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Author's note: I was inspired by the Religious background of my name and my fascination with the afterlife.
A fire straight from the pit of hell burns in the eyes of the man while flames ravage the tattered soul in his belly. His mouth utters incoherent syllables strung together by a gurgling sound echoing off the canals of his throat. Queer limbs twitch and twist in unseen ways. Pain, confusion, helplessness all play active rolls in the horrific scene that is his countenance. His body slowly falls prey to another, a playground to the demon living deep inside.
Ahead of him stands a girl with steely eyes but an expressionless face. Her glare speaks volumes to the demon, ordering him to leave the troubled soul it has infected. In a hushed voice, barely above a whisper, she speaks to the dying soul at the heart of the flesh, "who are kept by the power of god" she whispers, 'through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Keep our faith dear child, for whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." The sound of her detailed voice reaches the man's soul; it stirs.
She takes a step forward. The body of the man continues to have seizures. Another step; the body is forced to its knees.
The girl breaks into a run, right arm extended. A saber appears with a burst of light and a rustle of feathers, shining brilliantly in the light of the waxing crescent. The blade dancing in tune to the motion of her body, she brings it across herself, poised to strike and free the man of his tormentor.
A moment of eternity passes.
The blade by her side, a demon drying and cracking, rusting and bleeding into the dust on the ground at her feet.
She glances at the saber, dangling lifelessly from her grip, reading the inscription as it is being etched into to blade's side to learn the fate of the man's soul. She breathes, "He hadn't the faith."
The cries of distant seagulls wakes me, I tilt my neck, stiff as it is, in the direction of their chatter, my eyelids slide close at the moment a gull begins its stoop. The resultant splash, unusually loud, jolts my eyes open. My ears still receive the sounds of their omnipresent yells at one another. My eyes, dead from lack of sleep, refuse to transmit information to my brain to be processed. Everything is blurry, distorted; it all feels like a dream. I rise up and wipe the film from my eyes. Although the film is gone, the blurry world still exists. I close my eyes. I focus on only the sounds around me hoping to create a mental map of this place. Maybe with the map my brain will be able to connect the dots. I hear the ever present gulls, their wings slicing through the air, the splashes that occur both entering and exiting the surface of the water. But, I realize, something is missing, I know there are gulls, and I hear their splashing so I know there must be water. The gulls aren't that far away from me so the water must be close by. I assume I'm at a beach, but I can't hear the water itself. No matter how hard I strain my ears, I can't hear the water, no crashing of waves, no shifting as it washes on the shore. I was almost sure I was on the beach, but not anymore.
Where Am I?
I open my eyes.
That stupid dream again. I wipe the slick beads of sweat from my forehead. Why is it always that dream? I've been having it for the past three days. The birds, the water, the tears, the inability to comprehend anything, the nothingness; it's so scary. I hug my knees to my chest. I glance at my Sony Alarm Clock, 3:00 AM. That too! When the dream ends and I wake up, it's always 3 o'clock. I lay back down, my head sinking into the pillow; the ends curl up as if to protect me from whatever is out there. It doesn't work. I still feel apprehensive. I am still afraid. "Afraid". Huh, I haven't used that word in a while.
My eyes open, my body is woken by the singing of my alarm clock. I don't know when I drifted into sub-consciousness, but obviously I did. I don't want to get up today. I'm seriously pondering feigning an illness. Then the memory of the dream surfaces and it sends a chill up my spine that I could have sworn vibrated the bed. That got me up. Admittedly, there's nothing worse than that dream haunting me, but getting up at 6 o'clock in the morning and trudging through the same dull routine is pretty close.
I swing my legs unto the cold wood floorboards and for a moment i stare down at my unpainted toenails. My feet shuffle toward the bathroom in the near dark of the morning. I turn on the light and allow it to dissolve the moisture on my eyes. Once my eyes have had time to adjust I trudge over to the bathtub, turn on the water and wait for it to heat up. A couple moments later i extend my arm under the faucet and the water burns my skin. The water still running, I strip out of my pajamas (which are really just my favorite Pop-eye T-shirt that says "I didn't slap you I just high-fived your face" and loose shorts) and step into the tub. As i lather, my body wash offers me a small window of serenity; I use it to wash away my premonitions. At least I'm trying to. Nearly fifteen minutes later I'm out of the tub drying off. The scent of the peach body wash lingers, it has for now, completely replaced my horrors.
I'm standing in front of the mirror, assessing my own body. I don't look like a crazy person, I don't feel like one either but maybe that's how the insane see themselves without knowing their "flaw".
I leave the bathroom and hurriedly cloth myself. I can feel my peaches slowly dissipate. I want to be out the house before my protective peach barrier deteriorates. I shuffle over to my mother's bedroom door and knock softly. She hears and tells me to come in. I walk up to her bedside and tell her I'm leaving for school. I lean close so she can kiss me on my cheek, for she is too tired to sit up by herself. Stroking her hair, black like hers, she tells me, "Have a good day, hon." I smile, "thanks mom." After leaving her room and softly closing the door, I bounce my way down the stairs and into the kitchen. In five minutes I have a pop tart in my hand and one in my mouth; half in half out. On my way out I grab my keys off the counter and turn off the alarm. I lock the front door behind me and press a button on my car key. The lock on the driver's door of a 1969 Chevelle parked in front of my house unlocks as the car responds with a chirp. I open the door and sink into the seat, throwing my school bag unto the passenger seat. My dad left me the car when he died this summer, leaving me and mom and my brother. Every time I sit in his car i reminisce. It's painful, yeah, but it's worth it. I get to see him every day.
I put the key in to the ignition and turn it. Without a falter the car revs to life. My dad built this car from the ground up. One of the perks of being a worldwide millionaire author; "you've got money fo' days" as my brother always says. It often amazes me that my father was that knowledgeable to build a car from scratch. It also amazes me that the car doesn't stall form the weather outside. It must be below 40° outside. Damn Las Vegas. Ever so slightly I apply pressure to the gas pedal, so the car doesn't lurch forward and i pull away from the curb.
I never wanted to move to Nevada, it's all because of my brother. My dad, per my brother's eighteenth birthday wish, took my brother to Las Vegas, a kind of rite of passage they called it. Yeah. But my mom and I knew better, even though i was twelve at the time. Anyways my dad loved Vegas so much that he moved us out here. My mother of course opposed the idea for the sake of the family but she was still willing. So she laid down some ground rules. Well one ground rule with three parts-No gambling, No prostitutes, No alcohol. Basically he couldn't do anything Vegas-ish. My dad accepted her term and condition, something about being a loyal one woman kinda guy and a devoted Christian and being a wise spender (two out of four ain't bad, right?)
Now five years, ninety nine best-selling novels and a couple hundred million dollars later, here I am with my mom in a freezing one day-boiling the next desert while my brother is in Hawaii, "chillaxin'". Probably having a Luau to celebrate his eleventh novel after only four years, I think he misses our dad but he refuses to show it. He's hurting, I know, he's strong, my brother. He loved dad. More than I can describe more than he can describe and he's the one following in dad's footsteps.
I pull up to the school parking lot sixteen minutes before the bell is scheduled to ring. Since my dad was famous I have this popularity thing going on for me. Popular kids in movies make it look so enjoyable when it's really suckish. Everyone wants to be your best friend! The hell?! It's like I don't know you, nor do I want to. I park the Chevelle and sigh. I grab my bag, the keys and get out; I swing the bag over my right shoulder and close the car door. Immediately the cold hits me; it wasn't this cold this morning when I got in the car. Feverishly throwing on my hoodie, I half walk, half run to the front doors of the school. Stepping into the sea of students, like every other day, all of them turning their eyes on me should have my insecurity at an all-time high but fortunately, I've gotten overly used to it. I walk over to the stairs oblivious to my peer paparazzi, their hungry eyes eating every inch of my physical image and i climb the stairs two at a time, heading in the direction of calculus, my first period class. Having math first isn't as bad as it may sound, it's a pretty interesting subject, of course I know not everyone agrees. Seeing as I have nearly ten whole minutes of free time before the beginning of class, I take out my phone, an LG Optimus F6-Indigo Black, and launch my internet browser. After a few seconds of looking, all knowing Google pops up. I type in "What does my dream mean" (you see that I didn't even put a question mark cause yolo). An array of websites pops up. Without even considering the others I tap the one that reads "Yourdreamhere.com" The website is decorated with interesting little snippets of dreams and otherworldly connections. I scroll down and find a dialogue box, above it are the directions: Describe your dream Here, Our computers will pick out certain key words and phrases...It goes on but I didn't really care about how it figured out what my dream meant. As far as I'm concerned, there is a microscopic man, the most brilliant in the world that knows these things and responds to my dream description personally.
After typing in and submitting my brain's this-is-how-I-store-information conjuring, a pop up appears. It confirms that my request has been submitted and will take a few minutes to process. The time on my phone reads 6:53 AM. The "get to class" bell chimes at 6:55, and then school will officially start at 7:00. I'm sure the website will process my dream before class begins but I'll just wait until lunch. So for now I set my phone on vibrate and hit the screen lock button. A few students file into the classroom taking their seats; I didn't realize the bell rang. As more and more students fill the too small, one toned, uneven seats, and begin to take out their things for class, I do the same. Today's lesson is new and I'm excited. I think it shows on my face because I notice concerned how-are-you-excited-this-is-math-class looks directed at me.
The last student in our class walks through and our teacher walks in behind him. The door closes quickly then slowly, the way those safety close doors do. The teacher is a tall fellow with an air of superiority about him. He is always wearing a fedora to cover up his bald spot; sorry I mean his receding hair line. My brother had him a few years back. The first day of school when mother asked brother about his classes, my brother went into an in depth story. I only remember one thing though and it was, "My math teacher, Mr. Pax, is weird and too strict. Oh and his hair is running away from his face." He must have actually said that to the teacher because he also handed mom a letter and a detention slip for her to sign. And that's also how Mr. Pax got his nickname, King Neptune, from the SpongeBob Square pants Movie that I forced my brother to watch over and over again the week before summer vacation ended. I smile a little at the memory.
