Jai decided to land in the back yard, glancing about he noticed the yard was unkempt, the grass was high and his mothers garden was full of weeds. That didn’t make sense, his mother was always tending to her garden. She was so proud of the fact that she grew her own fruits and vegetables. There was no way she would ever leave it unattended. He took a few steps around the garden before looking up at the house, he saw that none of the windows had curtains on them, he rushed up walking onto the back porch glancing into the kitchen window. The kitchen was empty, Jai looked about peering into the living room, it was empty as well.

-click- , -click-

Jai heard the cocking of a gun near the side of his head. Looking over he saw an old man standing there holding a rifle, the barrel pointed at the side of Jai’s face.

“I’m tired of you crack heads comin over here distrubin this house! Ain’t no copper left in there, yaw done stole it already!” The old man said angrily.

Jai instantly noticed who the old man was, he raised his hands surrendering while he spoke. “Mr. Clarke…?” Jai said confused, he noticed the old man as his next door nieghbor.

“What…? How do you know my name boy?” Mr. Clarke said taking a few steps back from Jai. His old eyes took a moment as they traced over Jai’s face in the early morning sun before becoming confused. “Selena’s boy…?” Mr. Clarke said softly under his breath. He kept his rifle aimed at Jai. Jai smiled with comfort at Mr. Clarke.

“Yes Mr. Clarke it’s me. Jai Simmons, Selena Simmons son!” Jai raised both hands up toward Mr. Clarke in a fashion to let him know he meant no harm. Mr. Clarke lowered the rifle slightly while looking away in deep and utterly confused thought.

“But she said you died in a target range accident on the Army base.” He looked back up at Jai speaking under his breath. Jai shrugged his shoulders.

“Do I look dead to you Mr. Clarke?” Jai asked. Mr. Clarke began looking around trying to collect his thoughts, the gun still slightly pointed at Jai. He was muttering under his breath, Jai smiled. “What’s that Mr. Clarke?” He asked light heartedly.

“I don’t know how you’re alive, I don’t. But your mother, she was… She was so heartbroken when she received the news from that Army officer…” Mr. Clarke was struggling with what he was trying to say, and Jai could sense this and it made him nervous.

“Where is she? Where did she move to? The house is empty. How long ago did mom move? I need to know!” Jai asked persistently. Mr. Clarke looked up staring directly into Jai’s eyes.

“She couldn’t handle the news of your death. I mean, she thought you were dead…”

“Where is she? Please tell me!!!” Jai said his voice raising, he was becoming more desperate. He stepped toward Mr. Clarke surprising the old man. Mr. Clarke took a step back loosing his balance on the steps squeezing the trigger on the rifle by accident pointing it directly at Jai.


A single bullet exited the rifle hitting Jai in the face before ricocheting off his forehead, he triggered just in time. Mr. Clarke’s eyes widened. Jai was unharmed, he saw the bullet bounce off of Jai’s forehead.

“But how…?” Mr. Clarke muttered in awe, he looked at the tip of his rifle.

“Mr. Clarke please tell me where my mother is!” Jai stepped forward pushing the gun aside, he moved in the blink of an eye causing Mr. Clarke to flinch.

“You’re a ghost aren’t you?” Mr. Clarke said under his breath. “That bullet didn’t hurt you, and only a ghost moves like that!” Mr. Clarke had fear in his eyes now. He dropped his rifle staring into Jai’s eyes, they stood face to face.

“No, I am alive.” Jai said forcing himself to calm down. “You were misinformed about my death.” He took a deep breath before speaking. “Now please, tell me where is my mother?”

Mr. Clarke raised his wrinkled hand placing it on Jai’s shoulder. “My boy, she overdosed on sleeping pills after hearing that you were killed. I’m… I’m sorry.”

Jai slapped away Mr. Clarke’s hand, his words stinging Jai stabbing his heart. “What…?” Jai asked stunned.

“Your mother is dead.” Mr. Clarke said, his voice hovering. Now it was Jai’s turn to look confused. He staggered off the back porch eyes watering. Mr. Clarke continued talking. “She thought you were killed Jai. She was struck with grief. I tried to console her, checked on her daily. Then one day I came over to see how she was…” He paused a moment. “She was sleeping on the couch or so I thought. I could see her from the front door through the window. No matter how many times I knocked or how loud she didn’t get up from the couch! I ran back to my house and called 911. They came with police and knocked the door open, but it was too late! They couldn’t revive her.”

Jai couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He wanted to shoot off into the sky in a rage, but his sorrow kept him grounded. His feet dragged across the ground as he slowly walked out of the back yard, Mr. Clarke staring on in awe watching Jai stagger down the alley.