The Ghosts of Temple Bruer part 9

One day, Sarah was strolling in the garden when she noticed Haruki trailing behind her, hiden by a well kept shrub.

“Do you always follow me?” Sarah asked him.

“I’m not supposed to be seen,” Haruki said.

“By whom?” Sarah asked him.

“By the tall people,” Haruki said.

“Tall people? Is that what you call us, adults. Does your mother tell you to not be seen?”

“Yes,” Haruki admitted.

“Can you please come out from behind the shrub,” Sarah demanded.

Haruki was unsure, but he obeyed.

“Mr. Kent, doesn’t like seeing me,” Haruki says.

“Did he say that?” Sarah asked.

“I’ve heard him tell mama that I shouldn’t be seen,” Haruki said. “I have to hide when he’s home or he gets angry at mama.”

“That’s a terrible thing to say,” Sarah said.

“Mama only lets me out when he’s away,” Haruki said. “That’s where I stay.”

He pointed to one of the towers Sarah had been unable to enter.

“You stay in one of the towers?” Sarah just couldn’t believe it.

Haruki nodded.

“Do you know why he gets angry?” Sarah asked him.

Haruki shrugged.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Mama locks me inside my room. To protect me, she says.”

“Does he hurt you if he finds you?” Sarah asked.

“No, not me, mama,” he said. “He saw me playing in the garden one day, and he became upset at mama. She cried for days.”

Sarah felt awful for how Philip treated him and his mother. She was seeing another side of Philip she had yet to know.

“Does Mr. Kent talk to you?”

“No,” Haruki said. “He yells at mama.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” was all Sarah could say. She decided to change the subject. “Have you been to every part of the gardens?”

“No, not all of it,” Haruki said. “I’ve been to the pond. You don’t want to get too close.”

“Why not?”

“It has a funny smell,” he said. “If you get too close you see strange things in the water. Mama told me to never get too close. She says people have drowned there, and that makes it bad luck… There are many places you don’t want to go, like the cemetery and the stables.”

“What’s wrong with the stables?” Sarah was curious.

“You hear strange noises… like horses, but there are no horses there,” he said. “Mr. Kent once bought a horse. He wanted to breed it, is what I heard him say… but the horse died.”

“How?”

“I don’t know,” Haruki shrugged. “Mr. Kent was angry for days.”

“But doesn’t John–” before Sarah could finish her sentence Haruki hushed her.

“Don’t say his name,” Haruki whispered as he glanced around with wide eyes.

“Why not?”

“He’s a bad man,” Haruki whispered. “He scares me more than Mr. Kent.”

“Has he ever been mean to you?”

Haruki shook his head.

“He’s a bad man,” Haruki repeated. “I better go before mama starts looking for me.”

“Very well,” Sarah said. “I’ll see you around.”

Haruki disappeared inside. The next day Philip arrived home. Sarah was happy to see him after many months away from him. It was hard to stay angry at him even after everything.