Alternate 42 - Spirit

I don't know where this came from. Really, I don't.

Her eyes are wide and plaintive, set in charcoal black. The white is rimmed with red, giving a devil's appearance; the pale gray of her skin almost melts in to the stone wall behind her. The blue irises have glazed over and stare at the pouring sky.

It's quite obvious that she's dead.

He stands by the corpse quietly, hands stuffed in his pockets. His skin is an ashy gray, a bit darker and murkier than hers. Hers is far lovelier, as it should be—corpses were always more beautiful than the real thing. He stares at the ground in front of the prone body.

"I'm tired," she whispers. "I'm so, so tired." Her blue eyes spark with an imitation of life, framed by locks of blue-black hair. "I thought I would escape from being tired by dying. I thought I'd be able to sleep then." She pauses, lovely, full lips pressed together in an unsure line. "I guess I was wrong."

"Why were you tired?" he asks, because he has nothing better to do and he might as well, seeing that he's probably the only one who can hear and see her right now. He leans back against the wall, his thigh grazing her corpse's shoulder. He shivers.

She shrugs, see-through shoulders frail and broken-looking. "I don't know. I suppose it was because of Father. He always said to me that I had to be perfect and that I was supposed to help him later on. I didn't have a choice in anything. Especially not after Mom died." She sighs needlessly. "I never used to be this self-centered before. I'm sorry. I'm probably bothering you."

"Not really." He slides down to the ground. His shoulder now touches her corpse's. He finds that he actually doesn't mind all that much. "If I may say so, I'd say that I'm far more selfish than you are."

She laughs. "That's probably not true. But thank you."

They sit in silence for a long time. A while later, it begins to rain, heavy drops matting his hair onto his scalp and pressing her hair to her ice-cold face. Across the street, he hears the sound of an old woman screaming for help, pointing at her corpse with terror as her daughter dials the phone—nine-one-one, obviously.

"People are far too reliable on others for their own good," he comments quietly.

"I guess so," she replies. She turns her blue eyes to him slowly. "What are you going to do now, Elliot?"

He shakes his head, water falling over his face. "I don't know."

"Ellie," she whispers, letting her hands float through his. He flinches, not from the touch, but from the old nickname. "Ellie, do you think I'll see Mom?"

He smiles silently, feeling like he's cracking on the inside, being pulled down into the Earth so deep that no one could ever reach him. "I'm sure you will," he says. "Wherever you're going now, you'll see her."

A light has enveloped her body, encasing her soul within. Slowly her form fades, leaving only her clear blue eyes staring at him sadly. "Ellie," she whispers, "I'm sorry."

"You don't have to be sorry," he mumbles through the wet hair now partially covering his face. "Just don't get lost on the way there, okay?"

Her eyes crinkle, and he knows that she's smiling. "Okay."

The light begins to lift away, the blue still where she was before. "Elliot," she says in a broken voice. "Elliot, I l—"

Then the blue vanishes, and he is left with his pants soaking into the concrete, his shirt wet from rain and damp hair, the corpse of his best friend, and the sirens echoing in the distance.

He sighs.

"You're free now, Raven," he whispers, gathering himself up and staring at the place where she once was. "So fly to where they can't reach you anymore."

He begins to walk.

And the sirens shriek away.