The heavily tainted air tasted of everything from car emissions to sidewalk trash and made its way through David’s lungs. Though the red pedestrian crossing sign advised otherwise, we crossed the road – as cars honked and drivers pulled the finger – making a beeline for the cafe. My presence in David’s body also came with a knowledge unknown by bodied souls: His life would not end before it was meant too. There were separate, singular moments in the universe for all things to materialise, shaped by previous decisions and current events — deaths were no exception. That’s why risking traffic to cross the road, was no risk at all.
Safe on the other side, as I knew we would be, without my interference, David’s legs tensed up. At a window seat, sat his beautiful daughter, alone; there was no rational way for me to confirm her identity, but the breathlessness felt at the picturesque sight, and heavy emotions of regret in David’s aching bones — this was Jamie. These personal emotions disappeared as immediately as they appeared because they were not my own. With one job to fulfil within this body, and not only my consciousness to take care of, David’s hands pushed against the cafe door. A bell chiming as we entered. An afternoon crowd kept the place lively with people of all ages eager to socialise over steaming coffee and baked goods. I watched the way Jamie’s pen flicked against a notebook. Her eyes focused on the page, brows creased in thought, cheek leaning on the back of her knuckles, foot lightly tapping on the floor. I stood across from her small table and cleared David’s throat, ‘hey, pancake.’
At the sound of her father’s voice, Jamie yanked the earbuds out and assessed David’s tidy appearance. I briefly let go of primary control over David’s body so he could connect with his daughter; he would act and react how he saw fit, and I would be in the background of those actions, to mediate.
‘You’re looking well.’ Jamie’s words, her sweet voice warped around David’s chest, compressing everything inside. Still unable to access his memories, my host experienced rage in fierce and unpredictable waves; He reacted the same way others I had inhabited before him did, so I assumed, he was contemplating the decisions made throughout his life– probably regretting most of them. David’s body sat down on the edge of a wooden seat across from Jamie.
‘Hey, Pancake,’ my host’s voice became smoother as the actions coincided with his last wishes, though he didn’t know this would be his last endeavour in this life.
This is an extract from the first chapter of my manuscript, Wanderer. This is the story of a soul, part of a wider community, who are all without their own bodies. They have been around with the consciousness of the first human and will be around until the last body of humanity dies. Their purpose to help those with bodies, find peace and resolve within themselves and for the people close to them, in the moments before their deaths. A 30-year-old man, David Lee-Jacobson, who’s whole life fell apart without ever truly being together, dies. David’s soul moves on to the space beyond life, but his body remains alive, inhabited by a soul who’s never had a body of their own. This causes retaliation from its kind, and their over-watcher, The Boundary Keeper. There is an increasing number of suspicious suicides which begin occurring all around the world, and all their suicide notes, ‘I don’t want to die’. All because one soul managed to stay in a body that wasn’t originally their’s. Others want to know the secret to ‘body snatching,’ and others want to take it away. While this soul is forced to run away from everything that wants to kill David’s body, they are also forced to face their never-ending existence of continuous death, but with memories they can’t quite remember — both of these threats could equally destroy this soul.
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