John looked up the hill to where his Dad was putting the finishing touches on this year’s Halloween display. John had moved on to other interests and was not helping this year. Halloween decorations were childish, and he didn’t understand why his parents paid so much attention to this year’s decorations. Tonight’s party was much more interesting to him.

He moved the pile of travel brochures his mother had been looking at so he could sit and check who had responded to his invitation to the party.
His Mom and Dad were allowing him to use the old carriage house for the party tonight.
“John, you’ve put all my travel material into a pile. I wish you wouldn’t do that.” “Come on, you and Dad are never going anywhere. All you ever do is talk.”
An angry look appeared and disappeared from her face so quickly that John wasn’t sure that he’d seen it, ” Well, you’re old enough now. Although It would be a sacrifice, it would be fun for your Dad and me to be on our own again.” Something in the way she said that made him angry, “Sure. You and Dad talk big about how when I’m old enough, you’ll leave on some grand trip, but you never do. I wish you would. I could do with the privacy.” Mom just smiled and went to help Dad put up the new decorations.

Despite his comments about decorations, John had spent serious change on the setting for his party. The old carriage house was spooky enough as it was. But the lighting and audio effects he had added made it genuinely creepy. His big surprise was set for midnight just as the couples were looking for secluded nooks. It was then that the shrieks started, and everyone started trying to escape. So far, so good. He picked up a small remote, and stage smoke began to billow out of the old heating vents. He was laughing until the foundation started to rock; that was not planned. Soon John was joining the rush towards the single unblocked exit. Tripping past the threshold, he plunged into a pit that had not been there this afternoon. John and all his friends were scrambling to get out of the pit but not having any success. Over at the driveway, he noticed his parents loading up the car – “Mom, Dad help.” they just continued to pack. Finally, his Mom wandered over towards the mud-covered teens. “Mom? Help get us out. Please!”

Mom looked down and then back to where her husband was waiting for her. “John, you’re old enough now. Your father and I decided that it would be a sacrifice to let you go, but one that would enable us to travel.” She pulled a small remote from her pocket and typed in a code. A loud rumbling started from the area where his Dad had been placing decorations. A shambling figure made of mud, sticks, stones, and oddments of wire lurched onto two feet and started lurching towards them.

“Harriet! Hurry up; we’ll be late!” ” I’ll be right there, Ozzie!” Then, looking down into the pit, Mom blew him a kiss, ” now don’t think too poorly of us, John…we just want to travel before we’re too old to enjoy it, and you know children can be such a sacrifice!”
The thing tumbling down the hill seemed to be continuously shedding small bits and pieces; maple leaves and bits of clay. In its mouth were rows of blunt teeth that initially had been gravel from the driveway—reaching the pit, a vast muddy hand reached down and took up John first. As he entered the maw, the last thing he saw was his parent’s car turning towards the road. His father was playing that dammed song he liked so much – “Highway to Hell.”

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