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BAC|< FR0M the DEA|), GIF

BAC|< FR0M the DEA|), GIF

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It was around this time last year when he showed up. I remember because Halloween was coming up soon, and I was already feeling kind of spooked out. I mean, living way out here all by myself can do that to you, you know.

Fred as drawn by the woman in question

I was standing right here, just about to slip into bed, when I heard something scratching on that window. At first, I thought it was a branch, or maybe a bug hitting the glass, but I really wasn’t sure. But I did notice it felt somehow deliberate.

Truth is, is that I was way too terrified to actually go over there and look for myself, and because I’d recently hung thick green curtains, I couldn’t see a thing outside. 

Far west corner of the woman's backyard

I decided to just let the whole thing go, and figured it was my imagination acting up again. But right when I started to pull back the bedsheets, it happened again, that same scratching sound on the glass, but this time with a double tap, tap at the end. I swear the blood in my head went cold and still, and I just felt sick.

I didn't know what to do, so I sat there frozen, halfway under the blankets. I knew that my mind must be playing tricks on me, and so in a brief moment of undaunted courage, I leaped out of my bed, ran over to that window, and yanked back those curtains as fast as I could!

Staring right at me through that second story window was the strangest looking fellow I'd ever seen, just floating there, fifteen feet off the ground, his yellow green eyes even with mine. I could see his features perfectly, and I couldn’t tell if the moonlight was hitting him just right or that he seemed to glow from the inside out.

The frightened woman sees Fred

I'm sure you can imagine how alarmed I was by the entire scene, and once the initial shock wore off, I stumbled back screaming my head off, and banged my heel hard on the bed frame, then fell to the floor.

"Oh dear! I'm terribly sorry to bother you, ma'am. I didn't mean to startle. I'm just lost.”

He looked towards his feet and said, "Again."

The woman nurses her injury

As I sat rubbing my throbbing foot, I couldn't seem to take my eyes off his deep set, sunken eyes, or his hauntingly gaunt, skeletal frame, or his out-of-place, out-of-time formal black suit, or that gold western bow tie draped around his neck. And from his right ear hung a jeweled pendant that reflected light as if set in the brightest sun in the dead of night.

Once my throat finally got working again, I asked him who he was.

"My name's Fred. And I'm dead. And I'm looking for my wife Astrid, who's also dead, but nowhere to be found.”

I could see him holding something in his right hand, and he pushed it flush against the glass. 

The photograph in question

What happened next I can't explain, but as if by some force unseen, I stood up suddenly, walked over to that window, unlocked the latch and slide it right open! I was knocked over by the cold air which smelled soaked in carnations, dirt, and wet wool.

He handed me the photograph, his spidery arm reaching through the window frame.

"Have you seen my Astrid?"

I told him that I was very sorry, and that I'd never seen her before in my life.

A forlorn Fred

"Oh, thank you kindly, ma’am. Could you please point me in the direction of Adam's Cemetery and Crematorium? That's where my Astrid was laid to rest, and I do hope to perhaps find her there."

Now, not once in my life, did I expect to be giving detailed directions to an exceedingly polite, dapper specter, but I began explaining, "now you just head up that hill to your left, then go straight down the dirt road about a mile, right before hitting copper creek, then follow the fork to your right until you see the iron gates up ahead a little bit further on." 

"Thank you kindly. I will not soon forget your hospitality and graciousness."

Before I could say another word, he spun about-face, floated slowly down towards the grass below, and began to glide in the exact opposite direction of the graveyard.

I tried to get his attention, but he just kept drifting down the road, whistling to himself obliviously, heading further and further away from his destination, and presumably further and further away from his Astrid.

He was almost completely out of sight, just before turning down that last blind corner, when he whirled himself around, and glanced back this direction. I started motioning my arms frantically, trying to communicate his navigational error, but he only waved back gaily, before running straight into a tree, which seemed to startled him greatly, despite himself passing right through it.

Selfie of the woman, taken soon after Fred's departure

Godspeed Fred, you're going to need it.

The End.

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