Behind You Daddy
“He’s behind you daddy.” I spin round to see nothing, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. I love my daughter but she’s so creepy when she pretends to see things that aren’t there. I turn back around and she sticks her tongue out at me “Very funny” I say as I tickle her and she rolls around the floor giggling “He was there! The ghost man! You just missed him!” She says between laughs and gasps for air. Even though I know she’s just making up silly stories I cant help but feel spooked. I try to hide it because if she knew she actually is getting to me she’d never stop.
“Do you think kids can see things? Like a sixth sense that fades when we grow up?” I’m lying on our bed staring at the ceiling as I think aloud. My wife doesn’t look up from her book but I can tell she’s stopped reading, I can almost hear her considering whether to take my question seriously or make fun of me. “Are you asking if I think our daughter can see ghosts?” she says in a mocking tone, trying unsuccessfully to stop a sly smile from spreading across her face. I sigh and turn on my side “Forget it” but I hear her say behind me “I was just messing around, don’t get all grumpy. Maybe we could take her on the road, has there been a kid medium before?” I ignore her laughter and close my eyes, not knowing that was the last time I would hear her laugh ever again.
In the morning I hear a scream, throw off the covers and run to its source. I find my wife standing over our daughters bed “Where is she? Where is she!?” She screams at me then rushes through the house calling our daughters name while I check every window and every lock on the doors. When we meet in the living room we still haven’t found her and my wife looks more distraught than I’ve ever seen her. I call the police while she continues searching. As I wait for them to arrive I feel a slight breeze then I notice one window in the living room that I forgot to check. It’s slightly ajar.
At the police station we’re sitting in a cold sterile room, my wife crying into my shoulder as we’re asked dozens of questions. Had she been acting strangely? How well do you know your neighbours? Would she have run off anywhere? Then there’s a knock at the door, a piece of evidence has been found. When they bring it in I can’t help myself, I’ve tried to be strong this whole time but I break down into a howling cry of pain and anguish. They found the mask discarded in the garden, almost missed it buried in the snow. It’s plain white with no features, to a child it would look just like a ghost.