Black: I

She stood, her hand reaching out for anything in the darkness. Ash rained from the sky, coating the room’s blackened parquet floor with a soft powder that clung to her feet as she walked through the vast entry-way. Two staircases descended to the floor from a balcony that was now broken, its barrier ripped from its roots and fallen to the floor. The wallpaper peeled from the walls, the original colour unrecognisable by its singed texture.

She walked over to the front door that had been beaten in, a sign of the struggle of people desperate to escape the fate that had unfolded here. She scaled the walls, her hands gracing remnants of royal red drapes and picture frames containing silhouettes of people with no faces. Until her finger ran across a rusted frame withdrawing a bead of blood from her and she jumped back in alarm, watching her slender, pale finger turn a light pink.

She looked back to the wall, running her hand over the soot-covered surface that was within the frame. She looked at the woman in the picture, her hair was long, limp and an abyssal black. It clung to her heart-shaped head like a funeral veil but within the darkness of her sunken features sat a pair of deep marine blue eyes that shimmered with a deep understanding.  As the girl took a step back, the picture did the same. But she held her hand out before her to make sure. She shook her head and looked to the floor in silence.

She took one last look around the room before running out through the doorway, pushing the rotten door out her way, easily knocking it from its rusty hinges. The world outside looked no better than the inside world she had planned to run from. She wore a short, flared black dress that hugged to her voluptuous figure as she ran through the streets, her heart accelerating as she looked around.

The world was a hollow shell, the sky a distant grey with no clouds, just ashen snow that clung to her as she ran. Buildings glared from their crumbling backdrop as she kept running, trying her best to avoid the cracks as she sped up. But the horizon remained the same and she stopped as she seemed to end up exactly where she started. Soundless tears rolled down her cheeks as the world crumbled around her. The lack of fire in the sky cast a dull backdrop over everything and she picked up a piece of rubble, throwing it into the distance in fury – It made no sound.

The world had stood still and she fell to her knees amongst the decayed buildings. Once great monuments that scraped the heavens now sat broken and defeated. The wind lay still on the air. Even the sun had fled behind the gray blanket that had been draped over the Earth. After a few moments of weeping she stood; a new-found determination in her eyes as she wiped away her tears with charcoal smudged hands.

The sound of a violin piercing the fine ambience was enough to make her star running again, but as she followed the sweet requiem it grew quieter until eventually it stopped. She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear as she entered a music hall. She longed to cry out for someone but instead she coughed, choking on the words in her throat. She silently explored the hallowed halls, finding nothing but solace in each room. The music pulsed and stopped again and she pounded her fist into the wall in frustration, letting out a wordless cry.

The noise drew out a ghost, who hovered behind her noiselessly as she leant against the wall with small droplets running rivers down her cheeks, dropping to the floor with a tiny noise just like a pin dropping. He put a hand on her shoulder, making her jump and she scuttled away from him, pushing herself instinctively closer to the wall. He smiled, spreading from ear to ear a Cheshire grin.

His hair was a straight blonde cut that sat in layers around his feminine face. His eyes were a soft blue that could easily be mistaken a pale grey. He raised a brow as he glanced at her, his thin figure covered by a black suit that was easily a size too big. They stood in silence, both looking at each other in shock and awe. “Why, hello there,” he chimed and she smiled slightly back, still unable to comprehend completely what had happened.

“I’m Aiden,” he outstretched his hand, “but you knew that.” She looked confused and glanced at his hand for a moment before he withdrew it. “Amia, whatever’s wrong?”

She pointed to herself and thought for a moment. Then her face fell and she looked at the floor, shaking her head monotonously as she racked her brain for some explanation. “Amia, my dear, what has gotten into you?” She shook her head once more before looking up into his stormy eyes, a small whimper erupting from her lips as he took her in his arms. A soft whisper parted his lips as he attempted to soothe her.

She rested her head on his shoulder as she fell into his embrace; his arms were warm and comforting and her heart slowed under his touch and she mumbled something into his neck as he held her tighter, his hand rubbing up and down her back as she sobbed. “Amia, darling, hush. We’ll get through this. I’ll help you.”

She shook her head again and he closed his eyes, linking his arms around her as tightly as he could. They stood there as a cool wind blew around them, making some of the soot on the floor create small whirlwinds. She closed her eyes too, enjoying the warmth that Aiden gave, though tears still ran down her cheeks in tiny rivers, spilling over his shirt.

“Although,” he murmured, “it does explain why this place is such a mess...”

The End

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