To the Ends of the Earth

Ava is constantly having the same nightmare, being dragged to hell. But every morning she wakes up next to her boyfriend Caiden and everything is okay. Being together is literal bliss; but in the back of Ava's mind she knows it is going to end. Caiden would do anything for Ava, but what he doesn't realize is that Ava has already done the unimaginable to keep him safe. On their eighth anniversary, Ava is taken from Caiden and dragged into the darkness of hell where she must fight for her own life and find her way back to earth alone, or so she thinks. As she struggles to escape she learns that the unimaginable exists and all the monsters under her bed were real. Because you see, she made a deal... A deal with a demon; and a deal with a demon is a deal for your soul. *note* there is foul language, some parts are a little scary and dark in nature. There are minor sexual occurrences, nothing to freak out about.*

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13. Home.

Hell:

Ava's weapon broke after she killed the first beast. Her only chance now was to run, but there was no way she was faster than these creatures. She threw a rock and bolted in the other directions. Behind her she could hear their battle cries and the pounding of their feet against the cold ground. Ava's heart was racing, she didn't know where to go. She stumbled over the tree roots and almost ran into branches several times. Her feet were cut open and she had multiple cuts on her arms and legs. She looked over her shoulder and saw them trailing close behind her. They looked menacing, fangs flashing. Saliva dripping from their mouths. Even though the forest was dark, their eyes were glowing brightly, all bright red. 

What Ava didn't see was the drop off feet ahead of her. She turned her head back a moment too late and rolled down the steep hill hitting trees the entire way down. She landed hard on her leg and she could feel the snap vibrate throughout her entire body. She struggled to stay conscious, through the blur she could see the creatures slinking towards her. They were all grinning at her, or maybe that was her imagination. 

Just before she blacked out she saw a bright blue white light appear. It illuminated the entire forest; Ava could faintly hear the dying screams of the monsters, or were they hers?

"Ava? Child wake up." It was a deep voice. Ava blinked a couple of times and inhaled sharply, she gasped for air for what felt like hours. It was as if she were being born again. 

"Wha..." She tried to sit forward but a firm hand held her down. "Caiden?"

"No. But you are safe... for now. We don't have much time."

"Blue Eyes." Ava smiled lazily. Her head was spinning. She managed to open her eyes and focused on his face. It was dark out again, he must have been the source of light.

"You're my angel." She said in a giddy tone. 

"To say I am your angel is a little bit of a stretch, but if you wish it then I am." He said in a sweet tone, just the sound of his voice was enough to lessen the pain she felt.

"I want to go home." Ava said. She forced her self up, Blue Eyes helped her lean against a tree. He looked her leg over and frowned.

"Not on this leg." He whispered.

"We've got five years..." Ava started to cry. The angel sat beside her unable to console her, he had no idea what to say to make her feel better so instead, he put an arm around her.

"I will be by your side for five years. For a cause so noble, I would do anything to protect it."

Days passed in a blur, all Ava could remember at first was the pain. But slowly, she began to heal. Blue Eyes had constructed a splin for her leg, and they stayed in the caves she had spent the night in. Once she had healed completely they began to move on. 

"You're an all powerful angel, don't you have some sort of healing power. I would have been better months ago and we could be home already."

"I cannot use it in this realm." He answered simply. "Besides, I have told you once before that this is your own journey. You have to find your way back to earth."

"Then why are you even here?" Ava asked angrily she moved away from Blue Eyes and crossed her arms. Her voice echoed through the trees. She stopped and listened, hoping nothing would try and find them.

"I never said I wouldn't help you at all. I just can't hold your hand the entire way." He turned around and nodded forward. "That's where we need to go."

"How do you even know where to go? This place seems like one big circle to me. I marked my paths hundreds of times in this damn forest and eventually I ended up in the same place."

"That is because you don't know where to look." He walked over to a tree and touched its trunk tenderly. "If you look carefully you will recognize the similarities."

"Similarities to what" Ava asked looking at the tree. It was tall, covered in moss... Just like any other tree in the god forsaken place. 

"Earth." He said turning to her.

"Earth..." The word came out in a sigh. Ava looked at the tree once more inspecting it closely. She felt the roughness of the trunk and picked at the leaves. Then frustrated she ripped the leaves into pieces and threw them at Blue Eyes.

"I see nothing!" She exclaimed. Blue Eyes strode forward, eyes glowing. He looked angry, and that terrified Ava. She had faced the monsters with little fear, but she knew in her gut that she had no power against an angel.

"You are so simple minded. You have seen these trees before. Maybe not in person and not in this... setting, but you have seen them before. Perhaps a picture would help you remember." He placed both hands firmly on her temple and they spun into darkness.

They appeared in the forest once more... or a forest. It wasn't the same one Ava knew from purgatory. It was friendlier, lighter, and it smelled better too. Blue Eyes lead her along a path that took them to an opening, in front of them was a road. 

