Tons of candy this year! Between them, there was enough here to fill a pillow case! Mike started sorting and Dori followed suit.
“I’ll give you anything with nuts for all of your SweeTarts.” It was the standard deal between them. Why did she bother asking?
“Yeah.” He focused on sorting, quickly whittling the pile down.
“What are those?” Dori had uncovered two brownish red spheres the size of a tennis ball.
“Dunno.” Mike picked one up and rolled it in his hand. “It’s not candy.” It had a slight give and was uneven. Not a bouncing ball. “A hacky sack maybe?”
“What’s a hacky sack?”
“A ball you kick with your feet. Dad said he used to play that as a kid.”
“So like kickball?”
“I don’t,” He dropped it as there was a sudden shift in the weight. It felt like something had moved inside.
Dori looked at him in confusion. “What?”
“I,” the ball wasn’t moving now. His heart raced, but he quickly talked himself out of his fear. “I think it is a gag gift. It has a motor inside or something, to freak you out.”
“Really!” She excitedly picked one up and held it. From the sudden smile, she felt it move.
It was thanksgiving before Mike thought about the ball again. Cleaning his room, he found it where he had tucked it on his bookshelf. It seemed harder and the color was duller than he remembered. Holding it for several minutes, it didn’t move.
“Dead battery.” He grumbled and set it back down to continue cleaning.
Being spring, Mike stayed out late playing with friends. After he came home and finished dinner, he was sent up to his room to do his homework.
Something caught his eye as he shut the door. A movement by the bookshelf. Looking closer, he realized several books were laying on the floor. He walked over, bending down to gather them up. A clicking sound was followed by a buzz that passed above him. By the time he stood, it was silent again and he looked up at the lights uneasily, trying to decide if the electric had just acted up.
“I am not a baby, I don’t need to be afraid of every little sound.”
He began to replace the books when he noticed the ball. It wasn’t really a ball any more though. It was dull brown and slightly translucent with a split down the middle exposing a hollow center. Despite himself, fear was building. Disgust and curiosity warred with one another as he looked in at the stringy bits of brown inside.
Buzz. The sound came again, this time from close to the window, moving towards the bed and he turned in time to see a hint of red. Clicking sounded from underneath. Mike tried to decide if his parents would believe him or say he was imagining things.
“I’m not afraid of you.” And to prove the lie, he inched towards the bed. Slowly he lowered himself to the ground to look underneath. He saw nothing and was rising when the buzz came from under and out of the darkest corner a blur of red swept past him and then thudded against his back. Tiny pinpricks of movement fell across his skin through the shirt as it clicked and crawled.
Panic overtook him bringing a wail for his parents as he flailed and tried to hit the thing. Finally he grabbed a pillow and swung it around behind him. The solid thud of the pillow also brought a sharp sting. The thing fell to the ground and skittered off quickly along the ground.
Mike’s back burned like fire and he continued to cry for his parents. As the door opened, his vision blurred. The last thing he saw through blurry vision as he slumped to the ground was a streak of red buzz out the door past his parent’s feet.