This book has been a long-standing secret!!
Rachel West was born to an average family with a father who worked a mediocre job in manufacturing but never aspired to much. Next to his green eyed, red-haired beauty of a daughter, he made no profound impact on the world. Yet, the world would know John West for Rachel, always.
“Dad? It’s me! Are you home?”
It was the night before Christmas Eve and Rachel walked in through the back doors of her father’s house to bring him some dinner. Since her mother’s accident last year, Rachel was always sure to be there for her dad, especially around the holidays.
“In the living room, sugar.”
Rachel walked into the front room and saw her dad holding a can of Budweiser while he flipped stations on the tv.
He turned around as he took a drink. “Hey sweetie. Didn’t expect to see you today.”
“Oh? Why not?”
“I thought you had that thing… uh… you know.”
“Are you talking about my job interview?”
“Oh. Well, that was this morning. I got done in plenty of time.”
“How’d it go?”
“Okay, I guess. I won’t hear until they interview everyone.”
“Mom would be so proud of you.”
“I know. I brought you dinner.” Rachel handed him a bag of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy. “It’s your favorite.”
“Thanks. Are you staying to eat?”
“I can’t. I’m on call tonight. I’ll come by tomorrow though.”
Rachel leaned in, giving her dad a big squeeze before heading towards the door. “Call me if you need anything, okay?”
“I’m not an invalid, Rach.”
“I know. I just worry about you.”
“I’ll be fine. I’m the one who should worry about you ever since… you know.”
Rachel sighed. “Yeah. My life certainly has been different, but I’m still here trucking along.”
John reached for her hand.
“You’re telling me the truth? You are so unique. You have been given a task unlike anyone else.”
Rachel nodded. “What can I do? It’s not like I can give it back.”
She stood and kissed his forehead. “Love you, Dad. I’ll be by tomorrow.”
ONE YEAR PRIOR
Rachel had just arrived at her parents’ house to ride with them on the two-hour journey to her aunt’s house. Her mother’s sister—high maintenance as she was—always held Christmas Eve dinner and Rachel accompanied her parents to the house on the lake.
Her brother, Matt, lived on the other side of Minnesota and always met them there.
“It’s starting to snow,” Rachel’s mom, Margaret, said as they were about halfway there.
“Time to turn on the four wheel drive.”
Minute by minute, the snow inched up on the road, making it harder for John to drive, and the snowfall became a whiteout.
“Maybe we should pull over,” Margaret said.
“I’m sure it’s fine,” John replied. There’s hardly anyone out here.”
“I’m sure you’re right.”
Only minutes later, he was crossing lanes to exit onto a different highway when a semi truck slid and hit them from the side, causing them to spin out of control and their SUV flipped over.
Margaret was knocked out immediately as her side got the force of the crash. When the car stopped moving, Rachel was the only one conscious.
“Mom? Dad?!” She yelled and carefully unhooked her seatbelt to look at her parents’ conditions.
“Oh my god!” She cried when she saw the battered state of her mother, whose head had been smashed against the door and she was bleeding heavily. Seeing her mother that way, Rachel panicked, and all her medical training went out the window.
As she tried to reason what to do, a dark figure appeared beside her, taking hold of her arm, pulling her from the wreckage.
The figure’s deep, eerie voice bellowed, “Rachel West, “You are no longer what you have been. From this day onward, you will be known as the Soul Saver. Choose one.”
Then the figure pointed to the wreckage.
“What?” She asked. “What are you?”
“Death. You must choose. Look into their eyes.”
“Oh, god… I can’t. I love them both.”
The figure tossed her down near where her parents were struggling to survive and she did what she was told—looked into their eyes.
When Rachel stared into her mother’s eyes, all she saw was goodness, and Rachel held her hand, remembering every wonderful memory of the kind and beautiful woman her mother was. Rachel saw her mother’s soul for who she truly was and knew her mother would have peace in her death. Rachel kissed her cheek and said, “Rest in peace, Mama.”
Rachel moved on to her father. When she looked into his eyes, she saw good, but she saw so much pain and hurt and suffering; she looked away at first, not wanting to see more. When she looked back, she saw his past and realized her job—to choose the ones that needed more time to make their lives right.
Rachel looked to the dark, ghostly figure. “What am I to do?”
“You decide the one who is to be saved; that is all.”
Rachel reached out and placed her hand on her father’s shoulder, feeling such a heavy burden at the moment, also feeling a little like she was murdering her own mother in this.
“Done,” the shadow said before he stole Margaret’s soul and disappeared.
Once Rachel figured out what had happened, she panicked. “Mom? Are you okay?” Rachel shook her a couple of times and felt for her pulse. Nothing.”
John sat up. “Rachel? What happened?”
Rachel began crying and didn’t know what to say.
“We were in an accident. Mom isn’t responding. I’m dialing 911.”