Chapter One: Prologue

Ash and dead leaves crunched under her silent footsteps. Around her, shadows stretched tall and long, despite the emptiness of the fields she ran through; they were cool, dark, almost soft, kissing her with their embrace as if they were pleading her to return, to stop running and turn back.

She did not have a body anymore, only a form: a half-empty hollowed-out husk of what she had been when she was alive. When she was on Earth. She may have been in this place for a while now, but she had not forgotten what it felt like to live. To feel the sun caress her face, to hear birds singing, to smell the cut-grass green smell of the summer air. No, she had not forgotten.

Further she pushed on, the shadows sticking to her form and pulling her back, but she brushed them off like they were cobwebs. She had walked for so long, following the whispered rumours of the other shades; travelled this realm so far to see how great its reach was and to see if the mutterings and murmurings were true. And she was so close, now, so close that the shadows seemed to cry out in anger. They were like creatures now; hissing, slithering creatures that crawled up the back of what had been her neck and coiled around her ankles.

But up ahead - there it was. So thin it was almost unnoticeable but for the glimmer it made, like the reflection of the moon in a pond; it glimmered in a way nothing down here did. And as she reached it, she saw the tear: a flap of whatever it was made from, some material or light or skin, she didn't know, was laying half on the floor, hanging onto the rest of the Veil by a thread. And where it had been there was darkness: utter, complete darkness, darker than the muted black of the shadows and the greys and browns of this realm. And beyond that - light. A piercing beam of light. Sunlight?

The shadows uttered one last roar as she reached the hole and threw herself through. There was nothing they could do. She gave one a last glance back at the realm she had left behind, and then the shade turned forwards to Earth. She smiled, once, and then vanished.