we are ghosts

For I had believed what I was sold, I did all the things that I was told
But all that has changed, and now I'm bold.

It could be argued that Aura died by suicide. She had elected to leap into a pit in the centre of the Earth in order to close a rip in the fabric of time and space which had opened there. She’d rather do that a thousand times over than have to sit here, on this crenulation, unable to help the little girl clinging to the rooftop by her fingertips.

This was the worst. The worst situation she had ever been in, in life or death. The girl’s words felt like a wrench in her heart.

“You’re not… you’re not a bad girl.” Aura answered desperately, gripping her scythe tightly in her hand. “It’s just I…”

The words trailed away as she stared into the young girl’s face. Her blood ran cold.

Why hadn’t she seen it before?

The little girl’s eyes were the exact same shape and electric blue colour as Aura’s. The exact same. That wasn’t a common colour or even an entirely natural one among non-divine, non-fairy species. Aura’s own penetrating eyes strayed across the girl’s face, taking in the shape of the nose, the jaw, the cheekbones for the first time. If the general bone structure wasn’t enough of a clue, then the copper-brown locks were. Aura only knew one other person in all the worlds with copper-brown locks and bright blue eyes like those.

“Y – you – ” She started to stumble, right as the girl was snatched away from under her nose.

Aura backed up, craning her neck and shielding her eyes against the sun. Her heart did another summersault. The young girl – her granddaughter - was caught in the grip of… of…

For a split second, Aura really believed it was Anneliese, her long-lost phoenix familiar. Anneliese had died to revive Aura the first time, when Gwythr had murdered her under the guise of Mallos, and their paths had not yet crossed in the Realm of the Dead. This phoenix, she realised, couldn’t be Anneliese – it was far too big, for a start, and completely the wrong colour. Anneliese’s feathers had been an orange-gold, but this phoenix was lavender. The phoenix deposited the little girl on the ground and soared back up to snatch her mouse familiar from the crenulations, pausing only to give Aura an evil look.

Aura twisted her scythe, leapt through the resulting death portal and reappeared on the ground before the phoenix had returned to give the girl her familiar back. Chewing her lower lip, she nodded at the fiery bird.

“Thanks.” Was all she felt able to say, although it seemed so inadequate. The phoenix, whoever it was, had just saved her grandchild’s life. She didn’t even know the girl’s name.

“I’m sorry,” she told the child feelingly, “I can’t intervene to save a life, or I would have…” Would have what? Aura was never brave when she was alive. She took a breath. “Your mother isn’t called Poppy, by any chance, is she?”

A u r a
They thought I was weak, but I am strong; they sold me the world but they were wrong
And now that I'm back, I still belong.

image by ankur sharma at flickr.com


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