I sat in my car, eyes closed, as I wondered what Aerolynn was doing at this exact moment. I peeked open an eye to see what time it was. The dashboard read 4:03. Surely she would be awake by now. I glanced down at my phone that was clutched tightly in my hand. I lit up the screen. No calls. No messages. Nothing. Of course, I didn't expect Aaron or Nick to try and call. Since Nick had probably told Aaron I had left and needed to be alone for a while, but to have nothing from Aerolynn? Had Mason been right?
I sighed. Of course he was right. He knew his sister better than I did. Aerolynn wasn't the type to go batshit crazy and hound me with call after call after call. Especially if her brother had done his job and she now hated me. Somewhere deep in the back of my mind though I still wanted to receive a pissed off text from her. Just so I knew she was ok. So I could tell myself that she despised me for what I had done.
Forget her, my brain told me.
Remember her, my heart argued.
I was waging a war inside myself over what I needed to do. Unfortunately, it wasn't my brain or my heart that held the reins anymore. It was the monster feeding upon my dwindling soul. Tears streamed silently down my face and made dark spots on my jeans. Why did I have to leave Aerolynn? Surely we could have talked about things and she could have discovered a way to save me? We could still be together right now.
I smashed my face against the steering wheel causing the horn to sound off into the silence for a split second. Get real, Zak, I mentally sighed to myself. I had left her for good reasons. I had lost total control while being around her so much. I had completely forgotten about the thing dwelling deep within me and it had taken its opportunity to strike at her. It wouldn't hesitate to kill anyone who stood in its way of claiming my soul.
I punched the dashboard causing pain to reverberate up my arm. I slammed my fist once more into dashboard causing my GPS screen to crack; blood ran in small rivers down my fingers like an intricate web of ruby. I slid out of the car and slammed the door shut behind me. I dropped to my hands and knees in the dust and sand as the hot tears dripped from my eyes. I could feel the darkness stirring; it wanted control of me again. I slammed a mental wall around my mind and fought back as hard as I could as the darkness lashed out inside of me.
My blood turned into fire as it coursed throughout my veins; my body trembled as a war raged within myself. It was a battle of survival of the fittest. Who was strong enough to stay and who was the weaker that must back down and obey? I would NOT be the weaker this time. Never again. I fell onto my side on the ground as I felt a horrible ripping sensation inside my body. I knew what that was. It was tearing at my soul; shredding it into tiny pieces.
I rolled over as my back arched off the ground making a scream work its way from my lungs to tear out of my esophagus. I gripped my head tightly between my hands as I tried to ride the wave of pain. I clenched my teeth together, locking my jaw in place, as I fought back with everything I had mentally, physically, and spiritually. Its laughter was all too audible inside my head as I struggled to gain control.
"Why?!" I yelled out to the empty air. "She's not even HERE!" Even I could hear the deep, demonic sound of my voice as I cried out. I gave one final push at my will causing the darkness to recede back into the dark hole it had made for itself inside me.
My back slammed down onto the ground causing me to go breathless. A dull pain throbbed through my skull from where I had been gripping it so tightly between my hands. I went to sit up, but my vision began to swim causing me to fall back onto the ground.
I glanced over to my right at the faintest sound of footsteps. Had she found me? That sure hadn't taken her long. Then again I suppose I didn't find the best of hiding spots like I told myself I was going to do, but how could I? I couldn't stand being away from her. I had to stay nearby. It's why I chose the place that I did because I knew she would have to come here for sure eventually. It was her place. The place she always ran off to in order to think or escape reality.
The figure bent down; a pair of large hazel colored eyes bore into mine. This wasn't Aerolynn….Aerolynn's eyes were a rich honey brown. That's when the dark curls fell to frame the delicate, round face.
"Don't worry, Zak. She'll save you before time runs out," she whispered with assurance.
That's when I blacked out.
