You can read the previous chapters in my page entitled “Soul Bleeder”.
PROTAGONIST SWITCH: LOGOS
We commence moving through the rocks. The boulders are all at least ten feet tall, with their tops pointed like the tip of a spear, and they cast an army of shadows behind themselves. The stones are sandy in color, and in spite of everything we’ve encountered so far, they are pleasant in appearance, especially beneath the bright sun and blue sky overhead. Days aren’t always so dark or mystical within the Passageway. The Passageway is a mirror of many things; reflecting such a simple piece of reality—the simple grandeur of an ordinary sky—would be one of those things.
I fill my lungs with the fresh air, on my guard as I should be, but allowing myself to relax as the day prompts me. The air is still rather awkward between myself and the couple; their confusion hasn’t officially cleared, and they still don’t entirely feel comfortable around me. I’m not surprised when Joshua decides to break the silence, “So, how long have you been guiding people through the Passageway?”
“About two weeks,” I answer.
“Have you ever not gotten anyone across?” His voice sounds as if he is merely curious, and I can tell he isn’t doubting my proficiency in performing my duty. Most likely, he wants to know what he can expect from me.
“No,” I say, “at least not yet.” I smile over at him.
A wry smile touches his lips too.
“You said we would be able to regain our zoecharia at the end of the Passageway,” states Elizabeth, her mind seemingly still withdrawn. “How will we do that? Will there be a Levite?” She uses the more common term for a Soul Bleeder.
I know what she’s talking about. She’s referring to the fact that all Levites/Soul Bleeders can give or restore the zoecharia to a person’s soul. Levites and Soul Bleeders act as a sort of mediator between the soul and Elohim, the Giver of zoecharia. I’m a little different in this regard…but that’s not important.
So, you might be wondering, if I have the power to restore the zoecharia to their souls—being a Soul Bleeder—why don’t I?
The Passageway isn’t merely a dangerous trek that people need to embark on in order to restore their zoecharia. The Passageway, though it is filled with perils for the souls within it, is also a subworld through which souls learn to become stronger; to discover something about themselves or the world that will enable them to rise once again into the world from which they came as newly made persons*. I could send them back to the Gray Lands. But I won’t. Not until they’ve learned their lesson. Nothing would be accomplished, otherwise.
“No,” I answer. I turn to them, growing a bit more serious, “You will stand before Elohim himself. He will restore the zoecharia to your souls.”
Joshua and Elizabeth look at each other, their eyes wide and their faces stiff with fright. “Elohim?” Joshua asks. “How? Why would a god be present in the Passageway?”
“Elohim works through Levites all the time,” I answer, “he’s present in the Gray Lands. Why are you so surprised?”
“But we’ll be meeting him personally?” urges Elizabeth.
“That’s right,” I say.
The couple look at each other, and I turn and continue forward. It’s all starting to come together for them. “What will we have to do once we meet him?” I hear Joshua ask.
I turn back, “Zoecharia is sometimes called “Elohim’s gift” or “life”. You should apologize for losing it, and beg that he give you more.”
“But we didn’t lose it!” Joshua exclaims, a note of anger in his voice. “It was taken from us by Shiralk.”
I avert my eyes. It was; this is true. But the blame is just as much theirs as it is Shiralk’s. Joshua first looks at me, and then at Elizabeth, who also stares away from him. A look of confusion comes over Joshua’s face. He opens his mouth to say something, when Elizabeth suddenly speaks, “Josh, I think I need to tell you something.”
I glance up at them, and then turn, continuing forward. They’ll need privacy. This is what I’ve been waiting for.
I go about twenty yards away from them. I can only hear the sound of their voices, but not their words. I sigh, hoping that their conversation will end peacefully, and that their resolve will be changed, or redirected to what it needs to be. So that they can both understand, but be at peace, and trust me.
“What do you mean?” I hear Josh shout abruptly. His voice is suffused with revelation and shock; there is only a hint of anger. I can make out Elizabeth’s voice, coaxing him gently, attempting to calm him down. “What do you mean? Did I?” Josh’s voice says. Then I hear him say, “I’m sorry,” over and over again. He sounds as if he might break into tears.
“Well…good,” I think, smiling softly and hopefully.
A sound suddenly pierces the air. My eyes widen. I look up towards the sky, and then pivot and commence sprinting back towards the couple, dodging around the rocks. The whistling grows louder and louder, and I shout, “Get down!” The couple reacts, but they don’t sense the danger. I lunge in front of them, just as something massive strikes the ground around us and a huge explosion erupts. Wind tussles my hair and cloak, and I squint through the cloud of dust and earth that billows as it quickly flutters and twists like the waves of the sea. His small, piercing white eyes glimmer through the cloud, and I can make out the silhouette of his thick, muscular body. A low, hoarse voice sounds from within the dust, “I’ve been waiting for you, Soul Bleeder!”
To be continued…