Traveling the dirt roads from Grandma's farm to ours the thick midnight summer air a blanket on my skin.
Eyes heavy with sleep, ears listening to the murmur of my parents in the front seat, and my brother's soft breaths next to me lulling me to drift.
Thinking forward to the chore's morning will bring at the farm, my eyes begin to cloud and my stomach drops.
Screams rip through the truck as my mother and I see the boy at the same moment. So small grey and terrified. The truck swerves as my father hits the breaks.
Did you hit him, Daddy, did you hit him? Straining against my seatbelt looking through the dusty back glass for some clue as to where the boy has gone, the air so thick I cannot breathe.
Mother searching frantically for the boy on the road. The small grey terrified boy.
Crying, straining for breath, my hair is on end, the boy was there my mother saw him too. My Father telling us there was no boy. My father looks so pale, this is more terrifying than anything.
I have never seen him be phased in such a way, as he asks my mother what the boy looked like. She simply replies no it cannot be.
What did he look like he commands looking more terrified than ever. Mother replies softly he looked like you.
They stand staring at each other silent tears running from my mother's eyes, I see a shiver run through them both as they silently move back toward the truck.
They climb in saying nothing as my father continues to drive home.
What about the boy, what happened to the boy I ask my parents? My mother takes my hand and whispers there was no boy, we will talk about this when we get home.
Once we arrive home father sits my brother and me on the soft cushions of the couch, the smell of chocolate chip cookies still lingering in the air.
Pain creases the lines of my Fathers sun-beaten face. I never told you about my older brother he says as he begins his story.
One day grandpa, my brother and I were heading to the fields to mend some fencing that was ripped up in a tornado.
We were riding in the back when your grandfather hit a large rock and my brother fell out, and he was hit by the back tire.
The boy you and your mother saw was him in the exact place where the accident happened.
My mother places a hand on his arm as my Father starts to speak again, sometimes we see things that cannot be explained, I have seen them before,
and we might see them again she lightly explains to me. Mother kisses my forehead and takes my brother's hand as she guides us to bed.
In the soft glow of the hallway light, I drift off to sleep with the memory of the small, grey, terrified boy.