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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6. 6-Alexander

Alexander stared at his council of Elders, across the large marble table. Chance, the wise Italian, whose intelligence shone from his impeccable manner of speech, Edward, the brash American, who , although if a little brutal with his methods, certainly got the job done, Harold, the Englishman, whose Cockney accent hid away his amazing acumen and finally there was Brian, quick with answers, quick with solutions.  

It was ludicrous, to think that he was in control of such powerful men, that he was The Lord's right hand man when it came to matters of the mortals. Yet, when he had been a mortal himself, he hardly knew anything at all. 
As life goes on, it is common for Man to glance back, and smile at his naïve he was. How much he had had to learn. Then when he is down on his knees, bowing down to death, he looks back again, and fondly thinks he has learnt all that there is to learn, and leaves the human world satisfied he'd for filled his life purpose to be enlightened. Now though? He knows how innocent he was, and how innocent all mortals are, regardless of how much knowledge they'd soaked up. 
Alexander smiled wryly for a moment, but then pulled his lips back to a neutral expression due to the pain. The porcelain mask made it hard to express anything. On the outside it was smooth from the glazing, and glittering with jewels. Yet on the inside, it was crumbling to pieces. Funny, that. The mask itself represents the emotions every single mortal has experienced;  pretending to be calm on the outside, but on the inside being in pieces.  He doubted that was the intention when it was crafted, though. No, he knew that wasn't the intention. It was jagged to stop movement of the facial muscles. It was exceedingly painful. Alexander sighed. Why on Earth had he been given control of matters of the mortals, along with this group of five others who occasionally helped? It was mainly him who did all the work, mind, but even so, it perplexed him every day as to why he was given such an important job.  Nevertheless, an example of him doing practically all the work was certainly being demonstrated at that moment. He held his head in his hands. It was all too much. 
They'd been sitting at the table for hours, raking through files and files of documents about Raina, and files and files of anything related to her in the slightest. Every so often, one member would come up with something vaguely laced with a trail. Yet it always led to a dead end about five minutes into thoroughly investigating. Alexander sighed . Dead ends, dead ends, dead ends. The fact that this murderer was cleverer that all five Elders put together was ridiculous. It simply wasn't possible. They were the best of the best. The five best mortals to grace the Earth. There was absolutely no way someone was better than all five of them. 
He could practically feel the murderer perched on the arm of his luxurious leaders chair, smirking smugly and rubbing his hands together with glee with this fact.  This thought gave him the strength to focus, and to start working more quickly, as his mind had wandered after hours on end of skimming through endless amounts of paper. This did not seem to be the case with the rest of the Elders, however. "It's hopeless," Chance said, if stating the obvious a tad.
Edward stood up sharply from his place, slamming his fists against the table. "We've been sitting here for hours. And for what? Some stupid mortal whose death has somehow slipped the system."
"Why can't we just go to The Lord about this?" Brian sighed. "With one click of his fingers, he'd know."
Alexander slumped in his chair. He had been hoping no one would realise the simple solution. Nevertheless, he answered swiftly. "Because The Lord is busy. This is a simple matter which does not need him becoming involved."
"It's NOT simple though!" Edward roared. "There's a flaw in the system! If one found a way through it, more will follow, I can guarantee you that." He thrust his finger towards Alexander in an accusing manner.  "You know what? It's your stupid pride that's stopping us, Alexander. If we went to The Lord about this, it'd be solved. But no, YOU have to prove that YOU can solve every case! You wouldn't want to lose that high horse of yours now, would you?" Edward took a deep breath in, and sat down, shaking slightly. 
"Edward," Alexander calmly said. "It's been all but a few days. If it gets to a week, I will quite happily go to The Lord about this matter."
Harold nodded in agreement. "He's right, I'm afraid."
All The Elders but Edward murmured in agreement. In response to this, Edward threw his hands in the air. "Fine! But a week, and only a week."
Alexander nodded. "Are all agreed?"
"Aye!" Harold, Chance and Brian chorused. 
"Aye," Edward muttered. 
After a few minutes of silence and no movement, Alexander gestured to the files, indicating to The Elders to carry on. They did so.

However after a few more minutes, this time being active, they found nothing. Then it turned to a few hours. Slowly, soundly, each Elder started drifting off to sleep. Alexander stared wearily at them. It was tiring, yes. They'd spent the entire day raking through files. It was pointless. They weren't getting anywhere, nor were they going to get anywhere. Sleep was the best option. Refuel and recharge, and hope that when replenished, they'd be able to narrow down a few leads. Alexander gazed at the piece of paper in front of him. It was a copy of a school letter that Raina had received a few months ago. He started skimming through it, even though it was bound to be pointless, just like everything else.

