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Fiction Horror Mystery & Suspense

The Grim Man – O. N. Michael

  • November 22, 2023
  • 59 min read
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The Grim Man – O. N. Michael

TO HEAVEN

TO VERONICA

TO CHOKI

TO ANNABELLE

TO ANGELS AND DEMONS

TO INSIDIOUS

TO YOU THAT RAN WITH LENARD!

CHAPTER ONE – CALL

Lenard couldn’t understand what caused the headache he felt when he awoke that morning. As soon as he opened his eyes and identified his old gradually sinking bedroom from his dull blurry eyes, the headache had begun. He closed his eyes for a while trying to relax his head and a hundred disturbing thoughts that had always tormented him from as long as he could remember. As he sat on his bed, his thoughts increased from a hundred to a thousand, yet he was unable to concentrate on one out of the thousands. He rested his head on his palm and his elbow on his lap. That had helped him to relax at least, a bit.

Just then, the petty alarm clock that rested on his bed stool beside his bed erupted in a ferocious vibration breaking the silence that had dawned on him. He gritted his teeth as he grabbed the innocent clock and threw it against the wall, sending it into a million pieces as its ringing died down to what sounded like a whimpering whirring. He couldn’t understand the cause of the anger and frustration he felt this morning. Everything seemed so off. His mind was troubled and no matter how he tried to rest his head on one of the thousand thoughts that ran through his head, it seemed impossible.

He soon realized partly, what was troubling him. Maybe it was because of the fact that he had to go back to the Tandem Association where he worked or the fact that exactly two years ago, or the fact that his wife- Rachel had run off with his only four year old son-Collin, leaving behind a letter on the middle table of the sitting room, saying that when he finally figured out what he wanted to do with the trashed life of his, he should contact her.

For these two years, Lenard never bothered to call her because he knew she was damned right. There was nothing he had to offer and he lived a totally trashed life. He knew she had made the best decision and he could not blame her for it. Rather, Lenard blamed himself. He was fully responsible. For two years since Rachel had run off, Lenard was yet to even figure out what to do with his life. His life was still wrecked as it had always been but just the previous night, Lenard had taken the decision he had not dreamt of taking- he was going to quit his job!

Lenard had been working for the Tandem Association (TA) for three years now. He remembered that Rachel had been so happy when he had gotten the job as the personal secretary of Mr. Tandem-the founder of the organization. Tandem was the dream company that any graduate would love to work in but anyone could hardly get the job. This was the difficult part of it. It was a testimony, however, when he had gotten the job, but after five months of working there, he realized that he was not going to play the part of the secretary alone but also the part of a criminal.

Tandem Association was involved in several shady businesses using the fact that they were an insurance company as a cover. Soon, Lenard was involved in different illegal activities which included shooting down an opponent at point blank, defrauding a bank off over a million worth of cash among many other actions. He had hidden this from Rachel in order to retain the job as they paid well but then, Rachel had scrolled through some documents of part of his deeds and pleaded with him to quit the job.

He knew that it would be a dangerous game to play. He had watched enough movies to know that quitting the job could cost him his life so he concluded to keep on with the job but play safe with the company. Rachel had done as if she fully understood him until he returned two days later and met the letter on the table.

Now, he was beginning to realize that Rachel was right. He had to build his life again even if it would be a dangerous idea to quit the job, he had to do it, otherwise, the burden would remain on his neck and he would keep on living his ramshackle life.

Suddenly, his phone rang. He picked it up and glanced at the number. It was one of the workers at the company, a member of the bodyguards. Lenard picked the call.

“Remember you have some work today, Mr. Lenard. The boss wishes to see you by seven.” The deep voice of the body guard came from the other side and without waiting for Lenard to utter a word, he cut the call. Lenard nearly threw the phone as he had done with the clock. I’m sick and tired of this! He thought. I have to quit this hell of a job!

Lenard knew what he had to do for the day, another shady business. He was to deliver a package as he had been doing since the beginning of the week. He knew not a thing about the contents of the small laden box but he was wise enough to know that it was nothing else but cocaine. He had seen the boss use it sometimes. He threw the covers aside and slouched to the bathroom.

He couldn’t take it anymore. He was going to quit!

Something suddenly clocked his head. When he was younger, he had been a staunch Roman catholic with his widowed mother. He still remembered the priest- but what was that his name again?-it clocked! Father Robert. He guessed he still had his phone number. He immediately went straight for his phone book where he had kept his phone records for the past twenty years. He tiredly scrolled through the notebook. That was when he realized he was seeing double. He blinked rapidly and continued his search.

His index finger slid through the pages of the book and finally came to rest on one number. He immediately dialed.

“Good morning, father Robert” Lenard recognized the man’s solemn voice from the other end of the call. He smiled briefly. He was surprised to be smiling and immediately wiped it off his face.

“Father, it’s me.”

At least, Lenard had thought that Robert would recognize his voice too.

“Can I know your name, please?”

“Lenard.”

“Which Lenard?” His curiosity was profound and it clearly sounded in his voice.

“Lenard Kansas” Lenard replied. There was a pause. Robert had been very familiar with Lenard back then, when he did hid first Holy Communion, his Confirmation, when he had also lost his mother…

“Oh God!Lenard Kansas.” There was an edge of recognition in his voice. That was when Lenard realized that he sounded old. Lenard smiled. What a world.

“Father, I’m sorry for all these years.”

“Son, how have you been?”

“I am going to die today, Father.” Lenard croaked. That was when the first set of tears slipped down his cheeks-Tears of despair… and that was the cause of the headache that Lenard was yet to pinpoint- he had despaired.

“Son, don’t say that. You are completely losing hope.” The Reverend sounded terrified.

“No, Father. You don’t understand. It’s too long a story. I’m really sorry, Father. I don’t want to die but I’m sure I would have to for me to chase this new life we all want. Please Father, I really love Heaven. Pray for me to get there, I beg you!”

With overflowing tears, Lenard cut the call and threw the phone on the bed with a soft thud. As he sat on the floor, crying like a dejected child, the phone rang again and again and again but Lenard was not going to pick.

He slouched his way to the bedroom… to have the last bath he would ever have.

CHAPTER TWO – SIGHT

Lenard walked briskly to the office. The day was just as Lenard had thought it would be. With a dark cloud hovering over the entire city, everywhere seemed dull and grim, the fit condition for death. It was almost as if everybody was returning from a funeral. Lenard was just in the same mood as everyone else. He was dressed in his best suit, what he had worn when he had gone to apply for the job and his hand swung to and fro, pulled by the weight of the briefcase he carried.

He crossed the main street and walked into the compound of the building, walking among the stunning cars in the parking lot.As he made to enter into the glass door, he stopped short when he noticed something strange just by one of the cars in the lot. There was a man standing by the car. He was in his mid-twenties, probably the same age as Lenard. He was damn thin, and skinny as Lenard. His eyes looked like it would have been bright as Lenard caught a spark of intelligence in them but instead, it was dull and bloodshot, and masked with tears. He wore a suit, neatly polished, but torn and shabby, although Lenard could not see the suit completely as his view was obstructed by the car.

