Walking along the dim streets of Anchorage trying to find my car I heard yelling.
‘Eyes forward, pick up the pace, your car is two blocks away’ coaching myself didn’t help. I had this feeling inside that someone was going to get hurt.
One block away.
The yelling had stopped and turned into the low rumbling of a truck.
As I turned onto the street where I left my car hours ago there was a woman. She looked kind of like me with her brown hair pulled back in a bun, an old t shirt and a ratty pair of jeans. Not my best fashion statement but it seems to be popular at the moment.
I heard the rumbling of the truck turn into a roar and the yelling started again.
“You bitch! How could you do this to me!!”
I turned around and was immediately blinded by the headlights. A woman screamed as the truck drove away, but I didn’t feel as much pain as I expected. I stood up and started to walk away, I felt unbelievably light and almost refreshed. That’s an odd way to feel when you get hit by a truck but I shrugged it off and headed to my car again. The woman that screamed started to run toward me but I didn’t move.
“Lady would you calm do-” she ran right through me.
As I turned around my eyes laid upon my own body. Freaking out, I looked around and saw Tail and Colin pumping gas at the station across the street. I rushed over there screaming and hoping they could hear me.
Collin looked at his best friend “Did you hear something?”
Tail shook his head.
They climbed into their vehicle and I climbed in as well. I knew I was dead but not so sure why I was still on the earth. Staying with Collin and Tail made me feel relatively safe. After about a day I learned how to move things around while the house was down and everyone was asleep. I would practice moving objects or I would watch them sleep since I no longer had the ability to do so and it took my mind off of my confusion. When Tail woke up I tried to talk to him, touch him, even move his things around with no prevail. Nothing I did captured his attention. We were close friends..how could he not understand me!?
A few days had passed and my unease subsided. I had given up and accepted that this was my reality, trapped in a parallel universe with no recognition from the world. That night there was a celebration of some sort but I stayed upstairs alone staring out the window, watching the moon light up the dark street. The night came to an end and as the house slowly emptied, Tail went to bed but Collin continued drinking alone. I sat on the counter just watching this person I never got to know. There was some light about him that I couldn’t shake but there was no way I could get to know him now. A muffled ringtone filled the small kitchen we sat in, fumbling around the mess Collin found his phone and answered it. He got up and grabbed his keys and headed out to his 1989 Chevy suburban. I had a feeling..a FEELING again, in the pit of my transparent stomach that something wasn’t right. Collin ended up at the bar but didn’t even make it inside before three guys huddled him. One stocky typical bully type, one scrawny, should probably eat something, type and the last was somewhere in between. They gave him a hard time, cornering him and poking at him, vocally judging him for his appearance. The more they taunted him the angrier Collin grew. The guy somewhere between stocky and scrawny reached out to touch him again but this time Coin grabbed the guy’s neck and lunged him forward against the wall. While the guy laughed and mocked him for being stupid, a gun appeared in Collin’s hand. Safety off, one in the chamber set to go.
“Not so funny now is it?!” He whispered sadistically.
In shock all I could do was watch..what else could I do? I closed my eyes “Don’t do it! Please don’t do something so stupid!
Collin twitched and let go. All three men moved away from him as he power walked to his Chevy.
He climbed in and punched his dash after he set his .45 in the glove box.
“I must be losing it!” He claimed.
Knowing he couldn’t hear me I touched his shoulder “You and I both. You’re not losing it, I promise.” He placed his hand over mine with a puzzled look. Did he feel my hand?? Now intrigued that I could potentially reach out to this stranger..I stayed close by him. He drove home in silence, slowly walked inside and climbed into the shower. I sat on the counter and listened to him. “What is wrong with me..why won’t this stop?” He repeated himself in his drunken slur..sorrow in his voice. After he stopped talking for a few minutes I peaked in on him, he blacked out. Reluctantly I was able to make contact with him so I helped him to his bed and tossed a blanket over him. I left after that to clear my head with a walk, it always helped me when I was alive. I must have walked for hours now that the sun has almost completely risen. In this purgatory I was stuck in everything seemed gray and gloomy all the time so I didn’t notice the sunrise. As I was walking I felt a jabbing pain in my side which threw me to my knees. My insides twisted and managed to yell
“Why is this happening to me? This shouldn’t be happening!! I’m dead for Christ sakes!!” I squeezed my eyes shut as if it would dull the pain but when I opened my eyes I was back in Collin’s room. I found him outside smoking a cigarette, washing the taste down with a Miller Lite. My body was suddenly yanked into a time warp jolt and I was at my own funeral.
Every thing was quiet, all I could hear were the words shared between Tail and Collin.
“Tail, why am I here? I hardly knew her.”
‘Because I can’t do this alone, man.’
After the funeral Collin went into the bathroom for a shower. He pulled his shirt off revealing a bruise on his side, right where I felt the sharp pain. It had a fresh cut right in the center of the black and purple stain on his skin.
“What on earth is going on..” I muttered.
“I’ve been asking myself the same thing” he responded.
“You can hear me, Collin?”
“Yeah” he mumbled “Whoever you are.”
“It’s Grace! You were just at my funeral..”
