Wings of DarknessBy: Sherri A. Wingler
The Immortal Sorrows series
Special thanks goes to Heather Denton Thomas, and Kim Bachelor Wingler. The two of you have made writing this book so much fun. Your help and suggestions have meant the world to me, and this book is better because of you. Thank you both, so very much. You are awesome!
I also want to thank Danella Miller of Danella Miller Photography for the amazing new covers she created for The Immortal Sorrows series.
Visit her at www.danellamillerphotography.com
I also want to thank my husband, Steve Wingler. You gave me noise-cancelling headphones so I could hear myself think. That makes you the best husband ever.
Death comes for everyone eventually. There was hope in the young man’s eyes when he saw me. He had been in and out of consciousness, already bleeding heavily by the time I arrived. Fear and despair perfumed the air around him, almost as thick as the smoke from the accident. Through the shattered glass of his windshield, he saw me, and believed I was there to help him. In a way, he was right.
I reached into the wreckage and placed my hand above his struggling heart. It sped up, began to race with fear, as knowledge lit his eyes and he finally realized who I really was: the Angel of Death. I was there to release him from the damaged thing his body had become. Fear turned to panic and the whites of his eyes showed, like a frightened horse. “Be calm, friend. Be easy.” Death does not have to be a terrifying experience. It is a rebirth, of sorts.
At my words, he did calm himself. He even smiled slightly as a look of confusion crossed his face. I wondered who he saw when he looked at me. An old friend, perhaps? His grandfather? His mother? Everyone sees something different at the time of their passing. I do not take it personally. Whatever makes the transition easier. I take their pain away. I am not there to judge.
I waited for him to relax, and at the moment of his greatest happiness I stopped his heart and drew his soul from his body. It hung above the wreck for a moment, a misty, light green shadow. A kind soul, he should have little trouble with his transition. The soul wavered slightly before it disappeared. My job for the evening was done. Or so I thought.
There was another car off the road, not far from the first wreck. It drew me, but not for the same reason. I had no more collections to make at that moment. I felt no pull of the Summons. The divine urge to Harvest was simply missing, and yet I found myself staring into another broken window, at another badly damaged body.
The girl was injured, but not completely beyond repair. Blood softly scented the air around her and plastered her dark hair against her cheek. She moaned, as if she sensed me. For but a moment, her eyelashes fluttered and jewel-green eyes flashed at me. She sighed as if she were about to release a great burden.
I did not lay a hand on her, and yet her soul floated free above her body. It hung there, a beautiful shade of shimmering rose gold, an old soul in a young body. I shook my head, as if she could see me. Her name came to me when I touched her. Isabel. An old-fashioned name for one so young. “Do not be afraid. This is not your time, Isabel. Soon enough, but not now. Be a good girl and get back into your body.” No reaction. Stubborn, stubborn girl.
I placed my hand above her heart, not to harvest this time, but just the opposite. It was not her time. I could have left her, but without my consent, where would she go? Another lost soul wandering about? How utterly tedious.
The girl’s heartbeat was thin and weak. One cannot expect much without a soul attached, I supposed. Her soul clung to my hand, fine as spun silk and as fragile as a spider’s web. A tiny push of my Will and she was back in place, as she should be.
I stepped back, ready to wish her well and be on my way. I had places to be and things to do. It would not be long before some kind stranger saw the wreck and called emergency services. The girl would heal, live her life, and in a few decades we would most likely meet again.
Except, she would not cooperate. Stubborn girl. Her soul floated free once more, almost daring me this time to do something about it. I felt just the smallest sense of irritation, which surprised me. After millennia as Death I had grown numb to such things.
Fine. If she refused to be sensible about it, I had other ways of getting her to stay put. I reached into her car and removed her seatbelt. She moaned as I pulled her from the wreck, even though I tried to be gentle with her. Humans are such fragile creatures.