"Mommy…who's that?" A four year old Darren Shan clutched a dodge-ball to his chest, watching as a strange man, dressed in a bright green suit made his way across the playground, smiling at Darren as he passed headed for the slides. "I've never seen him afore."
"It's before, honey. And I don't know, maybe he has children hear." Angela Shan wasn't paying much attention to her son, or the strange man he was watching. She was too busy feeding Annie, who had more mushed peas on her face then she did in her stomach. "Keep playing honey, I'm sure it will be okay."
Darren twisted his lips up and walked away, carrying the ball that was almost the same size as him out in front of him, keeping him from being top-heavy. "Hello, Darren." Darren turned around to see the man sitting on a bench, an umbrella clasped in his hands, a heart shaped pocket watch hanging form his pocket.
"My mom says not to talk to strangers." Darren turned around, carrying his ball.
"But, how can I be a stranger if I know your name?" Darren stopped and twisted back to face him, walking forward to sit on the bench; his ball in his lap.
"I guess that's true." Neither one of them said anything, and Darren started swinging his feet to amuse himself, watching his mother try to feed Annie with very little luck. "Do you have a kid?"
"Four, actually. Two are fully grown, one isn't here, and one is." The man smiled at him, his mouth looked caved into his round face.
"Which one is it?" Darren asked, looking out over the kids for someone who resembled the bald man, but he couldn't find anyone. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
"A boy, but I don't think you can see him." Darren started to swing his legs again, his Keds a good five inches above the ground. "So, tell me about yourself, Darren."
They talked for a long time, the man only asking occasional question to fuel Darren's answers, the four-year old glad to finally have someone pay him full attention because they hadn't ever since Annie had been born. He told the man that, and he nodded sympathetically. "I understand how you feel, Darren. Always remember that you're very, very special." That was greeted with a wink, and Darren felt uncomfortable for the first time.
Something about this man made him feel odd. Something in his beady dark blue eyes made the little boy uncomfortable, but he wasn't being mean, so Darren kept talking, but quieter and not as much. Finally he stopped, wishing he could go back with his mother.
Do you like spiders, Darren?" The man asked, and Darren nodded vigorously, almost all traces of discomfort forgotten at the mention of the animals. The man reached into the pocket of his jacket, digging for a moment before he pulled something out. "Hold out your hand."
Darren did, eager now, to see what it was. From the man's chubby fingers a monstrous black spider fell, straight onto Darren's palm. "That's so cool!" It wasn't a real spider, but there was a button on the top of its abdomen, that when he pushed it, it started to crawl up his arm and he squeaked with delight. "I think your mother needs you." Darren looked up to see him mother running towards him, Annie bouncing on her arm.
He got up and, carrying the spider and ball, walked over to meet her. "What is that?" She almost yelled. 'Where did you get that, Darren?"
"From that man on that bench." He put it into his pocket, making room for it against the Babe Ruth candy wrapper he had stuffed in there.
"What man, Darren?" She asked, looking all around the playground.
"In the rain-boots." Darren turned to show her, but the man was gone. "He was right there. He must have left." But as little Darren looked over at the playground, all the children were still there.
"He was right there." Darren's lips twisted in agitation, his eyes hunting for the man who had given him his fantastic new toy.
"Come one, let's get home." His mother led him home; him feeling like crying, he didn't understand what had happened to his new almost-friend. But even as he left, the man was watching form the distance, checking his Heart watch.
"Soon enough," he whispered. "Soon enough."
(A/N) So, what do you think First time I've written for this fandom in months Wish I could say different, but with classes resuming, and some very strenuous holidays this year, I couldn't do it.
New Years Resolution: not to leave so many gaps between updates for you guys