The city has gone to sleep. It’s a dark night, the moon is full, towering over the city of Chicago and there is nothing in the sky other than stars. You couldn’t hear a peep in the street, only the howl of the wind blowing through the trees. On the second floor, in a room, in a small house on a quiet street was a young, 11 year old boy with short, brown, curly hair. He was a little pale and shorter than most people his age, peacefully sleeping on his bed with no worries or guilt. The house was two stories made from bricks which have faded to a very light red. There are vines climbing up the side of the house and wrapping around the rectangular borders around the windows. The old roof had mold growing through it and there were piles of dust that no one has cleaned for months. The house had a path from the street to the small, white front door. There used to be grass and flowers that you could see walking towards the door but now the grass was unkept and the flowers had died.
One day, Timmy was doing his homework. He looked outside and he saw the dead grass and rotten flowers and it reminded him of when he was younger, when the grass was green and the flowers were standing taller. He and his dad would play catch outside while his mom was in the kitchen baking cookies and after they would go inside to eat cookies, drink milk and watch TV as a family. But life has changed for Timmy since his dad passed away in devastating car accident. Ever since, his brother started to drink and smoke, and eventually Timmy's mother couldn't handle him so he was sent away to rehab. Not long after Timmy’s brother was sent away, Timmy's sister had a fight with his mom about how she could not go to college because they were not earning enough money since their father died so Timmy's sister left home and was never seen again.
Timmy heard footsteps coming up the stairs and his mom said, “Timmy, how's your homework going?”
“Good, Mom. I'm almost done,” Timmy says gently.
“Ok, well when you are done come down for dinner”
“Ok, I’ll be down soon”
After Timmy and his mom had dinner and it was time for him to go to sleep and he would brush his teeth, put his pajamas on and doze off until he fell asleep. A phone starts ringing and Timmy was forced out of his deep sleep. When he woke up and answered the phone, there was a familiar voice that said, “front door,” in a slow and menacing voice.
“Who is this?” Timmy said.
But the voice had hung up.
Timmy went down to the front door to see what was going on. When he got there, the door swung open and he heard a BOOM! Timmy quickly grabbed a package that was at the front door and closed it. When Timmy got up to his room, he examined the box. It was a small cardboard box with tape holding it shut. He got a knife from under his bed and cut open the box. He opened it very slowly, and when Timmy finally opened it, he was shocked to find an old, dusty, black pair of big work boots. He had a sudden urge to put the shoes on, but he realised that that was not a good idea.
The shoes fit, but he could not get them off. They were not attached to his feet, they were not too tight, but whenever he tried to get them off it was like they were holding onto his feet and would not let go.
The next morning when he woke up, the shoes were still on his feet and when he tried to get them off, they would not come off. Eventually Timmy decided to get ready for school like normal, telling no one what had happened, like he had done with every other problem he has had in his life.
As Timmy was walking down his old creaky stairs to go to the kitchen to have breakfast, his Mom said “Timmy, what are those shoes you are wearing.”
“Just a normal pair of shoes,” Timmy struggled to say
“Don't wear those, Timmy, they look ratty. You don't want people thinking you are homeless, do you?.”
“But Mom, I-”
“NO, Take them off now.”
Timmy ran off to his room and put on a pair of his brother’s old pants that were too long for him so his Mom could not see the shoes. When Timmy got to school, all went normally. He got through the first few classes and sat with his “friend” Darold at break and read, not making a sound. When lunch came it was the same thing. They sat on a small, stone ledge to the side of the school where they wouldn’t get disturbed. At the end of the day, before Timmy headed home, he saw a figure in the parking lot. It was tall, wearing a black robe which went down to its shins, black gloves and leather black boots. The figure was wearing a hood that cast a shadow over its face so Timmy could not see its identity. It was not moving and no one seemed to be disturbed by the reaper-like being; however, Timmy could not move or take his eyes off of it. It was almost like the force that was keeping his shoes on his feet, but it was keeping his eyes on the being. Eventually Timmy blinked and it was gone, he could finally move again. Timmy rushed to Darold to check if he saw the being.
“Hey, Darold, do you know who that was?” Timmy said, gasping for air.
“Who?” Darold questioned.
“The thing that was standing over there dressed like a reaper.”
“Timmy you must be seeing things, I was looking over there watching to see if my Mom was here and there was no reaper standing there.”
“No, really I saw-”
“There was nobody there,” Darold interrupted and then walked away.
Timmy went home confused first, first his shoes were stuck to his feet, and then there was a figure staring at him, but he could not tell who it was and he was the only person that could see it. Timmy could not make sense of it so he was thinking to himself that mabe Darold was right and he was imagining things. Although he knew that this was real and that it was not imagining anything.
Later that night Timmy forgot about the whole situation and he fell asleep peacefully.
But, in the morning everything changed. H did not wake up in the place that he normally did, he woke up in a dark land with dead grass all around and in the distance there was a tall pine tree and a figure, the same one he had seen before, holding an axe. Timmy was surprisingly not afraid of this and he started to walk towards it, step by step. He could see the figure and the tree better and better. When he got close enough, he could see the pine tree towering over the figure with an axe and there was a branch from the tree that had been taken off.
“Who are you, and where am I?” Timmy said in a scared voice
“Let me explain young Timmy” Timmy recognised the voice. It was the same as the phone call, “I am the man from the phone call, the one that gave you the shoes and the one that you saw from your school. I am your father and we are both dead… you see this tree here, this represents our family. See this branch on the floor, this is you and see this place… well this is where you go when your branch dies off. I could not live without you being here with me, I lost you too early and I could not bare the thought of waiting any longer”
“Well where is the rest the family then”
Suddenly an enormous group of people appear from a dark cloud. Timmy’s Jaw drops.