The Wraith and the Child


Image found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie blog

It must have been his surgery that caused the nightmares. He always found himself in the dark alone. No, not quite alone. There was another presence, something hiding in the shadows. The Wraith.

“What do you want? Where are you?”

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He was sweating. “Don’t come near me. Leave me alone.”

The Wraith said nothing. It made no sound at all, but he knew it was out there stalking him.

He turned and ran, stumbled over something and fell. Then he got up and ran again.

It was gaining on him. He didn’t know how he could tell but he could. It was getting closer. He tried and tried to run faster but he kept getting slower, like running through waist deep water in a swimming pool.

Then he heard footsteps, slow, hesitant footsteps. It was close. He could hear breathing. He was on his back now and couldn’t move. Something touched his hand.

He opened his eyes. He was in bed and his seven-year-old grandson had come in.

“I didn’t mean to wake you up, Grandpa. Are you okay?”

“I will be.” He tried to smile. When he jerked his hand back, it had scared the boy.

“I love you, Grandpa.”

He held out his hand and the child took it. “I love you too, Landon.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Writing Prompt #243 “Core Beliefs” hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Today, the idea is for the writer to choose one of their core beliefs and author a poem, short story, or discussion around that belief.

I’m a Christian but one that espouses a lot of Jewish theological and doctrinal concepts. Fundamentalist Christians believe that people are basically evil while in Jewish religious thought, people are basically good but struggle between what they call the good impulse and the evil impulse (it’s complicated).

I decided to pit these two opposing views against each other.

In the summer of 2016, I had nasal surgery to repair a deviated septum and a bleeder that wouldn’t stop. While I didn’t have the nightmares I described above, my then seven-year-old grandson did come into my bedroom while I was sleeping and gently touched my hand. It was such an incredibly tender moment I suspect I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.

All you have to do is go on social media to see how angry and conflicted people are regarding their “hot button” issues, and sometimes I have to turn all that off and remember that the love of a small child is worth far, far more than the angry opinions of online pundits.


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