Lenard shook with curiosity.

“Sir!” The call of the cleaner moved Lenard out of his thoughts. Lenard turned to look at the cleaner. She was cleaning the surroundings with a vacuum cleaner and Lenard was just obstructing her work.

“Sorry Miss.” Lenard said politely as he shifted. He looked back to the grim man but was shocked when he didn’t see him there again.

“Where… where had he gone?” Lenard asked, shocked. He looked around closely again but saw no sign of him. He swallowed, shifting the sight to his subconscious as he hurried into the office to continue with the more serious business.

CHAPTER THREE – WARN

Lenard greeted the receptionist with a polite nod as he headed to her table and picked up a register to sign in.what was the need of signing in? When he was just walking into his death.He thought. As he did that, he didn’t notice someone walking into the building behind him.

“Good morning” Lenard heard the person say. He was too tired to even give whoever it was a glance. He heard the receptionist reply courtly.

“Who are you looking for?” the receptionist was saying.

“A man called Lenard Kansas”

Lenard immediately turned to the-whoever had just sought him. It was an old man, so old, Lenard thought he was a fairytale creature. Lenard eyed the man up to down, shocked at hearing his name. The old man wore ragged clothes and was covered with filth. He could hardly stand straight. Lenard wondered how the man even managed to know his name as he looked him up to down.

The receptionist’s eyes shifted from Lenard to the strange man repeatedly.

“This is Lenard” the receptionist replied. The old man turned to look at Lenard and then smiled broadly revealing his two last standing incisors.

“How may I help you?” Lenard asked, curious but embarrassed.

“Oh! I have a message.” The old man said and signaled Lenard to move a bit away from the receptionist’s hearing for a private chat. Lenard followed keeping a distance between himself and the man.

“What is this message?” Lenard asked when they had settled for their discussion.

“Oh! You should go home or leave the country” the man spoke jokingly.

“Sorry?”

“Leave the country! That would be the better idea!”

“Sorry, but I’m not getting you clearly” Lenard felt anger throbbing in his head, knowing that the old man was a psychic and was probably taking him for a joke.

“Just leave the country! That’s the message!” the old man replied.

“How did you know my name?”

“He told me your name. He had been watching you”

“Who?”

“Leave the country!” The old man began to panic. Lenard knew that he could be in a tight spot if the man fainted or gets an attack with him being there.

“Let me drop my resignation letter then.”

The old man grabbed his hand.

“Oh! No! You can’t resign! There is no resigning here! If you resign, you would end up like him!”

“Who?!”

Suddenly, the old man scurried out of the building without saying another word. Lenard watched him leave and when he was finally out of sight, he shook his head and walked back to finish his signing. The receptionist glanced at Lenard and shook her head.

“He’s a psycho” she said.

“Totally” Lenard replied dryly.

“That was just the same way he came here three years ago”

Lenard paused and frowned, trying to trace a pattern.

“Three years ago?”

“Yes! He had come to meet someone”

“Who was it?”

The receptionist glanced at the wall clock.

“It’s almost seven! Boss would need to see you!”

CHAPTER FOUR – STRANGE

Lenard set the elevator to go to the highest floor where the boss’ office was. He swallowed as he awaited the elevator’s response. The elevator hummed and slowly slid open. Lenard began to walk in when he saw…

He nearly screamed and ran off.

It was the grim man who stood by the car!

He kept his cool and walked into the elevator, pretending not to notice his partner in the elevator. The elevator closed up and began to slide upwards. Lenard shot the man a glance. He just stood straight, staring into space, looking as sad as ever with his bloodshot and tears masked eyes. Lenard’s eyes took an angle of depression down the man. He frowned.

What was that?

The man’s suit was quite open and inside, the man wore a white shirt that was badly stained with something red, whatever it was. Lenard was curious.

Who had the man come to meet?

That was when Lenard remembered the movies where people are killed in elevators and their bodies were just left to rot in it. He felt a knot in his stomach as he straightened up, preparing for whatever may come from this suspicious being by his side. He was in a one way road and here, he could die in a second.

But what did he care? He was to die today anyways.

He remained silent until the elevator hummed, buzzed and came to a stop. The door slid open and Lenard walked out to see Eric- one of the workers who had been taking care of the gardening in the building for many years now. Eric was the only person that Lenard could call a friend in the whole building. As Lenard greeted him, he saw the grim man from the corner of his eyes as he walked out of the elevator and began to walk away. Lenard watched him, forgetting Eric’s presence, lost in the limp human that was going down the corridor.

“Lenard, is there a problem?” Eric asked.

“Who’s that man?” Lenard asked without realizing it, using his tilted head to point towards the person.

“Man? Which man?” Eric asked looking in the direction of Lenard gaze.

“The strange man that just walked out of the elevator after me.”

Eric scoffed. “Lenard, no one walked out of the elevator after you.”

Lenard shot Eric a surprised stare. “Didn’t you see anybody else? Can’t you see him going down the hall way?”

Eric turned to the direction of Lenard’s pointing finger and shook his head tiredly.

“No one is there, Lenard” Eric said as matter-of-factly. “Have some rest, bro.” Eric patted his shoulder before walking down a hallway and disappearing from sight.

Lenard scoffed in confusion as his mind tried to piece together what was just happening.

CHAPTER FIVE – HORROR

Lenard walked into his boss’ office. As usual, he was seated behind his table going through some files, always going through those damned files. The Son of a… Lenard cut his thoughts off. He was sure it was radiating on his face.

“Good morning, sir.” Lenard greeted as he approached his desk.

“You are a minute late, Lenard” His boss said without looking up at him. The boss was a fair man in his early forties with brilliant eyes but deadly ones that hid his feelings and emotions. He was mean, wicked and ‘deadly’ was all his eyes revealed. Considering all these facts of his boss, Lenard still wanted to resign. He had brought out the resignation letter he had written, neatly tucked in an envelope and was about stamping it on the table when a picture caught his attention.

There on the boss’ table lay the picture of the same man he had seen earlier.

The same grim man! My Father in Heaven!

In the picture, the grim man was standing beside a car, probably his car and grinning brightly. Not half of what he looked like now. Not the shabby, bloodshot man he had seen in the elevator, not the dirty one, infact, if Lenard had not looked well enough, he wouldn’t have recognized him.Lenard hesitated for a moment, suddenly curious to finding more about this strange grim man before he died as he tucked the letter back into his pocket. Instead, he apologized for his late coming. The boss nodded.

“You know what you have to do.” The boss said. Lenard nodded and picked the small package on the boss’ table and then, like it didn’t really matter to him, he asked:-

“Who is this man?”

