I stared down at my old home.

The walls were blackened from fire and brittle from age, while the roof they supported slanted to the side. At the side, the weight of the tinder and clay combined had pushed a massive, gaping hole through the top. A giant birch tree towered over the gap, strewing the floor with leaves. It had been my home, and only my home, for ages.
And it was to be taken from me tomorrow.

The trees shook as my anger bubbled to the surface, and I sprang down the hill and away from the abode. Had the village forgotten us so easily? How could they, when it was the violence that took my family that still gave the children nightmares? The tragedy that struck me had not only affected me, but the entire town! I closed my eyes and saw flames, covering my life. The long, red scar down my arm burned with remembrance, and I forced the memory away. What was done had been done. It was over. I was no longer a part of it.

I slowed to a walk. My feet made no noise against the cobblestone street of town, and I vaguely noticed a cluster of villagers near the well. Naturally, I could hear their conversation, but as the topic came to me, I wished for once that I was deaf.

"Heard that the mother ran out—that's why they're desperate for anything," said Mrs. Horst, one of the town's best gossipers. "Joe said they were practically singing when they heard that we had a house available."

"Available?" said another woman, who I identified as Mrs. Birgit. "What lie did Joe have to tell to get them to swallow that one? I wouldn't live there if you paid me—thing's about to collapse. Wonder that it didn't already."
"But it hasn't, and that's the chilling thing about it! Who knows what that family'll find in there? Rats? Spiders? Perhaps…spirits?" A woman who I couldn't recognize cackled under her hood. "They never did find that girl, mind you. Probably ran away!" I stiffened. "But, in all terms—," She dropped her voice to a whisper and leaned in closer—"I'm not sure that she ever left."

There was silence between the old women. Then Mrs. Horst scoffed, and said," "And you honestly believe in that superstition? Mystical beings, my hat!" The wives laughed and bade each other good night. I stood glaring at them, and turned on the spot.

Mrs. Horst, Birgit, all the townsfolk, they had all been so nice to me, always complimenting my black—almost purple--hair, my bright green eyes, my wonderful talents. They would chat with me whenever I came into town. When I was gone, however, the statements turned.

"Always a rather odd girl, forever spending her time in those woods. I've been in there, and it was beautiful of course, but so uninteresting! Just dirt and trees. Then she would always be listening to the strangest music, composing strange songs on the piano, it was just strange! I'm not saying it's not unfortunate that she's gone, but—." Those were always the points my grief overcame me, and I left before I could cause a scene.

That was three years ago. It's not a topic of conversation anymore.
If those people only knew how hard I worked to keep them safe each day…

Without exactly knowing where I was heading, I walked back to my house. I jumped onto the first branch and hoisted myself up to the top. From there, I leapt into my room.

What remained of my bed was burned and covered in leaves. They made a canopy over my floor. There were my old books, scattered all over the wooden floorboards. My room was still a white-washed blue, but it had brown marks from where the flames and power had touched it. Other than the books, twigs, and leaves, what was left of my room was bare. Pawn shoppers had made sure to take all the valuables.

I sank down to the ground. Tomorrow, my sanctuary would no longer be mine. No more would this be Aariana's room. No longer would the villagers be afraid to look at the home. They would instead come in, complementing the grandness of the house. They would even come up to my room, but it would not look like my room. They would, I thought with a sob, be thinking of the peace of the house. No one would remember my family.
I gasped, and a tear ran down my face. No one would think of Aari Veylia, the sadness over losing her and her family from the town. I was a spirit, doomed to protect the world as part of the Avira from the horror of the shadows of darkness.

And tomorrow, my legacy would be lost forever.

I curled up on my side and drifted off into the ghost's reverie.