by Fairley Lloyd

Emily gazed into the window of the mansion, looking for him. It had been an hour and she still hadn’t seen him. She knew he was somewhere here, somewhere in this building, but it was so huge he must have gotten lost in the swarm of people.

Where are you, my love? Emily thought. I’m here for you.

She turned away, realizing that she’d have to search the mansion herself to find him. But she would find him. She wasn’t going to lose him again.

Emily never meant to leave Milo. He had been the love of her life, after all. It had been that godforsaken ship that had plunged deep into the seas, drowning everything in it. She never thought she’d see Milo again, but somehow, she’d survived.

She was in the building now, in what appeared to be the ballroom. Everyone was spectacularly dressed and talking amicably. There was a young man in the corner, playing on a beautiful, ebony piano.

She passed by the guests, but no one seemed to take notice of her. They must be so caught up in the event that they don’t see me, Emily thought.

As Emily mounted up a flight of stairs, she saw another room, this one barred with double doors. She stepped inside the open door.

That’s when she saw him. Standing the middle of the room, wearing a breathtaking waistcoat and smoothed hair, was her beloved Milo.

The room froze. Emily’s footsteps moved quicker and quicker, until she fell into a run, all manners forgotten. A million thoughts raced through her head—What does Milo think happened to me? Is he all right? What will he say when he sees me?—but she was too happy to see him to worry about that.

I’m coming for you, my love. She threw her arms over him—

And ran right through him.

Emily stumbled before turning around. No, that couldn’t be right. How could she have just walked through someone? That wasn’t humanly possible. It had been like her body wasn’t solid, like she had been transparent, like she had been a ghost.

Emily froze. Slowly, she approached Milo, standing just a few inches away from him. He was looking right in her direction, right at her, but he didn’t acknowledge her. Milo wouldn’t ignore her like that, not unless—

He can’t see me.

She stumbled, looking at Milo again. Holding a breath, she reached her hand towards his arm. She kept stretching her hand, gradually coming closer to him until she got to the point where she should have contacted with his arm.

She didn’t.

The room was spinning around her. It all made sense now. No one had acknowledged Emily when she had entered the ballroom; no one had seen her when she entered the dining hall; and now Milo, her fiancé, couldn’t see her at all. It was like she wasn’t even here.

She hadn’t survived the shipwreck that night. She was dead.

Fairley Lloyd (she/her, they/them) has been writing stories since childhood. She earned her BFA in creative writing from UNC Wilmington and currently resides in her home state of North Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, singing, and doing anything creative.

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