As the last vestiges of afternoon sunlight faded, a morbid dread filled my thoughts. Would Hades; the vigilant guardian to the underworld; allow this unspeakable thing to return to the sanctuary of my bedroom? I honestly didn’t know what the approaching darkness would bring. Only time would tell. In the back of my mind, I feared I already knew.
That evening I procrastinated blowing out my lantern. It was but a feeble attempt to be less accommodating to the wandering spirit. I knew it was futile gesture; born of desperation. A locked door or pistol under my pillow offered no defense from an entity unaffected by the constraints of the physical world.
Intellectually, I knew those truths to be self-evident. Regardless, the rational mind does what it must to overcome the primal element of fear. If it did come back; there was nowhere I could flee or escape its unknown mission.
Anticipating the return of an underworld messenger filled my soul with an impending sense of doom. Never had I been more painfully aware of the countless creaks and groans that lurk in the realm of shadows. All-to-soon, the final embers died in the fireplace hearth. The identity and purpose of the unwelcome visitor drew the focus of my thoughts.
I had an eternity in the darkness to reflect on my dealings with others. I tried to recall anyone who bore an ill will against me; or might seek revenge from the grave. I questioned my ethics, morals, actions and deeds. In all matters, I concluded that I had treated others as I wanted to be treated.
I remained convinced that I had always acted with reasonable fairness and respect to my fellow man. That further illustrated my strength of character after being taken advantage of many times. Those abuses of trust and friendship had left a bad taste in my mouth. Eventually it led to my reclusive nature in recent years.
Try as I might, I had no luck in guessing the hidden identity of the phantom who haunted my thoughts. Whatever reason it had sought my audience the previous night, I was unable to surmise. I only hoped there wouldn’t be a repeat visit.