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The silver car sped down the lonely lane. Woods spread vastly on either side of the road, as the car’s headlights illuminated the near-midnight darkness. The driver, a woman of twenty-seven years, had light-brown hair and deep green eyes. The passenger, twenty-nine years old, male, with dark brown hair and brown eyes, glanced at the speedometer, which read forty-eight miles per hour.
“Watch it there, sis,” the man cautioned. The man, the woman’s overly protective brother, was worried about the car’s speed, as the speed limit was forty miles per hour.
“It’s fine,” the sister replied, not even checking her speed, “No one’s even around this time of night.”
“I’m not worried about the cops,” the man retorted, “I’m worried about you sending us flying off this ridge. Now, will you please slow down?”
“Humph,” the sister replied but she slowed down a little anyway.
The man gave a satisfied noise, crossed his arms, and leaned against the window. Though the driver’s side window would have given a better view, the brother was content with studying the sheer cliff on the passengers’ side. Little, scrawny trees grew in the cliff’s cracks, and nets near the road, were prepared to catch any falling rocks. Small patches of moss and grass grew along the cliff face.
However, on the left side of the car, across the road, and down, seemingly miles below, the city glowed brightly, yellow light covering much of the coastline, miles in either direction. The water sparkled beyond the city, reflecting the yellow light, and stretching as far as the eye could, and further still.
A car’s headlights shone ahead. Had the brother been paying more attention, instead of looking out the window, he may have noticed the car heading towards them was swerving ever so slightly, but instead, he was beginning to fall asleep, against his better judgment.
The sister gave a quick glance towards her brother, wondering whether he was asleep or not, and she was about to ask him, when disaster struck.
The swerving car began to drift into the other lane, as the two cars passed by eachother. At the last second, the sister – noticing the car drifting – swerved right, hitting the rock barrier, with the back-right end of the car, as the swervers’ car hit the back-left side of the siblings’ car. The swervers’ car slammed into the rock barrier on the right side of the road, but the siblings’ car was not as lucky.
The silver car went right through the guardrail. They never stood a chance. The car tipped and slid, rolled and fell, and crashed onto a narrow ledge not too far down.
There was silence for a few moments.
The brother turned his head, his vision was blurry. He couldn’t quite make out his sister; he hoped she was still in the driver’s seat. His body felt numb, as though it were asleep. The car tilted and creaked, and then it began tipping towards the edge of the narrow ledge.
Moving as fast as he dared, attempting to be light and carful – as not to send the car falling to the ground far below – he unbuckled his seat belt, and reached towards the driver’s seat, feeling for his sister. But he didn’t find her, and the car was not far from falling off the ledge. He checked the back seat, but didn’t find her there. That’s when he heard a moan. To his astonishment – though he took no time to be astonished – the sister was hanging on to the car door, which amazingly was still attached to the rest of the car. The car tilted even more, and the sister nearly lost her grip.
“Lucy!” The brother called. “Hold on!”
“Logan,” Lucy called back weakly, tears streamed freely down her face, “I-I can’t…”
Logan crawled closer, and the car tilted even further, suspending Lucy high above the ground below. “Lucy, hold on. I’m coming for you. Just hold on.”
“Yes you can!” Logan roared. “Yes you can! Stay there, come on, Lucy! Hold on!”
“Logan…” Lucy sobbed, “I can’t…”
“Lucy, stay there! Hold on!” Logan reached forward, and the car creaked and tipped.
“Logan, I can’t, I’m sorry. I’m sorry… I’m…”
The car tilted further, and Logan stretched out his hand, nearly reaching his sister. Lucy’s right hand slipped, and her left hand was dislodged as the car tilted, and Lucy fell screaming towards the yellow lights of the city.
“Lucy, No!” Logan screamed after her.
The car tilted a final time, and Logan – drowned in his own sorrow – made no attempt to escape the car.
The car fell downward, off the narrow ledge, and towards the ground, seemingly miles away. The car smashed briefly against a thin ledge, the driver’s side separated while the rest of the car continued falling. Logan, who was now in the driver’s seat, was tossed onto the thin ledge, while the remainder of the driver’s side of the car, fell after the rest of the car. Logan, with the driver’s seat next to him, leaned over the ledge, and was considering jumping, when one of the mirrors from the narrow ledge, smacked into his head, and everything, even the yellow lights of the city, went black.
