Shattered Dreams, Chapter 7: Dream to Meet a Ghost

4

Humans are a product of humans. However, humans don’t just produce humans. Through word of mouth, a divine is born. The strength of a divine is directly linked to how powerful their story is. Myths and legends produce the brunt of divines. And despite our lineage most divines have garnered an independence. I couldn’t quite share the sentiment with my kin. After all I wasn’t created from humans. I was created from a divine. I’m a very rare case of a being who exists purely on this side. I even managed to make my own divine in Lottie, so perhaps it wasn’t rare as it was hidden. I understood that caution. Many divines hated their lineage, and wanted nothing to do with the humans. If they found pure-bred divines among their ranks, a war would break.

“You recognize him?” We followed the divine to the back of town where the rot became most prominent. All divines carried a physical form that was created by the rumors that bred them. They were often humanoid. Kini was no exception. His arms and legs stretched to the length of poles. His thin white flesh pressed against his bones. His eyes melded into his sockets and his lips were serrated. I nodded to Lottie.

We found our way to a  crater where blasted scraps of wood littered the entrance. Inside were rotted wood and a pile of bodies the size of a town. Dried blood and bone colored the bunker. The stench of flesh and blood was implanted into the air. Kini rummaged through the remains, brandishing his fingers as if he was searching for treasure. Like most divines, the name Kini  was an abbreviation, a namesake to protect his own pride. A divine holds their name to the highest degree. Brazenly using a divine’s real name is tantamount to declaring war on them. Though neither I nor Lottie minded our real names being used.

“Kini,” I said to Lottie as we watched him in the bunker. His every motion was followed with the crashing of bones.

“Kini?” Lottie flew in a pendulum on the spot, her face in a pout. After a few rounds, her eyes lit and she stopped. She raised a finger.

“He’s the divine that eats humans, right?” Lottie asked.

“That’s right. Except he isn’t one to eat live humans. He stalks humans on the verge of death and devours them.” Lottie’s face lowered as she flew back onto my shoulder. Her hands pressed onto my back.

“On the verge of death?” I nodded.

“If they’re about to die, he’s there to feast on them. That’s what his legends are about. Though I haven’t had the chance to deal with him personally.”

“Do you think he was the one who caused this?” Lottie’s reasoning wasn’t too far off from what a divine’s influence can do. Our mere presence can change fate. We have Lydia to thank for that.

“His tales only allow him to take the lives of those about to die. He doesn’t cause death intentionally. Even if he had influence, I don’t think it would start a war. Of course that’s assuming he cared about his lineage.” Divines are created with a legacy. However, as divines found their sentience, most rejected their origins. They would break their laws and wander freely. I wasn’t one for justice, and I couldn’t blame them for wanting to do the things they found interest in. I was the same.

“Either way he’s late if he’s looking for a meal. Why would he be here?” I wondered that myself. There could have been a plethora of reasons as to why Kini had decided to encroach onto a dead town. Though to him it was probably a strike of happenstance. That happened quite often for divines. They would wander aimlessly and find themselves wrapped in business they had no money in. However divines were in the end attracted to divines. Our energy would seep into the world beyond humans, and we would find each other. I didn’t want to tell Lottie that it was our fault.

“If Connie comes back she’ll have to deal with Kini, won’t she?” Her voice was low, draped in the rot that surrounded us. Every gust became more rancid. Lottie’s grip tightened.

“Assuming Kini sticks around, she would. And if he’d been watching he very much might wait for her, or even follow her. She has the stench of the divine after all.”

“And if not Kini, another divine.” I felt Lottie shrink on my shoulder. Between the two of us, I was more powerful. I didn’t have what most divines called influence. Though from my work with humans, I’d created my own influence. Even if that influence is fake, it still fuels me. And although I wasn’t a divine who could engage in violence, I still had options.

“If you were in my position, what would you do?” I felt Lottie straighten. Her legs began swinging like a chain and with a chuckle she said, “As a human I’d want him to never lay hands on Connie.” She paused. Kini found a particularly large bone among the pile, and placed it towards the sky for inspection. Its white glimmered lightly against the lowlight peering through the clouds.

“But as a divine, that’s something beyond my power.” Lottie’s swing lowered, and she laughed to herself, “After all, I’m just your disciple. If I were to seriously pick a fight with him, I’d lose.” Though, she would tire Kini out if she gathered enough information on him.

“And what do you think I should do?” Lottie’s hair began pricking onto my cheeks.

“I feel like we’ve had this conversation before.” I smiled for her.

“We have.” She smiled back.

“No matter what I say, I don’t think you’ll listen to me, Summer. You’ll do whatever is interesting, right?” She turned her head, allowing her hair to cascade off my face.

“That’s right.” After all, that’s who I am. A fake divine barely doing her duty.

“So you finally came out,” Kini said as we walked towards the opening of the bunker. His voice was deep and rough, and mixed in were the sounds of bones crunching together. I had to strain myself to understand him.

“I wondered when you would stop watching me.” Kini placed the bone down and stood to greet us. His entire body ached as the remainder of his flesh raced away from his body. His shadow cast us in darkness. I heard the wind ride up his back, displacing into the atmosphere. His feet as he shifted on the spot rumbled the earth. It was quiet, even to my standards, but every time he moved his arms, they cracked. His breath formed clouds enough to wrap around our heads.

“Gatherer of shattered dreams and her companion, I see you two have made quite a home of yourself here.” He raised his voice in a mock. I felt Lottie clear her throat.

“And I see you’ve found a meal in a pile of dried bones?” I answered back in jest.

“I do not know if you know this, but you can tell the ripeness of death from one’s bones. There were some excellent corpses in this cesspit. Unfortunately, I am all too late.” Kini laughed. His voice howled in the air, scratching our ears and piercing the remaining fragments of bones beneath him.

“Oh?” Kini suddenly continued, “You two do not seem too fond of me.” Lottie was glaring at Kini. And I couldn’t help but to join her scowl. No matter how interesting, I despised his type. However, I hated most divines. Kini shook his head and begun picking at loose bones in the pile.

“So what will it be gatherer of shattered dreams? I assume I have not trampled on your territory now have I?”

“You haven’t.” He chuckled, the air breaking in his voice.

“That is most laudable of you to admit. In that case, do you have any other virulent claims against me that I may address?” Though he didn’t smile, one was forming on his face.

“If not then I wish you two a good day. Us divines do not have much liberty in spending in idle chatter.” Without missing a beat, Kini leaped forward and branded himself a few feet away from where we stood. I saw the dirt shift and the rocks leap.

