AN: Hello. I have been out of the FictionPress circuit for quite a few years now. But I wanted to share Eidolon, a story I had written in high school and just recently rediscovered while cleaning up my old desktop. The writing's a bit choppy and superfluous (oh high school...) but still something I thought might find a place in this fabulous online community! Hope you enjoy! - MH

Eidolon: an unsubstantial image; An image or representation of an idea; a representation of an ideal form. (Wikitionary)

With a bright blue ballpoint, I proudly ran a dash through item number two: lunch.

"Thank you for the delicious meal, Sam," I said, wiping my chin with a paper napkin. I felt a cool tingling against my throat. Yep, it was still there—my faithful locket. With a chocolate chip cookie locked firmly within my palm, I bid my old friend goodbye and set out in the scorching summer heat.

My office was located at the corner of 12th and I. It was a fairly tall building at fourteen floors and housed seven separate companies, including the one that I worked in—Grover's Paper & Parchment. The name alone made me groan.

I looked at the thin post-it nestled between my fingers. Was there anything to do before I went back to work? Silently, I prayed that there was. Any excuse to belabor my return to that clammy little cubicle would have been highly appreciated.

There was one thing. "Refill meds." Okay, well, I didn't literally mean any excuse. In fact, as the prospect of going into another pharmacy, talking to another pharmacist entered my head, I almost longed to go back to stuffing paper into little boxes. Still, having averaged only six hours of sleep in the last four days, I realized I had no other option.

Turning a corner, I headed to the closest pharmacy from my office building, a CVS. It would be a bit of a walk, hitting the one-mile mark easily. Taking a gulp of water and a larger gulp of air, I veered right. But this route contained few, if any, large buildings and as a result unveiled much of the brutal D.C. sun. The more I walked, the more I felt dehydrated. Even the water bottle in my bag did little to satiate the headache that was gradually brewing inside of me.

'Maybe it's time for a break,' I thought. I saw a tree oddly sitting at the middle of the sidewalk. What an unusual place to grow a tree! Still, considering it gift on this frightfully warm day, I lay down with my back against the coarse bark. I could sense numerous eyes turn to me, but that was nothing new. I figured I would just lie down for a minute or so.

That's when I saw it. It happened, ironically, as I fumbled with my locket. I had to blink a few times to confirm my suspicion but it was as clear as daylight. There, against the bright golden light, was the silhouette was a woman. I could tell little aside from that, but I knew at once what she was about to do and I knew also that something had to be done. Swiftly, I pushed myself up and glanced around. Nobody else seemed to have noticed anything yet. That was a good sign.

I walked toward the building. It looked to be a standard office building, the only one of its kind on this road. Sooner or later, more people would catch onto her. I had little time to falter.

As I reached nearer, I noticed the woman start to fidget with her fingers. She was doubtful, uncertain. I crept into the bushes, then past them into the building. Glancing at my watch, I noticed the time was 2:43 p.m. I had about four minutes before the lady reached the last and final stage: indifference. At that point, there would be no hope.

The building was air-conditioned and large. Fortunately the concierge was busy on a call and rather than attract attention to the fact that I had no badge, I took the stairs. After two flights, I moved toward the elevator. In no time, I reached the last and final floor: The balcony. That's when I saw her.

She looked familiar, but against the luminous light I discerned little of her face or features aside from the fact that she was slender and probably in her thirties with hair that blended in with the light.

Startled, she turned around with a jolt. For several seconds, we stared at one another, neither of us knowing what to say or how to break the silence. But it was I to make the first step.

"Why are you doing this," I asked, "You have so much to offer."

She sniffled, lifting an arm to wipe the tears that were surely cascading down her face, "You don't know me. You don't know anything about me or what I've been through. How dare you!"

"Well I'd like to know," I whispered gently. Step by step, I gravitated toward her. Her slim legs rested on top of a window ledge. Did the person in that room have any idea what was happening? She had removed her shoes. What did that mean? Could she be remorseful?

