He walked against the hard snow whipped wind that froze his skin. The walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge was long and empty, leading into the dark turns. The night took on a misty mixture of snow and rain. It swooped up and around his body. It sliced through his sweats and t shirt. His breath was frozen with the adrenaline that pumped through him and with every beat. The thoughts came in droves and the anguish with them. He gripped the icy railing for support against the compulsion that had taken over, the sickening desperation and the need to make it all die. No more therapy. No more meds.
Cars sped by behind him, but he couldn’t hear them. All he could hear were the whispers that had begun their assault and had him standing here. Freezing and hopeless. They had penetrated into him, bringing on his torment. They said all the things he tried to hide and all the truths he was afraid to believe. He felt beat.
They had become more insistent. Quick overlapped words rang in his ear as he climbed over the rail and took a deep breath. Behind him, the cars began to bleat. He took one last look at the city in all of it’s hazy beauty. He closed his eyes and let go. For a moment, he was caught up in the frigid winds before plummeting into the river.
Gabriel Connor’s smiling face was on the front page of the morning paper under the headline NYU STUDENT DIES IN LATEST SUICIDE SWEEP.
It was the subject between four people in a private chat room.
Jez was a blonde who wore red lipstick, vintage clothing and Mary Jane high heels.
Nio was a latte skinned fitness enthusiast, who rents a two bedroom apartment so she could have a personal gym.
Ray and Simmie are a sensual and inseparable pair. Their tanned limbs and dark eyes reflect their passion.
The four met in a spiritually seminar and soon discovered that they shared a fondness for Astral Travel or conscious out of body experiences. In this mind state, they could see the soul’s light was darker in people who were depressed or suicidal. They were in great pain and it was this that truly brought them together. The mission of sparing the soul anymore trauma by simply telling them the same terrible things they were already telling themselves. A simple act of validation would literally push them over the edge.
Death woke to the sound of the mail slipping through the slot. He rose and trudged down the hall to collect it. The FedEx envelope that usually awaited him, seemed a little heavier this morning. He opened the front door and was instantly bathed in sunlight.
He noticed that the quota of the souls had definitely increased. They were filmy versions of their late selves, still in shock of being dead.
They moaned. They whimpered, but no matter how capable they were in life, they were scared children in death.
They waited for him to pile them into his van and cart them off to the Terminal. There, they would sign in and sit in the waiting area, coming to terms with their ending. They wait for their name and the number of the bus going North or South.
The job was as routine as any other and he enjoyed the consistency. Even thrived on it. Now, someone was disturbing the order and he was going to find out who.
A well dressed elderly man sat in his car in the garage of his home. His wedding photo sat on the dashboard, faded and still a pure time in his life. He wanted to breathe his last breath looking at her beautiful face. He could no longer go another day without her.
The whispers snaked in with the fumes and he could hear her voice, calling to him. She was waiting for him and soon they would be together forever.
His head began to feel light. Her face began to became a puddle of black and white. The car was filled with dense white smoke and every inhale brought him closer to his end. He laid his head against the rest and slipped into a deep deadly sleep.
Death watched the man’s soul rise and drift over to him. He pointed outside and knew he would see this soul again. He looked over at the man’s body that was now slumped in the driver’s seat. He walked over to it and leaned in through the door. The engine still purred softly. He caught his reflection in the side mirror and it never ceased to amaze him the design of the human body. This body that he was borrowing was a boy of eighteen with brown hair that swept across his eyes. His blue eyes displayed an emptiness that he recognized in most humans. He wore torn jeans and a black t shirt, all thin arms and legs. He reached out and touched the man’s shoulder. The fumes held another scent, another human vibration. It was too faint to be sure.
Humans, he thought, were an arrogant bunch who thought they had or could easily obtain answers to questions they were not designed to understand. Even though, they had reaped the consequences many times over, they refused to see their error. He already had a dislike for them and this stunt was only confirming it. Yet, this was how they were made and there were rules that even he must follow.
The increase of souls would continue to disrupt the balance unless he found who was responsible.
Death arrived at the Terminal with the unscheduled souls. He followed them into the waiting area. The room was a dreary sea foam green with faux wood tables. He scanned the room and noticed a young girl sitting quietly in the corner. She was wearing a white camisole that was pulled over her knees that were pressed to her chest. Her small feet peeked out from under the thin fabric. The angry slits that ran down the inside of her wrists said that she was a casualty of lost love. He went to her and even though her eyes were raw, there was no fear in them. He sat door next to her and she spoke to him in an even voice.
