In the distance I see a man. He’s tall and thin, and casts a shadow. As the hours pass, his shadow moves, but he stays quite still. He’s been there since yesterday.
I am allowed three lampposts in either direction of my front door. That’s just past Frank and Ellen, who give me biscuits and don’t know who Thomas the Tank Engine is.
On the other side, there’s the wild-haired woman who’s let her garden go all tangled, the brambles spilling over into our garden like grasping fingers. Sometimes they snatch our toys.
Just past her garden, he’s still standing there, watching. He’s waiting for children to put into a black car, luring them with poisoned sweets then driving them away. That’s what strangers do; a policeman came to school to tell us. He didn’t say anything about not moving, but I am canny to these wiles. I wheel my tricycle beyond his reach and head for safety.
Many days later, I realised that my lurking stranger was, in fact, a post in next-but-one’s front yard.