(A Short Story)
All quoted materials in this work were created by the author. Any resemblance to existing work or people is purely coincidental.
Copyright©2011 April Margeson
All Rights Reserved
I had only been given one chance to complete this task and I have to say that I’m not sure that I can. My superior has said that if I fail, I die. For good this time too. Dying isn’t something that I want to do again. The memories of that time still haunt me.
He had brought me back in an attempt to give me one last shot at redeeming myself. If I could complete this mission by the deadline, I will have a permanent job with him. I want nothing more than to be able to accomplish that. Working for him would be a dream come true for me. Just getting all the details right would be the problem. Every time that I am sent out on a mission, I find some way to mess things up.
I don’t know how I do it. I mean, damn. I follow every one of their instructions right down to the minor details that every other demon ignores, but it never works out the way that I want it to go.
Before I died, my life was a very hard one. I was mostly on my own. Of course, I did have a mother and a home, but it wasn’t like the life that other people have. Every morning when I would get out of bed, my mother would either be gone or passed out. When she actually was home and awake, she wasn’t capable of having an intelligent conversation with anyone. Those were the times that she preferred to talk to the invisible things that she thought was around her. It makes me sick to see the kind of person that she has become.
My days consisted of committing all the deeds that society called, “wrong”. Making a habit of stealing had paid off for me and I had managed to get hooked up with some very important people in the process. Not people such as public figures, but the ones that lie in wait in the dark. That’s where the real power comes from. It was almost like being in a gang. The higher ranking members told the lower ones what needed to be done and they did it without fail. The same rules apply here in Purgatory.
The day that I was killed still haunts me. I had been sent on a job. One that required me to break into a house and take all the things that I could before the owner’s returned. I had been so involved in finding something to carry all the jewelry in that I hadn’t heard them pull into the driveway.
When the man walked in on me in his bedroom, I was pilfering through his closet. The clicking sound behind me let me know that this wasn’t going to turn out the way that I had thought it was going to. I had been around enough guns to know what that sound was. Right as I turned to face him, he fired twice, hitting me in the chest. Unfortunately, I wasn’t given the luxury of an instant death. I suffered miserably as the man began to panic and pulled out his cell phone to dial 9-1-1.
I remember hearing the operator asking him if I was still breathing. All he could say was that it was an accident and that he didn’t mean to do it. I wasn’t so sure of that. It didn’t matter anyway. At least it didn’t now. I was dying and I knew that help wasn’t going to get here in time.
The man tried his best to help me as much as he could and I will never forget how he cried as I was taking my last breath. He just kept saying that he was sorry and that he really and truly didn’t mean to do it. I had scared him and in this day and time, you never know who is going to hurt you and who won’t. It wasn’t hard at all for me to understand where the man was coming from in his reasoning. If I were put in his position, I can’t say that I wouldn’t do the same thing to protect my family.
That was how I had ended up here. I got to say that this is sure some afterlife, I laughed to myself. I had been denied entrance to heaven and I accepted that because I knew that the life that I had been living wasn’t one that God was going to agree with. I was fine with that, but to be denied entranced to hell was what really got me. I didn’t belong to either side and it didn’t make sense to me at all.
I had been sent to a place called Purgatory. It was the place where true demons inhibit your body and use you to do their master’s biddings. I wasn’t so lucky. I was told that I had shown so much while I was human that I was turned into a demon instead of being used as a vessel. I was cool with that too. At least I had found my place in all of this.
They sent me out on missions from time to time and I completed them all without fail. That is until they had started sending me out on the ones that really mattered. The last mission that I had gone on before being put back in Purgatory was a simple one. All I had to do was walk into the girl’s house and capture her soul. The part that I had gotten wrong was the fact that I wasn’t supposed to get caught doing it.
Somehow or another the girl had managed to have a guardian angel looking over her at the time and how I missed that, I will never know. I should’ve been able to pick up on the feeling of good in an instant, but I didn’t. I guess my excuse was that I was too focused on the task at hand.
I went into her room. It was dark and quiet since it was two in the morning. Her parents were asleep in the other room. All I had to do was wake her up and take her soul. It was a simple task really, but there I go thinking again.
Waking her was the easy part. She opened her eyes the very second that I had whispered hello to her. For some reason, she wasn’t scared that I was in her room and I found that more disturbing than anything. She just sat up on the side of her bed and looked at me with sleepy eyes.
I reached out to her, only focusing on touching the part of her chest that held the soul. That part was her heart. I found that funny in a way.
All I needed was a quick touch and I was finished. But, low and behold, nothing ever goes right for me. What can I say? I’m cursed I suppose.
