The Shadow in the Mist
I never knew my grandfather; he must have died before I was born or sometime after I was born. I don't know exactly when, and have never asked my parents about it either, not even now. I guess my grandfather has not made any significant impact on my life for me to want to find out. Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe he is always around me and influencing all my decisions. I suppose I will only find out in my afterlife.
Every holiday, my parents would take me to visit my uncle, who lived in a tiny village in Juni, China. We would stay there for a couple of days at a time. I loved it there; the mountain weather was always cool and the view was breathtaking.
On one of those visits, I remember playing with the neighbouring kids right until sunset. I heard my mother calling my name but pretended not to hear her because I was enjoying myself too much. Suddenly, I felt a sharp stinging pain on my leg. The other kids laughed and then scurried away.
“Didn't you hear me calling you?” my mother said through her gritted teeth. She struck the cane at my legs one more time and then pinched my ear and led me back to the house.
Of course, as a clever and manipulative eight-year-old that I was, I cried excessively to attract the attention of my father, who then scolded my mother for being so strict on me. It always worked—my father was such a softy.
“Go now and clean yourself up!” Mother pushed me in the direction of the bathroom.
At the dinner table, my uncle talked about how happy he was to have us there. His wife and he did not have children, so he was happy that I liked being there. He often asked me if I would consider staying with him and his wife in their mountain home during my school holidays. Of course, as a child, I was exhilarated with the idea. My parents were not thrilled about me staying for weeks away from home, so it never happened. We just visited the mountains during the national holidays.
Soon, it was bedtime. My parents had a bed for themselves, but I had only a mattress, which was laid beside their bed. The room would have been completely dark if not for the moonlight coming from the large opened, but grilled, window. It must have been a full-moon night because the light was quite bright. As I watched the window, a wispy mist began to gather in the light. It danced about like a floating silk cloth in a light breeze. Then, something dark began to form in front of the mist. It was very close to me, right at my feet. The form thickened, and I could recognize it. It was the form of a man.
“Dear, I'm your grandfather. Don't worry,” it said.
I felt my throat expanding and a scream forming, but I could not scream no matter how hard I tried to.
Suddenly, the cockerel outside the house crowed, and the figure vanished.
I can't really say if it was a dream or if it was real. I have not encountered the figure again, and I'm glad for it.
This is the first time I'm talking about it since I experienced it almost twenty two years ago. I don't know what to make of it. I hope you or your readers have an answer.