She haunts the halls of the Sanctuary. She always has. From the minute, she destroyed her own existence to protect her mother Ashley has found herself trapped within the very walls that she was always trying to escape before she died. Sometimes in the dark, she pretended that she was still alive, could still feel and would sit in her mother’s office and watch as she worked. She’d talk to her the whole time. The topics were never changing, there was nothing left to experience. She was dead and it was becoming more and more apparent that they were healing.
Every time Ashley thought she should just stop seeing and pretend that the sanctuary was, empty her mother would take a trip to the storage spaces in the depths of the Sanctuary. For hours, Helen would touch the remaining pieces of Ashley’s life. Her motorcycle was dusty and untouched. The small space was set up as her room once was. Her armoire stood against a wall the doors ajar and her clothes hung or piled haphazardly as they had been the day she and Henry raided the Cabal’s secret base.
The hours her mother spent in that room were always the most heart breaking. For just one moment, the loneliness that Ashley felt every day seemed just as acutely shared by her mother. Her mom was complicated and her emotions deeply guarded, but in those few hours, it was clear just how much Helen missed her daughter regardless of what she said and did in the daylight hours. The only difference was Helen didn’t let those emotions rule her as Ashley was prone to, perhaps that was the biggest difference between mother and daughter.
Still every time Ashley spoke to her.
“Mom.” A simple phrase for the pain that both the living and the dead felt as the months and years progressed. There was so much that she wished she could share with her mother. It would have to wait unfortunately.
She could never stay and see when her mother finally left. It hurt too much to watch. The restrained tears, the choked back sobs. Things no daughter should ever have to witness. She’d float for days after that, not really seeing (it was easier) but sometimes she’d hear what the others were saying. Henry missed her for a while at first, longer than Will did anyway. The Big Guy was complicated just like her mother. His emotions running even deeper as part of his people’s culture.
The years would pass and Ashley would witness her mother visiting her things fewer and fewer times a year. At first that made her happy, that her mother was still living her life in the years that followed. Maybe it was a little quicker than she liked only a couple years had passed at that point, but there was so much pressure for her mother these days between the government and her own drive for scientific knowledge.
Always ambitious, always planning and in control, that was the woman Ashley wanted her mother to continue being. She would have hated for her death to so completely affect her mom’s way of living and doing things. She even got a very good laugh during the whole Pinepex incident. By far, it was the most entertaining inspections in the last twenty-five years.
And she was more than happy to allow herself to fade at that point. It was clear then that they had everything under control. She hadn’t realized it at the time but she needed to know that before she could truly leave. Wherever she was going she expected it to be as exciting as what she was used, if not they were going to have issues really fast. She wasn’t the kind of girl to just sit still and wait for something to happen.