Life had not turned out as Margot expected. She’d lost everything in a gas explosion whilst away from home at a work conference.
Her arms ached to hold her child again, but all she had left of Jamie was a memory. He’d only been six years old, his whole life snatched away in the blink of an eye, leaving her a hollowed out, empty shell. She missed Michael too.
Now she was the resident housekeeper / manager at an old orphanage that was being renovated into a hotel.
She didn’t like the dormitory, with its steel-framed beds in regimental lines down the walls, finding it chilly and damp despite the warm summer sunshine outside. Often feeling like she was being watched, she’d think she saw a small boy out of the corner of her eye but when she looked up, there was no one there.
On a few occasions at night she thought there was someone in the bedroom with her and in the morning there were wet marks on the floorboards that looked like a child’s footprints. She’d sometimes hear a child’s voice on the edge of her dreams but would jerk awake to an empty room, convinced it was just imagination.
One night, as she drifted to sleep, she felt a small, cold hand slip into hers and a small voice said, “Mummy, come and play.” She bolted upright in bed, clutching her hand to her heart and in the light of the moon through the window, saw a small boy at the side of her bed. She felt compelled to follow him and allowed him to take her hand again, pulling her out of the room, down the staircase and out into the garden.
The next morning she was found by the workmen, floating in the lake. It was presumed that she’d taken her own life because of her grief.
No one knew about the small boy who had drowned there during the war. No one saw him playing with his new mother in the old dormitory. They’d both been alone, but now found solace in one another—forever.