Picture it and Write: A Presence in the Shadows

by joetwo

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write from Ermilia’s Blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

A Presence in the Shadows

Jonny’s mother has been very clear as she left him at the gate of his new school. “You are only to play in the courtyard. No matter what happens, don’t go anywhere near the trees.” He didn’t understand why she was being so paranoid. After all; this was the town she had grown up in, she had never said anything about it being unsafe. “Trust me on this.” She implored “Please”

But if little boys could be sensible they would be little men and life would be so much more boring. The second the doors opened for lunch break Jonny was heading straight for the trees.

He had gathered what little information he could from his new class mates but Jonny was amazed and delighted at just how wonderful the little piece of forest was. It was like a magical wonderland to someone who had only known the concrete jungle of the big city. There were fungi, mosses, broken sticks, even a dead bird so many things to investigate and explore. In fact he was so engrossed that he did not see or hear anything untoward until there was a voice from behind him.

“Hello Jonny”

Jonny turned suddenly to find a man standing there beside him. He was youngish, late twenties, the same as him mother. But his eyes looked older, like they were tired from a long, hard life.

He made one step forward.

“Who are you?” Jonny shouted “You are not supposed to be here”

The man stood back, a little shocked, He muttered something, Jonny thought it sounded like “So like her” But he couldn’t be sure. He confronted the man again.

“Why are you here? This is school grounds, you are not supposed to be here. If you don’t leave I will get a teacher.” He then paused for a second “How do you know my name?”

“The thing is.” The man said “The thing is… I used to know your mother. We were old friends.”

“If you were friends with Mom, how come you never visited us in the city, or since we moved here?”

The man grimaced. “That’s complicated… We have history.”

“What do you mean by that?” anger passed quickly over his face “Did you do anything bad to her? Because if you did.”

The man raised his hands to stop Jonny. “No! No! I didn’t do anything to her.. At least nothing bad. We just fell out.”

“Well that doesn’t make any sense. How can you lose a friend like that? What happened?”

“It is a little hard to explain..”

Jonny could hear a bell in the distance. “That means that break is over, I have to head back to school. I will ask my mom why she won’t talk to you.” he turned and started to walk in the direction of the school building. He paused after a couple of steps “What is your name? So I can say.”

The man looked flustered, as if fighting for the words to come out. “Artie… Artie Jones.”

“That’s a nice name.. My mom says my Dad’s name was Artie…. I never met him.” Jonny started back “Goodbye!”

Jonny was waving as he passed through the trees and the man, he did seem a nice man, was waving back, if not a little slowly. Perhaps his mother would let him be her friend again. He looked like he would like that.

That would be a nice thing.

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