His boss smiled lightly as he picked up the picture. Lenard wished his boss would reply. He was never straight forward.

“Thomas Cone, your predecessor. Have I not told you of him?”

“Never, sir!” Lenard replied, dying of curiosity.

“Lenard, get going now.” The boss replied and went back to the files he was on earlier. Lenard thought as much as he walked out of the office. His thoughts went blank. He so wanted to resign but then…

Something was telling him to wait, delaying him, like he was meant to find out about something before he died.

What the hell was going on?

Just as Lenard closed the office door behind him, he sighted the grim man- Thomas Cone as he had been called. The grim man turned to look at him and began to walk away. Lenard immediately traced a pattern- There was something he had to see!

and Thomas Cone was leading him straight to it!

He didn’t want to do this. For goodness sake! He was meant to have died and just rest with his parents.

but he had to!

Enveloped by the urge to find out, he followed the grim man down series of hall ways and staircases until he realized he was getting to the abandoned quarters of the building. The grim man suddenly stopped in one of the passages on the ground floor. In a part of the building that Lenard had hardly noticed. Clearly, these parts were used no more and it was already stuffed with cobwebs, dust and dirt. Lenard put on his torchlight to support the dull sunrays that sipped through the rovers into the dim complex.

He quietly followed the grim man until he came to a stop by the wall and then, suddenly and weakly, he pointed at the wall which was totally wrecked and ruined but still standing. Lenard swallowed and came closer, still resisting the urge to run for his life. He came closer and closer until he reached the wall and examined it, making sure he had a distance between himself and the man, although, his instincts told him the man was just harmless as ever. He turned to the grim man.

“What about the wall?” Lenard asked unsure of how to use his words with his trembling lips but the grim man kept pointing at the wall with all insistence. Lenard touched the wall again, trying to figure out something out of the ordinary but found none. Lenard ended up pushing the wall. It hummed and shook a bit before a part of the wall broke out revealing an opening about the size of a locker. It was closed.

Father Lord, what have I done?

Lenard turned to the grim man. He nodded quietly. Lenard swallowed, feeling encouraged and trying to hide his fear as he grabbed the rusted cover of the compartment and pulled.

It creaked and then opened.

Lenard moved away as the dust puffed out and then, it was followed by a stomach churning smell. Lenard could hardly breathe.

What the hell was in there?

Out of curiosity, Lenard held his breathe and peeped into the compartment. His eyes widened as tears immediately ran down his cheeks. He had not thought he was that emotional.

He swallowed.

He had never seen anything more horrible. Since he had married Rachel, since he had worked in Tandem, since he had shot people, since he had carried out several illegal transactions, since Rachel had run away, all his life, he had never seen such horror.

But it was all beginning to make sense!

CHAPTER SIX – RUN

“Oh! My gosh!” Lenard exclaimed, his voice was hardly audible. One hundred and one million thoughts spun through his head, and he felt slightly dizzy. He wished someone close by could help him by giving him a shoulder to lean on. That was when he remembered that there was actually someone there- or something rather, a ghost by his side.

He turned sharply to the grim man standing by his side, wishing that all of these were not happening. He was meant to simply be at his boss’ office, kindly submitting his resignation letter and heading straight to Adga, the place where he knew his wife had surely run to with his poor son.

…but all of these were real. He was really seeing a ghost. Feeling sick, he swallowed and turned back to the horrific sight in the locker.

The horrifying and irregular eye sockets of a skull stared back at him and with it were other parts. Lenard could identify the ribs, the hands and legs, all separate from themselves and not jointed together.

“This…” Lenard began to say, his mouth was sour from the horrible odor. “This…. this…. bones….. who…” He swallowed, paused, and caught his breath. “Whose were they?”

The grim man began to raise a hand- a bloody hand, Lenard observed. God damn it! What was he doing right here?!  Lenard suddenly realized that this…thing could hurt him but he somehow felt that he was safe, safe with the ghost. Now, the grim man placed the hand on his chest. Lenard felt his eyes wet up with tears.

“It is you, isn’t it?” Lenard asked.

The man nodded.

“I’m…. sorry!” and he really was, considering the fact that he was talking to the ghost of a dead body locked in a locker for so long that it had become bones. The grim man just nodded. Then, all of a sudden, it occurred to Lenard.

“But how? How did you die? When? Why? Who……” Lenard took a deep breath. “Who killed you?”

Suddenly, the grim man jolted and turned towards the entrance the abandoned corridor they were presently in. Lenard saw the expression of shock on his face and felt a tingle of fear down his spine.

“What? What is there?” Lenard asked, his heartbeat two times faster.

Someone was coming into the door now. He walked quietly into the corridor and straight to the locker and paused, looking around. Lenard lay crouched by the side of an abandoned table as he tried to peep. The grim man just stood without moving, after directing Lenard to hide. He didn’t need to hide, he was a ghost.

Eric moved around as if sniffing the air. Lenard could read his mind. He knew someone was there in the corridor. Suddenly, Eric brought out a gun. Lenard swallowed. This was getting so much worse.

Eric held the gun and took quiet strides, like a policeman after a criminal, and he was coming straight to the table! Lenard was ready. He was a hardened killer, a trained assassin. He had faced worse battles! This should be easy.

But just before Eric got to the table, he heard a bang from behind him. Turning sharply, he raised the gun up, ready to shoot but there was no one there. He ran outside, thinking the intruder he was looking for had run off. Lenard sighed. He looked up and saw the grim man staring quietly at him.

“Thank you.” He said. “That saved me energy”

The grim man had caused the interruption and distracted Eric.

“Why did Eric come here? With a gun? Who is he seeking for?” Lenard asked in wonder. The grim man stared at him and somehow, Lenard could read what he was saying.

It’s you he came to look for. Everyone in the company is looking for you because they want to kill you, Lenard.

“Kill me? Why exactly? How can I trust you? Why are you helping me? Are you not Thomas Cone? What the heck is going on?!” Lenard barked.

Lenard, you must run! They are coming! You must run or die!

“Okay, where do I run from?” Lenard asked.

Follow me!

The grim man- Thomas- led the way and Lenard followed behind. They got to an underground compartment that was locked with a cage lock- no padlock.

Thomas turned to Lenard. Open the door!

Lenard opened it immediately after a little struggle due to the rust.

“Can’t you open doors? I thought you might have some paranormal powers to open doors or turn off a light, you know, those haunting thing.” Lenard said as they both went into the compartment and locked the gate behind them. Lenard brought out the phone and did himself a favor of turning on his light. They were in a place as old as earth, a long tunnel that was leading somewhere- outside perhaps. Thomas continued leading the way.

I can do paranormal things like that of course but not every time. It doesn’t work every time. It takes energy for a being of another world to relate with a human.

“Ah!” Lenard exclaimed. “That’s why you are here, and I can see you….energy.” Lenard pretended to understand.

“Why can’t the others see you?” Lenard asked.

