• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 04
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The Wink

The weather was perfect to catch them moving.

There was a strip of pavement in front of the bus stop that was worn away from all the people who had stood in a line. The rain pooled there after a storm, taking longer to disappear. It was his favourite spot. Today, there was a woman standing there, bundled in a warm coat, an H&M bag on her arm, hands in her pockets. He crouched down, peered into the water, and waited.

The first time it happened he had been sitting on a bench by the side of the road, staring into a puddle, a man in a suit waited beside the hearse. The weather was like today, perfectly still after a storm. Everyone else was inside finishing up. He was told to wait in the car but he didn't want to. If he got in the car it would mean that it was over, that his grandma had really died, and he couldn't do that to her.

So he waited. The man in the puddle didn't move either. There wasn't even the tiniest bit of wind. That's important, he'd come to learn. He can't remember how long he sat there, staring at the suited man's reflection, trying not to think about what his life would be like now that she wouldn't be there to tell him stories about the faeries in her garden, about the trolls who lived under the bridges by her childhood home, about the shadows who dance on her walls by candlelight.

But then, quickly, the man in the water turned his head, and winked. Startled, he turned to the man standing beside the car, but he remained staring straight ahead, waiting, stone faced. Plus, the man in the puddle had looked at him. Made eye contact.

He's caught them moving twice since then and has become confident about the required conditions. Right after a storm, the clearer the sky, the better. No wind. There needs to be as little external movement as possible. Vibrant colours work best.


The Wink

The person he's watching can't move. He's noticed that people at bus stops work well. They stare off in the direction of the bus, losing themselves to their thoughts, hands in their pockets, waiting. Just like him.

His legs were getting tired but he knew that he had to stay still. If he faltered he'd have to start all over again and by then the bus might come and the woman would be gone.

Some of his friends liked to catch grasshoppers in the field out back behind the school, skip after them with large-mouthed mason jars and then stuff it full with leaves and sticks, creating a little home for them behind glass. They would punch holes in the lid for air and peer through the glass with anxious eyes, poke at it with sticky fingers. A friend got a butterfly net one summer and they chased—

There! Did you see it?