Even Angels Break the Rules
They were four if you didn’t count the dead guy. Four little angel girls with halos shimmering vaguely over their bowed heads, sitting around a corpse like it was nothing. Joan hesitated to walk in even though she’d been invited. The eerie silence was getting to her.
“Get a move on, new girl,” the smirking blonde behind her nudged her forward. “We don’t got all night.”
Her pulse went up a few beats as they walked into the room, sweat trickling down her back. She was starting to think this was a bad idea. She sat between two girls, blinking innocently at them.
“A-are you sure we should be doing this?”
“Sure, shut up.” The girl who’d invited her was at the table set up at the back of the room, lighting a purple candle. “This is gonna be so epic.”
It was Halloween night, the moon appropriately full, the streets foggy, the sound of partying and trick or treating trickling in by the open door. What better than a real live zombie to spice up the scariest night of the year? Right next door, they could hear the sound of rowdy teenagers partying. Glittering girls and ramshackle boys sharing drinks, swapping spit, speaking louder and louder over one another in an age old game of ‘look how cool I am’.
Joan really didn’t like any of them.
Which was how she’d gotten roped in this crazy plan in the first place. Genesis, the smirking blonde mumbling to herself over the table, had devised this devious number. With the help of a few forbidden books that she – of course – carried around, she’d managed to find all the ingredients necessary for a little harmless zombie fun. Joan hope that things wouldn’t end horribly. This was against quite a few rules she’d learned.
“Alright, chickadees.” Gen always seemed to be having a jolly good time when she was creating mischief, it was a wonder that the halo still shimmered over her blonde head. “Tonight, we’re gonna get a little mischievous.”
The girls giggled, sharing secretive smiles that Joan didn’t understand.
“These prep kids and airheads have been nothing but a major pain in all our backsides and I think it’s time for some payback.”
Although angel girls they were, pretty enough for the in-crowd, they lacked the snarkiness and status required, resulting in their being shunned and picked on by the group. Genesis had been the first to break, rallying the other girls who’d had enough of the jokes. Joan hoped they’d taken the necessary precautions.
“Oh Holy Father and Holy Mother in the Heavens,” the girls closed their eyes, heads bowed, faces serene. “We ask for your guidance in this time of ass-kicking.”
Joan didn’t close her eyes, preferring to observe the strange circus unfolding around her. They joined hands when Gen told them to, keeping their heads bowed as she continued her quiet discourse to the spirits above. A breath of magic/power went through the circle and Joan shivered. It was starting to smell like witchcraft. The girls began swaying, their voices joining Gen’s in a harmonious prayer, the body between them regaining colour. A foot twitched as they continued, Genesis smiling fiercely, eyes wild with an emotion Joan couldn’t read. Her speech was growing garbled, another language mixing in with the English.
“This is my will, so mote it be.”
With great ceremony, she cut the palm of her hand, letting her blood fall into the cup a moment before passing it on to the girl on Joan’s right. She repeated the words as she opened her own skin, adding to the cup. Each little angel offered a bit of themselves to a power they didn’t know.
Joan eyed the knife when it got to her, wondering if she had the guts to go through with this. Gen observed her with a daring smirk, arms crossed. A bit of blood seeped in the thin cotton of her shirt. Closing her eyes, Joan pressed the blade to the meaty part under her thumb, holding back a shudder at the cold viscous sensation of old blood. The sting made her wince. She felt her heart rate speed up, banging in her veins like a trapped thing as her blood flowed cold on her wrist. Genesis immediately placed the cup to receive the precious liquid, smiling at Joan’s paling complexion before walking into the circle and crouching at the dead man’s head. He looked like a wax figure, stiff limbs with the color of the living. She put the cup to his lips, a small trickled of red falling at the corner of his lips.
A low moan began in his chest as his eyes opened slowly, void of pupils. The angel girls leaned forward, rapt, their little pink tongues darting out to wet their nervous dry lips. Even Joan watched, fascinated, the cut on her palm throbbing. He got up with quick jerky movements, the moan still rattling in his mostly empty ribcage. Genesis kissed his cheek with a thrilling giggle, watching as he lumbered in the general direction of the partiers. What started as laughter, jeers and cheers quickly turned to screams as the students were attacked.
The angels stood, watching as they spilled across the lawns in all directions, a jumble of limbs and drinks discarded and forgotten. Joan was conflicted; was this what she really wanted? Some of those kids were dying tonight and she wasn’t doing anything to stop it. Wasn’t it her duty as an angel to protect the innocents? The children of God? She tightened her left hand, welcoming the pain instead of shying away from it. Genesis caught her eye and held it, smiling as she brought the knife to her lips to take a long slow lick along the edge.
It was like a crater opened in the center of Joan’s chest. All breath voided her lungs as she zeroed in on her tongue until it retreated behind her lips once again. They’d caused so much trouble by now that none of them were getting out of this one. She might as well enjoy it… right? She entertained the thought for a nanosecond but squelched it almost as fast, turning her back on a temptation she refused to understand.
She ran back to her dorms too fast for the costumed people roaming the streets to even notice her. When she made it back to her quarters, she forsook the door for a mad dash up the outer walls, easily entering through her partially open window. Throwing random items into a small suitcase, she was back out in a few minutes, almost flying down the stairs with her urgency. She stopped at the dorm mother’s room, out of breath, windswept and wide-eyed, words stumbling out before the door was even fully open. She shut up abruptly when she realized she made no sense. The older lady adjusted the shawl she’d hastily thrown over her shoulders and straightened her glasses.
“Well, what’s a matter, lass?”
Without warning, Joan’s eyes welled with tears. “This is going to sound very bad.”