It was a dreary night at the big house of Ingleside, dark with the promise of rain. . . And something else. For a shadow had, indeed, spread itself over the normally lively, warm inviting home. The shadow of Death. No one really knew when it had first come, but they knew it was there.
That night, near the ghostliest hour, the Shadow’s master had come, to go away with a soul or without. That, not even it knew. The Master walked to the door, but was met by something else. They looked at each other, and came to an agreement without words. They would walk over the house together and see what would be seen.
They walked together, over the well-kept pantry, where a restless Susan Baker was bustling about, keeping busy. But if you looked closely – and the two spirits did – you could see that she was really not doing anything at all, and her gaze kept flicking to the ceiling worriedly and hesitantly.
Past the living-room they went, pausing to nod at the two china dogs that guarded the mantle. Up the stairs, to look at the rooms where the dear children slept. There they waited and watched for a little while. Even in sleep the little ones looked drawn and pale, like every other inhabitant of Ingleside had. Though they exchanged a smile, looking at each other over one child’s head, and over another’s, a sigh, before they went on.
And finally they arrived at their destination. It was a somber, quiet bedroom, with three occupants. One, a man, was sitting by a bed and was praying. The two spirits had no need to see any more, they looked at each other and another unspoken agreement was reached. One left and went out the front door just as the first drops of needed rain started to fall – The other, Life, stayed.