The Afterlife of Faylene Harps
Author's note: I really hope you guys love reading this piece as much as I enjoy writing it! :)
Fate's other planThat week past like any other boring week in the spring. All you do is tell yourself you’re one week closer to the summer to suppress your overflowing boredom. Fay was counting down the days until she could go Maryland for her family’s annual vacation with the Brenners. It was the highlight of her entire summer. Alone with Colt for the entire week, It was every girl’s dream apparently.
On Saturday there was a sharp rapping at Fay’s door. It was later in the day, so Fay read her bible, Little Women. Fay sighed and walked from the living room, into the little hall in-between the living room wall and the stairs, and walked up to the front door. She opened it, and standing there was Colt dressed in dark jeans and a white t-shirt. Underneath you could see his muscles protruding forward but Fay ignored that. He pulled her out the stoop of her doorstep and out onto the porch.
“Fay! Come downtown with me! Sharp Sugar is playing!” he said excitedly. As soon as Fay heard the words Sharp Sugar she dropped the book onto the cold concrete floor.
Sharp Sugar is both Colt, and Fay’s favorite local band. They play music that has a classic rock mix, with a hint of Indie punk. Fay and Colt can’t get enough of it. Throngs of fans used to come and watch them play. However when they hit a recording deal from a major record label they left Skipton. Now, they hardly played in Skipton anymore, so when they do come back it’s a rare spectacle.
“Wait here!” Fay said loudly. She ran in her house and up the stairs. From there she ran down the small hallway and into her room. She threw on dark skinny jeans, and light cotton tang top, high tops, a long necklace, and pulled her hair down. It fell in waves along her shoulders. Then she ran back down the stairs, and left a note for her mom in the kitchen.
“Five minutes, that’s pretty good.” Colt said grinning.
“Shut up, and lets go.” Fay ordered, and together they turned and ran down the sidewalk of Main Road.
Downtown Skipton was not too far from their street of row homes. All you had to do was run down the sidewalk of Main Road to Bridge Street and you where there. All of Bridge Street was shut down for the event. The stage for Sharp Sugar was set up in one of the parking lots next to Club Afterlife. It seemed so reverberate the base through the walls and into Bridge Street itself. Behind it was a small alley also leading into the parking lot. It separated Club Afterlife, and the down town from the backyards of annoyed residents. Throngs of people surrounded the stage, so to get close Fay and Colt would have to fight their way past them.
They came down to the parking lot and made their way past lawn chairs, street performers, and food sellers to get to the stage. There was a huge, tightly packed crowd that surrounded the stage, singing along to the words of the band.
“As my heart will go on
As will yours in the end
And the words of the angel
Whisper loud in my head.”
They sang as Colt, and Fay fought so hard to get close, and to stay close. They wove and dodged in and out of people. They avoided fights, flying objects, and drunken men just to get closer. Finally they were so close they could reach out and touch the feet of the lead singer Leon Macy. Once they were there Colt looked at Fay, tired and sweaty, looked at each other as if to say we did it. Together they jumped up and down, dancing to the music along with the other freaks and weirdos of the town.
“And death will reign in the end
There’s nothing more to say my friends
But lay pass away all the pain
To open to another day.”
Everyone there all sang the famous words. It was as if all the troubles in Colt, and Fay’s life seemed to trickle away as they danced. They let all their toiled mixed emotions through the dance, letting the music carry them, control their bodies.
During the dance, Colt stopped and stood rigid for a split second. Fay gave him a concerned look but he shrugged it off, as he tried to tell her he was okay, but the music was so loud it was hard to hear anything.
At eleven the concert was finally done. People started to trickle away to their cars, tired and happy while other go-getters held out for autographs. They stood, leaning against the stage, just in hope that Leon Macy would glance at them once. Colt was one of those people, waiting in anticipation, while Fay stood a good twenty feet away watching him. She loved the way he gawked over the bands he liked, especially Sharp Sugar. She also loved the way his eyes sparkled when he was passionate about something. There always seemed like there was something there, between them. However the boundaries of a different kind of love, friendship, always got in the way.
