Prompt: write a red string soulmate story. (Every pair or group of soulmates are connected by a red string.)
She looked down at the red string tied to her pinky and imagined all of the exciting places it might lead to. It had appeared yesterday, her 18th birthday, as a sort of happy birthday adventure. That day had been filled with so much joy. Her friends had all found their soulmates long before then and she was the last one, but she knew that whoever it was on the other end, it was worth the wait. Today, she would follow it to where it would end.
Maybe it was a prince from a far off land or a celebrity from Hollywood that she had been dreaming about for so long. She hoped that her adventure would take her through countries she had never been and allow her to meet new people. She wanted to appear cultured when she met her soulmate. The truth was, she had grown up poor. Her parents had never been able to afford anything more than the basic necessities for their family, sometimes not even that. But her parents had always loved her. That was more than she could say for some of her classmates.
She finished packing the last of her belongings, everything she owned fit into a backpack. She shared one last meal with her family before departing, promising to bring whoever it was she met to her parents before introducing them to her friends and classmates. One final hug from each of her parents. With a tear in her eye, she set off to find the one at the end of her string.
Each night, she stopped when she was tired. She would cook her dinner over an open flame and stare at the stars, dreaming of the one, until she fell asleep. Day after day, the string grew shorter and shorter as she approached her soulmate. Day after day, that was her routine, until the string led to the edge of the ocean.
“Are you able to take me across the ocean?”
“Not in my boat, I’m sorry. It’s too small for the violent storms farther out there. Try the docks. Maybe someone can take you out from there.”
She continued along, her string growing longer as she headed towards the docks. When she arrived, she found it alive with the hustle and bustle of fishermen. None of them paid her any attention, everyone was trying to get their fish to the market first so that they could boast that they had the freshest fish. She stayed by until someone finally noticed her.
“Whatcha doing here, little lady?”
“I was hoping someone could take me across the ocean,” she said holding up her pinky.
The fisherman smiled knowingly and nodded, “Sure, hope on board, I’ll take you across.”
Her days at sea were by far the most exciting she had ever experienced. She had never been this far out on the water. The danger and uncertainty was exhilarating.
Sometime during the night of her third day at sea, she felt someone shake her awake.
“What is it? Have we run into some trouble?”
The fisherman shook his head and pointed to her string. It went straight down.
“That’s what appears to be happening.”
“How? How do I get to my soulmate now?”
“The fisherman shrugged, “I have some diving gear. We can try tomorrow if you’d like.”
She nodded and he left her cabin so that she could get a few more hours of sleep.
The next morning they suited up and dived as far as they could, but even so, her string continued to extend downwards. She wanted to keep going, but the fisherman shook his head, pulling her up towards the surface. Reluctantly, she followed.
“I’m sorry girl,” said the fisherman when they returned to the boat, “We can’t go that far down. The pressure would kill us.”
She nodded in agreement.
The fisherman turned the boat around, returning her back the way she had come. From there she ventured home to her waiting parents and broke the news to them.
As sad as she was, she was glad to be back home with her family, her parents whom she knew loved her not some elusive soulmate she had never met and never knew if he could love her.
She was nearing her 30th birthday when her parents passed away. They had spent the last years of their lives in misery as the idea of passing their own debt onto their daughter gnawed at them. Even as she reassured them that she was thankful for the life they had provided her, they both felt like they hadn’t been good enough parents. On their deaths, the bank foreclosed on their home, taking it for payment of their years of debt, leaving her homeless.
Living on the streets, she decided that she would try one last time to find her soulmate. She followed the string again, leading her to the edge of the ocean, but this time, she was able to make it to the other side. She continued her adventure until it led her into a cemetery. Her heart skipped a beat. What if she had waited too long and her soulmate was dead? Why hadn’t her soulmate tried to find her all these years?
She stopped outside of a mausoleum, debating whether she should go inside or not. A part of her felt scared, more so now because the sun had begun to set, but she ventured inside and continued to follow the string up to a stone coffin.
“This is way too creepy,” she thought backing away.
She headed back up, but heard the sound of stones scraping against one another and ran as fast as she could out of there. She didn’t stop to look behind her, just kept running, but the footsteps behind her grew louder and louder.
“For God’s sake, stop running!”
She froze at the sound of his voice. Turning around very slowly. She was afraid who or what she might see behind her.
He was a young man with striking blue eyes and the darkest brown hair you had ever seen. He smiled at her and held up his pinky with a red string attached, “Looks like we’re soulmates. What took you so long to find me?”
“Uh…well…the first time my string vanished into the ocean and uh…well just now, into a-a-somebody’s tomb.”
“It’s a little creepy?”
“Oh…really? I thought it would be cool.”
“Yeah, you know? Like we’ve been waiting for each other for like 12 years and there like the sense of uncertainty? And you know, when you walk into a mausoleum you’re uncertain what to expect? No? Is that just me?”
“I think so…”
“So, why didn’t you ever try to come find me?”
“Well…I couldn’t exactly fly for a while.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Fly like a bat out of Hell? You know what that’s like right?”
“Hell? You’re from Hell?!”
“Are you dead?”
“That’s not a very nice question to ask.”
“Aren’t people in Hell because they’ve been damned for eternity?”
“Um…not that I’m aware of. I was born down there with my mom and my dad and five annoying brothers and an overbearing sister.”
“That’s not what I expected.”
“What did you expect?”
“I dunno, fire?”
He laughed, “That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows that Hell isn’t on fire.”
“I don’t know that.”
“What other funny stories do you humans have about us?”
“Something about the Devil and demons.”
“Well we do have those, but I’m not cool enough to be one.”
“How about I tell you over dinner?”