Little Apples

There was once a family, quite a happy family. There was a mother, father, and two daughters named Mary and Sarah. It was the summer, and the parents decided to go on a night out. At the same time, the two daughters wanted to have their best friends sleep over. Mary, nine, wanted her best friend Jane, who was eight. Sarah, eleven, wanted her best friend Emily over, who was also eleven. It was decided that the parents would go to eat dinner in the restaurant right across the road, and that the two friends would stay over on that same night. The parents sat next to the window and both had a very clear view of the house. Soon, it became dark, as summer was nearing an end, and the days were already getting shorter. The girls were having fun all together, putting on make-up and playing fancy-dress. Then, the phone rang, and none of the girls wanted to go downstairs to get it, so they all ganged up on little Jane, who was forced, as the youngest, to comply. She got to the phone and picked up, but all she could hear was static. As young and innocent as she was, she didn’t sense something was wrong straight away. She stayed on the phone listening... listening... only someone breathing could be heard. Then, a voice said to the little girl:
“Four little apples, hanging in the tree, take one down and then there were three...”
Jane didn’t understand, but she knew she was very scared. Back upstairs, the other girls were talking, when Mary expressed her concern for her best friend. It had been a good five minutes since she had gone to take the call. While the two eldest made up logical excuses for little Jane’s whereabouts, the phone rang again. Sarah and Emily didn’t have to gang up on Mary, as Mary went willingly enough, mostly to find her friend. Even so, she answered before looking for Jane, although all she heard was breathing.
“Three little apples, hanging in the tree, take one down and then there were two...”
Sarah and Emily were using the absence of the younger ones to talk about boys. When the phone rang again, both shouted down to Jane and Mary to answer it, but the phone just kept on ringing. Emily became so sick of the ringing that she flew downstairs and tore the phone off the hook. Only breathing could be heard. Emily didn’t silently listen to the breathing, instead, she spoke into the phone:
“Don’t you morons have anything better to do than prank calls?!” but just before she could hang up, she heard a voice. She was so surprised that she listened to what the voice was saying.
“Two little apples, hanging in the tree, take one down, and then there was one...”
Sarah was on the verge of panicking now, she hadn’t seen Jane in fifteen minutes, her little sister in ten, and Emily in five. She looked all over the house, begging them to stop the joke because it wasn’t funny anymore. She threatened to call her parents, and while she was reaching for the phone to do just that, the phone started ringing under her hand. She picked up the receiver, the phone shaking uncontrollably in her hand.
“One little apple, hanging in the tree, take one down, and then there... were... none.” 

Some time later, the parents came home, and as they walked up to their house, they noticed shadows in the big tree in front of their house. They thought the raccoons were back, and planned to call animal control. It was only once they were inside that they noticed something was wrong. All four children were missing. They ran outside for no discernible reason, probably to look for the children. Then they saw it, four bodies hanging by ropes from their large tree in the front yard. The children were hardly recognisable with the bite marks they had on their naked bodies. The last thing that passed through the mother’s mind before she fainted, was how much the children resembled apple cores.
Four little apples, hanging in the tree, take four down, and then there were... none.

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