Chapter 34:

Interlude 2 – How Do I Say Goodbye

Grace Dances Upon the Clouds

The darkness comes…

I feel its embrace against me. But soon, I realize that it is a different one. Somewhat foreign, perhaps forgotten. My wings flap to get away but I can no longer feel them.

The bright colors before my eyes fade. The limbs that desperately claw at paradise dissolve. And then, I feel nothing. It is not a stasis but a lack of existence.

It is a far deeper nothing than ever before. One that makes me believe that tomorrow will never come.

It is terrifying.

As Grace sank into that darkness, her heart felt like it would chip away. Slowly, like a chisel against a boulder. The echo of that pounding turned into a sound of warning.

Beep… Beep… Beep…

Rhythmic, unceasing, and definite.

Grace was thankful that no one could see her face, for the fear stricken upon it would have been ghastly. Yet, a hint of familiarity soon reared its head. Grace listened for a while. The warning grew closer and closer, like an old friend forgotten.

She could fill her eardrums with merry tunes, wishful thoughts, and laughter. She could talk endlessly with Haru on just about anything.

She thought she could hide by masking it all. Until she no longer remembered that it was there.

Beep… Beep… Beep…

The noise persisted. Like the ticking of the clock. Like the beating of a heart.

Grace knew her time was coming to an end. A wave of thoughts washed over her.

You have no choice. Overstayed your welcome. Never meant to be. Mere happenchance. A miracle in itself.

She reached out to wave them away, blindly, futilely. Such somberness was unbecoming of her, she told herself. That was until her next thoughts spoke otherwise.

A melody struck her ears, deep within her memories. The sound of piano keys – harmonies invoking flashes of brilliance. Hands appeared, dancing across, each stroke of the fingertips full of excitement and longing. They gave life to a dull world, filling it with wonders.

The rush of a waterfall.

The deluge of a torrent.

Sunshine beaming down.

A horseman in chase.

Flight of a bumblebee.

Butterflies in the sky.

Winter chill of the air.

The crashing ocean tides.

And finally, a revolutionary etude.

Their meanings called out to her heart. They shook the very core of her soul.

Grace could feel it in Haru’s song, not in the tune itself but the feelings hidden within. Desires buried deep within her came forth. They made her remember what once was – a soul always longing for the world beyond her gaze.

A silent scream escaped her lips. The knowing cry of a discovery self-buried. The pain would have been much less if she had wallowed in ignorance.

But then, the Heavens offered mercy. A disturbing static fought over the incessant noise. And for the time being, the darkness retreated. It waved to her as if a reminder.

One more chance.

One more day. One more moment. Grace would take anything at all.

Her wings spread, ready for one last flight. And as her feet touched the first cloud, Grace knew that she was racing against time. A storm brewed below her, a whirlwind of self-doubt.

The surroundings no longer chimed. She didn’t bat an eye as the wonders of this world were blown away. Grace knew she had to stop it. She wouldn’t let such treasures be lost on her watch.

“Dreams end eventually.”

That was what he once said. Disappointment reared its ugly head.

Grace finally understood what he meant by that. The blissful days of fun were seemingly unending while enjoyed, but far too short in hindsight. Grace wished for a lifetime of experiences. But even her time wasn’t her own.

She knew that wish couldn’t come true.

“But they don’t have to end pointlessly!” she cried out.

Grace dove forward, her sights set on Haru below.

Even if a dream fairy was an illusion, even if she had no true magic of her own – there was still a mark she could leave behind.

She could still dispel the storm that was his heart. She could leave the rest to the others. Grace would make sure she existed. That was the final task left to do.

It was all she could hope for when her place was never here to begin with.
Taylor J
Dhamas Tri (dmz)
Mario Nakano 64
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