Unlike most. I can communicate with the dead and feel the emotions of others around me. The moment I pass on, I am reborn into a new life, though not necessarily as a baby. Never really forgetting the experiences of the previous lives. Every sad recollection of losing loved ones and suffering remains etched in my mind. However, that's not even the worst of it. Everyone I've ever loved, even my parents, seems to die before my very eyes, and typically in awful ways. Remorse I'll have to bear forever. I've never been very successful at keeping my loved ones safe, but with each rebirth, I learn and improve.
To a certain extent, I've become accustomed to my lonely existence. I'm going to embrace this solitude; however painful it may be. For my own survival, I intend to bravely confront the torment the gods have decreed.
Although I don't recall my crime, it needed to have been a most repulsive one to be given such a loathsome life so many times. Every day I will ask for forgiveness and do my best to be stronger so that no others' lives are taken because of me.
No matter how difficult life has been, I still can't fathom the alternative. I can see why the dead are so eager to find a second opportunity. Because of this, I wonder if this is the final life I'll ever live and why I'm given so many.
2020 Ashville NC
Being kicked from a building two stories high hurts like hell. Even as I lay here on the cold concrete, I still feel myself falling. Although gravity pulled me down quickly, Tumbling seemed endless as my mind raced with anticipation of what it would feel like when I eventually landed. One would figure my last thoughts would be brimming with dread, thinking I may lose my life, but no. Now, I only question when it will occur. Hell, on numerous occasions when I'm in my depressive slumbers, I’ve wished for death to take me. Today is not one of those days.
My body awakens to strong pulses of electrified pain after only a few seconds of kissing the asphalt. Warning sirens are triggered by the roaring hollers of those who wish to send me to my grave. My attackers close in.
"Come on, Amara. Get up!"
Getting to my feet has taken nearly all of my strength, but I did it. Even with my adrenaline blazing, I'm helpless against the stabbing agony in my lower left abdomen. My small hand over the huge hole in my stomach, I'm desperately trying to stop the blood from leaking out. Looking down at my blood-soaked hands confirms that blood loss is a more significant threat than the men rushing down the building stairs to end me.
"I'm failing to keep myself alive. I have to learn to fight better. I can’t die now."
Gathering my nerve, I took out my blade and coated my hands in the black salt I keep in a little pouch in my pocket. With a sliver bade dipped in my blood and some black salt, I've been able to weaken demons in the past. I'm crossing my fingers that this technique works on the big men racing at me. They appear to be the most vicious demons I've ever met. At the very least, maybe they weaken enough for me to get out of here.
"This isn't going to be enough; I'm too hurt. Damn it! Looks like another life gone much too soon."
As the men approach me, I maintain a staunch stance and a steady look. They are confidently strolling toward me since they know I can't possibly stop them. With nowhere else to turn I make a plea. As I call out to anyone that will listen the men laugh.
"In this life, I have decided to fight the darkness that haunts the living. Mostly to ask for the forgiveness I desperately want to receive, but also to make my life worth living. I have no skills, but I am trying. It may seem more like failing, but it is my best. They are powerful; these demons that come towards me. Barely able to move and with no strength to keep going, I request the universe to keep me in the fight. Can I call upon any angel that hears my plea? Lend me the strength. Blood and salt have become one with my blade, and fire to survive is still set in my heart. Probably much deserved, I am brutally injured, and I am too weak to continue on my own. I will not give up, but I ask with full gratitude for assistance tonight. Who will be my warrior?"
As if an angelic bell rings, a man's voice calls out from behind me. I jerk my damaged body in the direction of the noise but can't make out anything there. The sound of my assailants' heavy feet approaching me signals that conflict is imminent, and I have no time to second-guess what I heard. Puzzlement grips me as a shadowy figure grabs my blade from my salty hands and shoves me to the ground right before my assailants’ attack.
Who? An angel, perhaps?
As the struggle unfolds, I try to make out the face of the unknown man. His dark hoodie conceals his identity even in the midst of battle.
I know I asked for help, but not a human. No one else can die due to my weakness.
Surrendering to my wounds, I am helpless. As a bystander, I feel a growing sense of dread as the battle. To defend myself, I flinch every time the man who came to my aid is struck. I feel every thud as though it were a blow to my own body.
So many emotions swallow me as I watch him. I have never seen anyone move so gracefully. Forty-five seconds is all it takes—the longest seconds of my life. The evil is destroyed and unfortunately, so are the humans that they invaded. The emptiness I feel after seeing innocent people's bodies tossed aside after being imprisoned by demons is daunting. A feeling I'll never become accustomed to.
For a while, he just stands there in the darkness, as if he's debating whether or not to say something. I hoped he would, but he only stands in silence. As he grips his leg, he gasps for air. I get up off the ground, limping toward him in gratitude. He takes a few steps back. Completely halting my further progress.
"Thank you. Please let me help you wrap your wound."
There were a few moments of uncertainty, but I took it to mean he wanted my assistance. Again, I stagger to approach him, this time more quickly than before because of my eagerness and largely because I have forgotten that I am hurt. I stop as he begins to leave again.
"No. Look after yourself. Be sure to go to the hospital this time," he says, rushing off.
"Wait! Please I…"
As I run to keep up with him, the pain in my body floods back. Intense suffering causes me to instantly give out. I lay there for a few seconds, staring at the disfigured bodies.
For a moment, I was willing to give up. Ready to allow my pain to drag me to my death. Slow energy slithers through my veins dulling my pain. Certainly not my own. A strength I’ve never felt until this moment. As if something or someone is rooting for me to keep going. I get to my feet.
For a few seconds, the stranger who faced demons to save my life was the only thing on my mind.
Does he know me? How did he know that I never go to the hospital? I wonder if he knew what he was fighting. No way. Maybe he's just a man with a death wish. Or a vigilante is protecting the city.
As I sluggishly make my way to my car and eventually get inside, a crushing headache almost knocks me out. The fall has left a heavy ache in my skull. As soon as I recline in my chair, my eyelids go sleepy. The street lights became hazy, and I could no longer see anything. All around me is the peaceful blackness of the seemingly deserted city. Every sound silent except for one. Although I am unable to move or see anything, I can make out one familiar voice.
"Why do you do this?"
The haze I'm experiencing in my head suffocates my thoughts, and even if I could speak, I doubt that my response would be clear enough for anyone to comprehend it, so I don't. It hurts so terribly that I don't even care that someone broke into my car and might be a potential threat.
"You’re going to get yourself killed. This is not your fight!"
His tone is firm but gentle.
It's him. He came back. Why? How does he know me?
"It's obvious you don't like hospitals, so what do I do with you?"
I am lulled into slumber by his fading words.