Part 5 of the collaboration between Laura and I.

She awoke some time later to the welcome realisation she was alone.

The moonlight lit the bottom half of her bed, and her eyes were drawn to the window before she felt the cold.

At first she thought it was an illusion, the way her curtain danced along the ledge; stirred by the cool night air. Night, she thought now, she could see clearly through the open window.

A surge of hope shot through her veins, making her dizzy. It wasn’t enough to beat back the after effects of the drugs. Her body was still coated in lead.

She closed her eyes to hold back the tears. What new form of torture was this? To have a chance at freedom, only to be too weak to make her escape.

Another thought struck her then, and her eyes flew open as she searched the room. It had to be a trap.

The windows had been sealed shut months ago. If she was incapable of leaving her bed, there was only one other person capable of such a feat.

Her eyes darted back to the window again and the shadows at either side of the tall frame. She’d been mistaken before. She wasn’t alone.

A stranger was in the room with her. A stranger who looked so much like her it had to be a mirage.

As the figure moved further into the moonlight, the glow cast a haunting shadow. Looking at her was like looking into a mirror, and into the face of a younger, healthier version of herself.

For a moment they stared at one another. Then the ghostly figure stepped forward. She moved with elegance and grace. Her tread confident, yet mindful of her place.

April was too stunned to be afraid. The stranger knew exactly where to stand. The exact path April herself had taken many times, to ensure she didn’t make a sound.

She blinked up into the familiar face and felt her heart accelerate. She knew this woman, she just didn’t know how. The memory eluded her, taunted her with its severity.

The woman seemed to understand her dilemma and her eyes glowed with an understanding that brought fresh tears to April’s eyes.

Still her heart lurched when the woman held out a hand to display an object in her palm. It was a syringe.

‘It will counter-act the poison,’ she heard a soft whisper. Yet the stranger’s lips never moved.

So, she was dreaming, April thought, fighting off disappointment. Maybe there was something she was supposed to do, something her mind was trying desperately to impart.

Her lucid moments were fewer now, but at least the hallucinations had grown less intrusive. This wasn’t one of her drug induced nightmares. This was important. She understood that, and because she understood, she carefully rolled up the sleeve of her nightgown.

The task had beads of sweat springing up along her forehead. Even such minimal effort brought on a wave of dizziness that wanted to drag her back under.

Her heart hammered in her chest as she clung to the hope still blooming within her.

She felt the stranger’s touch, when it came, as soft and light as the feathery wings of a bird.

It calmed her, the contact. She had been alone for so long, denied comfort or affection too many years to count.

Even the slight pinch as the needle pierced her skin was a welcome alternative to the rough hands of her aunt.

For the longest time she felt nothing but the cold breeze, heard nothing but her own erratic pulse.

Then everything stilled and in that moment she saw and felt a dozen things at once.


Over to you, Laura. Have fun with it!


If you missed previous instalments, you can find them here;

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Thanks for reading 🙂

Author: mbarkersimpson

Melissa Barker-Simpson is a multigenre romance author. Her stories are about connection, friendship, and love in all its forms. So whether in a magical setting, an alternative universe, or a world where anything can happen – and often does – there is always an element of romance. Melissa is currently residing in the North of England with her two daughters, and when not writing, is fulfilling her other role as a British Sign Language Interpreter.

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