Guardian Angel, Part One
“C’mon, c’mon,” I muttered to the flames. My knees hurt from sitting on them in the middle of a dirt path in the forest and I shuddered from the biting wind. The clouds covered the full moon now and I was running out of time. I flipped through my spell-book again, the pages fluttering. My insides squeezed at the thought of the missed opportunity and I felt like crying. I was so close!
“No, I did it right,” I said aloud. But it still nagged at me. Nothing was happening. The orange flames were steady; it didn’t give off any flickering or crackles, and none of the spontaneous blue flame I was told about. I completed it as written; where was the good omen in the flames I was supposed to see? I gritted my teeth and snapped the book shut. “Jesus Christ.”
“Now that’s something I’ve never been called.”
I whirled around towards the male voice and watched in fascination as he approached the fire, flicking a lighter open, and sitting down next to me. He reached into his worn leather jacket and pulled out a cigar. His face was impossibly handsome, polished like his skin was carved out of marble. His eyes were deep pools of black and just glancing at them gave me the sensation of free-falling.
“You don’t look like a witch.” He finally turned towards me. His really deep voice shocked me even more than his appearance.
I scoffed, fumbling to mask my disappointment. “You don’t look like a guardian angel.”
“Touche,” he took a drag from a cigar. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I need… some relationship guidance.”
He chuckled once, “Sweetheart, I’m the last entity you want to come to for relationship advice.” He motioned towards the book, which opened on its own back to the spell I had cast. “That’s to summon a demon. Where’d you find it, anyway?”
I felt stupid, my chest hollow. “The internet.”
He shook his head, “They get dumber every year, don’t they?”
“Just my luck. Well, then, let’s hear it.”
I’ve gotten looks before that signify you’re an idiot but he outclassed them all. He merely tilted his head in my direction, staring me down like he was actively diagnosing treatments for brain surgery. “Your love life,” he drawled. “That is why you summoned me, wasn’t it?”
“I…” Oh, gods, what did I get myself into? I barely even opened my demonology book, what was I supposed to say? “No, not my love life, no; I didn’t mean to summon you, I tried for my–“
“Stop.” My mouth shut automatically. “Until I help you accomplish your task, you’ll be a thorn in my side and I prefer it to be as painless as possible. The faster we get it done, the faster I am released. Now. Your story?”
“Wait; what do you mean, you’ll help me?” I said, appalled.
“I am now at your service.” He said. “Until the duty releases me. Are you certain you are a witch?” He flicked the remains of the cigar into the flames and at once the fire died in a wisp of smoke.
He stood in one fluid motion. “Well?” He motioned with his hands in a grandeur flair. “Am I mistaken in thinking that you live in the woods? Or shall I continue watching you freeze to death?”
I wrapped my shawl tighter around my shoulders, “This way.” I led him down the dirt path back to the suburbs. It was a ten-minute walk but I was so self-conscious the whole time it felt like an eternity. I couldn’t hear him walk behind me, nor did he try to make conversation. It was unnerving, to say the least. I busied myself with counting my footsteps all the way up to my front door.
He remained blissfully silent when we entered my studio apartment, only breaking the silence in response to my offer for a drink. As I busied myself, I noticed him glancing around at my decorations; my house plants, crystals, band posters, and messy bookshelves all on display for his judgment. I grumbled to myself as I shuffled through my pantry for the only bottle I had.
“Is this it?” He picked up a rose quartz out of my tiny crystal collection on my nightstand. In his fingers, the stone appeared tiny.
“For now,” I stressed.
“You’re a beginner, aren’t you?” His gaze pierced mine as I snatched it up and grabbed the full laundry basket from my pull-out couch. I threw it into the washer and cranked that shit on heavy.
“Is that a bad thing?”
“No,” he said bluntly. “It means you’re inexperienced which could prove disastrous.”
“So sorry to disappoint.” I snapped.
“You still haven’t told me your story,” he said.
“Can’t I unsummon you or something? You’re really not what I was expecting to meet. Besides,” I grabbed two glasses. “I don’t think someone like you can help me. No offense.”
He grinned eerily and my heart thudded in my chest. “I’m willing to bet I can do better than any scrawny angel can. Pity you didn’t put your soul on the line. Would’ve made things interesting.”
“No, thank you.” I placed his glass on the counter.
“One can hope,” his hand made everything look tiny. The glass nearly disappeared. As I sipped at my wine, he motioned to me. “Go on, Princess. I’m all ears.”
I bit my lip, keeping my gaze neutral. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from him for too long but I was terrified to look into his—that swirling darkness seemed to suck out all the light.
After a moment of deliberation, I replied, “There’s a lot. My best friend is in an abusive relationship and she either can’t or won’t leave.”
He tutted. “I’d assume the latter.”
“And I didn’t know how else to make her realize that he’s not good for her.”
“Wonderful.” He grinned. “It appears you chose wisely, after all.”
Chills went down my spine. “What do you mean?”
He downed the wine in one gulp. “It means I might enjoy this after all. We begin tomorrow.”
“I’ll be at Lake Henry—”
“I know where you’ll be. You’re marked.” He reached over and grabbed my wrist. My glass fell from my hand and shattered onto the floor. I gasped at the piercing cold shooting through my veins. It stayed only less than a second and when he pulled back, my wrist was covered in twisty vines with shapes and symbols I’ve never seen before. I couldn’t move as I felt his presence hover over mine.
“I’ll see you soon, Princess.”
When I got the courage to look up, he was gone.
Photo by kytalpa via Pixabay.