" COME ON MOM!" ateenage boy yelled down the stairs, " WHY DO I HAVE TO TAKE HIM!"

An attractive woman looked up the stairwell at her older son. The look on her face was a mix of annoyance and amusement.

" Don," she replied almost exasperantly, " You know Charlie is not old enough to go out by himself."

" So," Don replied knowing he was now in trouble.

Oddly his mom didn't start yelling at him.

" Don," she replied, " Will you just take Charlie? It won't take that long."

" MOM," Don yelled at her, " I DON'T want to take him. I have other stuff to do then babysit Charlie."

" And what would that be?" his mother questioned.

" But my friends and I were going to the old Baker house," Don interrupted hoping to play his friends trump card.

" Donald Eppes," his mother called, " You are not going into the Baker house. It's private property and you have no right to be there," before Don could even argue she added, " And you are taking Charlie out trick-or-treating."

Don opened his mouth to argue, but thought better of it. Angrily he stomped off to his room and turned on his radio blaringly. His mother sighed, shaking her head. Suddenly she was aware of two small hands pulling at her pants leg. Looking down she saw the tearing face of her seven-year-old son, Charlie.

" Charlie, what's wrong?" she said kneeling down next to her son.

" Mommy, Don doesn't need to take me," replied Charlie trying to sound grown up, " I can take care of myself."

" No, Charlie," their mom replied, " I want Don to watch out for you. It's to dangerous for you to be out on your own."

" But, Mom," Charlie replied almost to the point of tears, " I don't want him to get in trouble. And I don't like it when your yelling."

Their mom smiled. Softly she said, " We don't mean to yell, sweetie, Don's just going through a phase."

Instantly Charlie's ears perked up, " What kind of phase?"

" You'll understand when your older."

" Oh," Charlie replied and walked off to get his costume.

An hour later a sheet covered Charlie was walking down the street with a reluctant Don.

" Which house do you want to stop at first?" Don asked even though all he wanted was to get this over with as quickly as possible.

" Statistcally the houses harder to reach would be the best ones at finding a wider range of candy," Charlie replied, his voice slightly muffled by the sheet.

Don looked down on his younger brother.

" English, please," he replied.

" The one's farther down the street would be the best ones to hit first," Charlie replied.

" Great," Don answered sarcastically.

Acting as though he didn't hear him Charlie walked a little faster heading towards the older houses on the block. Trudging along, Don's thoughts kept returning to the things he would have loved to say to his mom right now. He and his friends were suppose to be seeing whether or not the older Baker house was haunted. It was going to be the Halloween thrill of the year and now it was a dud. Worst of all it was because Charlie, his pain-in-the-butt little brother just had to go trick-or-treating. Suddenly Don heard something in the bushes between him and Charlie.

" Charlie, Stop!" he called out straining to hear something.

Charlie looked back at his brother in confusion but obeyed. The two stood there for a few minutes. Suddenly something jumped out of the shadows and tackled Don.

Don was to suprised to scream. The figure slammed him right in the stomach and sent them both falling. They wrestled for a few seconds until Don had the figure under him. Harshly he grabbed the mask and pulled. Out came Tom Cuzan's laughing face.

" TOM!" Donyelled at his friend.

" Hey, Don," the other boy replied gasping for air.

" Tom, what are you doing?" replied Don knowing the answer.

Swiftly he got up off the boy. Tom pushed himself up, still laughing, and replied, " What do you think I'm doing? Scaring you guys."

Don looked at him dangerously, " I wasn't scared,"he replied, though his heart was threatening to beat out of his chest.

" You weren't, but the runt was," Tom replied pointing to Charlie.

Don looked over at his kid brother. Charlie's eyes, which were the only part of him visible, were wide and scared. The expression humored Don for some reason and he didn't even comment on Tom's remark about Charlie being a runt.

" What do you want, Tom?" Don asked looking back at his friend.

" Oh, just to convince you to hurry up. The Baker place is empty finally, and we're all ready."

The feeling of disappointment filled Don.

" I can't," he replied, " I have to watch...Charlie."

Tom looked thoughtful for a few minutes and replied, " Bring him along."

" Excuse me!"

" Bring him along. What's the worst that can happen?"

" Well," Don thought.

" Come on. It's not like a good scare will do him any harm," Tomreplied convincingly.

Don nodded.

" Excellent!"

Tom walked off in the direction of the Baker House. Don started to follow but looked back. Charlie still stood there staring at his older brother.

" Charlie, come on!" Donyelled.

Instantly the younger Eppes ran to catch up to his little brother. Don walked and dragged Charlie in order to catch up toTom.This is going to be fun,he thought. After all what could happen?