Perhaps she knew something they didn’t. The girl, who danced in the castle grounds, who flitted through the gardens with the breeze, far too light to touch the grass that should have crunched beneath her feet. It was possible she didn’t exist at all, this girl. The servants who had lived within the castle walls had no recollection of her, not a whisper in the dining hall, a portrait on the wall.
And yet, somehow, she was visible every night, auburn hair shining in the light of the moon, pale dress floating, fading. The villagers would watch through their windows, the glow of a candle to keep them awake, their hearts melting, dripping with the wax. Did she hear music? They couldn’t tell. Her movements seemed too effortless, too graceful, to befit any song of which they knew.
Sweet, silent. Beautiful.
Sometimes, in the ghostly waltz, her arms drifted up, fingers searching for cool skin amongst the air and her hands curled as though to embrace the neck of somebody visible only to her; a friend, a lover, a partner. A smile, a laugh. Silent, but there.
Perhaps she was mad. What other explanation could they find? A deranged girl locked away for the safety of the village, escaping only at night to sway with the trees, vanishing when the golden sun found her face. A secret, far too shameful. A stain on the pages of the Kingdom.
But the villagers saw the way she looked beyond, her smile in the stars, her movements reborn with every funeral. She was comfort in grief, an embrace amid tears. And perhaps, just perhaps-
She knew something they didn’t.
M. L. Watson is a writer based in the Yorkshire Dales. Her published works include a short story in the book ‘Sixteen Sagas’ by G.P Taylor and Friends. In 2014, she won the Rotary District 1040 Young Writer Competition.