Timothy is doing his best to quickly ride his mountain bike before it gets dark. Detention had pushed back all of the boy’s plans. He still can’t believe he was punished for that adult magazine. He didn’t even see the n**e pictures, the magazine was just about to be passed to him when Mr. Ferguson caught them.

His protests to the punishment had earned him double detention. This made him leave school at five o’clock, which is not ideal for a twelve year old boy who has to ride a bike for a good twenty minutes to get home.

However, Timothy isn’t too eager to get home. The school said they called his parents and told them what he was doing with his friends. So he knows he is due for another lecture from his father and disappointed looks from his mother. He is also anticipating to be grounded for a couple of months.

Being grounded is the last thing he wants this month because of Kevin’s upcoming birthday party. The countless treacly candy that will available, the thrilling scavenger hunts they always embark on and the Lego toys they get to play with, makes Kevin’s birthday parties the best. It’s the only event of the year Timothy looks forward to besides Christmas.

Timothy doesn’t enjoy his own birthday parties since his mother always turns the whole event to being about her and her friends. Most of the time his father won’t even bother to show up but he would pick up a lame present from a convenient store on his way back from the bar. Last year he bought Timothy a tepid can of soda. Is there a more cruel way of showing how much you hate your oldest son?

Timothy’s constant infringement of the rules at school have led to the strained relationship he has with his father. His parents are always called to school for his countless misdemeanours. This is why every Wednesday at three o’clock sharp he has to go for counselling.

Nowadays when anything goes missing or is broken in the house he is blamed for it even when he is innocent. He gave up trying to prove his innocence to his parents a long time ago. Timothy knows he isn’t the villain that everyone thinks he is. Most of the time he is just a victim of circumstances.

The real person to blame for all this trouble is his best friend, Robert ‘Bobby’ Thompson. Timothy has been with his naughty obese friend since kindergarten. Bobby is a mastermind at devious acts and a dare devil of practical jokes. Unfortunately for Timothy, he usually ends up in hot water for most of Bobby’s stunts.

Even today in detention when Bobby threw a piece of chewed up gum into Arnold’s exposed b**t crack, Timothy was given an extra thirty minutes of detention for his uncontrollable and cacophonous laughter. That took a huge bite out of his comic book shopping time.

When he got to the shop, they were already closed and that added salt to the day’s pains. Now he has to ride home extra late after taking the unfruitful trip to the comic book store.

As Timothy sails his red bike into a street lined with suburban houses with white picket fences, he feels uneasy. The street which is a block away from his home is empty save for an old lady walking towards him. She is walking slower than a snail carrying a bag of cement. She is tiredly shambling her bare feet on the tarred road.

The woman looks like a hunchback but Timothy soon realises that she has a child strapped on her back by a tattered black cloth. As he rides closer to her, he becomes aware of her woeful clothes that are torn from top to bottom. Her long black cloak with a hoodie over her head, looks as if it went through a shredder before she put it on.

The cloak’s hoodie is failing to obscure the woman’s hideous face. Timothy can see her long pointed nose, bloodshot red eyes and a wrinkled face sated with pimples. The old woman looks like a dream character for a horror movie casting director. All she is missing is a broom and she can convince that she is the real deal.

Timothy realises it late that he was staring at her for too long. He loses his bearings and crushes his bike right in front of the old woman who looks like she is dressed for a Halloween contest.

“Oh my, are you okay young man?” screeches the hag as she attempts to lift him up.

Timothy shrugs her off and bristles to his feet. “I am fine,” he lies with a brave face.

When he stands up, his knee reports a different status to the one he has communicated to the old woman. He realises that he has scrapped his knee and a stream of blood is dripping down his right leg.

Timothy brushes off his locks of blonde hair that had fringed over his brown eyes as he looks up at the hag. He is shocked by the ugliness of the woman. Up close, he can see her pale skin which is white like a ghost. She has dark long hair that is flowing down her shoulders and the rancid odour that is lingering around her is bitter enough to flip Timothy’s stomach. She is taller than any old lady he has ever seen. Timothy estimates she is about six feet tall.

She stares down at him like a piece of meat on a grilling stand which sends a shiver up and down Timothy’s spine. He also notices her breathing is heavy enough to drag the street poles back and forth.

“Are you sure you don’t want help?” she creaks.

“Yes ma’am. I am fine,” Timothy replies as he reaches for his bike and pulls it up.

“Yes you are,” the hag murmurs.

“Excuse me?” Timothy asks.

“Oh, I said may you please help me? I think the hat on my child has tilted from his head. May you please be a darling and fix it?” she requests.

“I don’t know. I have to get home, I am really late.”

“It would hardly take a minute,” the old woman cajoles him.

Timothy exhales an annoyed sigh as he drops his bike and it clangs to the tar. He walks behind her and has to stand on his tip toes to reach the tall woman’s back. He notices the child’s floppy sunblock hat is tipping off to the right. The dark blue hat has draped over the child’s face.

Timothy adjusts the cotton hat and is instantly shocked. His body stiffens with tension as he realises the child has no head.

Timothy stares at the empty hat with confusion. The old lady turns her head as the bones on her neck crackle like logs in a fire. There is now a sinister smile on her face. Her chapped lips have peeled away to reveal her crooked yellow teeth.

A force of unbelievable power starts yanking the boy closer to the back of the old woman. Timothy feels his scrawny body being avidly dragged towards the child’s hat. He feels like he is being pulled by a black hole. He can hear the old woman’s guffaw as he is tugged further into the empty hat. He yells out for help but he knows he is doomed. His skinny body is soon sucked into the old woman’s back.

He is transported to a world only the old woman knows. To a world where she keeps children. To a world Timothy would never come back from.