Read an Excerpt
The interior was stark. One room. A worn couch, table, two chairs, a bureau, and a dusty rug covering the centre of the bare board floor. A single bed was next to the wood stove against the far wall. It squeaked menacingly when she sat on it, testing the mattress. The quilt that draped the bed was handmade, its colours as muted as the shades of brown that made up the room. Above the bed hung wind chimes. She reached up, smiled when they tinkled. She wondered why they were inside and not hanging in the breeze on the porch.
There was no breeze inside. “You’re in the wrong place,” she whispered. These words seemed to express her general attitude towards life. Loneliness crept through her, so sudden and so stark she wavered, thinking perhaps she should turn and run.
But she paused, and as she did, comfort came to her in the form of an embrace. Arms, thick and strong circled around her torso from behind and as the dream wrapped her in safe warmth she tipped her head back. Breath moistened her ear, full lips pursed against her skin, hair fluttered against her cheek. She touched the hand that had begun to explore her breast. Her eyes drifted longingly across the bed.
“Yes,” the voice in her ear seemed to moan, as though echoing her sudden desire for intimacy. And as she turned to kiss her new lover, to embrace him fully, she staggered to nothing but cold air.
Her suitcase, perched by the door where she had dragged it, fell over with a thump. For several moments she simply stood. She neither rationalised nor fantasised. One step at a time. And the next step would be making the room comfortable.
She lit a fire in the stove, the warmth mixed with the scent of burning wood. An oil lamp on the table would be her only other source of light. This was from choice. There was a lamp run by generated power, but since she was going to enjoy the full sensation of living the rustic life she made a conscious decision not to cheat by flicking a switch. Everything she sensed would eventually seep through into her drawings. Every sense added to the passion of what would become artistic creation.
Passion. She caught herself stopping, waiting for the ghostly kiss against her ear, the hand on her body, yet all had gone silent. Ghosts. The word made her smile.