I did not scream, nor look away. The sight was as fascinating as it was terrifying. My neck crooned upwards and my eyes fixated on the sight.
Brown leaves with specks of gold fluttered in unison like a swarm of bees. It was as though the sound of the winds’ fury has subsided and was instead replaced by the crackling of dead leaves. They molded together to form the frightening figure of a tall woman.
She hovered before me in the center of the room. She did not have a face exactly. The leaves however were placed in such a way, that the small dents and slight changes in colour formed the appearance of facial features.
Suddenly the window behind me snapped shut. I jumped to my feet and backed into the wall. My hands scraped against the ugly salmon wallpaper as though searching for something to squeeze. They simply peeled at the rotting paper; small bits of plaster crumbled and fell at my bare feet.
The leaves had somewhat settled in place now. The figure was no longer a sporadic collection of swirling shrubbery. Instead she softly swayed, every leaf forming an important piece to her puzzle.
‘It speaks’, I thought to myself. A surge of panic slithered through my stomach and I had a sudden urge to call out to Julian.
“Winifred Pickle” she muttered again, her voice soft and strangely welcoming.
“How do you know my name?”
I had decided not to call out or scream for help. There was something about this moment that was completely reserved for me and I did not want to give it up.
She did not answer my question. The woman continued to stare at me (or at least I think she was staring. It was hard to tell without actual eye balls).
Suddenly the figure moved. In one giant whoosh she glided towards me and froze and inch from my body. A small yelping sound escaped my lips.
“Curious” she laughed “The first words you utter. I would have thought your first remark to be-“
She paused, her ‘face’ surveying me up and down “-something different”.
“Sorry” I whispered, quite sincerely.
She laughed again; a rather icy laugh.
“Don’t be sorry. Sorry is a word reserved for men only, thrown around as often as we change our shoes, just as meaningless, really”
She spoke rather quickly as though she were talking to herself as well as me. She began to slowly twirl where she hovered, taking in the sight of the room it would seem. Her body of leaves swayed up and down as though she was struggling to keep herself upright. There was something about the small quivers in each leaf that made me uneasy.
“Curious” she said softly “It hasn’t changed one bit”
“You’re a Ghost” I coughed, dust getting caught in my throat. As the words escaped me I realised how stupid I sounded. Of course she was a ghost.
She whipped back around, no longer focusing on the room. I could almost make out the shape of a smile.
“You’re a bright one” she spat with a heavy tone of sarcasm that turned the fear I was feeling into a deep annoyance.
“Now!” she shrieked.
I stumbled backwards slamming into the wall.
“Shall we get started?”