It was the beeping that woke Logan up. His eyes were closed, and he almost thought he might be dead. But he remembered. The rescue crews must have gotten him off of that ledge. He must be in the hospital. Logan didn’t really want to open his eyes. He dreaded what he would see, what he would wake up to. His sister would be gone. He would have no family anymore. It was just him and his sister. But not anymore. With his eyes closed, Logan could almost believe that it had all been a dream. Maybe it had been?
Logan preferred his own reality over the harsh world’s version of things. What had Logan done? Apparently something horribale, if the punishment resulted in his beloved sister being taking away from him.
Logan knew, however, that at some point, he would have to open his eyes, and face the cold, harsh, reality.
Logan mustered the strength to crack open one eye, but instead of seeing a hospital’s walls, he saw only white light. It was blinding, but Logan didn’t really mind, as he felt all of his pain fade away.
The light seemed to consume him, and suddenly, all off Logan’s pain and sorrow was gone. A man stood at the end of the bed which Logan lay in. He was tall, with a clean-shaven face, brown hair, and blue eyes. He wore a trenchcoat, and held a brown hat in his left hand.
“Hello, Logan,” the man said, extending his right hand, “Come on, stand up. We have much to see.”
Logan was dumbfounded. What kind of hospital was this? There were no other people, no uniforms, and no rooms; just a bright white expanse.
“Are-are you a doctor?” Logan stammered, taking the man’s hand.
The man pulled him up and chuckled. “No, I suppose not.”
There was a silence as the man led Logan further into the expanse. Logan was not sure why he felt compelled to follow the man, but something about him seemed trustworthy enough. As they walked, Logan glanced back at the bed, but there was nothing there.
“Where are we going?” Logan asked the man.
Logan thought before asking another question.
“Who are you?”
“Must you ask so many questions?” The man continued walking, but Logan had stopped.
“Okay,” said Logan angrily, “You’re gonna have to answer some questions, or I’m not going with you, okay?”
The man in the trenchcoat stopped, and then slowly turned around. He seemed to be trying to control his anger.
“Okay, I’ll answer your little questions. Hit me.”
Logan gulped. “Okay, where are we.”
“The Plains of Death. Next.”
“Wait, what? What do you-“
“Come on, kid. Next.”
“What? No. What do you mean, ‘Plains of Death’?”
“Next. What was it…? Who am I? I’m Azrael, the angel of death and retribution. Next.”
Logan just stared in bewilderment. What was this man saying? The angel of Death? Logan nearly slapped himself. Was this some kind of dream? Logan hoped he was still in the hospital.
“What?” Logan managed.
“You didn’t hear that? Okay, recap. Plains of Death, Angel of Death. Death. Got it? Okay, let’s go.”
Logan followed the man to a seemingly random spot in the white expanse. Logan and the man stood side-by-side. The man – Azrael – waved his hand, and suddenly, an image appeared. It showed a man, driving a car. It sped along a road on a ridge, which overlooked a great city, its yellow lights shone bright. It took a moment for Logan to realize where the man was.
“Wha-what is this?” Logan breathed, reaching out a hand. His hand went right through the image, giving Logan a tingling feeling, and he quickly withdrew his hand.
The man just stood there, watching Logan with a curious expression.
“That was the night when…” Logan murmured. He looked at Azrael. Was it true? Was this man the angel of death? No. There was no such thing. Right?
“Your sister died that night, four days ago. But there’s something I want you to see.” Azrael zoomed in the image, focusing on the back-right seat. There, was a child, in a car seat, about three years old, and as Logan watched, the child began crying.
The driver looked back. “Hey bud, did you drop your bear?” The father, glanced at the road, didn’t see any cars, and turned back attempting to reach the stuffed animal bear on the floor. Speeding along the road towards the father’s car, was Logan’s silver car. The man driving struggled to reach the bear, and the car swerved slightly into the other lane of the road. The child continued to cry. The man finally grabbed the bear, quickly handed it to the child then turned back, saying; “There you go, bud.”
Then the cars hit.
