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Teenage Soul Seeker
The house was quiet. I crept through the hallway, careful not to catch my reflection in the mirror that hung between the bathroom and the kitchen. I knew what I looked like. I was a monster.
I knew what my eyes looked like. They were soulless. My eyes were pupil-less and the color of a clear blue sky. It was ironic, considering my job was to ferry souls to the Other Side.
Leaving the front door unlocked, I jogged across the wet lawn, the bottom of my jeans becoming soaked. Clutching the car keys in my shaking hand, I tried to ignore the paralyzing headache as I jabbed at the unlock button multiple times before finally hearing it click. I blame my parents for not buying my a car made in this century.
Yanking open the door, I clambered into the seat, shivering, despite it being relatively warm out. I stuck the keys in the ignition, knowing if I didn’t get there soon, my headache would get worse and I wouldn’t be able to drive. Lately the headaches have been getting so bad it felt my brain would split in two. I didn’t know what they were, but I knew they were too complex for any doctor to handle, especially considering my “talent.”
Zooming down the street- I rarely followed the speed limit, especially in my neighborhood- I whipped around the corner, the pile of CDs I had left on the passenger seat flying to the floor.
I actually knew where I was going tonight. This woman had been dying for awhile now- I had dreamt about her for several nights, which meant that several nights she had been close to death. The good news was that she was at home, and her husband was long gone, so she was alone. This would be a clean run. Usually people her age (she was in her mid-eighties, from what I could tell) were at a nursing homes or at a hospital, which meant I would have to wait for them to deliver the body to a morgue and endure this ear-splitting headache for longer.
I sighed as I turned on to the elderly woman’s street. I hadn’t known her personally, but I had seen her around town, sometimes at the bakery. I had seen her there twice actually and each time she ordered a blueberry pie. I shook my head; it was strange what I remembered.
Her house was quiet. The porch lights were on, and as I walked up the front steps, her sprinklers came on, making me jump. They must have been set on an automatic timer.
I stood in front of the door, contemplating how to proceed. This was the tricky part. Not as tricky as sneaking into a morgue or hospital unnoticed- that took some serious skill, considering my eyes and all- but still difficult. Thankfully the neighborhood was quiet; they were no kids out- it was late, but still- and the houses were spaced fairly far apart.
Looking both ways, I decided to go the old-fashioned route. Returning to my car, I dug out my crow bar and lock pick, and set to work. Within a minute- and if you have had any experience picking locks, you would know this is quite a feat- I had popped open her door, the knocker banging slightly against the wood as it eased backwards.
Her house smelled like musty perfume. I stepped inside, nearly tripping on a pile of mail that lay on the floor from the mail slot. Shutting the door behind me, I wiped my muddy sneakers on the doormat, making sure not to trace tracts through the house.
I strode through the living room, trying not to look at her antique doll collection in its glass case, or the copy of Oprah magazine that lay haphazardly across the cloth couch. I wanted to know as little as possible about this woman. This was my coping technique, the way I got through this emotionally warring job. At least this woman was old. I’d had to deal with middle aged fathers, young mothers, even children before. I think the fathers were the worst though. I cried every time.
The deathly scent beckoned me in; trapping me like a spider trapped a fly in its web. There was nothing I could do now but let it guide me. I pushed the door open, letting it bang against the wall. I felt my skin start to fade. My hand reached out in front of me. I was semi-visible, a ghost to most people.
The woman was lying in her bed, her white hair in a loose braid across one shoulder. Even though she was old, she was still beautiful, her face looking peaceful in its last moments. Her eyes were half open, and I carefully shut them. Her lips were slightly parted as if she wanted to say something, but couldn’t. I wondered what her last words were. I had already thought of mine. I won't say though, because that would ruin the effect.
Towering over the lady, Cornelia, I believe her name was, I flexed my palm, resting it in the center of her heart. Her body lurched forward. If anyone saw her at this point they would think she had jolted awake, but no, it was only her soul leaving her body. Her eyes twitched under her lids, as if she were dreaming.
There was a mirror behind her headboard. I tried not to look at it, but I couldn’t help myself. I looked terrifying, like a character from someone’s nightmare. My eyes were slowly changing, from light blue, to midnight blue, to pure black, as Cornelia’s soul slowly retreated from her body. The process was slow going, at least to me. I felt every ounce of energy leave her body, and enter mine, and then leave for the Other Side. I had no idea where it went. I was the middle man between Earth and the Beyond, but even I didn’t know what happened after death.
And then it all stopped. Cornelia fell back to her bed, lifeless and immobile, and I collapsed to the floor, exhausted, gasping for breath. Everything around me spun so much I felt like I was going to throw up. It was like this every time.
I stuck my head between my knees and waited it out, listening to the wind tap against the window pane. Slowly life seeped back into my body and I became visible once more. My eyes even returned to their natural green color. Regaining my strength, I stood up, pressing three fingers against Cornelia’s cold dead lips. I felt this was my tribute to the dead.
Not glancing back, I left Cornelia and her stuffy house, thinking about how I had only three hours before school started. And how I still had to write my AP Biology lab report.