She’d expected a whooshing sound

No-one believed Izzy when she talked about the old man. She’d cried wolf too often, told people about her imaginary friends. This time he wasn’t so imaginary.

The Johnson family had moved into the Old Post Office a fortnight before Izzy had started seeing the old man. Him rushing from room to room, turning his head left to right, right to left, as if watching a tennis match. Izzy loved tennis. Her Uncle Frank had taken her to Wimbledon the previous summer but now that was a distant memory. The house was cold, old and Izzy missed their place back in Weybridge; the rambling vicarage that had gone with Daddy’s job except Daddy no longer went to church – none of them did.

Izzy was sitting on her bed playing with Ruby Rabbit when the old man ran from the bathroom to the back bedroom, the spare bedroom that was still piled with boxes.

The man came out just as quickly, and disappeared into her parents’ bedroom.

One thing that surprised Izzy about him was the silence. She’d expected a ‘whooshing’ sound as he ran. Everyone makes a ‘whoosh’ when they’re in a hurry although she didn’t think anyone was as rushed as the old man.

It wasn’t long before he came out of her parents’ room and headed for hers. He’d just reached the threshold when he spotted Izzy and screamed. A noiseless scream which Izzy knew should have been loud, as loud as Mummy when she sees a spider, shuts the door to it and waits for Izzy’s daddy to come home.

“Hello,” Izzy said calmly. The man stopped screaming. It was then that she noticed something in his left hand.

“What’s that?” she asked. He held it out to her and she went to look closer, to take it, but he pulled it back, held it to his chest.

Izzy could just about make out a figure; a woman about the same age as her mother, but old-fashioned, wearing clothes like her grandmother used to wear.


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