Chapter 2 – On Hades Beach

ELLE awoke sitting on hard ground in a thick cold fog with the smell of water nearby and knew she was dead.

How could I forget the fog? I’m back. Hades beach. I forgot about this place when I was alive. Everyone does. I’m dead. Suicide. Passively wasting away.

She got to her feet. She wore her formal white concert gown. She spied a brown hair on the white gown — her hair color before Arthur left, before it began falling out. Her hands weren’t as thin now, not as skeletal. Starvation no longer showed. Best to forget starving myself. I’m going to forget it when I get home anyway. If I go home.

She heard a foghorn, faint in the distance, and spied a flash of light out of the corner of her eye. She strained to see it again but couldn’t. It could keep me from wandering in circles. That’s something to hope for. Funny to find hope here when I had thrown hope into a drawer back home.

The ground — an even, featureless, packed earth —made no sound as she walked. A second glimpse of the flashing light told her she was heading in the right direction, toward the beach. Beach grass began brushing against her side more and more, and it felt like the grasses were passing through her gown and touching her, even though she could see that they weren’t. She watched for more flashes of light as she walked. She picked up her pace, stubbed her toe on a rock, and walked into someone. Whoever she hit screamed and began running then stopped a few paces off.

“Who are you?” a woman asked.

“I’m Elle. Sorry I bowled into you.” A young woman’s voice. Off to the right and a bit ahead. “I couldn’t see you in the fog. Are you all right?”

“Don’t know. How did I get here?”

“What’s your name?”

“I’m…”

She’s taking a while to answer.

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