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Authors: Nadia Scrieva

Wish (10 page)

BOOK: Wish
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She
kissed
him
,” I quickly correct, although I’m not sure why.

He looks at me in bewilderment. “Yes, but they’re
us.
In the future. We’re together. I mean, it looks like they’re together. Is that going to happen to us? Are you going to be my girlfriend?”

“I don’t know,” I say in a panic. This has never happened before. We are never supposed to get personally involved in a client’s life, but this is as personal as it gets. Tonight I seem to be breaking all the rules. Overwhelmed with the feelings coursing through me, I put my head in my hands.

“What’s wrong?” Kieran asks softly. “Don’t you think that it would be nice if this happened?”

“Yes!” I almost shout. “But don’t you see what it means? All I’ve ever wanted was to be a human being, living as one of you. It’s a fantasy. It’s just an outrageous pipedream that will never come true.”

He narrows his eyes at me and speaks with a sudden courage. “What if it’s not outrageous? What if it’s just like what you said about me playing catch with my nephew? Highly probable?”

“Kieran, I’m supposed to die tonight. Or at least be sent into a deep slumber for eternity. Unlike you, that isn’t by choice. The stardust shows us possibilities. This is the final result of countless actions we can’t predict. It doesn’t show us how to get there. It could be really difficult. It could take years.”

“But you’ve shown me tonight that time isn’t really that scary. I’m no longer afraid of the years.” He lifts his hand to touch my elbow gingerly, and then he squeezes it as he gazes at me. “Please… I’ve never had something worth fighting for. Give me something to fight for.”

“But you wouldn’t even fight for your own life,” I say brokenly.  

“Because I was alone. I didn’t have anything to look forward to—not one single thing. I had no hope, but things have changed. Don’t you understand? This is the nicest thing I have seen all night, Kayla. This is the thing that makes me want to live more than anything else.”

“This?” I say in disbelief, gesturing to the kitchen where our other selves are busy preparing a meal. “After everything I showed you,
this
changes your mind?”

“Yes. Do you know why? None of those other people matter. They’re not here right now, helping me through this dark moment. They’re not fighting for me the way you are. It was really upsetting to have the people I care about taken from my life. My mom died, then Chloe went off to college and we never kept in touch. Finally, Madison left me for another guy. Then you came to me, like an angel sent from heaven when I needed someone the most. And you told me that you would also be taken away.” He shakes his head violently. “But that’s not going to happen, because you want to stay. If you really want this, we’ll find a way.”

“Kieran…”

He puts his fingers under my chin, lifting it so that I must look into his eyes. “Hey. Maybe you weren’t just sent to help me out tonight—maybe I’m supposed to help you too. I know it sounds crazy, but I really want to try. You fought for me. The least I can do is return the favor.”

I am filled with such uncertainty that I don’t know how to respond. I turn away from his intense look and watch our other selves interacting in the kitchen. They move with such ease around each other, like parts of the same machine—they seem relaxed and comfortable. I swallow back some emotion. “Look at them, Kieran. Look at us—we’re so happy.

“Yes. And for the record, I really like frozen dinners.” Kieran admits as he watches himself use the microwave.

A smile takes over my face and I suddenly feel a refreshing wave of hope mixing in with my despair. “I just don’t know how to get from here to there. I don’t know how to make that happen.”

“How to make what happen?” he asks.

I glance over at him shyly. “To be there with you, in that kitchen, baking a cake.”

“I’ll tell you how we make that happen,” he says with determination. “You should come home with me right now, and we’ll look up the recipe.”

A bit of laughter bubbles up in my throat, but I am crying at the same time. I believe it’s mostly crying. “Isn’t that going too fast?”

“No. I was going too fast when I hit you with my car. Now, I think this is just the right speed.”

“Where did this sense of humor come from?” I ask him with a tearful smile.

He grins at me. “You would be surprised at how funny and charming I can be when I decide that I’m not going to die in a few minutes.”

Giving into an urge, I move toward him and wrap my arms around his waist, hugging him fiercely. “I’m so glad. Thank heavens you changed your mind. I just… wouldn’t it be too soon for us to try to do what they’re doing?”

“Kayla, it’s never too soon to bake a cake.”

I am now mostly laughing and only partially crying as I bury my face against his chest. His hands are resting on my back soothingly. “I suppose no one else is going to be using that oven today—and it is Christmas.”

“Exactly. Who else is going to feed me?”

I pull away and we smile at each other. “Well, then, let’s get out of here. I’m tired of these visions of what could be. Let’s start working on a reality that
is
.”

“Sounds great to me,” he agrees. There is a flash and we suddenly find ourselves back on the bridge. After a moment of being slightly disoriented, he rises to his feet and helps me stand. He picks up his wire cutters and shoves them into his jacket pocket sheepishly. “My car isn’t parked too far away. Let’s get out of the cold.”

I nod and follow his lead, walking beside him off the bridge. The view of the deep gorge below is no longer horrifying; it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Gazing up at the sky, I feel revitalized and peaceful like never before; I feel safe.

Kieran abruptly stops walking and places an arm in front of me defensively. A man has appeared before us and he does not look happy. He disappears for a moment and reappears behind us, bypassing Kieran’s protection of me in order to brutally seize my arm.

