Fiction: Passing

- Dawn DeBraal


Rena walked quickly, searching for the person she was sent to collect. She knew she was close. She felt it. The soul, waiting for her. The woman was near the end of life. Rena heard her soul calling out to this Angel of Death. It would not leave the woman’s body until someone came to collect it. Others were wanting that soul, others who would not treasure it and take it back to heaven, but in the other direction. It was a constant battle between good and evil. Sophie Meffel was both. The first part of her life the woman on her death bed was not proud of. She’d sold her body, using the money to take drugs. She stole, she’d lied, she’d sold many a person out, all in the name of self-gratification. It was the drugs that altered her and allowed evil out to operate in the world.

It was the birth of woman’s first daughter who cured that. Suddenly Sophie had something more than herself to care about. Ava changed her life. She sought help and cleaned up her act. Ava became her reason to live. Being a mother was a strong motivator.

Sophie got involved with Ava’s school. She went back herself and became a teacher changing the lives of many. Sophie started a food pantry and a clothing drive in her local church. She went around, asking for donations and got businesses to help. Soon the pantry out-grew the church. She found someone to donate their office building for tax breaks. Everything she had was free. Her ministry affected many.

She became a politician and ran for City Alderwoman, being very honest about her past. People seemed to appreciate what she had been through and how she had pulled herself up by the bootstraps and changed her life.

“You Can Too” became her campaign slogan. Sophie was an example of how someone could turn their lives around. Now, she was ninety-two years old. Her seventy-year-old daughter, her forty-four-year-old granddaughter, her twenty-year-old great-granddaughter, stood at the side of her bed, praying her into the end of her life — such comfort for her to know what she had left behind in this world from her broken beginnings.

Rena found the building, she passed through the walls, and up through the floors. One of the apartment dwellers touched her neck when she felt death brushing by her. A dog barked at her in another. She found herself at the woman’s death bed with all those she loved around her, saying prayers. Rena let them have their moment.

Aware now that she wasn’t alone in the room, she saw him. The dark angel. He also wanted the soul that was ripe for the picking. Rena told him he was not needed today. He scowled at her.

“She has a past,” he hissed.

“She made up for that all of her life. She never looked back.” Rena told him.

“We will wait until her soul comes out. She decides who she will go with.” And so, the two of them stood at opposite ends of the room waiting for the woman to pass over. Waiting for her soul to find one of them.

The daughter talked to her child and grandchild.

“Your Grandmother is an example to us all. She changed her life for the better, for us. We can stand here today as educated women because she found the way out of poverty, through learning and love. By helping others, she was able to pull a good many people out of living that same nightmare of a life she had.”

Each woman took a turn to kiss Sophie, whose breath barely rose and fell. Sometimes breathing in, after a long-sustained pause, she would exhale. The women told Sophie it was alright to let go, that they loved her, and thanked her for making them strong, that they would lean on one another as she had taught them to. Her chest fell and did not rise again.

Sophie’s soul struggled. It was hard to leave behind the safety of her body’s earthly shell for the unknown. It was painful separating from the comfort. Suddenly her soul rose from her body. Her daughter and granddaughter’s, were crying, saying goodbye, we love you.

She rose from her body, leaving it below her, confused. The dark one spoke so sweetly to her.

“You are confused, come with me. I will make it all clear to you.” And then Rena called.

“Come with me, dear sister. You have earned your place and rest.” Rena held out her hand. The woman looked dazed, still trying to deal with the fact she had been ripped from her earthly home, uncertain of where she was going. Sophie mourned her body and said goodbye thanking the shell for taking her so far. She looked at the dark one.

“I remember you. You were cruel and demanding. You took from me until I had nothing left to give.” She then turned to Rena.

“I know you. You have been with me always, but I did not know you until the birth of my daughter. Thank you for showing me the greatest gift, the gift of giving yourself over to help others. I have had a wonderful life.

She reached out her hand to Rena, who took hold of her, whisking her away from the dark one once again. She had done it before, many years ago. The dark one vanished. The woman paused for a moment looking at the love in the room.

“I created this. Me.” Sophie smiled turning to her angel of light. “I am ready now.” Rena took her by the hand. They went through the floors and walls, past the barking dog, and brushing against the woman she would be collecting in a few short weeks. The lady who touched her hand to her neck would remember this feeling when Rena came to collect her.

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