After some time in the sandbox, the boys decided to move over to the big slide. With so few kids around, they saw their chance to use the equipment without being pushed around by the older kids. Everything went swimmingly. The slide is wide enough that they raced down it side by side, and I drank my venti coffee in peace.
Two preteen-to-young-teen boys silently appeared behind my two and four year old on the wooden structure. They were probably twelve or thirteen. Both in full Halloween costume. One dressed in a red hooded cape with knife that he showed me by dramatically lifting his cape. The other in a black hooded cape, wearing a gold mask and carrying a machete.
I assumed the weapons were fake, but even as I did so, my heart jumped at the sight of them materializing behind my little ones.
Momness trumped and I sharply said, "Not cool. They're too little." The black-caped kid took off his mask and the red-caped one hid his knife before my boys turned and saw them. And thank all higher beings for that, because the freakout that would have ensued if A and J had seen them would have been without equal.
After that, they engaged in a few half-hearted attempts to try to scare me (pretending their weapons were real, etc.), but they actually played nicely with my boys. That, and the fact that their first instinct was to obey an adult stranger erased the menace that I felt at first.
But, man, was it ever creepy. As we left the playground, viewing them from a distance trying to scare some girls brought it back.
I wish I could create that feeling so easily on the page!