Dear Parent/Guardian

Your child has been invited to venture on a school trip to Lavender Mountain, as a recognition and as a reward of their achievement of excellence in the Autumn Term.

The cost has been discounted to £10.00, this including travel and entrance fees. Your child can take 'spending money', however the maximum must be kept to £30.00.

The trip will take place on the 24th of January. Please send your child in non school uniform at normal school time, however the pick up time should be roughly about half past six, this being subject to change depending on the roads.

Yours sincerely

K.Barton
Head teacher

 
Alexander sighed, and reached over the table to place it into the large  'Irrelevant' pile that had formed throughout the course of the day. Yet something told him to read the letter again. It might have been his intuition. It might have been his tired mind being fatuous. Nevertheless, he picked up the letter again, and read it once more, being sure to focus on each and every word. This time, he immediately went straight to the last paragraph.

The trip will take place on the 24th of January. Please send your child in non-school uniform at normal school time...

But why was he drawn to it? Nothing significant there. He pondered for a few moments. The twenty fourth of January? That was a while back, was it not? Alexander walked over to the wall, where the times and dates of every time zone hung. He scanned for Britain, where Raina originated from. It was early morning on the twenty-seventh. And Raina had been placed in Purgatory shortly after her arrival on the...Alexander's breath caught in his throat. The twenty-fourth. That was the date of Raina's death. That was the date of the school trip. That fact was most certainly a lead, a lead which could be the start of finding out the cause of Raina's death. "Elders!" Alexander shouted, trying to hide the excitement in his voice. Each member raised their heads, their fatigue clear from their slow movements. 
Edward tensed. "Alexander, leave it. We'll find nothing today, leave it for tomorrow," he growled.
Alexander grinned under his mask, almost ecstatic at the fact he had found something. He then pulled his smile back again, due to the pain. "I've got a lead," he stated casually, ever so tempted to glance at his nails in a cocky manner. Each Elder straightened up at the word 'lead'.
"You what?" Harold asked, the disbelief firm in his voice. 
Folding his arms if a little bit smugly, Alexander nodded towards the piece of paper that held their only solid lead. Edward grabbed it in a millisecond, and scanned it. "It's a letter about some school trip. How is that significant?" The other Elders murmured, yet again siding with Edward.
"Don't you get it?" Alexander sighed, shaking his head. "Don't any of you get it? You're supposed to be the Elite in intelligence?" He knew he had also struggled, but he wanted to guilt trip the Elders for not having faith in him. Alexander walked up to the wall, where the time zone information was, swiftly snatching the letter from Edward in the process. "In Britain, the date is the twenty seventh. The date Raina died is the twenty-fourth. And the date of the field trip is also the twenty-fourth. And what does that tell us? "Alexander grimaced, feeling like he was a teacher talking to a class of five year olds. 
"It tells us there is a large possibility that Raina died on this trip."  Chance answered, stating the obvious yet again.
"Yes." Alexander nodded at him. "That is correct. I want everyone to find out every last scrap of information about this trip. Some of the information may not be in Raina's file, so this may take a while." 
At once, each Elder set to work. Harold and Brian started frantically going through the files involving Raina's school, whilst Chance and Edward exited the room, clearly going about finding necessary information. Guardian entered the door just after Chance and Edward left. "Good day," he said, his deep voice echoing through the room. "How has the researching been coming along?"
Alexander restrained himself from grabbing Guardian’s collar, and turfing him out if the room. He was like a puppy dog at times, truly. A vicious one at that, when the time came for him to become like that. But he was puppy like, nevertheless. His constant 'popping in' to see whatever The Elders were doing was most irritating. Particularly now Raina's case had aroused.  It was the most obscure case he'd seen since being appointed. It was one of the most obscure cases to grace the table of The Elders , to be perfectly fair. No wonder he was more nosy than usual.
Brian cleared his throat, preparing to give a detailed account of the day’s events. "Well..."
"We've got a lead," Alexander said curtly, interrupting Brian sharply. There was no need to tell about the hours of failure. It was most embarrassing. 
Guardian’s lips smiled broadly. "Wonderful. May I ask what it is?"
Brian opened his mouth to answer, but Alexander interrupted again. "I'm afraid that information is highly confidential. It's certainly not the sort of the information someone of your rank should know."
For a moment, Guardian looked deflated. But he straightened his shoulders after a second. "Do you need Raina herself?"
Alexander contemplated this for a moment. "In a little while. Thank you." His address to Guardian was a clear hint for him to depart, which he picked up on, turning on his heels to the door. "Oh, and Guardian?" Alexander called. Guardian turned around again. "Try and get any information out of her you can, about any aspect of her life."  Guardian hesitated for a moment, but nodded, and exited, closing the door behind him with a loud thump.

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