“You deal with those still living, while I deal with those on the brink of their life. No matter what you think of me, I find it quite profane that you think I encroach on those of your kind,” Kini said as peered over us like a tower. He couldn’t look at us while he spoke and instead focused his eyes onto the distance. I felt Lottie shiver in his shadow. I brought my free hand to pat her. She smiled lightly as I nodded for her. She took in a breath and then steered her body forward.

“And what do you mean by that?” Lottie chirped as she stood upon my shoulder, pointing her head into the clouds. I saw her hands shake, and her feet hanging on strings. Kini smiled. His grin was filled with teeth, and his muscles contorted outwards. He lowered himself towards Lottie, his breath mixing cascading on our faces. Lottie froze.

“I hope you can recant the idea of me wanting to harm the Ghost Hunter that has connections to this cesspit.” Every word he spoke cracked in his jaw. His eyes as they peered into us was motionless. If I stared long enough, I’d have forgotten I was looking at a monster.

“Though you would have if we didn’t help her out,” I added. Kini retracted himself from Lottie and laughed into the air. Lottie remained frozen, her eyes wide, and her breathing erratic.

“What an astute observation from the gatherer of shattered dreams. Mind my being malevolent, but it is what I am after all. If you have anyone to blame, blame your humans.” He laughed as he walked up the streets. He dragged his feet as he went along, each step rumbling in his wake. When he was gone from sight, Lottie flew in front of me. She was still shaking, her eyes peered into mine. I smiled and wrapped my arms around her. I felt her breath in my chest, and soon enough, her pulse simmered. As I held her in place, I began to forget where we were and what we were doing. A sense of duty washed over me, and even my hobby came to probe. But I was busy being human.

Next Chapter

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I’ve been editing, what about you?

Well its certainly been a while. Not that long if you’ve been following my exploits on the School Of Words  where I post bi-daily micro-fictions using definitions as prompts. Or if you’ve been following Shattered Dreams, I’ve been briskly working on that. I’ve also been working slowly on my own short stories to get back up and ready for posting.

Aside from all of those plugs, I’ve recently been going back and doubling down on many of the works I’ve already posted. So if you’re interested or if you haven’t checked out my works, then I suggest going through them now. I’ve had the chance to edit the latest few short stories in my archived works. This also extends to Shattered Dreams. I’ve been rewriting and really “putting pressure” onto the earlier chapters I put out. I basically did a whole guerrilla operation and replaced the first four chapters of Shattered Dreams with a revised version.

That’s actually a really nice perk of having my works not really being “formally” publicized. I can just go back and make these revisions but of course that also consumes time, though it does make a better product in the end. That’s something that I’m working on right now, to really double down on how I edit and to refine that as a skill. It’s something that I’ve come to a recent revelation about. I’ve come to realize, and I admit, that I am a sloppy editor. The worst editor there is. I had done editing on my own works before. However, I made very unproductive edits. They were more akin to just casual readings where I fixed the odd grammatical mistake.

But yeah, more recently, and hopefully it does appear in my works, especially with Shattered Dreams, I’ve been trying to really bog down my editing. Editing really is one half of writing. You can’t just write and not edit. They work in tandem and they complement each other in such a profound way. Though, perhaps I’d always known that but never really experienced the brunt of it until recently. Either way, that’s the gist of what I’ve been doing. Heavy handed editing and re uploading some works. So yeah, go ahead and if you want, check them out. I’d appreciate any of which readings that happen. And maybe give me a comment, tell me what you think, or even, as the title states, what you’re doing right now. Whatever is fine.

Shattered Dreams Chapter 1

Lost Train’s Musings

Shattered Dreams, Chapter 7: Dream to Meet a Ghost

3

We left the hospital as soon as we patched Connie’s leg. Lottie managed to find an old medic kit that was untouched by the rubble of the hospital. She was on my shoulder as we walked out of the hospital. I asked her to take a read of  Connie’s dream. I wanted her to know. It’d only be appropriate as she was my partner. All Connie wanted to do was to find the ghost of her parents. Except what she found was a being who collected shattered dreams, and a human turned into her disciple. I couldn’t understand why her dream had to be so specific, but at the same time, so was being human.

“I really appreciate you guys doing this,” Connie said as we walked up the street. There was nothing more in this town. Perhaps if Lottie took a read of the area she could find some mementos hiding in the rubble. But Connie wasn’t here for heirlooms.

“No need to thank us. It’s probably our fault you were so giddy in the first place.” She laughed. I could hardly imagine her without laughing. But she was also a Ghost Hunter. Divines saw humans like her as an easy source of influence or an afternoon meal. Maybe even both.

“I never asked,” Connie began,  her eyes beaming with fire. She was walking with a limp, her hand slightly reaching down towards the cut. Her face strained with each step, though she still smiled.

“How did you guys come here anyway?” Lottie was tapping against my back with her legs, and without needing to see her I knew her face was raised as well.

“Coincidence?” I said, hoping she’d take that for some kind of answer. Lottie almost tipped over. She was snickering.

“Coincidence?” Connie stopped and tapped her foot.

“Right, we were just passing the area.” She gave me a hard stare, then continued walking. I sighed.

“You said you collect shattered dreams, right?” Our voices seemed to hang in the air before being muddled by the distant ocean. Our steps bled into the ground, and the grasp of rot lingered on my nose.

“Right.”

“I guess a place as dead as this would house plenty.” She shrugged and brought her hands behind her head. I was glad she understood.

“So now what are you going to do? Your buddies must be worried about you. And you didn’t come here to get what you need done. If you still want to ghost hunt, its best to do it while you’re safe.” A part of me hoped that she would just go back to being a human, to being blissfully ignorant about the world she saw. And a part of me knew that she would never forget. Lottie was leaning further back than usual.

“I must really be lucky to have a bunch of– For that matter, what are you guys? If not ghosts, then some kind of phantom?” I wondered that myself.

“We’re not human, that much is  sure. But you shouldn’t worry yourself over us.” I somehow felt Lottie’s weight press down on me. She was lightly humming to herself.

“Well, whatever you guys are, you’re worrying over me. That’s well–That’s something you don’t need to do. After all–” She stopped, and put up a peace sign, “I’m a bonafide Ghost Hunter!” Her smile was bright, and I found it alluring. I couldn’t help but to smile along.

“And,” Her voice took a dip, “If you guys are here, and if there really were ghosts of those who once lived here, we probably would have saw them by now, right?” She was right to an extent. I could feel them, and I’m sure Lottie could as well. They were everywhere and nowhere. There was a  golden rule that all divines know by nature, those afflicted by the divine will never be the same. They’ll be tainted. Despite my hobby to talk to humans, I have to make sure that I never appear more than what I am, lest I curse them forever.

