Having slept most of the day away, Phil woke late in the afternoon feeling as though he’d had his first decent sleep since Libby’s passing. Pulling on jeans and a sweater after a shower, he contemplated whether or not he felt any different. Over a coffee and sandwich in the kitchen, he decided to head out to the park to get some fresh air and see if anything had changed.
The air was still, but the carpet of fallen leaves was heavier than it had been the day before.
Perched on her favorite swing, Phil thought about Libby and his conversation with her last night. He definitely felt as though he had found some resolution. Talking to her and sitting with her had calmed him so that, while he still missed her desperately, the heaving sobs of the past week had given way to the gentler grief of deep sighs and languid tears.
He shuddered as a chill crawled across his skin like an icy spider. Weird. He shifted on the swing, looking around to see if the breeze had picked up, but everything was still. The silence struck him as odd – there was no sound of birds or small animals, nor was there any sign of anyone else hanging around, yet he was aware of a distinct impression that he was no longer alone.
You wimp. You’d think if you were going to get creeped out, it would have happened last night when you were sitting in the graveyard. Don’t be so pathetic.
He waited a while to see if the strange sensations passed, but it only seemed to intensify the more he thought about it. When he could no longer resist the urge to shiver, he decided it was time to head home.
This quietness is really weird. It’s like I’m in some kind of bubble. It’s just not—
Phil jumped when the street light above him fritzed out with a loud pop, leaving him in dim shadows. You are so weak, he admonished himself as he quickened his pace. It’s a coincidence. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the light come back on. Not even realising that he was already running, he let out an involuntary yelp as the next light went out overhead, too.
Phil’s father looked up as his son burst through the front door, slammed it behind him and leaned against it, breathing raggedly.
“Phil? What the hell happened?”
“Dad… something weird is going on. The lights went off, and I had this creepy feeling, and—”
“You need a decent feed and some sleep. Staying out all night and moping around all day isn’t doing you any good.”
“No, this is something else. It’s spooky.”
“Spooky? Son, spooky stuff isn’t real. It’s kids’ play at Halloween. Don’t let a couple of bumps in the night mess with your head.”
“Dad, listen. Last night I went to talk to Libby. I sat by her grave all night and—“
“No wonder you’re flipping out. You should eat something and head for bed.”
It was useless to argue. His father was the most stubbornly logical person he knew.
“Come on, son. I can hear the bacon in the fridge calling to us.” Laughing at his lame joke, Phil’s father headed to the kitchen.
For more from Joanne Van Leerdam find her on Facebook or at Wordy Nerd Bird, Wordy Nerd Bird Writes or The Book Squirrel.