She believed it was only a twig, caught on the bell of her bike, which made a ring that ran through the air. And surely the echoes in the darkness were only those of her own bicycle wheels, rolling over damp leaves, squelching into silence.
She told herself that it was only the empty park, hidden in the darkness up ahead. And the laughter she heard as she passed could not be of a child. It must only be teenagers; squealing with joy? Or maybe not.
Maybe, there was something else in the darkness. Something which sounded like unbridled brightness, giggling like a little girl. It was a memory calling to her, from another time. She peered in closely as she streamed past. Surely it could not be so.
But as her bicycle light turned off the path and a stream of a street light splashed across her vision, she saw the reason of her thoughts. There it was, in the corner of her eye, light catching at the metal of a slide, the silhouette of a coat standing atop.
A little girl, playing on her own; who did not know that she was lost. She only saw fun, to play in parks, to roam the night, to be free of time! To be playing in a future, formed long after she had been forgotten.
But who is to say, she was the visitor. The woman thought, as she cycled on. Had the little girl broken through the thin wall of time? Or, in the darkness, had she herself stumbled into history?
Had she been the ghost all along?