Image of a raven with its wings spread. Text reads Carrier of Souls: Barthelow Mooreshire by Daniel Kuhnley & Jase Rosenburg

CoS – Chapter 3

Warmth.  Warmth consumed his body, from the tips of his talons to the tip of his head to the tips of his wings.  Never had he felt so much warmth before.  He knew he was dead but he had never thought it would feel so warm.  He could only see darkness.  He could only hear darkness.  He felt no more pain.  No burning in his lungs.  No burning.  No soul.

No soul, thought Mercian.  Poor Barthelow.  The absolute horror of spending eternity in oblivion is now his existence.  Poor Barthelow.  Well, what can you do?  Carry on and keep no regrets.

There was nothing really to do.  He could only wait until another carrier of souls came for him.  Bask in the warmth while it lasted and reminisce on times of the past.

Whatever had happened to Ariana?  What had become of her?  Her feathers were so soft, like the finest of silks.  Looking into her eyes was like looking into heaven.  Little windows of bliss.  So full of passion.  No one loved the world and the things in it like her.  What I would give to see her beauty once more…

A single tear fell.  So moist on his warm feathers.  A tear?  A TEAR!  If there is a tear there is life for me!  I am not dead! I’m not dead!  Not dead!  With that thought, fear struck in his heart like a bolt of lightning crashing through a tree.  If I am not dead then where am I?  Why can I not see?  Why can I not feel the burning of the soul trapped in my lungs?  Why must I suffer through this warmth?  Help!  Help!  Why am I crying for help when no one can hear me?  Why can I hear nothing?  Thoughts flew through his mind at a pace so intense he nearly forgot to breathe.  Pain began seeping back into his body:  first the tips of his wings, then his legs, his head, his neck.  His entire body filled with pain.  Such wonderful, full-of-life pain filled every inch of his body.  He realized the darkness encompassing him was brought on by the fact that his eyes were swollen shut.  H tried to open them, one at a time, but it was of no use.  He would not see today but at least he was alive.

Somewhere to his left he heard a crackle.  He strained with all his strength to hear it again.  Nothing.  Moments went by, how many he was unsure of.  Then again a crackle followed by a pop.  A fire?  Yes, that’s it…fire.  Fire!  Oh no…please dear God, don’t let me die by fire!  Don’t make me suffer through fire here just to send me to the eternal fire!  I’m too young to die!  Others like me have lived so much longer.  Don’t let it be my time.  Don’t let it be…  Darkness cradled him once more as consciousness evaded like a thief in the night.  Horrors only hell could bring filled his dreams.  Nothing could save him from it.  Nothing would.