Stranger Danger

They were relaxed and happy by the river. There was nothing but blue sky and green grass to see on the other side; Mrs Mangan was happily trimming her hedge into the shape of a fat swallow while her little scotty dog chased leaves in the slight breeze. It was idyllic, a scene often shown in the repeats of Miss Marple that Dylan’s mother watched on weekends. While he looked down at his own dog, Bruce, he was reminded of how lucky he was that he could live in such a beautiful surroundings. He’d find a way to stay in that village for the rest of his life even if it meant living at home for the foreseeable future.

He looked up from Bruce who was lazily snoozing in the shade of the weeping willow, his shaggy tail beating the ground as he dreamt of eating all the treats in the house. There were a few people out walking today, he could see them trekking along the other side of the river, map in hand and a determined stride as they navigated around the cows. A couple with a dog wandered by and Bruce woke up to whine in their direction. Even though a normal person would never have heard the sound, the couple and their dog stopped and moved their heads simultaneously to stare intently at Bruce and Dylan. The feeling they gave him was extremely unnerving and as they stared for longer, Dylan found his skin erupting with goose pimples despite the hot day.

Neither one of the couple was strange looking, their hair was brown and curly, similar to that of their small dog. They were too far away for him to notice any more distinguishing features. After what felt like eternity, the couple pulled their gaze away from him and looked at each other, he wasn’t sure but Dylan thought that he saw them nod. Their dog was still staring intently and even though Dylan really wanted to run into the house he found that he could only stare at them more.

They now all stood in a line on the opposite bank. Dylan’s eyes were glued to the dog though, which seemed to be growing with every second that passed by. Its head reached the woman’s small shoulders and still kept growing, its front paws lifting off the ground as it took up a human stance. Then the whole dog seemed to shift from canine to human features; the shoulder’s broadened, the face flattened and the feet lengthened and became encased in thick black boot’s protruding from wide trousers.

Dylan heard himself swear but he couldn’t do anything else. The newly formed human strode forward with the man and the woman and Dylan was horrified to see that they glided over the top of the water, leaving the same amount of wake as a pond skater. They landed in front of him and it was only then that he could run, he ran as fast as he could into the house and locked the glass doors so fast that he had to check that it was actually locked. The strange people walking calmly up the garden wouldn’t be able to reach him now.

He stayed by the door and watched them. The glass seemed to confuse them and their eyes flicked across the surface then rested on Dylan’s face. He was breathing heavily but he stopped when the strangers all placed their hands on the glass and pushed through it like it was a sheet of transparent silicon. Dylan stumbled backwards but before he got far enough away the man that had been a dog shot his arm forward and his hand closed one finger at a time around the baggy fabric of his T shirt.

His eyes were nearly popping out as he was pulled towards the glass door by the man and his body slid through it. He was now face to face with the stranger and stared into his white eyes that looked like someone had forgotten to colour in the iris. The man and the woman stood either side of him and held his arms. Behind him, Bruce was pawing at the glass and barking manically. None of this seemed to phase the strangers as they continued to stare at Dylan intently.

All of a sudden the white eyed man let go of Dylan’s shirt, Dylan blinked and opened his eyes to see a reflection of himself standing in front of him. The white eyed man had gone but the other two were still there. They no longer had hold of his arms and didn’t seem to care that he was there anymore. His reflection smirked but Dylan didn’t remember making the movement. He moved his hand to touch his face but the reflection didn’t follow, it blinked and for a second, Dylan saw the stark white eyes but they were gone in an instant.

His double stepped forward and Dylan let out a strangled cry of disbelief as he walked through him. Bruce had stopped barking and looked up at what he thought was Dylan. The real Dylan ran through the glass door and into the living room to his mum, he jumped up and down in front of her but her eyes were glued to the TV behind him as Miss Marple began to unveil the murderer. His double appeared behind the sofa, the man and the woman had left and it walked to stand where Dylan was standing. He stumbled backwards through the wall and found half of his body in next door’s dining room and the other half in his sitting room.

Dylan screamed in fright and frustration but no one could hear him because he was a ghost and very few people believe in ghosts.

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