With This Grace

"Death disappeared into the darkness a long time ago, falling into whatever Godforsaken disreality every other lost soul is banished to. But where there is Life there must always be Death so the cycle continues, and a little girl with a troubled soul and not enough time on her hands is born - a little girl who can see ghosts and just so happens to be the link between the dead and the living. See, Death isn't just an abstract concept anymore, because that design failed the universe and every creature whose bodies stopped breathing. Death is bubblegum and combat boots and the colour pink, and she just so happens to be the most powerful creature that's ever walked the face of the Earth."


1. The Beginning


"Are you going to jump?" the girl asked, sticky fingers gripping the metal railings as she swung her legs to and fro above the murky water in gentle, lackadaisical motions. The early autumn breeze cut her ash-dark hair to ribbons and, to the girl's increasing irritation, buffeted it into her line of sight and open mouth, plastering windswept curls to dry, chapped lips. She held a bright purple ice-lolly in one dark hand and a necklace in the other, her fingers looped through the faded leather drawstring slung around her neck through habit more than anything substantial.

"I might. I think I might," the woman replied, her voice breathy, soft and carried away someplace far on a harsh gust of September wind. Her skin was paler and greyer than the clouds above them, fear and hesitant anticipation making her body faint and dizzy with adrenaline. She stood with trembling legs and a crumbling reserve on the railing of the bridge, her bony fingers wrapped tightly around one of the metal supports. The little girl sighed and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, tilting her head upwards so she could get a proper look at the woman.

"That's a shame. You had so much to live for, so many things to discover and invent, and you did this instead," she remarked almost arrogantly, hastily taking another lick of her ice lolly and furrowing her brows before she could get scolded for being bratty. The woman let out a hysteric giggle, the sound high and tinny, which gradually morphed into a sob, tears brimming at the edges of her watery blue eyes.

"I have nothing to live for! Nothing... I'm stuck in a dead end job that I fucking hate, my boyfriend left me and robbed me blind, I can't escape this goddamned town... I'd rather be dead!" she wailed, hands twisting the frayed fabric of her shirt in agitation and despair. The girl watched with a leaden heart as the woman swallowed, clenched her fists and tensed her legs, preparing to make the leap into the depths below. A heartbeat before she jumped, however, the woman turned to her, her expression curiously conflicted. "Hey, kid? Thanks for trying."

With that, the girl watched the woman soar through the air, almost beautiful for a split second, and plummet like a stone into the blue-dark depths of the river below, a splash of water and a ripple along the surface the only testament to this nameless woman's death. The girl sighed shakily, her nerves slightly frayed, before rubbing a thumb over the stone on the end of her necklace, finding solace in the smooth rock and worn contours against her skin. She screwed her eyes shut, counted to ten then opened them again, twisting her face upwards to meet the troubled gaze of the woman who'd killed herself only moments before.

"I'm going to jump, you know. I'm going to jump!" she cried, her manic eyes fixated on the churning water below.

The little girl nodded solemnly and took another lick of her ice-lolly. "I know."

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