“Can Tail hear you too? He’s been so depressed lately.”
I realized I hadn’t checked on or even thought about my dear friend.
Disappointed I said “No. Just you.”
“Why me?” He snapped “This isn’t real! This is just my imagination! I’m just talking to myself!”
He placed his hands on the counter and hunched over as if he was going to be sick.
I stepped toward him but in that moment I was pulled away from that reality like the first time warp. This time I was standing in the brightest room I had ever been in. I was gazing at a woman in green, her eyes were a shade of ember I had never seen before. Her porcelain skin was flawless and perfectly matched with her deep red hair. I just stood in awe as she began to speak, every word like a lullaby, it was the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. I opened my mouth to speak but she held her hand up.
“Grace, we all have a purpose in life, a reason we are placed on the Earth. Selfishly, we assume that purpose is benefit oval to our own lives and not anyone else’s. Some of us were born to die to save the life of another. Unfortunately I cannot tell you directly what you have been wanting to know. Every being who endures this must find their own answers.”
Every word she spoke was like a song.
“I cannot finish this conversation, it appears you’re needed somewhere else.”
With a delicate flick of her wrist I opened my eyes and I was standing on a bridge looking at Collin standing on the edge. One slip away from becoming road kill.
“Collin! You don’t want to do that!”
“Why are you talking to me? You don’t know me! I can’t stand your voice in my head! I feel crazy and I want it to stop!”
All of a sudden it hit me.
There was a tinge of relief in my voice collided with empathy’
“Do you believe in guardian angels? I’m more than a voice! You can feel me when I touch you. I feel what you feel physically and emotionally! Come away from the edge. Don’t you believe me Collin?”
He looked up in my direction with tears in his eyes, mouth open ready to say something, his hands lost their grip and he slipped. My back ached and my body lunged toward his. When I latched onto him I turned him to be over me and I screamed. My back tore open revealing pearly white wings that wrapped around him. We hit the pavement hard, stopping traffic where people jumped out of their vehicles and rushed to him. There was so much shouting and noise but I couldn’t focus on anything except the light in front of me. It was so warm..inviting..familiar. As I walked closer I felt pure bliss, a twinge of pride, euphoria like I had never experienced.
I reached my hand out to touch it but I felt a sharp pain in my back. My wing was losing it’s feathers! It was decaying before my eyes. With my attention pulled away from the light I remembered Collin. I closed my eyes and opened them the find him in a hospital bed. He was in a lifeless coma. He had facial hair and the hair on his head was a lot longer. I glanced at the calendar, it was 5 months later. How could that be?? A doctor walk in with Tail “I don’t know how he has made it this long, with a fall like that he is lucky to be alive in the first place.”
“How long will he stay like this?”
“Well there is very little brain activity..in fact there is significantly less than there was when he got here.”
“I am the only person he has” Tail had tears in his eyes “I can’t leave him like this..can we put him out of his misery?”
“There is extensive paperwork to fill out but yes.”
Tail shook his head and the doctor nodded and left the room.
I sat down..what felt like a moment of bliss was 5 months here on earth. It’s confusing but it makes sense I guess. Time is a man made thing. I walked over to Collin and hung my head over him. “I am sorry I failed you.” I placed my hand over his forehead and leaned down leaving a kiss on his lips. His eyes suddenly shot open and made eye contact with me. I was pulled away again and landed back in the bright room with the beautiful woman. She eyed me up and down, her eyes traced my wounded wing over and over again with remorse on her face.
She sighed “You saved his life.”
“How? He ended up in a coma, it was 5 months!! 5 months he stayed like that and where was I!”
“Grace, you don’t realize what is going on?”
“Of course not!! All of this is confusing! You tell me I was meant to die to save someone and all I did was give his life no meaning! What kind of life is lived from a hospital bed?”
She looked me in the eyes and moved closer to me. When she was close enough I could see what had happened from her point of view. I saved Collin by wrapping around him in mid air. When we hit the ground I levitated above him, a vessel connected between us. I watched myself peer into the light that felt blissful, prideful and euphoric. At the other end of the light was a dark shadow. The hand was reaching through the light, decayed, black, bony and evil. The closer I walked toward that dark entity the more my wing started to become like it. Dead, decayed, unholy.
The woman looked away from me. “Every guardian angel is tested to see if their work is really pure. You protect and save the person you’re assigned to and given the light. Death waits on the other side to take you to your eternal hell. Those who reach for him and go with him, those who seek approval and feel prideful are destined for hell. An eternity of torture. The bliss and euphoria is a trick to lure those people in. However, Those who keep their focus on their assigned human get two options. You can remain in purgatory and spend eternity there. Staying with them until they die. Or you can pass on to the real light. Heaven. You saved Collin. The vessel between your bodies left his soul in between life and death.”
She paced in circles, gracefully. Moving her hands delicately as she spoke.
“When you kissed him you breathed his life back into him.”
She stopped and looked down at me. Her eyes asking me to make a choice after all she had said.
“Heaven” I said without hesitation. “I choose heaven”
She smiled, her lips curling upward revealing her perfect teeth. My eyes felt heavy and I closed them as she whispered softly in my ear.