They don’t believe they can.The grim man replied.

“So this takes faith?”

Sometimes, other times, you don’t need to believe. People with mental turbulence or disturbance just ends up seeing us…people like you. Thomas replied.

Lenard nodded slowly, trying to fully understand.

“Don’t you talk?” Lenard asked

No, I can but you would not hear. You can only read my replies or what I say but there is no use in talking. You can’t hear me. Humans and ghosts are not the same. Thomas said.

They were both walking very fast now. Lenard looked on the ground and noticed that Thomas’ feet and the ground did not actually have a genuine contact. More like he was floating. They worked in silence for a while before something occurred to Lenard.

“You have not answered the questions I asked earlier… How…”

Shh!

Lenard swallowed his words as he paused in fright.

Keep the torch away!

Lenard immediately turned it off. There was finally light at the end of the tunnel, a way out! Someone- an officer- stood at the entrance with a pistol. He held the gun up with his torch, searching for Lenard and from the way he was so intent, Lenard knew that he had heard his voice. The man was coming straight to where Lenard hid behind a rock. Thomas was directly beside him.

Do the mind thing. Try to bang the gate or do something to distract him! Lenard beckoned on Thomas but it did not work.

It didn’t work! You must fight Lenard! answered Thomas.

Lenard gritted his teeth. Why now? He thought. The officer drew closer and closer and then Bang!

Lenard bounced up at him and threw him a punch. The officer aimed at Lenard with the end of the gun but Lenard dodged and knocked off the officer again. The second time, the gun was out of the officer’s hands. Lenard continued with the blow until the officer was down. He picked the pistol- knowing he would need it- and put it in the inner pocket of the coat.

“Let’s go!” Lenard said. They were presently at the backyard of the Tandem building. They had to jump the fence that led out to the street. Lenard began to climb the fence. Behind him, the officer stood up, having a serious condition of nose bleed. He brought out a whistle from his pocket with a call phone. The whistle went off in continuous whee-whee

Lenard turned and found him blowing the whistle. Even Thomas was shocked.

“He is here! Electrify the fence!” The man shouted into the phone. In a matter of seconds, they were blowing whistles everywhere in the company and Lenard knew that anytime from now, he would be sucked dead by the electric wires that hung on the fence. He put his first leg across, gaining his balance, and then, the second leg went too before Lenard took a long jump and immediately, the fences were electrified. Lenard gasped for breath as he hailed down a taxi. He was damn lucky! He didn’t have to worry about Thomas. As soon as the taxi stopped, Thomas was already seated inside. Lenard bent into the car and closed the door.

He took one more glance at the company that he had served with so much diligence these past years and his eyes met with the eyes of someone else, staring from the window. It was Damon Tandem- his boss. Lenard read his eyes.

I’m coming…..was what his boss’ eyes seemed to say. Lenard swallowed the fright.

The taxi zoomed off.

CHAPTER SEVEN – DEAL

The taxi was quick and it dropped them at Lenard’s gate. Lenard didn’t have much time! He immediately paid off and went straight into his house. Everything he needed had been packed in the morning, when he was thinking he would die and now, here he was struggling to live. Thomas stood watching him as he packed the bag more tightly and made for the door. He took some second to ensure that his visa was also intact together with his credit card. After seeing they were well, he stopped to take a framed picture of himself, Rachel and their son when they had visited the Safari Island three years ago. That was the most recent picture he had of them. He kissed the glass frame.

“I’m coming darling, for both of you!” Lenard fought back tears as he added the picture into his bag and went out the door, making sure that the house held no trail of him.

It was not convenient having no car but a bike could do. Lenard brought out his bike which he had kept in the bike about a month when it began to experience a little problem but now, he so much needed it. He could see a mechanic on the way.

He and Thomas were on the bike immediately and zooming straight for the airport. The ride was rough and quick. They zoomed quickly, against traffic and in minutes, they were at the airport.

“I’m going to process my visa now.” Lenard said.

But you didn’t book a flight earlier did you? Thomas asked.

“Well, no… but I guess I have to use my second options.” Lenard replied Thomas quietly in order not to look like a psycho in the presence of everyone.

Lenard went over to the counter and showed Thomas what he meant. After hacking into the system, he claimed the profile of another person who had earlier booked a flight to Adga. It did not take much and soon, he was heading for the local plane with the grim man following behind. They both went into the plane and took their seats. All the seats were occupied and Lenard wondered how Thomas would be able to seat. He decided to shift a little Thomas signaled him not to mind.

The plane began to take off in vibration and force. Lenard glanced at Thomas. He stood without shaking. Lenard’s mouth dropped open in surprise but it then occurred to him that Thomas was actually a ghost.

They were on air now, enjoying the splendor and quiet of the plane. Lenard and Thomas could not talk for the while until they went into the rooms.

It’s been long since I had been on a plane. Thomas said as Lenard took off his shoes and socks, with the aim of having a good rest.

“But you are a ghost. Why didn’t you just enter a plane? Why did you keep yourself wandering in the company?” Lenard asked.

That’s because that was where I was killed! Thomas replied suddenly and Lenard could sense his anger.

I cannot just roam about freely. I had to stay there and count the days, waiting for when I could have my revenge! Thomas replied.

“Don’t you want to talk about the past? How things became what they are today?” Lenard asked. Thomas sat on the bed. If he had been human, the bed would have had dirt on it due to his dirtiness and ruggedness.

My name is Thomas Cole. I worked in Tandem. I was Damon’s former secretary. Lenard now understood why his boss called him his predecessor. Thomas stopped and stared quietly. Lenard could see the grief on his face. He let him go on. I worked for Damon for five years! You know what you went through when working with him. I would say I went through worse. All the dirty jobs I had to carry out. All the shooting, bloodshed, assassination, bribery, hacking, stealing, I became his play toy running around when he sent his errands to go for his dirty jobs. Damon turned me into a dog! He messed up my life.

Lenard remained quiet, listening. He knew that there was sense in what Thomas was saying. Damon had also ruined his life, chased his family and at the end of the day, he had ended up trying to pick the pieces, running like a beast.

Then one day, I came to realize that my life was ruined and I took a bold step. Lenard thought he saw Lenard take a deep breath. I decided to quit!

“Hmm!Which is what I planned on doing today.” Lenard replied.

You are lucky that you didn’t. Damon never accepts a resignation letter. It’s another word for death.

“Is that…” Lenard swallowed. “Is that what led to this? Is that what…” He took a deep breath. “…took your life?”

There was a brief pause. Yes. Thomas replied. He accepted the letter and made me believe that I was free. I was so happy. I began to make my way out of the hellhole of a company to begin a new life with my newly married wife, and then, guess what? As if waiting for Lenard’s reply, he paused. Lenard saw him smile. Lenard’s eyes pushed him to go further.

I was about to leave when they called me back. I thought I had forgotten something. I was about to go back when this man came about, a shabby old man. The one who came looking for you earlier.

