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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17. 17

The moment the glorious light shimmered over our bodies was the moment Guardian immediately set off towards the podium where the scrolls were stored. He pulled a key from out of the pouches on one of his pockets, and smiled as he found the correct one. He slotted it into one of the locks that I could now see was where the scrolls came from. It felt as though I was backstage at the set of a movie. But this wasn't a movie. Everything that had happened made it seem like a movie. But it wasn't.  This was all too real. Guardian came out from underneath the podium a few moments later, triumphantly holding up the scroll I presumed had all the key information about me on it. It certainly wasn't the huge box that we'd raked through earlier. I nervously glanced at Guardian. He smiled at me reassuringly. "What are you so nervous about, Raina? You're going to Heaven now. You should be smiling from ear to ear." 
I sighed, and dropped my shoulders. I didn't realise how tense I'd been feeling. "It's not certain I'm going to Heaven though, is it?" 
Guardian didn't reply for a few moments. But then he shrugged. "No, however I'm certainly certain that you're definitely going there. There's no reason why you wouldn't be." 
"What if there is, though?" I pressed on. "What if..." 
"Shhhh," he whispered, mockingly putting his finger to his lips. I chuckled slightly, letting a few of the nerves go away. Guardian gripped either side of the scroll. Before he opened it, though, he tilted his head upwards, towards me. "Are you ready, Raina? Are you alright?" 
I took a deep breath, and nodded. "Okay. Yes. Right." I was stumbling over my words. Unfortunately, the nerves I'd let go of had come back, and multiplied by about a million. Guardian’s now shaking hands opened the scroll. "I've got to get you to confirm these questions." I simply nodded, my 'okay' catching in my throat. "Name. Raina Willowsbrook?" I nodded. "Date of birth, August the eighth, year nineteen-nineteen-six?" I once again nodded. "Date of death, February the twenty-sixth?" I nodded for the third consecutive time. Guardian raised his head, and took a step towards me. He embraced me tightly. "You'll be fine, Raina, I promise." I suddenly became very aware of his breath against my skin. 

He leaned in closer, his warm breath tickling my skin.

My eyes widened as I looked at Guardian. Although his eyes were veiled, I felt him studying my face.
A shiver crept down my spine at his intense gaze.

I pulled away from Guardian quickly, my breath shaky. I hadn't known Kai for long. Two or three days at the most. I'd known Guardian for longer than that. I'd found out more about Guardian than I had with Kai. But that moment I'd just had with Guardian...It made me realise that, as bizarre as it sounded...It was Kai who I felt connected to. Who I truly had deep feelings for. I guess the whole experience of Purgatory together had stirred up emotions for him. The experience was short, yes. But It had certainly had an impact on me, an imprint on me. As I took steps out of Guardian’s arms, a realisation came over me. I'd never see Guardian again. If his job was to guard Heaven’s gates, and help out with The Elders, it seemed as if so. "I won't see you again, if I get into Heaven," I whispered sadly. I started crying. Big fat tears rolled down my cheeks.
 "Raina..." he sighed, his voice low, and quavering just a little bit. "Did you...When did you...When did you start liking me?" 
I choked just a little bit. That was his question? We were probably about to part ways and that was all he could say?  Nevertheless, I answered it. "When you started being nice to me." Guardian sighed, and slumped against Heaven’s gates. He didn't seem sad. More like...Deep in thought. I looked at him expectantly. "Guardian? What is it?"
 He smiled weakly at me. "You will see me again, I promise." 
I cocked my head. "Will I....?" Guardian was the one this time. "Yes, you will. Now..." He averted his gaze back to the scroll. Promptly, his jaw clenched. 
My shoulders sunk, as did my heart. "It's blank again. Isn't it?" Guardian nodded grimly. In anger, I turned my frustration onto the gates. I rattled them angrily. "What the heck is going on? We did everything, we found the murderer, we found..." I turned to Guardian. "We didn't." My heart sank sadly. "We didn't find out the cause of death though, did we?" Guardian smacked his head on his hand. "Oh for pity's sake..." It seemed he was also in a state of frustrated anger, as his entire body tensed up. "Back to the drawing board," he sighed. With that, he grabbed my hand, and pulled me back towards the portal, to go back to, indeed, the drawing board. The purple light immediately clutched into us as we stepped onto the portal. Guardian quickly let go of my hand. It was clear after the moment we'd had, he was feeling awkward about touching me. Though he had been the one who took my hand in the first place. I didn't blame him, to be honest. After a little while, we arrived back at the chamber. We were both tense.
 "Look, we'll find the cause of death. It'll only take a few moments," I said brightly. I expected a grunt from Guardian. But instead, he turned to me, and smiled. "Yes. And soon..." He stopped himself abruptly. "And soon...?" I narrowed my eyes at him. "Oh, never mind. Here we are." I didn't push him anymore, as we were standing by his door. He turned it with his gloved hand, and gestured for me to go in. I did so.

