It’s a ball, and there’s no color. Not to say that everything’s in black and white, but that there’s an absence of color, the same way it is on the supernatural side. A couple on the stairs draws my eye. A tall man in all black with an onyx and diamond crown standing with a woman with long blonde hair in a charcoal dress, with a small bunch of mint leaves above her heart. My parents. Music plays softly and people stand in small groups and talk. Some couples dance, but most do not. After all, when you’re dead, why bother to try anything to feel emotion?
My father leans over and whispers in her ear, and she smiles, a smile that looks exactly like mine. She answers him, then laughs, an oddly musical sound, sounding strange coming from a woman who’s a ghost.
And speaking of ghosts, I see one particularly phantasmic figure hovering in the corner where my parents were just standing. Without seeing her face, I can tell it’s Kendra. Even though she can appear any age she wants, she looks like nothing more than a charcoal mass with a vaguely human form that oozes around, just a few inches above the ground.
Her mass moves slowly between the other party’s attendees to my parents, where the mass spins violently and Kendra is suddenly standing in front of the happy couple, a tall, severe woman with white-blonde hair pulled back tightly into a bun, accentuating the severity of the cut of her face. Even though there’s no shadows in the sense that light cannot pass through something, I swear there are still darker patches beneath cheekbones that seem to stick out far from her face. A proud, hawk nose curves from her face, set above thin lips that seem to blend into her face until she speaks.
“Lisle, what dost thou think thou art doing? Hath my daughter strayed that far from her teachings?”
My mom stiffens. “Thy place here is gone, thou art no longer welcome. Tis mine and my husbands.”
Kendra smiles mockingly. “Hath this human filled thy head with strong delusions such as this? Thou knowest that this shall always be my kingdom? That this shall always be my throne? And this, my crown?” Kendra asks as she moves her hand and the crown on my mother’s head floats into her outstretched hand.
“That crown is no longer yours, Kendra,” my dad says sternly.
Kendra slowly looks up. “Nay, human, it is mine, and always will be. Thou would do well to remember thy place in this court. After all, thou wouldst be part of the throne of souls had my daughter not taken pity on thou.”
“I did not kill myself, Kendra,” he begins.
Kendra waves her hand. “Minor details, human. The throne of souls is where thou belongs, whether or not thou took thy own life.”
Lisle steps forward. “Why did thou push him into unnecessary punishment? If he did not take his life, then he does not belong in the throne of souls, but as a member of the supernatural order.”
Kendra shakes violently, and turns into the corpse-like creature that attacked me earlier. “Humans do not belong in this court, nor as lords or ladies in this world!”
“Lady Kendra, perhaps this conversation could be continued behind closed doors?” asks a ghost that looks almost exactly like Wraith. Is that his father?
“Take your hand off me, Cayden. I thought you of all in the court would follow my stand in this.”
“Tis not how things were meant to be, milady. Come, we can all continue this talk elsewhere away from the prying eyes of our people.”
Kendra turns and glares at Cayden with fiery eyes, then smiles, which makes her look even more frightening. “Thou hath fallen in love with her, hasn’t thou? The Eidolon who wishes she were human?”
Cayden doesn’t answer.
Kendra turns back to my parents. “Thou hath infected my kingdom! Before thou, everyone knew their place, now thee and thou human ideals are going to be the downfall of this kingdom!”
“Tis not true, Mother,” Lisle says angrily.
Kendra grabs Cayden and flicks something against his throat.
“Kendra, there is no need for this,” my dad says, taking a step forward.
Kendra snarls and starts to turn into the corpse-like creature that attacked me a few hours ago. “Another step on any part, and Cayden will end up in Gehenna.”
“What exactly do you wish to accomplish by sending Cayden to Gehenna? You will gain nothing from it, Kendra,” dad says.
Kendra lowers her hand for a moment, and then stabs Cayden’s throat with whatever was in her hand. Cayden evaporates, a scream of pain etched onto his face, the last thing to disappear.
“Cayden!” a woman screams as she runs forward and throws herself to the ground where he disappeared.
“So thou art one of the humans that art helping tear apart my kingdom,” Kendra says icily. “Lisle, thou should spend less time living with humans and more time…”
I never get to hear what my mom should spend more time doing before Cayden’s wife stabs Kendra through the place where her heart should be if she was alive. Instead of blowing away like Cayden did, Kendra’s form oozes down to the ground and burns in black flames before she disappears.
“Lisle, this is why we should be in the human world. It’s safer for the baby.”
My mom nods, one hand pressed against her stomach. “Fallon, my husband and I would feel safer if thou would come live near us on the human side. Twould be safer for you and your son.”
Fallon looks up. “Will I ever see Cayden again?”
Dad shakes his head, looking more human than Shadow Lord. “Not unless you die two deaths. But that is not what you need to do. Your son needs you.”