Chapter 1.2 "Troubles in Heaven"
Derek let go of Margo’s hand. He went close to the entrance and examined the perimeters with bulging eyes. He pressed the only button of his watch. A tone played.
“Yes? Azrael? Can you hear me? Hello?”
With a scowl, Derek stomped toward the gate.
“I need you to open the door for me,” he said.
“Which door?” Ramiel said.
“The Heaven’s door, you idiot!”
Ramiel sighed, “I cannot do that, sorry.”
“Why not? I am in front of it. With a spirit!” he said, turning around. “Just great!” Derek realised he was alone. No sign of Margo. “Damn, girl!”
“Did you say something?” Ramiel’s voice echoed.
“Open it, or I am going to knock it down.”
“Bosses’ order. Everyone has to use their key. It is a matter of security,” Ramiel communicated. Disconcerted, Derek glanced around. He had to locate the key. And Margo.
Arrived at the Midwinter residence, Lionette got out of the car, helped by the driver. She placed some bags with groceries in his arms.
“Take these to the kitchen, please.”
Then, she stretched her leg towards the trunk-closing sensor. Seeing a young girl passing by, she looked around and warned her, “Be careful with the white linen. The lady of the house doesn’t like any spots on it.”
“Yes, Madame Lionette,” the girl said and sprinted inside.
The woman took off her elegant hat in a dusty grey colour, just like her hair. She arranged some invisible folds and, straightening her back, trotted to the kitchen, her medium heels sending hollow sounds in the large hallway. After washing her hands, the woman started unloading the shopping into the cupboards, shelves, and fridge. A dry sound forced her to explore the polished floor. She didn’t see a thing, and shrugging, she continued her job.
A bit tired, the woman grabbed a glass and filled it with cold water.
“Boo!” A strident voice made her hand tremble, a few drops of liquid splashing on her elegant shoes.
“Robert, you naughty boy!” Lionette exhaled.
“Hi, Lio,” the boy said, elevating his chin. He took a grape from a plate lying on the table, sucked its content and dropped the peel on the marble countertop as he moseyed to the refrigerator.
“Give me something to eat,” Robert said while checking the fridge’s contents. “I’m hungry.”
“Where is your brother?” Lionette asked, looking behind his back somewhere in the hall. The boy shrugged.
“I will make you a sandwich.”
Before Lionette finished preparing his food, Robert left the kitchen and rushed to his room. Without removing his shoes, he threw himself on the bed, landing on his stomach.
Then, a fuzzy body made it through the open door. The giant animal jumped on the boy’s back.
“Ruffus, go away. You are ruining my hair and drooling on my headphones.” The boy pushed the dog aside but found him resting his head on his pillow.
“Adrian?” the boy yelled. “Take your animal out of my bed. Adrian!”
“Sorry,” Adrian said, sticking his head into the room. Then, grabbing Ruffus by the leash, he said, “Come here, boy, leave Robert alone. Let’s go for a walk.” Then he looked at his brother. “Do you want to join us?”
Robert nodded and continued playing on his phone.
“OK. Come on, Ruffus.” Adrian gave his brother a half-hearted smile and left the room. After a while, Lionette entered, carrying a plate with sandwiches.
“Your mother is coming home today,” she started the conversation.
“I am meeting with my friends later. I will see her tomorrow.”
“She missed you,” the woman shook her head with a firm expression. “She hadn’t had the chance to see you before going on her book promotion.”
“Yes,” Robert said, giving her a tight-lipped smile.
Alone and scared, Margo bit the interior of her cheek while wandering on the narrow paved road in the Town Center. She had been here many times but looked unfamiliar and colourless today. She sensed a strange cold inside her body, spreading to her hands and feet. People were moving around, set in motion by their busy schedules, bumping into each other.
Margo could see their colourful energy, yet some were as pale as a face that had never seen the sun. She was disturbed by those ghosts lingering among people with dark voids instead of eyes and ephemeral bodies floating above the ground. Some approached her, sniffed the air around her and even tried to touch her. Then, each of them lost interest and continued their wandering.
Just by the corner, the orphanage building loomed. It was dwelling in an abandoned chapel, surrounded by an ancient cemetery filled with tombstones, a cemetery that had been the playground for many generations of orphans.
Margo found herself in front of her old home, her sylphlike silhouette not shadowing the road as it should. The rusty gate squeaked under her hand’s pressure. Or she thought so before she felt somebody walking right through her body like through thin air. It was that moment when Margo accepted she had died, even if she might have already known it deep inside. She was a spectre. God may think He showed her mercy by giving her a chance to die and get rid of the orphan condition. But a ghost?
Margo spotted a person going towards the building, and the image faded. The girl footslogged to the entrance. She felt her body weaken, and before reaching the door, she lost her senses. Heavy steps echoed on the ground a few minutes later, awakening her. Somebody was lurching by the orphanage wall, disappearing around the corner before she could see their face. Still weak, she stood up and followed curiously.
The girl heard the wooden shed door closing and hid behind a tree. A padlock was supposed to seal the entrance, but someone had left it open.
Realising that she was hiding, Margo smirked. The girl stepped out of the trunk’s protection and trotted straight to the shed; she was a ghost and could use this to her advantage. It was dark inside, only a few rays of light sneaking through the wood’s imperfect joints, enlightening the thick layer of dust deposited all around. Gardening tools were scattered on the floor, half-empty paint cans were covering the shelves, and no human was inside. Margo’s eyes wandered across the entire room. Something caught her attention—a fresh footprint had deranged the dirt. A thing glowed in the right corner, making her rattle. With her hands clenched into fists, she swaggered in that direction.
Once a part of a lawnmower, a shiny metal piece was lying on a telescoping ladder. “There is nothing,” the girl grumbled.