The Purple Daisy

*First short story I've written in a while so bare with me! It's a rather dark topic so if anyone thinks I've done the rating wrong please say!*
For the Reincarnation competition. Occasional strong language.
Demons are parasites, latching onto souls throughout the centuries. Angels are here to rid the world of these demons, but at a price for humanity.

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2. Chapter 2

 

“My parents died in a fire at my nan’s old place. She kept every newspaper she’d ever bought and everything was old and broken and no-one knew how she'd managed to survive so long in a mess like that. It was an accident waiting to happen, not murder.” I keep eye contact with this stranger, but I find myself chewing my bottom lip.

Why would this man would be lying to me about my parents deaths, pretending they were murdered? But why would anyone want to murder Jean and Chris? Why would anyone want to murder an accountant and a car salesman, who had grown up in and stayed in the same town all their lives, parents to an only child? They helped their neighbours, they volunteered at the food bank, they never returned a library book late. Why?

The strangers had taken me to an old run-down cottage, just to the side of the purple daisy clearing. The doors and windowpanes creak with every sigh of the wind. Four wooden chairs, one with a leg missing, surround a chipped and dented table by the empty stone fireplace. A shattered sink sits in the one corner by a bare brass bed frame.  I shiver, the thin walls, which I swear I’ve seen sway, keeping out very little of the night-time cold.

My life was becoming more and more of a horror movie by the minute.

“It was a well-prepared accident. I promise you those angels are coming.” The tall figure from before, who had informed me to call him Red, sat opposite me at the table. Not once did his eyes leave me. The other figures that were with him before are waiting outside. I can’t hear any chatter from them.

The man who I had been running with was standing near the fire place, drawing with the dust on the empty mantelpiece.

After sitting for a while now, tiredness is starting to creep over me. I concentrate on stroking my necklace, pressing the sharp spikes of the locket's corners onto each of my fingertips. Mum had my name etched into the back, and my thumb traces the lines. I need to keep the adrenaline pumping. I might need to run again.

“They don’t sound much like angels to me... How the hell do you know all this anyway?”

Red shifts his weight from one leg to the other for the first time. His hands clasp in front of him.

“We’re… different to angels, but we’re also very similar in some ways. We look out for our own. You are one of us.”

I can’t hold back my snigger. Red seems to not hear it though, or at least pretends to not.

Only then does the seriousness of this situation hit me.

“This isn’t some weird cult thing, is it?” My words crawl out of my mouth slowly.

Dizziness makes my mind wobble. My head’s just caught up with what I’ve done. I wasn’t very good at thinking things through before the accident, let alone now when my life is so muddled up.

Oh shit.

I need to start thinking again.

I turn my head to the man I ran with, but he keeps his eyes down, a distant, distracted smile playing on his face.

I might be smaller than these guys but if they’re all like him then I’m a hell of a lot fitter. I glare down at my slippers, but my eyes snap back up. Just breathe Alyssa. Stay calm…

Red continues to talk at me. His eyes have not moved off of my face once, practically non-blinking.

“Through the years, souls are recycled. This is termed “reincarnation”. Some souls pass on, some souls move on, some souls stick around. Souls can do a lot of things.”

“But... but how do you know?” My fear wavers my stare slightly.

“Lots of people know, and lots of people believe. We choose to share the truth only with certain, special people.”

I want to make a joke about my lack of “specialness”, but my mouth goes dry.

Red carries on, his facial expression straight and dull, “I was hoping you’d have a little more faith, especially since you just ran all this way and entered a strange house in the woods with someones you met at your window."

I expect Red to smirk afterwards, producing a knife or machine gun or Samurai sword to kill me on the spot.

This is it. How stupid could I be?

Red breaks his eye contact for the first time to lean down behind the table. The blood rushing through my ears threatens to burst my eardrums. I can’t stop my fists from clenching.

He places a large and pristine leatherbound book down on the table. His touch is delicate, as if handling a flower with crumbling petals, as he flicks through to just after the centre of the book. He spreads out a page and spins it around to in front of me.

My own face smiles back at me.

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