THE SOUL TO TAKE

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CHAPTER THREE

Anna finally understood how a person could get so down and broken that they would think of suicide as a solution to all their problems. As she walked down Main Street, having no particular destination in mind, she thought about all her problems. She had nothing going for her, she had no hope, and everything really sucked.

Anna ended up walking on the pedestrian sidewalk along the highway until she came to a bridge. The water below her was very choppy. She could see the lake was higher than normal. Spring, was a perfect time for flooding with all the rain. Anna hadn’t noticed the wind had picked up speed, being too busy kicking herself in the butt over Donna's suicide, but she was noticing it now. She always carried a hair tie around her wrist just for occasions like this, since she has always disliked having her hair in her eyes; it was why she kept her bangs short. Anna gathered her wind-blown hair in one hand and used the other to secure the hair in the hair tie. After she made her pony tail as tight as possible, she placed her hands on the railing of the bridge.

Her eyes scanned the light brown water below her. It was a pretty sight despite the fact that she normally hated deep water. The fact of the matter was, Anna had never learned how to swim. She had been given a chance to learn once. The school she had gone to had offered to teach the students how to swim. Anna had declined because of what her foster mother had done to her.

It was in the middle of winter and her foster parents had a pool in the back yard. To punish Anna for her smart mouth, her foster mom had made her strip off her clothes and stand in the deep end. Anna had been small enough back then that the water had come up to her nose. It hadn't mattered how much she had begged and pleaded for mercy, the callus woman refused to cave. The only reason Anna hadn't frozen to death in that water had been because of their neighbor, Mrs. Hughes. Mrs. Hughes had come home early from bingo night and had seen Anna in the pool. When Mrs. Hughes confronted Anna's foster mom about the incident, she denied the story Anna had told Mrs. Hughes. She told Mrs. Hughes that Anna had asked to swim in the pool and when she had said no, Anna went ahead and did it anyway.

Of course Mrs. Hughes didn't believe the woman, but without proof, Mrs. Hughes felt there was no recourse she could take. Since that time, Anna's thought of any water deeper than a tub became a phobia. Yet, despite her fear and hate for all deep water, Anna found herself flirting with the idea of standing on the rail and looking down at the murky brown water below her.

Could she do it? Could she really stand on the rail and let go?

Anna had to know.

She didn't give herself time to think about the implications of what she was about to do. On pure impulse she pulled herself up and over the railing. Standing up on her toes she then gripped a chain fence that hung down from the railing, and found herself with nothing between her and the water as she stood on the small ledge. All she had to do was let go, she realized, and she would be free-falling to her death.

Cars zoomed past Anna, either unaware that she was on the wrong side of the railing or just not giving a dang. How long would it take for anyone to find her body if she did jump? Judging by the high water Anna guessed that it would take days before the water would be low enough for her body to wash up on shore, if it did at all.

The idea of jumping to her untimely demise was tempting but she couldn't do it. She wanted to. She wanted to let go of the railing and lean forward and feel airborne as the water rose up to meet her. But as she thought of the water filling her lungs, all the peace she had just felt seconds prior, fled. She was stupid for standing on this side of the railing. She wasn't going to jump. Her life sucked but it didn't suck that bad. She turned around to climb back over the fence when someone shouted.

“HEY!”

The shout startled Anna enough that her feet slipped off the small ledge. As she dropped, her fingers dragged down the fence. Blood surfaced as she struggled to regain any kind of grip at the very bottom of the fence. The water was still a good ten feet below her. She was now sure she wasn't ready to die but if she fell into that water she was sure she would.

Her eyes shot up to the person hanging over the railing. A man's arm was stretched out reaching for her. Anna couldn't see his face past the sun glaring in her eyes. Her heart raced in her chest; she was terrified.

“Please help me.” Anna whimpered.

“Just grab my hand, I won't let you fall.” His voice sounded so calm.

Anna, however, sensed panic rising up in her and reaching hysterics. Her left hand reached to grab his, while her right hand held on to the fence. She wanted to trust him. She wanted to believe that he would save her. Her fingers brushed his fingers; it was not enough. She was unable to get a grip on his hand.

“I-I c-can't reach your hand,” Anna sobbed.

“Try. Whatever you do, don't give up. He pleaded, clearly now hysterical himself.

