There is a ghost in her skin.
Lindsey sees it sometimes, in the sudden flash of her reflection in a shop window – her startled eyes and behind her, standing so close they could almost be one person, an outline of someone else.
The vision vanishes the moment she blinks, but the feeling doesn't disappear as easily; the suspicion that when she wraps her arms around Samuel, another pair of arms moves with hers. When she runs laps around the neighbourhood, a phantom pair of lungs rises and falls in time with her own harsh breathing.
"What are you looking at?" Samuel asks her sometimes, when he catches her looking over her shoulder on their way home from school. The words die in her throat and Lindsey just shakes her head, folding the cracks in on themselves so that no one will see they are really fissures without ends. Let them – everyone – think she has been made paranoid by her sister's death; the body that was never found and the murderer never satisfactorily apprehended. How could she possibly explain that since she broke into the green house, she's felt compelled to check that there was only one shadow following her on the pavement?
Something happened to her in that house, an explanation for which Lindsey will never be able to find words. It had felt like a dozen ghostly hands pressing in on her, as if something greater and more powerful than anything she had ever known had been pushing at her fragile human body, pushing until the very air in that house was impossible to breathe. She had felt crushed beneath something weightless and insubstantial, a pressure from which there had been no relief.
Susie was with me in that house, she thinks, knowing it is impossible and yet there is no arguing against it. When she kicked in the glass and crawled, feet forward, into Mr Harvey's basement, her dead sister had filled the air around her, always just out of reach. Even now, Lindsey is half-convinced that if she had just run a bit faster, she would have caught up to Susie's elusive and omnipotent ghost – would have seen her standing in the next room.
Then the drawing – the ghostly almost-whisper in her ear of that is where I died.
Since then she's felt Susie's presence creeping up on her through the hollow places of her bones and the still air that touches her skin; a ghost hiding in the solid black lines of her shadow.
And there is a part of her, still stuck in that moment when she realised Susie was never coming home, which doesn't want this haunting to end.
notes: sometimes I stumble across things I've left half-written and decide to half another go.
notes2: the lovely bones will always haunt me.