Her guardian rushed into the room and I didn’t even see from which direction that he had come from. I was surprised and I had, immediately, begun searching for an exit, but he was blocking the only way that I had to leave. I couldn’t go out the window and being what he is, he knew that. If I were to hit the ground with more force than a simple step, I would fall back down to Purgatory and have to begin all over again. As I looked at him in fear, the realization that she was no ordinary case flooded my mind. There had to be more to this than I had been told. Why would such a powerful creature be protecting such an unimportant human? It was beyond me.
“I would not do that if I were you.” The massive angel said to me. His response was frightening and his enormous wing span shadowed everything that wasn’t already darkened. He was a gigantic creature. I had never seen an angel of his magnitude before. His head almost reached the ceiling and I had found myself wondering how he had even gotten into the room. I was losing focus now.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to have to do to get out of here. All I knew was that I had to complete my mission. I don’t care what the cost to myself was going to be either. If it meant that I was going to have to fight, then a fight there will surely be. I will not fail again.
The girl stood up and spoke to me and that had been enough of a distraction for me to reach out, placing my hand on her chest. It had only taken a fraction of a second for her soul to come to me and as soon as it did, I forced myself to disappear from the room and back to Ian, my boss.
Ian had a strange look on his face when I approached him with the girl’s soul enclosed in the holder that I had been given. He looked surprised that I had actually gotten the job done. I was pleased with myself and I thought that I was finally going to be able to take my rightful place at his side, but that wasn’t the case.
In Ian’s eyes, I had failed. I had managed to do what I was told not to do. That was to not get caught. Angels have a certain stench to them and I knew that the smell of all that goodness had to be on the soul.
“I hope that you understand that you have opened up a whole world of trouble for us and the entire underworld.” Ian huffed. “Now everyone is going to have to take extra precautions in order to get their assignments completed.”
I hadn’t thought about what the consequences would be for me and I didn’t know that one angel was going to be able to cause so much trouble.
Ian began explaining that the angel wasn’t an ordinary one. He was a protector. The higher powers send them to keep important humans safe from harm. Their main jobs were to protect the innocent, but this girl had looked far from that when I had seen her. I could smell the rebellion flowing from her like perfume. She wasn’t innocent, in the least.
“So, what now?” I asked Ian.
He remained silent for a moment and then said the words that I wasn’t expecting to hear, not this time.
With a simple snap of his fingers, I was back in Purgatory with the other incapable demons that couldn’t seem to manage to follow simple orders. I hated it here. My mission was complete and here I am right back in the very place that I couldn’t stand to be.
The others made a mockery of me upon my return. All I wanted to do was to be able to kill every last one of them, but that is impossible here. Down here we can fight forever and never die. We’re left here hoping that another assignment will come up and Ian will give us another chance.
Time passes so slowly here, but we never change. Everything about us stays the same. Our looks never changed either and I was sure proud of that. Forever being frozen at eighteen.
On the top side the time passes in a different way. What seems like hours to us are actually days up there. All those humans and their ordinary lives make me sick to my stomach. It is simply disgusting to me. I’m evil and I love it. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be good, but most of them are. They have their fancy cars, designer clothes, and loving families waiting on them in those expensive homes. I just can’t stand the thought of it.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a family once, but they had been far from loving. My mother was a drug dealer. No regular job could give her the satisfaction that doing that did. Too beat it all, she made it very comfortable living doing it. That is, until she got hooked on the very stuff that she was peddling on the corner day and night. She was so strung out that she didn’t understand that she was being arrested for felony drug charges when the officer had cuffed her and put her in the squad car.
When her court date rolled around, I was there. I know that I should have just stayed home, but the little boy in me needed to see what was going to happen to her.
The judge handed down her sentence. Twenty years without the possibility of parole. How’s that for the justice system? They didn’t know about all the other things that she had done. What about the time that she had come home covered in blood?
That was the first time that I had ever seen a dead body. My mother had killed one of the men that had been working for her. He had been skimming money and giving out the product without payment. That had ended up costing my mother a lot of money. When she caught on to what he was doing, she confronted him about it and the fight broke out.
He had tried to beat my mother, but he didn’t know that she was a far better actress than a dealer. She had lain on the floor of his apartment pretending to be dead and, of course, he fell for it. During the struggle he hadn’t noticed the gun that she had stashed in the waistline of her jeans. As soon as his head was turned, she fired.
She had told me the whole story and I was shocked at her honesty. I ran out to the car while she was getting cleaned up and pulled the latch for the trunk. Standing outside the car, I was certain that she was just telling me another one of her buzzed tales, but this time she wasn’t.
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