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Lights On, Lights Off

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Author's note: This story is NOT related to any real life characters and the events in the story are completely fictional.

My sister and I have always been very close. People envied how nicely we got along wishing that it was as easy for them to get along with their siblings. The reason my sister and I are close is because we're twins, identical twins. So it's fun to pull pranks on others. We're also pretty close because my parents were rarely home, so we usually just rely on each other.

We used to play this game when we were kids. It was called "Lights on, Lights off". The way you play was that you must turn off all the lights in the house first and keep all the doors open, except for the ones leading outside. One person must search for the other in the dark. You can say "lights on," and turn on the lights for a few seconds to see if they are in the room, but you can only say "lights on" five times.

There was this one time where my sibling and I had played and I've remembered ever since. My parents weren't at the house since they had work again, and the babysitter was running late. So my sister and I decided to go play Lights On, Lights Off. It was already pretty dark for 7 p.m. since it was the middle of winter, I think. I decided that I would be the one to seek and my sister would go hide. We had to prepare for the game first of course. I was in charge of opening all the doors and my sister would turn off all the lights. As we were doing this, I realized that our front door was locked. The thought occurred to me that my babysitter might come while we're playing the game and interrupt us. Not wanting that to happen, I went to the front door and unlocked it.

Once I finished opening the doors and my sister finished turning off the lights, I told her to go hide while I waited. I counted up to probably around 100 until I began to search for her. She had always been the better hider, although I'd always been the better searcher. I knew the places she liked to hide, so I always checked those places first. I headed upstairs to search her room. Her room was dark and I couldn't see anything, but it didn't look like anyone was there. I was about to turn back when I heard the front door open. 'Must be the babysitter,' I thought to myself. At the time, nothing really occurred to me that anything would happen. We lived in a friendly neighborhood and nothing ever happened. "DON'T TURN ON THE LIGHTS!" I yelled. "WE'RE PLAYING A GAME! JUST WAIT TILL WE'RE DONE!"

No reply. I didn't really think much of it as I continued my search for my sister. Every now and then, I could hear small creaks in the floorboards and the clicking of door handles. I had searched all of upstairs when I decided to head back down. My foot had stepped on the last step of the stairs when I felt something wet on my foot. "Ewwww," I say, my sister probably dropped a juice box of hers again.

I told her she couldn't take drinks to her hiding spot, but she didn't listen very much. Although, this was a good sign that she was somewhere around here. As I was thinking, I heard a loud series of steps run up the stairs. I turned to only see a shadow of a person. I couldn't really tell so I just assumed it was my sister.

"HEY!" I yelled. "THAT'S CHEATING!"

No reply. I ran after her, my foot ended up touching some wet parts of the stairs that must've been left by her. When I got to the top of the stairs, I noticed one of the doors were closed. "You can't cheat!" I yelled and threw open the door.

This was the door to my room, and sitting on my bed sat a large figure, nothing of child size proportions. I froze, I didn't want to move. I didn't even think I could breathe. "Lights on," I said and turned on the lights.

There stood a man, with a large scraggly gray beard and balding hair. He wore a heavy coat and he seemed very chubby. He hid something in his hands, I didn't know what it was. When I looked at him though, he looked more frightened of me than I was of him. Eventually, his fright turned into a wicked smile.  "Hey little girl..." He said in a very rocky voice. "Can I play your game too?"

I didn't say anything, but I nodded. "Good," He said. "Now, I think I'll let you be the one to hide, and I'll search for you."

Again, I had no words. So I nodded. "I'll give you ten seconds. Ten..."

With that I ran like I've never ran before. Through the dark and downstairs, I ran into the only place I knew where to hide, the hidden room under the stairs. I managed to get there by the time he's at 6. I closed the hidden room's door but I noticed someone else was in there with me. I turned on the light and saw my sister. 

"Hey," she said. "You didn't say lights on!"

"Shhhh," I said to her, ignoring the fact she was cheating, the hidden door was closed. I would never be so thankful for that. "Someone's here...."


I covered her mouth and she eventually saw my fear so that she kept quiet. The hidden room was very small, barely able to hold one person. Luckily my sister and I were small so we could barely fit. I sat quietly, my sister too but she was confused and once in a while would try to ask questions. I would always shush her though.  Every once in a while I could hear the footsteps above us or right by us, and I would fear that we would be caught.

We turned off the light so it was hard to see anything. I hoped our babysitter would've come sooner; what was taking her so long? Had she forgotten about us? I didn't dwell on the thought too much.

I think my sister had fallen asleep, but I couldn't, 'cause I could still hear the creaking of the floor. How could she fall asleep? A stranger was roaming our house, looking for us. I felt paranoid. Every sound being made made me jump a little. I forced myself to stay still. I heard the lights turn on sometimes, I could even see it from the crack of the hidden door. He said something but my mind was too full of fear to pay attention. My eyes were wide open, but I too grew exhausted. I swore, his foot was right by the door once. I froze, my mind going blank. Then I heard him say, "I see you."

I almost screamed but thank god I didn't when he just walked past. He had entered another room, cussing to himself because I wasn't there. 

I don't know when but I fell asleep too.

When I woke up, I heard the opening of the door and someone say, "There you are."

I never screamed so loudly in my life. "NO!" I pleaded. "GO AWAY! THE GAME'S OVER!"

When I came to my senses, I saw it was my mother. I immediately stopped yelling and threw myself into her arms. Then I heard her gasp, "What?" I had asked her and looked behind me to see what she meant.

My feet were stained red, if I said I was screaming before, I was lying. This was where I actually screamed. I later found out that the man who wandered into my house had murdered my babysitter right outside my door and let himself in. The police managed to find out that the man planned on kidnapping us and had already been stalking us before. He had been found with a knife and sleeping pills, his van was close to the house. Nothing more about that night was revealed to me, not that I know of. Not like I needed to know anything else either. I just found it disgusting a person would do such a thing. I could never forget.

Even now, I'm still slightly afraid of the dark. Not once have I played that game again or left my door unlocked. Sometimes I still have nightmares. The thing that scares me most, is not that I had stepped in blood, not that I could've been taken away, but sometimes I still hear his voice say "lights on" and the flicker of a light.

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