Hayleen exhaled and let her tense shoulders drop, two ghosts in one day...or night , and the peculiar feeling of having danced away from the knifes edge she hadn't been aware she'd been walking on.
She let herself wonder for a moment, what would have happened if the ghost lady hadn't been there to accompany the little girl, would she have taken her place instead?
She shook her head, shaking off the slight chill that had wandered up her back and let the small hairs on her neck stand up straight.
She stretched, hearing the joints in her arms pop as she straightened them, she rolled her shoulders and set off again, absentmindedly noticing that the number of wandering shadows had seemingly reduced somewhat and that the quiet wasn't quite as deafening as before.
She wondered who the man was that she'd seen before, and why had he done this? What was he getting out of it? Was there a bigger purpose to this or was she thinking too much into it?
She sighed and hung her head using her hands to mess up her hair a bit, the brown strands regaining a bit of their volume.
The candle felt comforting in her grasp and the light a reassuring asset as she wandered through the unending darkness, she hummed quietly to herself, hoping to distract herself from the fact that she was the only source of warmth, light and sound as far as she could tell.
Her eyes shot open wide as she spun around after she felt a seemingly innocent tap on her shoulder, if it weren't for the fact that there was nothing, absoloutly nothing announcing it's presence before hand, no feeling of eyes upon her, no sound behind her, no gut feeling curling, nothing, like he had materialised out of nothing right behind her.
The candle flickered ever so slightly as she spun it in the direction of the tap and found a man looking at her with an amused look and a wry smile on his face, he made a guesture with his hands that she couldn't decipher no matter how hard she tried, instead she held her free hand over her heart and breathed out, as if she had gotten a heart attack.
"You scared the living daylights out of me, can I help you?" She spoke and looked him in the eyes, green orbs matt and liveless looked back at her as he noticed she couldn't make out his hand signs, he heaved a soundless sigh and nodded, guesturing at his throat and made a cutting motion, followed by an x from crossing his arm, she tilted her head before a lightbulb went off in her head, "You can't talk? You're mute?" She tried and he nodded with a sad smile.
"Alright, you said you need help, do you, perhaps, need help finding the light?" She asked, going off a hunch she had and she saw his eyes light up like christmas had arrived early before he rapidly nodded, as if afraid she wouldn't see.
"Alright, any idea where you need to go or do?" She asked and he shook his head sadly, eyes dimming a bit.
"Okay...wait, give me just a second!" She said before rummaging through her messenger back and triumphantly pulling out a notebook and pen, "Knew I had it somewhere." She said smiling at him and handing him the notebook, he blinked and then grinned at her with pearl white teeth and took it with a sort of reverence before flipping through it to find an empty page to write on.
`Thank you, who are you?' Was written in a beautifull handwriting that she was quite jealous of, if she wrote that well then she'd be more motivated to actually look through her school notes more often.
"It's no problem, I'm Hayleen Simmers, 18 this year, you?" She asked smiling at him as she guestured for him to come along as she proceeded to walk forward, he followed behind her, not poducing a single sound except for the scratching of a pen upon paper, he seemed to enjoy it, if the content smile on his face was anything to go by.
'I'm Marcus Cale, 23.`
"How did you get here Marcus?" She asked.
'I was eating in a restaurant and then felt my throat clam up, I waved my arms around, but my friend was on the toilet and my other friend didn't understand ASL, he thought I was just trying to tell him something, I tried to tell him, but he just didn't understand, then I blacked out.' He wrote and Hayleen winced, what a great way to go.
It was as if they were walking in their own little bubble of space, the circle of light around them seperating them from the lurking darkness and keeping the beings all around them at bay, one person, a girl talking quietly while turning around to face a man around 20 years of age as he wrote his replies back on paper while the girl leading with the softly glowing candle patiently read through his notes before replying after a few seconds of thought.
The two of them were enveloped with a soft light as the man stopped, slowly coming to a halt as he looked around, nodded and grinned at Hayleen, who looked at him with questions in her eyes.
'I know what to do now' He wrote as he grinned at her, he tried to hand her her notebook and pen back, but she held her hand up and shook her head, "You keep it, it'll be used that way." She chuckled a bit at the end as he thanked her in sign language, holding a falt hand to his chin, only his fingertips actually touching it and then towards her, she thought it looked like a fake kiss, so it was quite easy to remember.
She grinned and waved goodbye softly calling out a, "Have a safe journey."
He nodded and held out his hand towards her candle, she handed it over with a confused smile, the candle changed yet again under skilled hands as the candle holder shaped itself into a lantern.
