For I Have Sinned - Darynda Jones Page 0,2

probably died sometime within the last twenty years.”

“Twenty years?” I asked, appalled. “You mean, I could have been walking around for decades?”

She nodded. “But time doesn’t really work the same on your plane. It’s not as linear. But things are starting to come to you, right? Did you remember something else?”

It must have shown on my face, the horror of realization, the crackle of dread that rushed down my spine. “Yes, but it can’t be right. I just... It can’t be right.”

She cast a sympathetic gaze from under her lashes. “You can tell me anything. I have a very stringent confidentiality rule. Well, that and nobody would believe me anyway.”

I glanced down at my hands, or more importantly, my wrists, but they were unmarred. But I remembered falling. Maybe I’d jumped off a building or a bridge. “I think I committed suicide,”

I said, shame burning my face.

“Oh. I’m so sorry, hon.” She put a hand over one of mine, and though I couldn’t seem to feel anything physically, I could feel warmth radiating off her, pure and inviting. I suddenly wanted nothing more than to cry. How could I do such a thing? I loved life. I remembered. I wanted nothing more than to live, to be healthy and normal.

“Wait,” I said, glancing back at her, “if I’d committed suicide, wouldn’t I have gone to Hell?”

She squeezed my hand. “It doesn’t work that way, though many religions would have you believe it does. Sometimes our physical bodies send us to a place we just can’t seem to crawl out of. It’s not our fault.”

I felt a wetness slide down my face, surprised that I could still cry.

“Can you tell me what you remember?”

I wiped the back of my hand across my cheek and took a deep breath. “I just remember deciding to die. It was a conscious decision.” I pressed my mouth together to keep from bursting into tears. How could I have done that? What kind of person did that make me? I took the sacred life that was given to me and threw it away. Like it was nothing. Like I was nothing.

“Sweetheart, there are a hundred reasons why you could have made that decision.” She gestured toward my nightgown. “Again, you could have been sick. Sometimes...sometimes cancer patients will take their own lives, often for very unselfish reasons.”

I scrunched my brows together in thought. Cancer didn’t sound right, but I got the distinct feeling she wasn’t far off the mark. When she cast a quick glance toward my abdomen and turned away just as quickly, I looked down and noticed the soft fullness that rounded my gown.

A gasp escaped before I could stop it.

“I was pregnant?” I almost screamed the question in disbelief. Both hands flew over my mouth as I looked at her. “Please tell me I wasn’t pregnant when I committed suicide,” I pleaded from behind them.

She put her coffee cup down and took both my hands into hers, and only then did I realize she could feel me. I was solid to her and yet I could pass through walls. I’d done so while trying to get to her, to her light.

“We don’t know that,” she said, her voice strong and reassuring. “I’ll find out what happened to you. I promise.”

The sincerity in the golden depths of her eyes reassured me.

“But right now I need a shower.”

After another quick squeeze of my hands, Charley left to get dressed. As she did so, I studied her apartment in lieu of trying to remember anything more. I no longer wanted to know who I was.

What I was. I ran my hands over my belly as I perused her book collection, a gesture that seemed as natural as breathing, as though I’d been doing it a long time. I didn’t look very far along, but certainly far enough to be showing. Perhaps six months? Maybe a little more?

My heart contracted, and I forced myself to stop thinking about it, to pay attention to what I was looking at. Charley had books by Jane Austen, JR Ward, and everyone in between. I’d never read Sweet, Savage Love, but it must have been really good. She had three copies. After that, I careened past Mr. Wong’s corner and toured the rest of the tiny box-like dwelling in about thirty seconds flat. I thought about trying to strike up a conversation with Mr. Wong, but he seemed to be meditating, so I sank into Charley’s overstuffed sofa and let my