The screen went black, and then there was silence.
Logan just stared. At first, he’d thought the driver may have been drunk or texting, but… a father with his kid?
“Did he…?” Logan questioned, afraid to hear the answer.
“No,” Azrael answered, “but you should know, someone in that accident was going to die.”
“You mean… it was my sister instead of him?” Logan asked quietly.
“Yes,” Azrael sighed.
Logan tried to calm himself, to hold back his anger, but he just couldn’t do it. His sister had died, and now this strange man who claimed to be the angel of death was telling Logan that he’d chosen his sister to die that night?
Logan turned to Azrael.
“You’re saying…” Logan began in a dangerous voice, “That you killed my sister?!”
Azrael held up his hands in a gesture of peace. “Logan. Logan! You don’t understand-,”
“Oh I understand it all perfectly well, thank you,” Logan hissed, “You killed my sister!”
Logan approached Azrael, his hands clenched into fists. Azrael quickly backed away hands still up. “Logan, I didn’t want to make you suffer, okay? I’m sorry.”
But Logan didn’t stop, and he was nearly upon Azrael, when Azrael snapped his fingers, and all of the white, healing light vanished.
“Mr. Browne, I just need you to lie back and relax.”
Logan’s eyes flew open. He was in a hospital, and a nurse was attempting to keep Logan from getting out of his bed. Logan struggled from her grip. He finally broke free as a doctor and another nurse entered into the room. Logan wrenched an IV out of his arm, and staggered towards the door. Cuts covered Logan’s face and arms, and his entire body ached with pain. He dodged past the second nurse, and rushed past the doctor. Logan ran his speed increasing as he rushed through the hospital. He ran past doctors and nurses, patients and family members. He ran past rooms and desks, and finally, out the main door.
It was pouring out, and Logan was instantly drenched. He nearly slipped, but regained his balance at the last second. The sky was an angry gray, and lighting flashed above.
Though it was hard to tell while it was raining, Logan was crying. His sister was dead. His last, real family. His parents were gone, and now his sister…?
“Why?!” Logan cried, falling on his knees, and facing the heavens. “Why my sister?!”
Logan sobbed and looked down. He began to slump forward, as he heard the doctors and nurses approach.
Logan began to lose consciousness and he fell towards the cold, wet, muddy pavement.
“Why my sister?” he murmured as his eyes closed.
When Logan next opened his eyes, he was back in the white expanse.
Azrael was beside the clean bed which Logan lay in, and the angel’s face was calm.
“You done yet?” Azrael asked.
“Why did you bring me back?” Logan asked.
“Ah well, right to the point, I see.” Azrael said as he began walking away.
Logan, with no aching or pain, hopped off the bed and followed the angel.
“Why did you bring me back here?” Logan asked again. “You killed my sister.”
“Well,” Azrael replied, not even bothering to look back, “your sister plays a little part in why I brought you here. The real question is ‘why did I send you back’?”
“Huh?” Logan asked.
“Logan,” Azrael began, spinning around, “don’t you see? You’re dead.”
There was a long silence before anyone said anything. After all, being dead is quite something to even begin to try to take in.
“You died with your sister Logan,” Azrael began again, “you just had so much love for your sister, that you created your own reality, in which you and your sister don’t die. But you did die, and I’m sorry, but I need to show you something, okay?”
Logan nodded, unable to speak. He was numb with sorrow. In some ways, though, he would be glad to be dead, because then he could be with his sister.
Azrael suddenly stopped. He glanced at Logan. “Ready?”
Logan didn’t answer.
Azrael snapped his fingers, and there, standing before him, was Lucy, dressed in clean clothes, and wearing a warm smile.
“Hey, bro,” she said.
“I believe you to know eachother, but to get right to the point; I need you two to kind of take my place. Thanks see you.” And just like that, Azrael vanished.
“What does he mean ‘take my place’?” Logan asked, quizzically.
“I’ll explain it while we walk,” said Lucy, “come on.”
“So you see, Azrael’s getting married, and…”
And the two of them walked away in the white expanse, or, at least in one of Logan’s realities.
But another was playing things out a different way.
The silver car sped down the lonely lane, except this time, it arrived safely home.