The One In Charge

Halloween is safely out of the way, good news for my sister, who scares easily. Really easily. When I was about 10 my mum left us home alone for a couple hours to run an errand, & for the time that she would be gone, she appointed as guardian of the house my sister -about 13 at the time- & gave her the grand title of “One In Charge”. With this new status she instantly assumed an air of mysterious wisdom, & all plans of activity for the evening had to be approved by the One In Charge before they could be deemed safe- if she met with any disagreement, she did not hesitate to brandish the Title. She had a friend (Laura) round for a sleepover, who, in the infinite fashion wisdom of thirteen year olds, was wearing a feather boa, a neon t-shirt, & what seemed to be leather trousers. As the two of them discussed this cutting edge fashion choice, I mooched around the lounge we were sat in, having been forbidden by the One In Charge to go anywhere else. We had just moved to this house & hadn’t unpacked everything- there were no curtains up yet & what with it being the middle of winter & pitch black outside, the lounge was a little creepy, but with our (slightly fat) labrador & little terrier we felt safe enough. At least I thought we all did. My sister kept “shh”ing us to listen intently, insisting she could hear something, before pronouncing the house was deemed safe by The One In Charge. This continued for several minutes until she happened to look outside- she let out a great SHHRRIIIIEEEKKKKK, & shouted that she had seen “something blonde outside the window”. Our little terrier shot up at her scream & instantly set off, hackles up, barking madly, on a lap around the house, on the hunt for whatever he thought had caused the fright. The barking along with the hair-raising shriek had already begun to make me feel a little creeped out myself, when my sister happened to turn around & trip over our little dog as he zoomed past on his second lap, letting loose another earsplitting screech. This greatly disturbed our big lab, & when he sat bolt upright & gave one single huge WOOF, it proved to be too much for my sister & she took off out the door. Her panic immediately latched onto us & we all set off- I reached the stairs first & was halfway up when it happened. My sister, the One In Charge, who was trusted to defend the house & protect us all, without a moment’s hesitation abandoned her post, seized the back of my jacket, yanked me back down the stairs, raced past, & disappeared into the bathroom. There was just enough time for me to get in, Laura (struggling with the restriction of her leather trousers) sprinting behind, before my sister locked the door. For the next ten minutes we sat in silence, crammed into the bathroom, forbidden to talk as my sister insisted she could hear someone outside the door- there was indeed a bizarre rustling, cracking sound in the hallway. My sister kept flapping her arms for us to be quiet- the leather trousers further betrayed their owner at this point as every time she breathed in they creeaaaked & she was shhhed furiously by my sister. Eventually, irritated by this offence against her leather trousers, Laura flung open the bathroom door to reveal the source of the noise- our labrador, lying placidly outside, chewing on a yoghurt pot he’d fished out of the bin whilst we’d been hiding. The One In Charge was instantly shamed & when she eventually admitted that the thing she’d seen outside the window might in fact have been her own reflection, the last of her power vanished- The One In Charge was defeated.