"Look there." He pointed to the left. A huge wooden sign was staked into the ground it was painted magnificent colors and it read: 'Welcome to California!' 

Immediately images began to flash before her eyes. She saw a calender with Californian forests on it. Caiden searching a vacation in California.  Postcards from her friend who moved to California. 

"We are in California?" She asked. The friendly, light filled scene faded away and Ava found herself in purgatory once more.

"We are adjacent to it, yes. Purgatory and Earth mirror each other, aside from the civilization. That has been replaced by those creatures you encountered. But remember what I showed you was only taken from your memory of the things you have seen, pictures of that place."

"If they mirror each other what does that mean?"

"There are spots where the two overlap. Purgatory crosses over Earth, or vice versa." Blue Eyes explained.

"So does that mean there is one in California?" Ava asked.

"Possibly," Blue Eyes said looking around. "Come it is not safe here."

"But I don't live anywhere close to California. How did I get all the way over here?" Ava asked throwing her hands in the air. They were walking along a creek now; she was beginning to doubt that Blue Eyes knew where he was going."

"The demon you made the deal with can take you anywhere he likes. He can travel throughout this entire realm at the snap of his fingers." Blue Eyes shrugged.

"Oh. That asshole." Ava muttered.

"What a terrible name." He replied. Ava looked over in disbelief. At times she could have been fooled that he were like any other human in the world, it was times like this that reminded her he was an angel.

"It's the truth." She shrugged. They stopped then; Ava wasn't up to full strength yet so they had to stop frequently. Ava hated herself for it but she was sweaty and short of breath from a short walk, it sucked. She needed to heal faster. 

Weeks turned into months, which turned into a year. Then two and three. They travel in what seemed like circles for ages. Ava was getting angry, she wanted to be out of here. Her patience with Blue Eyes was almost gone. 

"Its been almost four years and we are in the same cave that we started in." She stood up and paced the edges of the cave. She kicked at loose rubble and stubbed her toe; she tried not to react to avoid looking foolish. If blue Eyes saw, he ignored her,

"I have lead you to where the seam should be, but you have to find it." He said simply.

"And I have asked you how to find it and where to find it and you tell me the same bullshit. You aren't very helpful." 

Blue Eyes stood, his dark hair falling into his face. He walked over to her and took her hands. His eyes were pleading with her. 

"I have said that this is your journey. Open your eyes child, think 'out of the box' as they say."

Ava threw her hands into the air and stormed outside. She sat at the edge of the creek and looked at the water as it moved. For the life of her, she could not figure out this puzzle. If Blue Eyes couldn't help her why was he still here? Blue Eyes didn't come out to console her, he stayed inside the cave silently. 

As always, she returned inside and stayed with the angel. She had no idea how she was supposed to do this alone. She did not understand what she was supposed to do. Eventually, three years turned to four. Several times, Ava left Blue Eyes to try and find her own way back. But every time, the creatures found her and came close to killing her and Blue Eyes came in a flash of light and protected her. Their relationship grew in that sense. Blue Eyes was her guardian angel, his real name was Jeremy. He was a young angel, and he believed in the noble and righteous. 

"What kind of angel doesn't have wings?" Ava asked one day while they traveled. 

"I cannot show you my true form." He said smiling. "It is against our rules. Besides I want to appear as an equal, as your friend."

"Yeah." Ava replied softly. She wrinkled her eyebrows, "Do you hear that?"

"What?" Blue Eyes asked.

"It... it sounds like birds." Ava hadn't heard birds in years, purgatory didn't have any wild life like on earth. As she spoke the sound disappeared. "It's gone. Huh, maybe I was just imagining it."

"...Maybe." His tone of voice cause Ava worry. 

Frequently, Ava would sit at the the edge of the creek to be alone. It was her time to think about her family, friends, and Caiden. She missed them dearly and she hoped that they hadn't given up on her. Thinking about them always made her push herself harder. She tried to think about what Blue Eyes meant by a 'seam'.

"A seam..." She muttered to herself. Seams were where two pieces met and were joined... Like clothing. Ava thought to herself for awhile. Then it clicked "A seam would be visible... even more so if there was a tear." 

She jumped up and ran into the cave. Blue Eyes stood and looked at her with curious eyes. She ran up to him and jumped. He caught her, just barely. His glowing blue eyes were wide with shock. She took his face in her hands and kissed his cheeks and face repeatedly from excitement. 

"Child, this is strange." He said setting her down, hands on her waist.

"No, it is happiness. I understand now! I know how we can find the seam. How I can find it."

"Wonderful! See my child, you can do what you put your mind to."

"Come on we have to go!" After the words were out of her mouth she heard purgatory come to life. The creatures were stirring, Red Eyes had ordered them to attack. 

They ran from the cave and into the thick forest. They heard the creatures approaching, but never saw them. That worried Ava, she wondered where they were.

