Jacob Coleman had spent the two months since his mother’s passing renovating the childhood home he’d inherited.
It was a decrepit older house badly in need of a face-lift that would help him forget about a tough childhood of desperate poverty.
While removing strips of ancient, yellowed wallpaper from what used to be the bedroom he shared with his brother, Jacob noticed a slightly raised portion on the freshly peeled wall surface.
It resembled the outline of a door.
Making a hole just large enough to see in, he discovered that there was in fact a door on the other side. He broke away the drywall, took a deep breath and pulled the knob.
Light penetrated the dust-laden darkness until it revealed what Jacob first mistook for a large doll, but looking closer, discovered it was the dried, leathery skin of a dead child.
The sight and smell of the body hit Jacob like a stomach punch, and he staggered backwards until he reached a far wall.
Preparing to bolt for the doorway, his body was instantly paralyzed when he heard scratching and shuffling noises coming from the now open tomb.
A faint shadow emerged, followed by the small, translucent boy, his eyes dark and vacant, wearing an expression of eternal sadness.
Jacob managed a whisper. “Brett?”
The boy looked up. “Yes.”
“Mama told me you ran away.”
“They could only afford to feed one of us.”