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Chapter 6: Joy
Broken sticks, crushed rocks and new hills and caves surrounded us. We stood on top of a pile of burnt grass, leaves and sticks. It felt like a mountain. Or a prehistoric junkyard. We peered around the deserted landscape, searching for any signs of intelligent life. We saw a few squirrels and a fox, but we didn’t see any people. I didn’t think there were any people yet, except for us, but Adam insisted that we looked. I pouted at him, hoping he’d give in, but he was persistent. We climbed to the top of the hill, searching the perimeter of the land for people. “A bird!” I pointed to the south. “Where?” “Right there!”
“Oh. A prehistoric pigeon. Interesting.” He joked. The sun was setting, and a gold and crimson glow surrounded us, creating a warm blanket before the chilling night began. “Come on.” Adam announced. “We can go now.” I silently cheered, and jogged down the hill, leaving footprints in the crunching leaves behind me. I scouted out a narrow hole in a towering cliff, and Adam agreed to stop there for the night. We plucked some of the grass from a nearby meadow and made a bed in the red cave and dozed off in the red hole, listening for grasshoppers and crickets creating music from the higher part of the tall, tall cliff.
I awoke to a misty morning, and random gusts of winds blowing from the north. Adam was off human-hunting already, so I got up to join him. I headed off into the bleak morning air, searching for Adam like a dog searching for a bone he’d buried months ago. I found him on top of the mountain made out of sticks and leaves, squinting and holding his hand on his forehead acting as a shield to block out the mid-morning sun. It was a misty morning, but it was still shining quite brightly. He was getting very excited. “Eve!” He shouted when he noticed me. “Look!” I squinted in the direction he was looking towards, and I saw it. “What does that look like to you?”
I marveled at the glorious possibilities that would finally be possible because of the thing skipping towards our mountain. I didn’t have to say it. We danced around the mountain like if we didn’t the world would end.
“It’s-” I said, at loss for for words.
“I know!” Adam said, grinning broadly. He practically fainted. Honestly, I think we were over excited. After all, she was just another person in our world…
Braids flowed across her back, and she wore a blue dress dotted with white along with black tights, and a bright yellow flower in her golden-brown hair. Brown freckles dotted her golden-tanned face. If I had to use one word to describe her, I would use the word golden. She cruised along the white rock path, and from where I was standing, it looked like she was steadily floating forward. Floating. As she headed forward, she took a sharp turn left and missed the pile of burnt sticks and leaves by a couple of metres.
“Ummm…” I started.
I didn’t know how to tell Adam. She was not a person. She was just another soul. Adam would be bitterly disappointed. I bit my lip.
“Yeah,” he said, his eyebrows raised, clear green eyes staring at me.
I knew his eyes get cloudy when he was sad, and the happier he was, the clearer they shine. Right now, they were as clear as a bright sunny morning in the middle of August.
“That girl, she wasn’t walking. I don’t know if you noticed, but she was floating.”
His smile immediately faded and his eyes got so cloudy they almost appeared gray.
“Sorry.” I said.
“I-it’s okay.” He said, his spirit clearly faded.
“We’ll find another person.” He said, and presented a plastic, fake smile.
“We’ll find another person.” I agreed, which was in my opinion, lying.
I didn’t like lying, but Adam’s eyes were clearing up, and I didn’t want another nimbus to appear in there. The soul girl was fading into the distance, her ghost like figure beginning to look like a ghost going about haunting people in broad daylight. And then, squinting into the distance, I saw her turn around, floating at running speed, and this time I was not mistaken: she was coming towards the stick-and leave mountain that me and Adam were perched on. I pointed it out to Adam. We agreed to try not to freak her out, as we knew, being souls for three years, that you would be really scared if a person saw you. We waited. At one point she seemed to have disappeared. Then she reappeared, farther away from us then she had started. Then, she started moving so slowly, a snail could have past her. Add this all up, it took her a full forty-five minutes to get to the burnt stick and leave mountain. Then, it took her fifteen minutes to get up. We waited a full hour. By the time she got up, I felt wobbly and tired, almost as much as when the wispy figure threw the white sand at me.
“Hello!” Adam yelled at her, clearly giving up on his idea of “not scaring her.”
“Adam…” I said through gritted teeth, “what happened to ‘not scaring her?’”
He nodded his head towards her, and for the first time, got a close look at her face. I felt the round sheet of glass heavy in my pocket.
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