Behind his desk Mr. Pax shuffles around some papers, organizes some tabs, reaches for a textbook and the last bell rings. School Starts.
Some notes on Vectors and their components, half-lives, and pH (I know right?), and a not so subtle hint on a pop quiz and eighty-two minutes later, I am flushed with homework and overtaken by anxiety. The urge to look at the analysis of my dream keeps tugging at my collar, but i try my best to delay it until lunch. Students have a five minute passing period which i use to get to class unlike other girls who use the time to reapply makeup or do some fiddling on their hair. My next class, Advanced Placement Spanish, is pretty close to Calc so I'm there with three minutes until the bell. I find my seat in Mrs. Christensen's class and sit. At that moment my phone vibrates in my back pocket. When I look at the screen I see my best friend's name across the notification bar. Matthew. There's a text from him.
Hey! What happened? I thought we were gonna meet in the quad before second period.
Jeez! I totally forgot. He wanted to give me something today, though he refuses to tell me what it is.
Sorry Matthew. I forgot. Meet me at the library as soon as second period ends. I reply back. We have different lunches so it is exceptionally hard to see him during school. My phone vibrates again. He replied.
I lock my phone's screen and slide it back into my back pocket. The bell rings. La clase de Español ya ha comenzado.
At the door leading into the library, I'm sitting on a bench waiting for Matt. The rough edges and splinters from unprofessional carpentry are biting into my backside. Where is he? I hope he knows how many people I had to say sorry to as I barged pass them. Well some of them might have been okay 'cause the daughter of famous person touched them. I got here not thirty seconds after second period ended, and now he has three minutes to meet me then get to class whereas I'm on my lunch period. Another half a minute passes. I can hear his distinct half shuffle half stomp steps. When he gets here I have my elbows on my knees and my chin resting on my palms. I almost jump up off the bench, such sweet relief. Matt walks up with both hands behind his back, and my left eyebrow immediately arches upward while the other sinks ever so slightly. I know he is enjoying the puzzled look on my face because of his wide grin. Matt's about to say something but I go before he does. "What did you do?" comes out in a hurry. He smiles even harder. "Matt?!" He's standing three and a half feet away from me. He slowly removes his hands from behind his back. In his right is a gorgeous bouquet of violets and a few pink roses. In his left is a small grey box. Wrapped around it is a pink ribbon.
"Happy day before your birthday Hayley”. I'm astonished. He does this year after year and the gift gets more expensive each time.
"I told you to stop getting me these expensive things!" I say wide eyed.
"Did you now? Oh well you know, must have slipped my mind I guess."
"Yeah, sure”. He hands me the flowers to hold and steps behind me. He tells me to close my eyes and I do. "Why do you always get me expensive things?" I can hear the little grey box snap open.
"Because you're my best friend, oh and 'cause I can." I catch my breath as I feel a cool metal being placed on my neck. This is the first time he has gotten me a necklace. I look down at the new piece of jewelry that I own. The gem is a sapphire shard and is attached directly to the chain that holds it around my neck. I hold the jewel between my index finger and thumb and gaze at it.
"Hayley”! Matt shouts at me.
"Huh?" What? Sorry what”?
I was asking you if you liked it, but by the way you were gazing at it, I'm guessing you do." Even though he is still behind me I can tell he is smiling. I can feel the light reflecting off his bare teeth. Spinning around I throw myself at him and hug him as hard as I can and he responds likewise. After a few seconds he steps back and sighs. "Okay so I won't be here tomorrow, or the next month actually. That's why I'm giving you your present early this year. I'm leaving today, in about two hours. My dad and I are going to some remote country or island. I forgot the name though, something about work." He looks regretful.
"But, how, who am I supposed to hang out with? You can't just gift and run! Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"Yeah I'm sorry but this was last minute for me too. Not sure why I have to go but I do...And you know there are like another two thousand kids in this school that want to be your friend, right?"
"Yeah but they only want to be my friend just for the title, not for me." He gives me another regretful look and hugs me again. 'I'll see you in a month Hayley." I hug him back and then he lets go. I don't.
"You're still huggin' me. I have to go now."
"Oh, now is that so?" I try my best sarcastic voice. He laughs and tickles my side quite violently. I let go of him and my hands shoot up to protect my sides. It's only then I realize some people have been staring. I turn my attention back to him and he is smiling. Then he turns and walks toward the stairs with me at his heels holding a bouquet. Everyone in the quad is for lunch ( and some who are skipping their class) see this sight and immediately connect the wrong dots, for I can see loss of hope and frustration on some guys' faces and jealousy on some girls', well Matt isn't exactly unattractive. When we reach the last step Matt keeps on walking toward the cafeteria. I wish Matt had thought to buy me Burger King or Roberto's instead of the Bouquet. I hate school lunches. After a Powerade and a spicy chicken sandwich the lunch period ends followed by the ending of another class period. Finally I can go home. One of the perks of being a junior and senior is one or two free classes respectively, so those poor freshmen and sophomores are stuck there to suffer through another eighty-two minutes of class. Unfortunately though tomorrow I have four full periods.
When I get home I park the Chevelle in the garage instead of on the curb. I kill the engine and release my seat-belt but I wait in the car for a while, forgetting to close the garage door. I just sit there and for the next five minutes I don't move except to shift to a more comfortable position. Another minute passes then I hear my mother scream followed by a large BOOM! Her scream didn't last two seconds. I throw myself out of my car and rush to open the glass door separating the living room and the garage. I run into the room and stop facing the stairs. Above me I can hear the floorboards creak, I realize I'm directly under the hallway leading to my mom and dad's bedroom. The footsteps quickly reach the top of the stairs and then stop. I hear a muffled voice say, "Um, Jack, there's a shadow down there." I hear another voice, a stunned one asks, "what?" I look behind me and realize the sun is shining through one of the living room windows and I turn my attention back toward the stairs. On the ground before me is my shadow. "It just moved, there's someone in here with us." Run. To sets of feet descend the stairs at an alarming rate. Move. My feet make a dash toward the door to the garage. I hear a shout, "Hey!" as a shot whizzes past me hitting the opposite wall. Another one hits the wall that marks the beginning of the hallway to the garage door as I pass it. Splintery pieces hit the back of my head and I throw a hand up instinctively. In one swift movement, I throw open the glass door and jump in my car. The keys are still inside the ignition and I turn it and put the car into reverse just as the door opens again. I floor the gas pedal and the car is out of the garage in record time. A bullet shatters the edge of the windshield and sprays glass into my car. The way I shift the gears seems like something out of Tokyo Drift. The car launches down the alley behind my house as three more bullets hit the trunk and rear windshield. I glance up at the rear-view mirror in time to see a tall man in a black hood punch my shooter in the face and go back into the house. My shooter follows him into garage.
My eyes settle back into the road and I make a dangerous left unto Via Alicante avenue then down Camino Sereno to get unto the main road (why does my house have to be so secluded?) Las Vegas has a no phone while driving Law but laws don't apply right now. I pull out my phone and hit the emergency call button on the lock screen. An operator picks up on the first ring. "Thank you for dialing 911. What is your emergency?"
"Someone just shot my mom!"
The overbearing scent of coffee and donuts infiltrates my nostrils and overwhelms me. I want to puke. I've never been a fan of coffee and its nastiness and the police station is filled to the brim with its scent. Why can't someone call me into a private room already, like they do in the movies so I can get out of this smelly area. All around cops are filing papers, chatting on walkie-talkies, drinking coffee, eating donuts, drinking coffee, one's eating a scone (oh wow, nice way to mix it up), and for Christ's sake drinking coffee. I try to divert my attention from the sickening beverage by turning to the clock. I try to focus on the clock and only the clock; the red hand moves around its never ending circle, counting down the seconds left in the day, the long black minute hand tracking the red one's progress and yet the short lazy one stays dormant. The sound of each tick and tock slows my heart beat until both are at the same rhythm. The voices around me are lost, I close my eyes and the tick and tocking of the clock becomes louder. My heart beat chases the clock: thump, thump, thump. Calming. Calming sounds. Easing my nerves and mind- but I shouldn't be calm. My mom is dead, or at the least fatally wounded. Is she okay? What happened to her? Please be alive, mom! Mom!
"Ah! What? Huh, I'm sorry." There is a female officer in front of me sporting this season's best worried expression. Her name tag reads "Jenny" (officer Jenny, huh? I mentally smile at that).
"Are you okay? We are ready for questioning." She says this and her worried expression becomes a smile and makes me wonder how many times a day she goes from the concerned-about-you-look to the It's-going-to-be-okay, pure lies, look.
"I'm fine," I lie, "I'm ready".
"Then if you'd follow me please," officer Jenny leads me through a couple doors and a hallway, and then down into a room with glass in one wall and concrete all around. In one corner there is a camera and it seems to be pointed at me. I'm sitting at a metal table on a metal chair and a pile of donuts in front of me. Well every law show out there, so far so good. It takes a while before someone actually comes in to do the actual questioning, so my mind keeps going back to the donuts. I'm wondering if I should eat them just so I don't look guilty according to that one black guy in Transformers. But then again, a sugar rush was all it took to crack him, not that he did anything wrong but still. I wouldn't want to end up telling the cops I broke my mom's vase and then lied about it.
A moment later a large Will Smith looking character walks in. His hair is short and as black as his suit he wears. His physique suggests that he must have been a great body builder. His glasses are son tinted I can clearly see myself in them. And then my focus drifts to his tie. I was intimidated at first, but then I see his tie.A bolo tie. A large black guy, the cross between Will Smith and Cobra Bubbles, wearing a Bolo Tie. It's not just me right? Detective Bolo Tie is standing directly across from where I am sitting. He sets the papers that he had been holding down on the table and waves Officer Jenny out. She walks out and the door clanks shut behind her. Not a second later Detective Bolo Tie begins my interrogation, "Hi Hayley." His deep voice reinstates my initial fear of him even with the now obvious Bolo tie. "My name is Detective Blake," oh so Bolo Tie has a name, "Are you cold or too warm Hayley?" I've seen so many law and crime shows I can map out this entire interrogation. That was the ice breaker, which was really weak I might add. "Would you like something to drink, maybe a coffee-"
"No!" My voice reverberates around the room. I mean, uh, It's just, never mind. Continue." Continue? Did I just say that? Detectibve Bolo- I mean Blake jots something down and is about to continue. Next should be the open-ended question. "Can you describe what happened upon entering your home?" Bingo! (And nice use of the word 'home's' connotation, Bolo's gettin' some pathos points.)