“Oh! The old man… no wonder the receptionist said he came to look for someone three years earlier.” Lenard said.

The old man told me not to go back. He warned me and I didn’t listen, just as you didn’t listen and when I went up to Damon’s office… Lenard observed Thomas quietly. He felt tears in his eyes. He actually pitied Thomas.

“and then what?” Lenard asked.

Damon was with a butchering knife. He attacked me and I fought. We fought and fought…life for life. He won…. He won! Thomas began to cry. He cut me, like I was nothing but meat! Thomas tears were not of sadness but anger and his eyes sang revenge. And after cutting, he stuffed up my body inside that dung for the past three years. See? you see what I mean?

“I understand. Above all, I feel your pain.”

No, you don’t! Thomas growled. I would bury Damon and the whole of Tandem would burn to the ground and then, I want to be buried, like a real human.

“How do you need me?” Lenard asked.

Don’t you get it? You can see me and hear me and you are also running from them. I am going to use you to have my revenge and I want you to bury me. Thomas replied. Lenard felt sick.

“Well, I would be needing your help and protection especially with my wife and child. If you can help me, I can help you.” Lenard replied.

Do we have a deal?

Deal!

CHAPTER EIGHT – FLIGHT

Lenard felt satisfied and happy. At least, one-third of the questions that rammed his head were answered and now, he knew what he was doing. He felt happy and satisfied. Even if he was on the run, even though he could be dead anytime, even though his life was in danger, he felt peaceful and fulfilled because he now had a purpose unlike the useless face-tomorrow-as-it-comes life he was living. He lay on the cozy bed tiredly. He wanted to shower up. Suddenly, it occurred to him and he turned to Thomas who sat on a stool by the bedside.

“You are not going to watch me bath, are you?” Lenard asked.

Still have my courtesy. Thomas replied.

“Good!”

Before Lenard could stand up, a man badged into the room, making Lenard jump out of his skin while Thomas jumped up too, on full alert. The man was the same man who sat directly beside Lenard in the plane…

…and the man was pointing a gun straight at Lenard.

Lenard raised his two hands, taking a pose of ‘I surrender’. Lenard and Thomas were too surprised to act.

“Sir, do not try to do anything funny because you are on a plane, just raise your hands and I would put this handcuffs around your arms.” The man said.

“But I did nothing!” Lenard said.

“Oh! We would find out about that, judging from the fact that you are all over the news as a wanted person.”

“What?!” Lenard screamed. He and Thomas now understood. It was Damon who had engineered this. He must have reported Lenard to the police for a crime he did not commit and now, the whole nation would be hunting for him in order to arrest him.

Thomas, do something. Use the supernatural powers or whatever to stop him. Lenard thought as the man came closer.

Thomas had heard his thoughts. I can’t do anything. Remember I told you it draws energy. It can draw enough energy to crash the plane! Thomas replied.

Just do it!  Lenard beckoned him. Thomas closed his eyes and the lights dwindled. The man looked up in surprise and that was the opportunity that Thomas had given Lenard. Lenard launched at the man and hit him sharply. The man tried to fight but Lenard overpowered him and when he had finally fainted, they tied him up and made sure he was out of sight.

“I am in real danger!” Lenard said, panting.

You don’t need to tell me about it. You are in real danger!

CHAPTER NINE – ADGA

Lenard could not wait to get down the flight. He was uncomfortable and could not come out. Thomas went out and did a quick check. Everywhere in the plane, Lenard’s face showed as a wanted person. Even one of the air hostesses had sworn that she recognized the person in question.

Lenard remained locked in his room and by dawn, the plane began to lower down into Adga. Thomas and Lenard were both ready for it. The plane settled and the door opened for the passengers to come out. Thomas did a quick scan and observed some security men standing around the area and they didn’t look very friendly.

Lenard put on the necessary disguise. A moustache, a large coat, baggy trousers, a pair of nerdy glasses and a face cap did the job and soon, they were both heading out of the airport.

“Stop!” someone called from behind. Thomas and Lenard turned. It was an officer. The officer came closer.

He might find out about me. Thomas, do something! Lenard thought. Thomas swallowed.

Okay!

“Who are you, sir? Can you identify yourself?” the officer asked. Lenard swallowed.

“I’m Bruce Kench.” Lenard replied.

“Well, Sir Bruce Kench, you look really familiar.” The officer commented.

“Is that so?” Lenard asked rhetorically.

“Yes, you look so much like someone in the papers.” The officer went on. Lenard could perceive what he was driving at. Suddenly, the officer swung a punch at him but with years of experience, Lenard reflexes forced him to bend and he dodged the powerful swing but did not forget to launch his back. The officer spat out a broken tooth.

“Criminal!” He exclaimed. The officer brought out his gun and was really going to shoot but then, the bullets fell out. Lenard smiled. It was Thomas’ doing. Another punch and the officer was down. Lenard and the ghost began to run off.

“Welcome to Adga.” Lenard said to Thomas.

Just as they left the airport, the man tied in the bedroom was discovered and an alarm was sounded.

Lenard knew the exact place to find Rachel and Collin. He immediately took the first taxi straight for Tamel in Adga. Tamel was a little village in the small town of Adga in the city. It stood by the waterside, and the people who dwelled there were mainly surfers and fishermen. It took no time before Lenard and Thomas got there. Lenard paid off the driver and began his journey among the rows of fishermen and packs of boats. He walked for a while, wishing he could stop for a while to admire the beauty of the beach but time was not in the city. He was recognized as a criminal all around and the plan was to take his wife and son and run away to the mountains where they could finally live together in peace, and he had to do this before the information of him wanted goes round the whole country.

He wished that this was not the way he came back. He had always dreamed to come for her like a prince charming and sweep her off her feet with radiance and elegance, but here he was- a criminal.

I really think your wife would be happy to see you. Thomas said. He had not spoken to Thomas since he had greeted him welcomed him to Adga.         He had even forgotten Thomas was there when he was doing his thinking.

Lenard nodded in reply to Thomas.

“Have you been spying on my life?” Lenard asked.

Sometimes, before you started seeing me. Thomas replied.

Lenard kept quiet. He didn’t want people to see him talking to himself.

They took a little crossing past fishermen that were offloading masses of fishes from the boat and entered into the street- the street where Aunt Tatiana lived. Tatiana was Rachel’s aunt, the only relative that Rachel could go to. He walked up the porch of the little cottage where Tatiana lived. As he came closer, he could hear Collin’s voice and his eyes wet up with tears. He turned to Thomas for encouragement. Thomas nodded his reply.

…and then he knocked.

It was Tatiana that opened the door. She looked older than he remembered when she came on their wedding day.  She stared at him quietly, not knowing what to say. Lenard stared back like he was dumb. He even forgot to greet.