The candle itself now sat safely inside a glass casing, a small window with a seemingly delicate lock surrounded by the white iron that could be used to take the candle out of its casing was left a bit ajar as the candles flame grew brighter, the bottom in a now dark grey colour and with golden engravings on it with the white metal that spread like vines all over it made the lantern look like a piece of art.
The engravings were done in his imaculate handwriting, a soft cursive that read, from what she could see.
"May the light guide your way forever and onward."
A handle was curling from the bottom to the top as she took it back with a look of suprise on her face, she laughed gratefully as she thanked him.
"This is a piece of art, thank you so much."
He just grinned at her as he dissapeared just like the ghosts from before.
As the light died down she saw that her earlier observation had been correct as the shadows dancing around them once again decreased, the darkness lifted and the black ground beneath her turned into a dark grey, it was now easier to see what was the ground and what wasn't, she also noticed that there were holes in the ground all around them and feared what would have happened had she not had the candle light to see where she was going.
"Avoided a disaster there, didn't I?" She mused as she walked forward, wondering if she would meet yet another ghost or finally find the exit.
"Excuse me, can you help me? I'm lost." A voice like bells came from beside her and she turned, her question now answered.
It was a woman this time, shuffling her feet side to side and wrung her hands, her eyes darting from left to right but seeming unfocused.
"..." She was silent for a while, wondering if she should applaude herself or give herself a firm slap for courting disaster, she'd just jinxed herself hadn't she?
She gave a short sigh, straightened her back and spoke, "Of course, do you know where you need to go?"
"No, I just know that I'm lost." She muttered under her breath, a sunhat dripping with water secured on her head and around her neck, the blue ribbon standing against an angry red, she frowned, had she gotten lost and drowned on accident? She seemed to be blind.
"Are you blind?" She asked to reassure herself and saw the woman nod, "Yes, I lost my sight in an accident years ago, I was wandering around the park with my friends but slipped and fell into the water." She spoke, it certainly explained her dripping wet form and her soaked dress, a bit of algea clung to her arms and legs and Hayleen imagined that it must have been a painfull death, she nodded to herself and reminded herself to stay clear of the topic.
"Oh, well, where do you want to go then...?" She trailed off at the end, prompting her for her name.
"Ah. How rude of me, I'm Adelain Havea, and who might you be?" She asked in return as looked in her direction, likely going of the sound of her voice to figure out where she was.
"I'm Hayleen Simmers, nice to meet you, may I touch you?" She asked, knowing she sounded rude, but afraid that the ghost would get lost if she didn't lead her.
"Ah, ... if need be, yes." She said, sounding resigned and downtrodden and Hayleeen felt bad for her, but she was sure she had nothing on her that could work as a walking cane, but then noticed the umbrella she had on her, it was pink and puffy, the lady looked like a lady from the 18 hundreds with the puffy skirt and parasol.
"Can I have your umbrella? I want to try something." She asked, afraid to make her upset and be hit with it, the lady had that kind of aura around her.
"I see no need in it any further, do with it as you like." She spoke haughtily, her words clear and easy to understand... for people of her century.
She took the umbrella and pulled of the frills and the cover, leaving the metal skeleton and folded it up, she tried it, hearing the cling as it rolled over the ground, it would do, she thought, after looking at it for a long while.
"There we are, try swinging it in front of you." She instructed her and gave her back the umbrella now used as a walking cane, the woman gave her an odd look and did just that.
"Oh by the gods, I am so sorry!" The woman called.
"Yeah... that was my fault, should have been more specific." She said, rubbing her now red nose, "I meant like this." She said guiding the woman to use a walking cane like it is used, by letting it roll over the ground, not her face.
"There, does that help?" She asked as the woman walked forward before seemingly forgetting her existence, as she smiled and walked in the front.
Hayleen thought it was an odd feeling to be lead by a blind woman, but shoved that thought aside as she followed, "Oh why did I not think of this sooner." The lady said, walking like a queen, back straight and shoulders pushed back, instead of the hunch and pulled up shoulders seemingly always bracing herself to fall or trip.
Hayleen watched as the woman dissapeared in a white light and rose an eyebrow, "Not even a "thank you"?" and, "That was quick." before shrugging and looking around, noting that the shadows were now scarce, the ground a light gray with the horizen now being a darker grey.
"One more then?" She asked herself and walked forward, not minding being empty handed... although, she looked at the silk in her hands, she didn't really end up empty handed, now did she.
