A reverie of a loyal Ghost, changed and quiet but always steadfast. It leaves behind a gently glowing data fragment to mark its passing.
We were in the Garden, and I was going to die, and then I didn't. I watched my Guardian speak to himself, and not himself: a being that wore his shape, spoke with his voice, and offered him salvation. Salvation in the form of forgetting. I didn't know Darkness could do that. I don't think any of us really understood it.
And where did that leave me?
A loose end, that's what. Any reasoning being would have spotted that; taking someone's memory does no good at all if they have someone right there to tell them all about it. I don't know if my Guardian thought about that. The mirror of him definitely did.
I tried to run.
A grasp from out of the Darkness caught me.
I lost something there, like I was taken apart and put back together with a part missing. Like I was really nothing more than a machine, like the Traveler's blessing and my own bright heart meant nothing at all more than copper and glass. And when I thought about anything again, anything that wasn't an infinite abyss with no stars, my Guardian and I were outside the Black Garden. He had lost them, and I couldn't tell him, and nothing was the same.
I don't speak any more, and he doesn't know why. I cannot even speak to explain—I don't know where my voice is, or even if I want to speak at all. Maybe it took that, the memory of my voice.
I still remember what happened. I wonder why that thing that pretended to be my Guardian didn't just kill me or change me further—make of me something broken and unknowing. I don't know if it understood that I love my Guardian, despite everything. Maybe it counted on that, that I would always bring him back even if I had nothing else in me but that.
I think the voice, that wrong presence in the Darkness, thought that forgetting his team would make him malleable, but it's the other way around, really. Without them, my Guardian is impossible to shift aside. Even for me.
And that power in the Garden, the one that turned them all on each other… I have my suspicions. I'm an honest Ghost, but.
I've known a lot of con artists.
The power and the offer, the curse and the salvation. Were they all the same in the end? The same thing, the same Voice in the Darkness?
If nothing else, I know at least that thing, that grasp which caught me, isn't the same as the Darkness itself. Otherwise, I'd never be able to bear my Guardian's touch. But: I can settle in his hand and, sometimes… sometimes we still understand each other, like meaning moves from me to him without the need for words at all.
We're different. But we're alive.
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