"Well, uh, when I got home I had parked in the garage instead of outside on the curb like I sometimes do. I had something on my mind or something but I just sat in the car for a few minutes. Then I heard my mom scream. Her scream didn't last long, a second or two, but it was terrifying. She was cut off by a loud sound,something I thought to be a shot. At that I ran inside the house and in all of this my keys were still in the car and I had left the garage door open. When I was inside I stopped some feet away from the stairs because I heard footsteps moving across the hall that lead to my mother's room. I heard them stop and I knew it was at the top landing of the stairs. One of the guys said something about my shadow and figured out that I was in the house with them, that's I ran and shots were fired at me. A couple hit the walls around me, but I made it to my car and bolted out of there, but not before some shots hit my windshields and trunk. After I made it unto the main road I dialed for emergency. "I end, waiting for Detective Blake to begin the specific questions that I am sure are to come next. He waited for a moment, and then he asked, "How many guys did you say were there?"
"Two," I said promptly.
"Are you sure they were male?"
"Yes, I heard them both speak."
"Can you describe any of the men in any way at all. Any specific distinguishable features?" The culprit questions usually come near the end of the interrogation. After that should be like an assessment.
I think a while about what Bolo Tie asked me. "Well one was unusually tall but that's it. They were both hooded."
"Anything more, like their clothes? Any specifics about that?"
"No..." Then I remember something that hadn't registered when I looked in the rear-view mirror. "The tall one had a six on his Hoodie. A red number six. The other was in all black, nothing distinguishable."
"Well thank you Hayley, this has helped some. I was alerted to your mother's medical condition. I'm happy to mention that your mother is not dead, though she was shot in the chest over her right breast; the shot, pain and fear of it all could have been what shocked her into a comatose state."
"I also want to clear something up." His voice boomed, "You said that your car was shot at but our officers reported that not as much as a scratch was on the vehicle. Your house? Yes. Your story matches up until you car. Are you sure they fired at you while in the car?"
"Absolutely!" As soon as the word left my mouth I knew something had been wrong.
"Are you sure? Maybe It was your nerves, Hayley?"
"But I-I-I....At least I thought so."
" We will have to omit that, Hayley, because it is inconsistent." Blake states.
Could I have imagined that part? No! I couldn't have, could I? How could I have? Could It just have been nerves like Blake said? No. It couldn't have. Just uh, forget it. Your car's fine, no need to spend money on fixing it, right? This is so strange. How could there be no bullet holes in the damn car? I was sure that creep made sure of it. Right? My head is swimming. Right then my stomach clenched and began to hurt. My head played follow the leader.
Detective Blake now standing behind me, lays a hand on my shoulder and asks me if I am okay. Now i'm holding my midsection and resting my head on the cool metal table. Detective Blake pats my shoulder and a security officer walks in. Probably from watching me on the monitor (pervs) and saw I required assistance. He helps me up and aids me to walk with my left arm swung around is shoulders. There is a knock on the metal door and officer Jenny walks in. In her hand i smell before I see a cup of coffee. She says, "Detective Blake here's your-" but I cut her off by throwing up everything I'd had for lunch today, even though it wasn't much. Jenny yelps a tiny little yelp. The officer holding onto me lets go and I stagger backwards. Realizing his mistake he comes back to hold on to e but gravity is faster. My limp from pain body hits the cold metal floor. The pulsating throb in my head now threatens to force my eyeballs from their sockets. Everything is on it's side. My vision is blurry and I can't see much, I can hear my name. It must be being shouted but it comes to my ears as a whisper. Then it doesn't come at all. The pain has substituted itself in for my senses, but I still manage to keep my eyes open. My blurry vision with all the frantic faces all worried. At least I think they are worried. Thinking hurts, but it's till not like the real pain in my head and stomach.
I think I see something. I can see a number. I see six. There's a color but it doesn't register. All I know is that I'm afraid of it. I concentrate hard on the color even though it hurts. I slowly focus on it and I know what it is. I see the color red. I don't know why but I'm terrified. Everything in my vision, my blurred up vision becomes red. Slowly the color blends with everything erasing the form of the six.
And then I don't see anything.
The pale blue sky is so vast. It is spotted by only a few white, fluffy clouds that only serve to contrast against the paleness of the sky. I'm staring up at the sun but it doesn't hurt my eyes, it's just so warm. I'm just so warm and I feel magnificent. I take a deep breath. grass and flowers. For the first time I realize I am in a meadow laying down on my back. I can feel the soft blades of grass, the neat leaves of nearby flowers. Every movement I make allows them to tickle my skin. Another deep aroma filled breath, I let it go and breathe, more softly this time. I'm smiling. I close my eyes. I let the sun bake my skin and focus only on its warmth.
Hayley. I open my eyes. The sight of the woman kneeling behind my head is stunning. Her appearance is absolutely overwhelming and takes my breath away, leaving me without the aroma of the meadow. Her hair is so blonde it shines. It's beyond blonde, almost clear. Her grey eyes are soft all around and she smiles down at me. Even though I don't know her, her smile makes me feel safe. After a few seconds I catch myself staring at her. I quickly look away and get to my feet. She stands with me. When she does I can see she is no older than I am. She is wearing all white. The sleeves of her clothing stretch beyond her fingertips and the length of the bottom garment extends to the ground and trails behind her like a bride's on her momentous day. I can only gawk at her appearance, but her smile hasn't wavered. Her eyes have stayed on me the whole time I've been taking in her beauty. Then she moves. I brace myself, but all she does is extend her hand to me. I look down at her hand as she offers it to me, then I look back at her. There is blatant encouragement in her smile. I look into her eyes and smile back at her, and I stretch my hand to meet hers. But when I stretch it far enough for there to have been contact, I don't feel anything. O look down at our hands. Mine has passed through hers like she isn't there, I look back at her with worry. A sickening feeling hits me, like without her something bad will happen. It hits me so hard I stumble backwards. She retracts her hand into the veil of her garments and starts to fade. The meadow follows her. The sky follows her. The clouds follow her. Before she leaves me I hear her speak in a whisper: The time of the next Javan. Then she is completely gone. Wherever I am, it's completely dark. I try to look up and think I see the sun but it is red. Blood red. I suddenly feel cold and it offers no warmth. It's so cold.
I'm afraid again. I'm scared. out of the corner of my eye I see a pair of glowing beads. I peer closer. They're eyes. More start to pop up out of the thick darkness. They surround me. I'm trapped. The room is spinning, I'm spinning, they're spinning, something is spinning! My head hurts, the pain flares up at the very back of my eyes and in the center of my forehead. I strain to keep my eyes open. I shut them and open them again. What I see causes me to fall to my knees. All around me is the scarlet number six. It's blood stained color is terrifying. I feel like my blood is reserved to fill its void. It taunts and scares me. I clutch my head in pain, the agony, I try to find some security in a tight ball of flesh and bones. I close my eyes to keep the bloody number out of my head, but it doesn't work. It has tainted my eyes. It's the only thing I can see. I close my eyes tighter. Tighter yet. But it'snot enough. It's no use but I keep trying...and then some relief, but immediately I start to burn like I was thrown in a furnace. And then there's a hand. But it's not her hand, I realize, as I try to meet it. It's not red like the sun or the eyes or the sixes. It has no color, but it has every color all at once. It grabs after me and I try to scurry away from it. Open your eyes c'mon open your eyes. They won't open! I still fear the sixes that await outside my eyelids.
Gabriel. I try to get u and run from the hand reaching for me, but I can only crawl.
Gabriel. I find the strength to my feet to walk away from the claws on the tips of the hand's fingers. It is so close. I try to move faster but I cannot. It's coming faster and faster at me; I don't seem to be going anywhere. The vicious limb grasps my leg and I cry out, a sound I've never heard myself make. It yanks me violently down so that I land on my back and it makes its way to my throat. The grip is inhumanly, it's way too much. I'm gasping for air wishing that I still had the meadow to breathe from. The hand lifts me into the air, my feet dangle from the height at which it holds me from. I say what I think will be my last word, "Gabriel." My vision is blurred, but this time it is the result of tears, damp hot tears. My eyes slowly fall close and my limbs are almost all numb. The scorching heat, the never ending flames on my skin are the only thing I can feel. A stray tear falls. "Gabriel," I manage to croak out one last time, and then just before the last of my life is sucked from me I see a burst of a bright while light and feel something, soft like a feather, touch my face.
I awake to the rhythmic beeping of a machine and a slight pain above my left eye. When I put my hand to it I feel paper, like bandaging. The beeping I realize is similar to the pulse of the slight pain in my head. I look to my right and see that the beeping is coming from a heart monitor. The beet is rhythmic and steady. As I scan the room and take in my surroundings (obviously having concluded that I'm in a hospital. I mean, heart monitor, duh) a nurse walks in. She is carrying a clipboard and a pen and smiles when I meet her eyes, "Good Evening Hayley, I'm nurse Clark, but you can call me Joy," hehe Nurse Joy, "How are you feeling today, Hayley?"
"Well waking up in a strange place isn't always such a thrill, my head hurts a little and now that I think about it, my voice sounds terrible. Other than that I'm good," I say.
"Well that's good. Your heart rate is stable and-"
I didn't mean to cut her off, "what happened to me?"
"According to the police, you took quite a fall," she responds as though she is used to being cut off by her patients. "You hit your head but with only enough force to cause some swelling. It was unusual for you to have been out for so long-24 hours- for such a small bruise," she points to the bandages on my forehead. "When the police brought you here the swelling looked about right, but it had shrank quite a bit once you were relocated to this room..." She waits before continuing, "But in other news you have been deemed healthy and we are ready to release you from our care when you are ready. Your clothes are beside you on that table" Nurse Joy pauses and smiles politely at me, "before I go to file your release papers, would you like anything? Breakfast perhaps?" She says Breakfast with air quotes.
