The shrunken, disheveled man with a balding crown of grey hair had three ghosts attached to him.
Like tiny demons they clung to him with their claws digging into his skin.
The first ghost was a young girl with long, black hair—a stereotypical ghost you’d see in horror movies. She had wrapped herself around the man’s head like a snake. Her dress was stained and torn and her teeth, long and sharp like a shark’s, bit tightly into the man’s skull. The second ghost was hanging on to the man’s shoulders. A young boy, probably seven or eight years old. Only one of the legs of his pants remained, the other revealed a stocky, pearly white leg. He didn’t wear shoes. His hair was a golden yellow, long and unkempt. He had nine-inch long nails that were permanently edged into the man’s back. The last ghost was another girl, hanging on tight just below the boy. I could only see half of her face, but that half didn’t look human anymore – the skin was eaten away, revealing bone and teeth, a grinning skull. She had latched onto the man’s leg.
The man hobbled past me, dragging the leg the third ghost was clenching to. His face looked haggard, tired, and badly sun-burned, which made me wonder if he spent a lot of time outdoors. The way he moved you’d think he was seventy, but his eyes looked much younger – he had the typical appearance of someone aged prematurely because of a hard life.
He smelled of alcohol and cigarettes, and I figured he looked this worn not because of guilt or shame, but because he was an alcoholic who drank his life away and wasted several others’ lives in the process.
He looked over his shoulder, staring straight at me.
Had he noticed me glaring at him? I should look away, turn back to the phone sitting on my lap, or the book I’d ditched on the empty spot next to me. Don’t make him see you. It was one of my first rules.
But I couldn’t turn away. I loathed him, despised him, this man I didn’t know, this man with the ghosts clinging on to him, clutching to the last of their humanity, and I wouldn’t allow him the satisfaction of knowing I’d looked away.
Our eyes locked for a moment, and a shiver travelled up and down my spine. The ghostly children looked at me too. The only one who showed any sign of recognition was the girl wrapped around his leg – she was the newest addition to his twisted collection. She blinked at me, a single time, and then turned back to the man she was feeding off, a parasite sucking away whatever remained of his humanity.
I was relieved when the man and his ghostly companions looked away. Turning back toward the book, a woman walked by with the ghost of an old woman on her back. Unlike the other ghosts, this one wasn’t attached to her in a crude fashion, nor was her face distorted and hideous. She looked in pain, old and withered, sad, as she had wrapped her arms around the young woman in a hug. That ghost I had to look away from, and I pretended to focus on the book I’d half-heartedly flipped through while waiting for the man to appear.
The young woman with the old ghost I couldn’t help. The man I didn’t want to help. The children attached to him… Them, I could help.
Majanka is an International Bestselling author who lives in Belgium.
She has penned down many titles and just knows how to write a story that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Visit our About page to find out more about Majanka, and how you can get in touch with her.