By: Shannon Schmidt
What happens to a soul when the body dies? The Bible taught me that a soul is either eternally rewarded or punished depending on the actions of its owner in his mortal life. Yet, I have seen with my own eyes a dimension where all the dead gather, regardless of past sins. But this is not Limbo, nor is it Heaven or Hell. So where am I? What is the fate of my immortal soul?
I had hoped that I would have ascended after my premature death, that my heroic deeds would grant me admission to that paradise in the sky where Stefan and friends I have lost before would be waiting for me. However, here I remain, wandering this earthly plane. I have had to watch in silence as friends and family mourn my death, unable to tell them I am still amongst them. But why? Surely Hell would be less torturous than this. Has God forsaken me or is there a purpose for my existence here in this purgatory?
My situation reminds of me of a past mission when the New York subways were being haunted by the spirits of 14 workers. Is that what I am? Like Patrick Swayze or Bruce Willis, am I a ghost? But how can that be possible? Ghosts appear when the soul is left with unfinished business from his mortal life. But that can't be, I know I feel fulfilled; my sacrifice saved the life of that girl and from what I have witnessed, my efforts were not in vain. Yet here I am, wandering in this different Limbo, restless and trapped in this lonely existence.
As isolating as it may be, I am however starting to discover some perks of being in this form. That is, namely, admiring the female populace of San Francisco. It is while I am admiring a fairly attractive blonde specimen one day when I notice something odd. As she walks the long, winding sidewalks filled with like-minded commuters, it appears as though these strange creatures are following her, traveling in the shadows. The creatures must be demonic judging by their appearance. Their hunched bodies are an inky black, elongated limbs dragging their four knuckles along the ground as they stalk their prey. Short horns top their bald skulls with wet upturned noses smelling the air. Yellowed tusks protruder from large mouthes, drool flying from their base. Their eyes are relatively small compared to the rest; beady, glowing, unblinking crimson eyes focused on their trarget ahead. And at the ends of their ragged spines lay thick reptilian tails. The mere appearance of such an abomination should send the mass of people into chaotic fear, but no one in the crowd seems to pay attention to them. That's when I realize I must be the only one who can see these monsters. Furthermore, they pass through the humans like air, so they truly must be hellish apparitions.
Following my instincts, I too stalk the creatures in turn, wondering what it is these demons are after. The blonde woman abruptly stops, having broken a heel of her pumps. That's when I see the creatures move in. Still not knowing their actions, I pause, not wanting to reveal myself until intervention is needed. Four of the group travel to both sides of the helpless female, each grabbing a limb so she cannot move. Then a fifth moves in. Suddenly, he plunges a dark clawed hand into her chest. She gasps in pain and tries to move her arms to clutch her chest as if she's having a heart attack. That's when I realize what these demons were after, they are trying to steal this woman's soul! Now is the time for action.
I teleport ahead; (apparently my powers are intact in this form), surprising the offending creatures as I grab the attacker and toss him away from his victim. His buddies finally notice me, letting go of the woman's limbs, allowing her to grab at her chest and pant in agony from the intrusion. From her side, the mosters charge at me but I stand my ground. Their hideous mouths open wide to howl in anger as they formulate their attack. I cannot help but smile; it's been a long time since I had the opportunity to test my skills against multiple opponents and rescue the girl, this is going to be fun.
They pounce unorganized at me, fueled by their fury at upsetting their meal. As I did before I bamf away, watching in amusement at the creatures' befuddlement at my disappearance. Fortunately, I don't stay gone for long, reappearing in the midst of the four demons. "Guten tag", I tease right before I place a well deserved combination on my adversaries quickly enough before the register what's happened. Afterwards, the one I had removed earlier joins the melee, more fun. He charges, letting loose piercing hisses and howls, apparently communicating the others. So, this must be their leader. Again, all five come after me, more organized this time, but it does not matter. I easily dodge the clumsy creatures' attack, utilizing my acrobatics to add a little flair to my performance. When it is my turn to go on the offensive, the demons easily fall but no matter how many punches and kicks they take, they always come after me agaibn, determined to destroy me. I knock one moster out again with a well placed uppercut. Since the demons all look the same, I cannot recognize the ring leader until this moment. With the creature defeated, the other four back away in cowardice; and taking their leader with them, melt into the long shadow created by the huddled woman.
She kneels in the same position as before, loud sobs of fear and confusion obvious behind her cupped hands hiding her face. Even though I know she cannot see or hear me, I too kneel in front of her. Leaning forward, I place a gentle icy kiss upon her cheek. Danke liebchen, I believe you have helped me find my purpose for being here on this earth.