“A place like this is perfect for a ghost hunt. But not a single one has made a peep, except for you guys! But you aren’t ghosts– Unless, I can’t see them, like with Lottie!” She took Lottie off of my shoulder. We were both wide eyed as she was spun from above. Connie didn’t move from her spot though her leg jittered in want to console her energy. I was glad she didn’t force herself.

“So, does that mean that the ghosts are hiding themselves from me?” I smiled as gently as I could and shrugged. Lottie held her mouth together, her eyes wide, and blinking at me in miles.

“If you really want to know, you could always come back–” It wasn’t that the divines couldn’t be tracked through human technology, it surprised us so much that we once thought of hunting down the humans, “But, all I can tell you is that it’ll be dangerous.”

“And,” Lottie added, stopping Connie from spinning her, “If any ghost really did want to talk to you, they would have already made themselves known.  No matter what attachment you have to a place like this, you have to understand that there might be reasons why they’d want you to stay away.” Connie lowered Lottie. She was holding her by the shoulders and I could see her eyes glitter beyond the world around us. Connie’s dream was never destined to be made. No divine who had an attachment to a human would ever wish to bring them to this side. Except for inane divines who collected shattered dreams.

“I see. I guess I should call off the hunt then. If it’s that dangerous, then we really shouldn’t be hanging around here.” Connie let off Lottie onto the dirt road. She seemed to swirl on the spot but then flew back onto my shoulder. Her face was scrunched, but then relaxed.

We managed to find our way to the entrance of the port town. Looking back, I could imagine how bustling the place must have been. I could imagine all the noise, of the people, of the ships, and of the ocean. The ocean without a town was hollow. When it rang through us, I felt Lottie tighten her grip on me. Connie didn’t flinch.

“Though–” I started. I felt bad for dissuading Connie’s simple dream in the way I did. It wasn’t that I could fault myself for a mere coincidence but I wasn’t completely heartless. I felt a human urge to say something to Connie, “You know, I’m sure that your parents are happy.” Connie turned to look at me, her eyes were wide, and so was Lottie’s. No divines had allowed their presence to be known. And although I couldn’t tell the exact name of the divines that could have wandered here,  it wasn’t too far off to assume that her parents may have been watching.

“Call it my ghastly intuition,” I started with a chuckle, “But they’re probably happy to see you, and you shouldn’t worry about them.” Connie looked up at me, her eyes strong, unwavering.

“You came back, that’s what matters, right?” She nodded, and I looked over to see Lottie smiling.

“Though if I really wanted to I could always check the bunkers,” Connie said in jest. Lottie let out a breath. She felt weightless again.

“But if they died in that bunker, they’d be mixed in with a bunch of other corpses, I wouldn’t want to see that,” she finished with a chuckle.

“I appreciate your coming to me like this. But maybe I will come back. I don’t really know why but I feel like I have to. Despite all of your warnings, I still have to.” Her eyes peered into mine. I couldn’t do anything but to shrug and nod.

“You’re still human,” I said.

“Maybe I’ll even find my old home. It’ll just be wreckage but we used to have old photos. The only ones in the family. It’d be great to have them.” Connie smiled as she peered back into the town.

“Yeah, I’ll be back. Not as a Ghost Hunter. But as me, Connie.” Lottie flew up and smiled.

“I really do wish I could talk with you guys more, to learn more about– Well, you’ve been keeping quiet about a lot of things, right?” She was surprisingly sharp.

“It’s probably to protect me,” she continued, clutching onto her camera, “But, I’m fine now. And when I come back I’ll try not to stir up any trouble. It’s a shame, we probably can’t meet again, that’s usually how these ghost encounters work.” She laughed and stuck her hand out.

“Is that so?” I asked as I shook her hand.

“Yeah. As a Ghost Hunter I have a duty to always be on the hunt,” she let go of my hand and then saluted on the spot.

“And besides, you probably have work to do too, right? Shattered dreams–I’ll remember that.”  She smiled, and nodded, “Sounds like a great topic for research. I wonder if any ghosts deal in dreams. I’ve never heard about anything remotely similar to what you guys are. Must be what they mean when they say times change. Even our legends change.” She laughed lightly to herself.

“I really am no good with farewells. I should be going now. Thank you for your time.” She began up the road, to where she came from.

” Another job well done?” Lottie asked with her mouth pursed to the side.

“That one ended rather quickly, don’t you think?” She asked again. She flew in front of me with her hands to her hips.

“To the great duo of Summer and Lottie!” She began with a booming voice, as booming as she could make it with her size, “They have now accomplished–” Then she lowered her voice to a sweet trill, “Helping another human with their shattered dream. You really are like an angel, you know that?”

“Not you too. Don’t even joke about that.”

“And it’s that kind of modesty–” She pointed at me, “That goes unappreciated.”

“I’m not doing any of this to be appreciated. I just–”

“Want to do something interesting?” Lottie shrugged.

“Well, want to head back now? We can follow Connie back and see if we hit another trove of shattered dreams. But I’m sure you wouldn’t want to afflict her anymore than you have.”

“Right. When it comes to these things, you’re surprisingly sharp.”

“Surprisingly!?” And, just as it were, as I turned back towards the town, I noticed something. To be more prudent, I noticed a divine. Lottie was floating about beside me, and I was sure she noticed as well.

“How long has it been following us?” She asked.

“Probably since Connie cut her leg.” They’re everywhere, and nowhere. But with a human gone, they can shed off their skin for a moment’s respite. That’s when they’re the most vulnerable.

“Should we be worried?” Lottie asked. I recognized the divine. He was heading to a part of the port town that we didn’t visit. It was probably the source of the rotting bodies in the air.

“She’ll be back, even if she’s coming with no intention of tracing the divine, we marked her. It won’t hurt to see what’s roaming here.”

“Just like an angel.” I didn’t bother to retort.

Part 4

Shattered Dreams, Chapter 7: Dream to Meet a Ghost

2

We somehow managed to find the general hospital. To no one’s surprise, it was standing on its final limps. The walls were cracked like a strike of lightning. The floor was covered in shards of glass and chipped pieces of the roof. Patches of dust blanketed our feet. Somewhere in the hospital’s darkness was waft of alcohol.  We sat upon the entrance where there was a small clearing. I was worried about Connie collapsing on me and so after asking Lottie to gather information, I sent her off to find something we could muster as bandages.

“I see. So you’re not ghosts. That’s still okay!” Connie was just beaming with energy. I wondered what it would take to stop her. I concluded that she was just a strange person. A strange person with a strange being in a strange town. My hobby was raging on inside me. I couldn’t be happier. Maybe I really was starting to be human.

“You said you were a Ghost Hunter, right?” I told Connie to hold her bloodied hand over her wound as we sat near some rubble at the entrance.