Colt started to pace as Leon Macy still packed up his things. Fay was sitting on the ground watching everything all around her. All of a sudden, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something. It was a shadow, no, a silhouette of man standing behind Club Afterlife. It didn’t move but stayed there. It looked as though it were facing her, staring directly at her. A part of her wanted to go over there and find out what or who it was, the other wiser part told her to stay put.
As Fay battled these feelings a huge crowd of fans ran up from behind her to the stage screaming out Sharp Sugar’s names and lyrics. It was a random mob of screaming fans. Fay had to stand quickly or get trampled by all of them. They pushed her around, to one side then the other, and made her squeeze into the tiniest spaces. She tried to make her way out but this crowd was aggressive. They pushed and shoved, and were violent. They started to push and yank her over to the left as more people came and flooded in. Colt was now nowhere in sight. She screamed his name over and over but her words flooded the ears of people who could care less about what she had to say.
Finally someone pushed Fay out of the crowd, and onto the cold, unforgiving concrete. Now the entrance to Afterlife was right in front of her, and so was the scary looking silhouette. It still had rapt attention on her, so she refused to look at it. Bruised and broken, she stood, wiping off the dirt, dust, and sweat from the hands of other people off of herself. She sighed. Fay had to find Colt and get home before midnight or her mom would kill her. All of a sudden the silhouette of a man, or a boy, a teenager, came forward into the street lights of the parking lot. She saw his face. He had a deep tan, big brown eyes, and long thick wavy black hair. He was the only other boy she had ever seen her age that was more attractive then Colt Brenner. He came up to her, so by instinct she stepped back.
“Faylene Harps?” he asked.
“How do you know my name?” she snapped back.
“Relax I’m not here to hurt you. Only to make you an offer.”
“What kind of offer?” she asked, a little more curious.
“An offer to join our group, I assume you got our message.” Fay thought back a little bit, then it hit her.
“You sent the note?”
“Yes, and no. I didn’t send the note personally. Our group sent it to you. We want you join us. We think you could be a great help to our mission.” He replied.
“What’s the mission?” I asked. His expression grew contorted, and hard to read. He stared at Fay, who looked scared, however he was only looking through her to his own thoughts. There was a long moment of silence. Fay was about to ask what the heck was wrong but he cut in as she opened her mouth to speak.
“Look, you’ll have to come with me before I explain, only because I doubt you’ll believe me here.” He answered. Fay gave him a skeptical look. He just shrugged, and waited for her answer. It went against every instinct Fay ever had about strangers but she oddly felt that she was able to trust this guy. She didn’t know if it was her hormones speaking, because he was gorgeously hot, or the fact that the whole situation intrigued her. However something told her she should go. In the end, it was right. Fay nodded, and he smiled beckoning her forward.
Fay followed him to the back of Club Afterlife. They walked into the alley behind it, and surveyed the land around them. Graffiti, stains, potholes, and dirt covered it. The back of the club was a brick wall, with a mural on it at big as the back of the truck. There was a small back door leading into the club. On the other side of the alley there was a fence blocking off the properties of the row homes behind it.
Together Fay and the boy walked down the dark alleyway. Loud music and thumping of feet streamed out of Club Afterlife. The rest of the street was dead silent. They walked by the office buildings next to Club Afterlife. They were in row home type buildings, ugly and gray. However all Fay and Beck could see was the road at the end. It seemed like they were going to get to the road, when all of a sudden the boy stopped. Fay stopped too.
“What?” Fay asked, for she neither heard, nor saw anything. The boy stared straight ahead, looking off into space again. All of a sudden four figures appeared at the end of the street and started walking towards them at a rapid pace. Fay started stepping back, while the boy stayed put. He stared at them fiercely, like a hawk stalking its prey.
“What are you doing here?” the boy asked. By now they were only a good twenty feet away from the boy and Fay. Their silhouettes
began to form actual bodies.
“Our prize.” several grating voices whispered in unison. They stepped into the light. Their skin was pasty white, their teeth were jagged fangs, and their eyes had a glaze over them. Only one thought reached Fay’s mind when she saw them, vampires. They stared directly at Fay who was off to the side of the boy. There was a long pause where no one moved. Slowly the boy reached into his back pocket.
