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A Haunting (p1.)
Some nights I can see it standing outside my window. It's always under that strange lone apple tree trapped between our sleeping town and that decaying forest; on the side that bears no fruit. Why it chose that tree to post under I do not know. But there it stands, motionless, with only the soft summer breeze to slowly sway him back and forth, like the pendulum of a dying grandfather clock just tick tocking away, waiting. For what I do not know, but there, waiting each night since my dearly beloved left, just tick tocking away - tick tock tick tock.
Some nights when the moon is great and high and all the world is alive with the sweet humming of cicadas, while the summer silently blows kisses to the clear starry sky, I can feel a heavy presence looming over me as I lie in bed, watching. A shadow seeps through the tiny cracks of the window pane, scurrying up the wooden walls onto the ceiling above. I can hear it crawling over head. Its many red eyes greedily stare back at me through that formless shadow. This, black widow, extends her legs throughout the room, down the walls trapping me in a prison of black bars as they slowly make their way up the floorboards towards me. Its many legs and eyes all watching me, all debating, all waiting, and with each moment that passes its presences grows greater and stronger. An icy chill grabs the soles of my feet, the floorboards moan and the window panes screech as the chill rises through my legs and up my back, encasing my skull in its icy grip. The darkness of my eyes turns an abysmal black. Bones become brittle; my breathing, a fain dying whisper as my soul struggles weeping silently, then darkness.
Some days I find myself standing underneath that lone apple tree, on the side of the hill barren and desolate. Yet all is calm and serene as an orange sun hangs lazily over the green forest. The long shadows of the oak trees dance slowly before my feet. And all along the edge of that great forest, fields of luscious green strewn with red and yellow flowers stretch across the horizon for as far as the eyes can see, whistle a single puff of cloud patiently makes its way across the pale blue heavens. The faint warm scents of apples waft about me. The sound of commotion of the townspeople bustling away hangs lightly throughout the air of this distant landscape. A steady ebb and flow of conversation slowly crescendos with the sharp laughter of children before accompanying the harmony of the town below. And in cadence with the gently mid-day breeze, the chiming of wind bells shyly adds a melody of their own to this symphony. After a while, the sounds of the town slowly meld into a smooth hum, one that reverberates throughout my body, starting at the soles of my feet and slowly rising up my back, unwinding the knots in both my body and mind, until the humming of the town and the humming of the bountiful insects flying and crawling about the fields of green and yellow and red become indistinguishable from one another.
Some days I can see her at the edge of that old forest, lost somewhere between a fading memory and the haze of a blistering summer day. I can see her dancing barefoot in the tall grass beneath the shadows of that oak forest, spinning and weaving before her ancient audience; flirtatiously running her fingers through the crisp leaves of the trees, lovingly caressing them as she passes by. And then, without warning, she would simply slip out of existence before the slightest wind; the ancient audience croaking in amazement and a familiar heaviness gripping the foundation of my stomach. And I am alone, with only the sound of the gentle wind whispering its single note throughout this distant landscape. The heat of a late summer day begins to bear more heavily upon burdened shoulders. Individual beads of sweat begin to roll down the back of my neck before slamming in the hot earth and fizzling out of existence. Each bead rolling gently down my neck and into the ground, one by one by one. Each bead rolling more slowly than the last taking more time to reach the ground, slowly and slowly until each bead falls into place, trapped in a moment in time. The oak branches, too, are frozen in acrobatic contortions. It is then do I realize that no wind could be heard, nor the humming of the insects, nor the bustling of the townspeople afar. Silence. Only one word do I hear, for a moment. It exists neither in time or space, echoing throughout my mind, not of my own, but of hers in a pleading tone…why.
And in the distant haze of the summer’s heat, before the tree line of the forest, as simply as she had faded out of time and memory, she slips right back into existence, still lovingly caressing the leaves of the oak trees, prancing barefoot beneath the long shadows, as though the world had simply blinked. A flood of sweat pours from my face instantaneously as a heavy wind begins to fill my chest; the ancient audience croaking in unison, applauding her performance. Yet neither her carefree dance nor the beauty of her pale face could hide the deep solemnness of her mahogany-colored eyes.