Author’s Note –
I’m posting this tonight a little later than I thought, but I am very proud of how this story is going – it took itself in a direction that I hadn’t planned on, but is exciting!
The train appeared on the track, rushing closer, growing bigger. Just as Genevieve was about to open her mouth to let Gaven know, there was a rush of heat, and white light and the front of the train exploded in the darkness.
THEY were trying to rustle through the broken pieces in the darkness, lit only faintly by the burning embers of the wreck. Everything smelled of soot and burnt meat.
“There weren’t humans on this train was there?” she thought with horror.
“No,” said Gillian as he flipped over a burnt piece of wood. “The trains are used for cargo.”
In the darkness, Gen could see the faint outline of his dark cloak. He was the same age as Gaven, but where Gaven was muscular and tan, Gillian was pale, black-haired and gaunt. The three G’s the others sometimes called them, and other things…but Genevieve was just happy to have friends. Being dead could be a lonely thing sometimes.
Gaven came to stand by her then and she looked up at his shiny eyes. He grabbed her elbow suddenly as a figure stepped out from the darkness in front of the simmering embers of the train wreck. She had momentarily forgotten about the rest of the train, but its tail end still waited in the darkness, white, silent, and expecting.
“Oh, in-between-ers,” a voice hissed as it stepped closer. “This night just gets better and better.”
“Don’t come any closer,” said Gaven as he took a step forward. “We are not here to fight you.”
“What are you here for then, if not to sabotage our plans?” said the voice, dark and raspy.
Gillian came up to stand on the other side of Genevieve. “We are here for answers,” he said. “There is no place for you here, demon.”
The figure laughed and Genevieve felt a chill in her heart. She could never be this evil. She felt a sudden feeling of hopelessness. Maybe she really was just a little girl after all.
“I can feel your hopelessness, your distrust,” said the figure. He lowered the dark hood that he wore. Besides a chill, he stank of fire and fish. His face was all white, his eyes were completely black. He had no hair, and a thin black slash for a mouth. “Tell me, how goes your revolution?”
“Our business is none of yours,” said Genevieve as she held Gaven’s arm. “What are you doing here?”
The figure tilted his head towards the cold wind that blew through the trees and stirred the ash at his feet. A glowing piece of wood glowed orange and then caught on fire. He studied his claw-like fingernails. “I don’t waste my time talking to children. I wonder…does your master know your here?”
Genevieve remembered the first time she had met their master.
The thing they never tell you when you are saying your goodbyes: how quiet death is. For a long time she felt like she existed, except there are no formal introductions to the places you wake up in. In Sunday school she learned it this way: You go to Heaven if you are good; Hell is for the sinners and the unclean. But what she didn’t know, was that there were places that existed for the In-Between. Limbo wasn’t just for those who slept and never woke up.
Limbo was the place you went if you weren’t quite good enough. Limbo was for the punished who’d repented. It was for the few stranglers of the Great Fall, back when Lucifer had tried to make a claim to earth and all its inhabitants. A war they were still fighting, actually. Some from the Great Fall were trying to make right what they had done. Some were sent there because they weren’t quite done with where they had been. Some thought that it was a place to be alive again, but Genevieve wasn’t so sure. Neither Angel or Demon, the “In-between-ers” were neither living or dead. They possessed the skills and strengths of an Angel and Immortality but they weren’t all-seeing like some, and they had the limitations of a human body.
Genevieve felt like a broken record sometimes, living a life that she had a few times before. Moments never change, regrets still exist and living life like a human constantly reminded her how fragile and stupid they were sometimes. She was sick of making the same mistakes over and over again.
But the man they called Master gave them a purpose. They were the insiders, helping to fight a war that the Angels struggled with. They could blend in, they could be the eyes in every corner.
She vaguely remember Heaven, as a warm place as she was fighting for life. She remembered struggling to breathe, twisting her arms around in the murky river, trying to kick at the thick, car window. Between bursts of unconsciousness, she felt warmth surround her and then there was nothing. She woke up in a white room. There was no smell, no breeze, nothing. Just an ever present fog and the feeling that she had forgotten something, left something behind.
She wore a hospital gown and sat up on a bed that you normally see in a doctor’s office when you are getting a check-up. A man approached. He wore dark rimmed glasses and had a Clark Kent type of feel, and a presence about him, a strength. His eyes were not natural either, they were a wide blue-almost purple, and his ears were pointed at the tip. He wore a white lab coat. When he was closer, Genevieve could see the tops of feathered wings poking over his shoulders.
“You’re awake,” he said. “Good.”
“You’re an Angel,” she said, and was surprised to hear her own voice. It had felt like a long time.
He sat down in a desk chair that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. “Sort of.” He eyed her over a manila folder that had also appeared in his hand. “First time driver, huh?”
Genevieve blinked at him. “I’d rather not talk about it.”
He rolled back in his chair as he looked at her. “Let me put it this way for you. Heaven is not quite ready for you, you’re too good for Hell, and you were too young to die. Sixteen…” He shook his head then. “You are supposed to have the whole world in front of you. What if I said you could make a difference for others instead?”
That was how it had started.
The demon was still looking at them. “Your Master doesn’t know, does he?” He grinned, and Genevieve shuddered. His teeth were filed down to points, for gnawing on flesh.
“What are you going to do?” said Genevieve.
He looked the three of them over. “You’ll never know.”
To Be Continued Next Thursday…