10. “I lied to you.”

“No, it’s just me and I’m going home,” Pagan replied spinning around in an angry huff and stalking toward her car. I, of course, had already taken her keys.

I watched as she began searching for the keys she’d left in her ignition frantically. Opening the passenger side door, I slid quickly inside. The keys dangled from my finger as I smiled at her. That didn’t win me any points. But I hadn’t really expected it to. She was forcing me to do this.

Pagan snatched the keys and cranked up the car. “What do you plan on doing Leif? Going inside and visiting with my mom? Hmmm... because more than likely Gee is going to be there shortly after I arrive and she’s chomping at the bit to kick your ass.”

Unfortunately, she wouldn’t be going back to her house. Not tonight. Not ever. “No, Pagan, I just think you and I need to talk.”

“About what? The fact you want to take my soul off to some voodoo hereafter or the fact that you stalked me my entire life then took my memories away from me? I know! You want to talk about how you lied to me about everything from the very beginning and made me think you were this nice guy. Pick a topic because I’m all talked out with them all.”


She didn’t understand. Dankmar had made me sound so evil. She had chosen him as her light. Death as her light? How insane was that? Sighing, I rubbed my palms against my knees. “You’re angry with me. I get it. I even understand it. I always expected you to be once you knew—”

“Then why do it?” She interrupted.

“Because I picked you. It was your purpose. It is your purpose. Don’t you get it? You’d have died Pagan. Died. Gone on. Gotten another life and completely lost the chance at this life. Because you were going to die. Death wasn’t in love with you then. He was going to take you like he was supposed to. There was nothing anyone could do to stop him, except your mother. She could choose to hand you over to Ghede and she did. She may not have realized it but when she begged a voodoo doctor to save you with voodoo magic she gave you over to my father. So you lived. You didn’t die. Death didn’t take you. You got to grow up with your mother and have friendships with Miranda and even Wyatt. You got to LIVE. Those were years you wouldn’t have gotten had I not chosen you. This life you have now would have ended that night in the New Orleans Children’s Hospital.” GHEDE! Why couldn’t she just get that? Any other human would understand what she was so blinded by.

Pagan started to turn the car toward her house. I reached over and took over the steering wheel to stop her. “No. We aren’t done talking.”

She tried to fight me and force the car to turn but it wouldn’t, I had complete control over the direction we would be headed. We wouldn’t stop until we reached the old East Gulf Bridge. Then we wouldn’t exactly stop then either.

“Okay, fine. You kept me alive. I got to live this life. I appreciate it but now I want to keep it and you don’t care. You claim to want me and need me but you couldn’t care less what I want. It’s all very selfish of you. It’s all about what Leif wants. You take no consideration as to what I want. You act as if I’m your possession and I should just be happy about it.”

She was mine. But I was more hers than she understood. I belonged to her too. She owned me. She just didn’t want me. The realization that she was no longer controlling the car had begun to sink in and her heart rate increased, as did her breathing. I was once again scaring her. Damn, I hated this.

“I’ve tried to make this easy on you. I’ve tried to make this transition one you could accept. I’ve sheltered you from the truth. I wanted you to make this decision because you wanted it. Not because I was forcing it but we’ve run out of time. There is something you need to know,” I pointed to the side of the road before we reached the bridge. I needed to tell her more first, “pull over.”

The car immediately parked itself on the side of the road without Pagan’s assistance. She’d never truly seen me use my powers. I knew this was more than she was ready to see but there was no more time.

“What is it I need to know?” She asked slamming her palms down on the steering wheel in frustration.

“You aren’t going to like this. I didn’t want you to ever know. But when you refused to accept that your soul was the restitution for the life my father granted you, my father decided he’d take his restitution elsewhere.” I needed her complete attention. It was time she focused on what I had to say. “Pagan, look at me.”

Her head turned and her eyes sparkled with unshed tears as she waited on me to speak. “Wyatt’s death was only the beginning. Ghede will take more. Everyone close to you. He’ll take them one at a time until you either cave in and agree to come with me or there is no one else left to take.”

Shaking her head she screamed, “NO! YOU are lying. You are a liar. I saw Dank. I saw him draw out Wyatt’s soul. Dank would have never taken a soul for your father. He would have never—”

“Dank didn’t know. Did he tell you about it beforehand? Did he prepare you for the death of your friend? No. He didn’t. Because Wyatt’s death wasn’t that of fate. My father used his power over your unpaid restitution to kill the body Wyatt’s soul inhabited. Dank was drawn there to retrieve the soul from the body because that’s his job. He was as surprised as you were.”

She knew now. Would she hate me?

“But... but you said my death and Wyatt’s death were to be the tragedies this school year. That would mean Wyatt’s death was fate.”

“I lied to you. I wanted you to be angry at Dank. I could feel your pain and I knew you were staying away from him.”

I watched as a range of emotions played across her face. This was so much more than any human mind could comprehend. But she wasn’t normal. She’d been seeing souls most of her life. She was in love with Death. Nothing about Pagan was normal. She would be strong enough to deal with this. If only I’d been able to make her fall in love with me first. I’d failed us both.

“Okay. I’ll go with you.”

I didn’t wait for her to think about this any further. While it was her choice, I was taking her. This was it. I started the engine with the snap of my fingers and gunned the gas.

“Leif! Help me!” Pagan screamed as the car raced toward the middle of the bridge. With the swipe of my finger the steering wheel jerked.

“I got you Pagan,” I assured her as the car broke through the railing and we went careening out over the ocean waters below us. Vilokan the afterlife of the voodoo religion was located under the sea. I wouldn’t apport her this time. It was too hard on her. We would go down the old fashioned way. The dark waters engulfed us and I reached over to force Pagan’s body into a deep sleep before pulling her to me and sinking to the depths below. Soon, we’d be home.

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