12:01 am. The time clocked in my head telling me it was a new day. August 29th. On this day Zasti would've woken, unaware of her forlorn future. On this day I paused, dithering over whether to find the truth.
As I cascaded down the marble banister I searched for her, calling her name softly. No answer replied to my attempt.
"She's not her."
I turned expectant at the recognised voice. "How do you know?"
"Because more than you are looking for her."
Although I was not surprised at this, I wondered why he was sharing my query.
"Are you worried about her?" He asked me quietly, walking past me onto the cold floor.
"That's the problem."
"What do you mean?" I put into the air, questioning him quickly, but he had already gone, moved from this room to another.
Without a second moment I ran, running from then house as I had that day I had arrived. As I had when following Zasti. As I had when searching for her secret.
I found her lying there, body smoothed under the gentle tree. Lids shut against eyes. Empty heart beating in empty chest. I knelt beside her, knees cradling against soft thighs, hands moving unfeelingly in the air.
"Zasti?" I whispered softly, barely a thread through the air. No answer sleeked through her lips. As I stared at her pale face a shiver seemed to come over her. Shaking through her head, flowing down to her toes. A spark erupted from her bare feet evaporating over the nameless colour. Her fair skin seemed light under her sleeked black hair, her body sluggishly lying on the even ground.
"Zasti?" I repeated, no louder than the first.
In a moment her eyes were open, lids pushed back. Glowing cold in the light. In the colour of everything I stared into her eyes. White stared back at me.
"Zasti your eyes..." I trailed off, unsure of what to say, unmoved by her now natural eyes.
She reached up to them, raising her body with her arm, coming level to my face. A rare smile came over her face, drawing the cheeks but not reaching her eyes.
"I'm dead," she whispered suddenly, "I'm dead."
"Zasti you've been dead for ten years."
"No, I was never dead."
This statement passed through me, questioning the short past together, the past that shouldn't have happened.
"Why were your eyes black?" The question I had so heavily pondered on. The question I had attempted twice but never had the truthful answer.
"A car hit me," she started, "he was drunk. It didn't kill me instantly; I felt the pain crashing through me, wave over wave. I was rushed to hospital I suppose, placed on white sheets, hooked up to beeping machines. But it never killed me. Nor did it revive me. I've never left that bed since that day, nor that room. The machines continue to beep the sounds of my life. I was too close to death to ever have a chance of coming back but my parents didn't know that, only my sister did.
I can watch the room I lie in, I can watch them come and go. I'd watch Ana stand with her hand paused over the switch and I'd plead to her to do it, to end the trouble I caused. But my parents couldn't, they'd shout at Ana when she mentioned it, told her she didn't care for me. No matter how many times the doctors told them there was so little hope, it didn't matter.
And Ana finally did it. She flicked the switch, cause my parents can shout at her, they can hit her, they can disown her, but they can't bring me back and to Ana that's all that matters.
I'm dead now."
I was silent. Her secret had finally been shared, her secret had finally been revealed, and it was not what I had expected, nor what anyone would expect.
"How did you come here though?" My questions crowded my mind, and I sieved through them, discarding some, keeping others.
"This isn't the place we go where we die. There's another place, this is just the fringes of death."
"But I'm dead," I contested, challenging her speech.
"Yes but death is not an instant thing, it takes time, years but one day we'll pass into the void of deaths and then we can truly say we are dead."
"How do you know this, how do you know this is true?"
"I'm not sure, I just know."
I did not respond to this, entering into my thoughts.
"Is it any different?" I asked.
"I feel changed, like something's missing."
I remembered the day I had come and the days that had past. How every day I had felt that something was missing, something important.
"It's like everything is less, every word is missing the deeper meaning, every thought doesn't matter," she continued.
"Like there's no..." I said it before the thought entered my mind. In a moment it had come and gone, entered into the world. And at the time when I spoke those small words I knew I was right.
I had never felt worried, nor curious, no sad for what I was missing. Laughter was empty, tears were dry. There was no sadness in this world but without it there was no happiness.
I did not spare a glance at Zasti. I rose from my crouch and ran with speed into the colour. It surrounded me, enveloped me. I pushed it away, throwing my arms. They glided through the nameless colour with ease, falling back to me.
I continued to run, and slowly a scene came to view.
The tips of waves crashing against the cliff blew into white foam, casting sprays to my tall height. Out far the sea swirled into nothing more than a blue horizon. Wind sprawled into my face, pulling my broken hair from my face.
On the day long ago I had searched for the beating in my chest. Today as I searched I felt nothing, thoughts entered unaccompanied.
I stared out over the world of forbidden dreams. Here we could do anything, imagine anything. Here we were meant to be happy. Yet how could we be happy without happiness. In this world of forbidden dreams we had everything to make us happy; we could do anything to make us happy. Yet how could we be happy without the most important thing created. How could we be happy without the thing that made us cry and laugh. How could we be happy without emotion.