Crush

The place was a crush of purple, whilst, snow-like, petals and sparkles fell in gold. Phlegmatic nebulas of atramentous cotton buds, tumbled forward adjacently. The brittle orchid sky; swollen like a ripe womb, this aphotic void aloft issued a guttural moan, the reverb spat from behind a faceless moon. 

Bleak below the vast expanse of bruised sky, what initially could be mistaken for a high tide of dark water laid a mesh of grey hands slithering, swaying, rocking. Pulsing like an ocean,  the hands clambered and crawled, skeletal pulses of fingers grasping for their feast. For above the deathly grey bones and limbs floated, almost a meter above, quite solemnly, and gracefully, the souls of the dead.

Autumn looked out at the world before her, she had seen it a hundred times before but now was different, everything felt different. 

Here in the Ghost Line, where Autumn had been given her second opportunity to live, she witnessed the souls of thousands pass. Dead, or dying, they drifted to the Darklar Falls, where the souls would flow into the next world... unless they were intercepted. 

Ghost Line bottle-headed just before the falls and here, Autumn knew the Amethyst Swift would hold anchor, capturing a higher ratio of souls for Kaos to feed on. 

Darkness melted into the dead world as pulses of those come to pass plunged into the golden slipstream of souls. More dead than usual were here, millions, no billions passed through by the moment, passing through as far as Autumn's now clear eyes could see.

"This isn't right." her voice quivered slightly, like a petal tracing the breeze. Her hair, a deep coffee colour simmered in the wind, glinting slightly under the moon. It shifted heavily from its unwashed, sweaty, blood streaked torment. Autumn dragged a hand through multiple knots, her face clenching briefly as she tugged at her scalp.

Her skin was greasy, a film of sweat covered her brow, still partially exhausted from her quick attack on the Dark Alastor. Her muscles were tight from days of hard travel and stress.

More and more filtered through into the death stream, colliding with each other now, ethereal friction grating through one another. Now sometimes with the soul-bodies, came dark ghosts mounted on top of them, their mouths sucking the air near the soul-body's mouth, extracting some form of essence. The dark ghosts were human shaped, but even in their translucent, ghostly form it was visible that they had rough, sandpaper skin, leathery and weathered by some variety of darkness. 

Great dark scarabs skittered over head, sharp, steely noises kissing the air, crushing patterns of sound into the absent wind.

This simply isn't right, she told herself, Why are there so many... what in the Phoenix's name is going on around here? How can I get answers... think, think Autumn, think.

Autumn took a step forward, to the edge of the precipice that overlooked this monstrous landscape. She didn't know what to do.

A hand found her shoulder. Autumn twisted quickly out of its grip, startled. 

"Autumn, you need to relax." a smooth voice spoke. 

"Thank the elementals... it's you, you shouldn't sneak up on people like that Inochi... I don't suppose you have any idea what is going on here do you?"

Inochi peered into Autumn's eyes, his hands taking hers, softly, tenderly, his touch, healing her, breathing life into her skin, her hair, her eyes, her muscles. Then he spoke. Very carefully, with sombre expression he merely uttered, "Everyone is dead, Autumn, everyone..."

The End

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