Gentle Souls (Part 1)

     I’ve been having these strange dreams lately, ones that make less sense the more I focus on them. I wake up in a world surrounded by shadows, alone in a dense mist which I can never walk out from. I call out a name, I can’t remember whose, but I know it by heart. It rolls off my tongue and drifts into the air. I’m answered by a voice deep and full of temptation, I look down to my hands, as I hold a glass ball. Its transparent luster is the only light in this barren place, cool to the touch and far too light in my heavy grip. When I look up from the ball I’m surrounded by people, each with their own mask painted like demons from a fairy tale. Eyes a soulless gray with hints of white that glaze over the streets, where they nudge me as I stand in frozen in the masses. Glinting in the corner of my eye I catch a sliver of gold upon their ashen hair, a crown twisting like broken twigs up from their slender faces. My hands shake letting the glass ball slip from my fingers, it shatters onto the cobblestone and I wake to the laughter of the voice. But this time it would be different, I’ll make sure of it.

     I wake up in a cold sweat cursing under my breath to the choppy bumps of fan blades on my apartment ceiling. Faint laughter echoes in the back of my mind. Again, the dream had taken over my night, haunting me with vivid illusions of a world which I could never comprehend. With a swift push of the sheets, I swing my leaden limbs off the bed and stand as the floorboards creak. Water drips from the rotting wood into the pots I lay out, clinking when the droplets hit the empty metal. This is my life, waking up to a shitty apartment which I could barely afford with my low paying job. I hold my head groaning to a constant headache I’ve been dealing with ever since the dreams started, and with a heavy sigh I get dressed.

     My day is never smooth, and I come back with a raging headache worse than when I first left, my feet drag against the floor and I plop into bed choking on my breath. Damn this cough, I must be getting sick. I just need to sleep for a little bit and I’ll be better. Soon my eyes open to the barren field of jagged rocks dig against my bare feet, pressing deep into the tissue. It feels more real than the night before. I can hear my breath hot against the chilled air. My voice screams out a name, Luciel, but I’ve never heard it till now. Luciel I call once more and drag my eyes back to my cupped hands. The glass is so smooth on the tips of my fingers, yet it chips in my hand. The light which kept the glass weightless slips out and it falls dead in my hands, bumping off when I look into the soulless-eyed mask.

     “Watch where you are going, freak!” he grumbled at the back of his throat. He snorted and moved his way down the street, cane in hand as it taps along the cracks. My attention is drawn to the glint of gold in a store’s glass window. With a knuckle to his lip, kissing a ring that screamed wealth, a man in a gold grown watches me with a raised brow. Like I was a fool putting on a performance, he chuckles as the glass ball rolls to his foot and stops at the toe of his shoe.

     His lips part with the silver ring as he spoke, smooth like honey to my ears. “Are you alright, sir? You seem… lost?” he chuckles lightly, bringing back a faint memory of that laugh. I look up from the hands laying on his lap back to the pale lips. His smile is mechanical and dead, and eerily fake.

     “I’m not lost,” I state brushing my chest realizing I’m not in the same clothes I fell asleep in. Fitted in a black tailored suit worn to funerals, I raise my brow and continue to speak to the finely dressed man in a crown. “I’m just dreaming, yes, I was asleep and this is just a dream… I’ll wake up anytime soon.”

     “A dream you say, well if it’s a dream why are your hands transparent like a ghost’s?” The corner of his lip twitches into a wider smile. Glancing back down to my hands I could clearly see the ground, even when I rubbed them vigorously they kept fading in and out of nothingness. Dragging along the cobblestone the man pulls a chair, and he pats it for me to sit. His snowy white eyes urge me to do as he says. So, I sit like the obedient dog I am and listen to him.

     “Now don’t be afraid, I simply took your soul as you slept” Sliding back into his chair, he reaches for a glass of pale wine and sips. Tossing hair out of his way, he keeps an eye on me. “There’s a punishment for you falling into my world as a mere mortal. You came too early without my say. It’s my job to take the souls here, and without that order there is chaos. So, you can understand my situation, right?”

     He doesn’t give me enough time to catch my thoughts, as he goes on raising his voice higher, his hands rolling up to rest under his slender chin. “Let me finally introduce myself to you, my name is Luciel Vanguard, I’m the one filling your head with those dreams. I am the soul reaper of this underworld and you pesky mortal are my next victim. I look forward to tormenting your soul through all eternity. Don’t worry I won’t bite hard.” Growing from his belly that hysterical laugh echoes in the back of my mind as I blackout on the table.​

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