Life After Living...

What happens when you die? Well when Evangeline finds out, her world is tipped upside down quite literally...
Terra, Para, Infernum. The three dimensions within time that coincide to create the sacred bond known as existence...

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3. The Leone Family

As we clambered up a spiral of stairs away from the colour and life of the fiesta, it brought us to a little rickety cottage, with a lawn decorated with bright flowers and a wind catcher. Raphael's colour was splattered all over it mixed with colours of people I supposed I had yet to meet.

A woman with the same curly brown hair as Raphael opened the door to us before Raphael even had a chance to touch it.

“Hello Raphael darling, how was your day?” She hugged him tightly, her bright red lipstick imprinting on his face. He flushed batting her away.

“Mum, stop fussing!” It was the most teenager thing Raphael had said all day.

“Eva if you haven't already guessed this is my mum Nadia Leone, mum this is Evangeline she's my first client!” Raphael explained.

“Nice to meet you Mrs Leone!” I said politely and before I knew it she suffocated me with a hug. I coughed in surprise.

“Please, call me Nadia darling!” she explained, assessing my appearance, which I couldn't say I was exactly comfortable with. My hair was a mess streamers pulling down my wild bun, I had plain dark brown eyes without mascara or eyeliner and my lips were chapped and dry, not to mention the rip I had managed to get in what used to be a beautiful dress.

“Awww aren't you cute, come in darling I can't remember the last time Raphael brought a girl home!” As I walked into the hallway, Raphael bowed his head to hide the fact that he was blushing but he couldn't be as bad as me. If I was still alive I would be celebrating my seventeenth birthday tomorrow without so much as having one boyfriend in my entire life. Raphael seemed smart and handsome; he probably had had loads of girlfriends.

“She's my client, mum...” He sighed.

“Yeah mum, I mean why would a girl as pretty as her ever come home with Raphael willingly!” Said a little girl, coming down the stairs.

“Go away Angel!” Raphael said, clearly embarrassed by his family, but he shouldn't be they were hilarious.

“Sorry, my brother’s rudeness amazes me; I'm Angel Leone, Raphael's sister- unfortunately!” I smile at her, as she carelessly insulted her brother, she reminded me of my thirteen year old self.

“Nice to meet you Angel, I'm Eva!” I replied.

“So why did they saddle you with this loser?” she asked, earning a warning look from her brother.

“Angel what did I say to you about talking about your brother like that!” Nadia said. It was obvious anger didn't suit her.

“If I can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!” She sighed, “But with this idiot if that were the case I could never speak again!” She retorted and she flounced back up the stairs.

“Honey I'm home!” What I can only assume as Raphael's dad said. He walked up to Nadia and gives her a kiss square on the lips, I think its sweet but Raphael seems to think its grotesque.

“Please go somewhere else, not in front of me!” Raphael yelled.

“And you must be Raphael's first tour, I'm Joey Leone!” Joey said giving me a firm handshake.

“Eva Ashleys!” I replied.

“Pleasure meeting you Eva, but it's been a long day I think I'm going to have a nice long shower!” He replied and leaped up the stairs.

“Raphael!” Nadia tutted, “Have you given Eva anything to eat?”

“No but-”

“Lay the table!” Nadia said. I gazed around at the house. Nadia's personality shone through, slightly scatty but sweet and girly. A bowl of fruit lay on the coffee table in the living room and sweet herbal essences wafted around the room.

“Do you want any help?” I asked Raphael but he had pretty much finished and he beckoned me to sit down.

“So,” Nadia started, as I dig into my spaghetti Bolognese, “How did you die?” I almost choke as it regurgitates in my mouth. Raphael gives her a sharp look rubbing my back. I hadn't thought about dying since I’d got there, it all still felt like a dream and any minute it would end and I would wake up to my 7:00 AM alarm for school.

“How did I die?” I muttered to myself, “I, I went to this boarding school and at first I hated it but I grew too love it, just like my parents said I would, but I always knew it wasn't a normal school, my whole school knew... we did the usual lessons but we did combat training, trained not to be seen or heard..." I began the memories flashing in my mind like a slide show. I always knew Pandemonium boarding school wasn't normal school because the people that graduated were never seen again and I told Raphael that, "There were rumours of what happened when we left school but no one knew the truth and the school seemed to want to keep it that way, but I had other plans, I had plans to sneak into the teachers’ lounge but it was the school holidays and my parents were taking me on holiday, that’s when I wound up here on Para...I guess they didn't want me revealing the truth, so they killed me but how I died I don't quite know...”

