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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6. Chapter 6

Head spinning towards me, Red stares at me, his eyes wide with fear rather than adoration now.

“Use your fire! Use your anger! They are no angels. Remember what I’ve told you!” He spits between every shout.

My lip trembles. My whole body shakes.

“And you are an angel are you, Red?” The leader chuckles.

I let a gasping cry escape me. I want to go home.

The woman who had spoken before creeps towards me. I don’t move. I can’t. If I move they’ll shoot me.

“Dear, did he… did he claim to know about your parent’s deaths?” Her voice sounds like a song, quiet and calm. Her gaze is soft as they look at me.

My eyes go to my feet. I try to nod, but I’m not sure if it was noticeable.

I hear the woman sigh. I lift my eyes and watch her as she moves over to Red. He tries to bat her hands away, but is yanked up by two others from the group. Delicately, the woman pats down Red, before reaching his right trouser pocket. She extracts two thin chains of some sort.

Walking back over to me, she reaches out with her hand containing the chains. I recognise them in an instant.

“These were your mother’s and grandmother’s, weren’t they? Don’t they match your own?”

I clutch at the locket around my neck, identical to the two in her hand.

“They said… they said they couldn’t find it on their… on them...” I’m surprised anyone can make out what I’m saying as I choke on my words.

The woman nods, frowning with pity, “Yes. He was probably keeping it to think up another way of proving we killed those people, like we have done through the whole of history apparently according to him. This man would’ve killed you to release this demon soul to find a new body to control. They would’ve killed you, like they killed your family. Like they killed all those people before you. We are going to put a stop to that now.”

“She’s…” Red trips over his words as he takes a giant gulp of air, “She’s lying, Alyssa. I just… got the necklaces off them-”

Red is silenced as one of the suited men hit him on the back of the head with the end of his crossbow.

“Like we would’ve let you get that close and then get away.” The leader rolls his eyes and mutters to himself again.

The woman moves her pitying glance to Red, and then back to me, “This is the first time we’ve managed to catch up with him and his demon gang. We’ve knocked off a few over the years but each time we’re too late and they kill the host and release the soul. They track it down again and again and they’re always one step ahead. I know you have no reason to believe us, but you also have no reason to believe him. His man would’ve shot you but we stopped that. This necklace shows he must have been at the crime scene to get it. He murdered your parents in a hope they wouldn’t… hold you back as I think he told the last poor girl he got.”

I can’t get my voice to work. I don’t know anything anymore.

The woman turns her back to me and looks at Red still writhing on the floor. She continues talking as if still facing me. “When he dies, the bond that severs that soul within you to this Earth is severed. He bought this… demon into the world and he will take it out with him and back to where it belongs.”

Her tone is no longer soft. I sniffle, holding my breath.

“And what will… what about me?”

The lady spins round back to me. Her expression is sharp, but relaxes into the pity look again.

“It might take some time in recovery, since your own soul will be weakened slightly, but you will go back to your usual self. You might notice a few differences to yourself, but the soul didn’t take over completely so you will be happy and healthy.”

I still don’t think it’s safe to let out my baited breath just yet. The woman’s pity hadn’t lifted.

“We can’t the past unfortunately. And we can’t undo this night or wipe it from your memory. We will always be with you though. We won’t leave you alone.”

I feel like I should collapse into this stranger’s arms and hug her until I can’t cry anymore. But still I can’t make myself move. How can I just forget this night? How can I just let go of the fact that my family were murdered?

How can I let this man get away with it?

I can feel my fists clenching at my sides. My heart beat thuds when I thought it had stopped. Now I don’t stare at my shoes. Now I glare at the man who murdered my family and ruined our lives.

Red is still clutching at his leg, starting to howl as it keeps weeping blood.

The woman moves into my line of sight, blocking Red from my glower. I keep trying to stare through her.

“I promise you, your family are safe where they are now. I wish for nothing more than to let you see them, I wish that for anyone I meet who’s lost someone, but they are always watching you.”

My face suddenly lifts, “Can you see them? Can you speak to them?”

The lady smiles, but sadly, “I am just a messenger. My duty is on Earth, but I have experienced the afterlife myself and I promise what I have said to you is true. All of us here have experienced it, and now we will stand with you for as long as you need us.”

I notice a few of the group nod and some of them even smile.

“With that soul gone, you will be safe, I promise.” The lady looks at me with a raised eyebrow. It feels as if she is asking my permission to rid myself of this soul.

It seems like a daft question to me that I would normally laugh at. After tonight, I don’t know how I’ll live a normal life ever again, but I suppose having a normal soul will be a good start. It’ll take me a while to even understand souls are real, but at least I have a start…

I realise all eyes are on me. I look around, glancing at everyone, before giving a small nod to the lady in front of me.

Straightening her back, the woman nods her head in response and marches over to those holding Red. She stands next to the leader and, in perfect sync, they steady their crossbows at eyelevel.   

Red stares straight up at them, his howling stopped.

I want to look. I want him to feel bad for what he has done to me and all those before me. But I hide my face in my hands just as the arrow is loosed.

I hear a scream. A cold breeze washes over me. I collapse.

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