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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J
ust as the flame skimmed the balls of my feet, I latched my hands onto the edge of the pit. Even though I had saved myself from going to into the fiery pace that is Hell, I was only just holding on, so I gripped my toes onto the small cracks on the wall of the pit,  and pressed my body against the scorching rock.  I glanced up, and saw that Chance was standing directly in front of me. I winced, expecting for him to simply kick my hands off the edge, and send me flying once more. However, he was completely oblivious to the fact that I was hanging off the edge, and not in the flame. He was grinning triumphantly. My eyes diverted to Guardian next, whose head was bowed in what looked like shame. Although I knew he had tried to send me to Hell, I also knew he had not done it with bad intentions. More like defeated intentions. I then looked to the group of Elders, who were huddled together. 
They seemed to be in deep discussion. Alexander's voice was low and mournful, Edwards voice was also low, for once, but he was more angry than sad. And Harold...He didn't seem to be involved with the conversation. He was looking around the top of the cave erratically. To the top of it. To Guardian. To Chance. To the flame. To...me. 
The moment our eyes met was the moment his tight frown broke into a smile, for the first time. At least, the first time I'd seen him smile, anyway. His eyes darted back to Chance, then he looked back at me, and pressed a finger to his lips, indicating for me to be quite. I nodded, to show that I understood his indication. Then, he stretched out his arms, and scrunched his hands so they repeatedly went into fists. 
After a few seconds of doing that, he gestured pulling, and once more nodded at Chance, though he subtly pointed his foot in the direction of Chance's ankles. My smile grew, as I realised exactly what Harold was thinking.
 'Genius' I mouthed to him. With a grand gesture, Brian mock bowed. I crushed my body even more onto the rock wall of the pit, so I had a suitable amount of balance. Then, I let go of the edge of the pit, which I had been gripping onto with my hands. For a moment, my stomach churned, terrified of falling, as I was solely holding on with my toes, and only leaning on the wall, which it's heat was slowly going through the fabric of my dress. Although both Harold's  option and the just waiting option both had the risk of falling into Hell, I was on the brink of doing that anyway.  I decided at least the former also had the chance of defeating Chance, so I proceeded to grab Chances ankles. 
He let out a yelp. "What the..." Before he could react physically to the situation, I summed all of my strength, and swung him over my shoulder, into the flame. My mouth dropped open. How on Earth had I done that...? Harold seemed to be thinking the same thing, as his mouth was also open. 
At the sound of Chance's yells of terror and pain, Guardian and the Elders' heads raised. Their eyes widened as they looked at the flame where Chance had fallen into Hell, however when they dropped their gaze and noticed me, their eyes practically came out of their sockets. "Bloody Hell, how are you alive?!" Harold exclaimed. 
Edward promptly whacked him on the head, for the cursing I presumed, but he shot me a broad grin, as did Alexander, who's posture had straightened. I returned their smiles.  It was Guardians smile which caught my eye, though. It was full of emotions. Relief. Happiness. Wonder. But it was also tinged with guilt. My eyes lingered on him for a moment, before I nodded at him, my lips in a small smile of understanding. I started to hoist myself up from the pit. Whilst I did so, I saw Guardian come over to me, and held out his hands, to help me. I took it gratefully, and got back up onto the surface. The remaining Elders were now beside us. 
Alexander cleared his throat, making it clear he wanted to speak. We all looked at him, our attention fixed. His attention was fixed on myself and Guardian, his eyes going back and forth between the pair of us. "First off, Raina I am thankful you are still within the realms above Hell. I must say, your strength and your bravery is admirable." He smiled wryly. "I will continue on that later. Another thing to discuss." Then, he turned his attention entirely onto Guardian. For a moment, Alexander simply surveyed his face. But then he sighed. "You were manipulated by Chance, and that is not your fault. That was him abusing his power. But I do think you could have prevented a lot of this mess, as you also are blessed with strength." He took a deep breath. "The Lord is all forgiving, though, and I could not call myself a true Elder if I did not do the same." Alexander held out his hand, for Guardian to shake.
 Guardian did not take it. The Elders and I looked at him at him with curiosity and confusion, for he was shaking his head. "I cannot take your forgiveness, Alexander, as I cannot forgive myself for what I did, and I certainly cannot forgive myself what I attempted to do." Guardian walked towards the pit of fire, and  turned towards me. "I apologise once more Raina, and I'm thankful you are fine, even if it was no thanks to me." With that, he jumped off the edge, and into the flames which led to Hell. 
I buried my face in my hands once I realised what exactly he had just done. "It weren't his fault," I sobbed. I felt a hand reassuringly pat my shoulder. 
"It wasn't yours either, Raina," Harold said, making it obvious that he was the one doing it.
