An Awful Night at Home Alone

by Xue Jun Zhan

Everyone has met something awful that made them feel scared. The most awful thing for me was the first time I stayed at home alone when I was seven years old. The United States of America has laws that children cannot stay home alone when they are under 12 years old. But there are no rules to control that in China. Children may stay home alone any time. I want to tell people a story about an awful night for me.

The telephone ringing made me wake up in the middle of the night. I picked up the phone. The sound came from the other side of the phone.

"Hello, Xue Jun."

That was my mother. I was so excited and asked, "Mom, where are you in the middle of the night. I don't want to stay home alone."

"What is going on baby? Where is your father?" She was surprised.

I replied, "He is gone to another town for business and he told me he wouldn't be back this night. I am just waiting for you to come back."

She said, "Oh I am sorry. I cannot get home now. That is the reason I called you. I thought your father was at home. I will hang up and come home after my job," she said.

I told her, "That's all right. I am a man and I can take care of myself. Don't worry about me and take it easy."

"You sound like a brave man, my seven-year-old boy. I will be back soon. Lock the door and go to bed." She stopped and hung up the phone. At that time, I started to repent about my wrong decision.

I sat on my bed. Suddenly I remembered the story that my brother told me about a ghost. He told me the ghosts always came out in the middle of the night and eat children. They used their hands to cut the children's neck, ate them and used their bones to build a house or they put the skeleton on a tree. That was horrible and terrible. Then I heard some voice that was like the sound of a ghost moving. My brother had told me what the sound a ghost was like. My memory told me that ghosts are afraid of light, so I turned on all of the lights in my room. Then I felt a little safer.

But later I was crying on the bed. I heard a sound of footsteps that came from far away and was coming closer. Then it stopped in front of door of my room. Then the sounds went away. After a while that sounds just came again. What was that? "It is ghost ," I thought. I called out, "Who is it?" No response. "Yes it is ghost," I thought. My brother told me ghosts always do that and they will eat children after they fall asleep. That was awful. I couldn't continue to think about that. I was scared and put my head under the pillow.

The sound came again in the hallway. I thought, "I cannot be a weak man. I need to figure out what was that. "Yes, I got an idea. Ghosts are afraid of light. Let me take a light." I got out of bed and took a light with me. I opened the door very carefully. Nobody was in the hallway. Where did the sound come from? I lifted up my head. I saw my shoes hanging up in the hallway. When the wind came in the hallway from the window it made the shoes clash each other and sound would come out. That was ghosts footsteps, I thought. I felt that was so funny. I went back to my bed and fell asleep.

In the morning when I opened my eyes, I saw my mother was sitting near my bed. She asked me how was last night. I was proud to tell her how I figured out the ghost's footstep. She just praised me as a brave man.