Today’s Word: Wraith
Alec might never have noticed the man if it hadn't been for a jet breaking the sonic barrier at just that moment. He looked up, searching the southern sky, and found a man sitting atop the nearest light pole.
The man sat, bracing his elbows on his knees, his face on his fists. Dark hair obscured his eyes. He was dressed in black boots, blue jeans, a black sweater and leather jacket.
"Are you alright, sir?" asked Alec.
The man didn't move or speak.
The stranger raised his head and Alec saw that he had no eyes, just empty sockets.
"Oh, God," said Alec, and took a step back.
The man leapt from his high perch, his black hair flying out behind him, his face contorting into something inhuman. He was coming straight towards Alec.
His mouth opened (far too wide for that of a normal man), revealing several rows of teeth like tiny white spikes. A cry like lightning ripping the clouds issued from his lips, outstripping the jet sound, and even the blast of bass coming from the college kids' apartment half a block away.
Alec had only enough time to cringe. In the final second before the wraith reached him, he mentally berated himself for being a sissy, but his brain had made its choice. So there he stood, elbows close to his body, left knee lifted to protect his crotch in case of collision, his eyes shut now – as much to avoid seeing that horrible face as for protection.
A cold wind, glacial, artic, passed (through) over him. Goose flesh crawled across his skin like a billion ants on the march. He uttered a sound, not unlike that of a six year old girl crying, and fell heavily on the macadam.
Alec wasn't certain how long he lay there with the cold, rough road as his bed. It might have been hours. But it seemed like a very short time to him.
"What's wrong with you boy?" asked Mr. Garven, Alec's down the street neighbor.
"I bet he saw old High Pole Pete," said Mr. Garven's son Hirum, who stood next to his father. Their matching fat faces blocked Alec's field of vision.
"Shut-up that nonsense, and help me get this boy back to his momma's place," said Mr. Garven.
They lifted Alec up and he walked between them, leaning heavily on the son.
"You saw a man on the pole back there?" asked Hirum.
Alec nodded. He didn't trust his voice just yet.
"That's old Pete alright. Just don’t talk to him next time. He'll leave you alone."
It was a moot point. Alec would never trick-or-treat near that pole again.