(Written for a Dickensblog ghost story challenge and for the April Showers Drabblethon at day_by_drabble. The first four sentences are Dickens's; the rest are mine. Special thanks to Wickfield.)
Light of head with want of sleep and want of food (his appetite, and even his sense of taste, having forsaken him), he had been two or three times conscious, in the night, of going astray. He had heard fragments of tunes and songs in the warm wind, which he knew had no existence. Now that he began to doze in exhaustion, he heard them again; and voices seemed to address him, and he answered, and started.
One of the night-tunes was playing in the wind, when the door of his room seemed to open to a light touch, and, after a moment's pause, a quiet figure seemed to
stand there. It was the figure of a woman, with an odd luminescence about her in that dark and dreary place. Arthur did not recognize her face, though it seemed to him that there was something familiar about the eyes; but he thought she looked at him as if she knew him. It was not a young face, nor yet an old one; he could not have put any definite age to it. He only knew that it was a lovely and a gentle face, and that its expression was full of sorrow and compassion for him.
Spellbound, he watched as she moved toward him without speaking, or indeed making any sound at all. He felt no fear at her approach, but rather a strange longing, as if she were someone he had cared for and lost, and whose absence had haunted him ever since.
She placed a hand on his face, still without speaking, and looked earnestly upon him for a moment. Then she bent and kissed him, her lips cool against his hot forehead. He closed his eyes; when he opened them again, the woman was gone. He still did not know who she was, but a fresh wave of desolation came over him at the thought that she must have been merely another creature of his fevered imagination, and he bowed his head upon his arms.
The next day he was far too ill to recall the curious visit. It was not until much, much later that he thought of the woman again, and realized that the eyes in the pale face were his own.