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Walter hadn’t always trusted The Man. The first time he had popped onto the TV screen a week ago, knowing Walters name, and everything about his life, he thought he was going crazy. He’d had come home from school with black eye dished out by one of Brian Carmichael’s minions. The boy had said something about Walters mom, which had for once wiped the smile off of Walters face. Walter launched himself at the boy only to be pummeled while Brian and his friends cheered. Walter walked home that day angry and bruised, and for the first time he was glad his mom wasn’t home.
He walked straight to the freezer and got out a bag of frozen peas that had been in there since Walter could remember. With tears streaming down his cheeks he wondered why the other kids were so mean to him. He needed to make up an excuse so his mom wouldn’t worry. He had come home with cuts and bruises before and she had always believed his story so this time would be no different.
The house was as quiet as a church, the only sound was the plastic bag around the melting peas, so when the TV popped on, Walters crying stopped. Scaring the bad thoughts right out of his head and replacing them with new ones. He knew his mother wasn’t home, she was never home at this time of day, and even if she was he would have heard her. Walter got up and made his way to the living room, every one of his footfalls seemed loud, and he was sure the intruder would hear him. He peaked around the corner of the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room, expecting to see a ghost or worse yet a giant man carrying an axe. But there was no one there. The only thing animated was the light reflecting from the TV screen onto the opposite wall. Walters heart slowed down, he needed to quit watching so many scary movies, he thought. Electronics malfunctioned all the time. He even remembered hearing a story about universal remotes being able to turn on your neighbor’s TV. That is what it is, the thought made him feel silly.
Walter walked over to the screen and stared, the blue light reflecting off of his puzzled face. His mom nor Walter could ever find the remote, and when they found the retched thing they would lose it once again within a day. This was a lost day. He looked on the side of the TV for the off button, his face so close to the screen he could see all the tiny pixels that made up the images when it was on.
“They are mean to you because you’re different Walter.” The booming sound of The Man’s voice came out of the TV.
Walter flew back falling over the coffee table and sending the peas in his hand into the opposite wall where they exploded like a thousand frozen Beebe’s. As fast as Walter had fallen he was up and running towards the kitchen door. He wanted nothing to do with the creepy TV or the man on the screen that seemed to know his name. He heard the voice calling his name as he ran out the door, slamming it so hard behind him it seemed to shake the whole house.
The TV kept up its loud mantra “Walter, Walter, Walter! It’s okay…”
He sat on the curb for hours not wanting to go back into the house. He’d heard the phone ring twice, and he knew it was his mom. She wouldn’t worry, Walter had let the phone ring many times before in the past. After 3 hours of sitting on the curb in front of his house, his sore butt and empty stomach gave him the courage to go back into the house. He convinced himself he was just hearing things. Maybe the punch to his head had knocked him silly, he thought as he opened the front door and peaked inside. The house was silent, even the TV had turned off, leaving a stillness that seemed even more scary.
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