Sara's Promise(7)

By: Deanna Lynn Sletten


"I can't go with you," Sara told the face above her. "I have to go back. I'm needed down there, not here."

"I'm sorry, Sara, but it's too late. You can't go back now," the image of golden light told her.

Sara refused to listen. Her need to return became urgent. She tried to drift down from the colors and away from the face, but their pull was too strong. Frustration overwhelmed her as her need to go back grew. The ribbons of color began to fade, their beautiful shades turning to a dull gray before disappearing into the mist. The once brilliant light of the face above dimmed, as if it, too, would fade away. The warmth that had drawn Sara up into the colors began to slip away. Coolness surrounded her as the mist grew thicker, heavier, like rain. This frightened Sara as she looked up into the translucent face. Was she the cause of this transformation or was the face of light unhappy? The face looked at her sadly, its features wavering in and out of focus. Sara feared the face would leave her, as the colors had, and she'd be all alone.

"Please," she begged the face as it continued to look sadly at her. "I must go back. I must be with the ones I love. Please help me." Tears formed in her eyes, spilling one by one onto her cheeks before dropping off to become as one with the mist.

The face didn't brighten but didn't look angry either as it continued to study Sara with its wavering features. The face appeared to be sad.

"There is a way..." the fading golden light said softly, sounding unsure of whether to continue.

Sara lifted her eyes in anticipation and hope. She saw the mist grow lighter. "Please, will you help me?" she begged. She didn't care what it took to send her back or what she had to do. She just knew she had to go.

The face looked thoughtful. "Sometimes, others come before it is their time and, because they are unhappy down there, they do not wish to return. If you can encourage a soul to go back, you can go with her for a time, but you will have to return when your work is finished. It must be a soul whose destiny is to follow your path. You cannot change fate, only encourage it."

Sara's eyes grew bright with hope, her tears forgotten. As her hope brightened, so did the face's light grow brighter.

"But remember, Sara, there are no guarantees. A part of you will be immersed in another person, be connected to their life, and you may not remember who you were before or anyone you knew from your own past. I cannot promise you will ever see your family again."

The face studied Sara carefully, but she only smiled, a smile that brought back the deep, radiating warmth once more from the luminous face. Her smile was so sincere, so real, that it brought back the ribbons of color, making the gray disappear.

"Oh, but I'm not worried," Sara said, knowing, feeling all would be right again. "My love and I are soul mates. My children and I are bonded forever. I will find them again. I'll make sure they are taken care of. Then, and only then, will I be able to join you."

The golden face, once again a brilliant light from Sara's happiness, nodded in understanding. Without another word between them, Sara began her descent, slowly, happily, through the ribbons of watercolors. Back down to where she belonged. Back down to those she loved. And peace once more filled her entire being.





William saw the gray-haired doctor come through the doors and was immediately on his feet. The children stood, too, anxious for news. They'd been waiting for two hours, sitting on the plastic chairs and scratchy sofa, watching the television high above without hearing a word. William had repeatedly assured the children not to worry. The operation was routine, Sara would breeze through it perfectly. But like the children, he was anxious to hear from the doctor that all had gone well, that Sara was doing fine and would be home any day.

The doctor's face looked drawn. His eyes had dark circles under them. As he approached them, no smile of reassurance appeared on his face as it had only two hours before.

"Mr. Grafton," he said quietly as he stopped in front of William, the children standing directly behind their father. "I..." he hesitated, looking into their eager faces. Taking a deep breath, he began again. "I'm sorry. The surgeons did everything possible, but your wife didn't pull through."

William only stared, stunned by the doctor's words. His face wrinkled in a confused frown. "I don't understand..."

"I'm so sorry. Appendectomies are usually routine, but your wife's appendix ruptured several hours before she was brought in. Infection had spread into her bloodstream, and her heart stopped. The doctors tried to revive her but to no avail. She was so weak. Her body just couldn't fight it." The doctor reached out and placed a hand on William's arm. "They tried everything, I assure you. Again, I'm so sorry."

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