"How in the world did I even get here in the first place? Isn't this too much effort to kidnap me just to let me wander around? Or did the asshole kill me and I just ended up here on accident? Damn it, I need answers." She huffed at the end.
"H..eel-p...M.-ee-..E!" Something in front of her screamed as a bloody face appeared in front of her, she blinked in shock and jumped back, avoiding a swipe to the face from a bloody claw like hand.
"Alright... how can I help you?" She asked, looking at the absoloutly mangled figure in front of her, "He..-l.p--...me,--e, f-ii-nn...d,..m-eee,,.. fieeeee...nn-d....y--,my... h...ea--r..t!" It, no she, croaked through blood and likely a broken neck.
"Do you have any idea where it could be?" She asked, forcing down her fear and disgust at the gory sight in front of her, the mangled corpse whose eyes were bulging out and red, her mouth pulled into a snarl, displaying rows of broken teeth that resembled glass shards of a broken bottle held at the end to make a makeshift weapon more than the jaw of a human.
One of her arms hung on its tendons, the bone snapped and leaning outwards, the flesh cut and burned and pulsing veins, like a gruesome jigsaw puzzle left to rot.
"grrr" It growled as it clawed its way toward her, dragging her body along the floor, she leaned up, preparing to lundge at her and it displayed the hole where her heart should be, the ribs cracked and broken, blood splattering everywhere and she was sure she could see her lungs through all the blood and leftover flesh.
"Gi..v-...me...e...m,.-y...h..,,ea,,.r.--t,,..ba.c-..,.k!" It screeched and lunged, Hayleen lurched back, tripping in her haste and falling on her bum, nearly letting go of her lantern.
The thing, still mid air from the suprisingly fast and large lunge, cracked its neck as it looked her straight in the eyes and grinned like the grinny cat, sharp and from ear to ear.
"Oh HEeell no!" She screeched and began to curse like a sailor under her breath, trying to think of something to get her out of this sticky situation, her gut feeling springing back full force as she held back the urge to vomit.
"Give me back my heart?" She said? Then didn't that mean that she wanted the hole in her chest filled?
That, she could do, she, done with all this ghostly bullshit and from walking god knows how long, balled the fabric taken from the parasol in a ball and set her lamp aside.
Now with a plan in mind, she stood up and prepared as the thing got up, the body cracking and ceaking like an old, rusted clock and stuffed the ball of pink fabric in the things chest while it was still midair from another attempt to murder her.
It stopped the leaking blood as the pink started to be stained red, the thing stopped to marvel at its chest, the hole now hidden from view and the cloth adjusting just like magic to resemble her flesh, the end result looking like someone had cut off the first layers of skin around her heart.
She heard laughter behind her as another woman, looking like the thing before her, but whole, floated next to the thing, looking at it with humor in her eyes.
"You sure are lucky aren't you? Ghost cloth, freely given, is quite hard to find, especially that much." She said, smiling.
"And who are you?" Hayleen shot back, aware of just how lucky she was that her split second decision had actually worked, and that well as well, but now more focused on the better double.
The girl laughed, red hair bobbing up and down as her shoulders shook and brown eyes, brimming with mirth and unshed tears of laughter, focused on her.
"That's not what I had in mind when I asked for my heart back, but it'll do, I am sorry to have pulled that on you, that there is my body, as I am sure you are confused about how there's two of me, when I died ,my ghost seperated from my body, but there was so much resentment leftover that my body became a ghoul that wanted to replace its heart, I killed my killer, but my body went on."She explained.
"How the hell do you know that?" Hayleen asked, dumbfounded by the odd revelation.
"I was a hunter of sorts, I got to learn a lot, as will you, considering the bloodmoon rose in your world, now how about a gift before I pass on?" She asked, smiling at a joke only she understood.
"Excuse me, what the hell do you mean, "I will learn more" and "the bloodmoon rose in my world", are you saying there are more?" She asked, now completly confused and she had the feeling that she needed to restart her brain as she mentally saw error messages pop up in droves.
"You'll know, and I don't have enough time to tell you, this gift will bring you more than my explanation will."
She flew back into her corpse and blinked as she waved at her shadow, a black hound like creature with ruby red eyes standing up from within, the spine jutting out in spikes and its claws as sharp as blades.
"I can't take this with me anyways, that's a Resentment hound, use it well." She informed her before her form cracked and crumbled and she was left there, speechless as the black thing looked at her with it's head tilted to the side.
"Alright, what the f*** just happened?"