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Author's note: This was one of my first novels and has been recently blended with another.
Her shoulders slumped, the young girl walks solemnly down the street, her small black shoes pattering softly in time with the drizzling rain. Her long blond hair falls delicately on her shoulders and her small hands are tucked in her short summer dress.
She walks absentmindedly, hardly taking in her surroundings as she moves forward, away from her hellish life back at home with bickering parents and a screaming toddler. She sighs but continues walking.
All around her, the rain showers down on the grass and sidewalk, painting light pictures on the pavement, but she doesn’t stop to admire the beauty.
She doesn’t know where she’s going. All she knows is that wherever it is must be better than what lies in store for her when she returns home. Any life would be better than hers.
Suddenly, a vague feeling of a presence makes her look up, her eyes for the first time noticing where she’s wandered.
Looming imposingly above her is a tall Victorian Era estate with Gothic fixtures and foreboding paneling that looks down at her like a disgruntled house matron.
Completely transfixed by the house, the girl steps forward, one small foot after another, until she stands at the massive black oak door of the house.
No sounds come from inside as she listens, and she can see no lights from the window. The house is empty, beyond a doubt. It looks like it’d been abandoned long before her time.
Curiously, the girl reaches high above her for the door’s latch, eager to explore the forsaken house.
Reaching as far as she dares, the girl finally manages to grasp hold of the handle, pulling back so the ancient door can creak slowly open. Cautiously, the girl peers inside the house, her curiosity at its peak.
Darkness black as coal fills the estate, but the girl can make out the traces of expensive Persian carpets, spiraling staircases, and long hallways leading to all places of the house. From the inside, the house is much larger than it appears to be on the exterior.
Bound by her interest to the house, the girl slowly takes a step onto the threshold, but before she can take another step, she hears her mother’s voice off in the distance, calling her to come home.
Looking over her shoulder, the girl is caught between her loyalty to her mother and to the calling of the house.
Back home she’s always ignored, always placed in the middle of the fights between her mother and father, always talked to as if she were a burden, something that only causes misery to her parents. No, she isn’t going back to that just yet.
With her shoulders set in defiance, the girl finally steps into the house.
The door slams shut behind her, severing her from the outside world.
Terrified, the girl screams and tries to escape, banging and kicking at the door in her fright. But it’s no use. She’s trapped. The house had now become her prison.
Deep inside the house, its masters stir.
~ * ~
I don’t really know what happened. I just remember my friends laughing at something someone said, and I remember stepping into the street and someone else yelling my name before the metal smashed into my ribs. Then after that, it’s all dark.
I’ve never been the religious type. My grandma was and she always tried to convince me to see the light, but I never listened to whatever that crazy old lady said. I never thought of my death or what would happen after I die. I guess I just thought that I’d die peacefully in my sleep and one thing would lead to another and soon I’d have wings, a golden harp, and a halo to match. What I didn’t expect was this.
I was in a state of half-consciousness, like when the alarm goes off in the morning and you wake up, but not quite. As I lay surrounded by wood and earth, I can hear muffled voices from above.
“How deep is this damn hole?” a low voice asks. It sounds either British or Irish, but I can’t decide which.
“I remember back in my day when they would bury people above the ground and light them afire and scatter the ashes all nice like,” this voice is undoubtedly British.
“Wait, if the body’s above ground, then how are they buried? That’s a contradiction!” the first voice says. This time it sounds more Irish than British.
“It’s not! Whenever someone dies you bury them, above or underground!” the second voice argues.
“Just keep digging,” a third voice orders. This one is unmistakably American and sounds almost familiar, “or you’ll be in the next hole and this time, you’re not coming out.”
For the next few minutes, there are only the sounds of digging and cursing as the men shovel deeper in the earth. I linger in semiconscious bliss.
Suddenly, there’s a loud ‘thunk!’ as metal hits wood.
“Oy, we finally made it!”
There’s the sound of scuffling and scratching as dirt and grass is shoved off me and I’m unearthed.
“Right then,” the British man yells. “Where’s the raven bar?”
“It’s called a crowbar,” the American corrects him.
There are a few more creaks and curses as the lid to my coffin is ripped apart by the crowbar, and I can see a slight hazy outline above me.
“Is his soul still attached?”
“Yes, it’s still glowin’,” the British man says. I see him grab something from his back pocket, and I feel something drip onto my face. “This should do it…”
Suddenly, I’m dragged from my reverie. I gasp for breath and my eyes shoot open. I’m alive… I’m alive?
A man with a scruffy beard and small narrowed eyes peer at me from above. Another man with thick curly red hair and watery green eyes stares at me over his shoulder.
“Yep. That’s him alright,” The red-head nods with his Irish accent. “Isn’t it Master?”
“Unfortunately so,” the familiar American voice says. He’s still out of sight, but I can see the corner of a pale shoe above me. “Help him up, we don’t have all night.”
I’m pulled from the cool velvet of my coffin by the two men until I’m able to shakily stand on my feet. My head barely clears the top of the grave and above me is an unmistakable form…
“Eric?” I choke out in a scratchy voice. “I thought you were dead.”
