For as far back as the old man could remember, he followed a structured routine. The reoccurring rituals never varied, and suited his deteriorating condition very well. Senile dementia had erased most of his memory and left a permanent haze where his identity had been. A few scattered fragments remained like fading photographs in a dusty album. Unfortunately, even they were losing focus in the all-encompassing erasure. He clung to those precious fragments desperately; lest he lose his sanity.
The abject confusion was the worst part. He had no means of determining what he’d forgotten from the murky past. Morose feelings of helplessness ate at him. Soon he wouldn’t know who he was. Ironically, that no longer bothered him. It was actually a source of comfort. The old man looked forward to the complete loss of his faculties and blissful ignorance. Being aware of his mental deterioration and not being able to stop it was the most unimaginable torture. Soon, he hoped it would be over.
Time seemed to stand still in the shadowy house on the hill. There was no past and no foreseeable future. In the never-ending fog of the present, he moaned over his depressing woes and wandered the well-worn hallways, alone. As if in a trance, the old man ventured down to the basement in search of lost memories.
He was sure that the answers he sought were to be found in the cellar workshop. Exactly what the illusive truth was; he had no idea. All he had to rely on was a gut-feeling that gnawed at his consciousness. At times he was still compelled to fight his dementia and rediscover who he was. Even his name had been swept away by the winds of time. It occurred to him that if he knew his personal identity, then he wouldn’t be completely ‘lost’. It was a modest, attainable goal he strived for.
Sadly there was no one around to remind him of who he was, except the disembodied specters he shared the house with. He occasionally saw them lurking the hallways or upstairs rooms. They never spoke or acknowledged his presence. Oddly enough, he was never frightened by their presence or annoyed by their poltergeist mischief. He witnessed lights switch on and off by themselves and doors open and close by unseen hands. Sometimes he could even see them in their billowy, transitory states!
To the contrary, their ghostly presence was strangely comforting. Even a haunted house meant he wasn’t completely alone. In the past, apparitions were accepted by most people as nothing to be concerned about. While curious about their otherworldly motives, their uninvited intrusion was very welcome.