Hello, everyone! Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted.
To hopefully make up for that, I’m going to let y’all read the first and only short story I’ve ever written, which I wrote a couple weeks ago. 😀 I hope y’all enjoy it.
A True Soul
No one ever noticed her. She sat every day on the bench outside the store, but no one paid any attention. To them, she was just another homeless young adult – there were a lot of them in that city.
It was winter; early January, to be precise, a Tuesday at four-thirty in the afternoon. The stores were overflowing with people returning or exchanging Christmas gifts. All running their errands, none taking the time to notice her. At least the Salvation Army bell-ringer was finally gone.
Sadie’s black hair fell just to her shoulders in choppy layers; her overlong bangs covered half of her pale-skinned face, and her dark slate-gray eyes cast a cold, calculating glare on every single person who passed by. Her black shirt covered her shoulders but went only halfway down her arms.
If they noticed the girl who never opened her mouth, staring at them with her intuitive gray eyes, they never let on, except for the occasional dirty look.
No matter, she thought. I’ve got a job to do.
Just then, a tall young man with a shock of blond hair pulled into a nearby parking spot in the lot right on the other side of the road. He stepped out of his car, slammed the door, and walked briskly toward the store’s entrance. A wrinkled plastic shopping bag swung from his hand as he joined the stream of people.
As he passed Sadie by, she caught his gaze. He gave her a tiny, sympathetic smile and plowed on through the throng.
I wonder if that’s him, Sadie pondered, a slight melancholy grin tugging at the corner of her mouth.
Ben parked his car in the lot across the street, grabbed the big bag full of items his mother had bade him return, and ran across the street toward the store. Glancing back at his car, and then around it at the crammed lot, he thought, Wow, I’m lucky to have found such a good parking spot. He looked at the silver sky and sent up a silent Thanks.
There were so many people, it seemed that everyone in creation must have decided to come to the store on a Tuesday at four-thirty in the afternoon. He joined the crowd, calling out “’Scuse me, please” and “Sorry” repeatedly as he bumped into people or vice versa.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a girl sitting on a bench near the door. She was looking straight at him, her eyes deep and intriguing. Her forearms were bare, and there was no sign that she owned a coat, or anything else for that matter.
Pushed along by the crowd of people, he smiled sadly and entered the store.
He’s the one, realized Sadie. She’d taken a look at his eyes when they met hers; his were the clearest blue she had ever seen. The eyes truly are windows to the soul, she thought, smirking slightly and settling in to wait until he came out.
She was lonely, so lonely. But a happy feeling fluttered in her heart at the thought that she would soon, if only for a moment, have someone to hold.
There’s got to be a way to improve the customer service system, thought Ben as he stood in line to sell back the Christmas presents that his mother hadn’t wanted.
After a twenty-minute wait, he finally walked away from the counter with the cash value of those items in his pocket.
Pulling out a crumpled Post-It note, he studied it, squinting at his mother’s intricate handwriting. Pick up your father’s watch from the jewelry station, make sure they actually fixed it, get a new frying pan (15”) from the display rack in the left front corner of the store, and don’t forget to pick out a new tie and dress shirt for church. Make sure they fit correctly. You’ll be going right back to return them if they don’t, and I’ll come along and embarrass you. Love you, see you soon. The message ended in the winking face emoticon that his mother always drew perfectly.
Ben smiled, shaking his head, and plodded off to find the things specified.
The whole time he shopped, he could not stop thinking about the girl outside. Her eyes…
Sadie knew how it would happen, but she wouldn’t let herself think of it. She told herself that it was because she wanted the action to be fresh and enjoyable, but something in her heart ached, wishing it didn’t have to be the way it was set to be.
Burying the sadness, she focused on the happiness of finally not being alone, just for a few seconds, on this Tuesday at four-thirty in the afternoon.
Finally, thought Ben as he stepped out into the fresh, cold January air again. The errands were done; he could go home and relax. Maybe he’d play a video game with his brothers.
There was that girl again. Ben stepped out of the way of the bustling people, and stood for a moment, looking around aimlessly, until he found the courage to bring his eyes to meet those of the girl.
She was staring again. What was with her? Her glare unsettled him a bit, but it was interesting. She was interesting.
And all of a sudden, he realized his feet were moving, walking toward her. Well, here goes nothing.
“Hi,” he said, standing awkwardly in front of her, shopping bags in both hands.
She tilted her head forward in greeting, and smiled, still looking into his eyes.
“Mind if I sit down?”
She shook her head, still staring and grinning, and shifted to make more room on the cold, metal bench.
O…kay, thought Ben as he set down his bags on the cement; he didn’t really know what else to think, besides that she was weird. But an intriguing weird.
She looked cold; before sitting, Ben pulled off his coat. “You look cold.”
When the boy removed his coat, Sadie smiled widely. She nodded in thanks as he handed it to her, still not opening her mouth.
“So, are you…” the boy began.
What? Am I what? Sadie thought at him, wishing he could hear her.
“Uh, never mind.” He blushed and looked away.