"I suddenly realize how hungry I am, "Breakfast sounds good," I reply.
"I'll send someone in with eggs and bacon?" She phrases it into a question. I nod my head furiously, Bacon!
While Nurse Joy retrieves the sweet nectar of the Heavens that is my "breakfast", I change into my clothes. My clothes smell like lavender when I put them on, "Sweet they've been washed!" The last thing I remember at the police station is vomiting and then a weird dream, though not the falling part. Which reminds me, "I'm going to have to look into that other dream. unfortunately." Any-who, I know I must have fallen face first into my own mixture of bodily fluids and cheap cafeteria food, so the relief of washed clothes is welcomed. I am tugging on my shirt when I feel my pocket vibrate. With only one arm in one sleeve, I fight with my jeans pocket to get my phone. I don't bother to look at the caller ID. "Hello?" I answer while thinking about how great my Optimus' battery life is.
"Hayley?!" A very disturbed male voice yells into my ear drums, "Hayley!" he shouts again. I remove the phone from my ears and look at the caller ID. Matt! I yell back into the phone, "Hi, Matt!" But he doesn't have the same humorous tone I do when he asks, "Are you okay? I had a really bad feeling about you and I just had to make sure you are okay."
"Hey, Matt, i'm fine. I'm in the hospital but-"
"What?!" he cuts me off.
"I know how impulsive and impatient Matt can be, "Matt shut up and listen so I can explain this." Just then a male nurse strolls in with "breakfast". My mouth immediately begins to water when the scent of fried stuff wafts to my nose.
"Here you go Miss Hayley," the male nurse says politely then leaves.
"Hold on a moment, Matt," I set the phone between my cheek and shoulder and hurriedly bite into the bacon while listening to Matt's objection to waiting. I could have cried. What I taste is not bacon. The hospital serves Turkey Bacon. If I wasn't so hungry I would file multiple complaints. I might just do that, actually. But I am hungry and even though no pork skin was sacrificed in my breakfast, I devour it, and at the same time curse Nurse Joy for slyly lying to me.
Matt had patiently (gasp) waited on the phone while I ate and when I'm done I tell him all that had happened. There's some silence on his end but then he says, "Come over to my house. I don't want you alone."
"Okay, I-wait, why are you home? Shouldn't you be in some uncharted part of Narnia?" I ask him.
"Matt laughs, "I'll explain when you get here, I'll pay for your cab, I would get you, but something is wrong with my car." I agree. I tell Matt I will see him in a little bit and hang up. Beside my hospital bed is an electronic contraption and on it there is a "call Nurse" button which I push. In less than a minute Nurse Joy surfaces. She confirms to me that I'm all set and ready to leave. She unwraps the bandage around my head and directs me to the bathroom so I may look at it. She also says there are toothbrushes and toothpastes in there to use. "Someone could have said that before I defiled my taste buds with eggs and not-bacon. She looks at me puzzled and I shake my head indicating "never mind", but i just know she knows what I'm talking about. After ten minutes I conclude that my wound is healed and my teeth and tongue are scoured to rid them of the taste of, I shiver, Turkey Bacon. Nurse Joy is waiting for me in the room to escort me to the lobby. Then I'll be out of this know-nothing-about-bacon hospital. Then something ridiculously obvious hits me, "Mom!" I think out loud. I turn to Nurse Joy, "Is my mother here?"
She replies, "I wouldn't know unless she were a patient of mine. We can check." Taking a detour from the lobby, Nurse Joy leads me to a receptionist where I can inquire about my unconscious mother. My morn's name, some keyboard taps and two minutes later I know my mother is at a much more intensive care hospital, a sister to this one, a few miles away.
As I am turning to leave, Nurse Joy grabs my arm, "Oh, Hayley, I nearly forgot. The police dropped off your car." She pulls out a fluffy dove key chain from her coat pocket and attached to it is what I recognize as my car key. There's another paper attached to it.
I take it from nurse Joy, "Thank you Nurse Joy!" I yell back as i half run half walk out the room and to the elevator. The elevator doors open, I step in and they close. I press the lobby button and look down at the key chain. The note card attached to it reads "Parking B4". Parking spot B4. When the elevator doors chime open, I rush to the front door and dash out into the parking lot. B4, B4, B4, I chant to myself; I spot section B and head over to it. My shiny green and white striped muscle car stands out in a sea of grey, black or white sedans. I can't help think," what's with all the monotony? But the car chirps in response to the key leaves no time to wonder. I drop heavily into the driver's seat and notice that, thankfully, the bouquet and my school bag are still in here. Before I start the car I check my phone realizing I don't know the time or date, despite the numerous calendars and clocks in that bacon-hating hospital. The nurse said I was out for 24 hours but I didn't pay attention to the school days at all so I can't make that calculation. My LG Optimus says it's Friday, December 9th, 4:07 pm. I missed an entire day of school which is the equivalent to 10 assignments and at least one test. We teens have it bad. Before I can go into an argument with myself about teenage responsibilities I start the car begin the drive to Matthew's house with a heavy heart and homework stress (oh and unsatisfied taste-buds).
When i get to Matt's house I honk like a crazy person, not caring who I disturb. Matt opens the front door in seconds and steps out in jeans and a really old jacket from that cartoon One Piece. He was definitely planning to stay home. He is at the driver's side window and before he says anything I tell him, "Get in." He doesn't question me but says he's going to get his keys and walks back into the house. Practically, as soon as he enters the house he's out. He locks the house door and runs to the passenger side door and hops in. Matt barely has his seat-belt on when I launch down the road.
"Woah! Hayley, slow down! Where's the fire?" Matt asks frightened. He waits for my answer but I don't have one. "Can you tell me at least where we are going?"
"To the hospital," my tone is flat.
"Didn't you just get back from there?"
"It's a different one. My mom is there." Matt doesn't reply, but I can feel his stare on me. I glance at him and meet his eyes for a second. There is confusion, worry and sympathy (don't forget terror) in his pale blues. I don't know why, but seeing him look at me like that hurts. I feel small and frail under his unwavering gaze and then I feel the pity he feels for me like I'm a third person viewer. "Please don't look at me like that, Matt."
"I'm sorry Hayley. I-"
"Matt you are the last person I need this cliche pity from." A few seconds pass and he caresses the bouquet and says, "The flowers haven't died yet have they, huh."
I laugh, "Your attempts to change subject are always so-"
"Pathetic, I know, you've said that oh so many times."
"Well it's true, Matt," I smile. Another quick glance at my passenger reveals that he's sticking his tongue out at me, "Ha ha ha." He's even making the humming sound. We both laugh, "thanks Matt." He can always cheer me up, no matter what. It's been that way ever since I met him in Middle school. I was crying because some 14 year old turd face put gum in my hair and was tugging at it; it hurt pretty bad. He was also making fun of me and downright bullying me. And then there was Matt, just out of nowhere, a 13 year old gentleman. Matt found us, the bully and I, after school, in some secluded hall way and he gave the mischievous year old a piece of his rambling teen mind. His stammering made it that much more adorable. When he was finished with the little boy, who had disappeared by that point (the wild Bully used teleport; the wild Bully fled), he directs his good-natured spirit at me. I had stopped crying but my cheeks were still damp, so Matt went and got me a tissue from a neat bathroom. I was going to take it from him, but he moved it out of my reach and pointed at me and told me firmly, "hey." He proceeded to wipe my face clean and I let him. To this day Matt still does the move-it-out-my-reach-and-point-at-me routine. He asked me if I was "o-o-okay?" and i nodded yes. I told him thank you and hugged him, but he wasn't convinced so he held my hand took me to the nearest teacher and told on the other kid. I don't know if I can honestly say that it's been since that very moment that I felt absolutely safe around Matt, but it sure feels like it.
I make the right into the hospital parking lot and I park in an empty space as close to the entrance of the large building as possible. I pull the key out of the ignition and Matt and I step out. The cool breeze feels colder on my left cheek and I put my hand there; my cheek is wet. Had I been crying? I wipe away the tear trail with my sleeve and turn to Matt. His cheek is wet too but he doesn't try to hide his. I try to make a wise-crack but he speaks up. "I was just thinking about how we met in middle school." I should think that that is weird, but oddly, I don't. "Me too," I reply and smile back. He raises his sleeve against his cheek and removes any trace of moisture from his face. I just now realize how much smoother and cleaner his face is than mine, "that Proactiv must be working wonders for you, huh?
"You know, Hayley, your subject changes suck too," he retorts.
"That's 'cause I wasn't purposefully trying to change the subject, loser."
Matt rolls his eyes at me, "Hmm, sure." We both laugh as we walk into the hospital. I immediately feel a change in atmosphere. "Do you feel that, Matt?"
"What? That it's warmer? Your perceptive skills are exceptional," have I mentioned how much I hate his sarcasm? I wave off my preliminary feelings as we get to the receptionist. Her head glides up at us mechanically and her voice sounds recorded, "How may i help you?
"My name is-"
She cuts me off, "oh you're Hayley Reid!" Her voice loses the machine like tone, "You must be here about your mother. Mrs. Reid is in room 112 on the 3rd floor. I'll send for a nurse right away. Excuse me."
The receptionist turns away from us and makes a call. I turn to Matt, "see, being famous does have it's perks," he says.
"In what world is simply being recognized a perk to having a famous father?" I emphasize "famous father" to correct him; I'm not the famous one.
"Great, let's keep it that way," I pat his shoulder playfully.
"Well, Ms. Reid, a nurse will be along to help you in about a minute or so. In the meantime, may I help you in any other way?" She inquires way too expectantly. All I can think is "kiss up" when I answer, "no thank you," in my most polite up beat voice. Matt and I make our way over to one of the chains in the receptionist area.
I start up the conversation, "You know, if I wasn't me then she wouldn't have lit up like a Christmas tree in Santa's workshop."
