It had been four months. Four ridiculously long months since I had seen her. Since I had seen her dazzling smile, her large brown eyes, and that twinkle she got in her eye when she called me Princess. There had been a few times during the past four months when we had stopped at a place near Sunfire Falls, but I had been too afraid to go and visit her. I was afraid she may have moved on to someone else. Someone that deserved her. Someone like Luke.
Luke… I growled to myself crushing the soda can that was in my hand.
"Dude." I vaguely heard someone say to the right of me.
"Zak. Zak? Zaaaaak." Why did they keep calling my name? Didn't they see I was busy trying to sulk?
"WHAT! For fuck's sake, what?!" I growled turning to face Nick's bemused face.
"Finally, he acknowledges us," Nick replied flatly.
I rolled my eyes. "What do you want? I'm trying to sul…erm…review the tapes here!" I snapped quickly covering up what I had been about to say. No need for the guys to know I was being a pussy and sulking over some girl I had known for two days. No matter how sarcastic and fantastic she had been.
Nick gave me a droll stare completely seeing through my lie. "Yeah. Sure. That's why you completely missed seeing a shadow walk through a door just a few seconds ago. Along with the voice that answered 'no' when you asked it if it wanted us to leave," Nick replied.
"I'm sorry," I sighed in frustration dragging my hands back through my dark hair. "This whole damnation thing has been on my mind on and off constantly over the past four months."
Nick looked completely unconvinced, but humored me anyways. "So do something about it," he shrugged glancing back at his monitor where he was going over all of our EVPs. Aaron was stretched out on the bed fast asleep.
"I've tried. Nothing seems to work. I've tried helping people, spirits, and even forgiving some people I really dislike. Hell, I've even toned down on the whole provoking spirits thing! But I still feel this restless stirring inside me."
"Does it kind of feel like an ache that won't go away? An ever growing emptiness?" Nick inquired his eyes never leaving the computer monitor.
"Exactly like that," I agreed.
Nick simply nodded as if he was thinking hard about something.
"What?" I asked suspiciously as his eyes widened like he had gotten a great idea.
"Did you ever, at any time since the woman told you that, feel like the darkness was receding? That the growing emptiness you felt inside seemed to fill up even the teeniest bit?" He inquired.
I thought about what he asked for a while and slowly nodded my head. "Once or twice maybe. Why?"
"Why is this important?"
"It just is," Nick urged in frustration.
Just then my phone went off. Nick looked like he was seriously considering taking my phone and tossing it out the window.
I glanced at the caller ID and noticed it was a number I didn't recognize. I scowled wondering how people kept getting my number.
"Hello?" I answered curtly.
"Is this Zak Bagans?" A voice asked.
I rolled my eyes. Another fan.
"Who is this? How did you get my number?"
My eyes widened as the fan began speaking. After a few moments of them jabbering on, I hung up the phone.
"Another fan?" Nick asked bored.
"You could say that."
"Anyways, back to what we were discussing…" Nick began. I cut him off with my hand.
"Not tonight, Nick. I'm tired. I just don't want to think about it all anymore. She said I was going to live a long life so there is nothing to worry about."
"Yeah, but she warned me to tell you after you left that you were going to come face to face with your greatest fear," Nick reminded me urgently.
"I know, I know. You told me, but right now I am just too tired to care so I'm going to bed," I yawned.
Nick frowned in disapproval, but said nothing more about it. I stripped down into my boxers before sliding into the small twin sized bed. Nick would have to sleep on the couch for tonight.
"Another thing," I said to Nick before completely falling asleep.
"We need to leave early tomorrow morning so don't stay up too late," I warned.
"Where are we going?"
"Another location," I yawned feeling the waves of hate coming off Nick.
"Fine," he huffed turning off the computer and packing it away.
Shortly after the warm hands of sleep dragged me down into the dark abyss.
I was walking down a dark hallway. I don't know where this dark hallway led to nor did I know where I was. It was too dark to really see anything clearly. The further I walked though, the more of a struggle it was to walk. Almost like I was trying to walk through a thick, drying pool of mud. I dragged my feet down the hallway in the hopes I would reach its end. Just as it felt like I could no longer move my feet, I saw a small ray of light up ahead.
I fell to my knees as a sudden sharp pain spread through my chest. I gasped for air as the pain seemed to claw its way deeper into my body like it was going for my soul. I fell to the ground writhing in pain vaguely wondering if this was what it felt like for a soul that was trapped within the darkness. Was this the pain that Mary had mentioned was consuming her?
From the corner of my eye I could see the light getting brighter as it neared. How was it growing closer to me if I wasn't even moving? The light reached out to me almost like it was waiting for me to let go of the pain and take its hand. I reached out a shaking hand toward the light and felt the pain grow worse the closer I became to the light. It was like it would do anything to keep me from touching it. Once my hand finally grasped onto the light, I screamed out in agony as a raging hot fire consumed my body. I clenched my teeth together as I felt the fire move into the center of my being before bursting forth from my chest.
The light disappeared only to be replaced by a human hand. And as the light disappeared, so did the unbearable pain that had been wrapping itself around my soul. I glanced up through hazy eyes at the person holding my hand trying in vain to lift me off the ground. It was then that I could make out the person's features. They had long brown hair that fell in soft curls down to their collarbone and pale, soft hands. Those honey brown eyes lifted to meet my gaze. Those pink plump lips curled into a tiny smile.
"Come on, Zak. Let's go home," she said, her eyes softening as she looked down at me.
I stood up with ease never letting go of her hand. Whatever had been slowing me down, whatever had had its grips on me…it was gone. When she had grabbed my hand, everything had disappeared. I felt light and new again. She stepped towards me and wrapped her arms around my neck.
"Can you really save me?" I asked with slight hesitance. I knew this was a dream just by the fact she was here and in my arms smiling up at me like nothing had changed in the past four months we were apart.
"Of course I can. Doesn't the princess always get pulled out of the darkness by the knight in shining armor?" She chuckled, her brown eyes twinkling with mischief.
"I suppose you're right," I chuckled smiling down upon her gorgeous face. "Why did I let you slip out of my grasp when I had you within reach?"
She shrugged. "Maybe you would rather live alone in pain than admit that there is somebody you love who can save you from yourself."
She placed her fingers against my lips. "Ssshhh, Zak. It's ok. I forgive…for everything. Just let go before it's too late and I don't have the power to save you anymore. We're running out of time," she quietly urged.
"What do you mean?" I questioned in confusion. How were we running out of time?
I caught her in my arms as she fell backwards away from me. Her arms unwound from around my neck to hang loosely by her sides. Those large brown eyes that had once shone with life were now glazed over by death. That's when I felt it. The warmth spreading throughout her back. I lifted my hand up to my face and cried out in horror when I saw them washed with red.
"Aerolynn! Aerolynn, don't leave me! Aerolynn, please don't leave me," I sobbed as I feel to my knees holding her lifeless body close. Tears fell down my face to drip onto hers. I bent down and placed a gentle kiss upon her still warm lips.
"Aerolynn!" I shouted sitting straight up in bed. I glanced over to see Aaron and Nick sitting up from their respective sleeping places to watch me with concerned looks on their faces.
"Are you ok, bro?" Aaron asked worried.
I jumped off the bed and began searching for a pair of jeans.
"We need to go. Now," I commanded as I pulled on my pants not fully buttoning them before I started searching for my shirt.
"It's the middle of the night. Where are—" Aaron started asking.
"NOW!" I yelled at them.
They scrambled to stand up and find their clothes. I grabbed up my suitcase and some of the equipment before heading out to the van not even bothering to wait on them.
There was no time. I had to go see her.