“Who is there?” Rachel suddenly showed up behind her aunt, asking in with joyful mood. As soon as she saw Lenard, she stood, transfixed, and her eyes showed her disbelief.

“Father!” Collin ran out of the house and towards his father with open arms. Lenard stooped to swallow him up in his hug. The tears in Lenard’s eyes came down now as he absorbed his son’s warm hug.

“I missed you, I was waiting for you.” cried Collin.

“I am sorry my child. I am really sorry.” Lenard replied. Rachel was crying now together with Tatiana while Thomas watched quietly, invisible. As soon as Lenard tore away from Collin, he began to admire his son’s round face and arrange his stylish blonde hair. Collin was much more handsome than he could remember. He got up immediately, marched past Aunt Tatiana and without asking for her consent, he enveloped Rachel in a heartwarming hug. Rachel felt tears accelerating down her cheeks.

“I love you, Rachel.” Lenard said.

“I love you, too.”

CHAPTER TEN – MOUNTAIN


Lenard had given Rachel a brief down of how his life had been since she left. How he had finally gotten fed up, quit his job, ran away from the company and was now hunted everywhere around the town and if not the country at large.

“Rachel, I believe in a new life. Follow me, together with our son, let’s run away to somewhere far…where we can live our lives peacefully, a place where no one knows… let’s go to the mountains. No one would come to look for us there, or disturb us, or try to ruin our lives… please Rachel, come with me.” Lenard had said, not mentioning a word about Thomas because it could have sounded really absurd.

“Everywhere you go, I and our son would follow.” Rachel replied. “You made me really proud. I never thought you would come back. I was thinking you preferred the job. I was already learning how to move on. You have me and your son, by your side….forever.”

It had been the happiest day of Lenard’s, Rachel’s and Collin’s life. They all rejoiced as a happy family, while anticipating their future together. That night, they had done the necessary packing and waited for the morning before they could start their departure to far-far awayby dusk. That night was a cold night. Lenard and Rachel lay snuggled in bed while Collin took his place in their middle. Thomas was not one to sleep and he sat in the sitting room, looking out into the hills that lay close by, remembering his own wife- Aquila and wishing she had moved on. Tears brimmed at his eyes, tears he could not cry as a ghost. He remembered her face, her hair, her smiles, and then, wished for a way to go back to her. If only…….

…..Thomas’ thoughts cut short as he heard a sound. He frowned and looked outside the window. There was a slight humming made by a car. He watched as the car came to a halt just in front of the building. Just as it stopped, two men marched out. They were both dressed in black. Thomas wanted to scream. He disappeared at once and appeared in the room.

Lenard! Thomas was screaming in the silence, a scream that only Lenard could hear. He didn’t want to invade their privacy but he didn’t want them shot dead either.

Lenard!

Lenard shifted, feeling weak to come out of his dreams after missing such a warm sleep in a very long time…

Lenard!

Lenard came awake and was staring right at Thomas.

Hey! Thomas! What’s up with the disturbance?

They are here!

What?!

Lenard shifted out of the bed, trying not to wake his wife and child yet and good enough, they didn’t wake. He zoomed to the window and just as he looked out, the men knocked on the door-three uniform knock that took the rhythm- kokokom!

“Shit!” Lenard bolted to the bed and woke Rachel as quietly as possible.

“What’s the matter?” Rachel asked.

“We must begin our journey now! They are right at the door!” Lenard replied quietly. Another knock was heard and Rachel bolted out of bed. She woke Collin’s immediately, picked their already packed bags and made her way out of the room with Collin, who was already wide awake and on full alert. Tatiana reached them in the room.

“Men are knocking!” Tatiana said. “Come; let me show you an underground way out of the house. Take it straight and you would come out in a cave, by the hills. It was built by my late husband.” said the old woman. Lenard and his family followed behind her, the sound of the knocking jamming at their heart. As soon as she showed the trapdoor that led them out, she went to answer the door.

She opened the door and looked at the men with surprise.

“Good morning gentlemen. This is just past three so I don’t know why you should be banging at my door by this time.” Tatiana said. The men eyed the old lady.

“We seek your niece, Rachel.” One of the men said.

“Rachel left here long ago, about a month ago.” Tatiana said.

“That’s not what Mr. Pete, your closest neighbor said.” The other man countered her. Tatiana swallowed.

“Well, what does Pete know?” Tatiana stammered. The men pushed her aside and barged into the house to begin their search for Rachel.

They hurried as fast as they could, through the rocky compartment that smelt of dust and ancient. Lenard held the torch while Rachel had Collin on her back.

“How could they have gotten to my aunt?” Rachel asked as she panted.

“They are all experts. You know the tracking and all that…” Lenard phrased his reply.

“I pray they don’t track us down to the mountain.” Rachel said.

“They didn’t come here to look for me but they came for you. They want to use you as a bait to lure me to come to them. Now you’re away, they’re pointless.”

As soon as Lenard finished his sentence, a gunshot was heard. Rachel stopped in mid step.

“My aunt!” Rachel said as tears slipped down her cheeks. “No!” Rachel cried. Lenard felt disturbed. He could feel her pain but they needed to run. He turned to Thomas, who he hadn’t noticed was following him.

“You shouldn’t have left her alone. You should have protected her!” He said to Thomas, forgetting that his wife could not see him.

“What do you mean?” Rachel asked. Lenard realized his mistake.

I’ll go deal with them! Thomas replied regretfully and disappeared. Lenard turned to his wife.

“I’m sorry about Tatiana!” Lenard said as he hugged his sobbing wife. “Soon, all these would be over. Let’s go dear. Be strong!”

Rachel nodded and they continued their run.

Thomas appeared in the sitting room and saw the men still searching. He checked for Aunt Tatiana but did not see her. He looked at the men again and began to calculate the best way to send them back on their heels. Just as he was about to begin, he saw Tatiana and moved closer. She lay, sprawled on the floor, covered with blood that was still oozing from her body. She was dead!

Thomas turned to the unsuspecting men. His eyes flashed with a feeling! It was rage! He didn’t need to draw energy together. The energy came on its own- the energy of rage.

The bulbs dwindled.

The men stopped and looked at the bulb. It continued dwindling.

“Looks like there are power issues here.” One of them said, mindless of the light. The dwindling became faster and it continued that way. The men stopped and looked at the light, now surprised. Suddenly, one of the men accelerated in the air as if he was pushed but by an unseen force. He flew across the room and jammed the wall, landing in a great thud. The other man ran for the door but the door shut close. He gasped, full of fright. He ran for the window and at once, they all shut too. He looked back and gasped. It was a ghost! He could see the outline of Thomas, just slightly. He screamed and jammed the door again, begging for help and mercy but it didn’t come. The wires suddenly began to spark and an instant, there was a fire!

Thomas disappeared when he made sure that the men were burnt to a crisp as well as the house and every memory of Aunt Tatiana.