“Right. Well, I say I’m a Ghost Hunter, but, I haven’t exactly hunted many ghosts yet. I’ve still got a way to go.” She smiled as she said this, her eyes locked to the floor, and an irreplaceable giddiness waved over her. The term Ghost Hunter to humans meant the mere act of seeking out ghosts. To my understanding, those called priests would perform exorcisms to expel these ghastly beings. Except, that wasn’t exactly how it should have worked. The Ghost Hunters should be the ones fighting off the divines. Though, if every Ghost Hunter fought divines, then a war might have broken out. Fortunately, there was only one known family of humans that were actively seeking out our kind. They knew of our existence, of the other plane, and employed techniques to kill the divine. They were a group I hoped never to cross paths with, but they didn’t refer to themselves as mere Ghost Hunters. In fact, the scariest thing about them is that they shadowed as regular humans.

“By the way,” Connie said as she leaned in closer towards me. Our voices boomed with every syllable. The slightest alteration in pitch might have caused the building to collapse on us.

“How did you two meet?” Connie’s eyes were gleaming. I didn’t know what she was implying, but the more I thought the more she got closer. I could feel her heat emanate onto my skin.

“She used to be human,” I started, “It wasn’t like I killed her or anything. I simply brought her over to this side.” I refrained from using terminology that might get her placed onto a divine hit list. Even if she was just some ‘Ghost Hunter’ I couldn’t take her lightly. For example, an inane ‘Ghost Hunter’ once managed to kill a divine. That stirred the World of the Divine for quite some while. They eventually settled on hunting the ‘Ghost Hunter’ and making an example out of them. Apparently, this only sparked more interest in the trade. Some Hunters were practically useless, and only did so for the fame. But others had deep connections to the divine, and had ancient scriptures that would help them snuff out the divine and even kill them. I had to be wary of Connie, even if she seemed like she could barely hold her own.

“I collect shattered dreams,” I continued, “and, it just so happened that I found Lottie one day. She had her dream shattered, and I found it more prudent to drag her over than to let her stay being a human.” I tried my best to skirt out information while still making some semblance of sense. I didn’t want to haphazardly involve Connie into this world if she truly was just overtly energetic and naive. In all honesty, I took a liking to her. That wasn’t to say that I was just going to drag her into this world though. That exception only ran true for so long.

“Shattered dreams?” Connie asked. She retracted herself and began staring at the remains of the ceiling.

“Right. Have you ever had a dream?” I didn’t ask Lottie to run a scan on Connie. I didn’t particularly care, but I wondered if someone as happy as her could have something like a dream. Though at the same time, I already knew the answer. How could I not.

“A dream? Like being an astronaut? That kind of thing?” I nodded to her response.

“Right,” I continued, “when people don’t achieve their dreams. They shatter. That is to say, they materialize into this world. And I’m here to collect them.” She stared at me with an iron will, her eyes seeming to be in another place as she wrapped her head around what I had told her. Even though her leg was injured, I could tell she was itching to tap her foot. Though she instead settled to use her free hand to draw circles in the dust.

“I see. So, you’re like a Grim Reaper?” That was the second time someone compared me to him. I wondered how Grim would feel if he knew that. He hated when other divines took the limelight of the Reaper to scare humans. Granted, it only made his influence greater.

“Not exactly,” I disputed, “It’s not like I’m always there when a dream is shattered. But when I am, and the situation is interesting, I’ll try my best to make conversation.” I couldn’t quite tell what she was drawing in the dust but it seemed to interest her.

“Why do you collect shattered dreams?” She asked as she brought her finger to her face.

“It’s my duty.”

“Your duty?” Her eyes were back on me. To be honest, if I could give her another answer, I would. But that was unequivocally the answer.

“Do you like collecting shattered dreams?” She asked as she tilted her head and rubbed her fingers letting the dust settle.

“It’s absolutely horrid,” I was honest, “but talking to humans is quite fun. I’m fine with a compromise.” She smiled and laughed a little. Her laugh filled the hospital. Even if I was worried about it collapsing in on us, her laugh somehow washed that feeling away.

“You’re quite nice, aren’t you,” she said as she smiled at me.

“Nice?”

“You’re like an angel,” she added with a raised finger.

“An angel?” Divines who were angels were quite troublesome indeed. They were the ones who stirred up the most trouble.

“Right. I’m sure that whenever you talk to someone with a shattered dream,” she then moved her hand over to her camera, “you make them feel better. Simply because you want to.”

“I’m not too sure about that.” Was that really the case? It was only a hobby to me. Connie leaned back further and held out her camera. It was digital and she began playing with the screen until it veered into camera mode. It wasn’t that I was some kind of expert on technology, just that I had my fair share of knowledge on the human magic that employed the World of the Living. She pointed the shattered lens onto me and then smiled uncontrollably.

“You don’t show up at all!” She then lowered her camera, her smile beaming from one end of her face to the other. In the end I smiled as well.

“That’s why I thought you were a ghost! When I first saw you, It was through my view finder. Well I guess when I first didn’t see you!” She used her free hand to touch mine.

“You’re still so cold! You might as well be a ghost. You’re not lying to me when you say you’re not a ghost, right?” Her grip on my hand tightened and she leaned close. These were the moments when she was the most sporadic, though, I enjoyed that about her.

“I’m not,” She then sighed and leaned back. Real ghosts were the dredges of the divine. They were everywhere yet nowhere. In fact, I was sure that Lottie noticed as well when we went inside this hospital. One of them was watching from a distance. I couldn’t stand them. Actually, for that matter, I couldn’t stand most divines. Lottie was alright though.

“Let me give you a little advice on ghosts,” I started with a chuckle, “ghosts wouldn’t hang out with you and try to fix your leg.”

“But there are stories of–”

“Forget any story you’ve heard of a div– Ghost helping a human. They’re either trying to give themselves more exposure to increase their own power, or they want to curse someone.” Most likely both. Also to generalize the divines as ghosts would be doing them a disservice. Her definition of ghost matched many of the divines that I knew, but they hated that term.

“If you’re a Ghost Hunter, I’m sure you’re prepared for the worst, but I’ll tell you Connie, this isn’t something you should be taking lightly.” I turned my eyes towards her wound. She didn’t seem too conscious of it, but as I looked up I could see her give a weak smile.

“Why did you run anyway?” There was really no reason if she only saw me through her camera. At that point neither of us had noticed her.

“I was just so excited, but I didn’t want to go and scare you or anything. So I wanted to go back and make a call.” Somewhere in the distance, a piece of rubble fell and boomed in the hallway beside us. We both stopped and focused, and then shrugged and smiled as Lottie nor any other being came.

“A call?” She took out her cell phone.

