Maddie finished her milk and turned to Debbie, her friend. Debbie started to laugh at her straight away.
"What?" she demanded, a little angry.
"You have a milk moustache!" laughed Debbie . "You look like that 'got milk' add!"
Both girls laughed at that, and Debbie drank her milk, making sure to give herself a moustache as well.
Maddie's dad walked into the room. "I gotta go to work, girls, so Maddie, you'll be okay here with Debbie and her caregiver, won't you?"
"You sure you have to go?" Maddie turned her eyes to her dad, making them as sad and pleading as she possibly could.
Dad just ruffled her hair. "Tell you what" he said, trying to ignore his daughter's pleading eyes. "If you girls behave, I'll take you out for ice-cream when I'm done. Deal?"
"Deal, daddy!" Maddie jumped up and down with excitement.
"Thanks, Mr Maddie's daddy!" Debbie exclaimed, and both girls giggled at the joke.
Maddie's dad rolled his eyes. "Just, don't get into any trouble, okay?"
They both nodded, their faces barley containing their laughter.
They spent the next few hours happily playing angry bird, and trying to beat each other's high scores.
"Hey, do you know you can see my school from the balcony?" asked Debbie.
Maddie put her game down. "Yeah? What else can you see?"
Debbie looked around to make sure her mom couldn't hear her. "You can see our neighbour, Mr Bolton. He's super spooky!"
Maddie jumped up. "Great! Can we go look? I'm dying to see something spooky! My dad is kinda protective, he doesn't want me upset or scared, he doesn't get that sometimes it's just fun, y'know?"
Debbie nodded. "Yeah, my mom is like that, too!"
Debbie called out to her mom "We're just going to have a quick look from the balcony, okay?"
"Okay dear" her mom called back from the kitchen. "Be careful!"
Debbie held the large glass door open for Maddie and then let it close behind them.
Even though it was winter, the day was warm, the birds were chirping, and in the distance they could hear children playing in the street.
"See my school? It's there" Debbie stood on her tippy toes, pointing out past the houses and roofs in the distance.
"Yeah, I think I can." Maddie started to look around the surrounding apartments and houses. "Where does the scary man live?"
"What scary man?" asked Abby, Debbie's younger sister, as she came out onto the balcony.
Debbie rolled her eyes and leaned close to Maddie so her sister couldn't hear. "I'm not allowed to talk about scary things in front of Abby. It gives her nightmares" she whispered.
Debbie pointed to a rather run down looking house. "That's where he lives. You should see him. He's really freaky"
Maddie leaned over the balcony a little to get a better look. The house did look kinda scary. She wondered where the man was.
Just as she thought that, the back door to the house opened. "There he is!" called Debbie, a bit louder than she meant to, and the man looked up.
All three girls squealed and tried to run inside.
The door wouldn't open.
"Let me in!" yelled Abby, as Debbie pulled at the door.
"I can't!" she answered. "It must have locked behind us!"
The girls tugged at the door but it still would not open.
"Hey! They heard a voice call out, and as they turned, they saw the scary man looking up at them. They all screamed and ducked down, trying to hide. The angle of the balcony blocked the man from seeing them.
"What are we going to do?" whispered Maddie.
"I don't know!" hissed Debbie. "My mom will notice us missing soon, I'm sure"
They stayed scrunched down for a while, but Abby started to fidget.
"Sit still, Abby" Debbie told her.
Abby looked sad. "My legs are starting to hurt!"
"We need to check if that man has gone away" Maddie frowned. "I guess I can stand up and peek, see if he's still there"
"Great Idea!" her Debbie answered. "Do it slow, though, so he doesn't get a good look if you need to duck back down.
Slowly, Maddie stood, her eyes straining to see if she could see the scary man.
He was gone.
She breathed out, not even realising she had held her breath till that very moment.
"All clear" she told the others, and they stood up as well.
"What are we going to do now?" Debbie wondered aloud.
"We can jump up and down" suggested Abby, and she and Debbie started to jump. Maddie could feel every 'thump' as they landed and she grabbed the railing.
"Stop!" she yelled "You'll make the floor collapse!"
"It won't collapse!" Debbie laughed. "See?" she jumped again "It's really strong!"
"I don't care!" Maddie answered. "I'm frightened the floor will collapse. I think you should stop jumping!"
Debbie screwed up her nose, but stopped.
"What are we going to do now?" Debbie moaned.
They heard the screen door slam from across the way and they all ducked down again. "Do you think he saw us?" Maddie whispered.
"I wanna go inside!" Abby chose that moment to start to get upset, her chin wobbled and she looked like she was going to cry.
"Hey, Abby, we'll be fine! It's not late, it'; not cold, and sooner or later your mom is gonna notice we're awful quiet and come looking for us, yeah?" Maddie placed her hand on the small girl's shoulder. "We're gonna be fine!" She hoped she was right.
