Anatolios Magazine: Issue #1

Page 8

Ghost of My Hope Addison Rizer The trees told me there was no way out of this numb place. While I had been looking down, heavy with that strange sadness that had settled all those months ago, the forest outside had taken to growing. We were opposites, I suppose. As my household shrank, and I continued to shrink, with their branches and their greenery, the trees protested. They continued to, silently. They grow, they reach, they tangle until the paths I once walked, a warm hand in my hand, were wiped clean. I wondered, briefly, if they had ever existed at all. Any of it. I didn’t notice at first. Too heavy to lift my eyes to the window, it had taken something shimmering to pull me up. Tugging my gaze from the dishwater that had sat too long and dishes that had sat even longer, I found the solid wall of trees. It took me a moment to see the outline of her, the shimmering thing that had drawn my gaze. On my lawn, something soft stood between me and the new borders of my world. She was see-through, bark where her heart ought to be. She wasn’t touching the grass below her bare feet, though it looked like she’d crush it if she had any weight. She was an impossible thing out there that day, her simple existence in my vision unbelievable. Her arm was outstretched, towards yet another impossible thing. A deer, grand and achingly light, moved towards her. It stopped short of her hand, head tilting. It saw her glittering, and it followed. I ached to move closer to her too. Even then, even with a light, stunning beast beside her, I only wanted to get closer to her. How could something so empty look so full, so hearty, so light? Birds scattered overhead, and she tilted her head upwards towards the sky, beaming. The deer startled. A dish slid in the water beneath my pruning hands. When I looked back up to the window, there were only trees. For the next three days, I dragged myself into the kitchen, sitting by the window, searching for something out of the corner of my eye. I cleaned my counters, cooked myself a meal, then two, then three. Anything to catch of a glimpse of that light, light thing. There was nothing for a while. Until, there she was, sitting on my back porch while the sun set one night. I only noticed as I walked from my bedroom to the bathroom across the hall. I glanced down the hallway and something was glinting on the other side of the glass. Less of a sparkle this time, more of a glow. She beckoned me like a campfire, rippling, dancing. Just this look promised warm. Promised safe. Promised good. I took two steps towards the backdoor, then three. The lock squeaked beneath my fingers. I couldn’t remember when I’d opened it last. Out on the porch, the afternoon slowed into pinks and oranges. The colors the ghost girl radiated before now bled into the sky. In the chair where I’d seen her, there was nothing. But, I sat down 5

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