“I have a few ghost hunting buddies that are in the area. There’s a town not too far from here. We made camp and wanted to explore this place when we got the chance. But–”

“You were curious and went ahead?” She giggled and put her phone back in her pocket. She began to fidget with her camera, turning it over in front of her and fingering the shattered lens.

“I wanted to tell them to meet up with me so we could all talk to you. I didn’t want you to leave so I decided to run back. But I guess I slipped and cut myself first.” She laughed lightly before shifting her expression.

“Summer, do you know where we are?” Her eyes peered into mine, an ironclad focus, as if she was searching for something I had yet to know within me.

“I haven’t the slightest clue about this town. What about you?” Her eyes lowered before coming back up to meet mine. They were watching as well, I could feel them, they didn’t stop watching us at all.

“This town, this lonely old port town, used to be the place I grew up in.” I found her voice to be sweet and mellow. It stung in the air for much longer than mine, and her expression was calm. It was the same expression I saw before, the stern look of indifference.

“It’s so ragged now and if you focused, you could even smell the rot of the wood and bodies.” The hospital was coated with chipped paint and rusted metal. However, I wasn’t quite acquainted with the smell of rotting bodies, and so I couldn’t have been so sure I didn’t notice.

“Bodies?” She smiled lightly and looked over towards the entrance of the hospital. Though she stared right at the divine who was watching us, they seemed to take care in concealing their appearance.

“There’s a hole somewhere here. Probably more like a pit. That’s where everyone is.”

“It’s not like they just one day went up and buried themselves alive or anything. No, that’s not the case at all. It was used as a bunker.” She was slightly shaking her head as she mentioned the term.

“A bunker?” I caught an inkling as to what she was on about. It wasn’t that I enjoyed human affairs. No I hated all those things that made humans so destructive as much as I hated those traits in the divine. It all seems so moot and I couldn’t understand a lick of any of that drivel.

“It’s not like I’m the last survivor of this town or anything. There were a bunch of us that had to leave because of the fighting. We all left our hometown for a long time, and many of us were afraid to see what became of the place we grew up in.” She was dragging her hand up the wall and exerted force to get up. Before she could leave another blood riddled mark on her body, I stood and brought her arm over me. She smiled as I leaned her over the wall. Her wound had opened again as she used both her hands to find balance on the wall. She didn’t seem to care, “For me coming here is like facing myself, my past. I wanted this town to be the first place I ever saw a ghost.” She lit up at the thought of ghost hunting.

“I guess in a way you fulfilled that for me.” And then, before my eyes, her dream shattered. A pendant the shape of a heart crashed onto the floorboards. There was a weird sense of semantics for the divine, and especially for me. The way it usually worked was that when someone’s dream became shattered, it would manifest. That meant that their dream became null. It would escape their minds and wander the world for whoever so wanted to use that dream for their own. It was my duty to collect shattered dreams.

“You shouldn’t give me that much credit,” I said as she began hopping over towards the hospital. I heard her chuckle as I looked at the pendant that lay behind her. I sensed Lottie coming up, and so I didn’t mind if Connie got a little exercise before her leg was patched.

I knelt down and looked behind me to see that the divine who had been watching us lost interest. Just like a dream. I turned back to the pendant. It was glittering in no light. I hadn’t a practical use for them other than to store them in my jar and wait for the day they would disappear. Shattered dreams in my jar would disappear if the person who dreamt them had decided to dream the same dream. If that person had accomplished another dream that matched the severity of the dream they shattered, the shattered dream would also disappear. But, they also served as catalysts. They contained a seemingly interminable amount of influence. If a divine had the ability to manipulate a shattered dream, there was no stopping what they could achieve. I call the shattered dreams a fragile currency. But to the divine, it was god’s gold.

So why did a shattered dream drop out of Connie, crashing onto the ruin floors with a soft tap and filling the air with a sound only I and Lottie could hear? I wondered that myself. When Lottie came strutting back from searching, Connie waved her over with a dangerous amount of energy. I then stretched my arms to collect her shattered dream. In that instant, everything flowed into me. Her entire being became one with who I was, and then, I slowly started to understand. It wasn’t that her dream became null entirely. No, there was a little work in semantics for dreams as well. Her dream was to meet a ghost. No, that was putting it too simply. Her dream, which was a dream created upon her starting to be a Ghost Hunter, was to go to this dilapidated port town and have the first thing she meet be the ghost of her parents who had been killed in the war started by her country that led to the bombing of her hometown. That was her shattered dream.

Next Part

Shattered Dreams, Chapter 7: Dream to Meet a Ghost

It wasn’t that we were particularly invisible among those of the World of the Living. That wasn’t the case at all. A human would need an astute amount of focus if they were to see us, and even then, they would need a certain amount of information to know what we actually were. Most divines would have a precaution in case they were ever spotted. Or so I hoped. Most divines didn’t care if they were seen. They argued it only proved to increase their influence. A divine’s influence being the amount of power they have garnered through word of mouth. Though, if too many divines went on showing themselves to the public, we’d have a different problem to attend to then just worrying about our pride.

When we arrived through my room’s door we were greeted by a cliff leading to the ocean. Lottie was sitting on my shoulder and held a tight grip onto me as a wave ran up the cliff causing a clash to ring in the air. Lottie was my disciple, a human turned into a divine. I stripped away all of her humanity the day I found her shattered dream.

“Where are we?” Lottie asked with a raised voice. The waves came crashing onto the cliff again. To our sides was a tower of brick that oversaw the ocean. My room usually only led us into towns or cities, but, we had apparently walked through a light house.  It seemed to be abandoned and when I looked over to the dirt path leading into the woods I figured we were some ways away from a port town.

“Could you gather some information for me?” I asked. Lottie’s specialty was information gathering. I figured with being my disciple, her ability to be able to extract a person’s dream might come in handy. Though, I never used it much. I was in the business of collecting shattered dreams. It might be more prudent to say I was disinterested in the dreams of those that have yet to experience their dreams shattering. Though, I wasn’t so mean a being.

“What would you like to know?” Lottie flew over from my shoulder and faced me.

“The nearest town. It has to be here. I’d like you to run a quick search.”

“We did come to a strange place. A light house, huh? I didn’t get to see one when I was a human. Doesn’t seem like anyone’s here though.” Lottie flew over to the ground and placed her hand towards the dirt path. She closed her eyes, her light brown hair began glowing against the overcast. The dirt around her began shining like the glimmer of a glass and started rising. I could feel the air grow stiff and the wind that came with the ocean’s waves travelled around her as if her existence was cast off from the world. After a few moments, she opened her eyes, the glow stopped, the dirt fell back to the path and she flew back to rest on my shoulder.

“There is a port town here if you go past the forest. But it’s a questionable place to go to at best.”

