She exhaled her last breath as she watched the sky change colour as it turned from dusk to dawn. The curtain of her eyelids arose, her pupils, the black holes finally, let light into her eyes as she awoke from the darkness of her nightmare.
Dreams are memories of another life.
Someone once told me that. She said it came from a book she believed in. She understood it to mean that the world doesn't revolve around co-incidences. I sighed, acknowledging that this wasn't my last breath. But another life...I understood to get a feel of what's moving under the water, I needed to believe in magic and hope and fairy tales.
The sound of something shattered her thoughts. Her cup now lay in pieces across the floor,it was more than just a teacup, it reminded her of her favourite classic- Alice in The Wonderland, because unlike every fairytale it did not start with once upon a time and it was about Alice's adventure not the wait for a prince to save the day. The pale black roses embedded upon its surface gave a sense of being timelessly architectured and the best part was it was imperfect - chipped but still beautiful - she stepped forward, déjà vu had struck her, again. She had seen this somewhere. She just didn't know where. A dream perhaps, she thought. She picked up the shattered piece her blue eyes reflected upon it, there was a date encrypted- 15-9-2012 - that was today, she stepped away because this was the only thing in years that had not given her a feeling that it was something she had already experienced. "What could be today?"
"You're late, again" he sighed and rolled his eyes. "I'm sorry, I was busy dreaming" Grace replied as she gasped for breath. "About what?" August had to make sure she was fine because she didn't look like she was, sweat glistened at the strands of her brown hair her hands fidgeted along the broken piece of a cup "My death" and with that, she walked away.
"They are just dreams" he knew they weren't, but he said it anyway. She stopped, just so she could look at him in the eye when she said it "it is not a coincidence that I have memories, more than that Déjà Vu's, conversations I have never had before and images of people I have never seen, but as days go by all my dreams begin to become reality." "Well then, what is it?" he stopped walking alongside her. "I was hoping you'd know" she tossed the piece in midair, as he bent and with a sleight of hand, held it right in front of his sea green eyes, that reminded her of the depth of the ocean, he looked at it as if he could read it all, like a page from a book. "Written in a very short size, so that it is not noticeable, someone who knows how observant you are. But knew that if it would break, it would be pretty noticeable, someone who cleans your room. The date is supposed to serve as a reminder. It must have been written a long time ago, that's how it must not have smeared despite being written by a permanent marker. But why here?" he paused, shaking his messy black hair out of his eyes."This person knew who you were that's why you would never drink in it because you kept it as a souvenir. So. it wouldn't risk being washed, therefore erased. Written in a hurry, bending towards the right side, right-handed of course. As a conclusion, someone who knows you, who cleans your room and is right-handed in particular, wrote it a long time ago as a reminder. I'd say, you know who" he deducted. "Paige!"
Paige adjusted the edges and curves next to each other and put all the piece together. Well, at least all that she could find. "Looking for this?", she turned to find Grace leaning at the door, with the missing piece held between her fingers. "So, what's today?" "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." "Try me." Paige looked as if she had been destroyed by the question, itself. Her brown eyes failed to adjust to an epicentre, her fingers tangled among her endless brown hair. "Today's the day, you're supposed to die" she answered."How?" she sat down alongside her sister. "Should I start with once upon a time?"
She exhaled her last breath as she watched the sky change colour as it turned from dusk to dawn. The sun had just risen and the day had just begun, but something in Paige had died, as she swept towards her sister. Grace's lips had turned a shade of light pink - dusty rose- than the usual bright red, her brown hair no longer smelled of fresh lavenders and she no longer breathed, Paige's tears drenched alongside the blood that smeared Grace on the cliffside of Mount Rushmore. "Come back to me, please," she commanded as she wept, "I promise you, I will find a way to bring you back" she brushed her hair aside, so she could look at her eyes one last time. Paige was ready to spin the world at her fingertips if it meant to find a cure for her. Briar-Rose, the name was "There is a way, but that does not mean that she will not face death again." she nodded, he turned the clock back just so she could spend another life with Grace. "Tick-Tock" were his last words to Paige.
"You'd do that for me?" she smiled, a proud smile that marked something more than the tears that glistened across her face, it was her heart. "I did that for you" they put their arms around each other as they smiled and sniffled and the world went on.
