It was the early hours of the morning, probably one or two – she couldn’t tell, as her alarm clock had stopped working. But it was that period when it was pitch black and everything was still.
She had woken up after a few hours’ sleep to the familiar embrace. The arm had wrapped itself around her waist and felt comfortable, like it was meant to be there. In her hazy half-waking, half-sleeping state she smiled into the darkness. It was good to be held, knowing she wasn’t alone and cold in her bed.
The arm squeezed her gently and she felt the fingers lightly press into her side, affectionately.
She had felt this gentle embrace sporadically for the last two or three months, always at a similar time of night. The person behind it obviously needed reassurance that she was still there at this very moment.
Then, things played out in much the same way every time.
She felt her mind and body jolt into full consciousness. She shivered from top to toe but still refused to open her eyes. A chilling tingle travelled up her spine to the back of her head and the usual realisation struck her like a slap in the face.
There was no one in the room but her. And this was why she would never open her eyes or turn over.
She was not terrified of this presence, as it was clearly benign, but still too afraid to see it.
For a few restful moments she even welcomed it. Until she remembered she was alone, single in her studio flat.
After about four months the visitor never returned. Maybe it had found another girl to embrace.
The studio flat was in a converted mill where, no doubt, workers had died from time to time. She could only speculate that this was a man whose spirit was left behind up to a century ago and he was lonely, walking the corridors, wondering what happened to his friends.
Or was it just a very vivid recurring dream?