April 2021 Storytime Blog Hop

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Once again it’s time for a fun adventure. Enjoy my story below, then follow the links to other stories of participating authors in the blog hop.  Leave us comments.  We love hearing from you!

Grit Nearly Succeeds

I was determined not to fail…again.

I had been following Darren for days. It was overkill, I knew, but desperation had overtaken me. I had to catch a soul. The authorities understood a learning curve, but mine had yet to curve.

Darren was active, but 92 and his heart would soon give out.

I knew the time and place—we all do. That’s how we can be on hand to collect the souls. It wasn’t good to have a lot of lost souls roaming the earth. It took the cleanup crew years, often centuries, to collect souls that were lost at death.

Armed with confidence from my last assignment—I had witnessed the death for the first time—I was determined not to get distracted. I would collect the soul this time around.

The higher-ups had made it clear that I was on a short leash. I had to start producing or it was paperwork for me. While paperwork sounded better watching people die, I wouldn’t survive in an office processing kills. I needed interaction with others.

Darren cried every night. His wife of 69 years had died a few weeks prior. At first his crying worried me, then it became annoying. Now it had me curious. What is it about his wife that makes him cry all the time?

Every day he tells his children and grandchildren that he will be with her again soon.

Tonight, Darren’s son brought him a glass of water and Darren drank as he sat on the edge of the bed.

“The doctor called and said your heart is healthy.”

“It’s broken,” Darren insisted.

“Your tests all came back positive.”

“It isn’t the kind of break that machines can measure.”

“Dad, I wish you wouldn’t talk that way. You should be more positive.”

“Son, I am positive. Your mom and I were never apart more than a few days since we met 73 years ago. I don’t intend to start now.”

Tears ran down his son’s face, triggering Darren’s own tears. “I promised your mom I would outlive her so she wouldn’t have to experience the pain of losing a spouse. The only reason I fought the cancer years ago was to keep my promise.”

“You still have so much to live for,” his son argued.

“You and your sister have your families, and as much as I love you and all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, your mom is my first and greatest love. She needs me. And I miss her.”

His son helped Darren lie down before turning out the light. “Good night, Dad.”

Darren waited for the door to close then whispered, “Goodbye, Son. I love you.”

He starred up at the ceiling. “Sweetheart, I’ll see you soon.”

He was all smiles as he drifted off to sleep.

How could he be so confident that he would die tonight? I mean, he would, but how did he know?

How could a person be so full of love? I loved my family, but not as much as Darren loved his. I had gone on a date with Dale’s sister Sheila, but I couldn’t imagine ever loving her like Darren had loved his wife.

I felt myself longing to love someone the way Darren loved his wife…or even his son. I had only known Darren for a few days and I felt myself drawn to him like no one else in my life. I wish I had met him years ago so I could know more about him.

He only had a few minutes left. My excitement rose as the time neared that I would be able to talk to him. I had so many questions. I’m sure the guys in processing wouldn’t mind me spending a few minutes with Darren before I turned in his soul. After all, I hadn’t turned one in yet, so late would better than never, right?

I sat on his bed, his face full of contentment, even in sleep. At least his death wouldn’t be gruesome like the one I had witnessed. He would die in his sleep.

Suddenly he sat up. “Who’s there?”

I stood, startled.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

“You, you can see me?”

“Of course I can see you.”

“My name is G.R., and I’m…”

“You’re here for me,” he finished matter-of-factly.

His face softened and his smile returned. “I’m ready to be taken to my love.”

I was unsure what to do.

“I’m sorry. You’re not dead yet.”

“Oh.” Disappointment filled his voice. “But you are here for me, are you not?”

“Well, yes. Any minute now. I have so many questions for you.”

Everything within me wanted him to live longer. I wanted to know him better, know what made him tick. I felt like I had so much to learn from Darren.

“I’ve waited long enough.” He laid his head back down on his pillow, closed his eyes, and within seconds his heart abruptly stopped.

Darren’s soul departed the dead body. “I’m ready. Take me to my wife.”

We floated up through the roof and he stopped to take in the view of the city.

“I will, I promise, but first I need to ask you some questions.”

Suddenly two guys I recognized from collections arrived. The pair, about equal in height, would dwarf any human.

Rick carried himself like he was in charge. “Congratulations, G.R. You finally caught one. Cost me the office pool though. I thought it would be another two weeks.”

I wouldn’t have considered his stature thin except compared to his partner, Stan, whose extreme enthusiasm for his job clearly had made an impression on many of my former classmates.

“I had you at never,” Stan laughed. “Make sure you turn in your paperwork within three days to get credit. We’ll take it from here.”

“Wait…”  But they were gone. I didn’t get to ask Darren any questions.

Continue reading GRIT’s adventures:

GRIT – Part 1
GRIT – Part 2
GRIT – Part 4
GRIT – Part 5
GRIT – Part 6
GRIT – Part 7
GRIT – Part 8
GRIT – Part 9

Check out the other stories in the blog hop and leave us comments.

Love’s Sweet Pick by Sabrina Rosen
For A Breathe of Air by Nic Steven
Pitch by Sandra Llyn
Bees by Barbara Lund
Bullied by Elizabeth McCleary
Welcome To Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop by Juneta Key
A Day to Remember by Katharina Gerlach
Were’s The Rabid Rabbit by Jemma Weir
VI – The Lovers by Raven O’Fiernan

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17 Responses to April 2021 Storytime Blog Hop

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  4. Raven says:

    This was great! And yes, I need to know, too! Can’t wait for the next part!

  5. James, FE says:

    Now you’ve got me all curious as to what his questions are and what Darren would have answered.

  6. Pingback: April Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop - Juneta Key

  7. Noooooo!!! I want to know what Darren had to say, too!

  8. Pingback: For a Breath of air – Nic Steven Writer

  9. Barbara says:

    Like the title says… almost succeeds. Poor GR – I hope he gets his questions answered some time!

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