Though it was something she would normally never do, Sadie reached out and touched his sleeve. The boy jumped and turned back to her; she gave him a questioning look.
“Well, I was going to ask…”
What? Am I homeless? Am I waiting for a ride? Am I a prostitute?
“Can you talk?”
Of all the things to ask. Smiling, Sadie shook her head, her lips still closed. If only he knew what would happen when she opened her mouth. Ah well, he’ll see soon enough.
“I’m sorry…” Ben didn’t know what else to say. “Can I… give you a ride somewhere?”
The girl shook her head, still looking into his eyes.
“You have very nice eyes,” he told her, because with her shining graphite orbs locked onto his, there wasn’t anywhere he felt comfortable looking except right back at hers. Even that wasn’t comfortable, but it felt appropriate. Mom always taught me to look people in the eyes… maybe this girl’s mom did too. She seems to be taking it a little seriously though…
The girl’s smile stretched so large that her eyes turned to slits, but he could still see that they were fixed on his. It seemed as if she were looking right into his soul.
Just then, Ben’s phone buzzed.
“I’m sorry, just let me check this real quick. Do you mind?”
The girl shook her head.
It was a text message from his mother, asking him to hurry home.
“I’m sorry, that’s my mom. I have to get home.” Ben stood up.
Sadie stood as well, and started to take off the coat he’d lent her, but he stopped her, holding out a hand.
“No, you keep it. You need it more than I do.”
Sadie absently admired his warm, sincere smile, but that couldn’t distract her much from the glossy blue circles of color staring back at her. So clear, so pure, so true.
“God bless,” the boy said to her with a sad smile and a nod. Then he turned and walked toward his car.
Sadie heard it coming; the roar of the engine, the shouts of the drunken driver, but no one else could. It was too far away yet.
When Ben realized that his hands were empty, he turned around and jogged back.
“Forgot my bags.” He picked them up and then nodded awkwardly at the girl again before striding back out across the street toward his car.
“Wait!” he called back, turning. “What’s your name?” He wanted to at least have a word in his head to know her by.
Then something hit him, and he watched his body fly through the air from where he stood in the middle of the road. What… he thought. Is that possible? He looked on as his body tumbled to the ground; the truck that had hit him swerved drunkenly. Vehicles sped past him, even through him. What’s going on?! he thought frantically.
Looking back at the girl, terrified, he saw her moving slowly toward him.
And finally, she opened her mouth.
As Ben walked away, a pang of remorse struck Sadie’s heart, if indeed her kind had hearts, for she knew what was going to happen. And it shouldn’t happen.
But it had to, if she were to do her duty. And she wanted that contact, she wanted to have someone to hold, if indeed only for a moment; a true soul.
It was coming, she knew it. Slowly, she stood, and kept her eyes locked on the boy’s as he called back to ask what her name was. When she disappeared from human sight, no one noticed. She didn’t remove her gaze even as the truck slammed into his body and it flew through the air. She still stared straight into his soul.
It was time then. At last, Sadie opened her mouth.
The ribbons and streams of light were familiar to her now. They swirled and danced out of her mouth when she opened it, as the song of souls began. She couldn’t help it; every time she opened her mouth, she sang the death song.
Sadie walked toward the boy, or the soul of the boy, slowly and surely, looking into his eyes the entire time. Vehicles went right through her, but they no longer sped; there was commotion around the still earthly form of the boy. Everyone was slowing down, stopping, going to see what was wrong. Sadie knew without looking that someone would be trying to perform CPR; the foolish people didn’t know that it was simply the boy’s time.
The beautiful music continued to pour from the girl’s mouth as Ben, or his soul, stared dumbfounded. He was more confused than he’d ever been in his life, but the song, and the girl walking toward him, reassured him and let him know that somehow, everything would be all right.
He wanted to look over to where his body had landed; he wanted to see it. But something told him that he would be better off just watching the girl’s eyes – what was her name again? Oh, it was Sadie.
When Sadie took Ben’s hand, he didn’t protest; she was warm and comforting. He didn’t know who she was or what was going on, but he could tell that she did, so he submitted to her.
Then finally, things clicked into place in his mind; the truck slamming into him, his body flying through the air, the commotion around it…
I’m dead, aren’t I?
Sadie reached the boy and smiled reassuringly, her mouth open this time, as the beautiful lights surrounded them both. The boy was scared, but not too scared; the perfect amount of scared.
I’m dead, aren’t I? she heard the true soul think.
Yes, you are, she thought back. But don’t fear. Letting the song pour from her mouth, Sadie took the boy’s hand in hers and shivered at the contact; it had been so very long since she had touched a human, and even longer since she had had the privilege to ferry a true soul to its resting place.
Be very still now.
Sadie took the soul in her arms with a wide smile, and looked upward. The beams of colorful light swirled about them and blocked out the traffic, the commotion, the dead body, as Sadie carried the boy up to be with their Maker.
And so at last the girl – or not-girl, as it were – received the touch, the friendly, trusting embrace she had been waiting for, though only for a moment.
A true soul.
Tell me what you thought!
Hopefully I’ll have an actual post written up soon.
See you then, awesome people! 😀