“Who is with you?” the shopkeeper stared curiously at the ten-year-old boy at the counter.
“Where is Mr. Paul?”
“Paul? He passed away a few months ago. And this shop has been locked since then,” the shopkeeper looked puzzled.
“Oh ya, I forgot,” Kevin spoke hastily. ‘Foolish fellow, I met Mr.Paul last week too. How could he be dead? Silly hooligan sitting at the counter to loot the store. Should I inform the cops? Oh, mama would be so angry if I got into any trouble,’ and he rushed out of the store.
“Hey! Take the change.” the shopkeeper called out, but Kevin ran, terrified. He boarded his bicycle and peddled as fast as he could. Droplets of sweat trickled down his temple.
Strangers startled Kevin, presumably because all of them looked differently colored. He wasn’t the usual kind of kid who would enjoy the perks of childhood. He would stare at kids playing dashing cars with the supermarket trolleys and smirk at children who threw tantrums. And why not? Kevin was handed great responsibilities at a very young age.
An ailing grandfather, a drunk father, and a delirious mother were giving him a tough time at home. He was the only respite to the dysfunctional family.
Once back home, Kevin ran to the kitchen huffing and puffing. He narrated the incident to his mother.
“Should we inform the cops mama?”
“Kevin, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. He must be Mr.Paul’s relative who is fooling around. Leave it.”
“Mama, I just don’t like it here anymore. The people look so scary. Why can’t we go back to our house in the city? I have friends there, and I can attend school too,” Kevin coaxed his mother.
“Sweetheart! It will be fine. I know you are frightened of the faces you see in the outside world. But soon you will get used to them. Till you can control your emotions and behavior in front of them, we all should stay here. Now cheer up and go sit beside grandpa. He has some exciting ghost stories to tell.” Kevin stomped out of the kitchen in dismay.
In the days when they had just arrived, Kevin loved the farmhouse. It was a distinct wooden house amid a meadow. The nearest shop or locality was at least 2 miles away. Kevin would loiter around the farm, play at the tilted wooden swing outside the house, cook food along with his mother, read books from his father’s old cabin, and listen to ghostly and eerie stories his grandfather had to tell. Once a while, he would visit the grocery store to buy supplies for the week. However, of late, his mother was skeptical that they will run out of money soon if Kevin’s father didn’t mend his ways and find a job for himself.
After the supermarket fiasco, Kevin was frightened to leave the house. Each time he went a little further from the farmhouse, he saw people. People starring at him and asking him questions about his whereabouts and his parents. He would toss the questions without giving a proper answer.
One day, Kevin was playing at the tilted swing. He loved the brush of fresh air from the fields blowing on his face when the swing flew up. He wished that the evening never ended and he keeps swaying to the sounds of crickets and chirping of the birds. He closed his eyes to imagine an evening with his friends back in the city.
“Hey boy! What are you doing? Where are your parents?”
Kevin opened his eyes to find a well-built man in uniform. He wanted to dash back home, but then the cop would think that something is fishy.
“What are you doing here alone?” the cop questioned.
“I am Kevin. I live with my parents and grandfather here.”
The cop wasn’t convinced, and he started walking towards the house. Kevin’s heart pumped harder. His mother will surely make a scene and scold him. She will doubt that Kevin must have wandered about in the neighboring fields and troubled someone.
The cop was about to knock at the door when they heard a huge clatter.
“Mama must have dropped a utensil.”
The cop found everything strange about the house, but he couldn’t put a finger on it. He stepped back, “Okay then, I will make a move. It’s getting dark here, you should go inside.”
Kevin felt petrified and rushed inside.
A couple of days later, Kevin heard sirens buzzing outside their house. His mother quickly held him tight and whispered, “Demons are coming to ruin your life. Don’t go with them.”
He hid under the kitchen cabinet. Soon, there was a commotion in the house. People were jostling down the place, and enquiring loudly, “Is anyone there?”
Kevin closed his ears tightly as the loud thuds and shrieks of wooden planks frightened him. All of a sudden, someone opened the cabin and dragged him out.
“Leave me alone. Mama, Dad, where are you?”
A cop pulled out a photograph from his pocket and stared at him.
Kevin noticed his mother standing at the doorway, crying, “Mama, what happened? Why are they taking me with them?”
A cop held his shoulders. He was the same cop who visited them a few days ago.
“Look here lad,” he pulled out a newspaper and showed it to Kevin.
The headlines read, ‘Three die, one missing in a road mishap.’
“Mama, what is this? It says you all are dead.”
“Son, the cops have been searching for you. We are here to help you. I understand how traumatized you feel. There is no one here, no mama, no dad. Come let’s leave.”
It finally dawned upon Kevin that probably he could see the dead. He could see his family, Mr. Paul, and the various colored faces on the streets. With a heavy heart, he finally bid adieu to his family.
Photo Credits: Unsplash
This is an entry for the event #Supernatural #UniK-7 being held at Writers Room | Room8.
Read the event guidelines here: UniK-7 event guidelines
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