The unopened door, part 8

Long I stood there, eyes closed, not daring to see into what unfathomable situation I had stepped. I could feel a soft breeze at my back, as the air from the still open doorway behind me wafted gently in from the garden within which I had lingered merely moments before.

I took this occasion of temporary self-imposed darkness to listen carefully, taking in the sounds all around me. Off at some distance I could hear the uncertain rustling of the trees outside the house. Yet here within there were other sounds, sounds that seemed oddly familiar.

For example, I could make out the steady muffled ticking of a clock. It seemed to me that I had heard this particular clock before, although I could not, at the moment, place the memory.

Then I heard another sound that was far more surprising in its nature. It sounded for all the world like footsteps approaching. Yet surely this was impossible, for I knew the house to be abandoned.

My eyes remained tightly closed, now more out of fright than from any act of will on my part. While I stood there, still as a statue, my head was filled with a million thoughts. What manner of creature approached? Was I in mortal danger? Were these to be my last moments upon this earth?

And then I felt something completely unexpected — the touch of lips upon my lips. A kiss, warm wonderful and wholly familiar.

Startled, I opened my eyes wide. Standing there before me, with not a hair out of place, was my deceased bride.

“You are home early,” she said brightly. Then she peered more closely into my face, which in that moment had undoubtedly turned the color of alabaster.

“Darling,” she said, “you look as though you’ve seen a ghost.”

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