5. She was my creation

They were letting him keep her? What were they thinking? Death couldn’t just have a soul. This was asinine. He was Death, dammit. He removes the soul. He doesn’t keep the soul. Pagan wrapped her arms tightly around Dankmarʼs neck as if he was a life preserver and she was drowning. Once, that had been me. I’d been the one she ran to. I had been her safe place. She may not remember it but every moment in her life I had been there. It had been my arms that held her. It had been my words that soothed her. Always me. Iʼd taken my time. Iʼd wanted her to grow up normally. The world in which I dwelled wasnʼt easy. Making sure she had love and safety as she grew had been my number one priority. Father had told me to take her sooner but Iʼd waited. Iʼd wanted her to choose me. To want me... and she had. But only for a moment.

Death’s cold eyes lifted and met mine. The challenge was there. He wanted her but did he really know her? She was my creation. I could read every expression on her face. I understood her emotions. The bright glow lit his eyes and I knew he wouldn’t stand by while I explained everything to her. Pagan was in his arms. That was where she wanted to be, for now. But I held all the memories that would change things. Finding a way to get close enough to her to feed the lost memories of our times together back into her thoughts would be difficult. Father would know how. I’d go seek help from him. Dankmar may be Death but I wasn’t without power. Pagan would see that there were things she needed to know before she made her final decision.

I wouldn’t let her shut me out today. Not here. Not now. First, she would remember. Then, once she understood what I was to her, I would let her choose. In the end, Pagan would choose me. She had to. There wasn’t going to be another choice.

“Don come in here askinʼ fer me da help you. Jusʼ take da gurl. Fuck Dankmar. Jes cause he won de gurl don mean he can ʻave her. Dat ainʼt whut de rules say. De gurlʼs soul is yers. Now take it.” My father, Ghede- the Voodoo lord of the dead, stood up scowling at me as the redheaded female spilled from his lap onto the floor. Without even a glimpse back at her to see if she was alright, Father grabbed his two signature cigarettes and lit them with a simple snap of his fingers. The woman in the floor scrambled to pull the low cut top of her dress back over her bare breasts. The nervous mannerisms of her movements caught my attention. That wasnʼt normal. Most of my father’s harem would have continued to lay sprawled out on the floor with their bare chest in clear view of anyone who decided to look her way. Frowning, I noticed the light pink in her cheeks and jerked my gaze back to Father’s.

“She’s alive?” I asked unable to mask the horrified expression on my face.

Father chuckled and shifted his dark gaze to the woman while taking a long puff on his cigarettes. “I get bored. De chit shouldn’t ʻave messed wit de voodoo. De blush in her cheeks is nice, heh? I lak dis one.”

The complete disregard to the woman’s life didn’t surprise me. Father never was one to care much about life. He enjoyed the death of a follower. Taking a soul inside its human body wasn’t something he did. Unless they allowed him to by practicing voodoo rituals that opened themselves up to his interference.

“What of her body? Will you just keep it too?”

Father flashed a wicked smile toward the woman whose rapidly beating heart I could hear from across the room. “I lak de body.”

Stupid woman. She was now Ghedeʼs new toy until he was bored with her. Shaking my head, I couldn’t think about that right now. I had my own set of issues. “Father please, just tell me what to do. Dankmar has her. She wants him. How do I make her remember? He protects her and I can’t get anywhere near her.”

Father reached up and adjusted his top hat before pulling the cigarettes from his mouth and leaning forward across the desk. “Dankmar is Death. He can’t always be dere wit de gurl.”

Dankmar had a job to do. If he was with Pagan during the day, then... that left the night.

“I go to her while he’s working,” I said aloud and my father nodded his head and slipped the cigarettes back between his lips.

“Yes. Give de memories to her while she sleeps.”

In her dreams. Perfect.

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