"Take us on the usual path." She yelled while they ran. Blue eyes didn't seem to be breaking a sweat where as Ava was already out of breath. He steered them in their usual direction. It was then that the creatures appeared. One pounced, catching Ava and her angel off guard. They fell to the ground pinned by the beast. They struggled to break free, but were unable. 

"Ava! Close your eyes. NOW!" She did as instructed and squeezed her eyes shut. But even through her eyelids she could see the bright light that flashed. It must have been Blue Eyes.

"Ava get up, we need to move. It won't keep them away for long." Blue Eyes was tugging at her arms.

"I thought you didn't have any power here." 

"Maybe I lied." 

"LIED?! You're an angel, isn't that against some sort of code?!" Ava was outraged, she could have saved herself 5 years. She could have been home five years ago... or six months ago. She was still confused about the gap in time between hell and earth.

"It is for your benefit."

"So you are telling me that you could have gotten me out of this shit hole YEARS ago. But for my own benefit, whatever that is supposed to be, you didn't beam us up back to earth Scotty?"

"My name is not Scotty." He said simply.

"Never mind, you don't know SciFi. But that does not change the fact that you lied to me!" They finally stopped running and Ava looked around panting hard more from anger than from exhaustion.

 "You must learn how to do things yourself; I didn't leave you but I didn't walk you through it. What would life be if someone held your hand and told you what to do every step of the way."

"Yeah whatever. Just drop it."

"Drop what?" 

"Ugh! The subject, let it be. Forget about it." Ava was sick of explaining human language to him. She wanted to get home, and quick.

"Okay. You said you understood the seam. Tell me." Blue Eyes seemed unaffected by their argument. Ava sighed, her hands on her knees. She looked around, she knew they were still on the same path they started on, but she did not recognize it.

"If a seam is like a piece of clothing, then when it tears there's a hole." She explained using the rag of a dress she still wore, poking a finger through a hole as an example. 

"Okay." Ava had a feeling that he already knew all of this and was waiting for her to piece it out the entire time, but she tried not to think about it that way.

"So, because the seams would be where the 'worlds' overlap, then a tear or a hole would allow things to pass between them." Ava paused looking at Blue Eyes. "Do you remember when I heard the birds."

"Of course, I do not forget anything." He said in a matter-of-fact tone. Ava rolled her eyes and ignored it, he did not understand human's at all.

"Okay, so I didn't realize it until then, but we can hear the birds from the hole in the seam. If we can find where it is exactly, then we just jump through or whatever and we are home bound."

"You are home bound. Once you go through the seam I will be done with my duty. Then you will truly be on your own." Ava looked at Blue Eyes in disbelief. She stepped forward and grabbed him by the collar.

"You are going to leave me!" After everything she didn't know what she would do alone.

"You won't be alone. I will always be watching and protecting... from afar." He smiled and kissed her forehead. "Now lead us to the seam. The creatures have not forgotten us and I can hear them approaching."

Ava heard nothing but she figured that he had some sort of supernatural hearing along with several other abilities. They ran together through the woods, Ava leading the way. It felt like they were running in circles for hours but eventually Ava began to hear the birds.

"We are close." She said confidently. "I just have to locate it." 

She followed the sounds of the birds, when she stepped right they got louder, and when she moved far enough left they got softer. Ava looked at the ground around her, like everywhere else in purgatory it was covered in blood. She was looking for something familiar from earth. Something that didn't belong.

Then she saw it. Tears filled her eyes as she looked at it. It was a small flower, no a weed. A dandelion. The grass around it was a healthy green, untouched by the murderous things in purgatory. 

"There!" She said triumphantly. "I just have to find the exact spot." 

A roar from behind startled Ava. She stood quickly, stepping on the dandelion. One of the creatures had caught up to them. The Minotaur was large with horns longer and thicker than an elephants. It was a much scarier creature than the mythology texts could ever illustrate. Ava's heart dropped to her stomach.

"Ava, go. I will distract it so you can get through the seam." Blue Eyes said. "Go NOW!"

She turned back to the crushed dandelion and fell to her knees. She still had no idea what to look for, but she had to hurry. She crawled frantically, inspecting the entire area around the dandelion.

"There's nothing!" She cried. The Minotaur's battle cry made Ava jump. She hoped her angel would be okay. She continued to look around. She followed the trail of clean grass. It lead to a large tree. The sound of birds was loud here. and she noticed that half of the tree looked... normal. 

"I found it!" She shouted. She stood up and turned to find Blue Eyes. He was dodging the beasts attacks gracefully. He looked at her with those brilliant eyes and smiled. 

"Go!" And she did.

_____________________

Okay end of this chapter. This was a hard one, again because I wanted to get to this next chapter coming up I have a lot in store for it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Let me know what you think with comments and please like and favorite. I know I am a broken record, but I love seeing the love. <3 Ava's almost made it. This is so exciting!

-Mary

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