She’s constantly cold now. And damp. She can’t even remember what warmth feels like, but she also can’t get to the place where she’s numb enough to fall asleep and linger there.
She doesn’t remember sleep, either.
She exists in a state half-way between dreams and waking, in a kind of perpetual twilight punctuated only by the periodic beams from the beacon at the top of the lighthouse.
She thinks there used to be a man who lived there, and took care of it, but she’s heard people talking, strange people that come into her house but never greet her, and they say it’s been automated for at least a decade.
Time has become meaningless.
There is no day, no night, no hunger or thirst.
Just cold and damp and dimness.
She can walk through walls now. She’s pretty sure that’s a newly acquired skill. She can walk through walls and float through floors, but she can also walk across the broad wooden planks that have been under her feet for as long as she can remember.
She misses her family.
She is surrounded by families that are not hers.
They move into her house and make changes. The old kitchen with its red hand-pump at the sink now has a shiny metal faucet with a single lever pointing one way for hot and the other for cold, and the streams come out mixed together.
The big bathroom where she used to soak in the claw-foot tub and stare at the lighthouse through the round window has a stall shower now, in one corner, and instead of coal, the house is heated with hot air forced through vents.
Or so she overhears.
But she can’t feel the heat, or stand in the shower, or work the taps. Her hands can’t grip, can’t touch.
So, the families come, and they talk about their lives and she drinks it all in. She watches as they change the paint and repaper the walls and load in new furniture.
But they never stay.
The lighthouse beacon is too bothersome, they say, and there are odd draughts in the house, and sometimes they see movements in the mirrors.
The families leave, and she remains.
She’s fairly certain she’s supposed to be somewhere else, and that there’s something she’s supposed to accomplish before she can go there, but she doesn’t know what or where or when.
And so, she walks… paces, really. She walks through the house and sees the old colors and furniture overlaying the new, and when the lighthouse spins to cast its beacon she thinks she might dance in the light.
Or maybe… just maybe… she’ll climb aboard and see where it takes her.