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Hyacinth Haunting

by Persephone Stylet 2 months ago in psychological / supernatural / fiction
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Are you the ghost, or am I?

Hyacinth Haunting
Photo by Olivier Guillard on Unsplash

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.

It felt like a miracle when I saw it, like a gift from whatever gods happened to be listening to the prayers I was screaming.

I wasn't sure how long I had been screaming. I wasn't sure of very many things, actually. I knew my name was Georgia. I knew I'd been tied to this tree. I knew the ropes used to be much tighter. I didn't know much more than that.

The ropes that bound my hands gave when I tested them, but I'd been so accustomed to my capture I wasn't sure I knew how to be free anymore. My arms could not know what to do if not led by rope. My legs, my longing for freedom, the ocean in my veins longing to be free, had been so long ignored I did not know if they could be put to use. I did not know if they truly existed anymore.

I moved, slow and unsure, away from my tree. My movements were molasses. My body was a stranger to me. I felt a ghost to myself, dead and gone and unknown and somehow still alive, floating in the in-between and existing in paradoxical nonsense.

Foot by soul-draining foot, I approached the cabin. I was unaware of the twigs snapping around me. I did not notice the deer flee.

I was vaguely aware that it was cold. The cold seemed to be coming from me.

I heard signs of life inside the cabin. It did not make sense for my ears to hear them, but I eavesdropped nonetheless. Conversation between lovers, talking about someone from a different time.

How ironic they would be talking about ghosts when they were one lost breath away from becoming one themselves.

When I reached the door, I spent far too long studying the woodgrain before I knocked. It filled me with dread, the darkened lines that bore proof of life. Life once beautiful and seemingly everlasting, cut down to shape man's purpose.

My arms were so heavy. I was unsure I could remember how to knock, but I raised my fist and struck the oak. It felt like coming home. It felt wrong, disturbing the oak's peace, striking its being.

Once.

Twice.

Three times.

I saw a face appear in the window beside me. Kind eyes, a bright soul. I could see nothing else. They saw me, I was sure of it, but they moved on and did not open the door.

I knocked again, intending to speak. Perhaps if I called out, they would hear me.

What came out was more of a whisper, a barely-spoken plea from a lost soul to another in simply one word.

"Help."

No help came.

The cabin was quiet. Somehow, they did not see me. Somehow, they did not hear me.

If they knew I was in need of help, surely they would not be so callous as to turn me away.

Then again, I may have been seeing things. I had been alone so long I may have gone mad.

I tried the handle, and it gave. The door was unlocked, and I pushed forward into the cabin.

This was not a quick affair. My limbs were weak with disuse and the door was heavy. It seemed to fight me. It needed to know I wanted entrance, demanding to know my desperation to be seen. I had been alone for so long, and it knew. It saw my turmoil, my longing for peace, and it was going to make me wage war to find the comforting embrace of another living being.

I walked inside.

I'm not sure walked is the right word. It felt like floating. It felt like being strung along. Somehow, I was both the puppet and the puppetmaster.

The lovers' mouths agape with horror, they looked to me and then to one another. One came forward, wary of me.

I assumed they would greet me, perhaps offer me assistance. I could not see myself, but I was sure I was not a pretty sight.

I did not expect them to walk by me. I did not expect them to go on as if I did not exist.

Perhaps societal customs had changed since I last performed them. Perhaps I was being incredibly rude. Perhaps I was the problem in this situation. Perhaps I had been alone for so long I had forgotten how to be human.

The two sat down on a couch after closing the door I had worked so hard to open. Snuggled under blankets, they ignored me, and it hurt. Their picture-perfect love story. Their life force, so strong and pure.

I walked forward, in front of them. Surely they could see me as I saw them. Surely they could see that I was no threat, not yet, merely someone in dire need of assistance.

There was still no response. It was as if I was invisible.

And so, I lifted my voice, as much as I could, and only got out the words, "Help me."

My words seemed to have been heard, but they looked to one another in terror. They did not see me.

"Did you hear that?" One whispered, voice wavering with worry.

"Maybe it's that ghost. What was her name? Cynthia?" The name struck a chord in my heart, the syllables a tuning fork that resonated with the deafening silence of my soul, but, like so many things, I didn't know why.

"Don't joke like that! Her killer's still out there, you know." I didn't like this. Something was very, very wrong, but I didn't know what. I hated that I didn't know. Why couldn't they see me?

"Oh, yeah, the person who brutally murdered some chick twenty years ago and never struck again is going to come back the week we happen to stay in this rental cabin." What had the world come to, that they could speak of this violence as if it were between a cat and a mouse rather than two human souls?

"This area is called the Great Smoky Mountains for a reason. The killer could have hidden bodies all over the place outside the Georgian sector." Why did they choose to act as if I were not there? What had I done to deserve this?

"Even so, no one has found another dead body strung up in an oak like a marionette. That's kind of hard to miss." Who were these people, speaking of death so casually? Who were they to ignore those in need, to speak of those who once went without?

Would they ignore those veiled in pain to render themselves comfortable? Would they throw the bones of the sacrificed into the fire so long as it kept them warm?

They did not know what it was to be alone. They did not know what it was to fear. They did not know.

They simply did not know.

But I would make them know.

They would hear me, and they would fear me. They would see me, and I would blind them. They would turn to each other for comfort, only to be met with emptiness. They would seek respite and deliverance, and they would be turned away. They would know my pain.

I screamed, loud and untamed, wild and free, everything I never used to be.

I screamed, bone-chilling, praying that someone, anyone might hear me.

I screamed, all-consuming, and everything went black. I saw nothing but endless nothingness, endless silence, endless in-betweens and beginnings and endings all at once.

I felt too much and not enough. My body burned, my veins aflame though I could not feel blood running through them. My heart stopped, then beat too fast. My lungs were cold and empty.

I only stopped screaming when I could no longer feel anything. When I became the blackness.

And then, when I had nearly lost any sense of myself, any sense that I could ever be some semblance of human, something miraculous happened.

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.

psychologicalsupernaturalfiction

About the author

Persephone Stylet

she/they/xey

Just a small-town girl livin' in a lonely world. Also a writer.

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