CHAPTER ELEVEN – BACK

Lenard, Rachel, Collin and the invisible Thomas walked the mountain for hours without stop. After three hours, they stopped for a brief rest. After resting, they walked for another five and by dawn, they got to promise land. They were far now from humans and dangers and all they had around them here was nature and promises for the future. A distance away stood their house they were heading to. This was an inherited property of Lenard that his mother had kept secret but told him of it before she died. Until now, Lenard had no use of it and told no one about the house but now, he surely did.

The house was a cottage with two comfortable rooms and every other thing they needed. It lay in a valley, concealed by shrubs and green plants. It even had a garden. There were abandoned items inside such as some utensils, pots, a bed, lights, paintings and tapestries. All these were what he was to have used but didn’t consider it important and decided to rent a house and live in a place more social, that was when he thought like a fool though. Now, his house came in handy.

They cleared out a place for sleeping and rested for the night. When they woke up, they felt at ease, not being disturbed by anybody or knocking or gunshots or buzzing cars… just at peace!

…but the peace was about to end for Lenard. After a week, he and his family had settled down and were now comfortably happy in their new house. Although Collin schooling was a priority, they were yet to consider that.

This family peace ended when Lenard woke up one early morning to find Thomas staring straight at him.

It’s time to keep your word!  Thomas said.

Shit!

The life of peace was about to wreck again. He had made a deal with Thomas and now that Thomas had seen him through to his happy life with his family, it was time to go and take Thomas’ bones and bury them. That was what Thomas wanted most, not even killing Damon.

After three days of constantly disturbing him, Lenard decided to go.

“I promise to come back!”

“You promise? Lenard, you can’t walk out again!” Rachel replied when they began to discuss the issue.

“You have to trust me! It is compulsory I go back for this…”

“For what? Don’t you realize that you have not really explained this to me? Why are you going back? What are you hiding?” Rachel asked. Lenard sighed. It was time to say this.

“I made a deal.” Lenard replied. Rachel bit he lower lip.

“You and your deals! This is why you make me tired!” Rachel said.

“This is not just about any deal! This is a deal I made with……” Lenard swallowed.

“With who?” Rachel asked. Lenard waited, looking for the way to say it without sounding insane.

“With a ghost!” Lenard replied in a very low, almost inaudible key.

Rachel scoffed.

“What’s this now?” she asked weakly.

“Rachel, I can explain.” Lenard insisted.

“Well, maybe you can because this needs a real explanation.” Rachel replied.

Then Lenard sat and told her all about the grim man and how Thomas had been helping him, through the company, through the plane, on the road, in the house…

Rachel just sat and listened quietly.

“So, it’s time you play your part of the deal and go to take his bones and bury them?” Rachel asked.

“Yes, Rach.” Lenard replied. Rachel nodded, still trying to make sense out of all he said.

“Why can’t I see this Thomas?” Rachel asked.

“He’s right here!” Lenard replied, pointing at the thin air. “He’s waiting for me.” Rachel looked at the thin air and nodded, pretending to be convinced.

“Trust me; I actually think that this is still insane.” Rachel said and stood up to pick the turning spoon and check the meal she placed on the fire. Just as she was about to pick the spoon, it shifted.

“What the?” Rachel exclaimed.

“It was Thomas that did that.” Lenard said quietly. “He’s trying to convince you.”

Rachel shook it out of her head and went for the spoon again but it shifted. She tried again and it still shifted. She stopped, took a deep breath and looked at her husband.

“Tell Thomas that I need to check my food.” Rachel said. Lenard shot Thomas a glance.

“Stop it.” Lenard said stupidly and when Rachel reached for the spoon, it didn’t move. She headed for her pot of boiling rice, trying to see what just happened as some magic trick.

Rachel finally let him go with tears in her eyes and after Collin was sleeping because if he were awake, then he would have to cry all day. After kissing her goodbye, Lenard began the journey back to the city, with Thomas following him.

“You’re such a bad ass, you know. Just when I settled with my family, you come to show your true self.” Lenard commented to Thomas.

Maybe you’re such a good ass then, because just as you settled with your family, you forgot you made your ghostly boy a deal! Thomas replied.

“Why didn’t you just burn Damon’s office, or kill him yourself?” Lenard asked.

It’s against the law binding the two worlds-the world of the human and that of the dead. I can’t carry out my vengeance without a human doing it.

“Your laws sucks and they are never clear.” Lenard admitted. Thomas only chuckled. Lenard had not seen him even smiling and it made Lenard feel a ting of happiness

The walk continued for hours and they got to the city by dawn. Then they took transport by land back to where Tandem stood.

“Now, let’s take the first step towards saving your body.” Lenard said as he stopped at a store. He purchased bullets and filled his licensed gun. Then he stopped at another store, changing his clothes to his black, assassin wear but more friendly with walking on the streets. He then purchased a mask after lying he was keeping it in anticipation of Halloween, and then he bought a pair of dark goggles. After kitting up completely, he headed for Tandem at exactly past ten.

The company was still wide awake as Lenard had expected. From outside, Lenard could see the activities going on in the inside of the drug factory- drug factory- the thought of it made Lenard scoff.

“Okay, grim man. Here we go!” Lenard said. Thomas nodded. Lenard knew the plan. He had to get Thomas’ bones first and then avenge his death on Damon. He walked into the company, keeping to the shadows. He walked past the main entrance and headed for the backyard- the easiest way to get to the compartment where he had earlier seen the body. He dodged two guards who hardly noticed him as he merged with darkness. He sighed, thankful for his black suit. He dove into the compartment, following taking one step at a time in the darkness, watchful for any alarm he might trip.

He didn’t turn on the torch until he located the cupboard. As soon as he got to the cupboard, he put on the torch and brought out the polybag he had brought to pack the bones. He opened the cupboard and gasped.

“My father!” Lenard exclaimed.

Oh no! It’s not happening!

The bones were not there!

“What the hell happened?” Lenard asked.

“I was waiting for you!”

Lenard and Thomas turned to see Eric coming into the passage with his torch and bouncing in confidence.

“I missed your face, friend” Eric said.

“Eric, look, no one must know I am here, okay? I need Thomas’ body. Do you know where it is?” Lenard asked, confiding in Eric.

“Sure.”

“Where?”

“It’s in the boss’ office.” Eric remembered.

“What? Who took it there?” Lenard asked.

“I did, and as a matter of fact, the boss is waiting for you.” Eric replied. Lenard gasped.

“The boss knows I am here?”

“Yap, didn’t you notice the surveillance cameras?”

Lenard looked up and saw three cameras set in the ceiling, beeping red. He swallowed.

Thomas, I must see my family again. Lenard thought as tears brimmed at his eyes.

Thomas?

That was when Lenard looked around and noticed that Thomas was gone!

