Leif (Existence), Page 3Abbi Glines
Miranda straightened up and turned her full attention on me. “You love Pagan?” she asked with awe in her voice.
I’d said that aloud. Well, it was time I admitted it. “Yes, but please don’t tell her I said that. Right now, she isn’t ready to hear it.”
Miranda nodded and a small smile touched her lips, “I agree. She doesn’t need to hear that right now. But you’re going to need a lot of luck to get back in her good graces. Considering you almost,” Miranda stopped and her eyes filled up with tears again. I didn’t need to ask her to know what she was thinking.
“I know. I intend to do everything I can to win her forgiveness.”
Death was singing to her? What in the hell was that about? I came by everyday. I brought her the foods she requested. I spent time with her just the way I’d always wanted. We laughed. It was perfect…but at night he was coming to her. He was singing to her as she slept. The lyrics he sang weren’t words the lord of Death should be directing at anyone. Clinching my fist to keep from walking into her room and demanding he leave, I listened to the words.
“The life I walk binds my hands, it makes me take things that I don’t understand.
I walk this dark world unknowing of what they hold true, forgetting the me I once knew—until you.
The life I walk eternally was all I knew, nothing more held me here to this earth— until you.
I feel the pain of every heart I take, I feel the desire to replace all that I have grown to hate.
Darkness holds me close but the light still draws my empty soul, the emptiness where I used pain to fill the hole no longer controls me, no longer calls me—because of you.”
Dread ran through me as the meaning of those words sank in. Dankmar was attached to Pagan. He’d kept her alive because he felt something for her. She was mine. I’d been there. I’d saved her and molded her. Death was NOT going to take her away from me. I couldn’t tell Father. He’d demand that I just take her. She wasn’t ready that yet. Not now. She was so close to feeling for me something deeper than friendship. I needed her love. I had to win her love. When I took her from this life, I wanted her to go willingly. Dankmar would not stand in my way. She didn’t know who he was. She couldn’t. If she did, she’d be terrified. Pagan would not fall in love with Death. I knew her well enough to know that she’d never accept who he really was.
4. A taste of heaven- Leif
“If you aren’t ready to start on my speech, I’m not in a hurry,” I whispered in Pagan’s ear as she cuddled up against my side. She sighed and pressed closer to me, as we sat on the couch. We were supposed to be watching a movie but that wasn’t happening. I’d been doing algebra equations in my head all evening to keep my mind from dwelling on the warmth of Pagan’s body, the honeysuckle scent in her hair, and the fact her hand was just above the waist of my jeans. Her other hand was clasped firmly in mine. Being this close was like a taste of heaven. The problem was my body wanted to have a larger bite. Preferably with Pagan on her back and me pressing down on her, NO! I had to get a grip.
My cell phone rang causing Pagan to squeal and cling to me. “It’s my phone, not the fire alarm. Jeesh, you’re jumpy tonight.” I teased reaching into my pocket and pulling it out. The number was private which meant it was my father.
“Death is jest outside de gurl’s house. Leave,” Father replied in my ear. I hadn’t felt Death’s presence. Why was Father calling me about this? I wasn’t ready to leave. Pagan was mine.
“I’m at Pagan’s right now....I realize that, but I’m busy....We haven’t finished it yet.”
“Don argue wit me. Leave. Now.”
“Okay, I’m on my way,” I replied knowing arguing with my father was pointless. He had his reasons. I wasn’t going far if I did leave. Death had been here almost every night for weeks. I didn’t understand it but I dealt with it.
“That was my dad. He needs me to ride with him to drop mom’s car off at the mechanic’s. They’re going to work on it first thing in the morning. He can’t go to bed until he has dropped it off and he’s beat after working a double shift at the station.” I lied.
Pagan frowned sitting up straight, “Oh, yeah, um, go on. We can work on the speech tomorrow.”
Something was bothering her. I did not want to leave her. Ever. “You look uptight. I hate to leave you all wound up.”
She forced a smile that didn’t meet her eyes. “I probably just need some sleep.”
Leaning down, I captured her mouth with mine and nipped gently on her bottom lip. Her mouth opened immediately and I slipped my tongue inside needing a taste. Leaving her was never easy. Having her warmth and taste on my lips would give me something to hold close until tomorrow morning.
Pagan pressed up against me and her breast brushed against my chest. All good intentions I may have had flew out the window as a hungry moan escaped my chest. Shifting, I laid Pagan back on the couch and came over her quickly taking her sweet swollen lips again.
Her legs parted and I eased down between them tucking my body as close to hers as it had ever been. The warmth cradling my hips sent a shiver of pleasure through my body. I needed more. Slipping my hands under her shirt, I reached the bottom edge of her bra.
