Titled: “The Return”

They waited. Dad was never superstitious about spirit. However, he is a careful man. Being a chinese, the tradition was that when a person passed away, the spirit will return by the seventh day as if he did not know his passing. If one focused attention in the middle of the night, the deceased’s movement could be heard, sometimes seen. His mother had passed away exactly seven days ago. Tonight would have been the day. Dad and the family had planned to wait through the night. However, the whole family was quickly fell asleep. His three daughter were fast asleep too. The fourth child, a son, Sam, was studying in England and was not expected to return till next year.

As the clock chimed twice, it was 2am as the second hand hit twelve. For a moment, the sitting room was completely quiet and dark. Then, the door creaked and it opened. Some shuffling noise. Dad heard it. Slowly, he sat on his bed. He was uncertain. “Should he checked it?” he thought. “Nothing to be scared about. After all she’s your mother.” another voice reasoned. Slowly, he came down the staircase to the living room. His heart pounding. As he reached out to the lighting switch, he caught an image at the corner of his eyes. Goosebumps came on his neck and hands. His face turned pale. He decided against switching on the light, since it may harm his mother if her spirit returned . Anyway, the corridor light is bright enough to see the living room.

Slowly, he turned towards the direction of the image. Then, he recognised the image, “Sam, you’re back! How come you didn’t call?” he said. “I thought you expected back next year.”

In a slow sad voice, he said “I know, but I heard. Grandma passed away, so I’m back.” Dad had wanted to asked how he knew. The family had earlier decided against alerting Sam about the sad occasion. This was to avoid Sam being worried and not concentrating on his study in England.

“You looked pale. Are you alright?” asked Dad.

“I’m alright, just tired from travelling home tonight.” said Sam in dreary voice.

“Go to bed then, it’s really late.” said Dad, concern about Sam.

“I love you Dad. Love mum too and sis. Good night” said Sam as he moved slowly towards his bedroom beside the living room.

Dad went back to bed knowing that his mother is unlikely to return.

In a short time, the sun came up. Dad woke up to a banging at the door. “Police, please open the door!”

Quickly, Dad unlocked the door.

The officer in a solemn voice said, “I’m sorry! But your son’s body was found in England. We received the news this morning”

“But officer, you must have made a mistake. My son is at home in bed.” said Dad.

“Where is he?” asked the officer

They walked towards the bedroom. Dad opened it and was shocked that Sam was not in the bedroom.

“I’m sorry. That’s the message that we wish to convey. Please come by the station later.” said the officer.

Before the officer left, he said “By the way, he met an accident and his car was in a deep ravine and was found last night. He died seven days ago!”

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