Days passed, then weeks and months, and I wondered how long my reincarnation would take. Would I need to be born a child and then grow into an adult before I could finally find my way back to Corbin and my family? Or would it be by some other means? Questions flooded my mind daily, but what did I expect? I was living in an unknown realm with an ethereal being, waiting for a second chance at life with nothing but hopes and dreams to fill my time. What else did I have to do but ponder my future? Lists and routines were a part of my genetic makeup and without them I was like a fish out of water.
That morning in the foyer of Rhetta’s estate, everything had changed. The moment the other spirits passed into the light and moved on to their heaven, I was taken here to live with Astra. She explained that I’d need to remain with her until she could find just the right moment for me to be “reborn,” and I couldn’t help but wonder what that actually meant. Will I know who I am? Will others recognize me? I was fairly certain that Cat and Corbin would, but would I be forced to watch my aunts from afar? Should I be mourning their loss in the same way I’m certain they had mourned mine?
“Lost in your thoughts again I see,” Astra said as she appeared across the room.
I chuckled to myself. Astra’s responses often made me think of my aunts. “Yes, always lost in something, and while your heavenly space is lovely, you might want to consider adding some earthly amenities,” I teased. “A coffee maker might be a nice start.”
“You humor me, Jorja, but you know as well as I that your addiction to caffeine is all mental, considering you don’t have a physical body to put it in. Coffee and all the other things you miss from your previous life are nothing more than phantom desires, echoes if you will. I do, however, have some good news to share with you.”
“Oh, really? Do tell.” I smiled.
“There is a young woman who was in a horrible car accident with her mother and sister. They did not survive but she did––in a way. Grace has been left in a vegetative state and has been praying to be released from her comatose prison.”
I gaped at Astra. “That’s awful. How on earth can that be good news?”
“Because Jorja, I’m going to grant her wish, bringing her the peace she deserves, and in doing so, giving you your second life.”
I stared at her in disbelief. How is that going to work? I’m going to be someone else, live someone else’s life? I can’t do that just so I can live again.
Astra responded as if on cue. I constantly forgot that she could hear my every thought.
“You are not taking her life, Jorja; it was already taken by someone else. This is simply me giving you a new body, a new face, but you will still be you.”
Tears began to roll down my cheeks. “So my aunts and Cat won’t be able to know the ‘new’ me. I will have to live as this girl, live her life?”
Moments passed before Astra answered. “In time, Jorja, all will be revealed, but for now, it’s time for you to start anew.”
Astra took hold of my hand and the next instant we were standing in the hospital room where Grace was laying, hooked up to several different machines. My heart ached for this young woman; it was too early for her life to be over. As I stared down at her, I wondered what dreams she had for her future and was sorry they would never come to fruition.
Astra moved to stand next to Grace and waved her hands over the girl’s heart and head. All at once, Grace’s soul began to rise and separate from her physical being, until she was hovering in front of Astra and me. She was beautiful. Long black hair, pale blue eyes just like mine, and similar facial features. Hell, if I didn’t know better we could have been related, there was such a strong resemblance.
“I’m so sorry, Grace,” I said as I stood face to face with the woman I would soon become.
“Don’t be. I don’t belong here anymore. Besides, Astra has other plans for me, and I believe that is where my true destiny lies,” Grace said as she smiled over at Astra.
The monitors in the room continued to beep in a steady rhythm as the three of us just stood there. I didn’t know what else to say. Astra must’ve sensed my trepidation and clasped my hand.
“Astra, I am so grateful you are doing this for me…for Corbin, but I guess the one question I’d really like to ask before we go forward is, why? Why would you do this for us?”
She smiled. “Because you both deserve this second chance.”
“Oh,” I muttered shyly.
“Corbin needs you, Jorja, needs the stability you provide so he can once again balance the power between the realms. His brother, Quentin, no longer governs his domain with equality but instead uses tyranny to subjugate the demons living in the underworld. After Lilith’s betrayal, Quentin became suspicious of everyone. He even at one point believed Corbin was trying to shift the balance of power to overthrow him. That is why Corbin chose to leave his realm in hopes of diffusing his brother’s rage, but with you by his side, he can go back to being the ruler he was born to be. He can once again bring unity to the underworld and prevent an impending war.”
I sighed heavily. “Sheesh, no pressure with all that.”
Astra laughed. “It’s not meant to be pressure, Jorja. You’ve dealt with your fair share of injustices yourself. You and Corbin were meant to be and this is how,” she said as she pointed to Grace’s body.
“But she’s human, this will still have the same conclusion, Astra. Eventually I will die.”
“Not this time, Jorja. For in this life you will be an angel who is simply living as a human.”
“What?” I exclaimed.
“It is as it should be.” Astra smiled.
The room flashed, and I was no longer with Grace or Astra. Instead, I was staring into a stark white abyss. When I opened my eyes, I was looking at the ceiling of the hospital room and choking on the tube down my throat. The alarm on the machines began to sound and within seconds, nurses and doctors were restraining my hands as I frantically tried to rip the tube from my mouth. They clamored for me to calm down and allow them to do their jobs.
My new life had begun in a flash, but I had no idea how I was going to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. The phrase “God never gives you more than you can handle” kept coming to mind. I hoped Astra and her godly brethren knew what they were doing, because I was clueless as to how I was supposed to live a life that wasn’t mine. All I could do was make my way back to Corbin and hope together we could find our happily ever after.