Empty Shells

Header image by Dino Kuznik under Creative Commons 2.0.

The two had been inseparable. Before it all started, they’d spent their days peacefully in a house they’d restored from the ground up, from charred ruins they’d found when they first found themselves in this desolate realm. Not surviving, but beyond surviving; they lived a normal life. Before it happened. Before the younger’s soul was suddenly severed from her body without explanation, reducing the surviving one to quiet, defeated sobbing, left a broken wreck aimlessly cradling her partner’s now empty husk in her arms in the hopes it would do something other than provide near-useless comfort. This was where everything collapsed, mentally, physically and emotionally. Without Irina and thus the will to maintain herself, Violet let her world collapse and she left for parts unknown with a broken heart, a broken house and a broken mind in the hopes she might find answers.

10 years later and Violet still had no answers as to what happened. Violet knew how to protect herself, but only how to survive in the most basic definition. She’d travelled through cities of apparitions, great ivory mountains with violent conditions to match and even rolling hills in bloom. Nothing. Absolutely nothing worth coming this far for. But Violet believed her aim was worth going further for, and so the journey continued.

By late afternoon, she found herself slumped in resignation against a wall in an empty room in an abandoned factory, looking around the room. The dirty windows tinted the light in the room rust, the occasional untainted beam revealing swirling dust particles in the air. It felt so suffocating. The rising heat, the dusty air, the ironclad silence. Typical of days spent inside. She thought of how this could have been her home years ago, keeping the thought that Irina was well and truly gone out of her head as always.

This train of thought was wrong, against the odds. Irina’s soul had reformed into a solid body somewhere in the last ten years, wandering aimlessly with only faint memories of somebody she was unable to identify, wishing to dismiss any such memories that surfaced as fragments of the materialisation process. But she knew that wasn’t it.

And unknown to Violet, through the solid wall behind, through 3 metres of solid material, was Irina, also slumped against the wall. Alive, if not confused. That day, they would both stare upwards, hoping for at least something. They would both go to sleep without even the faintest clue what was literally only a spectre’s reach away.

Violet got up from her temporary resting place, gathered her belongings slowly and set out towards the nearby forest to continue the search. It would be at least 5 years before she found anything resembling an answer and an innumerable length of time before she would meet Irina again, and whether it would be in the world of the living was yet to be determined.

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