Chapter One: Adulthood (in which we meet three people, one alive and two dead)

(Read the entire chapter at once)

Zarah Vyas came to a stop directly in front of yet another corpse.

It was a young man this time, dressed similar to her in thick, ragged clothing. His face was frozen in a mask of mild shock and alarm, as if someone had said something insulting to him. Considering the large hole in his torso, it was definitely underwhelming.

“Same as the others?” Kihri’s voice asked from above her.

Zarah looked up to see her sister’s face, identical to her own save the scar across her mouth, poking out of the concrete of the bridge above them. Her choppy white bangs hung down towards the ground, and in the low light, her normally-translucent form was clear and solid.

“Same as the others,” she confirmed.

Kihri made a face. “You know, one of these days we’re actually going to find another ghost, and as soon as we do, I’m fucking gone.”

Zarah tried to chuckle, but couldn’t find it in her. “No, you will not.”

“…no, I guess I won’t.” Her face disappeared back through the concrete, leaving Zarah alone with the corpse.

She sighed, bending over to get a closer look. The wound was about two handspans wide, and not perfectly circular but close enough to not matter. Again, like the others. And again, strewn through the viscera, those threads of blue.

The first few times, she hadn’t touched them at all. Partially out of respect, to not taint or corrupt their providence before it could be burned, but also out of fear – if the police found her fingerprints on the bodies, she doubted her explanation would hold water. Or even be considered.

It seemed a little naive, in hindsight. Kihri had been right – if anyone had even found the bodies, there definitely hadn’t been any investigations. Her sister was bitter and cynical, but… usually right. Almost always right, she admitted to herself.


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