“Jump and die.”

Her eyes were hooked into my soul, their talons tearing deep into my ethereal form. She appeared cold, numb, and bleak. Her features were frozen; no expression whatsoever lit their edges. The shadows were eaten alive in her black skin, making her look flat and un-definable.

Snow flurries hung suspended in the air around us, falling to earth in slow motion, the full moon glittering off their delicate surfaces. A deep, clear stream ran in a semi-circle behind me, the edges of it frozen over, but the middle of the channel continued onwards and fell over into an abyss.

The end of the world.

The ground which was covered in thick luscious grass dusted over in frosty dew ended abruptly at a drop off beyond her shadowed form. Little floating islands covered in sparkling mist from nearby waterfalls could be seen on the horizon. Any falling snow that didn’t land on firm ground was lost forever in the chasm.

“Or…”

The plants were all frosted over in shimmering white power, their leaves pale purples and blues and greens. Bundles of roses sprouted up among the ferns, while towering willow trees sighed in the wind and let their long hanging leaves dance in a chilly draft, their tips touching the edges of the stream.

Soft scuffling sounds could be heard in the plant life. Little white mice and pale squirrels were foraging for seeds, roots, nuts; anything they could get their tiny trembling paws on. The soft peal of bird song drifted in the air, echoing between the branches of the willow trees, their flapping wings causing little disturbances among the leaves.

A snowflake landed on my pale nose, making my nose sting with the cold, but I did not flinch or try to shake it off, for my evergreen eyes were still ensnared in hers.

“Stay and live.”

Why is she asking me this? This is the first time I have seen her since…

Silence follows her words, even the little creatures seem to have quieted down, as if holding their breath, waiting for my answer.

I didn’t have an answer. I was still lost in her eyes; eyes that were glowing, a dark and all-consuming energy pouring out of them.

They were a sweet combination of blue and purple…the reason for her name.

Indigo.

“Indigo…my love-”

“Jump and die, or stay and live,” she repeated, her face expressionless.

This isn’t her…if it was she would be rejoicing. She would be asking about our daughters…she would be telling me that everything will be ok…that we will see each other again.

“Indigo, Indigo it’s me, Warren…!”

“Jump and die, or stay and live.”

A frustrated sigh escaped from my chest, a cloud of moisture collecting around my face.

“Is that all you can say to me? After two years of silence?” I demanded, my chest filling with sharp needle points.

“Jump and die, or stay and live,” she said, her voice sounding harder, harsher, and colder.

She was angry.

I took a deep breath to calm myself, fluffing up my fur coat against the chill, scuffing my boots against the ground.

At least she is showing me something…

I slowly walk to the edge of the world, turning my back to her, looking out at the magical floating islands, the moon casting everything in a silver glow. It was beautiful and breathtaking.

“Jacinda is as spiteful as ever…she definitely got that from you,” I began softly, hoping to reach Indigo through this strange realm. “She’s working hard to keep everyone fed through this winter…things have gotten worse since you’ve been gone. Food is scarce, and the sands have started piling up outside our huts…Jacinda thinks we should move, but how can we? We’ve been in the valley for so long…

And Lilly…she had twins, Indigo, her first birth, two strong boys, both healthy and lively! You should have been there to see your grandchildren. One of them has beautiful ebony skin just like you…and another has Lilly’s golden eyes…”

Indigo was silent, casting no shadow across the ground.

“People say Jacinda should be our new leader…can’t say I blame them. I’m getting older, and I am too used to the ways of the old clans…you knew how I was Indigo. Yet, you always supported me.”

She sighed softly.

I turned to her, surprised to see her body had turned to face mine on the cliff. Something in the depths of her eyes was…pleading.

“Jump and die, or stay and live,” she whispered, a wind whipping against her thin glossy dress colored the same shade as the night sky.

This isn’t real…Indigo is dead…this is another one of my dreams…right?

“I’m dreaming…you’re just a personification of my grief. You’re not Indigo; she wouldn’t be acting this way,” I murmured, shaking my head, digging my hands into my shaggy hair, trying to wake up.

“N-no!”

I stopped, frozen.

“Warren…my love…”

“Indigo?” I whispered.

“Jump…and you die. Stay…with me…and you live,” she emphasized. Her eyes were still pleading, though her features remained as inanimate as ever.

She’s telling me something…but what? That if I jump into that abyss that I’ll die? Well of course I would…but does she mean in this dream…or in the Realm of the Living? And how could I stay in this place and be called living if my dead wife is here?

But I could stay with her…Indigo…

But my daughters…they need me.

I paced forward, gently touching my hand to her cheek and breathing in her sweet raspberry scent.

“I miss you…more than anything in this world…but you are gone, and I made a promise to you that I would keep our daughters safe, no matter what.”

Her eyes filled with emotion, her hand suddenly coming out to clutch at my shoulder, her face falling into my chest.

“Jump and die…stay and live!” She cried, her frustration coming off in waves, but I could also see in her indigo eyes as she pulled back a glimmer of pride for my decision.

“I will see you soon my love, but only when it’s my time,” I promised her, my voice thick as I felt my heart breaking and shattering into millions of tiny fragments.

I then ripped away from her, turning and running to the edge, throwing myself over without hesitation.

I turned in mid-air and looked upwards to watch Indigo fade from view.

I awoke gasping in my hard bed, my broad chest feeling uncharacteristically heavy.

That was until I realized there was a pair of hands pressed into the flesh there and a pair of eyes glinting in the pre-dawn light, the heat from the Realm of the Living melting the ice from my bones.

“What? Who-”

“You jumped,” a voice said amusingly, the sound sending chills down my spine.

A blade was at my throat then, tearing and gouging until my life force was left to spill onto the sandy floor.

Pain…pain everywhere…why won’t it stop?

Warren…my love… you should have stayed…

Indigo…

I faded away, a pair of indigo eyes welcoming me into the afterlife.