Lillith’s hands flew over the screen, reading and rereading the long text she’d sent. The seconds ticked slowly by. A car crept along the deserted road. A streetlight blew out. She didn’t look up. Her eyes were fixated on the screen, waiting. 

She sucked in a breath. Tucked the phone into her pocket. Forced air into her lungs. Maybe it was a dumb thing to do. Maybe she shouldn’t have said a word. Alcohol made her do foolish things. 

Tears stung her eyes as she staggered down the sidewalk, resuming the long walk home. Alone, as always. Faint music drifted into her ears. She looked up. A shadow moved away from a window, pulling the blinds. The lights went out.

Her phone beeped.

She froze in her tracks, her heart racing. Reaching into her pocket, she held up the phone. She shut her eyes, willing her heart to calm. Perhaps fortune tellers weren’t as fake as she’d thought. The words from her free reading resurfaced:

“Bare your soul. Stop running from the ghosts of the past. Don’t hide who you are. Whatever happens next is not in your control. Surrender to the flow. The truth will lead you home.”

A bunch of gibberish, she’d called it. Like a couple of statements strung together in a bid to make some semblance of sense – even though it was vague at best. Surrender to the flow? Absolutely ridiculous. 

Yet the reading rung in her head for days, but it hadn’t sunk in until the alcohol entered her system.

Bare your soul.

And she had. She’d told the truth. Every part of it. Everything she’d kept to herself for seven long years. She’d poured it all out, clinging to the hope that maybe she’d find relief, and the ghosts  of the past would finally let her be.

“Breathe,” she said, bracing herself. 

Whatever happens next is not in your control.

Her finger hovered above the message. She held her breath, opened it. Just one word.


She stared at the screen, stunned. Ghost? What was that supposed to mean?

Mockery. That was what this was. She’d poured out her heart, and she’d been mocked in return. Tears blurred her vision. She slid her phone into her pocket, dipped her hands in the pockets of her hoodie, and resumed her walk along the lonely streets.

Nothing would ever change. She was still the weirdo who wore hoodies and masks, who no one really knew, who walked the lonely streets at night while looking over her shoulder.

Stupid fortune teller. 

Her phone beeped. Again, she reached for it.

Come home to me.

Her hand began to shake. Coldness crept up her spine, and her thoughts began to spiral.

It can’t be…

Lillith dashed across the street as a sense of urgency overtook her. She tripped, extending her arms to avoid falling flat on her face. The ground rose to meet her. She barely felt the sting of pain as her nose struck the ground. Without pausing, she jumped to her feet. 

Too late. Too late. Too late. 

She ignored the words in her ears, refusing to stop until she got home. The house was dark. No light flickered through the windows, there was no sign of shadows behind the transparent curtains. The deathly silence made the hairs on her nape rise. 

The truth will lead you home.

She crept toward the door. It was ajar. 

“Sarah?” She called out in the dark. “Are you home?”

The room was cold. Too cold. She caught a whiff of smoke, and another scent. One that sent a dart of fear through her.

“Sarah?” Her voice quaked.

She reached for the switch. A shadow moved toward her, and a cold hand grabbed hers. Lillith’s scream died in her throat. She bolted for the switch, just as something tugged on her hoodie. She flipped the switch. Light flooded the room, blinding her for a split second. 

The sight that met her confirmed all her worst fears.

Sarah was strapped to a chair, her eyes shut. A figure stood next to her. That face. That smell. Lillith relived it again in a heartbeat. The past was no longer behind her. It was here, right next to the only person that mattered to her.

Her legs buckled. 

“Ghost,” she mumbled, shaking.

His lips spread in a sneer.

“Time to come home.”

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