Candy woke laying on top of a made bed, the bedspread, an old fashioned quilt, was soft and warm; she stretched and looked around, she was not familiar with her surroundings. Moving to get up, Candy realized her right hand was secured with a leather strap; the other end fastened around the bed frame. The strap around her wrist was attached so she could not undo it, or slip free. Panic rose as her raging heart pounded in her ears, Where am I, why am I here, who is this guy? Candy wanted answers yet didn’t know if she truly wanted to hear what he intended for her. Candy continued to struggle with the strap, hoping to find a flaw allowing her escape.
Moments later Candy heard the door to the bedroom squeak and open, the man from the cemetery eased quietly into the room. His footsteps were light on the hard wood floor, he was not wearing shoes. “Good you’re awake, is the strap okay, not too tight is it?” Graham spoke as if it were perfectly normal, her being held as his prisoner. Had he done this before? God was he a serial killer? Candy’s mind whirled with awful thoughts, knowing she was a victim to his whim, and defenseless. “Why are you doing this? People will look for me….you need to let me go.”
“No….not yet, Candy….I won’t hurt you, I promise. I didn’t do this to hurt you,” Graham assured sitting on the bed beside her, touching her arm gently running his hand along her skin. Candy pulled her arm away tucking it under her back, and Graham sighed nodding. The look in his eyes, a sorrow haunting his demeanor, What was with this guy? If he didn’t want to hurt her, why did he do this?
“Why did you take me? Why can’t I go free? I don’t want to be here,” Candy wasn’t sure how to proceed, she didn’t want to piss him off, not knowing what he was capable of.
“ God you look so much like her….same hair, same eyes, you’re beautiful Candy, simply beautiful.” Graham brushed his hand through Candy’s long dark hair, touching her shoulder his touch sent shivers chasing. “Why are you doing this? Who is she?” Candy felt uncomfortable, yet compelled to know more.
“You are an inquisitive one,” Graham chuckled smiling warmly, “I’m not sure you’re ready for an explanation, you need to trust me first I think.” With that Graham got up and left the room, closing the door behind him. Candy pulled on the strap once more, it was holding fast. This didn’t make any sense, what was his angle, why did he want her to trust him, and why did he feel she ever would? Thoughts plagued her mind for the next couple hours, until once again Graham paid Candy a visit.
This time he brought food, and soda. Candy was hesitant at first, remembering the soda earlier.
“Oh, yeah there isn’t anything in the food I promise, see,” Graham took a sip of the soda, and broke off a section of her sandwich eating it himself. Candy was hungry, so she ate what he offered, still sipping the drink sparingly. “Graham….why am I here? Why did you take me? If you aren’t gonna hurt me, why keep me?” Candy wanted answers.
“I’m sorry, if there was another way…..I didn’t think you’d just go with a stranger. Knowing your dad, and his protectiveness of you, I knew this was the only way to get to know you better.” Graham didn’t make sense, and his explanation only confused Candy more.
“My father is dead, you know that, you seen me at the cemetery. I don’t understand Graham,” Candy shook her head, why don’t I feel frightened of him? Those eyes of his, so sad, what is happening here?
“Yes he is…but everyday you come an talk to him. You tell him of your day, you love him still. Your heart is so sad, I feel it’s broken, as is mine. Ya see, her name was Elisabeth, we were so in love, Candy….I asked her to marry me and she said yes,” Graham paused looking away as if a lost memory called his attention. Candy witnessed Graham brush a tear that had fallen from his haunted eyes. “Go on….I’m listening, what happened to Elisabeth?” Candy felt if she tried to understand, maybe she could get Graham to let her go.
“ I worked in a mill, cutting timber there were warnings not to smoke everywhere, but some of the men I worked with chose to ignore the warnings. The fire started shortly after a lunch break, it swept through the mill in minutes, engulfing everything. I had a way out….but Sam was trapped, I felt I could reach him, so I tried.” Graham shook his head wiping more tears, his memories obviously painful. Candy’s heart went out to him, what a horrible tragedy, did Sam die? Did he blame himself? What happened to Elisabeth? Candy waited anxiously for Graham to continue.
“Just as I reached him,” Graham paused again sighing deeply, “the beams in the roof fell in, trapping us both. The fire burned him first, I had to listen to his screams, before adding my own to his. We didn’t escape that fire, Candy.” Graham finished wiping the remaining tears from his eyes, sitting somberly reflecting on haunting memories.
“What do you mean? You are here now…I don’t see any signs of scars, you must have escaped,” Candy was totally puzzled, was Graham crazy?
“Elisabeth came everyday like you did, she’d talk to me, tell me she loved me, that she’d never forsake me,” Graham continued with his story, and Candy listened trying to make sense of it all. “Then she came less and less, until she didn’t come at all. I haven’t been able to keep track through the years, I was just lost floating with eternity, until you….like a summer breeze, you captured my heart….I think I’m in love with you.” Graham finished looking directly into Candy’s eyes watching her reaction.
“In love with me, you don’t know me, we just met,” Candy shook her head, thinking perhaps maybe she had guessed right, Graham was crazy.
“You like Cherry Pepsi, you often go barefoot, you listen to strange music and dance like ants are biting you. You love your father so dearly, I often cry hearing you speak to him. Yeah I know you, I’ve seen you often Candy, and yes I’ve been following you. Your dad told me to stay clear, I shouldn’t take you…but don’t you see, I had to. I love you, I had to try Candy, eternity is a long time without love.” Graham’s words invaded her heart, filling her with remorse, and something else, a feeling she hadn’t known before. It wasn’t threatening, perhaps compassion and maybe understanding.
“My father is dead….how could you talk to him?” Candy was still confused.
Graham stood then, taking her hand in his, he smiled and in a moment vanished before her eyes. Although she did not see him, Candy could still feel the warmth of his hand wrapped around hers. Oh my God, how could this be? What was happening? Where did he go? Candy’s heart raged, her breaths quickened, for the first time she was scared. Sensing her fright, Graham reappeared, exactly where he was before he vanished. Was this a trick? Was he trying to scare her?
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, but you had to know….I’m dead Candy….I died in the fire.” Graham’s words echoed softly, as Candy felt herself getting strangely dizzy, sinking into the soft down pillow, Candy’s mind was overwhelmed as she fainted.