It was a typical Saturday in June. My three friends and me were hanging out just like we always did. Playing paintball, eating, pranking on each other, eating some more and finally, getting our stuff together for our “camp out” Sleepover in the tree house.
Our tree house was really cool. We had built it in the woods near our houses with the help of our dads a couple of summers ago and it was our home away from home. We spent as much time there as we could, hanging out and of course, sleeping. Each spring, we would work at clearing away all the fallen branches, leaves and trash that had accumulated over the colder months. Now it was officially summer and the camp out was set to begin.
I fished my sleeping bag out of the basement and got the rest of my camping equipment out of the shed. Whew! No wonder we packed everything up in plastic when the season was over! It stunk so bad that I decided to lay everything out on the lawn to air out. Then, I grabbed a piece of paper and pencil off the desk in my room so I could make a list of what I had and what I still needed to get for the sleepover.
My friends showed up and we all talked about what we needed for tonight. David had a battery operated popcorn popper that he got for Christmas which was really cool and Tommy brought a clock radio that was supposed to hold a charge for more than two days, so now we would know exactly what time it was instead of trying to guess all the time. We all grabbed snacks from our parents’ pantries and hauling up our sleeping bags, we set off for the tree house.
We each set up our spots, same as usual: me, over by the entrance, David by the far corner and Tommy right up against the main branch that ran through the tree house. Each of us had a wooden box that we’d made a couple of years ago that we used to set our juice boxes and snacks on, so they were close. Once it got dark, We usually had to have some kind of light for awhile, so we used a lantern that my dad finally had decided was safe enough for us. We Íired that up as soon as the sun went down. We decided that monopoly was the game for tonight, so we set it up and began to play.
After a couple of hours, Tommy was out of money and I wasn’t doing too well so we declared David the winner and wrapped it up. The silence of the woods and Tommy’s clock radio, which had been playing music for most of the night told us it was time to pack it in, so we decided to shut down the lantern and call it a night. This was always the best part of the sleepover for me. After lights out, we would always talk about sports and girls and whatever else we felt like until we got too sleepy to stay awake any longer and then one by one, we would each fall asleep. I turned off the lantern and Tommy shut off the radio so we could talk without being loud. Then we shut the door, snuggled up inside each of our sleeping bags and the conversation began.
We talked about our spring sports teams, the new girl who had transferred to our school over the winter and the teachers and classes we all hated. Next we played a game of I Spy until we couldn’t think of anything to “spy”. The conversation died down after that, so everything got pretty quiet.
I looked over to where David was stretched out on the far side of the tree house but I couldn’t make him out, it was so dark. Tommy was smack in the middle but even he was hard to see. It was really dark that night and although I didn’t scare easily, I was kinda
Right in front of me, just outside the doorway, were two red “eyes”, staring straight at me through the glass of the door window. They didn’t move and they didn’t blink, but they were definitely looking my way. I was holding my breath and wondering what to do, when I realized that both David and Tommy were now fast asleep. David’s snoring was obvious and Tommy always made noises with his mouth when he was asleep so I knew for sure that they had each passed out. I was the only one that was awake and knew that something was watching us outside the tree house.
The eyes hadn’t moved at all and they were still staring right at me! I began to panic. I couldn’t help it. I didn’t know what to do. Should I wake the guys? Holler for help? I was paralyzed with fear, afraid even to breathe, and didn’t want to do anything that might aggravate whatever was watching me. So I did nothing. After awhile, I started to breathe once more but it was hard since I had been holding my breath for so long. My chest hurt from holding back but I didn’t want to take the chance on making any noise at all so I breathed silently. My heart pounded and I was afraid that whatever was out there would be able to hear it, but I kept quiet, just the same. I didn’t know how much longer I would be able to hold out. I was so scared, I felt like crying only I knew that if I did, I would alert whatever was watching me. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t stay still any longer either...
All of a sudden, Tommy rolled over and he must have bumped up against his box, knocking it over, ‘cause out of nowhere came this awful CRASH! I looked over at where I knew he was sleeping even though I couldn’t see him clearly, and he mumbled “sorry”,
as he realized what he had done. David woke up and bitched Tommy out for making so much noise and then just as quickly as it had all begun, everything fell silent once more.
I looked back at where the eyes were and.. .they were gone! I breathed out a huge sigh of relief so loudly that David told me to “knock it oft”. The crash must have startled whatever was out there and scared it off., thank God! I was so relieved that I didn’t care
if my breathing kept anyone awake. I smiled in gratitude for Tommy’s clumsiness and sighing again, this time in peace, finally fell asleep.
We woke early to the sound of the alarm buzzing. David threw his pillow at Tommy and yelled for him to shut the damn thing off. I sat up as Tommy reached over to slap the “off” button on his alarm when he realized that it had tipped over and was on the floor of the tree house. He said that he didn’t remember setting the alarm but the red light was on, indicating that it had been tripped. The other red light was on as well which meant that it was AM time instead of PM. That got me to thinking...
The red eyes had appeared when we had settled down to sleep. . .after midnight. Then, it hit me. Tommy must have turned on the alarm by mistake when he had shut off the radio. That’s when the red light for the alarm had come on. The other red light had come
on because it was AM time once the clock passed 12:00! The two red “eyes” had been nothing more than the two red lights on Tomrny’s clock radio reflected in the door glass!
Boy, did I ever feel stupid! I shook my head at my own foolishness. I was so glad that I hadn’t woken up the guys! I would have never heard the end of it, if they had found out.
I never told them about that night and because David ended up breaking Tommy’s clock radio (he threw it out of the tree house the next time it woke us up), we never had another incident with the red lights.
So, my secret was safe.