19th April 2018
Sometimes a situation happens upon one, refusing to remain buried. It haunts both day and night.
I’m sure when awakening during the early hours of the new day and it still dark, I’m sure someone knocked on my front door. The essence of the disturbance remains long after the reverberation faded. I’d say I’m waking up just after the measured knock upon the wood, but I never hear it, just know that it has happened.
This is a recent manifestation.
You see I’ve had need to walk a lane at night. A lane very quiet, spooky and certainly dark along its length.
I’ve made the journey for over ten days now, the first week uneventful but the last few nights, felt quite a different experience.
I have the awareness of someone walking alongside me when I am returning home. I should say walking silently and to the left of me. Close enough that in my state of increasing nervous anxiety, I have to look. I’m ready for someone to appear, not that there is anybody with me. My stride quickening when the realisation upon me, and the atmosphere noticeably sharpens at this point, an inner voice urgent in its insistence to return home and safety.
I’m rather regretting the favour asked of me. You see the householders, requesting my time, are attending to some business out of town. It a strange wish, but knowing me as they do, I understand why they asked.
They wanted me to keep a vigil over a closed coffin in their house. A relative unable to recover from a recent illness had sadly passed away. I did know of him, only briefly. We use to swap the latest moan before I’d be on my way up the hill. He came across as a well travelled man and someone knowing things that perhaps we cared not to know about, certainly a man harbouring secrets.
My routine over these last days is to arrive just before nine in the evening and on the last occasion; I felt such sadness in the place that I’d taken fresh flowers to lighten the mood of the room. As I am the only one with a key, I usually quickly check around the place. There’s nobody else with access to the house so I consider it prudent to make sure all is secure.
In the silence, I sit at the side of the coffin and read a short hand written piece that he liked and had penned himself. It was amongst his writings, much as he left them and I always return the piece of parchment to his desk.
I even asked if he was walking me back down the lane. After all, he never wanted to be alone, hence the request. Even at the end he wanted the company of another to be with him. Perhaps if he was watching me home, maybe he could do so but not be so obvious.
There is one thing to mention. The other morning, after disturbed from the knocking on the door, I noticed an envelope had been pushed through the letterbox, hand delivered by the look of it. When I took out the parchment I recognised the writing, from the self-penned verse I read out aloud at the coffin. It was a simple handwritten note – Thank you for reading and watching over me. The flowers are lovely –
by Jonathan Harker
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