Episode 11 of Bite of the Amphis

I didn’t even hear heavy footsteps approaching until they reached the other side of the doorway. A moment later the tapestry, which served as a door covering, was pulled aside. The room outside was dark so I couldn’t clearly see who it was that had paused in the doorway, but it wasn’t like I could give in to my urge to run anyway, there was no place else to go except for out of the window, and I wasn’t quite ready to make that leap just yet, even if I was a spirit.
The person took a couple of almost hesitant steps forward and the light in the room illuminated the face of the one person who I needed most in the world. “Father” My voice broke on a sob.
He looked so sad and tired as his dark eyes finally settled on mine. Without waiting for another single moment to pass, I dashed across the room and threw myself into his arms.
Tears may have blinded me in that moment, turning my surroundings into a water obscured impression of reality, but they certainly didn’t mask the nauseating feeling as my body passed straight through his, before tumbling straight on through the sturdy log wall and landing with a thump face-down in the long grass one story below where I had previously been stood. Looking back on that first moment of true realisation, I still wonder to this day how it was that I didn’t make a single sound on the way down. No yelp or scream, not so much as a surprised gasp passed my lips…probably because my mind was far too busy trying to process what in the nine realms of darkness had just happened.
I lay there in the grass for a minute or two, too shocked to even pick myself up. So, this was it then, the spirit world in all its surprisingly ordinary glory. I had at the very least expected to be greeted by one of my ancestors, my Mother maybe carrying my little sister on her hip, perhaps some kind of spirit guide sent by Ziuni to ensure that the newly departed found their way to the afterlife and didn’t become trapped here on Gaia.
Was that what had happened to me? Was I trapped here now, destined to be denied the eternal peace that I had always assumed was a certainty? Maybe this was what the curse meant? Could it be that all Nakaguan people were now doomed to walk the earth and never again be reunited with their loved ones in the afterlife?
Ziuni was a distant Goddess that was true, but could she really be this cruel to the human children who had served her faithfully and without question throughout the centuries. No, I couldn’t believe that she would be so vengeful just because one wonderful, big-hearted girl let her fear get the better of her when her gifting time came due?
There must be some other explanation for what was happening to me, but I wasn’t going to find out what it was lying on my back in the cool, fragrant grass. Pulling myself to my feet, I skirted the lodge and headed for the front entrance. If I was going to be able to get through to anyone in the tribe, my Father would be that person. Clearly, all I needed was a little more time to work out exactly how.

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