"I want to argue but I can't" Matt replies defeated.
"Yeah. Point Hayley!" I fake a pumped up expression and thrust my right fist in the air while yelling "Yeah" under my breath.
"You look like a rocker woodland pixie."
"Matt, I swear if that's a short joke...It doesn't even-" Matt silences me with a nudge of the knee. I look in front of me and see a nurse in the usual nurse get-up walk over to us. The smile on her face looks foreign; it looks out of place with the bags and dark circles under her eyes. She extends her palm out to Matt and me, in that order, and we shake.
"Hi, I'm nurse Debbie. you must be Hayley," she says looking at me (duh, who else would be Hayley? Surely not Matt). "Your mother is in room one hundred and twelve on the third floor, if you'd follow me, I'll take you to her." Matt and I both rise and she turns on her heels and walks lively back to the elevators. With the obvious pep in her step I'm about ready to conclude that she has had either way too many Monster or the bags and dark circles under her eyes are the product of really good face paint (I think she hired Naked Vegas). Debbie starts to tell me about my mother's condition as we walk, "since yesterday when she arrived, she has been in the same state. A coma. She hasn't woken up but we have kept her healthier than when she arrived, unfortunately that is not much. Although her breathing is ragged and she needs help to sustain it, I'm afraid. We were able to remove the bullet and stop all bleeding and we have no more problems other than those." Debbie's lecture takes us to the 3rd floor, on corner away from my mom. She walks us the last few yards to my mother's room, "visiting hours end at seven-thirty. It is now-" she checks her watch, "Six-seventeen. You have an hour and thirteen minutes."
"Thank you," Matt and I say in unison.
"No problem," is her reply and she walks away...probably to get another Monster.
A few seconds of uncomfortable tension passes. "Hayley, you okay?" Matt's voice pulls me out of my reverie. I was holding my breath, I realize, and I slowly let go of it. "I don't know, Matt." He puts his long arms around my shoulders.
"I'm right here," he assures me.
"I know." I blow out the last of my pent up breath. I put my shaking hand on the door handle. I take another breath and push down on the door handle. I hear the lock release. I know what I should expect to see, but I don't want it to be true (oh God, please don't let it be true.) I push back the door. I break into quiet tears.
The sight of my mom lying there, pale as a sheet, sickens me to my stomach. "Mom," I try to say but the word comes out sloppy. Her skin is pale and looks ghostly. A shell of the woman I call mother. Her lips are almost void of all color. She is sick. The hollows in her collar bones could hold two golf balls. Her hair, the hair that always used to tickle me when the "Cookie Monster would try to nibble my neck, is completely lifeless and many shades lighter. Something, just something is here laying in that hospital bed, but it is not my mom. Matt tightens his hold on me. Yes. I break out into wrenching sobs and slump to my knees in Matt's arms. He pulls me up and I turn into him, crying furiously. My legs are having trouble supporting me, so he leads me to a chair. He sits me down and kneels in front of me and takes my hand in his.
"It's-It's only been one day, Matt. How could this have happened in one d-d-day?"
"I don't know, i don't know," he holds my hands tighter as if to protect me from my mother and the world with his sole touch. I rest my head on his right shoulder.
"Something is wrong, Matt. Call the nurse or something," I shout, but Matt just stays there. Touch her.
My bawling turns to hiccuping; my tears are drenching Matt's One Piece jacket. Go. I'm inhaling and exhaling air rapidly, but I finally quiet down. I take my time and focus on Matt's hands enveloping mine. I've always felt secure when he's with me. Ever since that day in Middle School. I think about his warm hands encompassing mine. You're safe. I'm safe. He will protect you. Matt'll protect me. Progressively, my breaths become deeper and the tears have stopped though they already left their mark. Breathe, relax, breathe, relax, I tell myself repeatedly.
Matt releases his hold on my hands. "Matt," I begin to protest, but he puts his hands on my shoulders and tells me, "you're fine. It's okay." He moves his hands up my shoulders and over my neck and cups my face. He lifts my head so that i'm looking into his pale blues and he smiles at me, however feebly. He raises himself up so he is bending over me and softly kisses me on the top of my head. My lips twitch up slightly. Touch her. My hands are still shaking, but they stop when he encompasses them with his home again. He tugs me lightly to tell me to get up, and I do. He leads me over to the bed that my near-death mother is on. There is a chair near the head of the bed, thankfully, and Matt leads me to it. Mom is lying face up, the only part of her body visible is her head with the breathing apparatus around her mouth and nose; everything else is under the covers, so I reach my hand up under the side of the covers and hesitantly search for her hand. When I find it I jerk away immediately. "I felt the same thing from downstairs when I touched her." I whisper quite softly. Matt's hand on my shoulder acts to spur me on again. I find her hand again and lead my other hand to it's location, so i can cup her hand in both of mine. Her hands are so cold, and the contact only amplifies the feeling that I felt. Something is really wrong with my mom.
I hold her hand for a minute or so and then I close my eyes and just breathe. Images of her flash across my mind: her smile, her lopsided grin, the double chin she gets when she makes silly faces, her dark brown eyes when they are looking up at me from her reading, and all other times because I'm a little taller than her. I smile a little. I imagine the way her short black hair would stubbornly poof up when she tried to straighten it.
Then I imagine her, all of her. The kind, loving woman that is my mom. The woman who is always there for me. The woman that always takes my side (as long as it benefits her, that is). I imagine myself being sucked into the warmth of her heart. And out of nowhere the wind is knocked out of me, and my hands are burning over my mother's.
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through the dry places, seeking rest, and fineth none. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour...Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
The burning intensifies for an instantaneous moment, and suddenly it stops. I hear a gasp from behind and turn towards Matthew. I open my eyes and meet his gaze. His eyes are directed over my shoulder; I follow them with mine. My eyes land on my mother and I begin to feel the tears stabbing at the back of my eyes.
"Mom." I say trying to blink back tears. "Mom," the only word my shattered mind will allow me to say, "Mom." She squeezes my hand with hers, reminding me we are still linked, and she smiles. I can't process what's happening or what happened. And Matt's shaky hands on my shoulders tells me he doesn't either. My mom, who was just now lying on the hospital bed like a zombified corpse, is now an almost perfect replica of the picture of health. Her skin is its normal shade of brown once again, and I can no longer see the hollow in her collar. Her hair is her trademark midnight black. The natural curls on her head look animated and full of life as she turns her head to better look at me. For the first time, she notices Matt, "Hey there, Dimples." Matt doesn't have any dimples , but he gets jealous if he sees anyone with them. "Have you been taking care of my little girl for the past...." she pauses realizing she has no reference for the time.
I help her out, "It's only been a little over a day, mom."
"Really? Wait, Hayley, that means... oh my baby, Happy Birthday." She seems to get healthier with each breath.
"Well, Mrs. Reid," Matt says, "Hayley has actually been in your position, but to a lesser extent she's told me."
"What? Hayley, what happened?"
"Well, do you mean to me or what happened in general after you were, um...." my voice trails away.
"It's okay Hayley, I'm just glad that they didn't get you..."
"Wait, they? They who, the-" a knock at the door interrupts me (I've been interrupted a lot lately).
Debbie walks in saying, "Visiting hours end in ten minutes," she sees my mom, "Mrs. Reid!" There is obvious shock in her voice. "This is nothing short of wondrous, miraculous." She sounds breathless (Dang, those monsters wear you out fast, huh?). Debbie hurries over to the machine that is helping mom to breathe. She quickly scribbles something. "Hayley, you and you're friend need to leave now. We have to conduct some tests to make sure that your mom is fine and to determine if whatever happened is actually permanent so she won't have a relapse.
I feel sick to leave my mom, especially after she was about to tell me something about who hurt her, but I want to know that this is permanent too. I couldn't bear to see her deformed again, so I grab Matt's left hand with my right and lead him ti the door. I turn back, though, and tell my mom I love her, I hug her and kiss her and say, "come home soon."
"I will," she says and smiles. I'm not sure if I can believe her. "Happy Birthday sweetheart," she says again.
"Thanks, mom," I smile at her.
"Oh Mrs. Reid," Matt begins to say, "Hayley's going to be staying at my house for the time being, okay?" My mom nods her response. One last glance over the shoulder and Matt and I leave the room, we ride the elevator down 3 floors, and then we leave the hospital. When we reach the car I tell Matt to drive. He complies without argument. The reason I wanted him to drive is that I wanted to keep my mind occupied, because I don't want to think about tonight's events, not yet at least. Plus I haven't checked my dream translation dealio, so kill two birds with one stone.
On the road outside the hospital parking lot the website, Yourdreamhere pops up. It's surprising because my phone is near death: 20% (but seriously though, nearly two days without a charge and it just now reaches 20%? I had an iPhone 4s that died with the sounding of the school bell.) When the result comes up, one word catches my eye: "otherworldly". But I focus and read the dream description from the beginning.
Our various methods of calculations have deduced
that your dream is of an otherworldly nature. The
blurred vision in a dream suggests events in which
you will partake in will be strange and difficult to
comprehend. Through various sources and
connections we have concluded that the seagulls
and unsupported splashing suggest you work best
by diving headlong into blind situations and your
natural perception sis saying that the characteristic
is of great magnitude and will be pertinent in events
Two parts of that summary replay over in my mind: "otherworldly "and difficult to comprehend". They describe the exact feeling I had with my mom. What had happened freaked me out, but seeing it here is sending chills up and down my spine. Was what happened actually "otherworldly"? It sure as hell was "difficult to comprehend". I close the window that the website is opened on and then I lock the phone. I really don't want to think about any of this and i'm tired. I just want to go off to sleep. And I do. I nod off for the rest of the trip back home and wake up when Matt stops and turns off my Chevelle. Before my hand can find my seat-belt latch, Matt asks, "what did you do?" I look at him puzzled. "Your mom, what did yo do? One minute she is on her death bed and I blink and, and, and..."
"I don't know, Matt, I'm weirded out and kinda cared too."
""You were mumbling something."
"Yeah, you were saying something under your breath, way low."