All of a sudden all four vampires charged at Fay. As soon as she saw them coming she screamed and protected her center. Meanwhile the boy jumped in front of Fay blocking the vampire’s path. From his back pocket he whipped out a small metal circle, a dial that had several settings. Quickly he flipped it to the word vampire and pressed the dial. All of a sudden the vampires stopped and covered their ears, screaming in agony. It was screaming that no human could make, like the woman in the street. Fay looked at the boy in amazement. He turned back to her and smiled.
Then he pulled out something that looked like, and was shaped like a pocket knife. He flicked his wrist with it, however instead of s small knife flipping out a small wooden knife came out. The edges where engraved in silver. He pressed a small button in the center of it. All of a sudden the knife grew until it became a real full sized sword. He looked at his opponents, who were trying to get their bearings, and attacked.
He slashed down on the first one who was hunched over in agony. As soon as the wood touched his body he disintegrated, his ashes falling to the ground. He slashed at the second, while the third and fourth charged at him from the left. In an instant he spun to the left, letting the first charge by, and decapitating the last. It screamed as it disintegrated. However the other two had a clear shot at Fay who watched the boy in amazement. They ran at her at an alarming speed. She tried to scream and run but she knew that wouldn’t help. She readied her stance.
They came at her from both sides. She charged forward at them, extending her arms, punching both of them in the gut. They seemed un-phased and went for her arms. She tore her arm out of the grip of one, while kicking the head of the other who leaned down to bite her on the arm. That one fell over while the other went for her again. This time the boy was there. He stuck his wooden sword straight through its back. It’s disintegrated with a look of surprise on its face. Then the boy spun while the other one tried to stand, but it was met by the wooden sword. Its ashes fell to the road as its scream fell away. Fay looked at the boy who slowly drew his sword back, and made it shrink back to its original size.
“What the hell was that?” Fay asked. “Were those vampires?”
“No, they were demons, in the form of vampires. They’re one of the upper class demons under the hunter.” He replied. Fay gave him a confused look. So he sighed and tried to explain again when all of a sudden more people appeared near them. There were two girls, and two guys who were all Fay’s age, and a sweet looking older gentleman.
“We got a call that there were vampires.” One girl said, running to the boy’s side, taking hold of his arm. She was as tall as he was, and really lanky. Her hair was shagged in a mullet, and jet black with streaks of red all through it. She was pretty, with big hazel eyes, and fair skin, but it was as if the boy, Beck, had failed to notice. “Are you alright Beck?”
“I’m fine, now get off.” He snapped back, shrugging his arm. The other girl looked dejected as the boy, Beck, went to Fay’s side. “The question is, are you alright.” She looked up at him and smiled.
‘I’m fine.” She said nodding. He smiled back at her. The other girl glared at her fiercely as if imagining all the horrible, twisted things she could do to Fay. However Fay didn’t even notice. She was lost in the eyes of Beck. The old man, rolled his eyes, and pushed back aside snapping Fay out of her trance.
“Hi, Faylene Harps? My name is Wolf Bonds. How are you?” he said, extending his hand. Fay jumped, snapping out of her trance, but as soon as she laid eyes on the old man she couldn’t help but smile. I mean he didn’t seem that old. His hair was a blackish gray, cut short, his eyes big and gray matched his hair and his equally kind face. He was wearing a fresh tailored suit, top hat, and walked with a cane. It looked as though his left leg hurt him severely every time he put weight on it.
“Yes, and I’ve had better days. How about yourself?” Fay asked, gesturing to his leg. He looked at it and laughed.
“Oh that’s nothing sweet child. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.” He said, patting her cheek. She couldn’t help but smile at him. A short pause came, than he spoke again, more serious now. “So has Beck told you about our organization?”
“Well yes and no. I’ve been making some guesses.” Fay replied. The old man Wolf looked at Beck who gave him an apologetic look. He sighed and turned back to Fay.
“Well I applaud you for your bravery Faylene. Most girls could not handle a situation like that with vampires, and stay as strong and as put together as you did.” He said.
“You can just call me Fay.” Fay cut in. A short silence followed so Fay broke it. “And thanks.”
“No my dear, you’re the one who should be thanked. Those vampires had been giving us trouble for days. It’s was about time we sent them back to the abyss.” He said. Now Fay was more confused than ever. Wolf looked at her, and noticed her confusion.
