I was hiding in the corner of the small hotel room. One of just a few in a small, Spanish style motel. There were rounded arches and no doors in the white washed frames. I felt completely vulnerable and out in the open.
I was being followed, but I wasn’t sure what was following me. At first I thought I was going crazy. I kept seeing the dark, shadowy figure out of the corner of my eye. Always floating slightly above the ground, gliding just out of sight when I turned. Almost like it was hiding from me too.
I had almost convinced myself that I just needed to go see a psychiatrist until one day. I was walking in a more deserted part of town, by some old buildings. The town had had plans to build skyscrapers and build more income into the town by making them new, upscale businesses. Ironically they didn’t have enough money to finish the project and the half built, glass buildings had been abandoned. Nowadays they were used for drug dealers, delinquent taggers and, in my case, outcasts looking to get away from it all for a while. As I was walking past one of these relics I caught something in the reflection of the glass. I turned and faced the building and there, standing right behind me, was the shadowy figure that had been trailing me for weeks. It looked like the Grim Reaper. It was covered in a shadowy black fog that kept shifting and moving. It was in the shape of a human but there was no solidity to it. If I had reached out, my hand probably would’ve went right through it. Where there should’ve been a face there was only a dark void. Whatever it was, it reached out what should’ve been a hand to touch me, I turned and ran but it grazed my shoulder before I was gone. I kept running and running, my shoulder feeling like ice was forming on it. It was cold to the point of burning and even then I should’ve known something was wrong while my vision was blurring as I kept on running.
The thing I had just faced seemed like Death but when I finally stopped running and collapsed on the ground behind a stone wall, it was nowhere to be found. My shoulder never stopped being burning cold.
After weeks and weeks, feeling trailed and watched every moment of the day, I decided to run. I packed what little possessions I had as a homeless person and made my way from our town to 1 state and 5 towns over. Through hitchhiking and walking and sleeping under barren trees I made it to this Spanish hacienda if it could be called that. It was known in that town, from what I’d heard, as a brothel disguised as a motel but, if you were desperate enough, you could still take lodging there for a small fee. Considering that cheap and nondescript was what I was looking for, I decided to take it.
My first night I went around, trying to get to know the town. I was hoping I would get to spend some time there. It was a small town, as you’d expect any town containing a brothel to be. There was a bar with a small arcade in it mainly consisting of a couple pinball machines and a pool table. There were a few tables and an L-shaped bar on your left when you walked through the door. The arcade was right in front of the door. It was one floor with dim yellow lights. You got the impression they spent all their money purchasing the neon signs on the side of the building.
Besides this there was a small grassy area on the side of the motel with a pond and a weeping willow tree and a small church in the center of the town. A bar, a brothel, and a church. It seemed like the start of a bad joke. Of course there was a gas station and what passed as a grocery store on the outskirts of town but I got the feeling people didn’t normally make this place their home.
I wandered back to the motel in the early morning and slept on the threadbare mattress, wondering how I had went from homeless, to somehow worse.
I awoke the next morning feeling the ice in my should more than usual and my eyesight being nonexistent. All I could see was a red haze in my vision that blocked out anything else. I was also in a distinctly bad mood. Actually that was an understatement. I was pissed off. I was angry at the world, I was angry at the ceiling fan, I was even mad at myself. I took a hot shower, stubbed my toe and threw the single wooden chair across the room so hard it broke. In a place like this no one seemed to hear the noise.
I stewed and steamed in my room until night time. And then I left. I don’t know why or what drew me to the place but I ended up at the door of the bar in town. I didn’t drink, even if I had been old enough, and I certainly didn’t play pinball. I didn’t know why I was here but I couldn’t turn away.
Through the wooden door you could hear people laughing and the jukebox playing some off tune song. The longer I stood there the more angry I got. Finally, when I thought I was going to explode, I slammed the door open. The force threw the door off the hinges. Which would’ve surprised me if I had been myself. But I wasn’t. There were 4 medium to large guys and the bartender, with a small kid who resembled the bartender in the middle of a forgotten pinball game. They were all staring at me in shock. I can understand their reasoning looking back. I’m a 5’3 redheaded female. I have some curves but nothing you would mistake for muscles and my young face makes looking intimidating almost impossible. Still, there the door laid on the floor. After staring the bartender shouted at me to get out and made a motion toward me. I picked him up by the fabric of his wife-beater and threw him 30 feet to the ground. The other 4 men started walking towards me but now they didn’t look so big. In what seemed like a blur I beat them all. I was in an anger filled rage and I didn’t, or couldn’t, think about what I was doing. I kicked, punched and kicked some more. The one guy was coughing up blood on the ground and the other 4 were unconscious when I left. The kid had run out long before I was done with the other 4.
Back in the motel room the red haze had lifted. I didn’t understand what happened. I wasn’t physically strong enough to do what I had done and yet… Something was terribly wrong. The icy feeling in my shoulder had returned but it was duller now. Somehow faded. Like releasing my anger had satiated it. But I had a feeling it wasn’t over. Whatever was inside me was getting stronger.
