He didn’t shout. He didn’t have to. When he was a baby a sniff would have her fully awake and it didn’t take much more now that he was four. Just a quiet ‘Mummy’, no urgency to it but a moment later she opened the door and stepped into his room. He was sat on the side of the bed. Pale as moonlight, naked and shimmering. Next to him, tucked cosily into the bed and still clutching ted, lay his body.
He looked at his body and then at her, a calm, questioning look on his face. She fought a shudder and then she knelt down and looked up at his ghostly face.
‘Start by closing your eyes.’ She spoke in a soft, soothing voice ‘think about how the pillow feels on your cheek, about the weight of the duvet.’ She instinctively reached out but stopped herself before her hand could slip through him. ‘Imagine having ted in your arms’, she said, ‘think about how soft his fur is. How he smells. Think about wearing your pyjamas, your new Paw Patrol pyjamas. And think about lying in bed. Just think about it. Can you do that for me, Mark?’
His eyes were shut tight and he nodded. For a few seconds she held her breath. Then the silvery, misty Mark disintegrated and dispersed like smoke. She checked the body, he was warm. He opened his eyes and smiled up at her. ‘Thanks Mummy’.
She kissed him. ‘We’ll talk in the morning. Get some sleep.’ She kissed him and then kissed him again. She returned to her own bed and lay awake marvelling at how calm he’d been. How quickly he’d managed to return to his body. Not a bit like her first time.
Jess Doyle is an aspiring writer from North Wales. She writes short stories and flash fiction and is currently working on her debut novel. Jess’s stories have appeared in Idle Ink and Horror Scribe. You can find Jess on Twitter as @jcdoyley.