The creature, half-mummy half-skeleton, comes to our front lawn every autumn. All bare bones and tattered clothes, he asks to be let inside our home every year.
He says it’s too cold, too lonely outside.
The light-up ghost down the street mocks him for his shabby attire.
The witches in the neighbour’s yard threaten to cast spells at him and send him back to wherever he has come from. He doesn’t wish to go back there, even though he doesn’t quite remember where ‘there’ is although the mere mention of it seems to give him the chills.
He yearns for a warm spot, a small patch by the fireplace to warm his frozen bones.
He promises he won’t take up much space. He can fold himself into a much smaller form, he claims.
When our eyes remain full of disbelief, he collapses right there on the front lawn, nothing more than a heap of bones, the skull-head perched on top, making for just as excellent a Halloween decoration as he was before.
We gasp and ooh and aah. When we’re done applauding, he slowly lifts himself up, rearranging every bone meticulously, each held together by nothing more than air and tattered pieces of cloth.
He looks at us hopefully then. We tell him we need some time to think. After all, it isn’t a small thing to invite a long-dead creature into our home.
He nods sadly as though he understands but he doesn’t. He doesn’t realize that we’re only being polite, that we have no intention of inviting him into our home when we have no idea if he’ll ever want to leave.
No one seems to have taught him that if he’s waiting for permission to belong, he’ll sadly be waiting for a very, very long time to come.