It would be 4 more days hiding in my room before I made the connection between the Thing touching me and my rage fueled explosion at the bar.
On day 5 the red haze invaded my vision again. I tried to fight it this time. Talking myself down out loud sounded crazy but I had to try. Something, anything. I didn’t want to hurt people. I wasn’t even sure if some of those men had ever came out of unconsciousness. There was nowhere I could go for what was happening, no one to turn to. All I could do was wage war on myself. I faced the window for ages. Shouting at myself. Words that no one heard. Eventually, losing the war, the red haze dominated and I turned toward the Spanish archway that served as my door.
Causing me to take a step back was a man in the space. He had deep blue eyes, like I was trying to see the depths of the ocean but he was so guarded that I saw only a shallow puddle. He was muscular in build but not overly. He had dark brown shoulder length hair and an endearing smile. He was wearing a plain white tshirt and blue jeans. I considered him for a moment but whatever was taking me over didn’t seem to think twice. I started walking towards him and as I reached him, he laid a hand on the shoulder that seemed to no longer be a part of me.
Immediately the red haze vanished. Dazed, I looked around me. I knew where I was, I knew everything I had done. But for the first time it was like I was seeing everything clearly. Losing all the strength in my body I sank to the floor as tears streamed uncontrollably down my face. He sank to the floor in front of me and wrapped his arms around me. I felt calm but still panicked as I knew it wouldn’t last.
“It’s going to be ok,” he whispered to me. I heard him but I didn’t believe it. How could anything be ok? I had an unknown force trying to take over my mind and body and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It seemed like I was at the mercy of my own soul.
“Please, just tell me what happened.” He was pleading with me and his voice was almost hypnotic but in a pleasant way. It sounded like I had been hearing it all my life without the physical form to go with it. So I told him everything, from the very first time I had sensed something following me to coming face to face with it and the touch to the night at the bar to just before he had showed up and saved me from another hazy anger.
He sat, not talking for a while, but all the while holding me close. It seemed like he was trying to keep the anger at bay. It was working but I was scared how long it would stay this way.
“You’ve been tagged by Death.” He finally said and looked down at me with his ocean eyes. In this strange and somber moment I couldn’t help myself, I laughed.
“Tagged, like the game?” I choked out, while still laughing. It was completely inappropriate for the situation but it was all I could manage.
He smirked a little but the amusement ended there. “Not quite, more like tagging your soul. Sometimes instead of taking a soul, he changes it and morphs it, into something much like his Demons in Hell. Only much stronger, and much more deadly. He does this by touching them,” He glanced at my shoulder as he said this, “Usually it’s an instantaneous transformation but he only grazed you. It’s why you’ve been lashing out. Your soul is stuck between your Human soul and changing into a Demon soul. Eventually though, the change will be complete.”
As he said this I stopped laughing. Eventually I wouldn’t be human anymore. I would just be a raging Demon working for Death. The tears were coming down my face again but not as hard. I wasn’t surprised. I had known all along that something wasn’t right. That something was happening inside of me. This though, wasn’t something I was prepared for. I looked up into his eyes as I leaned against his warm chest.
“How do we stop it?” I asked him. He had made no mention of staying but the we just seemed so natural and he didn’t offer up an objection.
His beautiful eyes suddenly seemed so much deeper and sad. “No one knows hun. No one knows how to stop it.”
The endearing term came as a surprise but it didn’t seem weird either. Sitting there in each other’s arms it seemed like we had known each other forever. In a spontaneous moment I leaned up and gently kissed him on the lips. I felt a shock go through me like a lightning strike and even after I broke contact I didn’t open my eyes. I was afraid to see his face, to see his reaction, or to not see him at all. I may have ruined whatever was happening between us but if my eyes were closed I could stay in the moment. All I felt were his arms tighter around my waist and finally I forced my eyes open. He was looking down at me in shock but his eyes had turned teal. He didn’t loosen his grip on me as he leaned in and kissed me, initiating the contact this time.
This kiss was longer than the first and even more electrifying. I blinked and suddenly we were on the bed. I wasn’t sure how we had gotten there but I wasn’t nervous either. He was laying on top of me, his weight held by one of his forearms. His other hand gently touching my hair. He placed a tentative kiss on my lips, posed as a question. I pushed deeper into the kiss as an answer. His hand tugged my shirt up and each touch of his hand to my skin felt like an electric jolt. He undressed me, stopping to press kisses that felt like poetry on my lips.
After I was undressed he took off his own clothes and I was marveled by the sight. He had muscles that were defined just enough to show they were there and his skin looked flawless. I reached out and touched his bare skin as he sucked in a breath. As he exhaled his breath on my face felt like springtime. Being with him felt like I was in a different universe and a different time. Or multiple universes at once. He pressed one more kiss on my lips after we were undressed. A second question. Again kissing him deeply I answered it, letting my tongue write the words.
