Harold lives in an ordinary house on an ordinary street. He works an ordinary job and each night he walks his ordinary dog in his ordinary neighborhood. Harold has an ordinary life, that’s why it came as no surprise when Harry married an ordinary wife. Well, at least that is what he was lead to believe. Mae was born in a midwestern town with a name like all the others. She never made a show of herself and was quiet and good. Nothing about her brought any undue attention—or any attention at all. Mae was a solitary child. She had no friends, her parents might as well have had only two children, her brothers, because they barely knew she existed. Mae had been left behind at the fair, the grocery store, a rest area, and finally in Canbin where she met Harold.
Harold parked in front of his favorite pub one evening intending to have a pint and his fill of lamb stew when out of the corner of his eye he spied a figure on a park bench accross the avenue. He almost missed seeing the person at all, they were so still as to almost have made themselves a part of the grey landscape. This was further helped by the dull gray overcoat pulled up over their head to protect them from the rain.
Harold had never been in the park. It was less a recreational area than a business center. Many a drug deal had been had on that very bench. Harold had a suspicion this person was not waiting to buy heroin. In fact, it didn’t look like they were waiting for anything, more as if they were just there—no purpose, no need to stay or leave. Harold filed away this peculiarity and made his way inside. He drank down half his pint straight away and was waiting for his stew when he glanced out the window past his own reflection. The person was still sitting on the bench, not having moved one millimeter in any direction. His stew came and the glass was soon fogged over with the aromatic steam of lamb and root vegetables. Harold ate slowly, chewing each bite completely before lifting his spoon for another. He was enjoying his meal so thorougly, he didn’t give another thought to the figure outside.
“How was the stew tonight Harry?” the pub owner, Tom Winston, asked Harold this every Wednesday, and every Wednesday Harold said,
“Just as I expected, Tom.” Harold was not inclined to call him Tommy like everyone else or any other name that was not his own, like the pub owner did to him. It was not Harold’s way.
“‘Spect I’ll see you on Friday.” Tom said to Harold, like he did every Wednesday.
“I expect you will. Good evening, Tom.”
And with that Harold put his money on the table, returned his hat to his head and headed back outside for his mid-week walk around the square before heading home.
He had almost completed his full turn in the misty rain when he found himself in front of the park ready to cross over to his car. Just as he started to step into the street he heard something. A whisper maybe, or a rustling in the wind. He paused, his right foot hovering slightly in front of the left. As he started on his way for a second time, he heard it again. This time he turned around, only to find himself face-to-face with the figure in grey.