“I know your confused my dear, so let me answer questions. By the end I’m sure you’ll understand. Okay?”
“Alright.” Fay answered, however she sounded unsure of herself.
“Well I’m going to start with our organization. We are something along the lines of ghost hunters my dear. Have you ever heard anything, or seen anything weird over the past few years?” he asked. Thinking of the woman, the noises, and the footsteps, Fay nodded.
“Well that’s your sight developing my dear. It allows you to see beyond what the human eye can see to perceive the image of ghosts. However we prefer to use the term lost souls. Ghost is a term the hunter developed to create fear into humans that have partial sight. A lot of them do unfortunately but they cannot see the darker side of spirits, which is required to become a bridge. Do you understand sofar?” Fay nodded again, so Wolf continued.
“Our organization is called the Bridges. Our mission is a simple one. We track the lost souls of the world, for us its this area, and take them back to the haven. The haven is the light in which they need to enter to get to heaven. It’s like the heavenly gateway. However the task is not as simple as it seems. . .” This made Fay cringe. How hard could this job be? Something told Fay it was going to sound much worse by the end.
“You see the first problem is that the souls can be visible to those with the sight unless they want to be visible.” Wolf said.
“They can un-detected for generation by the bridges until it’s too late, and get taken into the abyss, or dissipate. If they get taken into the abyss then one of our own men, has to go into the abyss and attempt to retrieve that soul before it’s free will is replaced with evil. If it’s free will is removed and replaced by evil then it’s too late, the soul transforms into a demon and the person it once was disappears. Dissipating is a different matter entirely. You see Fay, on earth there is time, and with time comes age. So in effect soul’s age. The way they age is simple. They are stripped of their outer earthly appearance made into their true form, a whisper or a shadow. A whisper is something extremely delicate but unable to be disturbed by demons. They can find the light on their own. However a shadow needs to be dealt with immediately for they are a demon’s prime targets.” Already questions started to arise into Fay’s mind, making their way to her mouth before she could stop them.
“What differentiates a whisper or a shadow? How do we find whispers and shadows?” Fay asked.
“Whispers are souls that have an absolutely clean conscience my dear. All their sins were forgiven in their mortal life, and they are worthy to pass through the haven. Shadows are souls whose minds are plagued with guilt and sorrow. They can be free of that guilt of they enter the haven, however they must do it with absolutely no regrets, or wish for their previous life. The elderly are easy to pass through the haven, the young, not so much. As for catching these two things before they dissipate . . .will all be revealed to you during your training if you accept.” He’s leaving me hanging Fay thought to herself. He wants me to join because my curiosity wants me to find out more.
“The second problem is demons.” Wolf continued. “The hunter, or as he’s known on earth, the devil, sends his minions to retrieve certain souls that he think might be useful as demons to him later. There are many kinds of demons, however because the story needs to be short and sweet so I’ll just name the basic three, monsters, vampires, and werewolves. It sounds silly but these are the creatures the hunter uses to intimidate humans with. They will do anything in their power to stop our organization from retrieving those lost souls and take them to the haven. That’s why we recruit young people for our organization. We need strong fighters, good persuaders, and non-adults. Teenagers and children are less intimidating to spirits so they are more drawn to them. However only certain children are given the sight, it’s in their blood the day they are born. It’s tested for in every baby in every hospital. We are given a list once a month of children who have the sight through their bloodline. When you were born Fay I knew you would be a worthy person to our cause. So I am asking you this now in full hopes that you will accept my offer. Will you help us track the lost souls of the world?”
Fay thought for a moment, letting his words soak in. So all those weird things she thought were fake were actually real. That woman in the alleyway was real. Everything. It was too much to take in. She had so many questions already piling up.
“Wow, it’s just. Does my mom know? Should she know?” Fay asked. There was a long pause. Wolf sighed and looked away as if he was about to give bad news.
“Fay, I know your close to your mom, and have been ever since your dad left. I know it’s just you two in your row home. However she never knew anything about the Bridges and you can’t tell your mom about your bridge identity, I’m sorry. It’s as if you’re a secret agent for lost souls! It’s like your normal teenager by day, and by night you’re like a secret agent, searching for lost souls.” He replied. She sighed and looked away. It was too weird that these people so much about her, but she understood at the same. It was convincing her more than anything else, to trust these people and to join.
