Five years have passed since that day. Arden is now 19 years old, his sister is turning twelve today. He thought of having a surprise party for her and he started the preparations five days ago. Everything would go according to his plan. His mother would come home at around 7 in the evening, so before that he would take his sister for a walk and then when they return “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Irene!” would be the sound she would hear upon entering the house. “What a wonderful evening it would be…” he thought.

It was 6:35 pm in the clock. The door bell rang and someone was knocking at the door. “On time! Now I’ll take her for a walk. Later mom will do the rest as planned.” Arden thought. Arden approached the door to open it. This time he didn’t look through the peeping hole. *Clack* The door was opened with loud noise. “Hey! Watch out! What’s the big hurry… Irene…?” His face turned pale and dull upon seeing the person at the door. It was Larry Frend, Leid’s butler, old with grizzly hair. He looked like he could see some better days. “Oh! Larry, it’s been a while. How rude of me! Come inside.” said Arden. “Hello, Arden! You have grown quite a lot! Thanks for the invitation but I have a message for you, young boy.” with a deep voice Larry said. “A message? Who could it be from?” Arden wondered. “Here young boy” saying this Larry handed Arden a letter and left. “A letter? By whom?” Arden thought and flipped to see the sender’s name, but in vain as there was no mention. He tried to reach out to Larry but he already left and it was raining heavily that night, so he could not go out and follow Larry. Instead he closed the door and sat down on his couch. He opened the letter and started reading.

“Hey, Arden!

It’s been a while, isn’t it? How are you doing? How’s your sister? How are your parents? Is it raining outside? Oh God! I have a million questions for you! But don’t worry I’m fine! Sorry that you can’t reply to me in person right now. Well, I guess this is just fine! On board towards other things like why I have written this letter;

You see, you are five years late. This letter was supposed to reach you on the day I left, but I was scared… scared that you would do something stupid. Hope even now you wouldn’t do something stupid like search for me. It’s useless. I am very far away from you. You can’t reach me. Moving on to the reason I am writing this letter… Do you remember about the escape places we talked about? How my house was an escape place for you and all? I hope you do. Well, I can’t be selfish if you moved on. But for me you still are my escape place.

I’m sorry if I made you sad or angry or anything bad. After all today is your sister’s birthday, right? Do give her a good surprise! Wish her for me too…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IRENE!!!!

By saying this, I’ll close my letter. Don’t try to follow me or even try to find the source. Please don’t! You will always be my best bud, my friend, Arden!! May you find happiness in your life! By the way, I am going to my new escape place. There communications are almost impossible. So, this maybe the last you’ll hear from me. I’m really happy I talked to you for one last time, even by this one way medium.

Goodbye! My friend, Arden!

From your best friend,

Leid Gripher.”

*Drip*

*Drip*

Tears rolled down the cheeks wetting the letter. A grim silence was spread throughout the room. Arden couldn’t hold back his sadness anymore. He burst out crying. He was sobbing so loud that he didn’t notice his sister and mother come in the house. The time when he cried this much was two years ago when his father died. The clock alarmed saying it was 7 pm. But Arden couldn’t get up. His family came near him and console him. They don’t know what happened. “It’s alright, son. Everything will be fine.” said his mother. “No… It won’t!” said Arden sobbing. “He is no more.” he continued, “Leid is no more!” The crying continues and he leaves for his bed. He lays there for the entire night crying. But he could never had anticipated what would become of him when the clock struck 12:00 in the night.

To be continued…

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