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‘Willa,’ Dale catches up with me as I hurry through the streets of The Mayhem City searching for the lost soul.

Mayhem city is not one of your ordinary cities. It is where all the souls who get lost end up. The doors to Heaven and Hell are shut down for them. 

And it so happens when the souls haven’t accepted their deaths. With time all the souls come to accept their fate and eventually are guided to Heaven and Hell respectively. Those who don’t are stuck on earth forever.

Our city has its rules. The souls are caught by us and brought to this city. No one wants a lost soul among humans. They tend to do crazy things and drive people insane with their dark auras. And the worst part is, humans can’t see them so it makes it very hard for them to figure out what is going on.

My husband Dale and I are Wards. We keep the lost souls in control and protect the people from them.

‘You know, this isn’t how I thought we would be spending your 30th birthday,’ I remarked, glancing now at the handsome man with russet hair and ocean blue eyes at my side. 

Dale and I have known each other for five years but it feels like millennia have passed since we have met. 

‘Huh, last time we were solving a disagreement between the High Council members on my birthday and fighting a lost soul lord on yours. I think we have had really memorable birthdays.’

I chuckle at his joke. Dale always knows how to lighten up the mood in the gloomiest of situations. I fell in love with that and I am really glad and lucky that he hasn’t changed a bit since then.

Our phones chime. There is an alert on the west coast of the city. The lost soul must have headed there.

‘Dale, Willa,’ Dale’s younger brother, Owen waves at us from across the street. 

Owen is three years younger to Dale but he has more sarcasm in his pockets than anyone else in the world. His fiancée Maisy is a few feet behind him.

‘It is going to rain,’ Maisy says, reaching us.

 ‘We have to catch the lost soul before it tries to escape the city,’ Dale states, staring up at the dark rumbling clouds in the sky.

He is right indeed. Mayhem city is located on an island in the Pacific Ocean and it is guarded by a protection dome. However, there are some lost souls who are strong enough to break through the dome’s magic.

Once they enter the Ocean, it will be really difficult for us to track them down considering that the earth is huge and they don’t have a face ID.

‘If it starts to rain, we will have much more problems at hand,’ I say, judging the clouds in the sky.

Searching for a lost soul while it is raining incessantly is like searching for a needle in a haystack because souls tend to hide when it is raining. Their efficacy of vision decreases and they are unable to see anything anymore.

‘Willa is right,’ Owen agrees with me. ‘And Dale too.’ His brother narrows his eyes at him. ‘But we have the location and should check it out as soon as possible.’

‘I’ll get my car,’ Dale says, touching my shoulder.

I nod at him and watch him disappear around the turning. Our house luckily happens to be at the end of the lane so he won’t be gone long.

We wait for him while he gets his car. In five minutes, Dale is back in a silver Honda Civic. This car has been our friend since the day we first started working together.

Dale was transferred to the Mayhem City from Russia. He was working as an overseas Ward. He used to catch lost souls and contact us here so that we could bring them here.

Only a Ward can catch a lost soul. We have the ability to create energy traps for them. It is our special supernatural gift.

I met Dale in Russia for the first time when I was sent to retrieve a lost soul from there. Dale and I clicked from the very first moment. Few weeks later he was transferred here because of his experience.

The first drop of rain hits the ground when we reach the West Coast. Gust of winds blow across, slamming at our faces. 

‘This is a mess,’ Maisy yells over the strong gales. 

Dale catches my arm to steady me as I almost stumble over a rock. ‘We need to split up,’ I speak loudly. 

‘Not happening,’ Dale grumbles back. ‘That lost soul is very powerful. And it is raining too.’

‘I’ll be fine. We need to catch it as soon as possible, Dale. We can’t let it escape.’

Dale’s blue eyes stare back at me intensely. ‘Fine. Be careful.’

‘You too.’ He gives me a quick kiss then disappears into the woods. Owen and Daisy search on the beach and I decide to head over to the broken down cabins. 

It is difficult to see in the strong rains and in case the lost soul might startle me, I remove my blade. This blade can hurt the soul. It has been forged with our Ward magic, the one with which we capture the lost souls.

The first few cabins are empty. When I reach the fifth one, I notice a flicker of movement to my right. The lost soul lunges at me, startling me. I dodge just in time before its claw can prick me.

The soul moves fast. They do move fast but this one seems like it has a flight to catch. I dodge again and hit the fireplace. 

The lost soul screams and lunges again. This time I am prepared. I twist my blade and pierce it into its arm. It screeches in pain and tries to escape through the open door. 

‘Where do you think you are going?’ Dale arrives just in time and uses his blade to end it. ‘Crisis averted.’

I check my watch. ‘There is still one hour left for the day to end.’

‘We didn’t have a deadline for this assignment,’ my husband raises a brow.

‘No, handsome. But we do have a deadline for your birthday and I am not gonna let an hour of your special day go to waste.’


Bio - Dr. Adyasha Acharya is a medical intern in Odisha, India. She has published two novels previously- "The Fearless Warriors" (2015) and "The Guardian" (2021), short stories titled "Nexus" and "The Psychics" in the Indian Periodical Magazine , "The Dreamcatcher" in Indus Woman Writing magazine, "The Midnight Ritual" in the anthology "The Selection of a Sacred Strawberry" by Writefluence (2023) and pocket book "The Summer Weekend" by Ukiyoto Publishing (2023).  


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