It started with a voice.
It was common knowledge in the world that everyone had the other half. Whether that other half was meant to be platonic or romantic was up to you, but everyone had a person. This phenomenon was called a soul link and usually developed as a person matured. It would start lightly, revealing itself in different ways in different people. Some people would have colors and drawings appear on their skin to match that of their far-off soulmate. Others would have dreams where they would interact together. The rare lucky few would have instant knowledge of that person’s name, allowing the alert parent to write the name down if their child should meet that important person later.
Whatever the various signs were, people had them. The signs would appear at different ages as well, coinciding with the birth of that child’s soulmate. For Aubrey, it started when she was four. She had just turned four a little more than three months prior when she felt it for the first time—the Link. An onslaught of urgency overcame her, and her parents watched in utter bewilderment as she began to doodle a new set of initials in her coloring book. AC. AC, AC, AC. Her parents smiled and picked their daughter up, pleased to see that she did indeed have a soulmate out there in the world.
As Aubrey grew up, she kept a customary ‘AC’ scrawled on the inside of her wrist. Her parents had placed it there to keep the important initials in her mind; after all, one didn’t want to miss their chance at eternal happiness. As time passed, more signs appeared. Swirling doodles on her legs or a song she couldn’t get out of her head. A tall brunette sometimes visited her dreams with the most beautiful eyes Aubrey had ever seen.
All of these signs were remarkably normal, especially the song sharing. In fact, Aubrey tried her best to keep away from any songs that were painfully annoying out of pure consideration for her soulmate. God forbid she gets ‘First there is a Mountain’ by The Bob’s stuck in her head.
However, it had been a particularly frustrating day for her 19-year-old self when the strangest thing happened. Her soulmate spoke to her.
Yes, Aubrey was aware that soulmates were linked inexorably for the entirety of their lives, but usually, telepathy strong enough to encourage conversations was unheard of. But clear as day, Aubrey heard a wonderful voice sound in her mind, and it was not saying the nicest things in the world.
“ Hey, soulmate, if you can hear me for whatever reason, please turn off your terrible music, or I’ll find Ace of Base and kill them myself.”
Aubrey froze, pausing mid scrawl as the voice disappeared and images flashed in her head. One of which showed the lead singer of Ace of Base being hit by an electric guitar. It would have been quite comical if the situation wasn’t so odd. “ Hello?” She said mentally, dumbfounded at the day’s turn of events.
She felt sudden tension between her shoulder blades and a pinch of panic that wasn’t quite her own. Or at least she didn’t think it was; she still had trouble figuring out who’s emotions were who’s on certain days. (Yes, periods were a nightmare)
“Did, what? Hello?” The voice responded quickly and loudly. Aubrey felt the urge to wince, even though her eardrums were definitely not affected. The sensation of someone else speaking in her head was definitely a new one, and it came with an uncomfortable pressure on her skull. It almost felt as though someone had taken a finger and poked it into her head, hard. “ Hello? Soulmate, person? AC?” The voice came again. Aubrey paused for a moment in confusion, ‘AC?’ Those letters were supposed to be her soulmate’s initials. Why would they refer to her as AC?
“I have AC written on my wrist almost every day,” The voice answered. Aubrey blinked and sucked idly on the back of her pen; the realization made sense, of course. Her soulmate would not incur the same Link symptoms as her; there would undoubtedly be some confusion. “ My initials are ARP, actually,” Aubrey relayed the message as best she could. If she were, to be honest, she wouldn’t be surprised if her message didn’t quite send. It wasn’t as though she knew what she was doing.
“ Oh, ARP? What does that stand for?” Her mystery soulmate inquired. Curious. Aubrey suppressed a spike of excitement at the prospect. “ Oh, my name is Aubrey-” Aubrey’s thoughts were harshly interrupted by a sudden sensation of being very winded. The blonde shut her eyes and inhaled deeply at the unpleasantness of the feeling; it was almost as though someone had punched her in the stomach...
Stacie had been hit very hard in the stomach. You see, she was currently in the middle of volleyball practice for her High School when the lyrics of The Sign started playing through her head. While Stacie was not a violent person by any means, she seriously wondered if hunting down your soulmate to slap them was out of the question. Yet, when her displeasure was internally expressed, she received a shocking reply.
Absolutely taken aback, Stacie managed to lose herself in the developing conversation and forget that she was indeed in the midst of Volleyball practice. This also meant that Stacie was unaware of the white ball hurling through the air in the direction of her head. Bouncing off the side of her head, she fell onto the ground hard, knocking the air from her lungs upon impact. However, that initial impact would have been fine if the ball didn’t get spiked back into her gut. Whatever air was left in her stomach immediately left her body, and consequently her, gasping and coughing.
By the time the coach’s whistle sounded, and Stacie got her breath back, the full feeling in the back of her head had dissipated. Instead, she was left feeling highly conscious of just how empty her brain felt without her supposed soulmate’s thoughts. Once the silence settled, she was left with one thought. Her soulmate’s name was Aubrey.