She sank like a stone into the abyss, gasping for air, her hands reaching upwards for something to stop her descent. From above she looked like a frozen ghost, her silvery hair drifting around her head, her mouth and eyes full of silent terror.
And then nothing. Just blackness, consuming every last ray of light.
For what feels like an eternity, I see her desperate face again. Her frightened eyes, like a cat caught in the headlights. Her crying mouth calling my name. But I open my eyes, as I closed them then and she vanishes, fades into nothingness.
As always I gasp for air and my body seems held in suspension, waiting for her image to leave my mind. She haunts my dreams and I feel like she watches my every waking second.
The sands of time ran out for her, when they should not have done, and I evade death again. I shudder at my memories, the terrible visions of my own helplessness and her desperation.
Then the weight lifts from my heavy heart, weary with grief. I remember her now, and always will. Her beautiful face and elfin figure, her wild hair and flashing eyes. That laugh fills me more than her last moments, and I feel her light fingers on my arm once more, as she leans in close and whispers "you could have saved me."
A tear falls from my lashes and I tremble inside, knowing I failed her, and will always fail her. My lies are made deeper by her apparation floating around me, inside and out.
In sync with my pounding heart, ticks the clock, as time runs away from me. I rise and open the curtains, looking out into the bleak morning. In the glass I see her reflection, not my own. I turn away and head for the stairs, stumbling in the half light.
The rest of my house is silent, still. No one stirs because I am alone. The room smells like her perfume and I leave it to it's fading end. The kitchen is cold and sterile, it smells of disinfectant and I long for the smells of cooking and people. But there have been no people here in so long.
She is everywhere. Filling the house with her haunting presence. I glance out of the window and see the frozen lake, sparkling in the distance, looking beautiful, hiding how deadly it truly is. I see her face again, hear her voice "You could have saved me". I pull down the blind, hiding the lake from view and turn away. There's no food here, I haven't left the house since she died.
Her last moments flood my mind, visions of her sinking, and my own cowardice rushes through me. She is right, as always, I could have saved her, instead I let her drown. I remember it so clearly, we had rowed and she had run off into the woods, towards the lake. I followed her at a distance. She had taken her skates with her, but the ice was too thin. I arrived to watch her fall into the cavernous black beneath the glittering surface.
And I did nothing.