"I'd like to know you," I said, reaching my arm up to meet hers. Her palms were smooth and delicate whereas mine felt like sandpaper. In fact, the more I looked at her, the more I found her reminiscent of a prized porcelain doll. She had flaxen hair that complemented a pair of perfectly rosy cheeks. But even those were overlooked in light of her beautifully endless eyelashes. She looked like a rare cherub.

"Why? I don't see how any of that matters anymore," she trembled.

"Well why not? Why do you want to jump?" I asked.

"Because I am not needed anymore. My purpose is over," she said, flinching as another group of tears threatened to make their fall.

Oh this story seemed so familiar, I thought bitterly. "Do you have any children?"

She nodded, "A daughter, but she's…she's…'sick'"

The lady began to wail. I gently patted her shoulders, "Is she mentally or physically incapacitated?"

"Mental," the lady croaked, "But I love her so much. My husband, on the other hand…he just…"

"It's okay. I know the feeling. My parents never got along either. Divorced when I turned eight and well…doesn't matter anymore. The old man's rotting in the ground as we speak." I needn't describe to her the tragedy of my life. Instead, unless I acted and acted fast, there would be a tragedy in her own.

"How did he die if you don't mind asking?"

"Well he died after I…" I shuddered, "well he did things and I got upset."

"And you stabbed him? Recently, right?" she asked.

I raised my eyebrows, curious. How could she know?

"Yes, actually."

"Good girl," she smiled, "It's like I always told my own girl. You have to do what you have to do. Don't let the devil rule you. No, you need to assert your own independence!"

"Is that what you're trying to do?" I asked, against my better judgment, "'Asserting your independence?'"

"Well," she was quiet for a few moments, "I suppose. I don't feel needed anymore."

"How could you say that?"

"Well, it's simple," she said, "I had a purpose and now it's over."

I couldn't help but begin to feel as though she was being cryptic in her choice of words, like she was trying to mask something. And I also couldn't help but sense that we were now being watched.

Beneath us on the ground were a crowd of onlookers gathered in disarray. I heard loud chants that ran along the lines of, "Don't do it. There's more to life."

"That's a lovely necklace," the lady murmured, rubbing her fingers lightly against it. "Whose photo is that?"

"A friend's. Well," I said, "It was a gift from him actually. My friend, Sam."

She smiled, "What a fitting name."

"So tell me," she said, "What did your father do that drove you to such great lengths?"

She looked genuinely curious, but I felt an anvil descend upon my chest. I felt a heavy burden, one that I had so carefully stowed away, flutter its way back in, unleashing terrible memories and heart ache.

"I don't see how it should concern you," I whispered, "We were talking about you."

"Yes," she nodded, "But why should you convince me to stay in this world when you, my dear, loathe it as much as I do?"

It was as though she had dug her claws deep into my heart, plucking at the fresh wounds I had so meticulously stitched.

"I don't know what you're talking about," I quivered, "Yes, I murdered my father but I had no choice and since his death, I have been much happier."

"Are you really much happier?" she quizzed, "Or do you still feel that horrid pain withering away at the abyss of your heart?"

There were a surge of emotions flooding through me at the moment. Suddenly, I felt as though I was no longer in control, that this woman across from me who had been moments away from death, now had a grip on me.

"Stop," I breathed unconvincingly, "You have no right."

"Oh but dear, I have all the right."

I looked down, dejectedly. The crowd had multiplied tenfold. There were police cars and ambulances. Still, I tuned out the noise.

"He was a dreadful man, wasn't he?" she asked, "He drove your mother mad."

"Stop," I warned again.

"Always drunk, always stoned. He never had time for you."

Now, it was my turn to cry.

"How d-did you know?" I whispered.

She laughed bitterly, "Dear, I know exactly what you've been through."

"You have no idea," I replied.

"Honey, we're not that dissimilar. You. Me. Both haunted by an evil man. You think what your father did to you will ever stop occupying your mind? That you will ever be rid of that trauma? Forget the pain?"