"Knocked-out, not much of a problem, I see" he stood in the shadows. He looked towards Paige who lay in the snow, injured and broken. "Leave her, take me instead", Grace responded. He stepped closer, still facing away from her. "As you wish", he stabbed her with the knife, he had been sharpening with the tip of his nails. He drove it out, just to show her the blood that now stained it. She was no longer standing near The Open Border and the time had passed from 8:15 to 3:57 at night, somehow. Her hand rested upon where her heart belonged, she ran through the train, sweat and tears trickled down alongside her face. She called for help, but it seemed as if it was an empty hearse. Her heart pounded, for what seemed like the last time, she fell to the floor. The cold against her face seemed to drown her in deep waters. Her dream shifted, the shattering of glass filled the silence that surrounded her. She felt as if something clutched her, forced her to give up all the life inside her. Along the shattered pieces, water streamed across the floor, melting into darkness. All of a sudden, she began to cough, her lungs felt as if they were failing. Her eyes widened, that dark liquid possibly got the better of her vision, because all she could see was the red that stained her hands. Her mind exploded from the vastness of her dreams, Grace's eyes opened, the stars that spread through her ceiling glowed in the darkness of the night like a ship sailing in the mist. She had to run away from death...as far as it took. She had to prepare for the adventure that lay ahead. The lamp spread light onto the maps she unravelled and encircled the locations her dreams warned her not to travel to. She dressed up for battle, her armour was a dark cyan sweater underneath a papaya whip coloured jacket over a pair of denim-blue jeans and brown boots.
August led Grace to the shaft mine, she gripped the minecart, but he held her back. "Are you sure about this ?" "I'm not sure about anything that's about to take place, but I am counting on my instincts" she answered as she looked down at her bag, uncertainly. "Well, I hope they get you somewhere safe", the corner of his mouth resisted a smile. She ran into his arms, "why are goodbyes so hard?" she asked "I guess we'll never know" he answered because that was the best possible answer he could think of. She adjusted herself in the minecart and he pushed her away, as she paddled herself along with an oar.
I'm sorry that I had to leave, I didn't have a choice or at least I thought so. Yesterday night, I had nightmares extending to new possibilities of my death. To make sure your sacrifice had not gone in vain, I had to run away. But, no matter how far I run, death will follow my trail. These are probably my last words to you, this letter is supposed to remind you to keep going on. By the time you will be reading this, I will have left on a minecart of August's family's mineshaft. To understand the reason behind why I left, I would ask you a single question - if you knew when, how and where you would die would you not try to escape it?
"Once you’ve crossed the line, that separates life from death
There’s no turning back, all is left up to fate
Hope for heaven, and end up in hell
Where all control is lost, and suffering continues
There are no angels, to guide you through
There are no options, there’s no way out
That’s the difference, between life and death
You can escape life, but not death."
- Allyson Gordon
17 February 2025, today's the day death came knocking at my door. The stranger stood at the door, he wore a black leather jacket over a plain, white shirt and a pair of jeans, his black eyes seemed to hold endless darkness inside. "Who are you?" she demanded, "Most people start with 'hi', you know?" he answered, answering the question with a question. "Well then, I'm not most people, are you?" she slowly loaded the gun behind her back. "Death isn't practically a person", with that he slowly stepped inside. "You can't be death, I've run far away from it", the gun now lay on the floor as she stepped away "well, how far can you run away from death?" she fired the Vasse kept next to her at his feet, so he could count to ten, while she would hide and their little game of Hide and Seek would continue. She exhaled as she hid behind a free-standing full-length mirror, no one looked there, because they expected you to hide somewhere difficult, but if this was death, there was no knowing how today would end. She barely exhaled when a knife implanted itself to the wall, smashing the mirror, right next to her ear. She picked one of the broken pieces, aimed it right where his heart belonged and launched it. Although, it went through and hit the wall behind him instead. He looked at her questionably, "did you just try to kill death?" she answered looking away, "think so" before she ran down the stairs when something stopped her "stop", it was the gentleness of his voice. She had never stopped once, she had been running for the past 13 years, Grace never turned back once, but today was different. She stepped closer to him, "death is ordinary yet unexpected, how did running away from death help you?" he sat down, hoping she would sit next to him. "It gave me another chance at life, the adventure I had always looked out for" she answered as she sat down next to him. "Well, how was living without ever seeing August and Paige, again?" he looked to her, expecting for her to contradict. "Painful", she regretted as a tear crippled from her eye. "Do you think by escaping death, you have earned immortality?" "no, I knew this day had to come" she answered unwillingly. "Then, why not face that death with courage?", "I had not thought about it like that." She realized "but why?" he looked up at her with a smile, "because that's what makes you a hero, it is the rarest quality on earth" "I'm ready, to die a hero", he smiled proud of her, even when he didn't know who she was.