She looked up at Debbie, who noticed the doubt in her eyes.
"I can lower Abby over the edge, and she can run around the front and knock on the front door, let my mom know where we are" suggested Debbie.
This seemed like a great plan so Debbie, with Maddie helping, lifted Abby up over the railing, and holding her hands very, very tight, lowered her slowly over the side.
"Don't drop me!" Abby called up, her eyes wide with both fear and excitement.
"We won't!" the girls called back, and lowered her as far as they could reach.
They held her until their arms felt like they were going to break free. "It's no use" Maddie gasped. "We can't get her low enough. If we drop her from this height she could get hurt'
"Argh! Okay, pull her up, then" Debbie agreed, and they lifted the little girl back up onto the railing.
Right at that exact moment they heard a call. "Hey! You girls!"
They looked up, and there was the scary man. He was pointing a long stick at them, and the sun glinted off his bald head.
His glasses were small and dark, they looked like black holes in his skull, and from where they were her looked like he only had one or two teeth.
He was hunched over, wearing a black cloak or coat, and he seemed really mad, and really, really scary.
Debbie and Maddie gasped, their faces white with fear, and this made Abby squeal, she couldn't see the man, just how scared the bigger girls were.
They pulled her as quickly as they could to the safety of the balcony, their breaths came in short, panicked huffs, their skin felt prickly from the exertion, and their hearts were beating way too fast.
"I'm getting really scared now" Debbie whispered. Maddie looked at her, and noticed how white she looked, her cheeks little red blotches from the strain of holding her sister over the balcony. She knew she had to do something, if Debbie started to panic, it would set Abby off.
And she knew, if the scary man wanted to start something, they had no where to hide. They were not safe here.
She started to get very frightened, too, but decided to bite it down, and be strong for the three of them.
"I think I have an idea" she finally said.
The two girls looked at her, all hope in their eyes laid on Maddie.
"I think we need to tap the glass on the door with something, and hope we can catch you're mom's attention"
"That's a great idea" Debbie said. "What can we use?"
They all thought about it, then Maddie looked down at herself. "I have a belt on. The buckle will make a noise."
She pulled her belt off and used the buckle to tap on the glass of the door. She tapped for ages, but still Debbie's mom didn't appear.
"I wonder what could be wrong?" Debbie raised her hands in the air. "My mom should have heard that by now.
"Um, I think that's my fault" Abby said in a quiet voice. "I turned the TV up really loud. She probably can't hear the tapping"
"That's just great!" yelled Debbie. "We could be trapped out here forever!"
"Hey, calm down, you don't want a crying five year old out here!" Maddie rolled her eyes. "Your mom is gonna figure out, sooner rather than later, that we're missing. The worst thing would be that my dad came to get me in a few hours, and then they'd look for us."
Debbie sat back down. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right"
They sat there for a while, but Abby soon grew bored. She stood and climbed up on the balcony railing.
"Be careful" Debbie instructed her.
"He's back" Abby called over her shoulder.
"Who's back?" both Maddie and Debbie spoke at exactly the same time.
"The scary man" Abby answered, just as the man yelled out.
"Hey! HEY! YOU GIRLS!"
The girls all fell flat on the balcony floor so the man couldn't see them. They stayed there, still and quiet, for as long as they could.
"Is he gone?" Debbie lifted her head.
"Your turn to check" Maddie whispered back, pulling herself into a slumped sitting position.
"I wanna pee" Abby said.
Debbie peered up over the railing. "I can't see" she hissed.
"Get higher" Maddie instructed. Debbie pulled herself onto her knees and lifted her head a bit higher.
Right at that moment the balcony door opened, giving the three girls such a fright that they all screamed.
Debbie's mom, who had opened the door, laughed at them. "Come inside girls, I guess you've been out there for a while"
She let them in, then gave them all milk and cookies to settle their nerves and appetites.
"How did you find us?" Maddie asked.
"Well, the TV was on really loud, when I had enough of the noise from it I went to turn it down, and I heard the telephone ring. Nice old Mr Bolton from over the back rang me, and said you might be locked out on the balcony"
Debbie looked at Maddie, her eyes wide. "Nice old Mr Bolton?"
"Nice?" Maddie echoed, and both the girls laughed with relief. "We were scared of him, and he turned out to be the one that rescued us!"
This made everyone laugh.
"I think this would make an excellent story" Maddie said, grabbing her iPAd. "I'm going to write it down, right now!
"Great idea!" Debbie agreed. "If you don't write it down, no one will believe us!"
Abby pulled herself up higher on her chair. "Do you think your dad will still buy us ice cream?"
This made them all laugh again.