Killing the Dead

Eris has always felt weird, out of place, and lost in her life. She is alone, apart from her brother Ciel, because of her eyes (left eye purple, right blue) and her unfriendlyness. But she is deadly smart, cunning, clever and curious. One day her curiosity goes too far...and she is sent into the world where the humans kill the dead...otherwise known as the Dead Hunters!

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5. Black Roses, Dead Children, Night Sky

My eyes snap open and my lungs grasp for air, because I've been holding my breath for so long. I'm so occupied breathing air, I don't even notice the world around me.

     Now I do. And it is horrifying, hair-rising and (as the crazy part of my mind registers) so, increasingly interesting that I want to explore every inch of it.

     The sky was as dark and black as coal, with no stars. Funny thing was just a few minutes ago it wasn't even noon. The ground I lay on wasn't dirt or gravel, but warm coal. I cupped some in my hands and let them flow through my fingers. My eyes looks around at my environment. I am on a path of warm coal, surrounded my leafless, lifeless, shallow narrow trees. No grass; the trees grew on the coal. To me, I seemed to be at an entrance of a garden. A part of me wants to go home to Ciel. A part of me wants to explore. Considering the fact I don't know where I am and wouldn't really know how to get home, I get up to explore.

     Turns out I was right; it was an entrance to the garden. I puff the strawberry blonde curls out of my blue eye to see better, not that I know exactly what I'm seeing. This garden is unlike any garden I've ever imagined. The 'dirt' in our world (I was absolutely certain I was transported to another world, either that or I was dreaming) was, again, 'coal' in this one; the only plant that grew in the coal were tall, oddly healthy elegant black and dark purple roses. My finger unconsciously runs around the rim of the petals. Fascinating, truly remarkable, I think, then the logical part of my brain yells "Look around you, idiot! Is that remarkable?" I pull my hair.

     Then I have the feeling - for the second time today - that I am being watched. Slowly, I look up from the rose bed. There is the gardener, standing across the flowers from me, watching me. So people live here, I think. I smile a small smile. She stares at me with no expression, though her brow creases a bit. Then I notice something I should have when I looked at her. Just above her hip, in her side, was an axe, the blade cut deep into the skin. The blood still looked fresh.

I am too surprised to move or emit any sound. But I expect the gardener to. I except her to scream, fall down to the ground, lifeless. Yet he doesn't. She continues her work, like there was no axe in her, like she was a perfectly healthy being. Again I am shocked. Then the verse from the wannabe poem comes back to my mind.If you truly wish to pass, know that you will hunt the dead.

Hunt the dead...did that mean...the axe was too deep into the gardeners skin, there was no way she...was she...dead? Unconsciously I look closer at her body. Her skin wasn't pale, like I had assumed, yet a whole different color, a mix of grey and the whitest of white. Her eyes - I couldn't be sure, because she was facing down, looking at the flowers - they seemed a sort of white color, like one day the color had just drained out of them. I take another look, and they seem like a light grey, like maybe once they were blue, probably when she was still alive--

      Suddenly I become scared. I don't scream, though I know I should. I tear my eyes away from the woman and start to run forward, beyond the garden. My feet rip through the coal street. Where my destination is, I don't know, but I run. The worst part of it is, I realize that the gardener isn't the only one of her kind. I pass people who look at me with their white eyes, who at the sight of me scratch their heads with their grey skinned hands. I run faster.

     Then I hear the Noises again. But they were louder than they had ever been before. New sounds could be heard too: someone licking their lips, a fast, rhythmic march, and someone giggling. To my horror, after a quick glance behind me, I realize the Noises are coming from them, from the grey people. Almost all had injuries, in their head, in their chest, any where, really. Few were woundless. But they were chasing me. They were chasing me.

I start to bolt like my feet were on fire. Then I see it. The tall, great castle before me. It's the eeriest thing. It was purple, and shallow, tall, stalky, like the Wicked witch's castle. I run toward it, not caring what I find in there. I just make to the door or the mansion, but the grey people grab me, one hand on my shoulders, then the rest grab my body. Then I start to scream. They start laughing. I struggle to get free, but their cold hands keep me down. I don't know what to do. I bite one of them. They don't seem to feel it, so I bite even harder until I'm sure it would've emitted blood. A look at my victim's face shows I only inflicted the slightest bit of damage. Even so, I thrash around, determined to escape. I kick the door to the mansion, just as the grey people pull me far away from it. Two of them hold my thrashing legs. Two others hold my arms. Out of my purple eye, I see that one of them, a woundless, old woman, has bent down over me. She opens her mouth. Behind me, I feel another pull back my hair, letting both my purple eye and my blue eye visible to them. I brace myself for the worst.

Then, I realize they have dropped me. I look up and see the last of them, the old woman, running for her life. She disappears. Without bothering to question this, I turn my back to the mansion, run past the garden and it's entrance, see the blinding lights changing color to color, find myself in front of the shallow trees, and run all the way home.

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