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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Biblically Dark

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Chapter Three

Submitted: July 01, 2018

Reads: 140

Comments: 4

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Submitted: July 01, 2018




By the time he woke, Amare was already half dressed. Her leggings had turned from tan to their usual pitch black, and her bra likewise. 

"Leaving so soon?" His voice was groggy as he wiped sleep from his eyes. He sat up, and the sheet that had previously covered his bare, hairy chest now slipped down to this waist. 

"I don't tend to stick long with hopeless causes. Especially ones that aren't good in bed." Amare pulled her shirt over her head. The minute it came into contact with her skin it changed from tan to black, as if ink were seeping out of her pores and staining the fabric. 

"Oh c'mon, baby," he whined. He pulled the sheets off himself and hopped off his graying mattress. His disgusting, naked body was making its way toward Amare who was nonchalantly ignoring him as she slipped on her shoes. He bent down next to her ear and whispered, "There's money in it for you if you stay." 

Amare finished tying her laces before standing up, almost shouldering the man in the chin. He straightened himself before she did. "What do you say?"

"I say put on a shirt," Amare answered, grabbing his clothes off her bag and throwing them at him. "Take a shower before you do. You reek." 

He scowled as he caught the clothes, shaking his head in frustration. The tan fabric turned dark gray in his fingers. "Hey!" he exclaimed. "My shirt!"

Amare looked toward him, bored. "What about it?"

"It was lighter yesterday!" His bewildered eyes turned to Amare who was zipping up her black hoodie. 

She shrugged. "Guess you shouldn't have slept with me then." She grabbed her backpack and headed toward the door. As she walked past the man, he grabbed her arm roughly and forced her to face him. "You don't understand," he growled, "It's Redemption Day and these..." he held up his dark clothing, "...won't cut it." 

Amare glared at him before answering. "Prostitution is a sin." She yanked her arm out of his grasp, her eyes flashing bright red. "Shouldn't have offered me your money." She shouldered her pack and closed the distance between herself and the door. "Your room's disgusting by the way." Then she was gone. The closing door behind her hid teh pitiful image of a now sobbing man who had fallen to his knees, cradling his clothes. 

Redemption Day. She had totally forgotten. A glance at her watch confirmed the date as July 7. Amare turned right as she reached the sidewalk, walking parallel to the crumbling, brick apartment building she had just left. She was heading toward Providence Square: where the Redemption Process took place. 

On her way, she observed the people around her curiously. Most of them were adorned in pale gray clothes: a symbol that whatever sins had brought them here were now forgiven. 

Amare stared down at her own clothes that were pitch black. They screamed one word: exile. Exile from what? Mortals called it "Heaven;" but down here, it was referred to only by its Latin title: Coelum.

Amare walked past an old, wrinkled man whose clothes were only a shade darker than everone else's. He was standing against the wall, looking on sadly as hundreds of people walked by. To be so close to Redemption, yet, so far, was something Amare would never understand. There was no Redemption for people like her. Infernum was their home. 

As she drew closer to Providence, specks of white-clothed officials began to grow numerous. Spiritus Ducibus mean "Spirit Guides," but they were more like Infernum's police force. 

The first one she walked by followed her with his eyes. A sign behind him read "If black, stay back!" and underneath it, "Nigrum, sede tergum!": the Latin translation for older souls who had not caught up with modern language. 

The second ducibus she passed trailed behind her and by the third, she was surrounded by white: a striking contrast to herself. 

"Listen, " Amare said, holding out her hands innocently, "I'm not looking for trouble." 

The ducibus behind her replied quickly, "You are trouble." 

She ignored his comment. "I'm looking for a friend. This is his Redemption Day, and I want to say goodbye." 

"Yeah, right." 

"What, I can't have friends?"

The ducibus standing in front of her smiled menacingly. "Fine. Since your persistent, I'll allow you to stand over there." He gestured with his head toward the left of Providence Square where a chain-link fence separated the already registered candidates in light gray attire from a group of dark-clothes individuals looking on. 

Before she could answer, the ducibus grabbed Amare's arm at the elbow and pulled her toward the area in question. The two of them pushed through the crowd huddling around the fence until they were standing front and center. The ducibus moved his hand from her elbow to her wrist, jamming one side of a pair of handcuffs around it, then locking the other end to the fence. 

Amare stared at him angrily. 

"I'll get you after the Process. Say hi to your imaginary friend for me." He disappeared back through the crowd. 

Amare gave a half hearted tug at the cuffs before looking on with everyone else. The whole square had been surrounded with fencing, the only opening being at the front where several registration booths had been set up. Each one was equipped with a piece of machinery resembling a metal detector that each registree passed through. Its purpose was to check for tampered clothing. Infernum offered an excessive selection of clothing from 2000's beachwear to 700 B.C. Greek peplos. The variety of styles was greater than the variety of people, but in a world full of billions of dead souls, it was a long, hard struggle to be unique. Especially since every piece of clothing was offered in only one color: tan. That is, until it is worn. Each soul's sin was reflected through its clothing. If a soul was banished from Coelum, like Amare, any piece of fabric worn would turn black. However, if the sin committed was minor, the cloths would turn differnent shades of gray depending on how close or far and individual is to Redemption. At least, that is how it is supposed to work. There had been cases of clothing somehow altered in favor of a sinning soul, but those were long stories. 

Amare watched each individual pass through the booths. Once they were in the Square, they spoke amongst themselves in excited tones. She scanned the crowd once, twice, three times, a hundred times, but it wasn't until ten past four - around six hours later - that she spotted his soft, dark brown hair bobing up and down in the crowd. He was closer to the chain link fence then she had hoped. Her weary eyes brightened at the sight, and she no longer scanned each face but remained focused on his. Her heartbeat quickened as it did only around him, and she half-mindedly drew closer to the fence until her cheek was pressed just slightly against the metal. His name echoed repeatedly in her mind, replaying all the moments her lips had formed the word. Gabriel.

© Copyright 2019 P.J. Bomre. All rights reserved.


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