The Downstairs Neighbor

Clack, clack, stomp. Clack, clack, stomp.

“Whatcha doin’, Carly?” asked Tommy. His sister reminded him of their chocolate Lab. Carly continued to bounce, stomp, and hop with her tongue hanging out as if it helped her concentrate on her dance steps, her pink tutu shaking with each hop.

“Shuffle. Ball. Change,” she shrieked.

Tommy, the oldest at the ripe old age of eight, crossed his arms over the chest of his Batman costume, sighed, and shook his head. “Mom wants you and Joey to get ready for trick-or-treating.”

Carly jumped energetically, landing firmly on the hardwood floor with her tap shoes. “I’m ready. I’m a ballerina.”

“Fine,” he rolled his eyes.

“I’m ready, too,” hollered Joey as he charged into the room, swinging his light saber. He pointed at Carly, “I am not your brother.”

“Joey, go get the pumpkin buckets,” said Tommy.

“Uh, uh. Not me. No way. You get them.”

“Nope. Hey, Carly, go get the pumpkin buckets from the basement so we can trick-or-treat.”

She stopped dancing. “Why me?”

“You want the biggest bucket?” asked Tommy.

Carly’s eyes widened. “The biggest?” The brothers nodded in unison. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

The brothers walked her to the basement stairs, turned the light on, and watched her disappear.

Ah, so the little one is brave. Let’s see if she’s as brave the scaredy cat brothers. As Carly zipped past the small crawl space opening, the downstairs neighbor reached out to grab her about the waist, but pulled back when they encountered the tutu. The downstairs neighbor giggled. Carly shrieked and giggled.

“Hey, that tickled.” Carly turned to see the face of an old woman peering out from the crawl space. “Hi, trick-or-treat.”

The old woman shouted, “Boo!”

Carly giggled. “You’re funny. Can I come back to see you?”

The old woman smiled. The little girl didn’t run away in fright. This was a first for the downstairs neighbor. “You want to come back?”

“Yeah. I’ll even dance for you.” Carly spun around in a circle in front of the crawl space.

“Carly, come on,” yelled Tommy.

Carly dropped her head, “Gotta go.”

“You can come back. trick-or-treat, little one.” Carly gasped as the old woman disappeared into thin air.

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