August. The world spinned on its way towards shorter days. Less sunlight. And the end of summer. So boys hurried their play. Hockey and 500 and kickball and baseball and basketball and sometimes, when their parents allowed them to stay out a bit longer than usual, Ghost In The Graveyard after dark.

Maybe it’d been the thrill of an unusual amount of wind. The way the pines in the backyard teetered at their tops, threatening, or at least seemingly, to snap in half like twigs and fall down down down, crushing the group of boys inching their way into the backyard. Or it could’ve been the knowledge that there used to be more pine trees and bushes at this residence. Which meant there used to be more hiding places. A paradise for neighborhood kids playing games at night. Like Ghost In The Graveyard. But most of all it was how each boy almost knew the future, that in a few more terrified footsteps, the red head would head off to join the Army; his younger neighbor moving south as his father would be taking a new job; or that the new kid who’d moved into the house at the end of the street earlier in the summer, who’d ridden his bike up and down the street waiting to be invited in on the fun while the rest of the neighborhood kids played kickball in the front yard, would lose touch with everyone in three years simply because people grow up, and sometimes, grow apart; and then there was that kid who lived on the street behind them, a single child who once hopped the fence with his roller blades on, a feat which took him longer to do than if he’d simply taken the skates off, thrown them over and then hopped the fence.

Perhaps this author has misunderstood. It could have been that each boy knew that in a few minutes’ time, they’d hear parents calling for them to go home. Either way, at that very moment, just as they’d all passed the back of the garage and were tiptoeing further and further into unlit territory, one of them saw the arborvitae move…


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