The Spirit by Wren L.

Maria had never believed in ghosts, until that day, that is. Until she saw the thing in the woods. She had always just thought when peopled died they’d either go to heaven or the place down below. She never thought about a third possibility. Of course, there weren’t three options; there just was what happened. When you died, it just happened. You couldn’t prevent it.

Her heart beat through the inside of her chest as she ran out of the woods. Whatever it is I saw in those woods isn’t human. She thought to herself. It must be a demon. None of the possibilities bouncing around in her heart-shaped head named the chance that it could have just been a lonely spirit looking for some company. A spirit that was lost in the woods as a young child and couldn’t find its way back. It was no older than Maria was when it closed its eyes for the last time so all it really wanted was someone to play with. That’s why it had followed her through the dark woods. It had found her circling through the piny darkness, confused and lost. She looked different than it remembered humans to look like. Her hair was more wavy and brown and her clothes were short, alien, and bright. It became interested in her like a moth drawn to a flame. That’s why now, it came to a house it recognised. It’s pale face seemed to light up (though it was hard to tell due to its transparent nature) with excitement.

Maria watched the ghost, which looked to her like a gray-ish marshmallow that had melted at the end leaving itself with two stubby arms and a loopy tail instead of legs, look up at her house with a devilish look upon its terrible face. She froze for a second and pondered what to do next. Should she let the demon go into her house and slaughter her mother and father or sacrifice herself to save them? She agreed with herself and set her sights on the ghost. Her legs paced backwards slowly, not to attract the attention of the demon who was still fixed on her house. She backed away by a few meters or so and ran straight at the ghost. She tried to tackle it but ended up falling through it.

As she passed through it, it felt like falling through a pool. It was cold and damp and uncomfortable. She shivered as she fell back on the ground again in a heap. Its lopsided head looked down at her and blinked. The girl from the woods! A friend! The ghost thought happily as it hovered over her. Maria was first of all, startled that she had encountered a ghost, second of all, frightened that it had followed her all the way back home, and finally, terrified that now, it had now started coming towards her. On her palms and feet, she scrambled back into the woods which were to her back. Anywhere away from the ghost was safe, in her point of view. She didn’t notice the ditch behind her until she fell in head first. The ghost was now worried. Its new friend had now fallen into a long moat that stretched around the entire ancient white house. It knew it couldn’t do anything without passing through its friend since that’s what happened when she tried to hug him. It could touch living things like plants and trees but not the really living things people or animals. It knew that it couldn’t do anything to help its friend. Maria scrambled out of the shallow ditch and ended up on the forest side of the moat. The wind blew through the trees and sent leaves wafting through the air. The ghost took a look at the ditch and easily maneuvered over it. Maria closed her eyes and waited for the end. Instead, she was welcomed by the soft petals of a purple flower. She looked up at the spirit who only nodded with a smile.