Frost blooms on darkened windowpane. Silver moon shines on evanescent snow; always melting, always falling. Silver stars shimmer solemnly against cold velvet night.

She presses her nose against the glass, looking out longingly. Watches the snowflakes dance in a chilly wind.

Hearing voices in the silence, she turns from her contemplation. Holds up her hand, asks for a dance. No one comes, not even in her head, but she revolves slowly on the spot, dancing with the silence.

It's been twenty four years since she's walked out of that house. She might still be beautiful. It's been twenty-three years, three hundred and sixty four days, and twenty three hours since she shattered all the mirrors.

She can't bring herself to set foot in that ethereal, crystal world of ice and shimmer. But oh, she wishes she could.

It's been twenty three years since the roses stopped blooming. Twenty three years since she's seen the bright fire-hued blossoms. Twenty three years since the scent of fresh flowers made her giddy.

She has the ghost of a rose tucked behind her ear. Somewhere in her memory, she hears a soft voice murmur "Wait here, babe. I'll be right back."

She hears the door close, though it hasn't opened since that night.

She's waited there for twenty four years.

I have a surprise for you.

Is she dead? She can't remember. She can't remember eating, sleeping, laughing. She can't remember living – just the soft murmur and softer hands.

The engine of a car that hasn't worked for twenty years purrs in the driveway.

She can't remember dying, either.

No – that's not true. She remembers. She remembers, because she's been dying for twenty four years.

She's sure she lived once. She might even have been happy.

Wait here, babe.

The ghost of a tear trails down her cheek.