dark angel|43

Gillian took a couple of deep breaths, fists clenched, and then she turned to look.David hadn’t uncovered much. A scrap of charred red wool muffler. He was kneeling beside the shallow trench he’d made.Gillian was crying again. She ignored it. She said,”It was the last day before Christmas vacation, so we took the day off from school. We were playing hooky in the woods. We decided to makea snow fort….””And then we found the body.” David got up and gently put a hand on her elbow. “It’s a weird story, but it’s better than the truth.””And what can they suspect us of? We never even knew Paula Belizer. They’ll know she was murdered because she was buried. But they won’t know how she died. They’ll think somebody tried to burn the body to get rid of it.”David put his arm around her waist, and she leaned into him. They stood that way for a few minutes, steadying each other.It was strange how natural that was, now. David had agreed to help her with all this without a moment’s hesitation… and Gillian hadn’t been surprised. She’d expected it. He was her soulmate. They stood together.At last, he said quietly, “Ready?””Yes.”As they left the clearing, David added even morequietly, “Is he here?””No. I haven’t seen him since he showed me the place. He just-disappeared. He won’t talk to me either.”David held her tighter.Mr. Belizer came at dusk, after most of the police had left.It was almost too dark to see. David had been urging Gillian away for an hour. So had Gillian’s parents.They were there, both of them, huddling close and touching her whenever they could. David’s father and stepmother were on the other side of David.Yeah, Gillian thought. It’s been a rough last few days on everybody.But here they all were: David, pale but calm; Gillian, shaky but standing; the parents, bewildered but trying to cope. Not comprehending how their kids could have found so much trouble in such a short time.At least nobody seemed to suspect them of having hurt Paula Belizer.And now, here was Paula’s dad. Alone. Come to look at the last resting place of his daughter-even though the coroner had already taken his daughter away.The police let him go up to the clearing with a flashlight.Gillian tugged at David’s hand.He resisted a second, then let her tow him. Gillian heard murmurs as they went. What are you doing, following that poor man. My God, that’s- ghoulish. But none of the parents actuallygrabbed them to stop them.They ended up a little distance behind Mr. Belizer. Gillian moved to see his face.Now here was the thing. She didn’t know about spirits. She wasn’t sure what needed to be done to release Gary from the between-place. Did sheneed to talk to Paula’s dad? Explain that she had the feeling whoever had done it was sorry, even if they could never tell him themselves?It might get her locked up. Showing too much interest in a crime, too much knowledge. But, strangely, that didn’t scare her as much as she’dhave thought. She was Gary’s cousin, and his debts were hers somehow. And things had to beput right.As she stood hesitating, Mr. Belizer fell to his knees in the trampled snow.Oh, God. That hurt. If strong arms hadn’t been holding Gillian up, she might have fallen, too.David held her and pressed his face into her hair. But Gillian kept looking at the kneeling man.He was crying. She’d never seen a man his age cry, and it hurt in a way that was scary. But there was something else in his face. Somethinglike relief… peace.Kneeling there, with his overcoat spread around him, Mr. Belizer said, “I know my daughter is in a better place. Whoever did this, I forgive them.”A shock like cold lightning went through Gillian, and then a spreading warmth. She was crying suddenly.Hard. Tears falling straight down from her eyes. But she was filled with a hope that seemed to lifther whole body.And then David drew in his breath sharply, and she realized he’d raised his head. He was staring at something above Mr. Belizer.Gary Fargeon was hovering there. like an Angel.He was crying. And saying something over and over. Gillian caught “-sorry, I’m so sorry…”Forgiveness asked for and given. If not exactly in that order.That’s it, Gillian thought. Her knees began to tremble.David whispered huskily, “Can you see that, too?””Yes. Can you?”Nobody else seemed to see it. Mr. Belizer was getting up now. He was walking past them, away.David was still staring. “So that’s what he looks like. No wonder you thought-“He didn’t finish, but Gillian knew. Thought he was an angel.But… why was Gary still here? Wasn’t the forgiveness enough to release him? Or was there something else that needed to be done?Gary turned his head and looked at her. His cheeks were wet. “Come in a little farther,” he said. “I have to say something.”Gillian untangled from David, and then pulled at him. He came, jaw still sagging. They followed Gary past a thicket and into another clearing. Asthe trees and the darkness closed around them, they seemed suddenly far away from the police noise and bustle.Gillian guessed even as Gary sank down to face them. But she let him say it.”You have to forgive me, too.””I forgive you,” Gillian said.”You have to be sure. I did some terrible things to you. I tried to warp you, damage your soul.””I know,” Gillian said steadily. “But you did some good things, too. You helped me-grow up.”He’d helped her conquer her fears. Gain self-confidence. Discover her heritage. And find her soulmate.And he’d been close to her in a way that she would probably never be with anyone else ever again.


About ayanfe

LIVE!!! LOVE!!! LAUGH!!! life is just too short to be sad #wink
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