From the time he was born Ellis Condale was a cursed child. He was never strong or lean his disease ate away at his muscle and fat and left him thin and pale. No matter what his mother did his clothes hung from his thin frame like a baggy scarecrow. He was too sick to go to school, too sick to play outside, too frail to do anything but stay in bed and occasionally roam the hallway of his two story house, his only companion the still walls.
"Will I ever go outside nana?" Ellis inquired the family nursemaid, Sara Condale who was presently folding his overly large clothes. Sara kept over the child for as long as she could remember, and couldn't imagine doing anything else. It was the reason Mrs. Condale adopted her, the reason she was here at all.
She looked up at him "Of course you will Ellis" the lie burned its way out her mouth. She hated giving the boy false hope. 'He'll live till he's ten' she remembered the doctor say, chewing on a mint leaf. His last words rung in her ears 'if he's lucky'
He grinned so wide it looked too big for his face "you truly think so?"
She returned the smile even though she hated herself for doing so "truly, now get to bed you rascal, and take your medicine! Your mother almost had my head last time"
Obediently, he stood up and took a small flask from his drawer. A foul cherry scent traveled through the room as he opened it and swallowed. He's taken the medicine for so long he knew the exact quantity of each dose he took. He then got dressed in pajamas as Sara had taught him and climbed into bed.
He yawned sleepily "good night nana. I'll be well tomorrow"
She didn't respond. It was what he told her every night no matter how bad his health was. He was convinced that he would be better the next day. Anger coursed through her veins. The boy was only six, ten years younger than she was. Six year old boys were supposed to play, and run outside, not handed a limit to how long they lived. No one deserved that, especially not sweet Ellis.
"You can change that" a familiar voice rasped. Sara spun around to see where it came from but she could see nothing with the dim candle light.
"Who's there?" she demanded, her blood pounding in her ears. She had heard the voice once, she was sure of it. A long time ago…
The voice laughed and the shadows faded away. In front of her appeared a figure, more ghost then man. He was wrapped in a large dark trench coat, and a cruel grin decorated his face. "Ah, how easily you mortals forget me is impressive. And yet you, Sara Condale should remember a dear friend"
Horror filled her face and she stumbled backwards. "It's you" she whispered "from the train"
He grimaced as if the memory was an unpleasant mark on his virtually clean record. "I kept my side of the agreement if you recall"
Sara trembled with anger "my parents died because of your agreement" she spat "don't you dare call yourself a dear friend"
He shrugged nonchalantly "I change only the present Miss. Condale, I don't deal with aftermath"
She glared at him "get out, get out NOW before I hurt you"
He chuckled, amused "get out? Why, Miss. Condale you invited me here"
"I did not!" she snapped "you are not a gest in this house. Stay away from me!"
He sighed "as you wish" he receded backward and disappeared into the wall, gone.
Sara stood alone; the only sound was her heavy breathing and the pounding of her heart. He couldn't be back, not now. She wanted to scream but she just fell to her knees and sobbed. What did he want with her? She was a sixteen year old maid in the city of London. Why was she so important?
And why could no one else see him?
Sara shook her head and stood up. He doesn't exists she told herself calmly you're going mad. It was the only reasonable explanation she had and it stood to reason what she saw.
If it wasn't a delusion…. Then Sara was in trouble.