The lesson passed with mocking slowness, and when the bell finally rang for an end to my day’s worth of torture, I practically ran from the room. I was shaken, and I didn’t bother going to my locker to retrieve my bag. The Angel had stared right through my classroom’s window all through the hour, and it had me on edge. Was the ‘lucky’ person in my class? I ran through the familiar names of twenty-five teenagers I sat with every day, united by boredom, and knew couldn’t live with myself if I stood by and let anything happen to any of them. Even Carissa, who truly deserved a good slap.
I left the building, safe amidst the mass of bodies as they pushed and shoved to leave first. The stampede was worse than usual, as if the leaving students sensed the presence of immanent death and wanted out as fast as possible. The Angel seemed to be gone from the tree when I dared a glance to the distant left, but I couldn’t be entirely sure.
Of course, I was sure when one of my friends smiled and straightened from where she had been leaning against the wall, waiting for me. I had forgotten I was going to walk with Beth, and I suddenly regretted agreeing to it.
The Angel was standing right beside her, his full-white appearance giving me the impression of a shark’s tooth among the greys and brown of the surrounding scenery. He was stunning, his hair a ruffled shock of black and his eyes an unusual dark gold. His face looked like it had been sculpted by an artist, with skin holding a subtle glow.
All Angels were stunning, but that wasn’t the reason I was staring wide-eyed at the supernatural being. Beth had been marked. She was the charge. But she hadn’t been in my class, I thought in shocked desperation. I would rather be the one destined to die than my best friend; the one true person I could rely on in my twisted yet mundane life.
“Sonea, are you okay…? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Beth said in a worried tone, and I swallowed the bile that rose in my mouth. Oh god. No. The Angel’s eyes were locked on mine, their depths cold and unfathomable. No pity, no guilt; nothing. When he started to frown suspiciously at my elongated eye-contact, I swallowed, blinked and then made my sight go vague.
“Sorry… thought I saw something,” I said, smiling weakly and rubbing my forehead as if I had a headache or something. I felt like breaking down right then and there, but managed to collect myself enough that my hands weren’t shaking and my bottom lip stopped trembling. Beth.
“Where’s your bag?” she asked, looking to my shoulder. I shrugged in an effort to look casual.
“I don’t need anything today so I left it inside,” I offered, ignoring her unconvinced look. We were friends enough that she knew I was shaken. Not to what extent, but it was enough to make her worried and liable to dig. The problem was that if she talked too much right now I might start crying. And that wouldn’t be a good idea considering the Angel was now eyeing me like it knew something was up.
“Shall we go?” she said after a long, studious pause. I nodded, not trusting my voice.
We moved away from the organised chaos of school, the Angel following a metre behind us, his cold, constant presence chafing at my mentality. I’d never been so close to an Angel before, and that in itself was enough to make me emotional. As we walked in silence, Beth obviously realising I had a lot on my mind, I tried to calm myself down a little. For me, seeing someone with an Angel was like getting a phone call from the police, where the first thing said is, ‘its about -----.’ You know who it’s about, but not what’s happened. You instantly think something bad has taken place, considering it’s the police, but that might not be the case in Beth’s instance. She was so kind, so strong; surely that meant she would get the good half of the usual deal. Maybe I’d get the phone call tomorrow telling me she had survived a car crash killing some mass murder.
I relaxed a little, mentally deciding to stop panicking. Who knows, maybe my experience with Angels so far was an odd one. Maybe 99% of the time, the results of being shadowed by the winged buggers were good, and I just happened to encounter two people who had really bad luck.
“You know you can tell me if you have something on your mind, right?” Beth asked into the silence, and I almost flinched.
Managing a smile, I glanced at the silent Angel over my shoulder and then back to her open, familiar face. I wouldn’t let anything happen to her, no matter what. “Of course.”
I jerked when the Angel behind us stretched his luxurious wings in a flash of white, hastily disguising the action by checking under my shoes for non-existent puppy-presents.
The next ten minutes it took for us to reach Beth’s house were filled with little, sudden movements from said winged being, and I started to worry that he was onto me. I was strung too tight to ignore him fully, and I was near snapping point when we finally reached my friend’s home. No Angel had ever taken notice of me before, never realised that I looked right into their unfathomable, cold eyes. What would happen if he realised I could actually see him? I didn’t really want to find out.
I watched Beth knock cheerfully on her red-painted door, a sad smile on my face. Her family was perfect; two grinning adults and one rosy-cheeked baby. Her house was probably the best in the area, and her appearance, personality, and grades followed suit. She had promise for a colourful future… so why was it so close to being taken away from her? I smothered the despairing thought, insisting to myself that her fate wasn’t settled. She would live; I’d make sure of that.
Jaw set, I turned- and smacked right into a hard, white chest. A muffled curse as I held my nose was the last thing I did before I realised my terrible mistake. Normal people went right through Angels without much more than a shiver; I had seen it. Freezing like a rabbit in the sight of a snake, I gazed down in despair at the bare feet just before mine.
Utter terror filled my soul to join with the misery, and that was it; I snapped.