A silhouette hung through her window. She stared. Was she dreaming?
Her eyes were heavy and fogged, and her limbs so stiff they couldn’t move. No, it couldn’t be a dream.
Oh, goodness! The shadow moved. Now she was awake. Her heart made irregular thumps in her chest. She pushed herself out of bed. It was a murder, she knew it! Or was it the town’s ‘phantom’? No, she didn’t believe in phantoms.
She gasped. It had moved again. It looked like a man, a man on a horse. A mighty horse, from the looks of it.
Slowly, as carefully and quietly as she could, she crept out of bed. Her breathing was quickening. Sweat, despite the cold, was beading over her brow and above her lip. She bent so low that she was almost crawling. Almost to her bedroom door……
“Faye?” called a cool, glassy voice. She screamed as her white curtains blew wildly with a gust of icy wind. Her window flew open, and she fell. Why was no one coming to get her? Certainly Amanda could hear her!
A horse hoof stepped in. The body that followed it was much too massive and muscular; she was surprised that those tiny, delicate hooves could hold it. Upon the mighty horse’s back was a boy, not a man. He had to be no older than seventeen or so. His face was black as the horse, and his eyes were an arctic white. He held his head high and proud, he looked as if he were a king.
She breathed faster. It was as if her chest were closing in.
“Faye?” he said again.
“N-no?” she squeaked, scrambling away backwards.
“Do not leave, Faye,” he said. His voice had softened.
She stared at him. He was no longer looking haughty and proud, but like a sad young boy who was lost and scared.
“G-g-get off of your horse,” she stuttered. Then he couldn’t send him to paw her to her death. Or could he?
To her surprise, the phantom obeyed.
“I-I-I’m n-not Faye,” she gasped. “I’m Mia.” Why did she say that? Why should she tell a possible murder her name?
He moved closer. “So you not remember me, Faye? I, Dmitry?” he looked concerned.
She backed away. “I’m Mia. Not Faye,” she said.
Was he deaf? “No, Mia. Amelia,” she repeated, calmer this time.
“Faye?” he moved a step closer with an outstretched hand. She didn’t back up this time. She rose, using her dresser to support herself.
“Mia,” she whispered.
He moved another step. His black, gloved hand was inches from her. Then, at the last moment, he curtly moved it back to his side and shook his head heavily.
“Not Faye.” With his head down and sad and his shoulders slouching, he made his way to his beast of a horse.
“You are Mia?” he asked, as his placed his foot in the stirrup, looking to her.
She nodded. He shook his head again and swung himself up into the saddle, and his horse snorted and shook his great head.
She watched, mesmerized, as he turned his horse around and walked out the window. Once he was partway out, his white eyes looked to her. He looked as though he was about to say something, but he didn’t. Then, slowly, he and the horse began to fade. She could see the wall. Now straight through the window. Now, he was gone. She watched, breath taken, staring at the spot where he had been.
Then, her eyes snapped open, and Mia was lying on her bed with the window locked shut.