Oct. 27 — J’s been bugging me for about a week, asking if we were going back down in the sewers. I’ve had about a hundred nightmares about what we saw the last time, but I want to go back. I blame J — every time he talks about it, he adds a little detail. Like, he says he saw some of the freaks around that cart holding big knives, and now I’m beginning to wonder if I saw it, too. We dissected a baby pig in Mr. E’s science class today, and when I laid the scalpel on the pig’s rubbery chest, I started wondering if those freaks really had knives, and in my mind I heard the chanting and how it echoed through the sewer. After science, I got caught writing Moleville on the restroom wall, and the assistant principal, Mr. Diddle, called my mom to ask what Moleville is. I told her it was from a video game. She believed it, I think.
Oct. 29 — Monday. It’s about 3 p.m. Just got home from school — I had some cold fish sticks and Red Bull. J and Z kept saying today that Halloween is coming and we should go down in there tonight and figure out what those freaks are doing. Z said maybe they’re doing human sacrifices and we would get famous if we could get some video and put it on YouTube. He said they’d call me on my cell phone tonight. When I left school, it was one of those dark cloudy days. I was riding my bike crunching through the dead leaves when I stopped at the wall by the cemetery near Blockbuster. That’s when I saw two guys in black hooded sweatshirts standing by a pile of dirt and a hole. One of them raised his cell phone and I saw the tips of his glove fingers were cut out. He dropped his hood and he had freaky white hair. I think I know now what they were doing around that table when they were chanting. They’re taking dead bodies down there.
Oct. 30 — It’s Tuesday, like about 11 in the morning. I didn’t go to school today and Mom is at work. I told her I was really sick. She believed it. We went last night. Holy crap. People actually live down there, not the freaky ones we saw but some old guys with beards. It was darker than normal, and kind of cold, and I heard this voice. It said, “I told them I didn’t want mustard! How many times …” And the other voice said, “The way you smell, you’re lucky they didn’t kick you out.” J and Z and I just looked at each other and then we heard this clanky metal door open, and one of them said, “Let’s get in here before those weirdos show up again.”
That’s when stupid Z got his face in some spider webs and kind of barked and dropped J’s video camera and sound echoes down there and before we knew it these two old guys had us surrounded. We could see their faces on the other side of our own breath clouds because of the street light from a drain hole. The one who was closest to me reminded me of a gnome version of Hagrid, but grayer and with little gray eyes. He asked me what the hell I was doing sneaking around in the sewer and he said we’d better get out of there before the weirdos showed up. It was too late. A door slammed somewhere and whoever it was wasn’t even trying to be quiet.
The sewer gnomes pulled us into this round opening, like a submarine hatch. And then the door shut and it was silent and dark like Mammoth Cave when they shut the lights off. One of gnomes flicked on a light bulb hanging on a wire. It was a workshop, about the size of an elevator, with some meters on the wall and one table in the middle. There was a Skyline Chili cup and a wadded up sack with ketchup stains. My heart was banging, especially when the freaks went chanting by. It sounded like they were pushing a squeaky wheeled cart.
After a while, I asked the gnomes what the freaks were up to. The little Hagrid snorted and said not to worry. He pointed to a red button, his eyes lit up and he said if the freaks ever cause trouble, he’d push the button. He used a phrase “effluent overflow gates.” I understood him to mean this was the rain sewer, but the poop pipe was connected somehow and a closed gate connected them. He said, “If I push that button, everything everybody flushed down their toilets is going to come through there like Niagara Falls, and those creeps are going to get flushed like the crap they are!” I don’t think they liked us, they just hated the freaks. When we came out of the garage, it was raining hard and it’s still raining. I got home about 5 this morning and squeezed in through the little window hole by the air conditioner.
Oct. 30 — It’s about 10 p.m. I just got a text message from J. He said he and Z are going down to Moleville tomorrow night to see what happens on Halloween. Those guys are morons. I haven’t decided.
Oct. 31 — I almost told Mr. E about the freaks today. I think I trust him more than my dad. It was after class and I was actually about to tell him, but then I just said never mind. J was standing outside the door looking really pissed. He said I was telling and I said I wasn’t, and he said I could prove it by meeting him at Arby’s at 10. Mr. E walked out of the room and we got quiet. He looked at us a moment and we didn’t say anything, but he looked suspicious. I got home from school about an hour ago and I’m starting to see these little trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood. Mom isn’t home and I don’t feel like giving out candy. Those little Draculas walking down the sidewalk think they’re scary. They don’t know scary. I think I’m going down to Moleville one more time, and I’m never going back.
