Steve, Dave and Mark were brothers. They were shooting baskets with their friend Tony.
"We need a spectacular trick for Halloween. Does anyone have any ideas?"
They all had ideas.
Tony suggested, "We could fill bags with shit. If anyone refuses to open their door, we throw a bag of shit at their house. The shit on their front door will tell everyone who the cheapskates are."
"Let's steal pumpkins and pile them in old lady's Snider's yard. We could pour gasoline on them and have a pumpkin roast. Old lady Snider never opens her door on Halloween. She deserves to be harassed." Steve did not like Mrs. Snider.
"We could soap her windows before we light the bonfire," offered Mark.
"You know, it is Halloween. The fire idea is ok. But we need to add something spooky. Maybe we make a witch and hang it from a tree." David felt that they should not stray too far from the Halloween spirit.
The friends shot baskets for another hour.
"Guys, I have an idea. We build the dummy. But we don't hang it in Mrs. Snider's tree. We find some quiet stretch of road. When a car comes by, we drag the dummy into the middle of the road. We could frighten the crap out of lots of people." Tony had an evil streak.
"What a great idea. We do this right and we could have bragging rights until spring. All of our schoolmates will be jealous." Steve was excited.
"We need a stretch of road that is dark, preferably with trees close to the road."
"Sparse traffic would be good. We do not want cars wrecking into stopped cars."
Tony spoke, "River Road would be ideal. There is very little traffic. There is dusty, crushed stone on the road surface."
And the friends rode their bicycles to River Road. They found a section of road, with mature oak trees on both sides.
"This is ideal. It is going to be dark and spooky this Halloween night. The oak trees give it an eerie feeling. We could drag the dummy across the road when a car approaches." Dave moved to the road's shoulder. "We could place the dummy here and drag it into the street."
Tony walked around the oak tree. "I like the idea of dropping the dummy from that tree."
The four friends agreed that they would spend their Halloween night on River Road, tormenting motorists. They would build a life-like female dummy.
Mark and Steve returned the next day with rope, pulley and a kite. Steve put the kite in the tree as high as he could reach. Mark climbed the tree and made his way out on a limb, about twenty feet off the ground.
A car came by and Mark held the kite. The driver assumed that the boys were retrieving their kite, and he drove on.
Mark hung the pulley from a tree limb. He threaded the rope through the pulley and dropped one end onto the road surface. Steve attached a ten pound weight to the rope. Mark made his way down the tree and threaded the rope through a fork in the tree. He pulled the weight up to the pulley.
They tied the rope to a branch, and left with their kite.
Dave insisted that the group do some traditional 'trick or treating' before they went to River Road. "We need to go home with some 'treats' or our parents will demand to know what we have been doing."
The four friends dressed in dark clothes. Each boy wore a mask.
After a half hour of 'Trick or treating', they met at Tony's garage.
Tony went over the list of items they would take; flashlight, knife, dummy, drinking water, snacks, gloves, duct tape.
"Let's get going, we have a four mile hike."
The boys walked to the oak tree.
Steve and Tony attached the dummy to the rope. Tony pulled the dummy up to the pulley.
The boys took the free end of the rope with them. They hid in the grass about thirty feet from the road. The boys waited about twenty minutes, and a car approached.
The car was driven by an elderly lady, old lady Hanny. The speed limit was thirty miles per hour. She was doing twenty.
Tony lowered the dummy onto the street. His timing was off and the dummy hit the top of her car. The elderly lady ignored the dummy, including the thump on the top of her Cadillac, and drove on.
"Sorry guys. I will get the timing correct for the next car."
Dave suggested, "Let's start with the dummy on the ground near the street, and hoist it to a standing position." Everyone thought that would get the attention of any driver, even an old lady.
Someone was coming. There was a cloud of dust about a mile away and whoever was generating the dust was traveling fast.
It was an old pickup truck. It was going over the speed limit, about fifty miles per hour. A cloud of dust followed the truck.
If the boys were more experienced they would not have raised the dummy. The truck was traveling too fast to stop in any controlled way. The truck was likely to spin out and hit a tree or turn over or maybe, both.
The boys raised the dummy. 'She' appeared to be standing in the middle of the road.
The trucks headlights illuminated the 'young woman'.
Mark thought to himself, "I hope we get a good spinout. I want to see a frightened driver. Maybe he will shit himself."
