The small figure before me curls tightly into a ball, the sweeping mountains and valleys of her figure causing waves in the shabby wool blanket we once so fondly shared. A shaky breath escapes her pallid lips, as silent as heavy mist creeping over a morning sea. The moon peers through our ancient, cracked window, casting ghostly shadows around the cramped, crowded cave of a room. The smell of sea salt lingers in the stale air, the moment suspended. The night has a haunting chill rippling through it, causing the fine hairs on my exposed arms to rise. An unforgiving iciness invades every cluttered corner, every hole in the rickety floorboards, every shivering shoulder peering out from what little protection that flimsy blanket could possibly provide.
My hand grazes against her alabaster skin, the overwhelming warmth of her body a shocking change to the frigid air, as I tug the worn fabric higher, sheltering her from the relentless cold. A delicate groan slips out of her, shattering the peaceful silence enveloping us. I suck in a breath, my heart pounding like an erratic metronome.
Those familiar eyes, more deep and blue than any lagoon, shine into the night, a lighthouse’s beacon in the stormy ocean of my self-inflicted isolation. I freeze, breath catching in my dry throat, not realising I’m gnawing my lip until the raw, metallic taste of blood floods my mouth.
The woman jerks upright, her watchful eyes filling the room, a fear flickering within them, her breaths only rapid, anxious bursts. My chest flutters for a stupidly long moment, a delirious cocktail of euphoria and terror swirling around my gut.
No- no, of course not. I force my body to relax as her eyes pierce right through me. I need to remember that people, even ones as extraordinary as her, cannot- and never will- see ghosts.