The pines stretched out in every direction. We danced under the gray skies in summer, just before the rain. You led me under covers when the sky fell and we watched the darkening space beyond our window blur as the wind shook our little cabin. In unison, we counted the seconds between thunder and lightning. A fire burned brightly after night recalled us, and there lurking, you saw it before me. The shape of someone in the shadows, someone foreign to our isolated sanctuary. I couldn't see his face, but the lightning and fire revealed his body clear enough. You fought as I cowered, and as a reward, in the morning, I buried you deep underground. Ripped clothes washed in the river and footsteps alongside my own along the banks--I am haunted by ghosts. I trace the outline of those strange impressions, and know they are not yours. My feet sink in the mud until I struggle to break free. I wash off in the river, again and again. Nothing comes clean. Our precious pines have turned to daggers in your absence. Our home is a prison of discarded memories and broken glass. I sweep away the pieces of you, and lose myself in the empty walls. Someone else is sleeping in our house. I hear the noises at night. I don't sleep much anymore. I pray for lightning, I keep the fire burning for a glimpse of anything I don't want to see. There's a dagger under your pillow, but it does me no good. I'm too weak to reach for it when I need it most. Morning comes, and I debate with my reflection about joining your haunt. Sometimes, when I'm alone on the bank, staring at those impressions in the earth following close, I think I see you. I replay your voice in my mind a thousand times, and each time, I forget a little more. I know you're buried there, in me, but the earth is pulling you deep while I remain here in the water trying not to drown. I want to sink. The shadows lurk all around me, and I am lost waiting. Something's crawling along behind me. It stalks me in the day and watches me in the night. When I dream, I scream for you but I only see another. The pine trees betray my mind with illusions. I run for hours and find myself at that place again. I dig my own grave to search for you and know rest, but I wake again in our bed in the morning. You haunt me with imprints of your hand on the mirror and heavy currents in the river, dragging me down under. Before you succeed in taking me, something out of sight pulls me up again and laughs. Our phone doesn't work. I've called every number I know, and no one answers. Every now and then, I feel a hand on my shoulder when I dial. When I look back, no one's there. You always said we should have run farther, but I said it was enough. I can almost hear you saying, "Is it enough, dear?" The world turns in revolutions, and all places lead to the same in the end. There is nowhere to run. I checked our old recordingsdi, but none of them play anymore. Our photos are faded and the evidence of you is gone. Someone's taken your clothes and hidden all other remnants of your presence here. The first morning, when the light of the sun touched my skin, for a moment I forgot myself and was lost in those rays. A rush of warmth overcame me as I turned and expected to find you. A smiling face unfamiliar. The smell of freshly dug earth stuck to my hands. When I wake now, I pray for lightning to strike me down. Every morning, I see. I can't reach my dagger. Pull me under. Drag me deep down in the earth. Let me be a ghost. Free me from this prison. There's nowhere to run. I know you can't reach this. No one will. Did you ever exist? I'll cast this letter into the river, and hope you'll take me soon. I can hear someone knocking, but no one's at the door.