As I opened my mouth to answer, I realized, as though hit by an epiphany that I was at a loss of words. I wanted to say I'd get over it, that I was already on my way. I wanted to point out that I had a job, that I was making a breakthrough. But I worked in a paper company, stowed paper into little boxes for a living. What kind of a life was that? And anyway, who was she to demand an explanation?

But that still brought me back to my first point. I now had so many questions. Why was she starting to make sense? Was life not worth living for people like me?

I looked up. She was staring straight at me, her lips curling up to form a half-smile. She looked compassionate, emphatic…as though she understood my emotions.

But did she understand? Did she really know about the years of abuse I had had to face at the hands of that vile, putrid creature? I felt contaminated. I felt as though no matter how much soap I lathered onto my body, no matter how hard I rubbed it into my bosom, I would always be dirty.

I wanted to cry. I think, actually, that I was already crying, sobbing in fact. I tasted my salty tears as they slithered down my face. Even my hands refused to wipe them away. What was the point.

Just like that, a montage of repressed memories swam through me. Memories of when I was just a little girl, just four, alone in my bedroom with him. Images of his hand stroking me, of my tears falling and falling. Images of my mother, a weak but kind-hearted woman whose muffled moans could be heard for hours and hours. Helpless and battered, I remember the pressure and its lethal consequence upon her.

I remembered all the therapy. I remembered growing up, desiring nothing more than to fill this empty void in my chest. I would never be the same.

The lady began to hum softly. It was a song I vaguely recognized. It was my mother's favorite song. I looked up at her and as I did, she raised her hand to my locket again.

"Oh yes," said the woman, "What a lovely locket."

She gazed at it with pure admiration, all the while humming that familiar tune.

"Tell me," she said, "What does Sam look like?"

"I-I—don't know…" What did Sam look like? I couldn't remember anymore. In fact, there were few good memories I seemed to be able to recollect at the moment.

The lady laughed softly, "Would you like to find out?"

Just like that, she jumped, the necklace with her and me with the necklace. A second passed, replaced by another second, then another, then the next. I felt liberated, placid. I felt free like a bird, free like a child, free in a way I had only dreamt of.

And then, I saw Sam.


10 minutes later

The police officer nodded, shaking her hand, "Yes. It's always upsetting to see young people leave us in such a manner. Been on the force for fifteen years and it's still unsettling."

"I suppose this is the kind of thing you never get used to," Kary agreed, "Tell me, Officer, what do I need to know?"

"It's pretty obvious to me."

"Yeah?" Kary asked, "Obvious how?"

"Suicide," the officer replied curtly, "Happened just ten minutes ago. I dispatched a group of my finest men, sent over Officers Blake and Matheson to the balcony, in fact, but it was too late."

"Mind if I examine the body?" Kary asked, already heading toward it.

"Sure thing, ma'am," said Clark, trailing closely behind, "Although, well, I don't know…"

Kary halted, "Yes, Officer Clark?"

He simply shrugged, "Not sure if it's particularly relevant. I think we can both agree this is a suicide…but Matheson and Blake both agreed that the scene before the jump was a bit curious."

"How was it curious?" asked Kary.

"Well, it was as though the young lady was holding some sort of a conversation."

"Really now? And you're absolutely certain she was alone?"

"Absolutely," Clark responded, confident indeed.

"Then?"

"I don't know. Why don't you take a look? Here she is."

They reached the body. It was shielded by a standard white sheet. Kary kneeled down, lifting the sheet from the corpse's head. A pretty girl, she thought. She looked to have been in her early twenties, blonde...very blonde. Her cheeks, Kary noticed, were flushed pink. She was a delicate little thing. Such a shame.

She'd worn no earrings and minimal make-up, but Kary's eyes did fall upon the girl's locket.

"Hmm, that's interesting. Take a look at the locket," she said.

"It's quite nice," Clarke answered, baffled, "Erm, intricate?"

"Have you opened it? Do you recognize the photo?"

"It's an angel isn't it? I apologize ma'am, but I'm not particularly religious and…"

"It's Saint Samael…"

"Who is…" Clark pushed.

"Officer Clark," Kary paused, "Saint Samael is the angel of death."