Tuesday, January 30, 2018
By Daniel Skye
The man sat on the windowsill, the cool wind against his back. He was a tall, lean man with wavy brown hair and a pallid complexion. His skin had an almost translucent quality. If not for his bones and organs, you’d be able to see right through him.
The boy in the red-and-green pajamas sat on the carpet, playing with his action figures. He had all the latest WWE figures from Mattel. And his father had bought him a play set for Christmas which included a miniature ring so he could act out all of his favorite matches and bring his fantasies to life.
The boy was short, even for his age. His ruddy cheeks gave him a healthy glow. Though his belly, bloated from too many carbonated beverages, said different. Too much sugar and soda was his problem, but otherwise there was nothing wrong with him physically. He was perfectly healthy, unlike the man who had spent his life pushing his body to the limits.
A life of drugs, booze, pills, misery, and corruption had brought him to this point. And he had no one to blame but himself. But the boy didn’t know this. In fact, he knew little about the man, but he knew enough to be wary, yet slightly curious.
Casey was named after Casey Jones. You can imagine how thrilled his mom was when she found out where his dad got the name from. His dad had attended school with Kevin Eastman and was a big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in his youth. He had taken Casey to see the new TMNT movies in theaters, but Casey didn’t see what the big deal was. He preferred the Avengers.
“Mom made spaghetti tonight,” Casey told the man. “Yuck! She always burns the sauce. Dad pretends to like her food. I guess you have to when you’re married. But I mean, the food’s not all bad. My mom makes a pretty decent meatloaf. It’s a lot better than her tuna casserole.” He retched at the thought of that casserole.
The man nodded, as if he understood. Though he offered no verbal confirmation.
Casey was always warned not to talk to strangers, but this particular stranger had taken up residence in his house, and was kind of hard to ignore. And he didn’t seem like a bad man. But even six-year-old Casey understood that looks could be deceiving, that sometimes strangers had sinister agendas.
“Wrestlemania is a few months away. My friend told me they might do John Cena versus the Undertaker this year if the Undertaker decides to come back. I like Cena, but I don’t know if he can beat the Undertaker. Reigns beat Undertaker last year, but Reigns beats everybody. I think he’s going to win the title again this year.”
“Casey,” his mom called from the hallway. The door to his bedroom opened and she peeked in. “Who are you talking to?” She surveyed the empty room, then focused her eyes on Casey.
“Nobody, mom. I was just playing with my action figures.”
“Okay, well it’s time to get ready for bed. And close that window before you catch a cold.”
“Okay, mom. Will do.”
She closed the door and Casey turned back to the man sitting on the windowsill. The man that only Casey could see. The man who had overdosed in Casey’s bedroom three years before his family moved in.
“Can I ask you something? Does it hurt to die?”