“A questionable place?” I wondered what she meant. Her face as she sat upon my shoulder was downcast. Her eyes seemed to travel to a place I could only hope to glance into. Lottie was usually an uppity and haughty girl. Even after I stole her humanity.

“I’m not saying there aren’t any shattered dreams there. There might even be an abundance. But, it’s an eerily depressing place. Though, I’m sure it’s not like you to be dissuaded by that.” She chuckled and leaned forward with her head resting on her hand.

“As long as it’s interesting,” I said.

“Right.” I began making my way down the dirt path and broke through the forest. Overlying branches threatened to cut our faces, but, it wasn’t that we could have been particularly hurt by the World of the Living. Every step I took broke apart dead twigs and leaves. If anyone was in the forest, they surely would have caught on by then. The winds of the ocean did well to follow us through the woods, and there was never a moment where we weren’t reminded of where we had just left. The walk wasn’t too long, and upon seeing the clearing, I expected something alike a bustling port town. I’d only ever been to a few port towns, and each one I had visited bred life. It was a place that felt inviting and full of a never-ending life. It seemed that they would never come to rest, that as long as the ocean existed, so would they. I would have liked to make one my home. They were bound to have beautiful dreams.

“I see what you mean,” I said out loud half in jest as we came through the clearing. The port town that Lottie had gathered information on was hardly a town.

“Remind me, Lottie, I once joked about going to a town that would be in shambles, right?” I felt Lottie turn her head. She lowered her hand, and then tapped my shoulder.

“Did you now?”

“Or maybe that was my own musings.” I began forward as the town ahead of us remained in ruins. All the homes were caved in from what seemed to be an impact that ruptured their roofs. I was surprised to even see them standing as tall as they tried. They were all grasping for the sky, as if something had struck them. The ocean was somewhere in the distance, but the port that held the boats were torn apart. It was more prudent to say that the port was closed on this day. The ocean winds that blew into town were nothing like the winds that blew with the lighthouse. The winds here were solemn, and, somewhere in them was the scent of rot. Even the road beneath us was torn.

“You see any shattered dreams?” Lottie asked as she tapped her foot away on my back. I couldn’t quite see her face, but her voice was a low somber, and she spoke with difficulty. I kept my eyes peeled towards all the ruins of the homes and stores that this port town bred. There were a few shattered dreams that I managed to pick up, and I was sure many laid hidden in rubble. I prayed that those I didn’t find would not find themselves into the wrong hands.

“So, what’s the people like?” Lottie asked. Upon picking a shattered dream, I’d be able to tell what that person’s dream was and glimpse into what kind of person they may be. It was a handy trick for making conversation, but I never thought to use it to determine history.

“Normal,” It was the truth. The people there were normal. Normal problems, normal dreams, and yet, the town had been eviscerated. I couldn’t blame Lottie for feeling the way she did. It wasn’t like this was her first exposure to abandonment. I knew that all too well. We continued to walk around town. I was somewhat hopeful that perhaps we had just arrived at a strange conjecture, that perhaps nature had taken its course and that some human was still wandering about. I meant to ask Lottie her opinion on our next course of action, but before I could she hung herself over my shoulder and began pointing.

“Summer! Over there!” As if a switch, Lottie then flew off my shoulder and when I turned she was flying up the road. I followed suit though I wasn’t one for athleticisms.

“What’d you see? Is it a divine?” I asked running towards Lottie.

“Not at all! It was a human!” In this place? I began to wonder again if this town really had been ravaged by some kind of naturalistic anomaly. Judging from the clothes my room gave us as we entered through the door, we could have very well fit into a group of stragglers.

“Hurry!” Lottie warned. I knew I wasn’t very cut for running. It wasn’t that I was particularly frail, but I didn’t have a gauge towards how fast I could run. I decided to run at a brisk pace. When I had finally caught up, I noticed that Lottie was right. She was indeed a human. However, her clothes weren’t rustic. They were quite nice, actually. She wore a white summer dress, her golden hair tied behind her in a ponytail, and her young complexion shone over the clouds hanging above this dilapidated town.  What stood out the most to me was her bleeding leg. She had apparently tripped and cut herself onto shards of glass near what used to be someone’s home.  As she held onto her wound, I noticed the camera dangling from her neck. It’s lens was shattered.

“Do you think she’ll be all right?” Lottie said placing her hands onto her hips.

“Why do you think she ran?” Lottie added. There was only one explanation I could think of. I didn’t see a shattered dream around her, but, as she held onto the cut that gashed out of her leg, and stood up, she locked eyes with me. It wasn’t that I could be scared by humans. But, as her dark eyes gleamed into mine, her expression unmoving, I felt as if she could see the very essence of my being. She didn’t look at Lottie.

“Are you okay?” I asked, breaking the stillness in the air between us.

“I’m fine,” she answered. Her voice didn’t match the ungodly glare she gave me. It was rather sweet. It wasn’t that she was overtly young. No, she could probably hinge for a person just at the cusp of being an adult. But her voice was filled with youth and naivety.

“I just didn’t expect anyone to be here, is all.”

“I could say the same thing. Why are you here? This town isn’t exactly the prettiest home in the world.” She laughed a little. Her laugh filled the air, filled the town for only a moment, and yet, it was a gentle laugh altogether.

“I think I’m here to see you.” I felt Lottie turn her head and float back.

“You know this girl too?” She asked. I hadn’t a clue.

“I’m sorry,” she then chuckled, “I don’t mean that literally. No I don’t mean that at all. It’s not like I know you, or that you know me. But, I do know you. In the same way that you can’t know about me.” Despite how sweet her voice was, her expression still remained unchanging. She spoke in a single blink, under a single breath. I felt as if she was enchanted. By me?

“I must be scaring you,” she then continued, “no, I mean, I can’t scare you. That’s impossible,” she was frantic, the blood from her wound seeping through her fingers. I could tell that something was racing inside her.

“After all, you’re a ghost!” Then, in one big motion, as if casting off an explosion she held her arms out, and opened her hands, flicking the blood of her wound onto the scraps of wood beside her. I was surprised how she wasn’t bothered by the blood now dripping down her leg.

“I’m Connie. I’m a Ghost Hunter!” She lowered her arms and stuck her hand out.

“Can you do a hand shake?” I didn’t know what to think of someone thinking I was a ghost. It wasn’t that I was insulted, though, I was almost compelled to laugh. I shook her hand in jest, and once I did so, she brightened up. Her face was lit up and her mouth was wide.

“I knew it! Ghosts can touch the physical! And your hand is so cold!” My entire body was cold, apparently. That’s how Lottie described riding on my shoulders. Like sitting atop a mountain of snow.

“I’m getting ahead of myself,” she was so energetic and so uppity that I could hardly keep up with her. It wasn’t the same kind of energy I’d expect from Lottie.

