Sam was pouring a cup of tea when his mobile rang. He left the cup half filled and answered it on the third ring, ‘Hello, Jenny. Where are you?’
The doorbell rang, Sam smiled and hung up the phone. He rushed down the stairs from his bedsit on the third floor. As he walked to the front door, he glanced into the sitting room to see Mr and Mrs Windbeck sitting on the sofa, just staring into space.
Sam let Jenny into the house and put his finger to his lip. She nodded and Sam beckoned Jenny to follow him back upstairs.
When they’d reached the room, Sam gently closed the door behind them. ‘Not going to lie, this is a little weird, Sam’ Jenny said as she took off her coat and hung it on the back of a chair.
‘I know, but it’s really cheap and a fantastic location’. Jenny looked around at the décor, the child’s wallpaper, the picture books on the shelves, and dolls lined up along the windowsill.
From outside Jenny heard a child begin counting loudly. She walked over to the window and saw a boy with his head up against a tree, his hands covering his eyes.
Sam walked back over to the tea and took down another cup down from the cupboard. ‘It’s really sad. They had a little girl a few years ago that went missing. The police suspected someone, but there was never a body, so nobody was charged.’
Jenny continued to look down at the boy in the garden, then walked over and sat down. Sam placed the tea down on the table and sat on the chair opposite.
‘After a couple of years’, Sam continued, ‘they just gave up, but can’t bear to move, just in case. I came across the advert a month or two back for a lodger, and here I am. Sometimes it feels like they just want someone here, you know?’
Jenny took a sip from the tea, then blew on it and put it back on the table. ‘What about the child in the garden?’
Sam frowned, ‘That’s the other strange thing, they ignore him completely. It’s like they’ve forgotten they have a son.’ Jenny shivered, causing her to pull her coat off the back of the chair and drape it over her shoulders.
‘Ready or not, here I come!’, came the shout from the garden. ‘It’s a beautiful view out there though’, Sam got up and walked over to the glass. ‘Between those trees you can see all the way to the cathedral’.
Jenny joined him and glanced at the spire before peering back down into the garden to watch the boy run around. He kicked the autumn leaves, as he joyfully checked behind trees, behind chairs, behind the shed. ‘It’s like he’s looking for his sister’ Jenny murmured, to which Sam nodded.
For a second the little boy stood still in the centre of the garden, ‘There you are!’ he screamed before running off into the bushes.