working on my Algebra 2 homework.
As I studied, I kept getting distracted by the creepy clown statue. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was watching me. I thought that perhaps I should check on the kids, but I decided against it. In all of the horror movies I had watched during the previous weekend, the babysitter always died when she went to check on the kids. I knew that Mr. and Mrs. Donahue would be home in less than two hours. I had nothing to worry about.
I felt terrified all the same. What if he was the serial killer who I’d read about? I decided that I was being stupid. I had obviously watched too many horror movies. I was in one of the safest neighborhoods in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska. I had nothing to fear.
Still, I was incredibly distracted. I had a lot of work to do and I couldn’t focus with the clown in the corner. I finally decided to call Mr. Donahue.
“Do you mind if I study somewhere else? The clown statue is really bothering me.”
He said to wait just a minute, and he promised to call me back. I wondered what his problem was. Why did he need to discuss it with his wife?
He called me two minutes later. I could detect intense worry in his voice.
“Get out of the house now, and take the kids with you. We don’t own a clown statue.”
Horrified, I looked up to see the clown. He was standing over me, holding a knife that was covered in something scarlet.
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