Tony said loud enough so that everyone could hear him, "This is going to be great."
Steve worried about retrieving his dummy.
Dave's thoughts were a little more pragmatic. "Where do I run if something bad happens?"
And everyone remained concealed in the field, about thirty feet from the road.
Dave thought, "That driver is going too fast. He is going to lose control. He could die. I wish that I was not part of this." Dave's thoughts turned to action. He rose and turned and ran. Dave did not look back.
Tony yelled at Dave to stay put. Mark and Steve felt a twinge of panic, but they stayed put.
The driver saw the dummy rise in the middle of the road. The dummy made no attempt to leave the road but just faced the oncoming truck.
The driver was less than one hundred feet from the female dummy. He was going fifty miles per hour, and he was on a road with a loose surface. His whole being shook with fear and adrenalin. He locked the truck's brakes. His truck was out of control.
Dave heard the terrible sounds of the truck braking. He did not turn to look. He continued running towards the creek and the protection of the woods.
The truck skidded towards the oak tree. The boys braced for a terrible wreck. Mark hid his eyes.
Tony silently prayed that he would not go to prison.
The truck did the impossible. It stopped a few feet from the dummy. A dust cloud blocked the boy's view of the dummy and of the truck. And there was silence.
The boys could not see the truck but they could see each other. Steve made motions suggesting that he thought running from the area was a good idea.
Tony answered in a very low volume voice, "Stay put. There is no harm done. The truck did not wreck, and the driver will never find us."
After a few minutes the driver exited his truck and walked to the dummy. He realized that he had been duped. Now he had to make a decision.
The boys were feeling more secure. The dust had cleared. They could see the driver. He was about six feet tall, and he wore sunglasses. He was examining the dummy. The boys felt victorious. That had scared an adult driver. They would not be caught. Why was he wearing sunglasses at night? Tony felt a bit fearful but he stayed put.
The driver found the rope. He stared in the direction of the boys.
The dark figure took the dummy down and put it in his truck.
Steve whispered, "That S O B is stealing our dummy."
Mark and Tony warned Steve to keep silent.
The diver backed his truck up about 50 feet and stopped. Dust kicked up around the truck. The air crackled and popped. The dust from the road danced as though strands of it were manipulated by a master puppeteer.
Steve looked at Mark. "What are we seeing? Is that truck rising?"
The boys watched the dust and the air and the truck do things that were not normal.
"It's moving like a helicopter."
David never looked back. As he ran he thought, "There is the creek. Once I cross the creek, I will be safe. I can hide in the trees for an hour and then go home."
David sensed the atmosphere changing as he ran down the bank of the narrow creek. He would run across the creek and not be concerned with wet shoes. Before he could cross the creek, his feet became tangled in vines. He fell into some rotting tree trunks, and suffered multiple punctures and lacerations on his legs and mid section.
David was bleeding and he hurt everywhere, and he was out of breath. He lay on the ground for five minutes and whimpered.
He was wet and he was cold. He was bleeding. Should he run for home? Why was he running at all?
He was running to get away from the crash scene. He did not want to be associated with the death of the driver. But he was guilty because he was one of the four who hung the dummy.
David had a good quiet cry. He decided to go home and wait for the police to come and get him.
He heard a crackling noise and rolled over onto his back. The air shimmered. Dave thought, "I see the dark silhouette of a large object hovering in the sky. And that cannot be. Am I ill? Am I hallucinating?"
David crawled under some leaf litter. The leaf litter was dry, but the ground under it was a muddy bog. The dark silhouette was a truck.
David thought, "The truck driver was searching for something, or someone."
David's imagination took control. He thought, "Is that the truck we spooked? But trucks don't fly. Am I sick?"
David rubbed his eyes, and looked again. The dark truck was still there.
David did not want to believe that he was hallucinating, so he constructed a story to fit his observations.
"That truck driver is looking for me. He must have captured Mark and Steve and Tony. How can I hide? I must not move. How did he find the others? If he found them, then he can see in the dark. If he can see in the dark, then the leaf litter may not be enough to hide me."
David was eleven years old. He lacked the maturity to judge his situation. He recalled a movie that he had seen. "There was a movie where the monster could see humans even when they were hiding in the brush. That movie was 'Predator'. But that monster could not see anyone covered in mud."