“You poor darling, maybe its best you don't know how you died!” Nadia said collecting our plates. But no matter how gruesome it was I wanted to know how I died, it felt like a big gaping hole was missing in my brain. In my life.

“I better show you to your bed, you still have a lot to learn about Para!” Raphael said beckoning me to follow him. He opened a door and instantly I knew it was his room. The room burst with Raphael from the clothes in his wardrobes to the photos and trophy’s lining his shelves. He definitely liked to learn, there were swimming gala trophies, football trophies, and a black belt in Karate, and there was even a trophy for best dressed at a spring formal. Raphael laughed as I picked it up.

“All the boys were wearing suits I don't even know how I got that!”

“Yeah it's not like your good looking or anything!” I said sarcastically.

“Is that so?” He said laughing. Then I saw another picture, it was Raphael and his family, there was a boy that looked just like Raphael but he had straight hair, maybe he was his brother.

“Is this your brother?” I asked smiling, “He's cute. Do I get to meet him?” I looked over and Raphael's laughing mood had turned sullen, his eyes were filled with tears.

“You told me how you died so this is how I died...” Raphael started, “My family were assassinated, it was so sudden… we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to so many people, our killer was Hayle Malarkey, at least the man that killed us was hired by him, my father was famous in the business world, he owned Fizz he created it,” Fizz was my favourite drink, it was like a fizzy tropical juice. “The company was facing some tough times and Hayle offered my father a business deal to buy it off him but my dad refused, I guess Hayle just couldn't handle it. So he killed us but when we got to Para we were told he was from Infernum, he was mortuus the living dead and he was sentenced to a life there but if killing us wasn't enough he changed my brother...my poor, vulnerable brother...Rico he used to love the limelight my father’s success brought us, so when we died so abruptly he was really homesick, so homesick that he took up Hayle's offer of showing him the way back to Terra, he knew fully well if he was caught he would never see us again but he did it anyway, Hayle had twisted his mind and now he's on Infernum and if he ever comes back to Para, we most probably all will be long gone....” I deliberated whether to hug Raphael, his eyes looked hurt and lost like a toddler and even though I had just met him I hugged him.

“Right now, a lot of people will lie to you and say it will get better but it won't and all I can say to you is dig deep and make sure you hang on to your right mind because when you lose someone you love, you find yourself fighting not to lose yourself too!” I said simply. No matter how perfect Para looked and no matter how hard the seven sorcerers tried to chuck the evil out to Infernum there would always be sadness.

“Thanks, for a newbie you know a lot more about this place than most!” Raphael said smiling. He showed me to a hammock opposite to another hammock directly against the window which I assumed must be Raphael's.

“You like the view?” Raphael asked; I nodded. All you could see for miles were individual colours glistening in the moonlight.

“Well this is my hammock but you can sleep here, I've enjoyed the view so many times!”

“You really don't have to-” I started.

“Be my guest!” Raphael said smiling fluffing the pillows, I couldn't help but except the offer. Raphael may have just been my tour kind in this strange new world but I had a feeling he would also make a great friend.

I fell asleep to the sounds of the creaky old cottage and Raphael's muffled snoring, wishing for home, which I think I'd found in this mysterious world of Para.

The Dream!

I sat up my bed on the edge of a cliff with a drop down into darkness; I looked beside me to see a sleeping version of myself where until then I had thought I was, in Raphael's bedroom but not anymore.

“Where am I?” I asked my voice echoing in the silent wind.

“I like darkness... but not as much as I like light, not the sweet transcendent kind but the scorching hot kind, flames, fire...” The man rambled stepping out of the darkness. I recognized him from the gallery, Gwithian Malarkey ruler of Fire, well now I had realized he was also the ruler of madness. I was about to repeat my question when I was surrounded by a scorching fire ignited from Gwithian’s once black hair ,that was now as red hot as the sun twisting and twining around the emptiness of wherever we may have been. “Evangeline Ashley's do you like darkness, or light for that matter?”

