It was eight o’clock on a colder time of a year’s evening. Thin, dingy rain spat and drizzled past the lighted street lamps. The pavements shone long and yellow. The breeze blew more diligently and it started raining more heavily as I assembled all the stuff and walked inside the building. I work at an orphanage as night guardian. We also had a bakery to keep up the funds and ordinary requirements. The orphanage wasn’t immense but palatable. The rooms were shared by the children. My work is usually to clean up all the stuff after kids are asleep and to keep a record of parent’s appointments while I look after the bakery too. As a typical daily schedule of my evening, I was rescheduling the arrangements and making a fine record. My stomach started growling and I recall that I skipped my dinner. I walked into the kitchen and found some apples. I grabbed them and during the process of cutting them, I accidentally chopped my finger too. The cut wasn’t profound but still, it was bleeding. I lost my appetite looking at that blood.
I walked towards main counter A.K.A reception. It wasn’t actually a reception but it had a chair table and a T.V. I sat there and turned the T.V on. I kept switching the channels and finally stopped at the news channel. I was curious about the weather because it was beginning to deteriorate. “Please accept my apologies for interrupting the weather forecast. We have an important message to deliver…”They said and it grabbed my attention. I held my pen down and gazed at the box.
“Two people are walking around in the city and keep handing citizens a thing that is dearest to a person. No matter what happens you shouldn’t say yes and accept it. You should deny anything given to you by a stranger. I repeat do not answer with a yes. Till now they are identified as a woman and a kid. The woman is spotted and will be caught soon but the kid is still missing. The faces are still not identified. Stay safe people and contact us if you saw anything strange.”
Hearing that gave me chills up and down my body. But after a while, I ignored it and didn’t care much about it. As if that women will come here. I kept wondering about what kind of question she would ask people. I tried to make this scene funny because I was terrified. After a while, it didn’t bother me anymore.
I got back at making records for children appointments. The thought of that women and lost kid had left my mind. But then I heard a creaky sound of the door as if someone had opened it. “Hello?” I said. There was no reply. It sounded like someone had opened the door and entered. “Hello? Is someone out there?” still there was no answer. I got up and walked outside to see if someone’s there. As I walked outside I saw some wet shoe prints on the floor. They were pointed as someone had walked inside. The size of the shoe was not so large; it was more like a kids shoe size. I walked more forward and peeped outside. I couldn’t see anyone till a distance. ‘Hehehe’ I turned back as soon as I heard a kid giggling. I heard some footsteps running down the hallway; I started to walk in that direction. “Catch me, hehe,” said someone but it was in the opposite direction. I got terrified. “Bang! I got you.” Someone was standing right behind me and he had something pointy thing poking me in the back. I slowly turned around to see. “Gosh! Jeremy.” It was Jeremy, a 5-year-old kid. We found him in the park a few days ago, he was freezing from cold. We decided to give him shelter and food and now this is his new home. “Hehehe” he giggled and ran away.
‘He scared me’ I said to myself. I started walking back but I heard a door creak again. “You better be in your bed soon, Jeremy or else it…” I said and turned around. It wasn’t Jeremy now. It was a woman. She was wearing a coat but didn’t bother to wear the hood. The water was dripping from her hair. She had a weird body posture and also a spooky aura. “Good evening, how may I help you?” I asked her.
She looked up. Her eyes were red and she gave me a creepy smile. I don’t know why but something didn’t felt right about her.
I froze as I stood there, ice has replaced my spine. The cold air enveloped the entire body. The multi-layer of clothing could not protect me against the deathly cold atmosphere of the room. I blankly stared at that woman’s face. “Excuse me, how may I help you?” I asked her again. She completely ignored my question and sat down on the bench nearby. ‘She might have stopped here because of the heavy rain’ I said to myself. I went inside the kitchen and bought a cup of coffee for the lady.
“Isn’t it freezing outside? Drink this you’ll feel better.” I said keeping the coffee in front of her. She pushed the cup away, “Don’t worry. You don’t have to pay for this. It’s all upon me.” I said and gave a hearty smile to lighten up the mood. She took a sip of the coffee. I moved back to the table and got back to work. After a few minutes, she came up to my table and kept the coffee mug, it was empty. “I hope you liked it. Is there something you need?” I asked her. She peeped inside the appointment record book I was making. “Oh are you here to meet someone?” I asked. She didn’t say anything but nodded in agreement. “I am so sorry miss but we are close for now. Here, you can fill this form and there is a small questionnaire. Please answer correctly.”
I slide the form towards her along with a pen, she moved her hand forward but instead of picking it up, she started growling. She started growling at the table, looking in the same direction as her eyes I found there was Bible kept there. I think it was bothering her I picked the bible and kept it inside the drawer.
She creepily smiled at me and started walking outside. “Miss, you forgot to fill the form,” I shouted at her. I called her multiple times but she didn’t bother to reply. She walked out in the heavy rain. I found it strange and thought to call the helpline. But maybe I was overthinking about the situation. Maybe it was just a strange customer. It was still concerning me, I was about to dial the number but I heard some footsteps walking towards me. I leaned my chair to see who it was, but I wasn’t able to. It was a small shadow moving towards me.
My heart almost stopped beating as the shadow moved closer. Soon the thing came into the light, “Jeremy, aren’t you suppose to be in the bed by now?” I sighed the moment I saw him. He came down alone along with his blanket. “Can I please sleep here with you?” he asked rubbing the eyes. “I sat down on my knees and asked, “Why? Are the other kids bothering you?” I held his hand and we started walking back towards the room.
“No, I don’t like the new kid we have. He keeps giving the kids what they ask and they all are laughing really loud. He keeps asking me if I want chocolates, I denied it every time because you said no chocolates for me. But he keeps asking me again and again. He is a strange person and I don’t like him around. Please let me be with you.” I was shocked at what Jeremy just told me. As far as to my notice Jeremy was the last kid we had here. I ran back to the counter to check if I missed someone. It was terrifying because I didn’t saw any new name added.
I ran as fast as I could towards the room. I was running so fast that my presence was felt by all other adults working there. My heart was beating so loud and fast that it might pop out. I was not able to run as I moved closer toward the room. It felt like the blood had frozen in my veins. My body felt cold and blue.
I stood at the door of the room and slowly opened it. I didn’t saw any kids; it was just their clothes and toys laying on the bed respectively. I walked inside and saw a shadow near the window. It was a small kid; I was not familiar with that kid. He turned towards me and holy shit! He had blood on his face and palm and he was licking it. He gave me an innocent smile. I tried to grab the phone nearby to inform the authorities but as I moved he giggled most creepily and said, “What do you want? I know what you desire; I can give it to you. hehehe” and then he jumped outside the window.