Original prompt: When you were younger, you made a deal with the ghost of a girl in your room to allow them to possess you at night as long as they left at dawn. Usually they do innocuous things and when they’re done they usually leave a note explaining what they did. Tonight, the note just said “I’m sorry.”.

— I’m sorry.

Those three words resonated strongly in my mind. They were written on the small note I was holding. As I lay on my bed, unwilling to get up, I halfheartedly pondered on what she meant by this message. I suppose she did something wrong, but it probably wouldn’t matter to me that much. Since I made the pact with her, she hadn’t done anything outrageous. She was an avid reader and spent most of her nights absorbed in history or fantasy books. She even asked me to borrow some from the library, so much so that I would sometimes feel awkward when returning the books since the librarian, Mr. Hammond, would always face me with a bright smile and ask for my opinion about them. Since I don’t have much to do at home, I also read most of the books, but when the topic didn’t interest me, it was very uncomfortable. Then again, I don’t speak that much anyway.

She would also regularly eat something during the night or get out for a walk. Since I don’t eat much nor go out that often, it’s not that bad. Maybe she’s seen the sunlight more often than me. I mean, the moonlight. You get my point. I remember a few times when I would wake up to a pretty flower on my table, with a small thank you note next to it. At least she thinks about me more than my parents. Since I turned twelve, they’ve always been abroad for work. No biggie, I’ve learned to live with it. It wasn’t as tough as I initially thought it would be. Just boring. As a ray of light peeked out of the horizon, I thought it was time to leave. I put on a T-shirt and some jeans, and went to fetch my map in my drawer, but saw that it was on my table, near my cell phone. I see. She found it. Well, not like she can do much about it anyway now. I put my cell phone back in its case, on my shelf, wondering which Wikipedia articles she read tonight. I climbed down the stairs, got out and closed the door behind me.

As I walked, I took deep breaths of fresh air. How much time had it been since I woke up this early? Today was surely a fated day. My mind was disturbingly clear. Whether it was the chilly breeze flowing against my skin or the timid light of the dawn striking at my retina, I didn’t know. But I was convinced I had chosen the right time. I followed a little path along the river, and went in the clearings near the town. The light was piercing the tree branches here and there, projecting a net on the ground. The wind made the leaves flutter gently, animating the mysterious shadows, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Was I really awake? Perhaps, I had been dreaming all along. If that was the case, I would find it out soon. As I proceeded through the elusive realm, I found a beautiful cedar tree, reigning over his peers as the lord of the area. The noble pillar, straight and massive, conveyed a sense of eternity, as if it had seen the birth of humanity, and would see its death all the same, unconcerned. The scenery was striking, and I was glad I took that detour for my final destination.

As I reached the end of the forest, I could see the cliffs a few dozen meters ahead. I’ve always liked coming here. It’s a known spot for sightseeing, around here. The mountains, far away, were surrounded by an eerie mist. The sun had risen a bit, but a third of it was still hidden under the skyline. I sat on the grass, contemplating the view. The sunlight was diffracted by the mist, producing a faint rainbow. Some birds were flocking together, flying. I envied them. Maybe I’ll feel the same as them, even if only for a few seconds. As I rose to my feet, I felt a hand fall on my shoulder. Someone was there, too? And here I thought I could finally find peace… As I turned around, my eyes couldn’t conceal their surprise.

“Mr. Hammond? Why are you here?”

“I’m glad I made it.”

Mr. Hammond softly pushed my shoulders down and I sat again. He did the same, and here we were facing each other.

“Miss, you’ve always looked a bit sad to me, but I failed to see the extent of the damage. I’m sorry. Now that I’m here, tell me everything.”

“Wait. First, how did you know I would come here?”

“Didn’t you send me a message begging me to come?”

My phone. She used it. Damn her, why did she do something she didn’t need to… People should learn their place.

Mr. Hammond then suddenly took me in his arms. As he did that I felt tears slowly flowing down my cheeks.

“It’s gonna be okay, Miss. I’m here for you. I’ll listen to you. Let it go.”

Confusion. Irritation. Anger. A typhoon of feelings swirled inside me. What did those people know about me? I didn’t ask for their pity! I can deal with it! I…

Suddenly, something clicked inside me. I started sobbing. But I couldn’t stop. I had no more control. The tears wouldn’t stop. As minutes passed, I stayed in Mr. Hammond’s arms. His body warmth enveloped me, and it warmed my frozen heart, which I could feel slowly beginning to thaw.

Maybe she was right. To seek help for me. I couldn’t see it. But it was just there.

So close.

So warm…