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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12. 12

Guardian and I sat side by side on the green, green grass in the garden Alexander had directed us to. It was glorious, I had to admit. Flowers of all different colours were scattered in various places on the neat grass. A waterfall was trickling quietly in the corner. The soft pitter-patter made the garden a most tranquil environment. The atmosphere between me and Guardian wasn't glorious, however. It was...neutral. Words did not need to be spoken, nor did they want to be spoken. My fingertips grazed the petals of a deep red lily that was on my right hand side in a petite flower box. For some reason, the flower shrivelled at my touch. I frowned, and pulled my hand away. Guardian cocked his head in an inquiring manner. "Why is it dying?" I whispered, not wanting to break the peaceful quiet that had been surrounding us since we had first sat down.  
He sighed. "Because if you touch it, it'll shrivel." He kept his voice low.
"Yes, but why?" I murmured, looking at the flower mournfully. It was now black and burnt, all of its beauty now shrivelled because of me.
Guardian walked over to a patch of flowers in the centre of the garden. They were red and white; my perfect contrasting colours. He brushed his foot over them, causing them to also wither. "BECAUSE, they are barely real. This whole garden is barely real."
My eyes widened. "What's the point of that?" I stared at the flowers he had just caused to die. They were all but ashes now. 
"You know how some people describe Purgatory as a garden?"  I looked at him blankly. "Well, some people describe Purgatory as a garden. The Lord felt slightly bad that it's not actually somewhere nice, however it's how it is because there was no point in sending sinful people somewhere like a garden.  But for those who redeem themselves there, he lets them go into this garden. Now, the garden is made up of things the person likes." He gestured around the garden. "Is there anyway you could personally make the garden more perfect for yourself?" I shook my head. "So it's your perfect garden."
I nodded. "I suppose so, yes."
"However, people who are sinful do not get their perfect garden. Instead, they get their worst nightmare." Guardian stated bluntly. 
I had to wonder to myself whether Kai had been in this garden, and whether he'd redeemed himself enough to get HIS perfect garden. I then wondered about myself. I hadn't completed the trials yet. So how was I able to get my garden? I asked Guardian this. He smiled at me. "Because you aren't sinful, Raina." 
I pondered, then decided to test my luck. "If I’m not sinful, does that mean I can be released from Purgatory, and not have to do any more trials?"
For a second, Guardian also went into deep thought. But he then grinned. "You know what, you're right! I bet if we asked The Elders about it, they'd let you stay in one of their spare rooms." 
I beamed back at him. "Seriously?"
"Yeah, sure. I'm pretty sure Harold has got a soft spot for you, so you've got his vote, certainly."
I bit my lip. "Harold? Really?"
Guardian laughed hysterically. "No, not in that way! I would not blame him, though". He awkwardly cleared his throat. "You remind him of his sister, I believe. She died before he did. In a fire." He looked sadly at the floor.
"But he can talk to her, right? Seeing as they are both in heaven?" Guardian shifted his feet, looking even more awkward. "She isn't in heaven?".
 He scratched the back of his neck. "She's in hell."
I pressed my lips together. " But Harold is an Elder. Couldn't he give her forgiveness?"
"No. That is the job of The Lord.” He clearly saw the questioning look in my eyes. "Another thing which is fairly complicated ".
I got up from the grass I had been sitting on. "That's okay. To be honest, I don't think I could quite process the complications. I'm still pretty tired."
He nodded, and got one of the powders from his belt. I noted that it was orange.
 "Isn't that the wrong one?" I asked.
"Nope. It'll take us to where we need to go."
I groaned, and shook my head. "Guardian, where are you taking me now?"
"It's fine, don't worry." He dusted the powder onto the palm of his hands, and he pinched it once again. Guardian then held out his hand to me. "Trust me?"
Although I was dubious, I had little hesitation when I took it. "Fine," I said, giving him a small smile. He smiled back. With that look exchanged, Guardian clicked his fingers again, for what seemed to be the billionth time since I'd first arrived from Earth.

