by Sylvia A. Winters
Today Something Happened on the Way to Heaven was finally released as an e-book anthology!
There are 10 stories all told and because they’re all a little bit different, there’s something for everyone. They’re definitely worth checking out, and I’m looking forward to finishing Watch as My World Ends by Kayla Bain-Vrba, which I started reading in serial but never finished, not because it wasn’t good—it was amazing, but because I’m terrible with finishing my reading if I don’t do it all in one go.
My story, One for Sorrow, is F/F, and centres around Suriel, a reaping angel, and Corrine, who has just lost her brother and isn’t quite ready to let him go.
Here is a short extract from the story:
Suriel has been around death for a long time. Reaping souls has never been an easy job, but it’s all Suriel has ever known. There have been times when her purpose has been brought into question, when she has looked at a mother with her face raised to the clouded sky, begging for her child’s life, and Suriel hasn’t wanted to have to take that soul away; but she never relents, because death is eternal and every living being, including herself, belongs to it.
There are others like her, angels of death, reapers and ferrymen, working across the world. Suriel has her favorite haunts and this place is one of them. The church itself is old, first built in the 1540s, burned down in 1658 and rebuilt from the ruins a hundred years later. The graveyard is older than the church. When they dug the foundations, they found the bodies of sacrifices to ancient gods. Suriel doesn’t know what happened to the souls of those people; perhaps another angel took them or perhaps they belonged to someone else, some other god that demanded blood in payment for his favor. Suriel knows little of such mysteries.
She watches from the trees as a little girl in a blue dress, hair uncombed and pulled back in a messy ponytail, lays down a bunch of sunflowers on her mother’s grave. Her father watches her with reddened, deeply shadowed eyes. Suriel knows the look well. The small baby in his arms starts to wail and he looks lost, stares down at it as though he doesn’t even know what it is, let alone what to do with it. The girl takes the baby from him and bounces him gently in her arms, looking as though she’s had as little sleep as her father.
The baby goes quiet and the girl sits down with him in a sunny spot, while her father kneels beside the grave. For a moment, Suriel’s heart goes out to the girl and she wishes things were different for her. The girl turns to look into the trees and seems to stare right at her for several moments, until her gaze passes over her and she turns back to the baby in her arms.
Suriel sees the girl a few times between her parents’ deaths, as she waits in the trees for dark to fall, so she can reap souls unseen and unheard. The girl, Corrine, often sits in the graveyard, scribbling furiously in a brown leather notebook. It’s as peaceful a place for her as it is for Suriel; unlike most people Suriel sees in graveyards, she seems almost happy here.
Fifteen years after her mother’s death, Suriel watches Corrine bury her father, the baby, Alec, now grown and standing beside her. They take comfort in one another and Suriel almost feels as if she knows them. She held their mother’s soul as a part of herself once and she knows their names, knows Corrine’s love of books and animals and pretty clothes. Corrine is beautiful, and her heart is pure and full of love. Suriel doesn’t need to hold her soul to know that; she can see it in the way she cares for her brother, in the way she moves, in the way she speaks. For Suriel, it is only a small spark of feeling, but it is enough to make her wish that things were different.
You can buy Something Happened on the Way to Heaven here, as well as read a couple of excerpts from stories by other authors, and the goodreads page is here, for those of you who like to rate the books you read or see ratings before you buy.