The clock was about to strike twelve. It was a hot Monday and the parents, mostly the mothers, of small kindergarteners were standing near the school gates, waiting. Soon enough, there was a large number of kids running out towards their parents, screaming happily. The air was filled with numerous 'Mommy's and 'Daddy's, as they embraced.
“Hey sweetheart, how was your day?” asked Amanda, to her three year old daughter Tiffany.
“It was okay, mom. Did you bring chocolates? You promised!!”
“Yes I did, darling.” Amanda said beaming, handing her a Mars bar. “Look who's coming to meet, Tiffy” she added after seeing Marie, who was coming towards them, with her small girl Caroline.
“Hey Tiffy, how are you, sweetie?” asked Marie.
“I'm fine, Mrs. Rose. Look, mom got me a Mars bar.” she replied and got busy eating.
Marie smiled and turned towards Amanda. “Hey Am, you doing good, honey?”
“Hey yes, thank you. How are you? Are you worried about something?” Amanda noticed the expressions on her face. She looked like she was deeply shaken but was hesitating to talk about it.
“Well yes, Am. Do you see that old brown man standing there? she asked, pointing towards the other side of the road.
Amanda turned slowly in that direction, and sure enough, saw a man wearing a turban standing there watching the kids and their parents intently.
“What about him, Marie?” she asked, clearly nonplussed.
“I've been seeing him daily, for the past few weeks at least. He is here everyday. He looks at the kids, and goes after everyone's gone, only to return the next day. I have a very bad feeling about him. God knows what he's up to.”
“Are you sure? I don't seem to remember seeing him everyday. Maybe, he really isn't 'up to' something?”
“Amanda, I've seen him looking at the kids with that smile on his face. It's scary. Yesterday, he tried to talk to Caroline here. He was smiling and God knows what he was going to do. His smile faltered and he went away when he saw I had noticed. What if I hadn't? What if he manages to do something someday? What if it were little Tiffy?” Marie was suddenly so aggressive, it made Amanda nervous.
“Gosh, Marie. What do you think we should do? We go to the cops?” she was terrified now. “Yes, I think we should.”
Meanwhile, the old man, realizing that everyone was slowly leaving, had now started to go himself.
“Tomorrow, we go to the cops.”
The next day, however, the man was nowhere to be seen. Amanda and Marie looked out, but no, he wasn't there that day. With no evidence to go to the police with, they decided to 'teach him a lesson' the next time they saw him.
But he never returned. Three days had passed but there had been no sign of him. The ladies were happy now, and had forgotten all about him.
Finally, it was a Sunday. Amanda and Marie had thought of taking the families to a picnic. Getting up early was not Amanda's thing, but she did manage somehow. Having some time to spare, she picked up the newspaper. Suddenly, something caught her attention. It was the picture of that same old brown man. She read on :
“Sartaj Singh, 62, was found hanging from his bedroom's ceiling fan last night. The neighbours had called 911 because he had not opened his gates for them for the past three days, which was so 'unlike him'.The cops have confirmed that the man had committed suicide and had been in that state for two days. Neighbours tell us that the man lived alone, after his only family, his three year old grand daughter was killed in an accident while coming back from school a few weeks ago. Patrik, one of the close neighbours, says that Sartaj was terribly heartbroken and had gone 'a bit insane' after the tragedy. He also tells us that the old man would still go to her kindergarten in the hope that she would come running into his arms one day”