“No shoes today?”
Casey looked up from her clover playground upon hearing the voice of her favorite friend.
“I forgot them. I had to run fast this time.”
“Ahh, must’ve been a bad one,” said William softly.
“It was—I mean it is. He is still . . .” Casey trailed off as tears welled up. William followed her gaze across the headstones to her house on the other side of the cemetery where screaming could faintly be heard.
The old man quickly changed the subject. “Hey, you want to swing today?”
“Yes!” she exclaimed as she jumped on the recent addition that William had built. He said all hiding places should have something fun to do.
“So . . .” William started, “when is the last time you were at school my lady?”
“Third grade is overrated,” replied Casey. “It won’t matter much anyway. Some lady keeps coming by the house and saying I may go to school somewhere else. But I don’t want to leave, I want to stay here and be a caretaker like you.” Casey started to cry.
William stepped around and forced his old bones to squat down to her level. “Listen, you don’t wanna be a caretaker like me. There is a big world waiting for you and if that lady comes by again, you go on with her. There is a lot livin’ you gotta do.”
“Okay,” replied Casey. “But right now I don’t wanna be livin’, I just wanna swing.”
“All right Miss Casey, right now we will just swing.”