The Haunting

Avianna Lemonier

Cold snow and harsh winds blanket the atmosphere around her. As her eyes gaze toward the forest that sits quietly next to her home, she thinks of him. A ghost in her memory whose fingerprints on her skin still leave a visible mark. As the wind swirls around her, brushing past her hair, she remembers the sound of his voice. She remembers the depth in his low tones and the way that the walls of the house shook when he yelled.

Still, after a year of being dead, his image and persona are just as clear in her mind as they were the first day that she gazed into his piercing eyes. She walks. She stumbles through the snow and finds her way toward the trees. She thinks of him. She wonders if it was ever good. She can't remember now.

Now, as her hands brush past the trees and their swaying branches, she remembers what it was like when she first realized that she loved him. It was a cruel trick. The moment that her heart opened up to him, he shut down. But, a willing participant in the deluded dance that she was determined to take part in, he lingered. He hovered over her life like a moth hovering over a flame. His eyes always observing her like a lion watching its prey move unsuspectingly through an open field.

But, still, her heart remained open. When he died, she wept. The absence of his presence did not magically erase the mark that he had left on her life. He was gone but, somehow, he was still there. As she walked, she felt the wind around her shift and move. It seemed to be growing more urgent in its impact. As her hands continued to lean against the trees that she passed for support, she felt as if she was being watched.

Suddenly, her eyes caught sight of two familiar eyes gazing back at her through the darkness of the forest. She stared back in disbelief. She moved, instinctively, away from the forest and made her way back to the house. Just as she had stepped as close to the front door of the humble home as her feet could take her, she felt hands guide themselves around her waist. The hands forced her small body to turn and, as if being tormented by some wicked dream, she found herself face to face with the same man whose presence had haunted her since his earthly body had been laid to rest.

She stood still for a moment and stared at him in shock. For a moment, she wondered if she really was dreaming. As his hands tightened their grip around her waist, she wondered if he was just a figment of her imagination. Silently, he pushed her toward the door of the house, motioning for her to open it.

With shaking hands, she opened the door and listened as his footsteps followed hers inside the home. Almost as quickly as they had entered it, his hands began to target her small frame with striking blows that both startled and numbed her. She tried to block his hands as they hit her, but the strength of his fists overpowered the fragility in hers. She stumbled away from him and attempted to run toward the safety of the nearest bathroom. Still, his hands clutched at her, stopping her from escaping. Suddenly, a fury rose up inside of her and she felt her hands reaching out, fighting back against the menacing jabs that he was directing at her. As she grabbed a hold of his hands, he froze. His eyes suddenly glazed over in a shock that seemed more fearful than amazed.

In an instant, he was gone. His evil presence was suddenly just as nonexistent in the house as it had been a few hours earlier. With a sigh, she fell to the floor, clutching her hands together and forcing herself to breathe.