5. The Scream

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Tane

           

            I felt much better once we reached Charlie’s home a second time. The burial ground was a silent place of reverence, and I appreciated the effort that some humans made to remember their fellow men.

            Again, we sat at the small table in Charlie’s kitchen, and again, we were silent. I noticed that the light from outside shift at a glacial pace; I could not tell if the sky was getting darker through the pale hanging cloths in the window, but the shadows across Charlie's face got longer and deeper. I tilted my head as I watched them, content to think nothing of my mission for the moment.

            I did, however, think of the deer and her quiet, even disposition toward me. My blood had coursed through my veins at triple the regular speed. I knew that it had been something special, something spectacular, but I had no idea what was so rare about the small phenomenon. I wondered if the deer had been inclined toward the Watchers' influence or if she had resisted and been forced to comply.   

            I shook my head and moved my attention back to Charlie. The Watchers would not, in good faith, cause a living creature to act against its will.

            Charlie shuffled his feet as he glanced outside the window. The sound of his shoes against the floor was an exquisite rubber hush.

            He spoke quickly as he rose from the table and motioned for me to follow. “We need to head back down to my room. My mom will be home soon, and I'm honestly not sure how she'll take the news. You know, harboring an angel and stuff.” I did not remind him that I was not an angel. “I was thinking—”

            “I noticed,” I said, having relied on my sight to make such an observation.

            “I have more questions.” When I did not refuse, Charlie pressed on. “Here, we think of heaven as a place where you go after you die,” he began, making his way down the stairs, “but you come here and tell me that everyone in Fismuth is still alive.”

            I nodded, descending the staircase as well. We reached the bottom and Charlie sat in the horrible-sounding squishy bag that his friend Felix had occupied earlier. It molded to his body in the most disgusting way.

            Carefully, I sat next to him.

            “So, if everyone in heaven is alive, then what happens to you when you die?” he asked.

            I looked at him, my face void of expression. I repeated the words that I knew. “After Infernato, there is nothing but the evali.” Charlie looked confused. I began to grow concerned; what did they teach these humans here? “Infernato is, as you would say, a cremation of sorts. But it is not just the burning of the body. It is also the burning of the soul, or the evali. The fire ignites the evali and it is released from the cage of the body.”

            Charlie waited. So did I.

            He seemed to grow impatient, as if I had left something out. “And then what?”

            “I do not understand.”

            “After the evali leaves the body where does it go?”

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