Casey nestled himself into the wafty hillside; knees to chin, arms interlocked. He loved the hillside during twilight, when the windows opened. The tall wisp grass came alive then, and he liked the way each silver blade would bend and sway toward the windows; reaching for all of the lost souls.
It was an ethereal sight as the souls slipped in. One by one they would slide through the ports, shapeless as smoke, individual, and vibrant as rainbows. He always hoped that one of these twilights would be for him. Even then, crouched upon a tuft of wisp grass overlooking the Valley of Ports, he held out hope.
He had heard the stories in the elder halls, of course. All lost souls are ushered into the elder halls for the stories. Casey was no different. He and countless others were told to wait, if there was no one there to collect them. They could wander wherever they wanted, and watch for the openings if they were expecting anyone. Casey was expecting someone. So every twilight, he found his patch of wisp grass.
Many times it was painful, to see others being collected, reconnected, and sent out to the eternal realms. And he felt so guilty every time he wished she would slip through. He still remembered what it was like to be human; the colors, the tangibility of everything. As he sat on the hillside, with the wisp grass rustling, he strained to recall the feeling of green grass beneath his bare feet. The smell of sticky sweet earth flooded through him and he felt her spark light up his soul. He missed her, and this view from the hillside was his only touchstone.
“If my time comes first, I will wait for you.” Casey promised her. He remembered the promise, but he could no longer recall when his time came. Time didn’t matter anymore. He had memories, of course, but no death memories.
All of the memories from his human form revolved around his love. Their first meeting, just north of the tracks downtown, along the river. Their first kiss, under the harvest moon, behind his father’s barn. He remembered how her amber hair framed her face, like a fiery pixie. He remembered how she used to say his name, and if he tried hard enough, he could still hear her voice whisper “Casey” and shivers would rack right to his core.
So many times as he sat on the hillside, he thought she was close to slipping through to him, because he had heard her whisper. Each time he was mistaken, and his soul would anguish. He didn’t try so hard to remember anymore. Casey now thought it best to leave the chances up to fate, if such a thing existed. He still hoped, though. Hoping for her was different than straining to recall.
As Casey meditated on the flowing blades of wisp grass, his gaze broke when the windows began to illuminate. This was his favorite part of twilight, and the only time the colors really came. He lifted his sight to soak in the swirling hues and he noticed something was missing. Normally, the windows would open with soft blues and greens, and the babies would gently sweep in. The elder guards were always in waiting for the babies, but not this time.
The colors were different, too. The wisp grass separated in front of him, all the way down the hillside, and Casey was immediately saturated in waves of orange, red, and yellow light. An odd warmth soaked up from his perch and he watched his own silver hue begin to morph into something more vivid. “What is this?” Casey whispered aloud.
“This is love” A familiar voice whispered back, “and I’m so glad you waited.”
Molly Roland is a writer by nature, and she enjoys stepping over the invisible lines society loves to draw.