I peered at him and the other Elders through the gaps between my fingers. "Thank you," I murmured. "All of you. For everything." They all nodded in response. 
The tender moment was broken, though as Alexander straightened up even more, and said "Well. I suppose we'd better start sorting out our pending matters." With no further warning, he clicked his fingers and the familiar bright light swallowed us. I had no idea where it was taking us, and had no idea how he had done that, as I had not seen him dust powder onto his hands, so I didn't know what colour it was. In fact, I hadn't seen any powder at all create the light.

We were back in the Elders' chamber, and Kai and Benjamin had joined us once more. The Elders were sitting at the table,  I was sitting in Chance's old seat, and Kai was sitting on the arm of it chair. I  looked up at Kai briefly, and smiled at him. He gently kissed  the top of my  head. I leaned into the side of him, and he puts his arm around my shoulder, and started to play with my hair. The game was up anyway, so we weren't being cautious about it. I averted my gaze to Alexander, who was standing up. 
He announced, "There is much to discuss. First off, I want to give my praise to Kai. His bravery and perseverance have helped with the investigation, and are one of the main reasons Raina's case was solved as quickly as it did." The Elders clapped, as did I. 
I rested my  hand on his knee and whispered 'You're brilliant' to him. He held me closer, and sighed softly into my hair. 
"Secondly, I also want to praise Raina. Her courage and her strength for times of importance are simply stupendous. These factors not only saved herself, but they also saved Harold and Edward from falling to the wraths of Hell too." The Elders doled out another round of applause, and Kai cheered.  
 Harold called “Not to mention the fact she beat Chance!'" 
Confusion briefly crossed Kai's face, but then he grinned his familiar mischievous grin. "You slayed Chance?!"
 "Well. I sent him to Hell..."
 "You threw him over your shoulder to Hell" Harold chuckled. 
Kai's smile grew even wider. "My beautiful warrior princess," he murmured, and he embraced me tightly. But the Elders cleared their throats in unison, and we pulled away, laughing. 
"And that brings us to our next point. You two," Alexander sighed.
 "What exactly have we done wrong?" Kai asked. "There are loads of couples in Heaven, so it's not a sin or anything." He coughed. "That's if we are going to Heaven. I mean, Raina will, but I committed suicide and..."
 Alexander interrupted him. "You are both going to Heaven, I can assure you that. You've certainly both proven you deserve your places." 
I beamed at Kai, and then to Alexander I nodded, with gratitude. 
"Thank you," Kai said softly to the Elders. 
"That’s quite alright. Anyway, we don't have our place to judge your relationship, no, but to get into Heaven you cannot be sinful, and lust is a sin." 
Kai held me even tighter. "This isn't lust, I can assure you. I love her." My heart started  pounding.
"I love you too," I whispered.
 "Whilst you're standing Raina, we may as well give you this. "
 I turned back towards the Elders. "You have something for me?"
 "Yes. Edward, if you please."
 Edward walked over to the set of oak drawers, and got out an ebony rectangular box, with a golden latch on it. When the light hit it, it dazzled. Edward held it out to me. 
I took it, full of curiosity. My hands shook slightly, as I undid the latch. My eyes widened, and my hands shook even more, so I placed the box on the table. The box that contained a mask. If I weren't mistaken, it was...an Elder mask. Its surface was a pure black colour, and it was painted with gold detailing. I looked at Alexander, wide eyed. "Is this..." 
"You have shown me some admirable qualities of yours, ones of which I could leave to rest on their own. Will you consider becoming an Elder?" I opened my mouth to accept, though I personally could not see why they'd picked me. But I took one look at Kai, and knew that I'd rather keep him than rule the Heavens. "Can I still be with Kai?" I murmured. 
"Yes, but you'd only be able to see him on the occasion." I sighed, and shook my head, pushing the box and the mask towards Alexander. "I can't take this then."
 Kai stared at me in shock. "You cannot give this up for me, Raina. I won't let you." 
"Wait.." Alexander trailed off. "Kai, I think you'd be suited to doing..." Alexander nodded at Harold, who went to the cupboard in the corner of the room. He returned with a thin blue fabric. "Will you accept this?"
 "What is it?" Kai frowned. 
"It's a veil. A guardian’s veil. Would you consider being The Guardian?" 
Kai blinked for a few seconds, but nodded. "Sure. But can I still be Kai?" 
All of the Elders chortled. "Aye," Alexander said.
 I looked at all of the Elders in turn, and finally fixed my gaze on Alexander. "I'll be able to see Kai this way, won't I?" He nodded. "I accept the position then." With that, Alexander took the mask, and placed it over my eyes. He then took the veil off Harold, and placed it a top of Kai's head. Kai found my hand, and took it in his. At that moment I felt three things: Unity, belonging and love. And I knew I would carry on feeling those emotions for eternity.

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