“No,” that one word brought me back to reality. Slowly, I took my hand out from under her shirt and sat up pulling her with me. My breath was choppy and my heart was racing. I’d been so close to touching her. My erection was pressing against the zipper of my jeans causing a small amount of pain. Just enough to remind me that I needed to get the hell out of here.
“Wow,” I managed. “I’m sorry, I got carried away,” my eyes fell to the bottom of her shirt that was still bunched up from where my hand had crept underneath it. The flat smooth skin of her stomach mocked me and I winced as my hard-on jerked against the metal pressing into it.
“Don’t apologize. We just needed to stop. Your dad is waiting.”
My father. Damn. I’d forgot. Standing up, I grabbed my jacket and books. “Are you going to be okay until your mom gets home?”
Pagan smiled at me and nodded. I started to walk back over to her and get one more taste of her lips but I didn’t. Instead, I forced myself to walk out the door.
Dank Walker may be ignoring Pagan at school but Death was still watching her. I didn’t understand his actions but as long as he continued to hurt her and push her away I would stand back and let him send Pagan running into my arms.
5. She was my creation- Leif
They were letting him keep her? What were they thinking? Death couldn’t just have a soul. This was asinine. He was Death, dammit. He removes the soul. He doesn’t keep the soul. Pagan wrapped her arms tightly around Dankmarʼs neck as if he was a life preserver and she was drowning. Once, that had been me. I’d been the one she ran to. I had been her safe place. She may not remember it but every moment in her life I had been there. It had been my arms that held her. It had been my words that soothed her. Always me. Iʼd taken my time. Iʼd wanted her to grow up normally. The world in which I dwelled wasnʼt easy. Making sure she had love and safety as she grew had been my number one priority. Father had told me to take her sooner but Iʼd waited. Iʼd wanted her to choose me. To want me... and she had. But only for a moment.
Death’s cold eyes lifted and met mine. The challenge was there. He wanted her but did he really know her? She was my creation. I could read every expression on her face. I understood her emotions. The bright glow lit his eyes and I knew he wouldn’t stand by while I explained everything to her. Pagan was in his arms. That was where she wanted to be, for now. But I held all the memories that would change things. Finding a way to get close enough to her to feed the lost memories of our times together back into her thoughts would be difficult. Father would know how. I’d go seek help from him. Dankmar may be Death but I wasn’t without power. Pagan would see that there were things she needed to know before she made her final decision.
I wouldn’t let h
er shut me out today. Not here. Not now. First, she would remember. Then, once she understood what I was to her, I would let her choose. In the end, Pagan would choose me. She had to. There wasn’t going to be another choice.
“Don come in here askinʼ fer me da help you. Jusʼ take da gurl. Fuck Dankmar. Jes cause he won de gurl don mean he can ʻave her. Dat ainʼt whut de rules say. De gurlʼs soul is yers. Now take it.” My father, Ghede- the Voodoo lord of the dead, stood up scowling at me as the redheaded female spilled from his lap onto the floor. Without even a glimpse back at her to see if she was alright, Father grabbed his two signature cigarettes and lit them with a simple snap of his fingers. The woman in the floor scrambled to pull the low cut top of her dress back over her bare breasts. The nervous mannerisms of her movements caught my attention. That wasnʼt normal. Most of my father’s harem would have continued to lay sprawled out on the floor with their bare chest in clear view of anyone who decided to look her way. Frowning, I noticed the light pink in her cheeks and jerked my gaze back to Father’s.
“She’s alive?” I asked unable to mask the horrified expression on my face.
Father chuckled and shifted his dark gaze to the woman while taking a long puff on his cigarettes. “I get bored. De chit shouldn’t ʻave messed wit de voodoo. De blush in her cheeks is nice, heh? I lak dis one.”
The complete disregard to the woman’s life didn’t surprise me. Father never was one to care much about life. He enjoyed the death of a follower. Taking a soul inside its human body wasn’t something he did. Unless they allowed him to by practicing voodoo rituals that opened themselves up to his interference.
“What of her body? Will you just keep it too?”
Father flashed a wicked smile toward the woman whose rapidly beating heart I could hear from across the room. “I lak de body.”
Stupid woman. She was now Ghedeʼs new toy until he was bored with her. Shaking my head, I couldn’t think about that right now. I had my own set of issues. “Father please, just tell me what to do. Dankmar has her. She wants him. How do I make her remember? He protects her and I can’t get anywhere near her.”
Father reached up and adjusted his top hat before pulling the cigarettes from his mouth and leaning forward across the desk. “Dankmar is Death. He can’t always be dere wit de gurl.”
Dankmar had a job to do. If he was with Pagan during the day, then... that left the night.
