Purgatory

When Raina falls to a death clouded with mystery and horror, one which not even The Elders can figure out, she is placed into Purgatory. As the mystery unveils, as well as the secrets of the place between Heaven and Hell, she learns that at every corner a sea of possibilities awaits. But will she be able to realise the correct ones, or will she stay in Purgatory for eternity?

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11. 11

Grey. Grey. All of it was grey. But there was a silver lining to it all, wasn't there? Or perhaps not. There used to be a silver lining, when Kai was around. He was the one thing stopping me from going crazy being on this dull beach, with my fate hanging in the balance. But now he was gone. If he was in Heaven, then I was happy for him. If was in Hell, that'd just make his departure more hell than it already was. I smoothed my hands over the sand granules, feeling their texture. Feeling that it was real. It was kind of crazy, that all of this was real, that this is where I was. That this was practically my home, though Guardian had denied otherwise. My eyes started to get heavier and heavier as the sky got darker and darker. I wondered where Guardian was getting to. He couldn't stay here overnight. I mean, I suppose it wasn't fit for him. He was THE Guardian. Guarding the perimeters between Heaven , Hell and Purgatory. Guarding all the people destined to go to either one of those place. And of course there was the fact he had better places to sleep than this dismal place. He probably had a state of the art bed. Four pillars, and one of those drapes on top of it, just like in the fairy tales. 
Though, life wasn't a fairy tale. This wasn't a fairy tale. Heck, I didn't even know if Heaven and Hell were just like the fairy tales. I didn't know if Heaven was all fluffy clouds and angels with golden harps. I didn't know if Hell was all blazing flames and devils with fiery pitchforks. Everything WAS a possibility, though. Nevertheless, I decided to call Guardian, to see if he was still around. "Guardian?" I stood up, pricking my ears for the sound of his voice. "Guardian, are you still here?" A figure emerged from the distance. For a second, my heart soared, thinking it was Kai. Then it dropped again, remembering it was Guardian. Then I mentally slapped myself, for being so cruel. Guardian was being nice to me. I should've been grateful for that.
"Are you alright, Raina?" he yawned, stopping in front of me, and lazily stretching his arms.
I frowned at him. "Guardian, have I woken you up?"
He nodded wearily. "Yes, but don't worry about it too much."
"Why are you sleeping here?" I asked, the tone of my voice softening in guilt.
"I can't leave you alone here," he sighed. His deep voice echoed off the cliffs ever so quietly.
"But how can you, though?" I looked him steadily in the eye. "Surely you are used to the most luxurious beds? The most comfortable rooms? How could you possibly rest here?"
Guardian looked straight back at me. "Because I'm not mister high all mighty like you think I am."  He shook slightly. I didn't know whether it was from the cold or from his anger. "Besides, I can get us some blankets, at least." 
I grinned at him. "You can?"
"Yes, I can. And possibly some pillows?" He was already on the task, getting out two of his potions, and one clear, small, slender bottle. "And I can practice some sorcery in the process." Guardian crouched down on the sand. I sat next to him.
"How does all that work?" I asked, nodding towards the clear bottle in which he was filling up with the potions little by little. 
He briefly glanced up at me, then got back to mixing and pouring. "It's actually pretty basic," Guardian mumbled. "You just have to put different amounts of two different potions in. Start with a little, then work up to a lot." His body lost his tension, as the bottle was full. He grabbed a cork from inside a pouch on his belt, and he pushed it onto the top. His strength and its force seemed to chip the top bottle of the bottle. "Damn," he cursed. He pointed his finger at me, indicating me not to call him up on his swear. Guardian cupped his hands around the neck, where the chip was. He then started to rub it. I felt hear radiate from his hands, as it gently grazed my bare skin. After a fairly short amount of time, he stopped, and raised his hands.
 I peered at the bottle. There was absolutely no sign of the chip whatsoever. "How did you do that?" I asked in wonder, my eyes still fixated onto the glass.
"Magic," Guardian said in a voice that an adult would use to speak to a young child in. He let out a hearty chuckle at his not very amusing joke. "No, err...it is actually pretty complicated." 
At any other time, I would have probed him for an explanation. But I was cold and I was tired, and I just didn't think I'd be able to handle the complex piece of information, so I simply nodded, accepting his statement. 
Guardian proceeded to shake the bottle. The liquid had previously been a mixture if the purple and green potions that had been poured into the glass. However, once Guardian placed the bottle on the sand again, I was amazed to see it was clear. No trace of its previous colour whatsoever. It was completely clear. Once again, I stared at him in wonder. "Wow," I murmured, exceedingly impressed. Though I shouldn't have been, really. It was the same as the chemical reaction for..."It’s like when making ammonia. Only the opposite way around," I observed. I then gasped, shocked at my sudden recall of that fact.
It seemed that Guardian was too. "You remembered that?" he breathed.
"Just, yes," I nodded, smiling.
He smiled back at me. "You must have been pretty smart at school to know that."
I pressed my lips together, thinking. "Possibly."
"I better report this to The Elders," he sighed, getting up and brushing himself off.
"Wouldn't they know that anyway? From my school files?"
Guardian pondered for a moment. "Hm. Well, it's better to be safe than sorry." He got out his yellow powder, which I had noticed was the one he used for transportation to The Elders' corridor. He dusted it onto his hand. His fingers moved to pinch the powder, but he stopped, and looked at me instead. "I'll be back soon. Try and get some sleep." Before I could say anything, he snapped his fingers, and the light absorbed him in its glowing rays, lighting up Purgatory. It then went away in an instant. I lay down on the ground.  A cool object collided with my skull. I reached for it, and levelled it with my eyesight. It was one of the bottles, of course. I wanted to wait for Guardian, to thank him for everything he was doing for me before I went to sleep. However, my eyelids became heavier and heavier, and eventually I was forced to give in, shutting them and my mind for the dark, bleak night.

