Borrowed Souls by Paul B. Kohler
Jack Duffy is average. He lives an ordinary life with a mediocre job. He is a distracted husband, lives in a comfortable apartment, and is married to an extraordinary wife. That’s how he would explain it.
At the end of an unusually bad day, his life is turned upside down. The only thing that can catch him from falling is the soul collector.
Will he be allowed to keep his soul, or will he have to give it back?
Paul began writing in 1998, shortly after the birth of his daughter. His first short story, Amy, was written in November of that year, but went unpublished until November of 2013. That was when Paul found the courage to publish.
Despite the 15 year lag, Paul has written many unpublished works throughout the years. Linear Shift, Part 1 (September/2013) was his first published story, and was the kick off to his four part serial novel. Part 2 followed up in December of 2013, and Part 3 is planned for a May/2014 release.
Aside from his Linear Shift series, a number of Paul’s short stories have been included in anthologies. Amy, was included in “Something To Read On The Ride”. Lookout Mountain and Gold Rush were both included in “Something For The Journey”. His short story Alone has been submitted to another anthology, but has yet to be published.
When not writing, Paul is hard at work in the field of architecture. He has been in the field of design since 1992, and loves what he does. He lives with his wife and daughter in Littleton, Colorado, where he was born and raised.
Despite the cover on the patio, the heat was nearly unbearable. Moving to a table inside never crossed my mind. I just sat in silence, wondering why this day was destined to be so disastrous. There was nothing left for fate to deface.
I sipped from the glass of water, feeling its cool tingle as it passed my lips. I looked around the patio and realized I was alone. My soul was just as alone. I wondered what I should be feeling. Hate? Fear? Anger? I felt them all but none at the same time. I felt like crying but couldn’t find the energy. I thought about calling my therapist but dismissed the thought. I knew what he would tell me: it was all going to be OK. How on earth was it going to be OK? My wife, the center of my world, had just cheated on me. My job was horrendous. My entire life seemed to be in a tailspin heading for a fiery crash.
I suddenly realized that throughout the last thirty minutes, I had been carrying my briefcase. Why hadn’t I set it down in the apartment when I walked in? I sat it on the ground next to my chair and saw Cyndi’s prescription. I pulled it from the side pocket and laid it on the table in front of me. I took another sip of water and began to read the label.
I scanned through the generic warnings and precautions. Toward the end of the label, it mentioned that the side effects could be numbness and drowsiness. That sounded about right. I tore open the sealed envelope and popped the lid off the bottle. I emptied a handful of pills onto the table in front of me and contemplated my future.
What exactly did my future hold? I no longer had a wife that loved me. Hell, did she ever love me? I had a boss that would be happy to see me thrown out onto the street. I had no kids, thankfully. Both my parents had passed away years ago. I had nothing at all. I knew right then that nobody would ever miss me. I took another drink.
Having dealt with depression for many years, I was no stranger to the thought of suicide. Hell, I think everyone thinks about the what-ifs of suicide at least once in their life. I just happened to have thought about it many times over the years. Through countless sessions with my therapist, we concluded that the depression stemmed from mass bullying throughout primary school. The feeling of hatred was still strong toward the people that caused me so much pain. At that moment, random neurons in my brain connected two events in my live, separated by nearly 20 years. Pearlman was the coalescence of all the bullies from my youth.
And there I sat, contemplating my future, my mortality. Whether or not to take my own life. I looked from pill to pill. I knew how easy it would be to end all the pain and suffering. Just a handful of pills and a quick gulp of clean, cool water would be so easy.
I reached up and wiped a bead of sweat from my brow and glanced around once more. I tried to think of a single reason not to take the pills, but nothing came to mind. All that I could think about was seeing my wife move rhythmically with another man.