I was only nine when I saw him. A tall, fairly heavy-built man with a goatee beard and a long brown ponytail. He had light hazel eyes and was wearing a green kilt, nothing else. This man followed me. I don't mean he was stalking me or anything, I mean, he kept on showing up in random places in my life. Like I said, I first saw him when I was nine.
I was at school, in the middle of an English lesson, when there was a tap at the window. It was unusually loud and heavy, like someone had punched the window with their fist rather than tapped their finger on it. Everyone heard it, and we all turned around, including the teacher. The man was standing there. Just standing, not really doing anything, and he had a strangely sad look on his face. He spoke. It was just one word, but it made no sense whatsoever. "Fleabane?" he asked. His voice was somewhat deep, and he spoke with an accent, but even today I can't tell what it was. Probably Russian or Ukranian or something. The teacher glared at him, and asked him to leave, and he did, walking slowly and dejectedly across the playground.
I didn't see him again until I was twelve. Again, I was at school, and our new English teacher asked us to describe the creepiest thing that had ever happened to us, as we were studying horror stories. I had to be honest, and told him about the man I'd seen. The teacher's face went pale, and it took us a second to realise that he was looking at the door of the classroom. We all turned to it, and the man was standing right there. "What the?" stammered the teacher. He opened the door, and the man stepped into the classroom, looking at us as if asking for something. "Fleabane?" he asked.
The teacher glared at him. "Look, I don't know what you're doing here, but I have a class to teach." he said. The man looked at him, with that same pleading expression. Then, he fell to his knees and began to cry. None of us had heard crying quite like it. It sounded heartbroken. I was the first to react, running over to the man and putting my arm around him. "There, it's alright," I said, or began to say, because the man suddenly grabbed my shoulders, and pressed a piece of paper into my hand, before running away at top speed down the corridor.
After that, the man kept on sticking around my house. My mother would wake up in the middle of the night, having heard all sorts of strange knocking, banging, clashing noises, but no one had made them. I, meanwhile was puzzled over the contents of the paper. It was the word "FLEABANE" and above it were the words "Turn the F into an H, the B into a P, the N into an M, and erase the As. What do you get when you rearrange the remains?"
I did this, but what the message said made my blood run cold. "HELP ME" I was terrified, and told my mother about it, as I had been keeping it a secret for over four years. When mother asked me to describe the man, I did, and she took a step back in horror. Her hair was standing on end and her face was white. "Kate," she whispered. "That man is your father."
What happened afterwards
I was shocked, to say the least. Mother told me everything. My parents had divorced before I was born, so I had never seen my father's face, and mom hated to talk about him, so I assumed he hadn't been nice. But it turned out to be worse than that. My dad had been an amazing man, a real hero and a hearthrob among the other women in the neighborhood. He had been a champion football player, but one day, he was kicked extremely hard in the head, so hard in fact that he had to be rushed into the hospital. Part of his skull was broken and he had to undergo an operation to mend it.
He recovered surprisingly quickly, and was apparently just the same man he'd always been. But when he was in another football match, something went horribly wrong. My father was doing well, but when the ball was passed to him, he tackled the nearest man to the ground, and began to bite his hair off. No one could believe it, but the worst was yet to come. My father had to be put in a mental asylum because he had developed schizophrenia. He had broken out of prison when I was nine, and had tried to get me to help him, by sending me a secret message in the form of a single word: Fleabane. The only reason he didn't kill me was because I was the only thing he still cared for.