WARNING: Contains Adult Language, Horror Themes

Angel thought of her brain melting in her skull as she stared at the microwave that hummed and spun in a warm yellow radioactive glow. Inside, popcorn danced, and salty butter permeated the air. It was Halloween Eve, quiet and drafty inside the dark but sophisticatedly decorated interior of the Castevets’ cabin. Bookshelves with antique oddities lined the walls, and a monkey skull in a glass dome stood amid terrible treasures. Angel thought the house resembled the Adams Family's mansion minus the dust and cobwebs- immaculately clean. So quiet, it was as if the house was preparing for the chaos of trick-or-treaters to come the very next night- with their over-priced Spirit Halloween costumes.

The Castevets hurried past Angel through the foyer and to the front door, muttering instructions to the young sitter on their way out. Angel couldn't tell what costumes the pair wore, but both were undoubtedly original and extremely niche designs. There was no Spirit Halloween in this household; they could afford one-of-a-kind costumes, which they did, year after year, for as long as Angel had been sitting for them. Angel didn't bother clarifying what she thought she heard as the pair rushed out to their party; it was the same old routine. They had paid her exceptionally well for years because she knew the rules and stuck to them without question.

The kids were already asleep- good, Angel thought. The kids scared her at night, though they were perfectly normal during the day. The money was good, which she needed. Angel preferred nothing more than to eat popcorn, drink a bottle of Moscato, and watch old-timey horror films. She stared at her reflection in the microwave as it rang its final warning that the contents inside were ready. Her oversized T-shirt dawned a single headshot of Frankenstein and hung down to the middle of her thighs, drowning her petite frame. Her black hair was straight, with medium blunt bangs kissing the long lashes that sprouted from her deep brown eyes. As she reached for the popcorn, the phone yelled.

"Hello?" Angel answered.

"Hi." A voice replied. It sounded deep but not precisely male.

"Can I help you?"

"I think you can." The voice said.

"Ok. Are you gonna tell me why you are calling? If you need one of the Castevets, you should know they stepped out. I'm the sitter. Do you need to leave a message for them?" Angel was losing her patience. Her voice reflected it as she sighed out the last part.

"Have you checked on the children?" The non-male or non-female voice said. Who was this person?

"Excuse me? Look, if this is one of those When a Stranger Calls pranks... I know it's Halloween but fuck off. Do you want to leave a message or not?" Angel reached for a bowl and shook some of the popcorn out as she waited for a response. She was seemingly ready to serve more explicit words at the inconvenience torturing her.

"You wish this was a prank, bitch!" The voice gargled. Was it even human? A recorder that distorts the voice?

"You have no idea who you are fucking with, idiot. I'm gonna hang up, don't make this a fucking game all night. I'll turn off all of the phones. Bye!" As Angel went to hang up, she heard the voice beckon her.

"If you hang up, I'll hurt them! I'm already upstairs." The voice threatened, and as it did, a thud shook the ceiling above Angel.

"What do you mean you're already upstairs?" Angel asked. Before the voice could answer, she continued speaking in a slow and deliberate tone. "Listen to me very carefully. I'm not joking. Where are you right now? In the house, I mean. You must be honest with me right now for your own safety." Angel was trying to convey the truth with each word she spoke.

"Ha! For my own safety you say?" The voice laughed a low rumble.

"Listen to me. Those are not normal kids! You must believe me! If you are upstairs, I need you to freeze. Whatever you are doing, stop moving and stay quiet!" Angel was growing frantic. Her voice went up, and she started stuttering over her words.

"What do you mean, not normal kids?" The voice was different. Still disguised, but attentive. Believing.

"The Castevets... the people who own this house are not normal people! The kids have to stay locked in their rooms at night- if you've opened their door, just tell me you haven't opened their door?" Angel was now panicking as she searched for something in the kitchen closet.

"I'm in their room now." The shaky voice said confidence lost.

Angel dropped the phone and stared into the dark closet. Whatever she was looking for wasn't going to help now.

"OH MY GOD! WHAT THE FU- HELLL..." The voice trailed off. It was a man's voice, no longer disguised and full of agony.

Angel grabbed her keys and ran out. She had to get as far away from the town as possible; there was no stopping them now that they were out.

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