In the old house by the sea, there’s a light in the upper window. Just a flicker every now and then, no bigger than a candle flame. When it goes on, the streetlights go off. The townspeople have all manner of theories on it. The children say it’s magic, like faeries and the fey folk. Their parents say it’s just a trick of the moonlight, it’s pale glow reflecting off of a mirror inside. Some say it’s pranksters with candles, others say it’s the homeless. They all have one thing in common: No one will go inside to find out.
They all have their excuses. Some say there’s no need, while others say the house is unstable. The parents say there’s no time. Only the children tell the truth. They say they’re scared. Really, that’s the reason everyone won’t go inside. So the mystery remains such, and the theories continued to swirl about like a chilly autumn wind. Now, there’s one exception to all of this. This exception is currently inching towards the old house. The streetlights give a hazy glow in the thin fog that has settled over the town. The wind is a knife, steely, cold, and cutting into the silence. As it creeps closer to it, the light flickered to life once more, and the streetlights faded to black. As quickly as it dares, it slipped in through the cracked front door. Before it, a darkened hallway and a long staircase with tall steps. With a quick sniff, the exception decides to try the stairs. After all, the light was in the upstairs window after all. The old house creaks and shutters like old bones with every step it took. At the top, the light flicker on yet again, coming from a door slightly ajar at the end of the hallway. Poking its head through, the exception was treated to the most unusual sight.
At a glance, the room seemed empty, save a bed. Looking closer, the exception spots a figure under the blankets. It draws closer still, but a voice stops it.
“Puppy!” A shimmery little girl cries from the window. It wags excitedly and scampers up to her, patiently waiting to be picked up. Her small hands scoop up the little dog gently, before carrying it back to the window sill with her.
“I’m Charlotte. I haven’t had company in so long…” She sniffles, stroking it’s ears. “You don’t seem to have a name. How about Angel?” The puppy yips excitedly.
“Great! I wish I had a bone I could give you. All I have are my own.” She reaches over to the bed and pulls back some of the covers. A small skeleton in a nightgown lay still and cold beneath. The child shutters, then fixes it once more.
“I was on the run from my mother. I died here 50 years ago when I was ten, from Typhoid. I guess I still am ten, aren’t I?” Angel cocks it’s head at the questioning tone. “I mean, I can move, I could finish the education I worked so hard to get, but I always end up back here in this old empty house. Always back to watching the stars by candle light. Every time I light it, the streetlights go out. I wonder why?” Charlotte looks forlornly out the window. Angel gives a small whine, and the little girl cradles it.
“I bet you miss your family, huh? So do I. We’ll take care of each other until they come for us, alright?”
On the other side of town, a dog’s body lays on the side of the road. The poor creature was hit by a car fifteen minutes ago and died on impact. An elderly man has just happened upon it now. He checks for a pulse, but finds no sign of one. Carefully, he lifts it up and calls the number on her tag. The owners, a single mother and her two daughters, are devastated. The mother retrieved the body, and together they bury it under an oak tree in their yard. After they finish, the man returns home. He grabs a tall white candle and a lighter, lights it, then places it in the window. It’s a long shot now, the police had told him. She won’t want to be around her mother if she hit her… Nevertheless, he still hopes to see her again some day, now fifty years later. She was only ten, after all…
Back at the old house, there’s still a light in the upper window. Just a flicker now and then, no bigger than a candle flame. Now, there’s also a shadowy little (yet not so little) girl and a phantom dog, watching the world move on without them.