Between one breath and another, Etty moved from the mortal world into the silent, gray, miasma that was the dividing line between the accessible realms of the universe. There was no sense of time, no noise, and nothing particularly interesting to focus on when you traveled in the mists. To create any sense of direction at all—to be sure you got where you wanted to go—you had to bring a firm sense of purpose with you.
There were stories about beings, from one side of the mists or the other, who had tried to cross without their intention in place. The endings of those tales generally involved the poor individual becoming lost for eternity, stuck between one place and another. Once in a while, among children, another story would surface… about someone who wandered back out of the gray place… hundreds of years out of time.
Memories of those fairy legends gave her a shiver as she stepped into the world she came from. She breathed a sigh of relief, looking across the green grass field towards her family home. It bore some resemblance to the pasture at the Thorson Farm, down to the spirits of their cows meandering to and fro.
Animals were an interesting case, being present in both worlds at once. Her father’s theory was that higher levels of consciousness were what prevented other creatures from doing the same thing. He’d cited the absence of whales, dolphins, and many branches of the ape family, in their realm as evidence.
“Dogs, too.” Etty talked to herself as she walked. “Cats, though, can see through the mist. Ravens can. Sometimes, humans can, but they tend to be crazy.”
Lur materialized a short way across the field, and waved when he caught sight of her coming towards him. She waved back, happy to see her brother, after what felt like a long time.
“How is the world, married sister?” He called out.
“Interesting!” She shouted back, and jogged over to meet him.
“That is a double-edged adjective.” Lur commented as they embraced. “Is it good, or is it not so good?”
“Well, if you think about it, ‘interesting’ has three sides, not two: good, bad, and indifferent, or neutral.”
“That’s fair, my little sister who splits conceptual hairs. Which is it then?”
“Undecided.” She let him go, but held his hand as they continued to the family home.
“Wouldn’t that be a fourth side?” Lur asked, arching a bushy eyebrow.
“No, not at all. Indecision is the state of being between perception and categorization.”
Lur stopped walking and took a good look at his sister. He hadn’t seen her for a day or two, and realized a change or two could have taken place in that time.
“You and John have traded some qualities, haven’t you? You don’t sound as impetuous as usual.”
Etty looked thoughtful for a moment before she replied.
“I feel a bit more thoughtful… a bit less,” she waved her hand, “perky.”
Lur laughed, amused that he was the perky one for a change. Normally, his mood was hovering between ennui and melancholy, but running into Etty was an incredibly pleasant surprise.
“Hm. Maybe being married is giving you reason to grow up.” It was a taunt, and he knew it before he said it.
“Poo!” Etty yelled, and pounded on him with her tiny fists. “Poo! You’re an obnoxious bear!”
He laughed again, pleased to see she hadn’t changed that much.
“Oh well! I guess you’re still my little sister!” He said, and casually tossed her over his shoulder. “Let’s go see what Mama has on the fire!”
“Put me down you oaf! Let me go, I say!”