From the instant she was born, everyone knew there was something unnatural about her…
He watched her from across the still waters.
Her pale grey dress dipped in the edges of the surf. Golden hair rolled loosely around her bare shoulders, gracing her silvery skin. Big eyes stared back at him. Even from that distance they were disconcerting.
The urge to turn back was almost overpowering. It was as if she was willing him with her queer eyes to return to the other shore.
The last time he had visited was the day that she was born, but he had heard the tales and it didn’t take him much to believe in them.
He had been one of the first to hold her when she was born. He’d taken her from the midwife to pass to her mother, but the strange serenity and the peculiar eyes had stalled him in his task. In his gut, he’d known that there was something not quite right about this child.
He clenched his knuckles tightly around the edge of the rowing boat as they neared the ghostly girl on the sandy shore. His companions were ill at ease, making furtive glances in her direction not long enough to keep eye contact.
Maybe they had the right idea.
Maybe he needed to stop looking at her.
The boat butted against the shoreline. He looked down at his feet as he stepped carefully out of its creaking safety, but when he looked up again the peculiar creature was gone. The men in the boat acted as if they hadn’t seen her, pushing off vigorously and calling to him that they would return for him later.
He didn’t like the idea of being stuck on the island with the girl and her mother, but he had no choice.
Slowly, he picked his way through the trees. A chill ran down his spine as if somebody was nearby, but he could see nobody. Nevertheless, the feeling prevailed as he stepped deeper into the woods. He knew the way led by the small path. He’d had cause to tread it many times before the girl was born to check up on her mother.
Even the pregnancy had been a peculiar event.
Of course, the folk who dwelled nearby believed that it was an unnatural birth as the woman could not have visited with any menfolk on her tiny island and few dared to visit.
The doctor clutched his bag tightly; the sound of whispering in the trees grew up around him, folding him into their tangled words. He thought he heard the mother calling out to him to go back as if she was merely the voice of a spirit.
This was even more disconcerting than the disappearance of the girl on the beach. He had noticed that she hadn’t even left a trail of footprints.
It was like following a ghost.
The trees began to thin, making way for the tiny house ahead. He reached it in silence, frown creasing his brow, when the girl appeared as if shimmering out of thin air. He took a fearful step back.
She watched him with her strange eyes, hair caught in the wind. And then she smiled a soft, strange smile.
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