“I go to her while he’s working,” I said aloud and my father nodded his head and slipped the cigarettes back between his lips.
“Yes. Give de memories to her while she sleeps.”
In her dreams. Perfect.
6. “It’s almost time.” – Leif
I waited, ready to catch her if she fell. My Pagan was always up to something dangerous. I spent more time keeping her alive than I did comforting her. It was rare that she cried. But then, I never allowed something to upset her for long. If a frown appeared on her perfect face, I found a way to make her smile. Today she wasn’t exactly making me very happy. Seeing her climb up a tree was difficult. Every small slip of her foot caused me a moment of panic.
Just as I’d feared her foot slipped and this time my brave girl couldn’t catch herself in time. Stepping up to the tree until I stood directly under her, I held out my arms ready to once again catch her from falling out of this tree. It would be the third time this summer.
“Umph, got you,” I assured her as I stared down at her tightly closed eyes. Her eyelids blinked rapidly before opening and gazing up at me. The confusion in her eyes when she saw me was always so painful. I hated that she couldn’t remember me. That she couldn’t remember the times we’d spent together
“Uh,” she mumbled in confusion as she shifted her eyes from my face to the tree.
“What were you doing up there? That was too high.” I told her this every time. It never did any good but I kept trying. Maybe one day it would stick.
“Um, I uh... did you catch me?” she asked in that familiar surprised voice.
“Yeah. Why else do you think you’re not lying on the ground with a few broken bones?” I asked trying not to laugh. She didn’t like it when I laughed at her. It was as if she knew she was missing out on some important piece of information and she hated being out of the loop.
When she began to wiggle in my arms, I stood her up carefully. The curious expression on her face soothed some of the ache in my chest. She remembered me… at least her heart did. I could see it in her eyes. She was trying so hard to open up those memories.
“Where’d you come from?”
She always asked me this, “Just around. Saw you climbing too high and came over to see if you needed help.”
“Do I know you?” she asked watching my face for any sign of a clue.
“I wish you did but you don’t. Not yet. It isn’t time.” I bit back my words. I shouldn’t have said that. I needed to be more careful with the things I said to her. Even if she would forget me by the end of the day.
“What do you mean?” she asked with a frown.
“Pagan Moore, get your butt over here if you’re going to get a sneak peek at my tree house before the boys get here.” Her friend, Wyatt, called to her from the street. He wouldn’t be able to see me. That would confuse her. It was time I left, for now.
Slowly, I let the memory fade as I watched Pagan’s sleeping form toss and turn. This time she wouldn’t forget. She hadn’t connected me to the boy in her dreams just yet. But she would. With one last promise, I whispered into her ear, “It’s almost time.” Before leaving her alone to wake up.
“De gurl won choose you over Dankmar. Jes take her,” Father stood in the backyard of Pagan’s house.
“She’s remembering father. I need time,” I glanced back up at her window and watched as she stood staring at the tree. The memories would change things. They had to.
“De memories, dey wan be ‘nough.” He drawled over the cigarettes hanging from his mouth.
“They will,” I growled in frustration.
“De Death draws near. Leave me. Ahm gonna talk da him,” Father demanded. The dark coal black eyes met mine and I knew there was no arguing with him. He’d speak to Dankmar. There was no way I could stop him. But I wasn’t going to go too far. I wanted to hear what Dankmar said. Would Father tell him that Pagan’s soul was mine? If so, I had to be here.
Stepping back into the woods I waited. I knew the moment Dankmar felt my father’s presence. The threat rolling off his form was impossible to miss. Pagan kissed him and I closed my eyes unable to watch.
Then she was back inside the house and Dankmar was turning to face my father.
“What do you want with Pagan?” he asked quietly but the hard edge to his voice was terrifying.
“She belongs to me.” Father replied without backing down. The Dankmar that had walked the hallways of the high school had been so nonthreatening that I’d forgotten at times the true power of the Death Lord. Now, seeing him like this I cringed backing up against the tree behind me.
“No. She doesn’t.” Dankmar replied taking a step toward Father. I wasn’t surprised when my father took a step backwards. The winds had stilled in Death’s presence and all living things had fled his presence. A dark growl encased the silence.
“De gurl is marked as a restitution. Her mama made de deal. She know de cos.”
“Pagan Moore is mine. Leave her alone. You’ve never crossed me before but I can assure you that a voodoo spirit lord is no match for me. You know this.
For the first time in my existence, I watched as my father’s body tensed in fear. He’d pushed Death too far. “But de restitution mus be made.”
“NOT with Pagan it doesn’t. Whatever deal you had with her mother is with her mother. Pagan had nothing to do with this.”