On the outskirts of a forgotten town, I found a person with a white sheet draped over them.
The sheet covered their entire body. They stood in front of a burnt out building on the side of a gravel drive. Just stood there. All day. No one else came or went. And I sat on a stone wall on the other side of the drive, watching. Waiting to see what they would do.
But in the end, as twilight began to creep up from the horizon, I gave in first.
Gravel crunched beneath my shoes, echoing loud off the nearby building. I approached the seeming specter at an angle, going slow, as if to avoid startling a wild creature. The enshrouded person did not move away.
“Hey,” I said. “What are you doing out here? Are you okay?”
As if to face me, the head turned, tracking me. They made no reply.
I crouched down in front of the person. Even this close, they smelled like nothing more than laundry detergent. “I won’t hurt you,” I said. “I’m just going to check.” Hand shaking, I took the rough hem of the sheet and lifted, peering beneath to see the person’s face.
No one was inside.
Within the human-shaped space underneath, reddish evening sunlight filtered through the cloth on the other side of where the head should have been.
I dropped the hem and backed away, breathing hard.
A muffled voice said, “No one sees me without this on. You were watching, so I stayed.”
Then the sheet made all the motions of someone opening it up. Invisible arms pushed the cloth off and it fell into a heap at my feet.
“Where…” I turned all the way around, but I was alone with the pile of cloth, “…did you go?”
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Great heroes of legends past sit side by side in these pages with the unsung citizens showing kindness to strangers. Humor, adventure, and nostalgia combine to remind us all that hope can be found anywhere.
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