The tattered dress proved more resilient than flesh, shrouding her bones, lying in a ditch. In the ditch where they’d left her.
Where they’d left her? Who’d left her?
She looked at the bones, at the summer dress. The tree she stood next to was a riot of color, red and gold. She screamed and screamed, blowing the leaves from the tree. When she stopped screaming, it was winter. When she stopped, she remembered.
They had some beers they’d stolen, asked her along. Why not, she knew them from school. She knew them . . .
Moving though the moonlight, though the snow-swept stubble of last summer’s corn, she came to their farm. The animals stirred as she passed, the dogs barked, then whimpered, turning tail. The ghostly light of the television flickered in the window. She hurled herself against it, smearing her image against the frost.
One jumped, but the other just laughed. It’s the wind, you fool, just the wind.
No, it’s her. I know it’s her. Look, in the window. See? It’s her! Why’d you do it? Why?!
Shut up, shut up! It was an accident. You were there. It’s what we agreed. The windows rattled as she howled again.
No. I’m calling. Someone has to know. She’ll never rest, never leave us.
You’ll call no one.
The phone clattered to the floor. She laughed and laughed. Her laughter still echoes through the empty house, tormenting their struggling shades.