Monday, February 12, 2024

“Cathy’s Ghost” • by Adele Gardner

The face in the window calls to me—those big, dark eyes, that haunted look—hair wild. 

I hover on the other side of the pane, peering in. This close to the glass, I hear his anguished shout: “Cathy!”

“Let me in,” I whisper. Because that’s what I always say. But I’m tired, tired of this charade, of following the script. I don’t want to get in. I want him to come out.

He’s so much older now. In my mind I still see the boy who arrived, as orphaned as I felt. I’d been left to run wild, ignored because I was a girl—or so they thought. In my heart I was a boy like Heathcliff.

Two parts, one whole.

Why wouldn’t he chase me anymore?

Frost formed at my fingertip as I traced my backwards message on the windowpane: Come out and play with me.

His shaggy brows shot into wild black hair. “Cathy?”

I tapped, pointing at my message.

He licked his lips. “Aren’t you cold out there?”

I refused to repeat those words. I shook my head, gazing pointedly at the moors, our moors, wild and beautiful and free. I could glide over them so quickly now. All I needed for perfect happiness was for Heathcliff to become a ghost and join me.

Slowly, he pried the window open. I beckoned. He put one leg through, then the other.

I held out my arms. “Join me.”

Heathcliff jumped.

My ghostly hand caught his.




Adele Gardner (they/them, Mx., is a full/active member of SFWA and a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, with more than 500 stories, poems, illustrations, and articles published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, PodCastle, Daily Science Fiction, and more. Their poetry collection, Halloween Hearts, is available from Jackanapes Press.





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Karin Terebessy said...

This is really lovely. I’ve never been a fan of “Wuthering Heights” - mainly because of Heathcliff - but this is such a subtle and consistent reading of both their characters. I just might have to give it another read!