I shut my eyes. Everything was dark and I felt dizzy. This was a nightmare. This was a nightmare. I felt air spin around, everything went darker, then, it got lighter again. I opened my eyes, hoping I had woken up but I hadn’t. I was in a different place now. It was still dark but I couldn’t see any walls or a ceiling. Beneath my feet was water. A lake, I supposed, but there was no breeze so it lay still. I appeared to be floating above it though I still could walk as normal. The water rippled beneath my footsteps but I couldn’t feel it splash on the soles of my feet. The water seemed to glow slightly, a sort of turquoise-blue colour. At first, I thought the light was reflecting on me, then I realised, I was glowing too. This place was serene and peaceful, beautiful in its own way, but it was empty and lonely. Or at least I thought it was.
I floated around and began to see ripples appear in the water, then bubbles and a blue light and finally a figure, raising from beneath the surface. In my shocked state, I was irrational and my first thought was mermaid but I soon found out it wasn’t. It was another glowing figure like me. She was tall and young with deep skin and twelve long and thick, pale blue braids. They each had a charm tied at the base of them, all of them unique. She walked towards me, her dark robes flowing behind her in a wind I could not feel. She spoke surely but softly and I could hear her perfectly, “My dear, I apologise as I am to tell you some horrible news: this is no nightmare; you are dead”. I couldn’t believe her, this had to be a nightmare, I was only… I couldn’t remember my age. The lady smiled at me. “You are a spirit now and I bring more bad news. You will begin to forget everything about your past self and you must find them out again. You must also find out how you died else you’ll become insane and die in this world too. You will have no future if this happens, only loneliness and suffering”. I couldn’t even speak. I was still trying to grasp that this wasn’t a nightmare. I could feel that now. Everything felt real. I had to keep listening. “I will send you back to earth as a human. You will then carry out the task. If you succeed, you will have the choice to stay as a spirit forever, or be born again, as an entirely different person and you will have no memory of any of this, however, you will risk the repetition of this too and you will not remember this time even then. It would be as if it was the first time it had happened”. I still could not speak. I still could not cry or scream or shout. I couldn’t feel anything, it was all just nothing. A question lingered in my mind and it took me a few minutes to ask it.
“Will they find me, on earth?”, I asked, whispering. The woman nodded.
“They will find you and they will mourn. They will never know anything”, she replied. I began to feel something. Pain. It filled my lungs and threatened to drown me. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt relieved but I was still unbelievably upset. I couldn’t bear… who was it? Who had I known? Who would mourn? Was there actually anyone? The woman looked shocked. “H-how are you doing that?”, she asked.
“What?”, I replied.
“Crying”, she paused. “I’ve been trying to feel something since I got here, so has everyone else. You are the first it… ‘living’ memory to have done”. I supposed she would’ve felt sadness if she could have at that moment.
“I don’t know. I still can’t feel much, just an extreme amount of pain”, I told her. She nodded, as if she understood but I knew she didn’t. She lifted her head.
“Right, let’s get on with it”, she said. She floated forward and put her hand gently on my head. It wouldn’t have mattered if she’d hit me for I couldn’t feel it. “Okay, you get to choose your appearance and of course, your mind stays the same. Would you rather be a male or female?”, she asked gently. I tried to think back to my past life, what was I then? I wanted to be the same, thinking it would be easier but if I couldn’t remember, it was indifferent. I continued to think and eventually said, “Female”. She nodded and continued.
“How old?”. Though I still couldn’t remember my past age, I could still remember a few things about earth. At eighteen, you became an adult and could do many more things than a child whilst still being quite young.
“Nineteen”, I replied. She nodded again and continued.
“What skin tone, hair colour, length and style, and eye colour do you want?”. I thought for a while about this too. I couldn’t remember my old appearance either so I invented one.
“Uhm, fair skin, black hair, knee length, large curls and dark blue eyes”, I said. She nodded and asked me one final question.
“How tall would you like to be and what figure?”
“Five foot five and slim”, I hoped that would be beneficial and I wouldn’t stand out too much. She nodded a final time, shut her eyes and sang a strange verse, then, I felt a breeze on my face. I opened my eyes to find I was in a park. My earth-knowledge had returned but I still knew I was a spirit, as human as I felt.