Hala haunted a library. It just seemed like a better place like someone’s home. She wouldn’t bother people too much, just read over their shoulders, unseen, unheard. Hala wasn’t a Banshee, she was a Fleshless. The difference being she never died and that she can’t use magic to make herself perceptible. She can enter people’s bodies though. But that was mean. She never did that. Hala Lide was the name she gave herself, mostly to roleplay introducing herself to someone.
The library lost its visitors over time. The rumor spread that it was haunted, even though Hala had done her best to hide her presence. When it was about to close, someone just took it over. Someone not from here. She just came, said she’d take care of it for free and lived there from then on. The people liked her but also left her alone. She emitted an aura of solitude people were discouraged to break into. She usually just sat at the big desk in the middle and read. Hala liked to look over her shoulder and read with her. Their reading speed matched up well. Sometimes her elongated ears would twitch and Hala would get scared she would notice her. But it was usually just to shake off a fly. Then she would scratch her ear and sometimes nibble on it when a bug bit her. Despite her sharp teeth she never hurt herself.
When she was reading a book Hala already knew, she would float across from her and just watch her strange mannerisms. The ear-nibbling, poking into her cheek, rubbing her tired eyes with her long tongue. At night she would cry sometimes. That made Hala sad too.
One night Hala did something she never did before. She slipped into her sleeping librarian friend’s body and walked it up to the desk to write a note.
‘Hello. I am a ghost who lives in this library. Please don’t be scared, I am not evil! My name is Hala.’
Hala decided to leave it at that. She placed her friend back where she belonged and waited through the night. In the morning the librarian woke up and found the note before leaving for breakfast in the bakery next door. She looked around the library but didn’t seem all too scared. Then she sat down at the desk and wrote a reply.
‘I had almost thought the rumors weren’t true. Hello, Hala. You’re welcome in my library, as long as you behave yourself.’
Hala was so happy, she could enter her friend right now to reply, but decided to wait for the night.
Their letters continued over the next weeks.
‘Sorry, but I can’t figure out what species you are. Is that okay to ask? Don’t answer if you don’t want to.’
‘No, it’s okay. To be honest, I don’t even know myself. I’ve been human before… not sure what I am now. Are you a Banshee?’
‘No, I am a Fleshless. That sounds scary but I am not evil!!! I don’t know if you have heard of us. We are born without bodies, so we have to ‘steal’ them. I’ve borrowed yours at night to write you. I hope you’re not too mad, I just couldn’t find another way.’
‘I never noticed. I guess it’s fine, as long as you don’t kill anyone with my body.’
‘If you want me to stop, just say, okay? I just… well, if I’m going to be honest, I think I fell in love with you. Damn, I can’t erase that now, I’m sorry!!’
‘I’m not sure how that would work, you having no body and all. But I’ve been looking forward to your letters every morning now, I’d consider you a friend. But I don’t know…’
‘I’m sorry, I’m not saying no, I just have to think about it.’
‘Hala? You still there?’
‘I’ve read about Fleshless on the internet and on some obscure forum I found some Fleshless discussing ‘copying’ Shanttari shapeshifters and gaining the ability to create their own body through that. Do you understand what that means?’
‘That could work! Yes! You can’t imagine how perfect that would be for me! My own body!’
‘I think I could find a shapeshifter for you. There’s none here in Slatewood though, so it might take a while.’
‘Thank you. You’re such a great friend.’
‘You are a great friend too, Hala.’
From then on, her friend would just inform Hala about her day and occasionally update her on her search for a shapeshifter. She even said it was okay for Hala to use her body while she was awake to reply faster. She would still be put unconscious while Hala used it, but she didn’t seem to mind fading in and out of consciousness for minutes. She’d get a headache after an hour but they managed to have an okay chat until then.
‘I love you too. I feel so warm knowing you are here with me. I don’t want to ever miss you. You’ve become such an important person to me. I… what do you say?’