Their backlit shadows danced on window curtains. The sounds and echoes of family and frivolity inside carried out across the glaze of snow under a winter’s half-moon.
He stood beside the oak tree he climbed as a fearless boy. He had fallen just feet away and shattered bone and elbow joint. He instinctively flexed his right arm. Childhood pain lingered.
Though frigid, his breath was controlled. No steam rising. Even amid the complete absence of threat in this endless rabble of suburban sprawl, he gave nothing away. A lifetime of cruel and clandestine behavior drove his every action.
There is none. He left and never returned. Those inside sharing in food and drink and giving of gifts think of him only in passing, in memories distant. He long ago passed from this world, this life.
His existence since lived in the dark, a ghost, a demon. Never did he look over his shoulder. Nothing for him, for anyone back there.
He stood here now next to his towering friend of an oak because of his work. Melancholy and sentimentality held zero sum in this equation. This is his life, his life’s work.
This visit had meaning, necessity, obligation. This ghost would take with him another soul upon his departure. This missing soul would soon be only memory, joining him in hearts and minds of those who comfort themselves with tame and timeless beliefs about the night and what lies in wait. The truth is much less tame. And the dark does not give back what it takes into that forever night. He knows.
iPhone Notes Story
ORD – BNA 12.18.15