Part 2: Alone

She appeared in a forest.

Aislin scanned the area. Other than the occasional chirp from a nearby bird, it was silent. She guessed she was rather deep in this forest, since there were trees in every direction. She wasn’t even on anything that resembled a traveling path.

The dark-haired girl sighed and sat against a tree. She noticed a leather bag on the ground next to her. Inside was a book almost identical to the one Ria had in the library. This one was thinner, and after flipping through the pages, completely blank. Aislin had hoped it would have some clues as to who to look for in this world, but there was nothing. She sighed again.

This was the first time she had ever been truly alone.

Granted, she wasn’t really a social person. She got along well enough with her family, but didn’t usually accompany them on shopping trips or other outings, and they rarely went on vacations. At school, people only talked to her during group projects or for occasional help with work. She had one person that she considered closer than the rest — Aislin didn’t call her a friend, but the girl wasn’t a stranger either. But in all of those situations, people were still around. This time, as far as she knew, she was the only one in this area. To make it worse, this was a completely unknown place to her.

Aislin knew she had to find civilization quickly.

She stood up, lifting the bag over her shoulder. The forest was dense, and she didn’t seem to be on a well-traveled path. The dark-haired girl started walking, carefully avoiding the protruding roots and sticks that littered the ground.

Aislin didn’t know how long it had been, but it felt like hours. The sun was starting to set, though Aislin couldn’t tell exactly where it was in the sky. Not like it would help, she didn’t know how to tell time just by looking at the sky. She was still in the thick forest, which was starting to seem an endless mass of trees. She hadn’t even seen many animals in this area, either.

Suddenly, there was a wall in front of her. Aislin stopped short, not expecting that she would run into a building this quickly. The wall was made of large, reddish bricks, rough and covered in dried vines. Aislin sighed. At last, she had found some sort of possible civilization. Placing her left hand along the wall, she started to follow it around. She continued to follow it around the corner. There didn’t seem to be any gates on this side either, however there was a pile of wood leaning against the wall.

Would climbing over the wall count as breaking in to the property? Aislin knew she needed shelter for the night, and the property seemed big enough that she could hide somewhere until the morning.

She climbed up onto the wood pile. It shifted slightly, but stayed upright enough for her to clumsily scramble over the wall. It wasn’t a graceful climb at all, and her momentum caused her to tumble over the other side. Aislin gasped when she hit the ground — the fall hurt more than she expected. Was this what Ria meant when she said that the soul shell was weaker than her normal body? She shook her head, and stood back up to look around.

It seemed to be a courtyard surrounding the building a good number of feet away. The building looked like to be a sort of palace, made of the same red brick the wall was made from, accented with gold and white colored trim and well-trimmed plants. The side she was on had a door leading inside.

Aislin decided to take her chances. She didn’t know what would happen if she was caught. The girl walked up to the door and opened it, revealing a staircase leading into a basement under the building. Slowly, she started to descend, shutting the door behind her. There was no light in the basement, and she had to carefully use the wall as support as she walked down the thin stairs.

There wasn’t much light at the bottom of the staircase either. A few torches dimly illuminated the walls. Aislin looked around as best as she could, trying to get her bearings. After her eyes adjusted, she continued on. The silence was deafening. Aislin could only hear her own light breaths echoing slightly through the empty hall.

She reached an alcove in the wall. She was exhausted from all the walking she did today through the rough terrain. The girl sat down in the alcove, which was barely big enough for her to stretch out in. It was cold in the dark basement, and slightly damp. Aislin shivered.

The realization had just struck her. She was completely alone.

She drew her knees up to her chest, hugging them tight. Her breath was ragged, even though she kept trying to breathe deeply to avoid crying.

She couldn’t. The tears silently rolled down her face. Aislin buried her head into her knees, shivering. Her thoughts were entirely jumbled. She wanted someone with her, anyone.

And she wanted to be home again. Alive.

Afterlife: Second Tale – Chapter 2

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