I went for a run by the beach this morning. The ocean breeze was nice on my skin, and the early rays of the sun lit the world in pastel color. I’m not usually the type to talk to strangers, but today felt different.

I saw her leaning up against the railing of the boardwalk, gazing out at the ocean.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” I said

“Yes, yes it really is.” She responded, “What brings you out here?”

“Oh, I live here in the city. What about you?”

“I wanted to see the ocean. I mean, I’d seen it before in movies and stuff, but that really doesn’t compare to the real thing.”

“Really, you’ve never been to the beach in all your life?”

“No, never”

I looked over at her, and a wave of panic rushed over me. Lines of blood ran down the side of her face. Her tank top and shorts were stained dark. “Oh my god, you’re hurt” I reached for my phone to call for help.

She turned to me, and a half smile crossed her face. “It’s okay,” she said, “I don’t think there’s anything anyone can do. I’ve been dead a long time now.”

My body froze, I had no idea how to respond. I tried to say something, but my words choked in the back of my throat.

“I’m glad I made it all the way out here.” She said, “and it was really nice meeting you.”

“What’s your name?” My voice cracked but the words still escaped

“Elizabeth,” she said.

“It was nice meeting you too.” I said

The waves crashed against the shore one by one. I was alone.