Grave Travelings (Book 1 of the Dead World Series)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Supreme other-worldly fantasy

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Chapter 2 (v.1) - The Streets are Paved in Souls

Submitted: July 15, 2017

Reads: 78

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Submitted: July 15, 2017



It's dark and raining outside the building. Looking around the sidewalks are bustling with people. I looked to Emrys as he began walking down the steps. "Come along, Little One." He said with a wave of his hand. I hurried to keep up with his long strides, my bare feet slapping on the cold and wet pavement. "Where are we going?" " Not far, watch your step". He picked me up by the waist and set me down in front of him. A black, slime-like creature scurried past us where my foot would have stepped. That's when I really began noticing everything and everyone around me. Some where just dark shapes darting through the crowd, others were similar to the slime creature and then there were actual people walking around. They stopped and talked or went into shops and kids running around. Would seem pretty normal if it weren't for the fact it looked like a time machine threw up on the streets. Everyone was dressed like they were from a different era. Togas, high-necked dresses, pantsuits and corsets were everywhere. " Emrys...Why does everyone look like this?" He chuckled. "Because. They are dead. Some died hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Others are new arrivals like yourself, there's not a dress code to follow here. It's what they are comfortable in. Or what they died in." "And those creatures? What are they?" I motioned to the group of shadowy creatures and slime. " Natives to The Great Beyond. They have been here since the beginning. Completely harmless I assure you." He was smirking at me and we continue walking. 

Finally we came to what looked like the rich part of town. We turned into a gated property and began the long walk up to a large, Roman marbled palace. I gawked as we walked up the steps and to the double doors. Emrys knocked and the doors opened to reveal a tall, burly man with long blonde hair and a beard. He carried a long steel ax at his hip and wore what looked like some animal skin pants with a large brown fur tied at his hips. His leather vest had some obvious wear and tear and he glared at Emrys. " Can I help you, your Lordship?" the man said, his voice gruff. "Brynjar. Pleasant seeing you again. I trust you and your sister are well?" Emrys breezed past the door dragging me with him. Standing in the foyer I looked around. The tall marble walls were covered in tapestries and weapons. Tall paintings hung, depicting different people and places. Plants were scattered here and there and behind us were arches opening up to a large garden with a pool in the center. I glanced at Emrys and Brynjar who stood arguing off to the side. Emrys gestured my way and Brynjar looked to me and then stared. "My Lady? Is it really you? By the gods, we were not expecting you back so soon." He fell to a knee, his ax out resting on the floor. " Hillevi will be pleased to see you again. Come I will show you to your chambers." Brynjar rose and grinned, leading us down the side of the walkway to another set of arches on the far left. 

We came to a heavy blue curtain and Brynjar moved it out of the way revealing a bedroom. A large bed sat in the middle, sheer curtains hung from the ceiling. the marble floor was scattered with fur rugs. A large fireplace situated on the wall in front of the bed. I stepped into the room and noticed the large dresser and cabinets made of mahogany, a large  steaming bathing pool was to the left of the bed, separated by more sheer curtains. " Brynjar, tell Hillevi to bring some refreshments. I'm sure that the cook  can whip something up real quick?" Emrys said sitting himself down on a blue chaise lounger. Brynjar rolled his eyes. "I do not take orders from you, Saxon." Emrys grinned. " Aye, I'm sure you don't. Wasn't one of your past lives a Saxon?" " May Odin strike you down." "Don't forget the ice bucket this time, for the wine." Emrys waved his hand as Brynjar left. I frowned. "Old friends my dear. Now if you look in that wardrobe I'm sure you will find something that you can squeeze yourself into. There's a door behind the bathing curtain that will lead you to the loo. Unless you like an audience?" I  blushed and glared. I stomped over to what I had originally thought was a cabinet and opened the doors. I found dresses hanging from the wire hangers, jackets on the door, boots at the bottom, white shirts hanging among the dresses. Besides the boots I found pairs of black pants. I grabbed a pair of them and some black riding boots, along with a white shirt and a red riding jacket. "Under clothes are in the drawer" he said lighting another cigarette and staring into the garden. I opened the drawer connected to the wardrobe. I grabbed a pair of underwear and I couldn't find a bra, but I found plenty of corsets. I let out a breath and just grabbed the first one I saw. 

Once I was in the bathroom I sighed and stared at myself in the mirror above the sink. I looked the same, a little tired but the same. I ran a hand through my red-brown hair, the curls untangled between my fingers. It lay down my back, stopping at my waist. I pulled it back into a bun at the nape of my neck. I splashed water on my face, and stared at my blue-grey eyes, they looked clear as usual, my face clear except the splash of freckles across my nose, my cheeks rosy like normal. I was naturally very pale, but it seemed as if I was paler than normal. I touched my cheek and closed my eyes. I never really thought I was pretty, My mom called me classically beautiful, like Aubrey Hepburn. The same catlike wide eyes, the same full brows, only my face was slimmer it seemed, only my cheeks more full. As I examined myself in the mirror I got a tingly feeling and was pulled back into myself. I saw the bathroom only the edges of my vision were foggy, dreamlike it seemed. I was walking out of the bathroom, the sunset streaming through the open arches of my room. A man lay on my bed only thing he was wearing was a sheet, I couldn't see his face but his hand reached through the curtains for me. "Alejandra"  he whispered. I found myself reaching for him "Casmir...You will not leave me alone on this night, my husband" I found myself whispering. The vision faded and I was once again back staring into the mirror. I blinked and steadied myself against the sink. Was that a memory? Casmir...I knew that name. Deep down inside myself I knew that name... The name of the man I called..."Husband". I whispered aloud. My heart was pounding. Was Casmir here? Would he be able to unlock who I am here? " You are no longer that person" De's words came back to me. Could I forget what happened? Ignore these visions of myself? i took a deep breath then let it out slowly. I can't dwell on it right now, I decided. I turned away from the sink and let the hospital gown pool at my feet. 

