Welcome to a piece of Wednesday Word’s flash fiction on Darkling Dreams!
A good friend of mine, P.T. Wyant, is doing a blog post every Wednesday called Wednesday Words with a new prompt for a bit of flash fiction writing, just to get in the habit of writing something, anything. (Even if said flash fiction is complete garbage at the time. Garbage is better than nothing though, right?) If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself or just something to aimlessly write, then go check out her blog for this week’s prompt!
With that being said, I am going to share what I came up with for this week’s flash fiction prompt based off an occurence. So here is my very rough around the edges minute of inspiration based off her prompt. I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!
(Please excuse any errors you may see, I said it was rough around the edges.)
Mist hung thick and heavy in the air, blanketing the forbidden forest in a quiet solitude. The thick, vine woven tree trunks held bare branches bent at odd angles. The moss and stones being the only thing that dotted the bare landscape.
A single dirt road led to a stone archway in the path, the one landmark within the forest, and that was where Death was walking to.
Not every soul had the ability to stumble upon it. Only those ready to move on — to either a worse fate or a better one — had the ability to see the archway. The souls in this forest either condemned themselves to a life in the Underworld, or they learned how to free themselves to move on peacefully and return to the Earth to reborn once more.
Most, he learned, didn’t know how to do either.
Too many of them were stuck in their own numb rut, their ghostly white images floating aimlessly through the forest with pitiful moans and cries. Sometimes it was even enough for Death himself to feel a shiver run down his spine.
As he drew closer to the archway, he noticed one lone hazy figure floating in front of it, vacant eyes staring into the archway. He wondered if the soul could see anything in it this time. There wasn’t any shimmering of light or sparks of fire flickering among the space in the archway, which made him believe the soul was simply just staring at nothing, just like the rest of the unfortunate souls that were stuck in the world between life and death — Embermyst as it was called.
His bony hands gripped his staff, the soft plunk of it hitting the ground as he walked slowly towards the poor soul. His black cloak billowed around him, the cold feeling of death radiating from him, covering the entire realm as well. Any souls he passed would quicken their aimless wander away from him when the feeling grew stronger. They all knew his presence, but they all failed to realize he could do nothing to them. He was merely the overseer of the realm, what happened to them was entirely their choice.
When he finally reached the floating soul at the archway, he paused only a few feet away at their side, watching them from under his hood. It was definitely a girl, long hair flowing around her shoulders like it was rustled in an unknown breeze. She looked rather young also… Too young to be stuck in this realm, too troubled. He wondered how she had gotten here, what had caused her soul to slip from her body and travel here. It was obvious she hadn’t been here long unlike some of the other souls. Her form wasn’t so hazy, so strikingly white or transparent. The longer a soul was here, the more they began to fade away with time.
He gripped his staff a moment, then reached his free skeletal hand out, letting it rest on the soul’s hazy shoulder. She didn’t move. Again, unlike the rest of the souls who fled at his overwhelming presence, she just stayed there, vacant eyes that still held a tinge of bright green color from her life staring into the archway as if she was waiting for something.
His touch allowed him to see exactly how she ended up here in flashes. Scenes of images flitting through to him in quick succession. A crypt sprung open. Numerous other hazy souls of spirits surrounding her. Then one by one, the souls attacking her, and disappearing into her body before he saw a brief flash of her soul being forced out of her body. Anger and pain flooded through the images to him, and he frowned, letting his hand drop.
The girl had been forced from her body, but why?
He knew there was nothing he could do for her, but he still wished there was. She shouldn’t be here. What he saw shouldn’t have even been possible for so many individual souls to possess the same body. Only the malicious souls would force the owner’s soul out of the body as well.
What had she done to these souls to deserve this?
The faint voice he heard calling out caught Death’s attention, looking to the archway. Had he imagined that? No voice ever spoke in this realm except himself, for no living person ever came across the threshold.
The voice was slightly louder now and there was no mistaking it was someone calling out. The soul in front of him picked her head up slightly, still looking into the archway. She didn’t belong here, he knew that, her body still lived, and now he wondered if she knew that too.
A third time the voice floated through and now Death was sure the source of it was coming from the archway. He stared into it, seeing right through it to the other side of the forest, just as he was sure the soul in front of him was doing. Only a moment later, the air in the archway started to shimmer. The mist engulfing the place began to part a little bit, rolling back along the ground.
Death watched in curiosity and amazement as he started to see a long, dark hall inside the archway, and it in a figure walking towards them, coming closer and closer. He saw the figure was a boy who didn’t look much older than the girl’s soul as they stopped right in the archway, standing right in front of her hazy image. Only a slight shimmer to the air separated them. Slowly, the boy held his hand out, breaking right through the shimmer. The first living person to ever cross his realm, if even by a hand and wrist.
“Kailyn…” The boy said gently once more, watching her hazy image with worry and care. “You don’t belong here. Come with me, come back home. We can help you.”
She did nothing at first, almost staring right through him. Death wondered if she even knew he was there, and he found himself silently encouraging the girl’s soul to go to him.
“Kailyn, please,” he near pleaded, still offering his hand.
But like every other soul in this forsaken realm, she was numb and non-reactive.
Death frowned, walking up behind the girl. The boy’s eyes widened as he caught a glimpse of his hooded figure, his bony hand on his staff, and he heard his breath catch in fear. Before the boy could say anything though, he put his free hand on the soul’s back and gently pushed her towards him.
“You do not belong, soul. Go with him. You are still living.”
His voice sent chills through the girl’s soul when his presence couldn’t. As if on autopilot, her hazy hand slowly reached up and fell into the boy’s open palm. She almost went right through his hand, but the boy held on to her hazy image, starting to walk backwards and pull her with him.
“I’ve got you,” he breathed softly to her.
Death near held his breath as her soul passed through the shimmer bit by bit, until she was finally through and the boy was leading her vacant soul back down the corridor to the land of the living. He smiled in spite of himself as the shimmer began to fade, and their figures faded as well, back to the living. For once he saw a soul get a second chance, and he hoped the boy was successful in returning her to her body, despite the risks he knew it would entail.
He turned from the archway and began to walk off, contemplating.
Perhaps…it was time to break the rules and laws and make sure these malicious souls ended where they belonged, and the girl’s soul returned where she belonged.
Now you can find this flash fiction work and others on my profile on Wattpad! Click here for my profile and go dive into a sea of Shards of Imagination!