Written by Isabella Thermes
Edited by Hassan Morsy

Darkness was slowly falling on the park and the little Boy was still dragging his small cart full of toys, some crackers and an apple.
The little Boy never knew at what time his parents were going to be home, but he had simply got into the habit of leaving the house and walking to the park as soon as they were out.
He spent most of the afternoon playing with his toy airplane and car in the paths that ran along the big trees, while his teddy bear sat silently next to him.
He was so happy to play that he didn’t realise the shadow of night was beginning to envelop everything around him.
Then, almost as a whisper, he heard “Peekaboo!” from behind one of the trees. Very curious and amused, he hid behind a tree and waited. Then, he peeked his head out and replied “Peekaboo!” with a slightly higher pitch.

In all this time in the park he had never encountered a willing play mate.
His parents rarely seemed to have that kind of time, so this really was an opportunity he could not miss.
The voice from behind the tree grew more distinct: “Peekaboo!”. The boy shrieked in amusement and peeked again through. What he saw was very unusual indeed: his new friend was wearing a black cape, had a white face with two very dark holes for eyes, a really short nose and a wide mouth filled with what looked like too many teeth. At its feet laid a strange tool.

Still, the new friend certainly knew how to play peekaboo and who knows, the Boy thought, maybe he was also very good at hide-and-seek.

The Boy looked at the odd tool: he had never seen one like it before but he was sure that was his friend’s toy. Once they had finished playing, he thought they could even sit to compare their toys and he would share his crackers and apple.

A fox came out of nowhere. The Boy was elated: the new friend was so good at peekaboo that even the animals in the park were coming out to play.

He thought his Mother really knew nothing about people and the park: she always recommended him to return home before darkness fell and to not talk to strangers.
The Boy thought that if she could only see his new friend, she would like it too. It was always grinning.

The Grim Reaper had seen the Boy from afar. The Boy had looked so lonely that it put its scythe aside to play with him for a little while.
“I must go now” said the Grim Reaper.
“Oh no! Please don’t! Not yet…we can play hide-and-seek and then I’ve got crackers and an apple to share” whimpered the Boy. Then he added: “Can I come with you?”.
The Grim Reaper looked at him with its hollow eyes. It could not quite believe the Boy’s desire for company and play was so strong that the kid could not even question who his new friend was.
“No, I am sorry but you cannot join me where I am going…it’s not time yet. You must go home now: your mom and dad are waiting for you”.
The Boy nodded and said:”Will you come back tomorrow to play some more? I promise I will be here. Same place, same time and I’ll bring cookies and a lunch box for you too.”
The Grim Reaper replied:” That’s very kind of you and I am grateful. Maybe I will be here tomorrow.” With that said, it let darkness wrap around its cloak and it was gone.

The Boy didn’t know that night the Grim Reaper spared a life to play with him.

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2019 All images and content copyright Isabella Thermes