This story is one that I’ve been going back and forth with for a long time. It’s currently a short story, but I think it has potential as a novel length story if I do it right. I love reading fantasy stories, but it’s hard for me to write them myself because there’s so much more that goes into a world that’s more unreal (and even harder to make it believable). I got a lot of great suggestions from my Creative Writing course, but I just need to figure out how I want to put them into action. At the same time, I’m thinking, “Should I just give up on this one?” since its been about two years since I first wrote it.
Anyway, enjoy this excerpt and tell me what you think!
I sat on the old man’s bedside watching his heavy breathing and listening to the uneven rhythm of his heart. The man was on the verge of falling asleep. The eternal kind; my favorite kind. I grinned in anticipation, hoping he wouldn’t be stubborn and keep me waiting. I lacked such patience.
It wouldn’t be long though with his frail body on the brink of failing. The room was dreary, accenting the scene of his inevitable death. Though the walls were a pale cream color, the rest of the room was dark. All the furniture was made of a cherry colored wood along with the maroon color of the curtains and sheets on his bed.
The curtains were shut tight, leaving only a small nightstand lamp, dimly lighting the room.
A young, redheaded woman was kneeling over the dying man’s body, tears streaming down her face, clutching tight to one wrinkled hand. I suspected he was her father based on the age difference but didn’t really care to know their relationship. I had my own motives for watching over this man and wasn’t interested in a family tree.
“Please don’t leave me,” she begged, sobbing, “You’re all I have left.”
Her father turned to look at her weakly, attempting to console her I guessed. His lips parted slightly but no words came out, just a raspy mumble.
I laughed, “Silly old man. Speech is for the living and you’re as good as dead.”
The woman’s face shot up in my direction with a glare. I froze and raised a brow, “Could she hear me?”
That’s when I turned around and saw that she was looking passed me, at a man who’d just walked into the room. The man was perhaps ten years her senior with a receding hairline. I was relieved that she hadn’t heard me and at the same time saddened to know that I was still invisible.
“Why are you here?” she spat.
I smiled in response; humans were intriguing creatures to observe. They’re emotions so quick to change.
The old man’s head moved slowly in his direction but he said nothing, just stared with half closed lids.
“Nice to see you too sis,” he said, a hint of a smile in his voice. She glared even harder, not appreciating the sarcasm.
“Anyway,” he continued, “he’s my father too. I have as much of a right to be here as you do.”
“You have NO right to be here!” she screamed. Her father’s eyes shifted in her direction in what looked like disapproval. She felt his gaze and sighed when she took in his expression.
“You didn’t as much as bat an eyelash when he got sick,” she continued in an angry whisper, “but now you’re here. Tell me, what do you want? Maybe you want to pawn off his watches for cash like you did with mom’s stuff.”
He sighed, “I’m just here to see my father before he dies. That’s all.” He said this too casually as if they weren’t talking about something as delicate as their father’s death.
The woman could see that too but before she could say anything her father started coughing.
“Dad, are you okay?” she panicked.
I opened my mouth and let out a long, overdramatic yawn. This soap opera was started to get boring. Lucky for me the old man’s heartbeats were slowing, occasionally missing a beat, until finally they stopped all together.
His eyes slid shut and the young woman started frantically calling out his name.
“How stupid you are,” I teased, playing with a lock of my jet-black hair, “He’s gone.”
I glanced over at the brother, who was clutching the doorknob to leave. He didn’t say a word in leaving nor did he look back at his sister balling, facedown on their father’s comforter. It was almost as if he came to make sure he had died.
I licked my lips. His soul was tainted; I could sense that from where I stood. I felt a strong urge to follow after the brother instead of going for the corpse of that old man. I would love to drown in the dark corners of his soul and see for myself the story of his life, but decided against it. The old man was a much easier target and I’d wasted too much time waiting to leave now.
I cracked my knuckles as I glided over to the old man’s body. Then, without hesitation, I plunged my hand through his chest and felt around for the soul. Finding it easily, I went deeper.
You’d think a soul would have no substance but it was like putting your hand through a thin layer of smooth plastic molded into a ball filled with thick gases.
A mischievous grin ran across my face.
“Are you worthy of salvation?” I cooed, running a hand down his cheek.
Suddenly I could see what I desired. All the events and emotions of his life flashed before my eyes. How ironic.
This man’s seventy five years of life ran through my mind in only ten seconds time, however I could see everything that happened so clearly like I’d lived it myself.
I saw him as a loveable child in his early years of life. Saw him mature and become a man. Saw him marry and have two children, a boy and a girl. I saw when he lost his wife to breast cancer at the age of fifty. How much pain that had caused him.
“It was like I was cut in half,” I recalled him saying in his memories. He had a good daughter for support but his son had become rotten and selfish with age. He felt no bitterness towards him though, even when the boy pawned off all of his wife’s jewelry. All he felt were those ridiculous goody two shoes emotions like pity and guilt. He prayed for his son too (though I doubt it would help get him into heaven).
His emotions sickened me to the point that I had to release his soul. Where was the hatred and anger? Most souls, even those of holy people, had a point of darkness somewhere, but his was pure.
Just my luck to find such a rarity in humanity. I should have just rummaged in the son’s soul instead. He was more my type anyway.
I watched as the soul departed the body, passing over to the heavens and my frown deepened. It made me mad to know that he could leave this world while I was forever stuck here with the humans.
I was a fallen angel, rejected from heaven to spend eternity on Earth. It was frustrating to see these humans get into the place I’d been banished from.
I extended my violet colored wings and sighed. “Better luck next time, I suppose.”
The girl was still crying over her father’s body. She should be glad he was in a better place and stop her annoying tears. The thought was a bitter one, my own jealousy taking over. I had to get out of this place.
Flapping my wings, I flew up and out of the house going high enough to see the entire city. I searched the skies for a comfortable spot to relax finding a huge fluffy, white cloud that looked quite promising. I laid down on it softly, making sure not to release any rain water, and stared up at the blinding sun.
“I have to find my next victim and keep this game going again,” I said to myself.
That’s how I had spent my life on Earth for two years now, looking into the souls of the human scum to see if they were worthy of heaven or hell. It was quite entertaining to see how their lives played out. Even more so with those destined for hell. It was like watching a movie; there was a beginning, middle, and an end.
I could rummage through the hearts and souls of anyone I wanted, but those on their deathbeds were better targets than the more lively ones. I wouldn’t want to see only half the movie after all.
I rapped my feathers around my pale, white arms, which created a wonderful contrast. These wings were so much nicer than the dull white ones I once wore. I caressed them, smiling to myself half-heartedly.
“They matched my hair better too,” I thought to myself, absently.
With an unnecessary yawn, I turned to my side, making a cocoon of feathers around my body. I would rest now until nightfall when the more interesting humans came out.