PJ Makes the Tackle
By Courtney Rupp (Grade 6)
Grudgingly, I slurped my dinner: canned soup left for me on the stove.
As usual, my mom and dad weren't home. They never were. They are always at work, putting out some chunky soup for my dinner and leaving me alone. See, the thing is that my parents really don't care about me, or about Titan, our dog. Their single concern is work.
I trudged up to my room, Titan following at my heels. Once in my room, I heard a faint scraping sound coming from downstairs. I peeked out my bedroom door, seeing nothing. Maybe we had mice! No, we couldn’t have mice or else Titan would be barking and whining instead of resting his head lazily on my lap. I decided to ignore the noise and listen to some music. I turned on my favorite band and tried to relax but, couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I heard a crash downstairs and instinctively leaped to my feet. Titan started barking. What was happening? Nervous sweat was breaking out on my forehead.
I ran to my phone and frantically punched in my mom’s cell phone number. No answer! Next, I tried my dad’s. Nothing but a dead beep. Now Titan was pawing and growling at the locked bedroom door, trying desperately to get to whatever was crashing around downstairs. I patted Titan’s speckled head and tried to calm him down.
“Alright boy, on three I’ll open the door and I want you to distract whatever it is that’s down there while I run and call the police from the Craig’s house.” I felt a little guilty about leaving Titan here alone, but told myself if there was another choice, I’d take it. Titan looked at me sadly with his big brown eyes as if he’d understood what I’d said. A wave of guilt washed over me and I lost my guts. Okay, no problem. Think of a new plan. Maybe mom or dad will come home soon. I hopefully checked the clock then felt the hope drain out of me. No luck with that plan, it was only 3:00 p.m. Mom and dad came home around 10:00 and there was no way I was going to stay cooped up in my room for seven hours with a possible lunatic downstairs.
The crashing had gotten louder and louder as it came closer to my room. Suddenly, all went quiet. Titan uttered a low growl. I knew what was happening. The maniac had seen my bedroom light on, put two and two together, and realized they weren’t alone in the house. They were coming closer to my door. Closer, closer, closer until they would open the door to my room and then- GULP! I didn’t want to think about that. The only thing I could think about was how I didn’t have a window in my room so I wouldn’t be able to escape there.
As I was thinking the answer hit me like a slap in the face. HIDE! I grabbed Titan by the scruff of his neck and pulled him under the bed. I gave him the hand command for ‘stay’. Now, a spot into which I could vanish! I didn’t have time to think about that because outside my door, I heard footsteps slowing to a stop, right outside my door.
I watched in fear as the doorknob turned, ever so slowly. My frozen brain was able to process only a single thought. My last chance. My final stand, and that one thought, as crazy as it sounds, was ‘football!’
As the door opened I plowed over the maniac as Titan charged furiously after me.
“Ouch! What the…, PJ!” my prisoner gasped. I removed my foot from their chest and looked down into my mother’s familiar face.
“Mom? What are you doing here?” I asked in surprise.
“I-I I quit my job to have more time with you, I was trying to cook,” she stammered as I helped her up. I felt my cheeks redden. She explained that she had missed me and couldn’t stand her job anymore so she quit. I quietly forgave her for never being here.
I just sat there, stunned. I would have agreed to anything she was saying at that point. I smiled in spite of myself as she droned on about leaving her job and wanting to spend more time with me. I thought that everything was going to be alright.
New Agency Alert: Root Literary - Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty of Root Literary are open to queries! They’re seeking commercial and upmarket fiction for adults, teens, and middle grade....