She was four, the first time she saw him. Her mother laughed when she asked who the strange man with the box on his back was, waiting at Mr Johnson’s gate. But her mother couldn’t see anyone, and you know what children are like with their imagination, the conversation with daddy had gone. There was no laughter though, the next day, as they stood and watched the undertaker come for Mr Johnson, just silence, and an odd look from her mother.
She learned quickly, after that. She learned no one could see what she did. No one believed her, so she avoided the mutters and concerned looks by just not saying anything.
He appeared on and off. Sometimes he would be walking up the road. Sometimes she wouldn’t see him for months, or a year or more. She spent an anxious night waiting, when she saw him at her best friend’s door. She cried as she waited to hear if it was Joy’s mum, or her dad. Not once did she notice the other man near Joy’s house, the one who would take both her best friend and her trust in the world by the time the night was through.
The visits came more frequently as she grew older. Twice she saw him at her window, once the morning her daughter was placed on her chest, not moving or crying. Perfect in every way, and perfectly still. The second time, years later she saw him again, and begged him to take her, but it was not for her he came. Once again she was left behind as David instead walked out the door with the man with the box. She hated him, in those moments.
She expected him more than he actually appeared, once she was in the nursing home. He came mainly at night now, silently passing through the corridors, and she slept with the blinds drawn and the door closed. She no longer felt the strength to deal with knowing what was coming, and to whom. She didn’t remember waking, the night he stood at the end of her bed. But she must have, because he was there and she could see him and he was taking her hand and instead of dread or fear, she felt only peace as she followed him into her future, away from the present, to where her past waited to welcome her.
This little piece was written a while back for a prompt, that, in my infinite wisdom, I failed to make a note of. I don’t normally write quite so darkly, or with such a twist to the supernatural, but that’s the beauty of prompts, they get you out of your comfort zone.