It was a cold, moonlit night when I met Sarah.
She stood in my backyard, her head hanging forward, her stingy black hair limply covering her face. Her arms hung at her sides, her feet were bare. Her pale skin seemed translucent in the ethereal light of the moon.
I opened my back door. I stepped out onto the cement stoop. My socks were not enough to keep the chill of the night off of my skin.
Is she not cold? I wondered of the girl.
I stepped onto the frosted grass, slow to approach the mysterious girl.
“Hello?” I called. “Hello can you hear me?” She made no reply. “Miss? Are you in trouble? Please tell me what’s wrong.”
She still made no reply.
I ceased walking forwards, coming to a stop far enough away from the girl that her talon-like nails could not reach me if she so desired to suddenly strike. Not that I thought she would. She was frail, like a bird; and yet, she did not shiver or shake in the bitter cold of the night.
“Miss? What is your name?”
A sudden wind whispered through the bushes; it seemed to speak to me.
“What did you say?” I asked with a gasp, to the wind, to the girl, to anyone who would answer.
Sarah. The girl answered; her lips trembling slightly on her downcast face.
“Sarah? That’s your name?”
The girl nodded without a word.
I smiled a little.
The girl had a name: her name made this all the less terrifying.
“Sarah.” I said again, rolling the name through my mind, past my chattering teeth and out of my mouth. “What are you doing in the cold? Do you want me to call someone for you? Are you hurt in anyway?”
Sarah did not reply.
She stood completely still, her arms still hanging by her sides, her hair still obscuring her face.
A cloud passed in front of the moon, casting a dark shadow over my backyard, Sarah, and myself.
She wrapped her thin arms around herself, as if just realizing how cold it was outside.
“You can’t be alright.” I said in concern. She looked up then; her eyes were wild and half-crazed. “Sarah.” I said, my fear returning. “Sarah, you look like a ghost.”
A small smile spread across her trembling lips.
How did you know?
The cloud moved past the moon and, as the pale light returned, Sarah disappeared.