‘Come back,’ she said.
There was no-one there.
There never is.
The voice comes at odd times with no real pattern or purpose. Like the visions of her, the mirages, the sightings – whatever you want to call them. They happen in various places both inside the house and outside it.
I have seen her – and heard her – at different times and places from the attic rooms down to the cellar, along the remnants of the smugglers’ tunnel, as well as along the cliff and down on the beach.
She speaks as if she knows I can hear her. Her hand reaches across whatever distance separates us as though I could reach her.
But she gives no indication that she hears when I speak. Even on those few occasions when I’ve been close enough to touch her, our hands pass through each other’s hand.
Sometimes I wish I believed in ghosts. It would be one explanation for these… hauntings.
If that is what they are.
I do not think they are hauntings though. I do not believe the woman is a ghost. Despite what the locals say about the ghosts that haunt this old house, and the spooky phenomena that drift in and out of late night conversations down at The Smugglers Rest on an evening.
I know most of those tales are for the tourists and the incomers.
I may count as an incomer nowadays. I don’t know. I was a local here once. But that was a long time ago before my mother and father split up and he took me away.
Jenny, the barmaid, told me as we walked along the beach together one evening last summer, that the locals called my mother the Witch.
Jenny expected me to be shocked or outraged. At least until I told her some of the names my father called my mother.
At first I thought, this ghost of mine was my mother calling out to me from the decades of loneliness and heartache. But the hazy outline of my ghost, I know, looks nothing like my mother. Nor does she look like any of the ghosts said to haunt the area.
Anyway, I don’t believe in ghosts.
Whatever she is, she is not a ghost.
She looks too real, if that doesn’t sound strange. It is as if she lives on a different plane – one that intersects this world but does not touch it. How that means I can see and hear her while she cannot see me. I do not know.
I wasn’t sure that her calls when she spoke were meant for me. Nor that her hand when it reached, reached for mine. She was speaking to someone, reaching for someone, but I had no evidence that that someone is ever me.
All I know now is that something is going on, and the sightings are increasing in frequency as though our two separate worlds are coming together, becoming one. Because last night when she came into my bedroom just after 2 o’clock in the morning she reached for me and for the first time our fingers touched.
‘At last,’ she said as our fingers tingled as they wound together. ‘We are together.’
She kissed me.
Then she was gone.
All I knew afterwards was that she was the one I’ve been waiting for all my life.
But now, all I can do is wait for her to come to me again.