I woke up, after I felt myself being shook awake. A blanket was wrapped around my shoulders, and a pillow was where I had laid my head before I'd sat up after being woken. I smiled, feeling comforted, warm and safe all at the same time, something I hadn't experienced since dying. I glanced up sleepily at Guardian, who had clearly been the one who had shook me. "What is it?" I sighed, stretching my arms out in front of me.
"The Elders want to speak to you," he replied. Guardian grabbed both of my hands, and pulled me up so I was standing up.
I yawned, and wrapped the blanket around me tightly. "They are up this late?"
"Aye," he nodded. Guardian already had the transporting powder in the palm of his hands. Once he had it pinched in between his fingertips, he gently tugged at my wrist with his spare hand. Then, Guardian clocked his fingers, and we were floating upwards yet again, to The Elders' corridor. I rested my head on Guardians shoulder, face down. I was still exhausted. "Can I go to sleep?" I murmured, my voice muffled.
I felt his head move, nodding, however he soon realised I couldn't see him do this. "Fine." With that word as my answer, I drifted back off to sleep in a lightheaded trance, as Guardian and I headed skyward.

***
"For goodness sake Guardian, she's asleep! What use will she be asleep?!" I heard Edward’s brash, loud voice booming through the room.
"She wouldn't be any use at all if she weren't energised," Guardian answered back, a defensive edge to his voice. 
The cockney accent indicated it was Harold who had spoken next. "We could give her some Consciousiousbeverados. That'd probably make her less tired."
I certainly didn't want to be given some weird potion, so I forced my eyes open. Guardian had been watching over me, and jumped back with a start. I scanned The Elders' chamber, and noted Harold, Edward and Alexander were the only Elders present. Clearly Harold and Edward were trying to get on Alexander's good side. Edward because of his snarky attitude last meeting, and Harold because of his good humoured yet disruptive behaviour, also last meeting. Alexander bobbed his head at me, and indicated for me to sit down on the chair where Chance would usually be sitting. Guardian followed me to the seat, however instead of sitting down in Brian's usual seat, he placed a hand on the edge of my chair, and stood behind me. 
"Sit down too, Guardian," Alexander said, smiling at the broad shouldered man. Guardian obeyed. "Now, first off, I give you my thanks for being here at..." Alexander looked at the big wall of clocks. He then sighed. "I don't know what time it is. Some ungodly hour. However, it is very important that we are gathered, as a valuable piece of evidence has surfaced." Harold got up from his seat at the table, and walked over to one of the walls, which a long curtain was veiling. He grasped the edge of the curtain, and pulled it across to reveal a simple, cheap whiteboard. I choked back a laugh. A whiteboard? They had whiteboards at SCHOOL, I remembered. I wondered why The Elders had such a shabby object in their exceedingly grand chamber. Guardian lightly kicked my leg underneath the table, indicating for me to hold in my laughter. Alexander had got up too, and was standing on the opposite side of the whiteboard to Harold. He got a basic marker pen, and started writing on the board. I couldn't believe Alexander owned such an elementary object. It was ludicrous. "Jealousy."  His loud, authoritative voice echoed through the room. It echoed through my head. Jealousy?
"Yes, jealousy," Alexander said. I had obviously said my thought out loud. "You see Raina, something must have been stopping you going on that trip. That trip was for smart people. But what if one of them was jealous of you, making you not want to go?"
I nodded. "I suppose that could be..." My eyelids became heavy again. "...Could be..."I fought hard for them to stay open. But they were too strong. The last thing I heard was a cry of "Raina!" from whom I could not quite tell. However, I quickly tumbled back into the land of slumber.

