She knew when she wasn’t alone anymore. It was a strange sense, this eternal isolation so easily invaded by the powerful presence behind her. A cold shiver passed down her spine; primal instinct kicking in as her body ached to flee. Yet she was so tired, she felt if her legs moved, they may simply crumble under the leaden weight of her soul. She welcomed this threat instead. Relaxed her muscles, and straightened her back, urging it forward with her posture and the commands in her mind.
Take me away from this place. Let me find peace in the nothingness of my death. But don’t make it easy; etch my pain directly into this wretched heart before it stops beating and let me pass on the same way that I lived; an abomination to innocence.
Silence filled the open air as tears began to glide down her cheeks. She was standing at the edge of a steep, rocky slope high above the city she’d once cherished. Her demons soaked its streets now, staining the air with a stale taste. How she hated the beauty of the sparkling lights cast through hundreds of windows set into towers reaching for the clouds. She closed her eyes, pulling in a deep breath, knowing the distance was closing between herself and the intruder. Her hands locked into fists of their own accord; the only sign of fear to be seen.
Do it. Please. End this miserable, pathetic existence once and for all. Set me free!
Her knees buckled, giving way beneath her as she collapsed to the ground with wide eyes. This thing closing in on her had heard, answered, and denied her thoughts. Yet, the most striking part was that ‘it’ was a man’s voice; a low bass that rumbled from deep within his chest.
She locked her jaw, set her eyes to steel and shot back up to her feet, turning swiftly to face the man. The sudden change in her sent him stumbling back. He was at least a solid foot taller than her, dressed in shades of red and black from the dark, ripped jeans to the pale shirt peaking from the crimson half zipped up sweater. His left eye was dark brown, almost black in the night, while the right shone ice blue, piercing that same darkness.
“What are you doing here,” she demanded with sudden rage, as if this place of suicide was a home that he’d violated.
He frowned at her, hands in his pockets like this was a casual conversation.
“I could ask you the same thing, but I already know that answer.”
She stared at him for a long moment, wondering if he meant to stop her. The wind was beginning to pick up, rustling the man’s long, wild black hair about his shoulders. He appeared rather young, yet the eyes appraising her were aged beyond comprehension. Maybe he would understand.
“So, are you here to kill me or stop me,” she asked bitterly, turning her eyes up to the night sky.
He didn’t answer her right away. The silence was unsettling as a chill crept across her skin. She hugged her arms about herself, kicking the dirt under her boot. His gaze was calculating and it made her uncomfortable when she met it. Who was he?
“My name is Gabe,” he answered smoothly, almost sounding bored. “And technically, I could do both if you wished for it.”
Now it was confusion that greeted her. She met his eyes and frowned.
“How can you kill someone as well as stop them from dying if they already wanted that death in the first place?”
Gabe was directly in front of her only a moment later. She let out a surprised yelp; when had he moved so close? His hand reached out to gently touch her shoulder while his lips pulled down to mimic her earlier frown. His eyes seemed to move far away even as he looked down at her, as if he couldn’t see her anymore.
Wretched sorrow spilled into the different colors while a horrifying weight fell onto her shoulders at the sight. The world’s sadness was caught inside this man, and she felt her chest squeeze tightly as if it would choke her. What kind of horrors could one man know?
Gabe came back to her a moment later, his lips twitching up into a smile while the misery shifted to give way to strained amusement. She was not convinced of the change.
“Anything you could want, I can bring to pass. Death is not truly defined as ‘without life’. It only means this chapter ends,” he spoke slowly with a strange lilt to his resonating words.
“You’re talking in riddles,” she gently sent back, trying to ignore the way her skin shivered under the hand still touching her.
He narrowed his eyes as if he could feel the minuscule reaction, removing the offending limb and proceeded to turn his attention to his palm as he brought it before his face. Gabe was turned to the side, lost in his second trance. She wondered if he could truly save her from the intended ending of this night. He seemed unstable, but she couldn’t deny that he was clearly something out of a bed time story. Or perhaps a horror film?
“Why don’t you make a request and find out exactly what I can do before you decide where I’ve come from,” he was facing her again, the sadness truly replaced now with fire blazing behind the glacier and its abysmal companion.
She was going to end her life a few minutes ago. What could possibly stop that much pain from driving her over the cliff? What could she ask for that would not go to waste in her final moments? Memories were scratching at the door in her mind, but she denied them. Her fists clenched in frustration.
As if to answer her internal struggle, Gabe stepped back to her, holding his hand out with a smile reaching his eyes. It was strange to see so many emotions in a person in such a short time. His free hand reached out to lightly brush his knuckles against her cheek. The girl flinched at the contact, immediately causing Gabe’s hand to fall as he stepped back from her. She raised her gaze slowly to find understanding wash into his. The offered hand dropped as well.
“Ask for strength. Ask for the pain to end. Ask for revenge if you need it. Let me show you another side to the world that you didn’t have the chance to see before. If you still want to die by this time tomorrow, I will bring you back here and throw you off the cliff myself. Ask me to release you from the torments that are driving you to this, and I can remove them.”
“Why do you even care,” she’d meant to shout, but it came out barely audible.
He didn’t give her an answer. Instead, Gabe reached out to her one more time, though he was careful not to come too close still. She felt her chest tug once, twice, and then a cord snapped, sending her into his arms as ugly sobs choked her. He caught her up easily as if she were a feather, holding her close and bringing them to the ground where she clutched at his kneeling form for dear life. He brushed a hand through her dark curls and hummed softly in her ear. She was confused, frightened, and the pain was crushing. Her mind was suffocating in a black cloud that began to laugh and stab at her with the reasons she had decided she could no longer survive.
There was so much death haunting her. Laughing eyes flashing, sweet conversations over tea, cool and collected mind while she counts in her head; one drink, two drink, three drink, four. Eyes behind the curtain, satisfied when there’s more. Too much responsibility, too many families destroyed. She had lost count of the endless strings of death that walked out her door. Always congratulated at the end of the night with a sloppy kiss, and a handful of cash. Her choices were simple; poison one man, or give her body to another. She was selfish. The guilt was going to snap her bones.
“Let me take all of it away,” Gabe whispered gently, lips brushing the shell of her ear, “make one request and you will be free.”
She couldn’t formulate words, though, the emotion was gurgling in her throat, threatening to rush out in the form of bile. Closing her eyes, she shook her head wildly. I can’t! She sent to him desperately in her mind.
“Shh, of course you can. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. I’m here. Let me take you away.”
Finally, her voice was freed, but still she did not give in. “I can’t! I can never get away. They won’t let me go, and if they find me, they’ll steal that damned thing they’ve held over my head all this time. It’s forfeit, don’t you see? Don’t make me lose the last precious thing I have left. Don’t let them have it! I can’t take this anymore!”
She tried to fight his hold, but he locked his arms, smoothing her hair as if she wasn’t pounding her fists against his chest.
“You don’t have any idea what I am capable of, give me the chance to show you. They will never touch you again. They won’t be able to steal your last shred of innocence, and you won’t have to end any more lives. Trust in me. Make your demands. Give in.”
“No buts. Come now, what choice do you have? You don’t truly want to die; you thought that was the only option. Come with me. Ask from me, and let me give you the world,” he was rocking her gently, staring up at the moon above with hot coals settling into his eyes.
“Can you really set me free,” her voice was small, quivering with disbelief and fear.
“Then prove it.”
With her face buried into his dampened chest, she did not see the wicked grin that stole his lips.
Yet almost as quickly, the wind gently carried a voice to Gabe’s ears that dripped with authority and love, halting his thoughts of victory.
“She is still not yours,” it whispered.