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I could hear angels’ footsteps pounding on the clouds. They seemed so far away. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear when they passed near enough to me. Sometimes I even heard voices beyond where I could see, but I rarely met their subjects.
The clouds were thick and bright. The sun must’ve been nearby. I could only see a certain area. They were soft white clouds surrounding me. I found it simply amazing. Yet, I wasn’t totally comfortable. Most of all, I was bored. I couldn’t remember how I got into the clouds or when but I knew I couldn’t leave. The angels must’ve brought me there.
The angels came every now and then. Sometimes they spoke to me, and sometimes they turned into something else. They were dressed in white and had ghostly, cloudy wings. They had human bodies but ridiculously extreme shadows, despite the lack of solid ground. The angels fed me and clothed me and so forth. They even fitted me with a white corset that made me feel special.
Once, a day started when an angel came into my cloudy space. It spoke and the sound of someone’s voice made me smile. Then, I watched as its face turned to that of a demon. When I screeched its nails grew long and it stabbed me in the arm.
I awoke to find myself still floating in clouds. Something walked in. It had horns on its head and a sword in its belt. Its face was contorted with the only defining feature being fangs. An angel followed in behind it. In fear I tried to back away but I couldn’t do much with my limiting corset and lack of solid ground.
The evil thing stooped down, “How is she?” It asked the angel. The angel gave it a little nod and it touched me. Was I going to be eaten? I tried to scurry away again and the evil thing backed away. “Do you remember me?” It asked. I would remember seeing that.
I shook my head in a firm no. All of the clouds began lighting up in fire, “the devil may care when all he** breaks loose.” My voice sounded hoarse. I curled up into a ball; the clouds weren’t good for drinking. I tried once and found they tasted like pillows and were about as dry as them.
The evil thing said to the angel, “does she always speak this incoherently?” What did he mean incoherent? The fire was going to burn him; I could see he** coming. When the angel nodded his head he said, “Do you remember anything, Annabel?”
Annabel. That name meant something. A hand touched my shoulder so I swiveled around. A girl was standing there. She looked a lot like me except her hair was a different color and she had multiple red flowers soaking her shirt. She also had a red scarf that was still wet. She said in a very hoarse voice, “I am nobody.”
I recognized her vaguely, but the more I recognized her the more I didn’t at all. I realized I recognized the evil thing a little bit too. The angel stepped toward me, “she hallucinates and talks to people. When she’s more lucid she thinks she’s dead. She thinks she’s in purgatory waiting to go to he**.”
A figure stepped out from behind the evil thing. It was man with a knife in his eye. He had a few blood stains, especially on his hand. He was holding his right hand over his heart like he was pledging allegiance. He started to talk but he was one of those people who talked with his hands. When he moved his right hand his heart fell out with a mess of blood. He picked it up and put it back in, “sorry about that. You ought to remember, Annabel.” There was something devilish about the way he spoke. It was like seduction, but I was aware of his allure. I could resist his drug. Drugs, parlytic drugs had something to do with it all. It had to do with why I was here.
I looked back over at the girl with the bloody neck. I knew who she was. I whispered, “hope against hope for a wild goose chase.” The girl who looked at me frowned softly.
The angel smiled and his smile was so pretty that I smiled, too. The angel said softly to the evil thing, “she speaks mostly in idiomatic expressions. She always uses one word in each expression to describe what she’s thinking.”
The evil thing said quickly, “Hope. That was her twin sister’s name.”
The girl walked over toward the mutilated guy. He grabbed her and pulled the knife out of his eye. He held it over her. There was a hole where his heart should’ve been. It was grotesque. He said loudly, “You killed her, remember?” Killed her, indirectly but it was my fault. I could’ve saved her, if I hadn’t tried to get rid of his body. I could’ve called an ambulance, but she bled before I got back. Blood, I remember that like my own name. What was my name again? Fine, I remembered blood better than everything. Blood was my existence.
I watched as he stabbed the girl who was my sister over and over again. Who was he? I concentrated. Eventually I figured it out, “kill two birds with one stone.” He was slowly cutting my sister’s neck. In a short time, shorter than a blink of an eye, two dead bodies appeared. One dead body, I remember crying for it on my first day of school and another embarrasing me in front of boys. Where were their heads?
With that, I remembered everything. I got to the cloudy place because I killed them. He was a serial killer who decapitated his victims. First, he used drugs to paralyze his victims. I was paralyzed while he killed my family but I managed to overcome it while he was attacking my sister. I could’ve called the authorities and saved her, but I was angry. So terribly angry. I remember mutilating him, cutting out his heart, stabbing him in the eye.
That leads to how I had found myself in the clouds. In that moment of clarity it occurred to me that they weren’t clouds but white pads. It wasn’t an angel but a nurse. It wasn’t an evil thing but an F.B.I agent. The inferno blazing, thereatening me, and the people whispering words the nurse and agent could not understand, were gone.
That was far too much for me to bear. I held my head as if my brains were about to fall out. A moment later I was back in the clouds, talking to demons and angels. I couldn’t remember a thing. In a loud voice I said, “Knocks your socks off, knocks them off!” I could hear angels’ footsteps pounding on the clouds.