I was late last year and submitted after the cut off. Here we go!

This story happened to me when I was very young. I don’t remember how young, except for the fact that I was still in elementary school and lived in a small town in the southwest...so maybe 8 or 9 years old.

A little back story. My parent’s were well off. We lived in a nice house. One of the nicest on the block. My room was also very nice. It was on the second floor of the house and it had this weird balcony with a sliding glass door that led over to a wooden “ladder” structure that extended down to the back yard on the first floor. We usually put plants on the wooden portion of the structure, which made it difficult to climb, but in the summer I had fun climbing up and down that ladder from the backyard of the house to my balcony.

The balcony was also the source of some nightmares, because my bed faced the sliding glass door and there were no major drapes or blinds covering it. My parents didn’t seem to care that it was exposed, because it was on the 2nd floor of the house. Many nights I would wake up because I felt someone was watching me, and would see a dark figure of a man standing on the balcony staring at me through the glass door. Sometimes I would think someone was there and refuse to look, turning to look at the wall instead...basically afraid of what I would see.

Cut to: One autumn day I ended up walking home from elementary school as I usually did. I was always the first one home, because my school was about 4 blocks away from the house (a few other houses and a large city parking lot separated the two) and took maybe 5 minutes total. This was also back in the days where 8 or 9 year olds walking home was not a big deal, and one of my best friends was my neighbor and we often walked home together. So on this particular day I get home, open the gate, walk through the door...

And see 4 full grown men standing in my living room. I can’t remember much of what they look like, as the memory is mostly blocked from my mind, but they were big. They had pillow cases in their hand that were full of picture frames and other odd trinkets they had been taking off the shelves. Their faces were covered with panty-hose or some other fabric that made their faces look dull, blank, blurry and fleshy toned.

I froze. They froze. And we all just stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. Our house was being robbed and there was nothing I could do about it.

One of the men finally came over to me, leaned over to my 8 year old level, and very calmly told me “I can tell that you are a good boy. A nice boy. A polite boy, who didn’t want to cause any trouble”. I just nodded. He told me if I really was a good boy then I was going to walk upstairs to my room and play with my toys until my parents come home and not come down. That I “never saw them, that I never saw anyone, and that I had been up there the whole time just playing with my toys.” And if I did say that I had come downstairs that meant I was a bad boy and they would “let everyone know”. He was going to let everyone know that I was the bad boy who lived at this house, on this street, and that my bedroom was the one with the balcony and the sliding glass door, and that’s where they could find me..

I just about peed myself. They had either been casing the house for the while, or had been there a while but they knew that was my room. They might have been the figures I was seeing at night. Who knows.

So I did what they said. I calmly went upstairs, sat down on the floor and played with my toys. I didn’t hear anything from downstairs. No rustling, no doors shut, nothing.

An hour later my mom came home and I heard the door slam. I rushed downstairs and gave her a hug and she was completely oblivious. I looked around at the living room and everything looked back in its rightful place....picture frames were back on the shelves, little trinkets were back, etc. I didn’t say anything to my mom. I wonder if I imagined it all somehow.

We found out a few weeks later that certain random items were in fact missing from the front two rooms of our house. An old heavy silver tray, a couple of my dad’s miniature pewter figurines, a few expensive coins he owned that sat on a shelf. I never told my parents that our house was robbed. I was afraid the people would come back, because they warned me. When my family asked where things were I just mentioned that it was a big house, so many things were misplaced. They were valuable items, but not cherished, so my parents never missed them.

In actuality I think I spooked the robbers as much as they spooked me. So they put things back and ran as fast as they could. But I never used that balcony again and eventually asked for shutters to cover them. Because who knew if they would come back.