“I understand.” Fay said. A long pause followed, than Wolf finally spoke.
“So are you now in our group?” he asked. Fay paused. All that he said explained everything weird that happened to her, the strange noises, the creepy footsteps, and the woman. However the fact that she had to keep it a secret from her mom bothered her. They never had secrets. Not until now anyway.
“Yeah, I guess I am.” Fay said, sighing. Wolf smiled, and looked at the others who looked equally happy except for Torrin.
“So we might as well introduce to you the group. You see Fay everyone in the group has a special role they play in hunting, catching, and leading the lost souls to their havens. You will also have a specific role, but for now let me introduce you to the current members of our group.” He said, and gesturing to a girl who looked a ghastly pale, with really thin light brown hair, and really big hazel eyes. She didn’t look at Fay but instead looked at her own two feet in her converse. She leaned against the fence opposite the club, looking dour. Wolf gestured to her looking a little embarrassed she was even there. “That’s Celina our tracking expert.” She looked up at all of them, and smirked, then looked away again. “She’s a little shy.” Wolf said trying to cover for her behavior. “Once you get to know her you’ll find that she’s a sweetheart.” Fay just shrugged.
Then he looked over at two boys standing side by side near sour girl. One was black, had an afro, big brown eyes, and a charming smile. He was making the other boy laugh hysterically. The other boy was fair, had longish auburn hair, baby blue eyes, and boyish appearance.
“The boy who’s laughing so hard is Sol. He’s our weapons maker, and can kill a demon efficiently because he knows his weapons inside and out. The other boy is Edison. He’s our persuader. He can persuade any lost soul to go to the haven.” Wolf said. Then looking at the girl, Torrin, and the boy, Beck, standing opposite them, he gestured.
“That’s Beck, he’s great at classifying demons. Within a second of the sight of a demon he can classify it, know it’s strengths, and weaknesses, and whether it’s really dangerous or not.” Beck smiled at Fay and gave a little wave. She smiled back at him.
“The girl next to him is my daughter, and the best fighter on our team, Torrin.” He finished. Fay looked at the girl who eyed her warily, and tried to not look intimidated. However Fay realized that was an impossible task, and stepped back at her look. She smirked and turned away towards Beck as if she was going to say something to him in private. All of sudden she turned in a flash and stomped at Fay as if she was going to charge at her. Fay jumped back in surprise, tripped as she tried to catch herself, and fell to the ground with a thud. Torrin burst out laughing, and the others did too, even Celina who seemed as though she had no personality.
“Torrin!” Beck rebuked.
“What!? It’s fun to scare the newbies.” She said grinning darkly at Fay who was monumentally red. Wolf just had his head in his hands.
“Don’t you ever get tired of being the fun killer Beck?” Sol asked, laughing.
“Says the guy whose seventeen and can’t even watch a PG 13 movie.” Beck snapped back.
“Fair enough.” Sol said, putting his hands up in the air and walking away. Beck glared at him darkly. Wolf just rolled his eyes as they all started to argue, and went to help Fay up.
“Are you alright? I’m sorry, sometimes they’re like a pack of wolves. They single you out until you make your place known.” He said, extending a hand to Fay. She gratefully took it, stood and brushed off.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m in High School. I have plenty of experience with that.” Fay answered. Wolf smiled.
“Now, since you have accepted the offer. We will come find you when the time is right to begin your training.” Wolf said. Fay nodded. “And remember this, now that you know you have the sight the lost souls will be on you like moths to a bright light. If one of them dares approach you and attack you say "go under the bridge." That’s the only way they’ll leave you alone until we have gotten you in training. Do you understand?” Fay nodded.
“Good. We must be off for now. Until next time.” He said, smiling at her. She nodded. He turned to the others who were arguing with surprising ferocity. He barked at them to stop and follow. They did so, with heads down as if they disobeyed their master. Fay vowed that she would not end up like that. They started to walk down the street away from the club. Fay watched them go, and as soon as they reached the end, they vanished in a flash of light. She stood in the empty alley, gaping.
“I got to learn how to do that.” Fay mumbled to herself as she walked back down the alley to the parking lot.