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The fall leaves fluttered around me, their red wings flapping loosely. The cool wind brushed its fingers against my cheeks. I looked up, and a bright blue sky greeted me. A blue sky. I haven’t seen one in years.
My eyes squinted at the sight of the rising Sun. Its warmth spread over me, cleansing me of my sins. I opened my hands wide open, and let it wash over me.
In the far off distance, a chorus of birds sang their sweet melody. To my surprise, I felt warm tears running down my face. To be alive again, after all these long years! My evils, why have I created you? Why haven’t I, in the life I had before, loved this wonderful scene? The price for greed, for murder, is steep. Is being held captive for eternity not enough? Must I lose such beautiful sights as well?
There was a well beaten-down trail in the field I was standing in. A lone farmer was walking down it. I raised my hand in salutation, but he did not look up. I screamed, but he did not look up. I half expected that. No one sees us Shades. We are ignored, cast aside.
I walked along with the farmer for a while. We came upon an old graveyard. The headstones were all weathered away. The farmer came upon one. He knelt down, and cried.
The name! The name! Suddenly, I knew who the farmer was, and for whom he was mourning. Every ten years that I was allowed to come up to Earth, to breathe the sweet air, I must pay a price. The price of grief, of remorse.
Rosalina Elsmore. The woman I killed in my ignorance, of my stupidity. I still remember what had happened, thirty years ago…
He was away, working in the fields. Ha! How stupid he was, to leave his house unprotected of the richness. His wife and he had saved up bags of gold coins from selling food and clothes. I was a thief. It was only natural I knew such rumors.
I snuck indoors, with my silent cat’s feet. There, in front of the fireplace, was the gold. I smiled. What an easy find.
I grabbed three, and stuffed five more in my large bag. Then suddenly, I heard footsteps.
It was her. Her eyes were wide open. She opened her mouth to scream help. What a foolish woman! I grabbed my gun, and shook it in her face.
“Move, or die!”
The bang of the gunshot still rang in my ears today. My hands trembled, and thick tears fell. But she wouldn’t want me to mourn.
I reached out to comfort the farmer. But as I touched him, my hand disappeared. I felt myself sinking into a deep hole, as above me, the Sun swallowed itself to a single point in the bright blue sky. In my ears, the song of the birds died away. Everything in sight turned the shade of gray.
Greed and murder had brought me here today. I had forfeited so much, just for an instant of happiness. A happiness that wasn’t mine, and never will be. I gave up so much, just for a few bags of gold.
My day on Earth had ended, and another one began in the suffocating darkness.