We arrived in a small, dull room. Dull being the nicest way I could describe it. It was cold, dark and dim, being completely blunt. There were no sources of light to be seen. No windows. No doors. Absolutely no escape, though I was uncertain as to why Guardian would take me to a place that would need escaping from anyway. If that was his aim, to put me in danger, I'm sure there would have been lions and tigers chomping at the bit to get a taste of my flesh crowding around me. That would have been much more his style. I carefully examined the room, brushing its cool walls with my fingertips. I glanced around anxiously. Its compactness was intimidating me, just a little. 
"What are we in, jail?" I laughed, but it came out high pitched and nervous. Of course it did. I was feeling more and more nervous each second I stood there. 
Guardian’s mouth went into a firm, thin line. "I don't know. I swear I got the spell right..."He furiously grabbed the bottle which contained the orange powder from his belt. Then he tugged it open and quickly put the powder on his palm, dusting it all over the grey room, giving it a bit of life. My dress, which was still miraculously white, now had fleck of orange on it. I opened my mouth to ask him to he careful, but it was clear he wasn't happy about the spell not working, so I kept quiet. Guardian briskly grabbed my hand, and clicked. A ray of light clouded my eyes for a moment, however it soon dissipated into thin air. We were still in the little room. I glanced at Guardian, anticipating his reaction, whatever it was going to be.  Instead of blowing up, he reached for his normal purple powder, letting go of my hand. "I guess that orange one is there for effect, to add to the rainbow pattern. It clearly has just taken us to a neutral room."
I tutted irritably at him. "Why did you use it if you didn't know where it'd take us?"
"Because..."He smiled mischievously at me. "Because I was curious."
"But you said..."
"I asked whether you trusted me. You had a perfect right not to go along with what I was doing."
"Well I couldn't just stay there on my own."
Guardian turned to me in curiosity. "Why not? You're capable of doing things on your own without someone holding your hand, aren't you?"
"I'd rather not be on my own in an unfamiliar place". I folded my arms, indicating I wanted the debate to end. Guardian took my hand again, and clicked. The purple powder didn't work either. It didn't even summon a ray of light. He sighed, his grip on my hand tightening, as his spare hand clenched. A sharp pain jolted through my hand. "Guardian, I think you're crushing my hand."  He let go promptly, and sat down in the corner of the room. He patted the area next to him, indicating for me to join him. I made my way over, and plonked myself down on the cold ground. 
"So that's the reason you were so clingy to Kai," he said, his voice laced with almost and understanding edge.
I looked at him, dazed. "I'm sorry, what?"
"You don't like being on your own in an unfamiliar place, so that's why you were so close to Kai." He summarised my situation from his perspective , not even raising it as a question.
I scowled at him. "That was the reason I was close, NOT clingy, to Kai." 
"Wow, he must have done something pretty special to you to make you kiss him." There was no understanding in his voice anymore. There was only bitterness. 
I shifted on the floor awkwardly. "We were in the same boat, Guardian. That fact alone made us bond. It was our personalities fitting together which just glued that bond, I guess." I backtracked on what he had said previously , in my head. "And we didn't kiss. You...um...interrupted us."  I ducked my head.
Guardian let out a hearty chuckle, and grinned. "Oh yes. I remember now."
I decided to steer the conversation away from Kai. "How will we get out of here?"
Guardian gave me a confident nod. "The Elders should hopefully realise we are missing, and will come and find us."
I looked at him doubtfully. "But you said this room was a neutral room. Is this one of many?"
"Yes..." Guardian’s confidence quickly dissipated. "Hm. Hopefully they'll have a tracker of some sort to locate us and collect us."
"Hopefully?" I said, wincing at the fact there was no guarantee The Elders would find us.
"Yes. Hopefully." Guardian stayed silent after that. With nothing else to say to him, I followed suit, slumping against the hard wall.

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