He looks down at me with his gray eyes that look bigger without his glasses. I can tell he’s not happy to see me. Then again, I’m not happy to see him either. “Funny,” he says, “that you’re still making fun of me, even in your position.”
My position? As I’m hauled out of my grave by the two men, I see something I’ve never expected I’d see. Eric still looked the same, minus the glasses and acne, but instead of his usual baggy shirts and backpack, he’s wearing blindingly white robes and two feathered appendages peek out at me from behind his shoulders. He chuckles at my expression.
“Surprised?” he laughs. “This isn’t all I got. Waiting for me up there is everything I ever wanted.” He gestures with his hands to the stormy gray clouds above.
I shake loose of the two men’s grips. “So what,” I ask. “Are you here to take me to the pearly gates? Isn’t that what you angels do?”
Eric laughs even harder, and for a second I almost forget about the nerdy kid I made fun of in high school. He straightens up. “Oh, Christian, you have no idea,” he laughs. “You’re nowhere near the pearly gates at this point.”
“You have ears, don’t you?” he’s suddenly serious. “I’m not here to take you to Paradise. In fact, that’s the last thing I want to do. Honestly, this whole thing’s a waste of time if you ask me. I’d rather you go to Hell and be done with this nonsense. But for now, I have to babysit you.”
“But why?” I ask. “Tell me before I rip those fancy wings off your back.”
Instead of cowering away like Nerdy Eric would, Angel Eric takes a step closer to look me in the eye. “Because of what you did to me and to so many others,” he whispers in my face. “Because of you, I and so many other kids had to endure Hell for your enjoyment. Because of you, I was beaten up and tormented throughout my natural life, and because of you, I ended it.”
“It’s not my fault you were such a wimp,” I spit back in his face.
“You’re the one who pulled the
trigger, not me.”
“But you are the one who put the gun in my hands, so to speak, Christian,” he steps back, but not in fear. There’s a cold confidence in his eyes I’ve never seen before.
“And believe me, if you hadn’t have died, I’m sure you’d have forced the gun into some other kid’s hands.”
“I’m not-,” I begin to say, but I cut myself off midsentence. Eric understands what I mean though.
“You are dead, Christian. Dead to the natural world that is. But for us, your life is far from over,” He paces a little in front of me.
I’m fighting the urge to punch him and wipe that smug smirk off his face. “What do you mean?” I ask as politely as possible.
“He means you’re a Watcher now,” the British man answers. He’s picking little dirt clods from his beard while leaning against his shovel. “You’re one of us.”
“A Watcher,” Eric puts his hands behind his back businesslike. The way my dad would whenever he talked in front of the House. “Or as mortals call them, Guardian Angels. Except you’re a special type of guardian, Christian. You weren’t born in the heavens, you began as mortal, and because of your sins on Earth you have no chance to go to Paradise but one.
“You must watch over a special sort of person and protect them from the dangers that cloud them,” he stops in front of me and smirks. “You have to protect that person and keep them safe until you’ve learned your lesson.”
“And if I don’t want to?” I growl at him.
He just chuckles. “Well then, Christian, you get to go and dine with the devil,” he steps back again. “If you fail or give up, then you’ll never see the other side of the golden gates. And believe me, Christian- the place where people like you go isn’t the best.”
My head’s spinning. “So if I keep this kid safe, I can go to Heaven?” I ask.
Eric nods curtly. “Yes,” he answers. “But believe me, Christian; this isn’t as easy as you think it is. Isn’t that right, Crowley? Mac?”
The two men stare at their feet in the dirt. “Yes sir,” they both reply with sad voices.
“These two are a murderer and a mob king. They’ve been fighting for redemption for how long now?” Eric asks.
“About two-hundred-nine years,” Crowley, the British man answers.
“Eighty-seven years,” Mac admits solemnly.
“And would you like to let our guest know why?”
“We couldn’t keep our charges safe,” Crowley clenches his fists at his sides. He sounds almost mournful.
“It was those damn warlocks, always getting in the way-”
“Enough,” Eric stops Mac with a wave of his hand. “I’m sure Christian will figure out all this on his own in time. Let’s just hope he has more success than either of you did.”
I fight the urge to snap something at Eric again. “So, who do I have to protect?” I ask. “You mentioned something about them being
“Why yes I did,” Eric’s smirk makes me want to punch him, “and special she is. I’ll be surprised if she dies as easily as the others, even with you as her protector.”
“She? I’m protecting a girl?”
“Why of course. The higher-ups thought it would… motivate you after they reviewed your life,” he gives me an infuriating wink. “I do recall you like the pretty girls, right Christian?”
All I can do is glare at him. “When do I start?”
“Right now if you want. Come with me, I’ll introduce you.”
~ * ~
Screeching around a corner, I flee for my life, fear making my heart pound faster than it’s ever had.
My breaths come in gasps and my lungs scream with exertion, but I can’t stop running. No, not yet. Not until I’m safe.
I can hear people shouting at me from behind, screeching in some different language. No, not another language. These were growls from unknown beasts that skulk around my prison.
I’m almost there, almost to the door on the far side… almost there…
Suddenly, I feel a silent assailant grab the back of my shirt, and I scream as I’m pulled back from my escape. From freedom.
And then I’m back in my room, as if nothing had ever happened.