“Kelley, open your eyes. Can you hear me? Can you hear what I’m saying to you. Open your eyes so I know you can hear me.”
Hope was frantic. She knew that there was no way that Kelley wasn’t at least seriously injured by the amount of damage to the car. And she could do nothing but watch and wait and hope that Kelley opened her eyes. There was nothing that she could have done to protect her soulmate from physical harm. If she hadn’t already taken her last breath years before, the thought alone of so much harm coming to her love might have stolen the last air from her lungs.
Hope was frantic for another reason. She knew that if Kelley was so badly injured, there was a real possibility that she could die. And to die so suddenly meant that her soul would travel immediately from the human world into the beyond. If Kelley died, here and now in this way without passing through the in-between space between living and death where the guardians existed, Hope and Kelley would never be united. Guardians could not travel into the beyond without their soulmate. Hope would spend an eternity wandering and guarding, and Kelley would never know true love in this life or the next. Centuries and centuries of loneliness would pass until time ceased to exist. Hope’s soul ached at the thought.
Hope’s heart leaped when she thought Kelley’s eyes fluttered for a second. It was short lived, however, because as soon as she thought she saw them open they were closed again. Still, she couldn’t help but hope that there was a chance that Kelley was alive. If not wholly alive, at least able to hear her in the space that she existed. Hope would do anything; she would break into the space beyond if it meant that Kelley would be okay.
“Kelley, look at me. Open your eyes and look at me.”
Unfocused and hazy, Kelley’s brown eyes finally opened, searching. Finally able to focus her eyes on something, brown eyes locked on blue for the first time. For a second, Hope couldn’t believe that Kelley could actually see her. That they both now existed in the same time and space. That nothing separated them but a breath.
“Kelley, can you see me?” Hope’s voice was raspy with emotion.
“Are you…can you…can you hear me? I’ve been trying so hard to talk to you. I heard your voice when I was…when I was…,” Kelley’s voice trailed off in confusion as she sat up. “When I was dead?” Kelley questioned. “I think I was dead.”
“Kelley, you can see me?” Hope gasped. Although she knew that the freckled girl was speaking to her, everything still seemed so impossible. For years she had longed for the moment when they would meet for the first time. She never imagined it would happen like this. Nothing about this seemed real.
“Yeah, of course I can see you,” Kelley said, “why wouldn’t I be able to see you?”
Before Hope could answer Kelley’s question, Kelley’s eyes flickered from Hope’s face to the large, powerful wings that protruded from her back. “Holy shit, I am dead,” Kelley whispered. “I’m really dead.”
“No, Kelley, you’re not dead.”
“Then what...then who…and how am I? Where am I? What happened? I think I remember a car and school? Yeah, I’m definitely late for school. I should get going. I think they need me over at school now. Sorry, gotta go!”
Kelley stood up too quickly. Before Hope could prepare her for what she was about to see, Kelley’s eyes went from confused to horrified in the blink of an eye.
“What the fuck? Oh my God what is this? What is this?” Kelley shouted with incredulousness at the sight in front of her as Hope tried desperately to block her view.
Hope watched with dread as Kelley’s eyes took in the scene laid out in front of her. Twisted metal and broken glass and blood littered the pavement. And there was no stopping her from the worst part of it all. In the middle of the chaos was Kelley’s body.