|A Felony of Birds|
|Piñatas From Space!: Crazy Games With Cards And Dice|
|Against a Diamond|
The Angel Among Us
The nightmares had haunted her sleep for the past two weeks and Genevieve was tired. She was having trouble accomplishing her day-to-day tasks now, and being strung out on Starbucks was no longer helping. She called in sick from her job at the library for the forth day in a row, and the head librarian was beginning to suspect Genevieve was seriously ill.
“Yes, I’ll definitely get to the doctor today,” she promised.
Realistically, what could a doctor do other than prescribe sleeping pills? Genevieve shivered at the thought of not being able to wake from her nightmare. That wasn’t going to happen.
Putting down the phone, Genevieve decided she’d better try another cup of tea before attempting anything today. Tea in hand, she sank down into the sofa for just a moment. Eyes closed, and Genevieve immediately started to dream.
A middle aged, dark skinned man pulled hastily up to the curb in front of a butcher shop, walked in, jumped the counter and pushed the butcher’s face into the rotating meat-slicer. Shrieking pierced Genevieve’s eardrums and her head felt like it would implode. The murderer threw his head back and guffawed as he pressed his full weight against the innocent butcher’s fleshy skull. Again and again, this scene played, rewound, played, rewound. Genevieve added her screams to the butcher’s until she felt herself being wrapped in the warmth of a soft, feathery blanket.
When the blanket dropped, Genevieve felt calm and relaxed for the first time in days. An Angel had rescued her from her dream, and stood before her, bent forward, gasping and clutching his chest. His breathing slowed and he straightened up before her. He was pale, not quite white, surrounded in a whisper of blue. His wings were folded in next to his body, but were so long they skimmed the ground. His face was wide and open like a child’s, and his eyes were sparkling emerald jewels giving off a light of their own.
He spoke to her then. He felt her anguish as well as the anguish of the dead butcher every time Genevieve fell asleep. He wanted to put an end to the suffering, but he hadn’t the energy to stop the madman. The only way to stop the suffering of the Angel, the butcher, and Genevieve was to stop the killer’s power by stopping the killer’s heart. The Angel had a plan if Genevieve would help. It wouldn’t take much from her.
Genevieve awoke, refreshed, with the Angel’s plan and a name on the tip of her consciousness. Amar Yamin.
Genevieve gave the man a crumpled fifty-dollar bill and quickly turned.
“Hey! You want your change?” but she was already scuttling around the corner.
Amar shook his head and pocketed the money, not even noticing the blood now smeared across his palm. He wasn’t going to chase some psycho skirt just because she gave him a fifty for a twelve-dollar fare. Maybe she was just a good tipper, and besides, Amar still felt drained ever since reading this morning’s paper detailing the accident of the butcher on Fourteenth.
When he’d had a good night’s sleep for the first time in two weeks, and the encounter with the Angel suddenly seemed fuzzy around the edges, Amar assumed that he had been suffering from some episodic mind event. Who knew, maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe the butcher deserved what he got on account of what he did to that kid. All Amar did was leave a few drops of blood on the handle of the butcher’s favorite carving knife. Even if it wasn’t coincidence, Amar certainly needn’t feel guilt for his small part in the Angel’s retribution.
Amar climbed back into his cab and checked the console clock. He had enough time for one more pick up before his wife expected him home. He glanced in his side mirror, ready to pull back out into traffic. There wasn’t even time to blink before the red Ford F-150 hit his cab, sending his torso forward into the steering wheel with enough backlash force to sever his skull from his spinal cord, virtually decapitating him internally. The last thing Amar saw before his life winked out completely was his last fare peeking at him from around the corner, a small smile playing across her lips. The Angel stood directly behind her, mouth open wide, revealing rows and rows of bloody fangs. If Amar could have screamed at that point, he would have.
Genevieve smiled to herself and breathed a sigh of relief. She could feel the evil presence around her dissipate. Now, maybe, the Angel would find peace.
Pauly wasn’t all that surprised when he got the plumbing call for apartment 1603. Last time the Angel had come, he had nearly been suffocating under the blanket of evil emanating from that apartment. He knew the Angel wouldn’t be able to make it much longer without Pauly’s direct interference. After hitching up his Wrangler work khakis, Pauly grabbed his tool kit and headed for the elevator.
“Hi, come on in. It’s been running since I got home.” She had just been hanging a picture beside the door, but set it down to lead him back toward the bathroom.
“Did you jiggle the handle?” Pauly asked.
“Yep. I tried that. I even took the lid off the tank and looked inside, but I have no idea what I’m supposed to do in there.” She turned then and faced him.
Pauly looked past her toward the running toilet sound, “Better let me take a look.”
His eyes shifted and looked at her face. She was deceptively beautiful for a murdering psychopath. Her chestnut hair was piled up in ringlets on top of her head, giving her an innocent childlike appearance. Her eyes were golden at the center but dark, just at the edge, so she looked like someone had outlined her irises with a charcoal pencil. Her cheeks pinked up and her eyes widened slightly. Pauly had been staring too long. A moment of unease passed between them, but she smiled and stepped aside.
It took only a moment for Pauly to reattach the chain inside the toilet tank. He replaced the lid, and opened his tool kit. He had a retractable razor in there somewhere that would be just perfect to knick his skin enough to bleed. The Angel said it wouldn’t take much of Pauly’s blood. Just a few drops would do. Then the Angel would have enough energy to cleanse this apartment of evil.
“You’re all set, shouldn’t cause you any more trouble.”
Pauly reached for her door and pulled it open, being sure to leave a smattering of blood underneath the knob, and he stepped out into the hall, purposefully not pulling the door shut behind him. He could still feel the darkness that accompanied her, but he felt relief to be out of her apartment nonetheless.
She reached forward, hand on the doorknob, and started to push it closed, “Thanks.”
Genevieve felt something sticky on her hand. It looked like blood. She felt slightly dizzy as she moved toward the kitchen to wash it off. When she kicked the picture lying on the floor and pitched forward, she pulled her bloody hand out to the side so she wouldn’t mess up the wall. The right side of her head hit the wall and stuck there. The nail she had just hammered into that spot fifteen minutes earlier pierced her skull at the temple, pinning her, insect-like, to the wall, with her head angled so she could see the bloody doorknob.
The floor opened up beneath her into a fiery cavern. A figure stood in the middle; clawed and blistered hands reached up for her. It had scraggy red skin and charred wings with blackened chunks falling off of them down into the licking fires below. Its maw was open in a wide grin revealing razor-like teeth, and the narrowed eyes were emerald green. Recognition hit, then a realization. It had all been a lie, and then she was gone.
Pauly heard the thump from apartment 1603. The darkness lifted and he suddenly felt clean and refreshed. The Angel would finally get some peace, and Pauly wouldn’t dream anymore about beautiful Genevieve, face streaked with blood, murdering that poor cab driver over, and over, and over. Pauly closed his eyes and sighed in relief as he pushed the button to call the elevator. He didn’t even notice the blood on his fingertip as he pulled it back and waited for the elevator to come.
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I was so hoping for a Happy ending. Ah well,that was well done anyway.
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