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Conclusion: All Saint's Day.
She picked at her food, watching the souls wander aimlessly.
Curious, she plucked a ripe grape from a bowl and dropped it down into the mass of bodies. It landed softly in the hand of an old withered grandmother. The soul looked at the fruit in amazement before devouring it greedily. She snapped her head up, seeking the giver of the food.
Claire smiled and dropped another grape, watching the woman catch it and swallow it whole. She stared up at Claire, holding her hands out for more food.
"One more," Claire called down. "I don't know if I'm even allowed to do this."
The old woman nodded, watching as Claire rifled through the bowl to find an acceptable piece. She dropped the last grape down, a smile crossing her face was the old woman gulped it down. She looked up at Claire a final time, her withered lips forming words of gratitude.
She smiled back, watching the old woman hobble along in the mist. There was nothing she could do to save the woman from her torment, but at least she could ease the pain of endless nothingness. She tossed another handful of grapes down, staring out into the misty distance as the souls scrambled for her tiny hints of kindness. They looked up at her, throwing their hands up in silent cries for more. Smiling back, she tossed another clump down, her attention now turning to the swirling mists that surrounded the poor souls.
The mist curled and whipped around them, the mix of silver-grey and hints of cobalt catching her eye. The soft curves and cool hues drew her in, so inviting and intoxicating she almost thought it was calling to her. She leaned over the balcony, lost in the swirls of icy wind. She wanted to be closer to that mist, wanted to feel the cool air wrap around her skin and caress her cheeks. She leaned out farther, extending an arm to touch the swirls of cold.
The souls noticed her fascination with the mist. They waved their hands frantically, opening their mouths in silent screams. She looked at them, confused. She wanted to be near that mist so badly. It looked so cool and inviting. Why would they be so anxious for her to avoid it?
"What's wrong?" Her voice was slow, almost tired, as if the mist was draining her energy.
A thin tendril of the silvery mist lashed out, spearing through the air, barely missing her fingers. Claire cried out and jerked her hand back, leaning back into the room and scampering off the wall. She scrambled backwards, not stopping until her back was pressed against the hard wood of the bed. Gasping for air she closed her eyes and leaned her head back, trying to catch herself.
A cry of frustration pierced her ears, as if the mist was in a rage for missing its target. She understood now why the souls were so frightened for her. The mist they lived in was nowhere near as soft and inviting as it looked. The fog itself was a predator, one that didn't care if she already had owners. It would have taken her anyway, possibly turning her into one of the innumerable, nameless masses that wandered in its icy winds.
Sobbing quietly, Claire hauled herself onto the bed and crawled towards the masses of pillows and sheets. She pulled the blankets back, settling into the warmth of the mattress and pulling the covers tightly around herself. She closed her eyes, frightened that another tendril of mist would creep into the room and pull in.
But no whip of silver ever came. Instead, the mist gave one last screech of anger, then quieted. She stayed in bed for a long time, her eyes flicking at every tiny sound. Between the evil mist and Tarrin, she struggled to decide which fate she'd found was worse.
"Claire! We're back!" Thaltos' voice boomed around the room an instant before he slipped through the shadows.
She perked up, tossing the covers back and sitting up to watch them enter. Darrow and Silthos followed behind him, clearly relieved to be through with their rounds. Darrow smiled warmly at her, then frowned in confusion.
"Why are you in bed? You aren't tired, are you?" He sounded disappointed.