"I didn't know I was doing that."
"It sounded like gibberish but seeing what kind of 'miracle' happened to your mom, I'm starting to believe that's not the case."
I sigh and look at him, even though it's dark I can see that he's very pale. "Matt, can we talk about this tomorrow? Please? It's late and I'm tired." He sighs too and nods. We both get out and he locks the car after I shut my door. When we get inside Matt's house we both go upstairs; I think we both had a too eventful day.
Like I usually do when I come to sleep over, I head towards the guest room, but Matt grabs my arm before I get to the door. "Hey you can come sleep with me, you know? Of course not with me, but in my room as in you and I would both be in my room as in you and but-"
"Matt! Stop worrying," I smile a little to convince him, "I'll be fine, okay?" Unfortunately I don't convince myself.
Matt looks really reluctant from me being away from him, "okay. But if you need anything, I'm only a few feet away. 'Kay?"
"'Kay, goodnight, Dimples," I sorta chuckle and he does too and then he embraces me.
"Good night, Hayley." Matt retires to his room leaving me at the guest room which is more like Guest-room-only-for-Hayley-and-not-even-family-visits" but guest room for short. I've been here so many times it has become a second home. I even leave clothes here, enough to fill half the drawers in a chest-of-drawers. And lucky too, because I desperately need to shed for the night, both my clothes and emotions. I find a suitable sleep attire in a drawer and change into it. I just leave my dirty clothes on the floor; I'll get to them tomorrow. I'm going to need to make a plan for tomorrow because I'm going to need better clothes and my charger-
"Oh Hyaley?" Matt startles me (seriously? Why does everyone interrupt me and my thoughts?). "Here, I found a spare charger, it's universal and has 4 charger inserts; one should work."
(Okay, so maybe I can let this one interruption slide), "Thanks Matt."
"Welcome," he says and pauses, "I'm sorry your B-day turned out this way, Hayley..." and then he leaves, pulling up the door behind him.
"Matt..." I sigh for what feels like the billionth time this night and try to put all of this out of my mind . I change charger inserts twice before I find the right one. I plug it into my phone and hear the familiar ping that tells me my phone is charging.
So I have a charger, I'm still going to need clothes and it's imperative that I buy new ones. Some deep gut-like feeling urges me to not go back to my house and right now, I have nothing to do but trust it. And that same deep gut-like feeling is telling me that I'm going to find out what is happening to my obviously fragile, little world soon enough. You know what? I could probably rest tomorrow then do everything on Sunday and Monday since it's staff Development Day. Or is that next Monday? I also have to explain to mom all that's happened and why I don't want to go back home. Then there's the whole thing about the non-existent bullets that DEFINITELY hit my car... Ah crap, too much thinking! Pain. Pain. Pain....I sigh, "okay that's the last sigh for the nigh, you hear me?" I say to myself. I lay my head down on the pillow and try to relax. Then I remember that Matt isn't helping his dad find Aslan and the the Kings of Old. I smile a little, he said he would explain it to me when I got hear, which means that he has to explain to me tomorrow. He is so bad at explaining things, so it should be interesting. I close my eyes and drift into bliss at the thought of Matt and his ramble-y failures at explanations.
When my eyes open, the room is pitch black and no light filters through the windows. I click on my phone and the light blinds me causing a hissing noise to slip through my teeth. I quickly turn off the screen and sigh in relief (okay this sigh doesn't count because it was a relief sigh, not a stress sigh). I don't need confirmation that it's the middle of the night, the absence of light tells me that, dumb brain....The middle of the night! Crap! There are just some times, this one to be exact, that I wish that there was a block call button for when Mother Nature calls. I'm so damn tired. I will my legs to carry me to the bathroom that's attached to the guest room, my room more like it. I flip the light switch and let out another small hiss.
After I've don my business I wash my hands and step out of the bathroom. When I switch off the light in the bathroom, I am blindsided by the darkness, but fortunately, i know this room like the back of my hand. I carefully make my way past the dresser and chest of drawers and around the foot of the bed without a collision. I sit on the bed and rub my eyes before laying down. As my head hits the pillow, I hear my name.
Suddenly my room is swamped with light causing me to sit up against the headboard and shield my eyes from the light.
"My light will not hurt you, Hayley. You can remove your hands from your eyes."
I do so slowly. (Wait, what? No! Keep your hands up, they could be lying.) But..I know whoever this is isn't lying. I remember this feeling. I had it during a dream I think...A feeling of total security. I remove my hands all the way and open my eyes, knowing perfectly well who to expect. The source of the light is the same girl as in my dream.
"Will you come with me?"
"Where? Is this another dream?" I know the answer before she says it.
"I don't understand what is happening."
"Come with me and I shall explain."
I feel myself begin to rise, higher and higher. I look beneath me and see a familiar face and the realization shocks me. Her words answer my unspoken question.
"That's your physical body, Hayley. You will not be able to take it with you where we are going...the Spiritual Plane, a place indigenous to all of the Three Levels. Each time you dream your spirit is sent to wander as this is the only time it can be free, a subject I shall explain as you learn about that which is beyond the physical world. Hayley, it is time you were made aware of your past and yourself, for soon the fate of the three Levels will be entirely in your hands."
I stare at her in disbelief and say, "all I wanted was eight short hours."
The light in my room magnifies progressively then suddenly dims. After all
the light has passed my settings change. I look up and see all around me the light
of all the stars up in the sky. And below me is Matt's home and all other houses on
his street. I feel lifted and light when I look back at her.
"We must wait for them, all will be explained then," she says after a while.
"Who is them?" My voice mirrors he confusion I feel.
As if on cue, two figures materialize out of a flash of light and stand to my
right. I turn to face them and see a tall figure. He is dressed in similar robe as
of the girl who I am here with. His hair caresses his face and is the same clear
blonde color of my mistress. Beside him is a smaller figure, shorter by a head. I
recognize his short brown hair.
"Matt?" I say perplexed, "what is going on?" I'm frozen in place and a thought
occurs to me and I turn back to the girl who brought me here, wherever here is.
"I'm not dead? Am I?"
"What?" I hear Matt ask.
"This century's Gift is quite impatient, Gabriel." A deep voice resonates
around us, full of power. I turn around a see the boy that accompanies Matt as he
speaks again in that same voice, " she seems about ready to implode with it and well
we can't have that now can we? Best if we jump right in, it seems to me," he looks me
in the eye then and continues, "though they mightn't like it."
"I believe she can, as well as he, Angel. Though I've spent enough time with
her to know she understands better when prepared," the girl says.
The boy, who as I think about it looks similar to Matt, replies, "True
enough, and the boy is not well suited to handle surprises."
"Please! Can someone explain this? Am I dead? Asleep? Did the world end?" I can't
keep my frustration in. The boy's deep laugh booms around us, filling the vast and
"Hayley," the girl who brought me here speaks to me as if the boy had been
silent, "Stand before me, Angel, please assist me. Matthew, please join us as well."
I warily stand before her and Matt stands beside me. The other boy moves gracefully
to her side. "We haven't been introduced properly, I am Gabriel and this is Angel,"
she continues, "Hayley, Matthew, there is much for you to know in the limited space
of a few hours while you two sleep."
"I thought you said this wasn't a dream." I interject.
"You are not dreaming I assure you, I have simply made your spirit aware of
itself much like your body is while it is awake. Angel did the same for Matthew.
While you sleep your spirit is asleep and vice versa. You see, the human body is a
sacred dwelling for both material and spirit. Both cannot be awake at the same time.
Well, more correctly, it is unusual for both to be awake at the same time. The spirit
is the life essence of every human and it is the most important part of a being, that
is why it requires more rest than does the body which is why a human body spends more
time awake than asleep. The time spent awake is the time the spirit spends asleep."
"Why are you telling me this? It doesn't answer my question!"
"As the body sleeps the spirit is awake and it roams," Gabriel continues as
if I hadn't interrupted her." It doesn't roam like the body, on the Physical Plane,
but on the Spiritual Plane. This is where the spirit gathers strength and knowledge
and prepares itself for the journey it must take after the body dies. That is what
your spirit was doing before I passed on your body's consciousness to it."
"So we're," I gesture to Matt and myself, "we're sleeping right now? And our
spirits are roaming?" She nods her response. "Well why doesn't every dream feel like
this? So real?" I say skeptically. I know I don't feel that way, because something
deep inside me is telling me what she says is true.
"The difference between this and every other time you have slept is that your
consciousness has traveled to your spirit. Usually your consciousness does not pass
between the Levels, but I and Angel have helped it along so that you're spirits would
not roam all over as it naturally does. If it did, we would not be able to
communicate with you the way we are now."
"You mentioned the Levels to me, that it needed saving," Matt says to Angel.
"What are the Levels? Why did you tell me that?"
"You said that to me too, Gabriel, what did you mean?" I ask.
Angel steps in, "They are Heaven, Earth, and Hell. The level of Angels and
God Himself, the level of His creations-Humans, and the level of Demons and the
Devil, Lucifer. That traitor. He is the reason why Jehovah divided us into the three
Levels and barred both the Spiritual and Material Planes from coming into contact."
Angel's voice grows gruff. "Lucifer wanted His throne, I'm sure you've heard the
story before, Javan."
That name startles me. "Why are you too calling me by my dad's name? He's..."
I can't finish the sentence.
"We know all about your father Hayley. And we are sorry, but it was all in
His plan, everything is, it was necessary for-"
"Necessary!" My voice cuts off Gabriel's, "How could it have been necessary
for my dad to die? What plan is it that is so important that it involved my father
dying..." I pause. What am I doing, this is just a bad dream, this makes no sense.
It's just a dream, it's just everything that's been going on, I'm just stressed and
it's showing up in my dreams. But I'm conscious, I can change it can't I? "This is a
dream, that's all it is. All of this you're telling me isn't true, I'm asleep and
dreaming like every normal person. I'm not crazy, and because I am conscious right
now, I can change it. I'm going to count to five and everything will change." I take
a deep breath...look at each and everyone of them and start to count," One. Two.