“Right, um– Alright, yeah, can you tell me about yourself?” I looked over to Lottie who was tugging at my shoulder.

“You think she’s one of those?” Lottie whispered in my ears. It was then that I realized that Lottie was trying extra hard to stave off her presence. I told her to knock it off.

“And another one!” Connie suddenly jumped once Lottie revealed herself.

“Oh! My! God! Two in one day, this is… Incredible!” She jumped on the spot. I was really getting worried for her leg. There was a nice red line down her thighs.

“I’m Connie– No, I just said that. Um, right, okay, you’re friends.” She then took in a breath, and breathed out.  Tears were beginning to stream from her face as well.

“Oh… It looks like I’m crying,” she began as she was wiping her face with her blood soaked hand.

“Oh–” Connie said once she realized what she was doing. Lottie began to laugh at the way she was stumbling on herself. I couldn’t help but to give a small smile.

“We should get that leg checked out,” I said. It wasn’t that I had some kind of special power to heal her, but, we were in a town. There had to be something we could rummage, even if things were in rubble.

“And, Connie? We’re not ghosts.”

Never Stop Doing The Things You Love, Lest You Return To Misery

It’s quite hard to be able to discern what you want to do in life. At least, that’s what it seems to me as I think upon the friends I have, and the people I’ve met who, for lack of better word, are lost. They seem to be spiraling in on themselves and they can’t get out. Maybe it’s just the product of how we were raised. I can’t say for many people whether they’ve felt like they’ve ever been pushed properly in the direction that they want to follow. These are the kinds of people whose parents rule their lives like scripture, and tell them with the harshest love how they should live. They are treated as if their ambitions are a hindrance to not only themselves, but to the people around them. They prioritize on self demeaning thoughts that cause them to land in an interminable cycle of self hatred and doubt. But, even putting it like that is just a little too fantastical for the situation I see all the time. I can put it any number of ways and it would mean the same thing and that’s exactly how I’ve experienced this cycle to be. It’s quite sad to see untapped potential be shafted due to a false sense of inferiority. They say things like, “I’ve never done this.”

Or even, “I can’t do this.” And my favorite, “I don’t have anything I like.”

And yet, these are the same people who I see find passion in the very things that I love, and yet, I’m the only who among my friends can firmly grasp onto that passion and mold it into who I am. For me, being able to find something I love to do is sacrosanct to untying the noose around my neck. But for my friends, they’ll never untie the noose around their neck, and they’ll just keep on living thinking that they’ll never amount to anything. And I hope to some god that my statement is wrong. Not just for my friends, but for everyone else in the world.  It isn’t an issue relegated towards my generation alone, but, it’s something everyone feels at least once in their life. It’s the all too familiar existential dread that eats at people and if you miss the chance to escape, successive attempts just seem all the more fruitless. But have heart.

Have heart, and keep on pursuing the things you love. No matter who tells you that you aren’t going to amount to anything, do the things you love. Now, I’m in no way endorsing the abandonment of one’s livelihood, and so, be reasonable. Be reasonable, and do the things you love. No matter who tells you that you aren’t going to amount to anything, be reasonable, and do the things you love. If you fail, fail faster, pick yourself up, and reassess the situation, and strive to see even a smidgeon of your dream. No matter who tells you that you aren’t going to amount to anything, be reasonable, fail faster and learn from your failure, and do the things you love. Don’t be in a rush to try and achieve whatever it is you want to do, life is hardly about speed. After all, we all die in the end, so calm down. Find direction, and steer yourself, you don’t want to end up in a car crash. No matter who tells you that you aren’t going to amount to anything, be reasonable, fail faster and learn from your failure, and find direction not speed, and do the things you love.

If you aren’t happy at the end of the day, then, I’ll say it here, why did you get up in the morning? Why did you proceed with your day knowing that you’ll be drowning in some kind of self anathema? That isn’t fun, for anyone. That isn’t fun at all. Life for me is made up of those three letters. It’s fun, and it should be fun, and that’s what anyone should strive for. No matter your situation, no matter where you are in the world, how bad you have it, find some fun in your life. No matter how dreadful things may be, you can never hate fun, so find the things that are fun to you and stick to them. It may be out of line for me to inquire that everyone can’t hate fun, but, I rue the day I meet someone who can’t feel enjoyment in living, in any part of the world. And I challenge those who are cynical to do absolutely everything in the world and come to me saying, “I have done everything known to mankind, I have not found a single thing to have fun in.” Right, that’s all there is to it, if you haven’t found it yet, then search the other million possibility of things to do. School simplifies things into subjects, into classes, but school isn’t life. There are so many occupations unknown and undiscovered that anything’s free game. If you aren’t happy at the end of the day, fix that. Fix that with all you have, and try to have fun, some fun, in your life.  And, if you regularly do the things you find fun, you might end up realizing that you’ve begun doing the things you love. And so, never stop doing the things you love, lest you return to misery.


That’s the end of the line for the article, but, quick update on me just because I can, Shattered Dreams is still going on, with the end of the current season or novel or, well, I’m going to take a break on it soon, because NaNoWriMo Is starting, but also because school is starting, so yeah, forgive me, but I’ve written at least a small book’s worth of Shattered Dreams, and I may revisit it to do revisions on chapters, so heads up on that. And, if you haven’t begun reading, well, get on that(If you want to do that is, can’t force you, do the things you find fun, after all.)

School Of Words, for those that may not know, is my micro fiction blog which I’ve given a resurgence, so, bump that. It’s a blast giving updates to that, and I’m planning to add a glossary soon to make everything a little more streamlined.

And my short stories are growing and with no end in sight, will hopefully provide some people some enjoyment. I’ve also made a liberty of adding a new page to archive all the other article type blogs I’ve done, which, is really fun actually, I really have to get back on doing these. But yeah, until next time, I hope you have a nice day or night, and, remember, to have fun.

 

 

 

 

Shattered Dreams, Chapter 6: On a Day Without a Dream

2

Upon stepping into the world my senses came together. The first thing that I noticed was the lack of noise. The sky was darkened from the advent of midnight, and the stars were beginning to bloom. The moon spied on us as we came through the door of a home with its lights extinguished. The streets were well kept, streetlights lining every other home, garbage cans kept open for the ensuing day. The trees hid in the dark, skitters of feet raced around us. The roofs peeked onto us with curiosity. Our breaths formed in small clouds, finding itself in the waves of the air around us.

“So its morning now,”  Lottie started as she inspected the area with a raised face.

“I guess you really can’t tell what time it is in that room. It’s always so bright. But I never expected your door to send us to a place in the dead of morning.” Of course there was also the possibility that my room was attuned with the World of the Living. In that sense whenever I walked through my door it picked an appropriate time zone to match with my duties.