***

I opened my eyes, and in front of me was a whiteboard. Not The Elders' whiteboard. A school whiteboard. In a classroom. In what seemed to be a science classroom, judging by the posters of the solar system and the human body on either side of the whiteboard. An elderly lady was standing in front of it, her head in her hands at the chaos that was her class. A gaggle of girls to the left of me were blatantly texting on their phones , whilst applying lip gloss at the same time. A brood, or they may as well have been a brood because they all had identical hairstyles, of boys were flicking various objects across the classroom. Even the group of geeks in the corner had long given up on the lessons, playing some puzzle game on their phones. And me? It was clear I wasn't up to mischief. My exercise book was brimming with information, and my textbook was open, unlike everybody else's. I looked at the front of my exercise book, to see the class number. 1SA. THIS was set one? It looked more like a set four to me. Suddenly, a wash of realisation came over me. I wasn't a ghost like last time. I was generally in my body. I lightly pinched myself. It was flesh alright. 
"Self harming?" One of the girls texting snarled at me. I shook my head, and ducked it, using behind a curtain of hair.
Another one joined.  "She might as well, living in such a poor house."  The grip on my pen tightened.
"Rat Raina." The chants grew louder. "Rat Raina. Rat Raina. RAT RAINA." I kicked back my chair, and lunged at the girl who started it. Then my eyesight went black in an instant.

***

My eyes sprang open again, and The Elders in the room were crowded around me. So was Guardian, who clamped a hand on my shoulder. "Are you alright?" he asked, his eyes wide. 
I nodded. "Yes, thank you. I just had a vision, though..."
The Elders tensed, and looked at me, awaiting a description. "I was being bullied," I said bluntly. 
"But you're nice, Raina. Why on Earth would someone be mean to you?" Guardian asked, uttering the most common response for that statement. 
"Because I lived in a small house. But I think the reason I didn't want to go on the trip was because of the bullies, seeing as they had probably been invited too. We were all in the top set. I also lunged at them, which could have something to do with my death. They might have wanted revenge," I gabbled, taking a deep breath after I finished.
Harold smiled, and clapped his hands. Alexander glared at him. "This is no matter to smile at, Harold."
"But it's a lead!" Harold protested. "Those bullies could be the murders!"
For a moment, Alexander simply stood there, pondering. He then nodded. "Right. A lead. Okay. You'd better wake Brian and Chance immediately. We shall start researching into this at once."
With his orders, Harold bustled out of the room, as did Edward. Guardian and I simply stayed in our places awkwardly, not knowing what to do now. Alexander seemed to sense this, and waved his hand toward us. "You two may as well go to the Garden whilst we get this sorted out. There's no use going back to Purgatory, as we may need to question you, Raina."
I grinned. "The Garden of Eden?" I asked.
Guardian shook his head. "No. But it's still plenty beautiful." He moved my chair back, and I got up. Side by side, we walked back out the chamber again. It seemed like this was all becoming quite a regular occurrence.

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