See Through

Olivia Adams isn't alive, but she isn't dead either. Somewhere between heaven and hell lies perpetual purgatory, and she's inevitably stuck in it. There's unfinished business to be tended to, but the question of what it is remains unanswered. She walks the streets of New York City with tears in her eyes, but nobody notices the girl that barely exists. Until a beautiful day. Niall Horan has found her, and he sees and feels and hears her. She's falling in love with him, even though she's frightened since her last lover took her very own life. Through Niall, Olivia is able to reconnect with her sister, Jessi, and exist as if she never left. But, what happens when a dark mass tries to ruin any chance Olivia has of living again? Will the mass get to her, allowing her spirit to move on? Will she be able to fight it off long enough to become human again? Or, will she forever remain see through?

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23. Guardian Angel

Olivia

                Glass is breaking, wood is splitting, and we’re being tossed around like ragdolls in this game of mass and me, and this time I’m not sure if I can beat it. I run away, and it follows. Niall is on my mind, and at this point that thought is the only thing keeping this thing away from me. Tears are pouring down my face faster than I can blink, my vision blurry and my heart racing. I was getting so used to being human that I forgot I’m not.

                My mind flashes and I’m back in that beat up chevy truck, Brian riding by my side, and I’m afraid. So afraid of what he could do…if I knew then what I know now, would I go back? Would I dump him and just keep living? He’s driving, screaming at me about how stupid I am, how ridiculously useless. The memory is so blurry, but I remember it more than I remember yesterday. He got so angry, and he grabbed the baseball bat from the floorboard and I saw it coming toward me…

                I remember the floor, how cold it was, and him and another guy I couldn’t recognize. I remember the sirens, and him on top of me, and then the gunshot. My life was not supposed to end up like that, but it did, and they say everything happens for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, I had to die to get Niall, the love I never knew I needed. Does that make sense?

                “Olivia, MOVE!” Louis yells as the mass charges toward me, but I’m too late. My body lifts off the ground and my eyes dart to Louis who is still on the phone trying to call Niall. Jessi is in the corner with Andrea, cuddled up for shelter, and both of them crying out of fear.

                “Don’t!” I yelled down at them. “Don’t be afraid of it!”

                Fear gives it power, and they’re making it worse. Suddenly Jessi stands to her feet and walks calmly to right in front of the mass, looking up and glaring. “PUT HER DOWN!” she screams. “NOW!!” a line of the mass emerges at hits her with so much force, she flies backward and through the open window.

                “JESSI!!!” I hear Louis yell, and the door to the apartment swings open and in runs Niall and Harry. Niall looks terrified as he looks around at the destruction, and then up at me. Our eyes meet for a few seconds.

                “I’m sorry,” I say to him apologetically. “Niall, I’m so sorry.”

                The mass wraps completely around me, but before I disappear I smell it. The lavender and vanilla and I realize that it’s not the mass that smells that way. It’s something else. Before everything fades to black, I see something white and blue, bright like every star in the night sky. It looks like the mass, except a softer texture and harmless. But now I’m spinning and I’m not even alive.

                When I awake, I’m in a garden of wildflowers, daisies and tulips and sunflowers spread out all around me. To the right is a large mountain, so beautiful under the bright blue sky that it takes my breath away. And to my left, a line of people, and a bridge crossing over the water. I stand to my feet and take a deep breath. It’s so much easier to breathe here, and I don’t feel like I’ve just battled it out with the mass at all. Actually, I feel like I’m floating almost.

                It’s so peaceful in this place, like if you start crying it could only be out of happiness, and heartbreak is nonexistent, and even if you had every right to be, anger wasn’t an option. It’s almost close to being heaven, but I know it’s not. And maybe that’s where the bridge leads because where else would it go?

                I could stay here forever, but I don’t want to do that.

                “Olivia,” says a woman’s voice behind me, and I shudder because I remember that tone from my childhood. High-pitched and stern, but also calming, loving, and caring. That was the sound of my mother’s voice. I turn, and see her for the first time in years, but she’s not like I remember. Here in this place – wherever it is – she is much more beautiful and healthy and young. I smile at her and hug her, taking in the scent of her lavender and vanilla perfume that she always wore.