“I don’t suppose you’re also a morning person?” I asked in jest to Lottie. She flew over to where I could see her and placed her hands onto her hips.

“No one is, but I’m not letting you off the hook.” I was going to reply with a snide remark but decided against it in trepidation. I settled for smiling, and then walked up the sidewalk. The streetlights gave a cascade of glowing plates to follow. I found myself bathed and dried in a matter of steps.

“Going out in the brink of morning when the stars are out is the pinnacle of being young!” Lottie said as she flew her way to the empty road. Our steps rung in the air. It played a lullaby with the fluttering feet that scampered by unaware of our banter.

“I wonder what kind of pinnacle that is.”

“The best kind, and a kind you can’t dispute. I’ve been human.” She smirked and spun on the spot, nearly falling. “Sneaking out of your home to go star gazing, telling ghost stories, and sneaking out into the woods are vital to youth!” Her tone dipped. Her eyes lowered and her face relaxed. Her steps slowed.

“But you nor I am young or human. Do we even have ages?” I honestly wondered that.

“In terms of divine years, we’d last as long as our stories are told. So if you talk about age, I guess you could say we do have one.” She kicked a mellow rock into the gutters. It resounded in the air.

“How long have you been around then?” Her steps began to skip, her tone raised.

“How long? I wonder. I was created by the Landlord of my room. But I don’t have any way of keeping track of time. I’d just been collecting shattered dreams for as long as I can remember.” I began to raise my hand towards the lights that appeared in front of my sidewalk. I would let my finger be doused first and imagine myself in a strange spotlight. I didn’t know why I did so.

“In that case, I wonder how long I’ve been shadowing you now,” Lottie tilted her head.

“I guess you’re right when you say you can’t keep track of time,” Lottie added, “I don’t know if it feels like a few months or a few weeks.” She laughed.

“Don’t forget to couple that with your human years,” I said in jest. She laughed harder. She flew and then circled her way beside me, floating in unison with my steps.

“I didn’t know you could tell jokes,” Lottie said as she crossed her arms.

“Just acting the human,” I said. I traced my hand on the upcoming streetlight, allowing my skin to paint over the metal.

“Are we going to run into the woods and stare at the stars now?” I added. Lottie smiled, and flew on my shoulders. She was weightless.

“This way I have your back, and you have mine,” she chuckled as she leaned back.

“Let’s just walk like this. I can see the stars quite nicely from up here,” Lottie said as she tapped my back with her foot.

“As you wish.” Eventually, the carpet of streetlights shimmered. We found ourselves in the last one, with a turn to follow. I looked at Lottie who only gave me a raised face and shoulders. I didn’t think, and then turned right, to a street void of any lights. As the darkness draped over our bodies, I noticed the stars shimmering brightly above us.

“The stars–” Lottie said, her tone filling my ears like a snap. I felt my shoulder slightly bob up and down in tune with my steps as she swung her feet in a frenzy.

“They’re quite beautiful tonight,” she finished with a trill in her voice.

“Not that I would know.” She tilted her head down and nuzzled my hair.

“You’ve never watched stars?” She tapped my shoulder with her fingers.

“On the off chance that I do manage to stay up late enough that my room wouldn’t come get me, I’d spend my time in thrill.”

“Thrill?” I could feel her head turn in question.

“The thrill of the hunt. But I’m the one being hunted. The thrill of the prey?”

“Are you making another joke?” Lottie said with a sigh.

“Am I?” I could feel Lottie roll her eyes. Her hair was floating on down by my hands.

“Well the stars are beautiful for your information.” She giggled.

“They’re incredibly beautiful,” she added. I looked up towards the stars. They lined the darkened night sky like tiny bulbs on a ceiling I couldn’t touch. They burned brighter than any other light, and yet there was a chance that those lights were just a figment of the past. Thinking of it like that made it to me more beautiful.

“Sometimes I miss seeing things like this,” Lottie said as she sat up. Her grip tightened on my shoulder. I felt Lottie adjust herself on my shoulder. She took a breath in and let it simmer as it escaped her mouth.

“Being able to see sights like this isn’t something that I can only do when I’m human. I’ve been around you for quite some time now, met so many different people, and seen so many different things. Being with you, Summer, is always fun.” I wondered, if I was human, if this was the moment where I would begin to feel embarrassed or humbled. Nonetheless, I was happy that she said so. I felt a weight drop from within me. I felt my own steps lighten. I watched as my breath disappeared with the stars. Some of them would fall.

“When I see things like this. When I see the stars– The sights of the world– I can’t help but feel a little lonely,” Lottie’s voice dipped. It managed to reach my ears through the wind. I couldn’t respond, the words stilted in my mouth.

“I don’t know why but I feel lonely despite being with you. In hindsight, It’s never lonely. But you know… I’m a divine and–”

“You still identify yourself as human?”  And before I knew it the words had burst out of my mouth. They erupted just as my steps began to lull to a slow. Just as the stars began to shoot without pause. She was definitely a rare case. Perhaps to my knowledge the only case of a divine dragging a human away from the World of the Living. I wondered what she thought once she realized what I had done. To be honest, It kept my mind asunder when it first hit me as to the decision I made and my willingness to go through with it like a lion in march. But it was my action nonetheless. I still did what I felt I needed to do.

“Maybe it’s because I can’t see them in my own time that I feel lonely–” Lottie started, “Like I can’t break out of your hold on me and explore the world by myself. I can’t do that, so I can’t be alone. I miss that, being alone. I feel lonely because I can’t be alone. What a way to wallow.” The air stilted as I stood to catch a school of shooting stars.

“I don’t suppose you still have a dream to shatter?” She laughed.

“I wish I did.” Lottie  swayed on my shoulders as she did so, she tipped over, falling towards the sidewalk. She stopped and remained in the air just as her back came to a plant. Her eyes were wide. I smiled for her and gave her my hand.  As I brought her up, another round of shooting stars splayed itself across the night ocean. Her smile was unbreakable.

“Maybe I’ll bring you out more often then,” I said with a light chuckle.

“More often? You barely bring me out anyway.”

“Cut me some slack, I’m only just learning this human thing,” Lottie laughed again. I couldn’t help but to smile as well.

“You won’t miss out on your free sleep time?” She asked in jest.

“I won’t even remember I had them.”

“The stars are shining beautifully tonight.” Lottie flew back onto my shoulder. Her breath came to a still. Her body pulsed in a countable rhythm.

“Are they?”

“Yeah. They are. They’re incredibly beautiful.” Her voice trilled in the air, simmering around us in the dead of morning, finding itself to my ears, filling me with songs of solace.

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