November 1 — It’s about 3 a.m. and I just got home. The police are telling Mom what happened. I’m supposed to be taking a shower, but I just turned on the water. Mom was screaming at me after what the cops told her. She thinks I’m connected through the Internet to some bizarre underground devil world. She said she wanted to see the Moleville video game. She told the cops she’s going to throw my computer out the window. I have to write what happened and e-mail it to J right now because I think she’s serious.
OK, so geez, my hands are shaking. Here’s what happened. This time, there was stinky water, almost up to our ankles. The first thing I saw was a big spider web with water drops on it, and in that light coming from the drain hole I could see a fat, creepy spider. I ducked, but when I went down I could see a V-shape in the water. I shined the light and saw the front of the V was a rat’s head. Then I saw more. J said, “They’re everywhere,” and he stood there like a zombie. I grabbed his shoulder and said, “Are we gonna do this or what?” Finally, after we walked a long time, we started to hear the chanting and it seemed louder, like maybe there were about 20 people. That’s when I heard a noise — “psssst.” I just about had a heart attack, but then I saw the little Hagrid in the shadows with a finger over his lips. He was waving his arms back and forth and his lips were saying “NO!”
I stood there a moment, then signaled for J to shut off his light and come ahead. It was just then that a rat started climbing my leg, and I guess I shouted, “Get off,” and then I saw the look on J’s face. He was backing up. He screamed, “Run!” And I looked and the freaks were coming at us, shouting and cussing. I fell down and knocked J down and then we finally got up started running. The freaks were getting close and I could hear them sloshing through the water and shouting, and then I heard the little Hagrid screaming. He was saying, “Grab a ladder!”
It took me a second to figure it out. That little man had pushed the red button and opened the gate and a gazillion gallons of crap water came through that tunnel just like he said it would. J and I had just grabbed a ladder when it hit the freaks, and they cussed, but it was too late. The little man had flushed them! I was hanging on and the flood was coming up our legs, and when we got to the street drain I looked out and screamed help, and that’s when I saw Mr. E talking to Dad by the Carmichael’s door.
I was shouting. I saw a woman stop and look, but she didn’t look down. The water was coming up. I was screaming and so was J. More freaks were flushing past, and it was so stinky I couldn’t breathe. That’s when J said to turn on our head lamps and it worked. Mr. E saw us and he stood up. He grabbed my dad by the arm and ran into the street straight toward us. I was reaching out my hand and he grabbed it hard, but I was too big to pull through. A crowd was coming.
Damn. I hear the cops at our front door talking to Mom. I think they’re leaving. I don’t have much time to finish. So, OK, two things happened at once, both bad. The first was that somebody grabbed me by the leg. I knew it was a freak and he was hanging on for his life. The freak was pulling one way and Mr. E the other. The second is that I felt these claws and saw this big soggy possum on my shoulder going spazzo trying to climb over me. I heard Mr. E shout, “Somebody open the man hole!” The freak had hold of my leg good now and I kicked like crazy and I think I kicked him in the face, and that was the end of him.
That’s when I felt someone grab my collar. I hung onto J and somebody pulled me out onto the sidewalk. It was Dad and my heart was pounding and I was spitting up crap water and Mr. E was shouting for people to get back. Mr. E put his hand on my shoulder but my dad just glared and shouted, “What the hell were you down there for?” I didn’t even look at him, and I couldn’t help it, I started to cry. Mr. E told me everything would be OK and he had just been telling my dad that my friends talked me into all this. I was sitting up by now and the cops were talking to J. Dad was squatting there not saying anything, and Mr. E tried to get me to smile by joking that I could write a book like J.K. Rowling and get famous, but I just said I’m no good at writing. I wouldn’t know what to say anyway.
OK, that’s what happened. I hear the police car is driving away. Time’s up. I’ve got to e-mail this to J now! Maybe someday everyone will know our story. I doubt it though. Who would believe it? I don’t even believe it.
Scott and Ben Wade live in the Highlands. Scott teaches English as a Second Language at Atherton High School, and Ben is a 9th grader in the visual arts magnet at DuPont Manual High School. Contact them at