Thin Air

“You were created to be one man’s perfection. You were not made to be wasted on the whims of every man that would be his impostor. You are too good for this, but every one of your suitors, eventually, will attack you.”

His words echoed in her dreams, as ever. The prophecy fulfilled, yet again. How did he know?

He wasn’t real. A spirit. An imaginary apparition who visited in her sleep. He told her dark and true stories about herself. He peered deeply into her, sucking the marrow of her soul, only to disappear softly in the waking hours.

But not his words; they were always with her.

One night, he spoke of her childlike heart that loved too deeply, too often, and too wholly for most in this world to understand. He assured her that she could dress herself up as anything she liked - the succubus, the coquette, the muse, the concubine - it would not change the fact that these were all just mechanisms for her to garner the affection she craved, like oxygen to her.

“The reason you desire so much love from everyone you meet,” he intimated, “is because no love has ever been close to enough. Do not despair. The one you need is waiting , and he is not complete without you either. Listen to me - you must rise above all of this superficial love to find him.”

She woke, and tried to pry his fingers from inside her ribcage, where he was opening her up, but found nothing to grasp onto.

She felt raw and fragile in the morning as she dressed herself, realising that someone, something had recognised the fear she wore like a second skin. She had tried to mask it in smiles and kisses, tried to banish it with her light. Yet in the dark, it always returned.

And he knew.

He saw the quiet tears shed, and the childhood teddy bear grasped in her arms each night as she fell asleep in the fearful solitude she protected so fiercely.

On, he whispered softly to her.

Most people omitted a radio frequency in his ears. Similar tunes, similar rhythms. Listening to her, he said, was almost deafening. It was like trying to tune in to an entire galaxy of sound in one sitting. The effort was murder his ear drums, but he would persevere until her heard her, clear and true.

The spirit possessed answers that she was too frightened to take in. She whispered back, as he seemed to wrap his arms around her the moment she fell from the conscious world.

“I’m not ready yet. But I will be, soon.”