“My friends called me Pyra.”
“Because, I like to burn things, silly. Haven’t you ever heard the word Pyromaniac?”
“Oh, I thought your mother gave you that name. I’ve never heard anything like it before.”
Pyra, the girl with the long brown hair and bright hazel eyes, laughed and for a moment, half her body dissolved in the mist. She was flawless, and of course, she was pale. The outline of her body shifting with the wind and smudged like a damp oil painting. In fact, against the backdrop of the misty forest, she fit right in. Pyra liked the other girl, she was pretty. Pyra didn’t have many friends when she was alive, but she liked to tell everyone that she did. She didn’t even have many family members left among the living. When she decided to check out, no one was the wiser. There was nothing left, dying was just the right thing to do.
The other girl was a little like Pyra in resemblance. The major difference was that she was a classic beauty. She wasn’t attractive in the modern sense-not thin and modelesque. Her being was full, curving into the backdrop. She was pale just as Pyra, and as the dark took possession of her form, it was evident that she was no stronger than Pyra. There was a mysterious quality about Pyra’s new found friend. Her beauty was something that belonged to another time, maybe even another place. Pyra watched her closely, trying to take in any unique qualities. The girl’s form blinked in and out with the pushing of the breeze, and her long red hair glowed in a devilish halo. It reminded Pyra of fire. Maybe this was why the girl was so intriguing. The redhead smiled and her dark eyes twinkled.
“So, you like to play fire? What a peculiar thing to do.”
Pyra looked at the other girl, wondering if she could possibly understand.
“Yes. Of course.” Pyra said. “So, you never told me your name.”
The redhead with the dark eyes smiled faintly. She shook her head.
“I don’t remember.”
As suddenly as the admission, the redhead turned to look behind her. When she glanced back to Pyra, there was fear in her eyes.
“He’s here again, Pyra.”
Pyra’s form dissolved and for a moment the other girl thought her friend was gone. As quickly as Pyra disappeared, she formed again. The wind blew and Pyra’s face wavered.
“I hate that. I hate when that happens. I cannot stay long, I’m losing energy.”
“I know, me too.” The lovely redhead said as she twined the fingers of both hands together. She was horrified when her fingers past right through each other.
“Pyra, my hands!”
Pyra was silent for a moment. She thought she heard the girl say a vampire was in the forest, but she couldn’t be sure. Energy was deceiving sometimes and dead words were not real anyhow.
“Did you say a vampire was near?”
The girl was still moving her hands and letting them pass through each other and through her own face. She reached for her tattered gown and her hands passed through that as well. She panicked.
“Pyra, what’s wrong with me?”
“It happens to all of us. There’s no need to be alarmed, you will get used to it. So, about the vampire?”
“Yes, he lays in that field, there, behind that stand of pine trees.”
Pyra laughed and it sounded like soft fabric rustling against skin. “Vampires aren’t real. Besides, how would you know he was a vampire any way?”
The other girl did not speak. She turned to look into the distance to her right. Her body faded as her face contorted with horror. As she turned back to Pyra, her eyes looked painful.
“My name is Marilyn. I think it is, anyway. I saw a picture in the trees. It was an image of me and I saw my mother beside me. She was looking at me, and she was saying Marilyn. That’s what it means, right. Isn’t my name Marilyn? Pyra, please, that’s what it means, right?”
Pyra couldn’t hold the energy much longer. The buzzing had already started. For just a minute, she wanted to touch the other girl, she wanted to console her, but that was impossible.
“I think so. I think you’re Marilyn, but I hate to assume without proof. Besides, that vision could mean something else. Your mother could be asking you about Marilyn. Honestly, it could mean anything. I don’t know.” Pyra stopped for a moment and rolled the possibility over in her mind. “Although, yes, I think… Maybe we should just call yourself Marilyn anyway, so that I can call you something. It wouldn’t hurt.”
“Maybe, okay, I’m Marilyn and you are Pyra. So, I have a question.”
“You tell me that I will get used to that strange thing with my hands? So, where are we?”
“You’re dead, Marilyn. I’m sorry, though, I don’t know where we are!”
“I’m not dead, Pyra. How can I be dead if I am here, conscious and without heaven? Yes, I feel like nothing, and I’m floating around between trees and shadows; and fields and the dark sky. I am not dead at all. How can this be death? It has to be something else.”
Pyra was confused. The girl was strange, she said the damnest things. How could she not understand the mechanics of death and the after-life. So many people spoke about the in-between and the fact that it was possible that death could mean roaming the earth forever in torment. I mean, the girl seemed smart enough, but her idea of unreality was torturous.
“Marilyn, why is this so bad. Isn’t it better than to be nothing at all? We can see things and we can still interact with others like us, when we find others like us. Maybe you haven’t gotten used to being dead yet. You see, from the moment I saw those trees and those dark hollows past the field, I knew I was dead. I know, because I remember the city streets and my home. I’ve never been to a place like this. Then there’s the obvious, I have no form. In fact, I thought I was in hell and that any moment the demons would welcome me into their fire pits. I thought it might be nice, really. From the first moment of darkness, I was okay with it. It’s okay here. You just have to get used to it.”
“NO! You don’t get it. I wasn’t supposed to be here. I feel it, I know it. Can’t you see, I cannot exist, not like this…not like anything where I have no solid form. I don’t want to think anymore about this god awful place! I want to go home!”
“Where do you think you are? Maybe this is earth, and maybe not, Marilyn. I don’t think you can go home.”
“Pyra, where is heaven? I dreamt of heaven, I remember that at least. I remember the church and my…I remember my mother, but I remember nothing else. There is just this strong yearning for God and he isn’t here!”
“God doesn’t exist, Marilyn.”
The other girl was motionless. Her form wavered and turned into static, then wavered back into a smooth film. She began to heave. A soft whimpering escaped her lips as her eyes squint shut. She was fading as well.
“You’re lying! You’re a liar! Can’t you see, I’m trapped here, not allowed into heaven yet. I have to find a way to die! I want to die, really die! I think, maybe, we are both in a coma or something. Don’t you think that’s possible, Pyra.”
But Pyra felt sad because she knew Marilyn was wrong. Pyra didn’t understand how she knew, but she did.
“I can’t hold it any longer, Marilyn. I will have to find you again when I have more energy. Listen, you have to accept the fact that you are dead.”
“I’m telling you, I think we’re in a coma! Don’t’ you think that’s possible?”
Pyra disappeared, and in a moment, she was still gone.