I hold her tightly, hand clutched gently around her frigid, boney wrist. Her head laid flat against the pillow. Small strands of satiny hair rolled down her pillow like delicate streams of water running down a waterfall only to collapse into piles of stone. I could see emotions flashing across her face like a sweep of clouds over a quiet landscape.
She was agitated.
‘Shhh’ I whisper benevolently patting down on her sheeny hair it felt blurry on my fingertips like a cottage of comfort protective of the outside world. I hear her whimper, it saddens me. Ausra turns her head swiftly, so our eyes meet at one. Her expression made me feel culpable, the way her eyes drowned in tears but still managed to stay afloat.
‘The Twelve elves are coming’ Ausra alarmed. I placed my palm onto her hair and patted it down delicately smoothing out the waves in her hair. She turned the other way and closed her eyes.
‘No one is coming’ I assured she squirmed around knocking my hand off her silky hair onto the solidified, dense pillow. ‘We are safe, don’t let your dreams control you’. She ignored me before rolling away from me on to other side of the bed. I sigh deeply before closing my eyes gradually.
I saw darkness.
I was lost.
I felt small.
Where was Ausra?
I tried to use my hands to search for Ausra but they felt numb reassuring me danger had evoked. I attempted to close my eyes squeezing my eyelids together, but they wouldn’t budge. My eyesight unfolds and I distinguish twelve elves only for a second before my eyesight clogs up.
‘We need Ausra’ an elf proclaims. I can hear him devourer his lips, the fleshy sound as he steadily swallows his saliva crinkling down his throat, knives on a cutting board.
‘Twelve Hamlet Street’ another elf beams their words echoing through the room like complications choke humans as they disastrously pull lives apart. This elf’s tone is a significantly higher pitch, I recognise the soft, fragile voice. The elves talked like bombs falling in oceans interrupting the warbling seagulls chanting.
Then I realise, Ausra is wrong.
I am in a dream.
The elves want us to come to them.
The elf sounds like Ausra.
I wake up lying next to Ausra my hand still lying on the solidified, inflexible pillow only she was distanced away. She’s not asleep, neither am I.
‘I saw them, the twelve elves. They want us to come to them we need to go’ Ausra ignored me, so I spoke again.
‘Ausra, listen. You are an elf; I don’t know who these twelve elves are, but we need to find them’ those words seemed to trigger something inside and she jerked before jumping up to her feet. It was sudden but I saw it coming. Her ears began to rapidly grow at an alarming pace becoming pointier and pointier. Her eyes were locked on one concerning position and started to turn gold.
‘Ausra? What is happening to you? Hello? Ausra are you okay please answer me!’ I was shaking, I was scared, Ausra looked blankly at me, dissatisfaction had settled on her mind like a shadow of wilted roses.
‘Hold my hand’ Ausra confided extending her fingers out like a path as ruthless, dingy hooves of a horse trample over the shimmery pebbles. My movements aren’t sudden, but my fingers get washed away past ashore by a sweep of ocean sweat. She still stares blankly before I place my nugatory fingers on her piercingly glacial palm. Her expression changes as she smiles taking me by surprise before closing her eyes. I close my eyes too and then open them again.
I felt a hand on my slumped shoulder dozing down with a mind of its own. The hand was almost like a frosty icicle covered in blood making my teeth grit unconditionally with fear.
I couldn’t see anything.
Where was Ausra?
I was in a dream, only it felt too real. My eyes would not open.
‘Where am I, what am I, what are you doing with my sister’. It was Ausra. It felt comforting to hear her delicately angelic voice weep over me as it shivered in concern. What was going on?
I am selfish.
I am frozen.
I cannot move.
‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MY SISTER’ Ausra screamed it shook the tiles beneath me before solidifying back in place. She sounded so exasperated I desperately needed to be there for her, to comfort her but I couldn’t. When I tried to move my bones felt weak and numb. I was as useless as guilt. Not the normal guilt, the one that makes you live through a dystopian novel. My own breath corrupted a toxic swirl echoing through my throat, I was breathing. I am alive.
I could not see, Ausra was trying to protect me. I knew where we were though, Twelve Hamlet Street.
‘Now, now you and your sister are safe Ausra. She is alive and breathing but I figured I’d bring her to show you who you really are.’ Professed one on the elves.
I was sucked in with confusion as the questionable realism of this scenario made me doubt that I never touched one with reality.
‘We are the twelve elves; I mean you included Ausra. Not your sister though just you. Don’t try to interrupt me now or I won’t reveal who you are’.
I heard a gasp, as Ausra’s heartbeat became louder, beating faster than a stone falling to the bottom of a drain. I couldn’t hear mine.
‘You see, we get to choose if someone gets a second life. We may give it to them because they had bad luck, or they passed too early on. Sometimes we give the villains a second chance, to prove they are worthy. Now I want your opinion, a young boy killed his parents at seven, lit his school on fire when he was only 10, assaulted his brother who ended up in hospital and shot his best friend a year later. He died the following year should he have another life?’
I recognised this boy for some reason he sounded… Nice?
‘No’ Ausra’s voice trembled as her words tripped over her mouth.
‘Ah, I see’ says the elf. ‘You see you were the best friend in your last life.’
‘NO, no it can’t be’
‘Yes, it is, and your sister was that boy’.
I started falling.