Lord Collin Emrys was something of an annoyance I decided. He smoked like a chimney, drank until he became far to loud and had a habit of being rude. Since he started drinking the wine Brynjar's sister, Hillevi brought to us, they both have taken completely over the conversation. Hillevi watched the men as they began a game of chess. We were in another room, this one was like a library of sorts, rugs covered the floor and so did pillows. Books were stacked in shelves and in piles on the floor. Hillevi, much like Brynjar was tall and blonde and seemed to have eyes of steel like her brother. But where he was burly, she was a slim but strong looking woman. She stood almost as tall as Emrys but he still had a good 4 inches on her. She wore a short sleeved, black under tunic with a green over tunic. A leather belt sat at her waist with a long dagger tied to it. Her hair was braided away from her face. " Arizona, would you like more wine?" she asked. Her voice was as clear as a bell. I nodded " Please if you don't mind." She grinned. "I am your Lady's maid, it is my job and my oath to look after you My Lady." Hillevi replied. I frowned. "How did that come about?" I asked as she filled my glass and handed it back to me. "Come with me and I will tell you. Bring the wine, I doubt those two will even notice one of the bottles missing." She grinned mischievously. 

We wandered the hall til we came to a room. Moving the curtain back I saw it was an office, it looked like a smaller replica of the library with a desk in the middle. I sat down on the edge of the desk as Hillevi pulled out a book and flipped through it. After a moment she handed it to me. " You saved me and my brother when we were alive. There was an evil creature attacking our village, it was coming from the woods where an old druid crypt resided. It was stealing the children and sucking them dry and leaving the bodies for us to find. You came to the village looking for the creature, we called you Magnhild, it means powerful in battle, after you slain the creature." I skimmed through the passage she handed me. It was my diary from that time. I grinned. " It says my real name was Ase but you and your brother refused to call me that. What does Ase mean?" " it means god-like." I nodded and took a sip from my glass. I continued reading and noticed a name kept popping up with mine. "Hillevi, who is Cuyler?" I asked. She took the diary back from me and put it back on the shelf. "Cuyler was...How do I say this? I guess he was your lover. He came to the village with you." "Oh? Did we not leave together?" she remained silent. I figured she didn't hear me. "So how did you end up being my Lady's maid?" I watched as she moved about the room, she grinned at me. " I was out on my own,hunting the creature, when it had grabbed me. I was nearly dead when you and Cuyler found me. You saved me. In return I gave my oath to serve you, so did Brynjar. We were so grateful you accepted. We lost our parents when I was little. My father died during a raid, his fellow warriors brought back his ax for Brynjar. My mother... She jumped into the funeral pyre they held for him." I stared open mouthed. "Jumped into the fire?" "It wasn't that uncommon for the wife to join her husband in Vallhala, My Lady" Hillevi said patting my hand. " DO not worry, you will regain your memory soon and some of these things won't seem so strange anymore." I nodded and Hillevi suggested we go join the men again.

When we came back to the library both men were arm wrestling. I noticed while Brynjar was struggling, Collin was smirking at him. He met my eye and winked. I turned away. To no surprise to Hillevi, Collin won. He came over and plopped himself down next to me on the pillows, his bottle of whatever he was drinking spilling on his hand. "So, as I've been sitting here, I was thinking to myself. How did you wind back up here in the Great Beyond so soon?" He asked. I leaned back to look at him better. His white collared shirt unbuttoned slightly, his eyes burning softly in the fire from the fire place. He had his arm behind his head and I noticed his hair falling in his face. He screamed sex and danger. Things I knew to avoid but subconsciously drew closer to. "There was a car accident. A drunk driver or something hit me head on. I don't even think I had time to process what happened." He nodded and took a sip from his bottle. I noticed the siblings had left the room leaving us alone. " And what happened to you Emrys?" I asked. He chuckled. " A girl, I was locked in the tower of London and then executed for us being together." I noticed the cold smile as he looked into the fire. " She told someone she was pregnant and they betrayed us." "What happened to her?" I asked, scared to find out. He looked at me and his eyes softened. " Last I heard, she ran away and raised our son, she remained single until her death." "So you found her?" He nodded " Oh yes, But she didn't remember me or our son. When her time was up to be reborn she took it without knowing the truth." I looked away and drank my wine, not knowing what to say. 

Later that night I laid in bed thinking of everything I had left behind. I wondered if my mom had got the call to come and see me. If Nashville would be able to hold it together long enough for our mom. If someone was going to go to my apartment and feed Joey. Who even would take Joey? I hopped Nash would and that mom would let him keep him. I also mourned my little blue punch-bug, now probably spare parts. It was the only thing I had left of my dad to remember him before he left. I didn't have a lot of friends, and those I did talk to I wouldn't way we were close enough to miss.I thought of the love I would never have, the children I will never give birth to or see grow and I felt almost cheated in some way. I rolled to my side and watched the sky. The moon was different here, it was huge, and almost comically huge. It looked like something from a syfy movie. The stars were normal looking but glowed blue. The sky its self looked like the galaxy lollipops people tried to sell. In its own way I guess it was beautiful, but at the same time it was to different. I noticed some of the shadowy figures floating across the sky and while you could hear crickets, you could almost hear soft music at the same time. I shut my eyes and rolled to the other side and allowed myself to cry and mourn my own death and the end of the life I never got to live.

© Copyright 2019 Erika Justian. All rights reserved.


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