“Nathan!” I exclaim in shock.

He ignores me completely as he turns to Kieran with a dark look on his face. “Sorry, brother. I can’t let her go with you. It’s against the rules.”

“What are you doing?” I ask him angrily, trying to fight his grip on me. It is not gentle like the way Kieran touched me, but sharp and painful. It is controlling instead of calming, stirring bile in my gut. “Let go!”

“Who is he, Kayla?” Kieran asks with worry. His brown eyes instantly transform from warm to torrid. I have never seen him display real violence or intent to do harm to anyone but himself, so it is surprising when he pulls the wire cutters out of his pocket and places them against Nathan’s throat. “You heard her! Let go.”

“He’s a co-worker,” I say helplessly.

“One of your ‘celestial spirits?’”

“Yes,” I whisper.

“Celestial spirits?” Nathan repeats in amusement. He ignores the weapon and tightens his grip on my arm. “Is that how you’re explaining us to the lower folk, Kayla? Well, then I suppose we should tell the poor lad that you’re being sent to a ‘celestial prison.’ It’s a life sentence and there won’t be any visiting hours.”

I feel a certain lightness begin as my body begins to fade away. I look down and see that I am becoming transparent. “Kieran!” I call out desperately, reaching for him. He grabs my hand to try to hold on to me, but it is too late. A second later, my hand is no longer solid, and he falls to the ground. I stare down at him in dismay as my vision becomes misty and unclear.

It was too much to hope for. One lone boy couldn’t possibly fight hard enough to keep me here when the higher powers wanted something different. My only thoughts are for him; I wish that he will remain strong, and that losing me won’t send him into greater despair.

Chapter 10: An Unbearable Limbo
 

 

When Nathan releases me we are standing in a mirrored room with torches hung on the walls. In the flickering light, I see that there are dark bluish bruises on my arm again. I rub them absentmindedly as they shimmer and begin to disappear. “Why did you take me?” I ask him resentfully.

“You know why. It’s for your own good. We’re not allowed to get close to them.”

I feel a growing outrage in my chest. “Why does it matter to you what I do?”

“We’re the same kind, Kayla. You and I are equals.” Nathan crosses his arms as he glares at me. “It won’t do to have one of ours fraternizing with those fools.”

“I
like
them,” I say defensively. “They’re fragile and they have so much pain—but I love being around them. Many are so good, with such high morals. They try to do the right thing; they take care of each other.”

Nathan scowls. “How can you say that after all that you have seen? They don’t take care of each other. They are selfish and they would rather leave each other to rot on the street than help their fellow man.”

“That’s not true. Why are you being so cruel, Nathan?”

“I’m not. I’m doing my job. Father sent me to collect you.”

My arm is healed from his abrasive grip, but I still feel the sting of his malice. “You didn’t have to. I didn’t want to be collected! There was a place for me there.”

“What place, Kayla?” he seethes. “Going to parties all dressed up? Eating fancy confections? Kissing human boys!”

“So that’s what this is about?” I ask in surprise. “Nathan, you know I was sent to help Kieran—but I failed. It was only when he accidentally saw a vision of us together in the future that he decided to try to continue living. Not just for himself! It was because he thought he could help me to accomplish my dreams.”

“And you believe all that garbage, Kayla?” His voice is so bitter that even he seems unable to stomach the taste of the words; Nathan turns to the side and spits in disgust. “You’re not a girl—you’re a star. But you happen to look like a girl at the moment, and a teenage boy will say anything to get you to go home with him. Open your eyes! He didn’t want to do anything for your sake. He wanted what he could get out of you.”

“How dare you!” I shout at Nathan, rising to my full height with pride and rage. “You know nothing about him.”

“I know enough. I know that he has nothing going for him in life, and no one that would even notice his absence if he died. His girlfriend dumped him because he was a loser, and now he wants to instantly rebound on you? Isn’t that a little bit suspicious to you, Kayla?”

My lips are clamped shut and I do not respond. I lower my gaze, feeling doubt and shame beginning to chip away at my conviction. What if none of that was real? What if the scene we saw was just some kind of puerile illusion meant to misguide me?

Nathan reaches out to touch my hair, and he gently runs his fingers over the dark strands, causing me to flinch. “Kayla, you’re better off just accepting your fate. You’re one of us, and you can’t be with him.”

I pull away forcefully, feeling so furious that I think I might burst. “The worst kind of evil is trying to deny another person love and happiness—not murder. Not stealing or cheating. The worst thing is acting with the intent to make someone else suffer—and that’s exactly what you have done to me, Nathan.”

He glares at me. “Fine. I don’t care if you think I’m a monster. I was following the rules. You should have stayed within our boundaries—if you had, you wouldn’t be in this position.”

“I can’t follow those rules! I want to be
part
of this world instead of watching from a distance and occasionally interfering! I know that I can make a bigger difference here if I live and work here every day as a mere, minor mortal, than this high and mighty heavenly spirit. The truth is that we
can’t
really help humans because we don’t understand what it’s like to be one of them!”  Gritting my teeth together, I clench my fists—it feels like there is fire shooting out of my eyes as I glare viciously at Nathan. “I want to be a girl. I want to have a life. I want to go to school.”

BOOK: Wish
9.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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