Why couldn't he understand that her arm just wasn't long enough? It was cruel to have him so close and not to be able to reach him. Anna was going to die and she wasn't ready. Funny how only a few minutes ago she had been contemplating on jumping, but now that there was a good chance she would fall to her death, she suddenly found so much to live for.

“Please God. I promise if you let me live I will be a better person. I will make connections with people. I’ll put my past behind me. I'll do anything if you just let me live,” Anna whispered.

“Hang on. I'm going for help,” He said.

Before she could beg him to stay, he was gone. It was ironic that she could now understand Donna's need to not die alone since it was obvious that very thing was going to be her own fate.

This revelation didn't help Anna's hysteria one bit. If anything it made it worse. She was bawling her eyes out and far worse, her grip was slipping on the fence. If the guy didn't get back with help soon, then she feared she would be a goner. She doubted she could hang on much longer as she felt herself weaken by the second.

A faint sound of sirens in the distance gave her no hope that they would arrive in time. Anna just couldn't hang on a second longer. Her fingers slowly released the fence. They just didn't have the strength to hold up her body weight. She closed her eyes and accepted her fate. The wind caressed her body as she fell.

Anna had always heard when people had a near death experience that their life would flash before their eyes. That didn't happen to her. All she was was the dark behind her eyelids. She felt no peace, but instead was terrified. She hoped like hell that when her body hit that water and she drowned that it wouldn't hurt.

She didn't have to wait long before she hit the water. Her whole body was instantly submerged into the cold murky brown water. Water filled her ears, eyes, mouth, and nose. Anna made the mistake of sucking in some of the water as she gasped for air, and her lungs began to fill.

She felt her chest contract and then burn like hell itself. Water filled her eyes and burned them too. For all her hoping, it did hurt to die. There was physical pain, but worse still was the emotional pain. She had so many regrets, so many unfulfilled dreams, and she was still so young.

None of those regrets made any difference to the cruel cold water that refused to let its grip on her slip. Anna could only think of one thing in the chaos that was her mind, to stop the pain. So she stopped struggling, and the current pulled her further under.

The last thing Anna saw before she died was the face of an angel. His red eyes held a promise that she wouldn't have to suffer anymore. Anna still didn't feel at peace, but that didn't matter since she was now floating out of her body. Her ghostly hand reached out to touch her shell of a body.

“What. The. Fu....” Anna started to say but was cut short by another voice.

“You're dead. You need to take my hand,” he said. His voice clouded Anna's head, sounding dreamy and dangerous.

Anna spun around to face the angel with red eyes. He was gorgeous and unearthly. His coal black hair floated around his head, and he had the most chiseled jaw she had ever seen. Anna found herself doing as he wanted. She took his outstretched hand but she could not leave without one last look at her former body. Her long honey-blonde hair had come loose from the pony tail she had put it in. It was now covering her face. Anna wanted to push the hair back and look into her (now vacated) blue eyes. She could almost see her chest through the white tank, she had put on this morning, her water-logged jeans weighed her empty shell down, and she had lost a flip flop in the fall.

Anna thought she looked like a truly beautiful mess. She hoped when they found her body that she would have a proper burial. Though she doubted if anyone would even attend the funeral.

Anna saw there were nothing now left for her here in life. She couldn't climb back into her body and rewind time. All she could do was take her angel’s hand and move forward. She was sure he would take her where she needed to be. Anna only prayed that she didn't end up on the wrong side of the afterlife.


Kyrain had to refrain from smiling. He knew that this was a difficult time for Anna and that he would have to handle her with care. He had watched as she tenderly touched her empty vessel. It had given his heart a small pang of sadness. He didn't want to see Anna like this. He didn't want to see her mourn for a body that had been bound to the mortal realm. And he didn't want to feel the sympathy he felt, for her, for that loss. He had expected her to rejoice in being free from the pain and loneliness she had been subjected to in life.

He felt fury that she would dare be so weak. That he would dare feel sympathy for her.

He would not stand for this. Maybe after she had faced the trials in the Underworld, she would get back the strength that had drawn him to her.

Kyrain enclosed his hand around Anna's. He had originally planned on being with her when she faced the Underworld, but after her sad display he decided it would do her well to face it on her own. He wouldn't woo her while she was weak.

There was an easier way of sending her to the Underworld, but he felt inclined to punish them both instead. That is why Kyrain drew in a deep breath and sucked her soul into his mouth. He gave one huge swallow and felt her slide down his insides all the way to the pitch blackness that would send her to the Underworld.


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