A knock on the door

A true story from a few weeks ago — Mon and Dora spent the day in Manchester. I was working in the garden, turning the soil to seed the lawn. Indy, who was 2 years old, had slept poorly, and was cuddled with a blanket on the sofa, watching some nonsense. He came to the back door.

‘Daddy, there’s someone knocking.’

‘Is there? Okay, I’ll come in.’

I kicked off my boots, walked through the house, and opened the front door onto an empty street.

‘There’s nobody there, wee man.’

Indy was puzzled. ‘There was a lady.’

‘Well, never mind. If it matters she’ll be back.’

I went back into the garden. Almost as soon as I stepped out, a voice spoke from just behind me, to the side of the house where the alley runs down from the street. It was a woman’s voice, warm and kind, totally lucid, very close. She said, simply, ‘Hello.’ It was near enough to be at my shoulder, and I whirled about to see.

There was no one there.

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