On North Main Street, East Hampton, NY, up a steep hill there is an old grey house. An old man has lived there for 50 years and rarely is seen in public. His name is Barry Hathaway and he is 74 years old. He had a wife and a daughter, but they passed away in a fire 40 years ago. He now lives alone in the old scary house.
Below the scary old house lives an 11 year old boy named Alex and his whole life he’d been scared of Barry’s house. But, when Alex turned 12 the day before Halloween he went to his room and made a plan. Not just any plan, a plan to get into Barry’s house and get information on the house and Barry himself. Alex lives with his mom and his 17 year old sister, Mia. Who have both told Alex not to go near the doors to that house. So, Alex made a plan to go through a side window because every night at 8 PM, Barry opens a window downstairs and goes to his room to sleep. Why did he open an unattended window? He loved to let in the night’s breeze to the living room so it would feel nice in the morning.
On Halloween day when Alex woke up, he knew today was the day he would break into Barry’s and find out why it was so scary. While Alex packed his bag for school, he included binoculars, a black shirt and black pants. Alex went to the kitchen for breakfast and Mia was at the table eating a bowl of cereal. Then Alex’s mom said, “Good morning honey! Would you like milk with your cereal today?” Alex nodded yes and sat down with Mia as his mom brought him his bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Alex was dressed in his astronaut costume and Mia was Regina George from Mean Girls.
When Alex made it to school he asked his mom if he could walk home after school and she nodded and pulled the car from the school. When Alex got to homeroom he sat in the far back corner and pulled out a pencil, marker, and a piece of paper Alex began planning out what he was going to do after school at Barry’s house and hid the paper whenever somebody got close enough to see his work.
Alex started down the sidewalk towards his house and began thinking about how to get into Barry’s house without his mom catching him. Alex came up with the perfect plan! He would ask his mom if she could drop him off in the village and if he could trick-or-treat with a few close friends, but then when it started to get dark, work his way home and he would commence the plan. Alex got very excited and ran the rest of the way home, which wasn’t much further.
When Alex got inside he said hello to his mom and sister (who had bussed home) and drank about 3/4 of a water bottle. Alex asked his mom about trick-or-treating without an adult and walking home. After a few minutes of thinking, his mom said yes. There was one condition, every hour Alex had to text his mom with an update and within 30 minutes of after an hour, if there was no text she would call to make sure he was ok.
Alex and his mom got in the car and drove to the village. Alex got out and met up with his two best friends, James and Cameran. The three went all around filling up their pillow cases with delicious candy! After completing the village, the boys walked a few blocks to Smith Street and trick-or-treated there. Alex had been texting his mom every hour to avoid any trouble. When Alex and his friends noticed the sun starting to set, they parted ways and Alex called his mom to let her know he was starting to walk home. Then Alex stopped at a shop and changed into the dark clothing which he put in his bag.
When Alex reached the hill, he turned his phone’s ringer off and brightens down. Alex was so happy that it was dark out enough to begin. Alex hid his candy bag in a large hole in a big tree and crept up to the open window. Alex made sure all the lights were off, and there was one dim light coming from somewhere upstairs. Alex put one leg inside and ducked in.
When Alex got inside, he saw dark green wallpaper and lots of green and gray furniture all over the living room. Then Alex heard sounds coming from the stairs, loud sounds. It was Barry! He’d come down to see what was happening down stairs! Alex ducked down in between this tall thin post and a bookshelf.
Barry flicked on a lamp, the tall thin post, and saw Alex and Alex looked behind him and stood up. Barry said, “What did you think you’d find in here boy!”
Alex said very softly, “To see what kinds of spooky ghosts and skeletons were in here.”
Barry shook his head and said, “Sit down boy. The reason I never leave my house is because I lost my family years ago, it’s been too hard to see you kids with your parents all jolly and smiling.” Barry sighed.
“I’m so very sorry you feel this way and I feel awful for breaking in,” Alex said with a frown. “If I had known this I would have never come in here.”
“It’s all right boy, I’m kind of glad you came so I could tell my story. Everybody knows my name, not my story.”
Alex decided he would say hello to Barry everyday before school. Mia one day was convinced to with Alex and they set up a time to meet Mia and Alex’s mother for dinner and a game night on Friday. This became a weekly thing and Barry had a new family to spend his time with.
Barry began going out into public more often. He made new friends and even redecorated his home to make it not so spooky.
Barry even got a new job! He was now a bus driver for Alex and Mia’s bus because high schoolers and middle schools share busses. Barry had grown a new and better life than he had.
By Hadley Hren
Grade 7, East Hampton Middle School