Vincent wasn’t his real name but it was a good enough name to call him and I saw him first when he took the young girl’s hand and led her away and I thought that’s odd but I had shopping to do and I didn’t think any more of it until that night when I heard the Amber alert and I realized Vincent had no legs and no soul and no boots for his stumps and couldn’t have led anybody anywhere.
I saw him the second time at my mother’s funeral and he stood at the graveside head bowed tears streaming but I looked hard enough and realized Vincent had legs now but no arms and still no soul and no gloves for his frostbitten fingers and when I reached out for him he disappeared so I figured he was a ghost but ghosts don’t bring flowers to funerals.
Then there was the shooting at the mall and on the news I spotted Vincent in the crowd wearing a blue beanie but it could have been my imagination because his head was gone and there was only that beanie bobbing up and down but he had arms and legs and a soul although that could have just been a shadow.
Last night he came to my porch but when I opened the door he disappeared just like he’d done at my mother’s funeral and on the doorstep was a frog so I brought the frog into the kitchen and asked it who the man was but the frog just looked me and I didn’t know if that was a sign.
Now I wait for Vincent to come back and it’s just me on my porch in my rocker with my frog beside me and a pair of gloves and boots and a warm cup of tea in case Vincent’s cold and has arms and legs and a soul. And I still don’t know if he’s a ghost or a harbinger of doom or Death or maybe an angel but any which way I’ll greet him as Vincent because it’s a good enough name to call him.
Mureall Hebert is a writer and editor near Seattle, Washington. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Apeiron Review, The Blotter, Yellow Chair Review, decomP, Crack the Spine, Lunch Ticket, and Bartleby Snopes, among others. She holds an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. You can find her online at @mureallhebert