“I can’t remember too much now, but I know there was a pain inside when he left me. I thought that I could make that go away.” She looked down in disappointment. “I was wrong about that.”
“It was the whispers. The whispers that kept me in the darkness. A man and a woman glided in and out of focus. I thought I was dreaming, but the whispers didn’t stop.”
“I heard the whispers too.” A thin man said from across the room. His skin clung to his bones tightly. “They followed me everywhere. I couldn’t even stop them with drugs. I had a dream about a blonde with shiny red lips.” He looked at Death wearily. “I mean, I think it was a dream.
The PA System crackled alive and called out a name and a bus number going South. His reaction was one of resignation as he walked slowly out the door toward his final bus ride.
Nio, Ray and Simmie gathered at Jez’s one bedroom apartment. She had arranged for them to meet someone she wanted to join their mission. She sounded so certain, that they had to see for themselves. She introduced them to a good looking dark stranger named Victor.
“We met online, but I checked him out.” she said.
Nio looked at her carefully as Ray and Simmie snuggled on the sofa.
“Are you sure that he can be trusted?” she asked.
Jez narrowed her eyes. “Of course.” she told her as they all sat on the floor.
“Victor has been freeing tortured souls for years and tonight, I asked him to guide us in a special meditation.”
They sat in a circle and clasped hands.
They listened to the sound of his deep and soothing voice. Soon they were all on a personal trip through their subconscious. Victor had furtively mentally connected them by a brilliant blue electric current, it ran through them as they were lost in their minds.
Victor’s actual name was Babo Yagba. He was reformed demon who owed Death a favor. He saw for himself that these particular humans were given a small gift and they used it to feed their growing egos.
They actually believed that they were the only power to exist
Now, they would learn how wrong they were.
He stood behind them and one by one, he placed his pointer finger between they brows. The third eye was central for intuition and mental abilities. Their faces were peaceful now, but they would soon turn to frowns. When he had done his job, he sat back down and reconnected.
He brought them out of their meditation and relished in their excitement and wonder.
“I’ve never felt anything like that before.” Ray said with his brown eyes wide.
“Me neither. How did you do that?” Simmie asked him.
Victor smiled a little. “It takes practice.”
Jez was floating around the room of a severly depressed woman who had suffered another miscarriage. She had been in her bed for two weeks. Jez could just see her colorless face in a sea of comforter. She hovered over the woman, murmuring her poisonous thoughts back to her. Her words overlapped as she drifted around the woman, that was no covering her ears. Finally, too weak to fight anymore, she gave in. She could almost hear the woman’s Will slam to the floor. She reached over to the end tabl and picked up a bottle of pills. Jez continued her attack as she watched her target swallow a large amount of pills with water. She focused on the woman’s chest rising and falling, but a bolt of pain stabbed her between the eyes and her heart bounded. She crashed back into herself and into a cold black place. Her fading heartbeat was the last thing that she heard.
Nio sat across from a junkie in a room somewhere. His blonde hair was matted with dirt and sweat. His skinny pale body was hunched over in a pair of loose jeans. The sharp sweet small of cooking heroin wafted in the air. Nio continued, her voice echoing off the peeling walls. He tied the tubing tight at his bicep and looked for a good vein. She came closer, but then started to feel a haziness come over her and a searing pain in her head. The junkie was now slouched against the filthy wall and knee deep in oblivion. She felt the room spinning wildly then she was sent zooming back into her body.
Dead by a massive overdose.
Simmie and Ray sailed around a grieving man. He sat on a stool in his basement, staring at the gun in his hand. Its blue steel glare taunted him mercilessly. The bullet was the only way out of the biting loneliness. Their murmurs agreed and flew around the man, who was raising the gun to his head. Their voices meshed together into an insistent chant.
He paused for a moment, then he pointed the barrel to his heart.
He squeezed the trigger and an earsplitting bang sent Ray and Simmie reeling. They were thrown back into their bodies as gunshot victims.
Death heard the mail slide through the slot the next morning, but he was already awake. He opened the door and was greeted by the usual quota. Plus four.