Karolina could always see them. The
hourglasses inside of people, plants, trees, anything living basically. Some
were bigger, some smaller, some had more sand, and others had less. The worst
part of it all was that she knew what those hourglasses represented.
They showed how much time someone or something had left to live. So when her own hourglass was almost out of sand, she decided to spend her last days doing something she loved. Hiking. The beautiful view, the steady pace and the fresh air was her idea of fun. Karolina would usually hike alone, mainly because she was an orphan and because her childhood friends were busy. But she couldn’t really blame them could she?
Winry was doing her auto-mail and the brothers were probably still mad at her for the whole ‘Mom’ incident. Karolina had warned them about it and they chose to ignore her. They then went off to central and they still hadn’t made up.
‘Now now Karolina. I would be more concerned about the fact that you find this fun.” Courgette, the strange voice in her head, commented. It had always been there, constantly helping her. It was probably the closest thing to a parent Karolina had.
“Not now Courgette. I’m hiking,” she scolded it, yet she couldn’t help but being thankful for the slight distraction. It could get lonely sometimes.
“How many times? How many times?! My name is Time! Not Courgette!” It shouted, sounding incredibly annoyed. Karolina simply grinned.
“Time? I thought I told you Courgette, that Time is too overpowered for a voice in my head. After all, you should be honored that I even gave you a name. At least I stopped calling you Courgie.” She said, and could practically feel Courgette exploding in anger.
“And imagine, I almost pitied you. You can die for all I care.” It scoffed. Karolina stuck my tongue out, ignoring the fact that any passer-by would think her crazy. Though the fact that a 12 year old was off walking by herself was weird enough. Karolina shrugged. Screw them. She was going to die; She deserved to hike in pleasure.
“Say Courgette, do you think they passed the exam? I mean, they are pretty young and all that…” Karolina mumbled, but it heard her perfectly.
“You mean the brothers? They’ll be fine. Goddamned dandy even. I’d be more worried about the fact that you’re going to die, and they’re not.” Courgette retorted, obviously still annoyed.
“…Stop reminding me. And anyway, if you have forgotten, they lost freaking parts of their bodies! Al even lost all of his body! They barely came out unscathed!”
“I thought you were ignoring them because they didn’t take your warning seriously. Well those bastards got what they deserved. You told them their mom was going to die and they got angry at you. Then, when it did happen, they just up and did human transmutation. Human transmutation! And even after that, they had the nerve to comment on the fact that you’re an orphan! Hah! As if they aren’t orphans too now!” It ranted. She rolled my eyes, but she knew what Courgette was saying was true. Cruel, but true.
“I know, what they did was unjustified, but it was mainly Ed who did that. And the whole orphan thing… yeah, that was pretty mean. They have each other, but what do I have? I have a stupid ability and a voice in my head.” She continued Courgette’s rant, pulling on her short white hair.
The discussion was cut short by a rumbling.
“What was that?” She asked only to hear a child shouting. Running up ahead the rocky path, she found a family across a wooden bridge. The youngest was still on the bridge, staring fearfully up at a rockslide that was rapidly closing in.
“Karolina! The hourglass!” Courgette screamed, but she ignored it. Sprinting up to the bridge, she pushed the kid to the other side, glad that she was going to die saving someone. The rocks came tumbling down and she looked down at her torso, only to see an empty hourglass, sand gathered at the very bottom. She couldn’t help but grin slightly. It was time for Life’s Next Adventure.
up Karolina. I’ll see you at the gate.” She barely
listened to Courgette, only focusing on the heavy rocks smashing into her tiny
body, completely crushing her.
“Welcome to the gate Karolina Paulker.” An eerie voice chimed and it seemed to echo through the entire white hall that Karolina was in.
“Um... Hi? This is really weird,” she muttered, and a figure materialized in front of her. It was completely white, only the outline of a weird grin showed. And then a second figure appeared next to it. However, this one was made completely out of sand.
“Sand…? Could you by any chance be the maker of the hourglasses?” She asked, hesitating slightly. There was something familiar about it though. Not the shape, or the figure, but rather the aura, its presence.
“I told you, my name is Time.” It said and she froze.
“No way…” She whispered and the figure next to Courg- Time laughed.
“Welcome to the Gate Karolina Paulker. I am the Truth, however I am called by many other names. One name you might have for me is the world, or you might call me the universe, or perhaps God, or perhaps the Truth. I am All, and I am One. So, of course, this also means that I am you.” Truth said, a grin still adorning his face.
