Four weeks, how could four weeks seem so long? I have lived for nearly fourteen centuries, yet when I look back, these last four weeks seem like an eternity in compared to the rest. Everything happened so fast. Even though I barely knew her, I shared more with her than anyone else in my life. More than my children, more than Gustav. No one had ever invited me into their mind before. Over a thousand years ago, I made a vow to never dive into the mind of one I trusted. Afer all, how could I claim to trust someone after raiding their thoughts, their memories, their secrets. But Karen invited me in. For the first time ever, someone trusted me enough to open their mind. Now she is gone, I know consciously she is dead. But I can still feel her in my mind. Her memories are still fresh. Her mark still burns hot on my back, even though the being that now inhabits her body is now far away. I has taken much of my strength and will to keep that link as closed as possible. Yet the link is still there, cinched but not cut. Where I once felt the joyful, calming presence of my friend, I now feel malice and contempt. A deeper evil than I can even fathom right now. I wish I could break that link, but nothing short of the death of me or the demon could entirely sever the thread between our psyches. Perhaps I could sever the link without any death, but perhaps I am refusing to because somewhere in my mind, I believe that Karen is still alive, hiding inside the demon’s soul. Eaten, but not destroyed. If I sever the link, I may loose my only chance to save her from that damnation.
I was told that her soul is gone, devoured by the very demon she harbored. I have never been very religious, yet there has always been a deeply spiritual side of me. The spiritual concept of a soul. One theory is that our soul is nothing more than the sum of our memories. Another, and prevailing theory is that our soul is our external mind, located on some other plane of existence. Tenka told me that the earth concept of a soul is actually one’s astral body. If my external mind is, or is part of my astral body, as Tenka calls it, then does that mean that the millions of telepaths throughout history have, without their knowledge, been talking through their souls? This is all quite a daunting bit of philosophy which I do not wish to delve into more just yet.
I saved Karen’s memories, as much as I could. When I took those memories out of her, in order to save them from the demon, maybe I took some of her soul with them. I know, consciously, that these memories are not my own. But they are real. I remember years of happy marriage to Tsuzaki, yet I know that I have never been married. Gustav is the only man I love and he is alive and well. But I long for my dead husband. I remember killing my sister, yet I have no siblings. I wonder whether there will be a time that I can no longer keep our memories separate and our psyches, maybe even our souls, will truly become one. It is hard to say I miss Karen when she lives on inside me. But I do miss her along with my dead family I never had.