"Do you really think that'll work, Javan?" Angel's voice penetrates my
misinterpreted calm, but I continue, "Four." I take a deep breath, but there is no air
and I start to freak. I keep trying to draw breath but there is none to be drawn.
This entire dream, have I not been breathing? I'm panicking.
"Hayley, calm down! The spirit has no need to breath, do not panic, you are
quite fine." Gabriel says.
"I am fine," I say over a gasp, "this is a dream, I can't be harmed here."
"No you can't." Angels responds, "but you can be harmed in there!" He shouts
while pointing down at the house below us, Matt's house, the same one I am sleeping
in. "If you don't stop, your body's consciousness will relay this information back to
the body and you physical form will cease breathing and you will die! Calm down,
"Stop calling me by my dad's name! I am not him! He's dead and I am alive!"
"Not for long you won't be!" Gabriel counters, but I keep struggling for
"Hayley," Matt's voice rings in my head. I feel a hand on my shoulder and
when his head comes into view I know it's Matt's. "Calm down." But I just stare at
his face while fighting the instinct to breath.
"This is a dream, why can't I control it?"
"Because it isn't, stubborn!" Angel's too deep voice belittles me.
I hear a scream that sends a shiver up my spine, it's my voice, but I didn't
scream. "Her body has received the message, Hayley, stop panicking, Now! Hayley, stop
panicking! You will die if you don't. Hayley. Angel, take away Matthew, allow him
this night, he mustn't witness this." I hear Gabriel say, but she sounds far away,
like the voices in the police station. This can't be happening again. I hear a "Wait!
Hayley" and "No!" and I hear my voice a few more times and then I can only feel my
agony and hear the ringing in my ears. And then I feel something in my stomach. It
makes me stop. I look down and see a sword, stuck up to the hilt in my belly. My eyes
follow the hilt up to a hand, and from that hand is an arm, an arm attached to
Gabriel. How could I have died in my own dream? No. I don't have to die, I can just
dream my way out of it. So I look up into Gabriel's eyes and dream her away. I think
it's working, she's fading away. Why couldn't this have worked earlier. This would
have been so much easier if-wait, she's not fading, she's blurring, no not her, my
vision, my vision is blurring. No, this is my dream...Javan...that name again, No I'm
not my dad...Javan, it means gift Hayley...The hell it does. If it means gift then
why did he leave me?...So you could have been gifted with title Javan, because of
him, Hayley, you are The Gift of God, you are the next Javan...This is all
nonsense...No it isn't and you know it, it's in your spirit, you know this, years
upon years upon years, Hayley, you have been the Javan...I'm only sixteen and I've
never been the Javan...Then come with me Hayley...No, I'm done going with people who
tell me to come. And how am I supposed to go anywhere with myself? All of this is
nonsense!...Then I'll come to you Hayley...You are me, you are already here...You
could say that I am here, really though I am everywhere, all at once...So what are
you claiming to be God?...No not claiming, you see claiming involves uncertainty...Oh
right you expect me to believe in my Dream Death God is going to come to me?...This
is no dream and you are not dying....It is and I am....Ha Ha you have always been
stubborn, but you are made in my image, my daughter, as is everyone else, all my sons
and daughters...Stop playing God, just go away, you're pissing me off. This is my
dream, get out of here. I can't believe I'm arguing with something my mind came up
with...I have never left your side and I will not leave now Hayley, it is time for
you to come with me. It's your time now...See I knew I was dying...Ha Ha...
The voice I've been arguing with trails away and I see the sword stuck up to
the hilt, still in my stomach and Gabriel is still looking at me with a smile on her
face. Did my mind make her a psychopath? Geesh. And then I'm being pulled, no lifted,
lifted like a father does his baby child when they are playing. Angel is back beside
Gabriel and both are bowing. That's more like it, this is my dream, my realm,
suckers, 'bout time I got me some respect...They could be showing the respect to you,
my daughter, for you have a piece of me in you something pure, but really it is my
respect you have claimed...Ugh why are you back? And no I am not claiming it, for you
see claiming involves uncertainty...
Slowly I am rotating, the sword still in my stomach, until my body is facing the sky. The starry night sky isn't my only view. Above me is a magnificent light
shining down as if only shining so brightly for me alone...That's because it is
shining for you alone, my daughter. This is my light and you share some of it too. I
have more for you, but only if you accept. I would never force you against your will
to do something you wish not to...Yeah okay I guess...Well, daughter, I have a trip
for you. There are many things you need to know, this trip will explain
everything...Finally, you sure? If your explanation are anything like Gabriel's then
I'm out...Ha Ha...
And then the sword is forcibly ripped from my stomach and held above me, not
a drop of blood obstructs its sheen. It seems as if the light itself is holding the
blade above me. The light glints off the metal as it revolves along a horizontal
axis. It stops after half a revolution and one flat side of the steel shows. There is
an inscription in the sword and I don't need to squint to read it...The Gift of God,
Hayley, now come...
Everything around me blurs and passes. I've never had a dream quite like this
before, wow...You still believe this is a dream, my daughter?...You still believe your
God, my stalker?...Dear Hayley, how am I to prove myself to you?...This is a dream.
There's no possible way for you to do that...Well, let me try. Hayley, where I am
taking you is before your time. I am taking you back to where you started out as a
first Javan. This is your history Hayley...
Then everything stops and I am around a rock, there is a lamb burning on a
pyre and a man surrounded by many other animals and other people...This is Noah,
Hayley, do you know him?..Of course, everyone who grew up in America kinda has to
know all about him...Then you know why I sent him to build an ark?...Yeah...That is
only one part of the story Hayley. Here I will show you the rest...Really? You only
know as much of the story as me? You came from my imagination, how could you know
more?...Because I know everything Hayley, everything past and everything to
come...Right...Watch Hayley. Watch and you will know...
The voices around the pyre suddenly become audible and I can here all of
there chatter. No not chatter, they are all prayers being sent to God. There is a
very old man, he's Noah, he has to be, I recognize him from the pictures from early
school, I can't believe they were accurate enough for me to recognize him. Noah is
walking over to a young boy and smiling at him, he is saying, "Oh what happy days,
Javan." That name! Why does he have my father's name! "Javan, my precious boy, God
has granted us a feast, will you not come celebrate with me, my child?"
"Yes father! I would love nothing more!" Javan responds.
"Come then, we feast as God does upon the spirit of his lamb." Then the scene
shifts to dark, it's night and there are tents and a small fire is flickering, casting
a small glow on everything it can reach. There is Noah again, but his eyes are closed
and his lips are moving, but I cannot discern what he is saying...He is speaking in
my tongue, Hayley, unless you are apart of Me spiritually you will not be able to
hear or speak it. Keep watching...
As Noah continues to speak, his eyelids begin to flutter and he begins to
rock and move spasmodically. Slowly he begins to calm. When he opens his eyes he
speaks, "God, my dear Lord is that you?" And then I see the same light that came to
me moments ago."
"Yes Noah, I am here. I have a task Noah, I need you to do it, as you are the
only one. It is about this world, the Devil seeks to ruin once again the love I hath
commanded upon the Earth, I need my dear children to be ready, Noah, will you help
"Yes, Jehovah, I will do what you ask of me? Act through me Lord God, use me
as your vessel as how you see fit."
"No, Noah, not this way, I will not use you, though it is through you that
this will be accomplished. I require though a vessel, young and pure. I need a
vessel to carry a piece of my spirit, a piece that will be the protector of this
world when the Devil seeks to strike."
"My son, Lord? He is young and not yet sullied. He can carry your spirit. I
will protect and guide him as long as I have breath left to breath in this world."
"He will be fit, Noah, this task I ask of you and your son, Javan, is no
"It matters not, Lord God, I named him Javan-The Gift of God- to thank you
for giving to me his pure heart and spirit, and I have yet to completely show my
gratitude and my son is a well enough candidate to complete my eternal thanks."
"Tomorrow, Noah, seek me and ye shall find me, there I shall explain to you
what is to come, what the Devil shall do that requires such importance."
How do you think showing me all of this will get me to believe that this isn't a dream?...You see, Hayley, I don't actually, you will come to terms with this the way you choose on your own. I am only showing you this so you will understand where you come from and what responsibilities you keep, Hayley. Now look...
The scene fast forwards again, a day I assume, it is dark again like the previous day. It centers on Noah again. He's walking back to a tent and stops outside it's entrance. He turns and sits with his legs crossed. He clasps his hands and in moments his lips are moving, indistinguishable words roll off his tongue. His eyes begin to flutter and like yesterday, it all slowly ends. He stands and says, "Dear Lord God, are you with me?"
As before, the light beams to Noah and there is a response, "Yes Noah, I am with you. I am always with all of my children. Noah, I asked you to join me because I have seen the end of this world. Lucifer has despised me many years and has only despised me more and more each year, his hatred grows indefinately and what he will do is only proof, Noah. I come to you with a way of defence. I have promised salvation to all my children who believe in me and follow on my path. But I have not for those who reject me. I however love all my children equally and the solution I have brought to you, Noah, will save my children who do not follow me."
"I am afraid I do not understand."
"Tonight, Noah I will leave with you a peice of my spirit. This spirit will not be tainted by the Devil. Though it may be tainted as it will no longer be with me. This piece of me, Noah, will serve as the protector of my children. Javan, as you have offered, will first carry it. He will be its first protector. And all of Javan's direct descendents will be known as such-Javan. They wil be the Gift of God for each respective generation. They will carry this spirit and if it is not tainted before The War of the Levels, then it will be the deciding factor. Until that time the spirit will sleep and develop itself, it will have its own consciousness and learn. It is up to your son's descendents to care for it and not to poison it. And if the Devil were to attain this piece of me, then the war is already lost. When you leave me tonight, Noah, I will have already given the spirit to your sleeping son, I leave you to explain to him what he must do. Teach him to secure the spirit, teach him to cleanse his own spirit so that mine will mimick his. I leave this to the free will of my sons and daughters."
"I will protect him and the spirit, My God."
"Farewell my Lord."