                And now that part makes sense.

                “Mom, you’re a ghost too?”

                “No, sweetie,” she says, placing a hand on my face. “It was my time to go. But it wasn’t yours, and that’s why I sent you back to earth.”

                “You made me a half-light?”

                She laughs. “Well, yes. You’re my daughter, Olivia, and when I saw you that night with Brian, I knew what was about to happen. I rushed to get to you, and as soon as you died, I was there right beside you. Do you know why half-lights become human again?”

                “No?”

                She sighs and wraps an arm around me as we walk through the garden. “When someone you love is about to die, we angels get the opportunity to let them live again. Right before it happened, I stood over you and cried, and you absorbed my tears. So technically a half-light is half angel, half human. Not a ghost. You were never dead, Olivia. You’ve always existed.”

                “But what about the mass?”

                She stops and takes me by the shoulders. “The mass is not evil. You must know that. The mass is nature, and it goes after half-lights trying to put the balance of life and death back where it’s supposed to be. But I’ve been right beside it, fighting it away this entire time.”

                “I know,” I say with a smile. “I could smell your perfume, but I thought it was the mass.”

                “No...whenever the mass was there, so was I.”

                “So how did it get to me?”

                “Unfortunately,” she says guiltily. “The mass always wins. It has to take you in order for the process to be complete. You couldn’t be fully human again until the mass gets you.”

                That doesn’t make sense, and I have to admit I’m a little mad. “Then what was the point of making me a half-light if I can’t get the mass to leave me alone, mom? Why was that all for nothing?”

                “No, no,” she shushes me. “Just hear me out. Half-lights get to choose. You can either cross over and you, Niall, Jessi, and everyone else will keep their memories and they will grieve accordingly. Or…you can go back to earth…”

                “I want to go back,” I answer immediately.

                “Olivia, choose carefully. There’s a catch. Nobody will remember you. No one. Yes, you get to live again but you’ll have nobody. No sister, no boyfriend, no dad, no friends. It will be like you never even existed. Your memory will be wiped from everyone’s minds. Even mine.”

                I look at her, then to the river, and then back over the mountains. Why did this have to be so difficult when it seemed so simple? I thought I’d have the chance to be with Niall like a regular girl should…but now it all just seems like wasted time.

                It seems like no matter what I choose someone gets hurt. If I cross over and move on with my afterlife the way everyone else does, that would hurt Niall, Jessi, dad, Jimmy…everyone. And if I go back and they don’t remember who I am and Niall doesn’t recall this love that he and I share…well, that would kill me inside, and I’ve died enough already. So in all honesty, it wouldn’t do me any good to go back. That would just be selfish because it wouldn’t help this case at all. And I’m thinking maybe, just maybe…I should cross over. But there’s something I have to do first.

                And I know what to do. “Mom…go fight the mass away. I have something to do.”

 

 

 

Jessi

                Louis pulls me up over the ledge…luckily I was able to catch myself. I don’t know what’s happening. The mass is there, and it’s already taken her. However, there’s this big white thing beside it and everything is happening so fast and I don’t know what to do and I can’t see her or Louis and…whoa, Jess, calm down. All I know is that whatever just happened isn’t over.

                It looks like the masses are fighting each other, merging and twisting and striking so violently that sparks are flying in every direction. And Niall is in pieces as he sits on the couch crying so heavily I think he may flood the entire apartment. I go to him.

                “Niall,” I whisper. Harry goes to Andrea as I leave her and I see him wrap him arms around her the way he did when everything was okay between them. “Niall, it’s okay.”

                The sound of the fight behind us drowns out as he speaks, and my heart breaks for him. “I could have loved her,” he said, sobbing. “Jessi, she is everything to me. Everything. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of forever with her, but it’s too hard. I feels like God is using me as target practice and no matter how much I pray, he’ll never let me have her completely.”

