adventure / sci-fi / drama / romance

Flatiron Angel: Part Four

R ose had to stop herself from running as she exited the tower and started home. Measured steps she repeated to herself over and over in her mind. She stole a glance back, her eyes quickly scanning for any telltale signs of being followed. Did they know? She had never felt anything like that before. The violation of her mind. Had it just been her nerves playing a trick on her? Michael turning her memories upside-down had felt as real as the room they had all been standing in but surely that was impossible. The afterlife was full of many mysteries, but this would be a new one. One thing was certain. If it happened again, she wasn’t letting him mine her memories without a fight. She’d be ready next time. 

She pushed the absurdity to the back of her mind and refocused on her father. Doyle’s questioning all but confirmed the words she’d heard mumbled drunkenly into her ear the night before. Even more-so, it confirmed the importance of whatever her father had been trying to relay to her. Rose bit her lip in frustration and the taste of regret spilled onto her tongue. She should have woken him up. Made him tell her everything right then and there. West wasn’t much to go on. The forest edge began a two hundred yards west of the golden walls that perimetered the city, and measured a hundred miles across and half as much to the north and south. Towering redwoods butted against the grassy fields that spanned the space between the forest and the city. The field shimmered in dazzling greens and blues, grassy knolls veined with meandering creeks that spooled and spilled, their edges teeming with life. Only The Angels knew teeming with life could be considered a threat up here. 

Rose had realized in her twenty-nine years of life that people who came to the afterlife had been fed all sorts of lies growing up. The culture shock that existed here spared no one. Animals couldn’t talk – but they would kill you, rules were abound – concocted by the council and enforced by The Angels, and there wasn’t a single virgin, let alone seventy-two of them to be found. It was free of illness and disease though. Rose always thought it was interesting how many men were not as straight as they claimed when they found out AIDS didn’t exist up here…or herpes, or HPV. Who people were before they arrived in The Void had never really concerned Rose either. She’d always figured if someone could get over her being half human, half angel, that made them an all right person to mingle with, regardless of the pitch in their voice.

Sure there were a few wing fetishists, like any outlier brings, but most people desensitized to them quickly enough. When they weren’t in use, her wings folded tightly against her back. Angels wore a tunic with a decorative cape that fell from their cowl down to the earth, a makeshift curtain for their wings to hide behind until they were needed. 

Rose walked down cobblestone roads that lead to one of many residential blocks in the city. Hers and her Father’s was in a southwest pocket that harboured many of the Voidborn. She didn’t want to go home. If her conversation with Doyle, if you can call it that, was any indication of things to come, Rose doubted very much her father would be coming home tonight. More likely, he had been taken somewhere. Either that or he was already — Rose gave her head a shake and pushed the thought to the back of her mind. Her father was an imposing man meaning if foul play was afoot, they’d either caught him unaware, or they’d brought numbers with them. Rose juggled the thought for a moment and came to the conclusion that there had to have been numbers either way. Even if he had been blindsided, he would have put up one hell of a fight. That crossed off any chances something had happened to him at their home; she would have heard or been woken up by the struggle. 

There was no need to eat or drink or even shit in the Void, so any kind of violent crime was almost non-existent, and anyone desperate enough to make a play on someone would pick a far easier target than him. Rose felt a lump forming in her stomach she’d come to know as dread. Because the last option on the table, the only option left on the table, was the worst case scenario. Rose cast a glance back at the tower which even now, towered high above the immediate skyline. Her father was either trapped somewhere in there, or he was already dead. Either way, she intended to find out. Tonight.






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Joe Shields