The light leaves Noah and everything stops. Where is the rest? This can't be it. This doesn't explain to me what's really going on. A war between Heaven and Hell, Javan is supposed to be the mediator, so what? How does that affect or involve me?...Because Hayley, this is not a war between Heaven and Hell, it is a war between Earth and Hell. If the demons of Hell win, then everyone on Earth will die. Everyone who isn't a part of my faith that is. Your mother, most of your family Hayley, do not follow my path, they may attend Church but they have not been filled by me, they have yet to prove to me that they require my anointing...My mind is awesome, I should really try to remember this and write a book about it...I would be behind you all the way, on whatever path you choose, after all it is your free will, but Hayley, how are you to write when you do not have a body to do so?...Ha Ha, what are you talking about?...When you were penetrated by the saber Hayley, your spirit was separated from your body, you are no longer whole, you are only spirit. It was the only way to save you. Your body is still alive but it has no consciousness to awaken...Some dream...You still believe this to be a dream, my daughter?...Ha, yeah, this can't be anything else...I believe you are trying your hardest to make this a dream, but you really do know that this is truth. Come there is one more part of your history I must show to you.
The scene once again, for what I hope is the last time, shifts. This time there is a grassland being ravaged by the effects of battle. It reminds me of a scene in one of my history books. For the life of me I can't remember what it is. The battle fast forwards and stops at a dieing man. He tghtly clutches his chest as something pours out of him. It's not blood, but it mesmorizes me...That's the spirit Hayley...The spirit slowly pours out of the man, travelling down his side and covering the sword on the ground beside him.
That's, that's the same sword that she stabbed me with...Yes Hayley, this saber is the same as that which Gabriel struck you with.
As i watch, the spirit begins to coil itself around the sword. So is that where the spirit is? In that sword?...No...What do you mean "no"? As soon as I ask, out of the ground comes a terrible darkness, a familiar darkness. No color, but all colors at once. It makes me feel sick. Dark tentacles begin to lash at the spirit, steeling sliver after sliver of it's light, until only the smallest amount is left. What remains of the spirit clings dearly to the saber, as if it's life depends on it. A dark tentacle reaches out for the what the others have missed, and i watch in a horrific transe as the tentacle makes contact, and secures its grip.
"Not today devil, this clean spirit, belongs not to you, but to the innocent of this world." Out of nowhere the downed warrior grips the dark tendril. But the contact seems to cause him immense pain, his face constricts in agony, but he continues, "You shall not have this last hope of mankind, not while I still breathe." The warrior pulls at the tentacle latched onto the remains of the spirit."
"Stubborn aren't you boy?" A sinister sounding voice echoes through the open space. "No matter, darkness retreat, I have all I need. Though, I may need a vessel. Take him as well."
"What-" the warrior starts but his voice ends in a gurgle as blood pools over his lips and down his chin, a dark tendril protruding from both the front and back of his sternum. The tentacle retreats and with it, there is something clear. Is that...?...His spirit? Yes Hayley, it is...As his spirit is ripped from him, the warrior's eyes roll over to nothing and his body finally becomes limp, void of all life. The tendrils of darkness are gone and the war-plagued plane becomes even more desolate and weary.
"What just happened?" It's too much for me to talk through thoughts anymore, for some reason my chest hurts, like I just witnessed a relative's death, no, like I just witnessed my death. Hayley, you just saw the what Lucifer is known for most; his merciless violence to any who oppose him. To any who is not for him. "What did he do? To the spirit?" He made it his. The spirit has been his since then, over two hundred years ago, Hayley. It has learned from him and is ready to do his bidding, there is no light left within that spirit. "What happened to the guy?" His spirit was taken, Lucifer intends to use the spirit to reform it's physical form: the warrior you saw befelled by his shadow. "His shadow?" Yes, his shadow, the dark tendrils, they are Lucifer's shadow, they infest the Earth, they do his bidding, essentially they are him. They may act on their own, they have his will, but none of their own.
"I have one last thing to ask?" What might that be, Hayley? "Why does my chest hurt?" My daughter, it is never easy to see your own death, even if it is in a past self. "That was me dieing in a past life?" You misunderstand, Hayley. You did not die, but your spirit has, and the part of the spirit-Javan-that you carry inside you has. Both spirits are reflecting great loss at the same moment within you, Hayley. They require your strength to be set right once again....I have one question to ask of my own, daughter? "What might that be?"
Do you still believe this is simply a dream?
"No, no I don't."
"I accept this, I accept all of this okay! But what am I supposed to do. I'm dead remember? I don't have a body anymore, what am I supposed to do on this plane? I don't anything about this? I'm not religious, I never payed any attention to any of that. I never grew up that way. And why me? Why does it have to be me? My brother is older. Why can't it be him?" I drop to my knees without resolve. I will bring you back now, there is still one important action which I require you to do.
I am not given the time to question. My surroundings are back to the way they were when I met Gabriel, where the sword stole my life to ensure I kept it. Angel stands there, or rather floats there with the same rugged posture and Gabriel is beside him, patient and knowing. She still holds the sword that she impaled me with; She notices my gaze lays on it's sleek blade and shimmering handle, "My sincerest apologies, I only meant to cease your suffering so that you may live, I in no way intended to harm you, Java- I mean, Hayley."
"It's okay Gabriel, I accepted it, you saved me from losing my body, thanks. So yeah, you can call me Javan, I guess. It might take me a while to register that that's my name now, but you can." I reply.
Gabriel smiles briefly. Before it died, I could see triumph and pride written clearly across its contours. Gabriel, please present Spirit to Hayley.
When she nods as if she heard the command, though it was not spoken out loud, I am not surprised. That's one of many things that I have a feeling will no longer surprise me, and all I had to do was accept. Gabriel gracefully glides across the open space towards me. She holds the blade in a formal position, the hilt settled in her right palm and the blade, flat side, resting in her other. When she reaches me, she raises the metal to my arms. Take Spirit Hayley. "This is Spirit?" Yes, my daughter. This is the Spirit that connects you through generations and generations of Javan and eventually back to me. "Back to you?" I Know what He means, I saw my history, how the Spirit was originally apart of him. How I am the Javan - The Gift of God- and even though He knows that I know what He means, he answers anyway. Yes, Hayley, back to me, this peace of me connects you to me on a more Spiritual level than any of my children, even to those who have devoted all their time and entire live's to receiving spiritual enlightenment. "Isn't that a little unfair?" As a result of my question, a magnificent sparkle of laughter echoes throughout the night. I notice the stars and they seem to twinkle in response to the booming laugter; it fills the air and any empty space within and without. I have never felt like an empty being, ever, but at that time, that small moment of eternity when I heard the glorious laughter of God, the sonorous lulls and highs, the boom and the stillness, I felt whole. My dear, child, Hayley, they are not tasked as you have been tonight, a night among all others.
"Yeah, it seems so. It definately seems so." I take Spirit, holding it first with my right, Gabriel, steps back a few feet from me. Her actions puzzles me, but I do not take it into account, I keep my attention on the blade in my palm. A blade who's power I can feel, as I weild it. Power that does not come from force, or strength, but power from this plane, the plane beyond the physical. I hold it up and stare at it, it is void of design or inscription, the hilt however is decorated with complicated patterns and a few words that I do not understand. But one catches my eye, it's a letter, really. The letter "H". As I see it, letters flow after it, -A-Y-L-E-Y. My eyes mirror awe, but my lips are smiling. My name erases away, and is replaced by "JAVAN". The crosspiece of the saber glows a low gold color, and travels up into the blade, I follow it. As it passes along the horizontal center of the beautiful steel, more words appear. It reads: "It is a pleasure to meet you..." the low gold, seems to falter for a moment then continues, "...again. I have missed you." Then the words disappear, and the glow begins again from the hilt of the sword, "I'm tired, Javan, will you carry me from now on?" The words disappear and do not return. Well will you, Hayley? Do you accept Spirit?
I don't need to think about my answer, "Yeah, yes...I accept her. I'll take care of her from now on." And that did it, I realize now why Gabriel took those cautious steps away from me. Spirit erupts with power, the metal vibrates and hums within my grasp. The sudden surge nearly knocks me over, and it's all I can do to stay balanced and upright.
You and Spirit have become one again, though you both are not whole. "Yeah there is still the matter of the corrupted portion." Yes Hayley. "I'm guessing this is where my training begins..."
"Not quite," picks up Gabriel. "Angel and I will be the ones to train you, but there are still things you must know. And there is still the matter of your body that we need to attend to."
"Oh yeah, that, I forgot that I had one of those. So what are we going to do? How do I get back into my body?"
"You will have to fight your way back." Angel answers.
"What do you mean fight my way back? Against what? How?"
"Your body is soulless at this point, there might be a demon who may have already taken over your temple-your body," Gabriel explains. Not might, Gabriel, there already is one. And Hayley, you need to take back your body before it dies.
"How long will that take? For my body to die?" My voice raises in pitch with my growing anxiety.
"It may take months or hours, Hayley, but your soul is strong and now you have Spirit, I have no doubt that you will be able to retake your temple," Gabriel assures me.
"How do I take it back?" I ask. You must sanctify your temple once again. To do that you must remove the demon from your body, Hayley. Either purge it by death or help it to be reborn so that it may passover peacefully.
"You're still not telling me how! How am i supposed to kill it? How am I supposed to fight it?" Use Spirit Hayley, she is there to guide you. When God tells me this, Spirit jerks my arm and I look at her. Her dull gold glow returns and letters begin to etch their way across her blade. The inscription reads 'Trust me like you always have Javan, I've never let you down before. Have I?' The letters erase away and then continue, 'Well I guess you would not know, as you did not know me until this night, but I promise I have never let you down.' Again the letters erase and are replaced by new ones. 'Please, trust me, Hayley. I will show you how. I will never leave you alone.'
I shake my head slowly from side to side, "never did I think an inanimate, well animate, I guess, object would be my guide. This is a fairy tale, I swear." Spirit writes to me again, 'This is you fairy tale, Hayley.'
"Yeah, this is my fairy tale, but I always thought I would be Sleeping Beauty, now I am also the Prince."