He entered me and we moved together, like we had been intimate many times before. Our bodies responded perfectly to each other and time seemed to stop. What might have been minutes or hours later we laid together under the stained sheet. It was a perfect moment in an imperfect place. He held me close to him like he was already afraid of losing me. I would never leave him. I had never been so sure about something before.
Nuzzling close to him I asked him a question that seemed pointless after what we had just experienced together.
“What’s your name?”
He smirked, probably at the situation in which I was asking the question, and in such a place where it had probably been uttered by many people in the same circumstances.
“It’s Evan” He said and pressed another kiss to my lips. “And your name is Kaya.”
I widened my eyes. We seemed so natural, so familiar with each other. Still, him knowing my name shocked me nonetheless.
“I shouldn’t tell you so much but…we’re bonded. Well, I’ve always been bonded to you I guess. It was just never so…personal.”
He got up from the bed and stood, naked, at the end. I wondered what he was doing until it suddenly became clear. From behind him spread wings like clouds. They were pure white but, as you looked to the end, the tips were an onyx. They were beautiful and I walked to him and gently touched one. If you could know what a cloud felt like, I imagine that would’ve been it. He held me and kissed me again
“I’m you Guardian Angel darling. And, now, your mate.”
As we laid in bed together he told me all about being an Angel and how, once bonded with someone, they stay with them for life. He told me how he would never leave my side, and I believed him. We fell asleep together and, however briefly it might last, I felt safe.
Mid morning when I woke he was standing at the window looking out. He was trying to mask it but I could tell he was worried. The carefree look from last night was gone.
“Evan? Are you ok?” I walked toward him but, as I stood next to him my heart dropped. His arm was around me but I couldn’t stop shaking.
Next to the motel, under the one weeping willow, was Death. There were red and blue lights dancing around it that I now knew to be spirits in between Heaven and Hell.
Death was facing us but not moving. Somehow, deep in my soul I knew I had to face it. I couldn’t run forever. And, now, I wanted to be free to be with Evan. I was immortal now he had said. Whether I won or lost this battle my soul being tagged was now immortal and, in extension, my body. Evan could remain on Earth if he chose and for me he said he would. But I couldn’t keep running.
Evan went to follow me as I turned to walk out of the room but I put a hand on his chest to stop him. “No. I have to do this on my own Evan. This is my soul. I have to fight the war to win or lose it.” I kissed him gently on the lips and he pressed close to me, almost as if he hoped holding me would fix it all. It was then I realized he’d fallen in love with the bit of humanity left in me.
“I love you Kaya.” He said, confirming my thoughts, and pressed one more kiss on top of my head as I left and made my way down to the grass. I was barefoot and the cool grass was almost calming as I went to find my fate.
Stopping an arm’s length in front of Death I knew there were only two outcomes to this war. I had to let the Demon out to play either way. I wasn’t strong enough to do this on my own. Either I would defeat Death and save my soul forever banishing the monster within. Or I would defeat Death. And turn into a beast on the loose. A beast that, sworn by heavenly powers, Evan would have to destroy. I could feel his eyes on me now. I knew it would kill him to destroy me if I couldn’t be saved.
Death didn’t move. Didn’t speak.
I finally let go of control of my mind. The Demon came out slowly, as if it knew what was waiting for it. This was it’s fate too. The red haze filled my vision, stronger than ever before. The anger filled my body and this time I could actually feel the strength gathering in my bones.
Death was as steadfast as ever, a dark and shadowy wall.
I roared and what came out wasn’t from myself. As I lunged forward an unstoppable force met an unmovable object.
And time stopped.
I was there, myself again. I could see the Demon now, outside of myself. An actual haze of red in the shape of a Beast. The only solid things two points of red light. The Demon was halfway through Death, the black shadow being torn apart. Even as Death was being ripped apart, the Demon was as well. The red haze diminishing into the background.
Nothing was moving and the world was quiet. I turned and faced the motel. Evan was still as well. I could see the worry still etched into his face. See the implications drawn there if I was to lose.
But standing there I know the outcome. I had won. Time would start again and the Demon and Death would be destroyed leaving Evan and I together.
I stood there indulging in the first moment of true Peace I had had for a while. I knew I could make it end when I chose and a moment to myself seemed the perfect precursor to sealing my fate. Standing there I heard a gentle music start to play. It grew increasingly in volume until it was almost annoying, drawing me out of my peace. As it continued, a spot of pure white light grew in the sky. I stared up at it not understanding what it was. I was unreasonably afraid of it and tried to back away, shutting my eyes.
And then everything vanished.
I opened my eyes and stared up at my ceiling. Listening to the noise continue, I begrudgingly turned off my alarm clock and got out of bed, longing to close my eyes and go back to Evan.
I’m sorry that was so long and I thank you for taking the time to read the whole thing. This short story was based off a dream I had last night that I thought was pretty cool. It took me a while to write and think of things to add and how to elaborate on some things so this is going to be a short ending but again thank you for reading it and I hope you liked it. I appreciate all the feedback.
Have a wonderful night guys!