                “He’s not using you as target practice, Niall. He’s God and if he was doing that, he wouldn’t miss.”

                He shrugs. “I don’t even know if he exists anymore.”

                Take it as a sign if you will, but suddenly the masses entwine with each other and then disappear, throwing Olivia onto the cold hard ground like a ragdoll. Niall darts for her, going to her aide as she cries out for him. “Oh god, baby,” he says, taking her face in his hands. She’s crying, and so is he, and the moment is so bittersweet, but beautiful. “Where did you go?”

                “I’m sorry,” is all she can get out. “Niall, I’m so sorry.”

                “For what? For leaving?”

                “I’m s – sorry. I thought it was the best thing to do, but now…now I have to go for real.”

                His back straightens and I feel the blood rising to my face. What is she talking about? What happened in those masses? Didn’t it just disappear for good? “No!” he says firmly. “The mass is gone…you’re human now.” His voice chokes and I look over at Louis, Andrea, and Harry who have crowded around. Each of them have tears in their eyes – even Louis, who I thought was incapable of such hurt.

                “No, I’m not Niall. I never was.”

                “What are you saying? You – Olivia, I see you, feel you, I hear you. I’m in love with you. There’s nothing more human than that.”

                She tells us about a place she’s visited twice now, and about a garden and a bridge and a line of people…and our mom with that lavender and vanilla perfume that I should have realized a long time ago. She explains what mom did for her and what she has to do now.

                “I can cross over and you all can mourn me as you should…or I can stay.”

                “Stay!” Niall and I both say immediately.

                She stands up on her feet and wraps her arms around Niall’s neck in a hug, and I just want to join in and hug her too. “If I stay,” she says, “none of you will have any memory of me. As far as you will know, you’ve never met me before in your life.”

                Niall looks confused, as am I…how could that be? How could she just disappear from our memories like that? That was impossible. This entire situation has been one hell of a ride, and I’m not about to let it slip through our fingertips.

                Niall grabs ahold of her and cries into her neck mumbling, “No, you can’t go!”

                “I know it’s hard,” she says, pulling away from him and looking deeply into his red, tear-stained eyes. “But I’ve lived my life the best I could, and now it’s time to move on. Both of us. Niall, I love you.”

                So this is it…this is where I lose Olivia for the last and final time, and I don’t know if any of us can take it. I’m not sure if we’re capable of grief. Sure, we made it through those few months she was gone, but at the same time it was driving us insane. I thought we had so much, but it seems we have so little.

                “I love you too, Olivia,” he whispers back to her. “Please don’t leave me.”

                “I’m not leaving you. Please remember that, and no matter where I go or what happens here in your life, I’ll always be with you. Both of you.” She looks over at me and smiles, a tear falling aimlessly down her cheek.”

                “This can’t be goodbye. There has to be something we can do…”

                She shakes her head. “I don’t think there is. I’m done fighting, Jessi. This is just how it was supposed to be. And hey, this time I get to at least say goodbye.”

                “No! I would rather you have your life. I don’t care if I’ll know you or not! You’ll find your way back to me, Olivia. You’re my sister and not even this whole twisted half-light game can change that. It can’t change who you are or where you came from.”

                “I’m sorry, Jessi.” She goes over to Louis and whispers something, giving him a guy, and he holds her for a second while she speaks to him. I don’t know what she’s saying, but I’m sure it’s about me. And then to Andrea she says, “thank you, for helping me I mean. I love you.”

                And then back to me and Niall she smiles, and Niall is about to crush himself over this…he doesn’t look okay at all. She plants a soft kiss on his lips and fights back tears of her own, and then I get a warm hug from her and it feels so real, so human.

                She looks up to the ceiling and closes her eyes, whispering, “I’m ready now.”

                And I know deep in my heart that she’s not, none of us are, but it like she said it’s how it’s supposed to be, and none of us can change that. She goes up in rays of light and Niall darts for her, “NO!!!” but she’s already gone up to be our guardian angel.

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