Immediately, we both dived onto the bed, heading straight for the phone. He was quick, and brimming with agility by the looks of things, so of course he made it to the phone first. I reached for it as he held it up high above his head. After jumping for a few minutes, with Guardian’s chuckles ringing through my ears, I stopped, and pouted. "Give me the phone."
 He smirked at me. "Why?" 
"Why not?" 
"Because I want it."
"What if I want it?"
 "What if I don't want you to want it?" 
I glared at him, and crossed my arms. "Guardian, give me the phone. Now." Guardian didn't say anything this time. He clearly had run out of retorting amino. I grinned triumphantly, and held out my palm. "Thank you."
 "What's the magic word?"
 I sighed. "That phone holds the information I need to go to Heaven. HEAVEN. I think that's far more important than..." 
"Manners are always important."
 I rolled my eyes. "PLEASE can I have the phone?" I tapped my foot impatiently. 
Guardian’s smirk was still somehow in place. "Without the attitude." 
"Please?" My voice came out softer than I had expected. For a moment, all I could feel were Guardians eyes burning onto me. And the moment after that. And the moment after that. Eventually, he placed the phone in my hand, gently folding my fingers over it. The tenderness in his touch was undeniable. This was mad. Absolutely mad. Guardian had become like a brother to me. But now...This was ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous. Once again, I pulled away from him, and cleared my throat awkwardly. "Guardian, I..." He lifted his chin expectantly. I was going to just clear this air which had been clouding around us for the past hour or so. But I couldn't. I was going to leave him in but a few minutes and I didn't want to us to part on a bad note. "Never mind," I said simply, glancing at the phone, then starting to flick through it.  "Where do you think would be the best place to look on this thing?" 
"Recent texts?"
 I frowned. He most definitely did know a lot more about phones than he first let on. I followed his suggestion anyway. There didn't seem to be anything related to me on there. 
The frustration must have been obvious on my face. "Type in your name," Guardian suggested
My finger hovered over the 'R' on the keypad. It was shaking. My hand was shaking. I, in fact, was shaking. "I can't do it," I whispered, my throat tight. I gave the phone to Guardian. Then I walked over to the bed, and hugged my legs to my chest. 
Guardian didn't do anything for a couple of seconds. But then, he walked over to the bed, and sat down beside me. "Why can't you do it?" he murmured. 
"Because I'm going to find out how I died. I'm pretty sure I was stabbed, by my vision, but who knows, maybe that wasn't me, and maybe..." 
Guardian firmly pressed his hand against my mouth. "First off, calm down." I took a deep breath through my nose, and exhaled. He removed his hand, wavering ever so slightly. "Secondly, you CAN do it. You're brave, Raina. You're one of the bravest people I've met, and that's going some." 
I stared at him with wide eyes. "I'm not brave," I scoffed, shifting my glance to the floor. 
"Yes you are. Look, you've been through Hell." We both laughed a little. "Purgatory, even. You were placed there knowing nothing except for the fact you were dead, and yet you still kept a fairly level head. You went through all the inquisitions, the pain with hardly any fuss...Those things make you pretty brave in my book." 
I blushed, and bashfully ducked my head. However, a thought popped up in my head. "Wait, how come you know all that?" 
Guardian shuffled his feet. "Because I'm Guardian..." I nodded, accepting the  explanation. I averted my attention back the phone.
 I felt Guardian stiffen beside me. I looked at him. He was shaking his head. "You know what, Raina?" His voice was trembling, and had changed from his deep bass tone to being more husky.
 "What?" 
"I can't do this."
 Curiosity was all in my mind. "What can't you do?" Guardian stood up, and stood in front of me. "I can't pretend to you. Because I'm not Guardian." He tugged at his veil, and finally his face was revealed. I studied him. Auburn, tousled hair. Icy blue eyes. The perfect mixture of Heaven and Hell...
My stomach dropped. My mouth dropped open. My heart lifted, for I knew exactly who this was. "Kai...?" 

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