“Well I suppose I do, like both I mean!” I stuttered he was the type of person that could have that effect on you, the type of person that would make you think twice before speaking in fear you might fall into the trap of saying the wrong thing. Well it seemed I had said the wrong thing because his hair quickly ignited, the heat radiating off him for miles. However he quickly cooled down (literally) after seeing my alarmed expression I assumed, which was surprising I didn't think he was the type to care for the feelings of others.

“Light and dark what funny fellows, both alike in dignity yet mortal foes...” Gwithian started, randomly stealing Shakespeare’s words. I had the urge to run as far away from him as possible but my bed was on the edge of a cliff and I wasn't quite sure how to run away from a dream. I wasn't Alice and I certainly wasn't in Wonderland so there was nothing I could do but sit and wait for the nightmare to end.“Reminds me of an old friend of mine, Joey Leone, you must have met, his son, being your tour guide I assume? Do you know the history of Joey Leone and Hayle Malarkey, the Leone's cunning murderer?” He looked at me expectantly; I wasn't exactly excited to answer another one of Mr Malarkey’s questions, not if his last response was anything to go by.

“Well, hmmm, Raphael told me he and his family were assassinated as Mr Leone's refused a business deal with him, they were murdered so unexpectedly and being famous I suppose a lot of people knew them, it must have been tragic-”

“Lies all of it lies!” Gwithian roared and not only was his hair alight but his whole body. “He always had to try and outshine me outsmart me but I am the bigger person, I am one of the seven sorcerers, I killed him, I killed them all!”

“I, I mean you killed the Leone's?” I blurted accidentally but surprisingly he didn't react in anything but a pleased way.

“Yes I, my brother’s name is Hayle Malarkey but I, shall we say, borrowed the name; I am the great Gwithian Malarkey!” Gwithian said whilst laughing in a hysterical manner which I couldn't say anyone with a sane mind could.

“But you’re supposed to be on Infernum, right now!” I said not quite understanding, it was overwhelming. He might not be able to kill me like he did the Leone's but I still had fear deep within my heart, a murderer had got away with it for what must have been for thousands of years so much so that he had been put in charge of Fire, it was like the Queen of England being a mass murderer.

“As I am here, my twin brother is in Infernum serving for me, he has been a loyal servant and very soon when I become leader of Infernum I will set him free, them all free but if my plan is to work you must help!” If I was fearful before, now I was petrified.

“But why me I'm just the same as every other person on Para!” I squeaked.

“At your school you were trained to do more than you know,, trained to kill and to kill you must first lay a trap and that my lady is where you come in!” Gwithian sniggered, I shivered. “All will be made clear for you but there is still much for young Raphael to teach you, I will visit you again in the form of a dream!” Slowly he started fading away but then he reappeared.

“And Eva, do not be foolish enough to share this with anyone, my true identity, my plans, anything, I have cursed your mouth to burn and spread throughout your body if you try to reveal anything, so I warn you now Eva, I am the one in power and if so be it not only will I bring down the Leone's but Evangeline Ashleys also!” Flames danced across my vision and then I was back in the place I had been, the hammock in Raphael's room where I wish I had stayed that night but it was out of my hands.

“Eva, it's time to wake up, I have a lot in store for you today!” Raphael said sleepy eyed himself as he shook my hammock gently. As we ate breakfast, I asked Raphael a question I really wanted to know,

“Is it possible to have dreams?” I asked and Raphael shook his head,

“No, once you've mastered your element you can choose a picture which you see for the night, like a paused TV screen but other than that, no, the Deos and Deas say 'Para is the dream'!”

“Well I had a dream,” I muttered but Raphael didn't hear me. Suddenly my whole body burned, from my mouth down to the tip of my toes, it felt like hot coal had been burned deep within my skin. I couldn't move, speak do anything, Raphael was preoccupied washing the dishes his back facing me but soon the pain began to pass and all I saw was Gwithian's grinning face. This was more serious than I thought there had to be some way of telling Raphael and it had to be before Gwithian caught me again in my dreams. I had a feeling there were storm clouds up ahead and I might be part of them…

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