In the seconds it takes
to walk past the common room,
Her eyes brush against the glass
from a few meters away.
A thick layer of
pitch clings to the furniture in its disuse;
she cannot see a thing.

Cold tendrils seep out
from beneath the locked door; ghosts 
of old faces and friendships, awaking
to slip from the gap in the seal of their tomb.
Holding her gaze 
and her feet with the draught, 
they gently peel back the static hum of the hallway
exposing the conversations sepulchred beneath:
whispers, sombre
echoed laughs
reaching out to draw her in, and—

they are gone.

She only blinks
And the light from the hall has wicked them away
like sweat
or the ring of condensation your drink leaves behind.

Her focus pulls back to the present
and her reflection in the glass:
behind her, a figure 
face masked by their back,
retreats into a doorway of their own.
Their smile, which she missed
was likewise obscured.

The humming swells.
An exhale.
It’s okay.
She wouldn’t have recognised them anyway.

Art by Sophie Dickson

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