Mikey scrubbed his sleeve against the dirty glass, then cupped his hands around his eyes and pressed his face close to the window. The baseball waited near the broken center of what used to be a vase and some long-dead flowers. “I can see it, guys!” Mikey shouted over his shoulder. The other boys huddled at the bottom of the steps, well-worn baseball gloves hanging loosely from their hands. They stared at the dog barking somewhere down the street, at their socks poking from the holes in their sneakers, at anything but the old Eidolon place.
“You oughta come down from there, Mikey,” urged the one with the freckles.
Mikey pounded across the porch to the front door, rattled the knob a few times.”Dang it!”
“It’s only a baseball, Mikey. We’ve got plenty around my house. You can have one of those,” the kid with the glasses offered.
“But it’s my brother’s baseball. He’ll kill me if he knew I lost it.” Mikey returned to the window, pushing up on the frame as hard as his ten-year-old arms could manage, but it refused to budge. Back to the door, he rammed his shoulder against the old wood again and again until the faintest of cracks made him pause. “Someone help me! I think the door’s about to give in.” He threw himself harder at the door.
The other boys stared at the ground, at the trees, at the dried leaves blowing across the brittle grass.
“Don’t do that.” A small, pale boy stood just behind the others.
“But I’ve got to get my ball,” Mikey pleaded, banging his shoulder harder against the door.
The small boy quietly walked around the boys, up the steps to Mikey. He placed a hand on his arm. Mikey immediately stopped, blinked a few times at the boy. “You should go home now.”
“Okay,” Mikey mumbled. His feet carried him to the stairs, down the first step, the second.
The door glided open an inch.
Mikey spun at the sound. He shook loose from the boy and jumped up the steps, through the door. “Hey guys! Here it–”
The door slammed.
The other boys scrambled up the steps, pounded on the door shouting for Mikey. They dashed to the window. Freckles thought he saw Mikey running up the stairs, away from something big, something dark. Glasses swore Mikey was floating upside down in the middle of the room and spinning like a top. And the small, pale boy…he hung his head and slowly faded away.
©2012 Gregory A. Carter
Gregory A. Carter lives in Long Beach, CA. When not stuck with his nose in a book, he reviews horror and sci-fi films for The G.A.S.P. Factor and zombie-related stories for The G.O.R.E. Score, and writes short fiction, with stories in several anthologies including First Time Dead 2, Before Plan 9: Plans 1-8 from Outer Space, and the upcoming Queer Fish 2. Some of his flash fiction appears in Monster Gallery and Daily Flash 2012.