I left the motel room shortly after four. Nick and I had talked for a little bit longer on where Zak may have headed. Nick thinks Zak may have returned to a place that was familiar to him like home or somewhere close to it. I thought something else entirely. My thoughts were he had stayed close by. Zak may have left to 'protect' me from whatever it was he was battling with, but he would still have that sense of needing to stick close to watch over me. To make sure I wouldn't harm myself.
I sat in the car mulling over some possibilities of where he may have gone. It was very likely Zak hadn't necessarily stayed in Sunfire Falls, but he could have headed to the next town over. Possibly even as far as two towns over. Point is he wouldn't have made it far. Not with a demon's shadow basically shredding his soul apart in the process. I started the car and began backing out of the parking lot still lost in thought.
If Nick didn't even know where Zak was, then how was I supposed to find him? I didn't have the time or the luxury to just run all over this town and the next looking for him. Not when he had a car of his own and could easily be changing locations during the time I am searching for him. Gah! Why couldn't that man have, like, left a note or SOMETHING? I mean seriously? To just up and disappear like he did? Not cool. Definitely not cool. It made me want to strangle him as soon as I did find him. At the same time I'd want to kiss him senseless after having found him. I just hope he would be ok until I could find him.
"Men," I sighed in exasperation.
The sudden voice caused me to jerk the steering wheel to the left nearly hitting an oncoming car that was blaring its horn at me. I swerved back onto my side of the road before quickly pulling off onto the shoulder and slamming the car into park.
"Are you frigging INSANE?" I yelled at Mary as she stared up at me from the passenger seat. "Don't EVER pop in and shout my name like that while I'm DRIVING! Unless you want there to be TWO spirits sitting here!"
Mary gave me a sheepish grin. "Sorry. You just seemed really lost in thought."
"Which is MORE reason to not randomly shout my name like that while I'm driving," I grumbled raking a hand down my face. That's when it hit me. Mary was here. Mary could tell me where Zak was.
"First….go to the cemetery. There are some things you need to know," she demanded.
"NOW," she interrupted.
"Fine," I mumbled putting the car back into drive and pulling off the side of the road. I took a sharp left turn down a small country road and made my way towards the cemetery.
We drove on in silence; Mary watched the trees begin to fade as we made it further out into the country towards the small cemetery where her body was buried. I pulled into the small gravel driveway and cut the engine. I stood up from the car making my way over to Mary's grave since I assumed that was where she wanted to talk.
We sat down on a stone bench near her new headstone waiting in awkward silence for one of us to speak.
"So, what did you need to talk to me about?" I quietly asked sliding my gaze over to her.
"Aerolynn…do you know why so many spirits find you to be the savior of their souls?" Mary softly inquired.
"No…" I answered with hesitancy unsure if I wanted to know.
Those large eyes lifted up to bore into mine. It was then that I suddenly noticed that her eyes were a swirl of green, blue, and brown. Not exactly hazel, but something entirely unique only to her.
"Do you want to know why spirits deem you the Savior of Souls?" Mary asked of me, the expression on her face completely serious.
"I have a name among spirits?" I chuckled nervously.
Mary nodded. "Just remember to keep an open mind with what I am about to tell you. I will answer any questions you have, the ones that I CAN answer, but I won't be able to answer all of them."
"Mary….you're scaring me."
"God felt it was time for his child to know the truth since you have such a big task ahead of you."
"Mary…tell me. Why do spirits think I am destined to save their souls?"
Mary sighed and looked away. A soft breeze cooled the thin sheen of sweat that had begun to perspire on my hands. Dark strands of hair blew across my face and tangled around my neck. Mary's hair didn't move at all. She could no longer feel the soft wind blow across her skin. She didn't know anymore what it was like to have her hair whipped around her face. My heart filled with sadness at the thought that she could no longer enjoy those little things.
Those uniquely colored hazel eyes met mine with a fierce resolve.
"Aerolynn…you are an angel of God."