“Um... Thank you for clearing that up…? Sorry, not to be rude, I know that I died. That much is clear to me but why the hell is Courg- sorry Time there with you?” Karolina questioned, only to receive another laugh. That was starting to annoy her. She was confused, and slightly scared. She had just died, and she wanted eternal peace, goddammit!
“Stupid child. I am what my name suggests. I am Time, however, this annoying bastard here, thought it would be fun to send me to the human world. Without a vessel might I add. So I just went inside the closest body there was, which was you. But I couldn’t take over your body, because your soul seemed to accept me as its equal. Basically meaning it allowed me to stay there, but not to take over.” Time explained, leaving her mouth hanging open. That didn’t make sense to her. Wasn’t Time an all-powerful being? Surely it didn’t need a Vessel?
“Simply said you can’t die.” Truth continued, which made her widen my eyes.
“That… makes no sense,” she exclaimed and Time sighed.
“Simply put, I can’t have my vessel dying on me- that would defeat the purpose of my being here. In order for the flow of time to be somewhat normal, I need to be on earth. Does that make more sense?” It explained and she nodded slightly.
“So… what happens now?” She wondered, and Truth gave a small chuckle.
“You should know, Little Vessel, that every time you die, your soul gets transported here. Until you’ve recovered. Which means Time takes over your body, until your soul recovers.” Truth informed her.
“I… I’m sorry what? I-I have to give up my body? I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure that’s a violation of rights!” Truth had the nerve to cackle at her.
“Okay, fine. We’ll discuss this another day. But… I think I want to go home now. Please.” She asked, but froze when Truth and Time grinned at her.
“About now, people should be investigating the rock slide and find all the blood and crap there. So they’ll obviously assume you’re dead. When we return I’ll help you get out of the rocks. Your puny human body and spirit won’t be strong enough to pull yourself out.” Time said, its grin growing wider by the second.
“W-What? No. No, please no! Winry- and Granny, they’ll be gutted! I-I can’t do this to them! Bring me back, let me back-!”
“Quiet.” That simple word shocked Karolina into silence. Time’s voice was deep, growling and angry.
“Do not presume that you know best you insolent child. You cannot be showing your powers of immortality, simply because you want to go home. No, when you come back from here, you shall find yourself a teacher, who will train you to be strong. I cannot have a weak Vessel. Do you understand me?” It snarled out, and she nodded, horribly scared at the being in front of her. This wasn’t Courgette, the voice that brought her up. No, this was Time, an ancient being who needed to be on earth.
It was as she was nodding, did she notice the bright crimson strands of hair on her head.
“…What…? Why is my hair red?” She questioned, not trusting herself to look in either beings’ eyes.
“Ah, just a side effect of being crushed Little Vessel. Because your hair was white, it was dyed red with your blood. Fascinating isn’t it?” Truth cheerfully told her. Karolina ducked her head in response.
“Times up, Little Vessel. I’d love to stay and chat, but you two should be getting back. Oh and just a quick tip! If you wear glasses, then you won’t see the hourglasses! Until you die, Little Vessel!” Truth shouted, before creepy black hands grabbed her and Time. She felt a burning inside of her chest as Time was sucked into her body. She screamed, before unconsciousness gripped her.
Winry was putting her tools away, worrying about Karolina. She still hadn’t returned from her hike yet. What if something had happened? What if she was in trouble? Stop it Winry, Karolina has returned late before, she probably just got lost or started daydreaming or something! She’s been doing that a lot lately! Winry thought, before the door knocked. It was loud and startled Winry out of her thoughts. Ah! That must be her! Winry happily thought, before dashing downstairs.
“I’m coming!” She arrived at the oak door and gleefully opened it, a wide grin on her face.
“Your late today Karolina!” Winry expected the sly response, but only got a quiet shuffling. She looked up, and saw a man with an apologetic look on his face.
“Is this the residence of Karolina Paulker?” he asked, and Winry felt a pang of pain in her heart. It reminded her of when the military told her and granny that her mother and father had died.
“Y-yes.” Winry stuttered. Granny had come downstairs in the meantime, wondering what was going on.
“Oh, sorry sir, but we’re closed now.” Pinako said, only to be met with a shake of the man’s head.
“You are Karolina Paulker’s guardian?” A nod from Pinako made him continue. “I’m afraid I bring ill news.” He said darkly, and the old woman lowered her head.
“You better come in then.”
The man stepped in, not bothering to take his boots off.
“There was an accident on the mountain. Only one casualty, but it was fatal. A landslide came crashing down, and almost crushed a little boy. But Miss Paulker pushed the boy out of the way, to be crushed instead. We couldn’t retrieve the body, but there was enough blood. I am terribly sorry, but… Karolina Paulker is dead.”