David covered all his exposed body parts with mud. He felt safe. The monster would not find him.
The truck came closer to David. The air crackled around David. His skin tingled. The air smelled like there had been a thunderstorm. It smelled like ozone.
The truck hovered fifty feet above the ground. It moved about three miles per hour and went back and forth along the creek. But the driver could not see David.
The truck moved away but remained in sight. David checked his watch. It was midnight. His parents would be calling his friends looking for him.
David tried to recall his health class. "What is hyperthermia? Hypothermia happens when your body gets too cold. How long does it take to get hypothermia? Is it dangerous? What are the signs?"
David was terrified by the truck. The truck was more dangerous than hypothermia. He rubbed his legs together to generate heat. He could not chance standing.
David's mother, Mary, called Tony's mother. No sign of the boys. The women called the boys' friends. It was after midnight. Mary sent her husband to canvass the neighborhood in his car.
The mothers agreed to call the police if the boys did not turn up by two AM.
Mary told herself that the boys were in no danger. She did not want to consider that they might have been kidnapped. Nothing made sense. It was hard to admit, but they must be in trouble.
Two AM passed and there was no sign of the boys. Mary called the police. The police told Mary that they would alert the patrol cars on duty to look for the boys.
David was patient. He had detected no signs of the crackling sounds or of the odor of ozone since two AM. It was three AM.
David thought, "I hear the sounds of the creek and of the wind. I hear the occasional twig snap. The ozone smell is gone. The crackling is gone. The truck is gone. But is it safe to make a run for home?"
The truck driver had searched for David for hours. Had he given up? Was he waiting for David to run for home? David judged it too dangerous to leave the creek bank.
At four AM, David began shivering. He decided to rise from the creek bank and walk home. But the crackling sounds returned. David could not stop shivering but he did not feel so cold. He knew that he had outsmarted the truck driver, like Arnold Schwarzenegger had outsmarted the 'predator'.
The truck was fifteen feet above the ground. It travelled at fifteen miles per hour and canvassed the area twice more. The truck driver was determined to find David. David would wait for his parents to come searching for him. David slept.
The police sent a squad car to Mary's house. The officer questioned Mary about her sons' possible hideouts. They left together to search for the boys.
The officer and Mary drove through nearby neighborhoods and they saw no signs of the boys. At six-thirty in the morning they drove on to River Road. They turned onto Creek Side Road, and stopped. "Mary, this is a quiet area with few people. Use this microphone to call for your sons. We will go slowly." The officer handed Mary the microphone and he activated the car loud speaker.
David heard his mother calling for him. Was it a trick? She knew their names and she sounded like his mother. He had to leave sometime. He found it difficult to stand. But he rose to his feet. He headed up the creek bank towards his mother's voice. The road was one hundred feet away. David stumbled. His legs were lethargic. David forced his body to walk to the road. And he collapsed when he realized there was no one on the road to meet him.
Mary continued calling for her children. They reached a dead end. The officer turned the car around.
The officer spotted David in the distance on the side of Creek Side Road. When they reached David, Mary hurried from the car and lifted David from the ground.
"David, please talk to me. I am here! You are safe. Please wake up."
Mary soothed David as he fought to regain consciousness. David opened his eyes with trepidation and with much effort. He saw his mother and smiled. He looked around and saw the police officer and panicked. He looked at his mother and whispered one word before he lost consciousness, "lawyer".
The officer and Mary rushed David to the hospital. The officer radioed his office and a search of the area was organized. It was possible that foul play, even homicide was involved.
The emergency room doctor treated David with saline solution and heating pads. His diagnosis was dehydration, hypothermia and a bad case of poison ivy.
Visitors would have to wait.
The detective warned David's' parents. "David asked for an attorney but the lives of the other children are at risk. You are his parents and you can allow us to interview him without an attorney present."
"We will have our attorney here in a few minutes. You will not be allowed to see David without our attorney."
Tony's parents heard the police and David's parents talking and became upset. David's parents were delaying the search for their son. A fight ensued. Tony's father was arrested.
Tony's mother threatened to call the newspaper. The story would imply that David had harmed her son and that Mary would not allow the police to interview David. It was obvious that David knew what happened to her son.
At five in the evening, David's parents and his attorney were allowed to visit David.