“Tell me what you see,” Melody said. The pale, dark-haired woman invited herself into Ned’s booth and introduced herself as Melody. Then, she pointed to the empty space above her head. “I know you see something.”
Ned had many questions, but he hoped she would give him answers in exchange for his. He never told anyone about his ability because he assumed no one would believe him. Melody not only believed him, she knew something about it. He glanced at the red-glowing, cartoon heart above her head. It confused him, but somehow that only added to her credibility.
Over the years he’d learned the basics about his ability. If someone’s connection was close by, Ned could identify their relationship. But, their icon defaulted to their strongest relationship if they did not feel connected to anyone nearby.
“I see a heart,” Ned replied.
“A heart?” Melody asked; a ghost of a smile tugged at the corners of her lips. Ned nodded.
“Yeah, it’s weird though. A heart means your strongest connection with someone is romantic. Usually, there’s an arrow through the heart pointing in the direction of the lover.”
“Usually?” Melody asked.
“Yeah. Every other heart I’ve seen had the arrow; yours doesn’t.”
“Interesting. Would it make sense if I explained my wife was not currently on this Earth?” she asked with a straight face. Ned chuckled.
“Yeah, as far as the heart goes… but, not in any other way. What do you mean she’s not on this Earth?” As Ned finished his question a tall black portal opened next to Melody; a tall, pale woman in a white suit stepped out and smiled at Melody.
“Well, she wasn’t,” Melody smiled.
“What… the … hell??” Ned whispered, his eyes danced back and forth between the space above Melody’s head, and the woman in white.
“What do you see?” the new woman asked.
“Your heart…,” Ned pointed at Melody. “…there’s a hole in it.” Instead of an arrow pointing at the woman he assumed was Melody’s wife, a black hole filled in the center of the heart. It left only a sliver of red glow around the edges.
“Dana Sharp,” Melody’s wife introduced herself, but Ned did not meet her eyes. He couldn’t take his eyes off the empty, black space above her head. There was no other way for him to make sense of it, except to call it ’empty’. It was a hole in time and space, an absent existence.
“…you don’t have any connections!” His eyes widened as he realized the only thing that made sense. “You don’t have a soul!” he hissed.
“Mr. Nettles,” Dana sighed. “I don’t know if Melody made it clear to you, but this is a job interview. It would impress me significantly more if you told me things that I didn’t already know.”