“I’m not going in there”, the tall kid said, leaning against a flickering streetlight across the road from the Monster House. He edged away from the street and put the concrete light post between his body and the dark, dilapidated structure.

“Don’t you want to see the body?” the skinny kid asked in his whiny, high-pitched voice. “I’ve already been in there a dozen times today; there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“Yeah right, you went in the Monster House,” Tall responded in a huff. “Everyone knows it’s got monsters in it.”

“That’s why we call it the Monster House, yeah, I know,” Skinny said. “Monsters. Look, there aren’t any monsters, not in the Monster House, not anywhere. I’ve been in there today, and it’s an established fact.”

“Where’d the body come from then?” asked Tall, loosening up and settling into the argument, but still hunkering behind the pole.

“How should I know? What am I, a cop?” Skinny asked, brandishing his flashlight. “Look, I’ve got a flashlight, and a crowbar. If there’s any monsters inside we can blind ‘em and crack ‘em on the head.”

Tall broke into a grin and sighed. “It’s not like monsters are real, anyway,” he said, without coming out from behind the streetlight.

“Uh, no,” Skinny replied, grinning back. “Besides, it’s not like you’re the first person I’ve shown. Like I said, I’ve seen the body a dozen times, easy.”

“With who?” Tall demanded.

Skinny sighed, and began ticking their friends’ names off on his fingers. “Shorty, Stupid, Football, Spanish, Brainy, Bully; you know, practically everyone.”

“Why didn’t you call me before then?”

“What am I, your travel agent?” Skinny replied. “Look, do you wanna go or not?” Tall nodded, and Skinny continued, “Well then let’s go.”

Skinny led the way across the street with his flashlight and crowbar swinging at his sides. Once his feet touched the property of the Monster House he slowed a bit and waited for Tall to catch up. Tall stuck close behind Skinny as they walked up to the porch and faced the front door.

“Go ahead,” Skinny commanded, “Push it open. It’s not locked.”

Tall hesitated and swung his head back and forth, looking at everything but the door itself. Skinny nudged him with his elbow, and Tall reached out to grab the knob. He leaned forward to test the door, but it wasn’t even latched and it creaked open under his weight.

Skinny flicked on the flashlight and cast the beam into the darkened building. “It’s empty,” Tall said, pushing the door all the way open. The flashlight slid across the bare walls and floors of the Monster House. “There’s no furniture or anything,” Tall exclaimed. “Where’s the body?”

“Inside, get inside,” Skinny urged him. “We don’t want anyone to see us from the street, you know.”

Tall stepped inside and took in the surroundings. “No monsters, either.”

Skinny laughed under his breath. “What am I, a liar? There’s no such thing as monsters. Grow up.”

“It’s just an empty house,” Tall whispered. “Where’s the body? Someone must have dumped it here, or something. They must’ve figured no one would ever find it. Is it a skeleton? I’ve never seen a real skeleton.”

“If it was a skeleton I would have said ‘Come see the skeleton’, wouldn’t I? It’s that way, through the hall over there,” Skinny gestured to their left and motioned for Tall to lead the way. Tall straightened up and snuck over the hardwood floor to the hallway Skinny’s light was illuminating.

“Maybe you should give me the light,” Tall turned and said, “if I’m going to be in front.”

“Fine, here.” Skinny handed it over. “There’s no monsters though.”

“I just don’t want to trip,” Tall replied, and moved into the hall.

“Just go to the end room,” Skinny ordered him, and they walked past a row of open doorways along the left wall.

The door at the end of the hall was closed; Tall pushed against it with the flashlight, but it wouldn’t budge. He looked back at Skinny, who shrugged, and then turned the knob. The door opened with a tiny creak, and Tall shined the light into the black room, revealing a large pile in the far corner.

“That’s not one body!” Tall exclaimed and turned to let Skinny in. As Skinny entered the room he swung the crowbar and hit Tall in the side of the head, knocking him to the floor.



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