CHAPTER TWELVE – BURN

Lenard reached Damon’s office on handcuffs. Eric proudly escorted him to the office together with three other officers. Lenard remained quiet as he tried to piece together what was happening. He was thinking of all that had happened right before his eyes. First, he had been walking right into a trap without knowing, then Eric, his best friend at work had given him a surprise betrayal and then, what Lenard found difficult to believe, Thomas had gone! Where the hell had he gone?! He couldn’t have just left me! No!

When he got to the office, he had his head bowed but from the corner of his eyes, he saw Damon get up from his chair and walk straight to him with a smile on his face.

“Hey Lenard” Damon said. Lenard kept shut. A blow went across Lenard’s face, damaging his left cheek and sent two premolars shaking. Lenard coughed. It was blood!

“Why did you have to put me through so much stress looking for you like a lost diamond? You are my best secretary.”

Lenard didn’t speak.

“Anyway…” Damon began as he walked to a drawer, as if counting his steps. “Now you are back, let’s just continue from where we stopped.” Damon opened the drawer and pulled out…

……..a butchering knife!

Lenard swallowed. Damn the earth! He thought. He was still going to die after all.

“Wait a minute. Did you kit up?” Damon observed and laughed. “You look so much like an assassin actually…. I mean…it kinda suit you.” Damon teased. I can’t believe you went through all these…” Damon brought out a knife fixed at his boot… “…for what…”…and then, Damon sent the knife through Lenard’s side. Lenard screamed as blood dyed his cloth and began pouring down to his shoes and wetting the tiled floor. “…..just to get a dead man’s bones!”

Lenard sighed, trying to conserve his energy.

“Why do you want those bones? I mean, you have escaped and gone free and you came back for some mere bones?”

No answer.

“Well, I do not waste time when doing these things and now, you would die the same way that poor Thomas had died. You should have seen his face when I ….” Damon paused thoughtfully. “…butchered him.”

Lenard wanted to jump at Damon and bite him. His rage was beyond understanding. “What are your last words, my friend?”

Lenard swallowed. Now, he wanted to speak. “Do you know why I came back for the bones?” Lenard spoke slowly.

“Hmm, why?” Damon asked.

“Because Thomas asked me too” Lenard replied.

“Thomas?” Damon thought for a while. “Oh! I get you, Lenard. You have always had a thing for insanity. Now you are caught, can Thomas save you?”

Lenard spat at Damon, a mixture of saliva, blood and a tooth. Damon growled and launched Lenard another blow. Multiple pangs of pain ran through Lenard’s body.

“Go ahead, you’re just a fool. You just have to die someday.” Lenard said. “Come on, go on!”

Damon gripped the knife harder and swung, aiming for Lenard’s neck but to their surprise, Lenard took a swift bend.

I am not dying, not yet!  Lenard thought as he dodged the swing. The knife hit Eric instead and he fell dead on the spot. Damon was surprised but not stunned.

“I see you are such a fighter.” Damon commented. The other three officers had brought out their guns. Damon walked to Lenard who crawled away, still holding the bleeding knife.

“You would die, you have no choice.”

He was about to take another swing when he stopped and looked. Right behind Lenard was…

…it was Thomas Cone!

He gasped and moved away!

“It’s not happening!” Damon screamed. “You are dead and you are simply an imagination.”

Are you sure about that? But you can see me and hear me!  Thomas said. Lenard smiled. Thomas was back!

“Go away!” Damon screamed. Suddenly, the other three officers pointed their guns at Damon. Thomas was making Damon’s face appear as his face. The men were seeing Damon as Thomas.

“It’s a ghost!” the men shouted and one of them shot. Damon fell to the ground while the men began to run. Lenard got up weakly, took a vessel that held Thomas’ bones and began to limp out of the company.

Damon’s time is up! Thomas said as the office caught fire, starting from a spark among the wires. Soon, the cupboard was on fire.

Everyone tried to run out of the company but to their awful surprise, the windows and doors all jammed lock and only the people initially outside could run. Lenard headed for the main door and it slid open.

He put his first leg out the door and bang!

A bullet knocked him. He fell hard on the floor, groaning. It was Damon! He tried to aim again but a burning plank fell high from the roof and landed on him. In a minute, he was on fire, and together with everyone in the company, he ran around in hopelessness, screaming and groaning till he was burnt to a crisp.

Lenard opened his eyes. At first, he was seeing in double and then, after blinking continuously, he finally managed to see the face of Rachel staring back at him.

“Rach!” he greeted, acknowledging her presence. “Geez! Am I in heaven?”

“Heaven is not where you would be while I am still here on earth. No, Lenard. You are not in heaven. You are in a hospital.” Rachel replied and chuckled.

“Daddy!” Collin cried as he wrapped his arm round him.

“Hey son!” Lenard replied, smiling.

“Be careful son. Daddy is just recovering from his surgery.” Rachel replied. That was when Lenard remembered the stabbing and the bullets.

“We made it, hun.” Lenard said.

“Yeah, after you had a knife stuck in your abdomen and a bullet that nearly damaged your spine! You could have been paralyzed!”

“Yea, but I’m not. I’m a fighter. Always remember that!” Lenard said and they both chuckled. Just then, something occurred to him.

“Where…?” Lenard was cut short.

“The bones?” Rachel got up and showed him a bag stuffed with the remains of Thomas’ body. “This stuff kind of crept me and Collin out of our skin.”

Lenard laughed. “Come on, Rachel. We have a funeral to do.”

They buried Thomas three days later, exactly where Thomas chose to be buried- close to Lenard’s new home, among the high hills and mountains, to dwell together with nature. Thomas was there, with tears in his eyes. Lenard walked up to Thomas and smiled.

“Are you going to go now?” Lenard asked. Thomas nodded.

I just wanna see one more person. He replied.

“I would miss you…so much” Lenard could hardly believe that he was crying. He walked closer to Thomas and tried to hug him but could not. Thomas smiled.

I will miss you too… and your happy family. Thank you so much, Lenard. It was a good thing to meet you. Thomas replied as he smiled, trying to hide his tears.

Goodbye…

“Goodbye… but who do you want to see?”

Thomas appeared when Aquila was doing what she did best- painting. He stood quietly beside her as she painted out a beautiful sea scape. He smiled. He missed her so much. If only he could even touch her…..

You have to move on, Aquila. Thomas said. Suddenly, Aquila looked back, as if she had heard something but she did not see him or anybody. She simply shook the thought out and continued her painting. Tears ran down her cheeks. She was thinking of him. She put a new page and began to draw again.

Goodbye Aquila. I love you…

“I love you, too.” Aquila said sobbing. “Why is my mind talking to me like Thomas?” she continued to sob and when she finished her painting, it was Thomas, standing and smiling, in a world of forever happiness…

….and Thomas saw this last gift before he finally vanished….

…..into the thin air…..

THE END

About Author

Okpala Michael

"Behold He Whom You Shall Call King..." WRITER| MODEL | POET | AUTHOR | NOVELIST | THESPIAN At Your Service. Follow and Link Up!

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