Lyssa moved through the fog like a silent wraith, her long curls flowing down her back and her heart full of anticipation. She wasn’t supposed to be in the human lands but she simply had to get another glimpse of him. He had filled her thoughts for days now, since her last journey here. She pictured his chocolate eyes, full of compassion and warmth, and his strong jaw, always with a relaxed smile.
Lyssa moved closer to the house. Light shone from its windows and a shadow moved within. Outside, an inquisitive collie trotted across the yard towards her, its tail wagging.
“Chaser,” she whispered, bending to stroke the dog’s soft coat.
The back door opened and he stepped out into the morning chill. He pulled his coat closer around him and called to the dog.
The collie glanced at him briefly and then turned back to her, tail still wagging.
“Chaser, what are you doing out there?” the man called. He started across the yard towards them.
Lyssa felt her heart speed up at his approach. She pushed a lock of curls from her face, the billowing sleeve of her long robe fluttering across her chest as she did so. The robe was thin, translucent, but she didn’t feel the chill like he did. She glanced down at her bare feet, tucked within the blades of brown grass and covered with droplets of dew and flecks of the earth beneath. Would he see her?
The dormant lawn crunched underfoot as he approached, his eyes scanning the woodline beyond her.
“What are you doing, boy?” he said, rubbing the collie between the ears. “Why are you sitting back here staring at the woods? Come on, let’s go get your dinner.”
The dog whined, nuzzling Lyssa’s hand with his snout.
“Is there something here?” the man asked. “What is it, big boy? What is it?”
He stared directly at her and Lyssa felt a surge of hope. She reached for him, stroking his cheek with her fingers and letting them trail down to his lips. They rested there for a moment, remembering. He looked older, as if aged overnight. The fine lines around his eyes were a bit more pronounced and the skin beneath his jowls sagged ever so slightly. Flecks of grey were sprinkled through his rich ebony hair, but he was still as handsome as ever.
She searched his heart, his soul. It was healing, stitching itself back together where it had been rent, and the gaping hole that she had once filled was slowly shrinking. It would never disappear completely, but it no longer consumed him.
Lyssa felt her own pang of sorrow as she circled her arms around him and pressed her cheek to his. She longed to feel his arms around her in return.
The collie jumped up excitedly, it’s paws on his hips, between them, and its tail still wagging happily.
The man crouched and hugged the dog, nuzzling it as the collie licked his face.
“Why are you always back here, staring at this same spot?” the man asked, rising again. He patted his leg and motioned for the dog to follow as he turned back towards the house.
Lyssa watched him go, her ethereal form fading.
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