This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
I’ve never wanted to be immortal. For as long as I can remember all I ever dreamed about was being just like any other regular guy. Soon I’ll have my chance to find out what that’s like.
Through the shimmering portal my Guardian conjures from between the hypnotic eyes of his Spirit creature, I watch the mortal girl who’ll soon be my charge with interest. Ganor watches me as I observe her through the incandescent sphere, a serious expression on his perfectly sculpted face.
“You will guard her. It’s your job to protect her, to guide her. So do your duty and don’t disappoint us.” He wags his finger at me, the sleeve of his rich blue robe flapping.
I won’t disappoint of course. I’ve been schooled not to disappoint my whole existence. As an Angelus I always knew this moment would arrive, the day when I fell from the Kingdom, assigned a charge to watch over until the Guardians see fit to recall me. Then I’ll be chosen to serve one of two Arch Angelus, Thorus or the Lightbringer. Provided I don’t fail.
My charge is Celeste Navarro and from the looks of things she could do with my help.
“Hey Navarro. Why you wearing that shit? Did you raid a thrift store?” A thin girl with a hard looking face, blonde bobbed hair and a reedy voice is addressing her. Celeste looks as if she’s slightly scared of her. There are two other girls, standing around and both of them are smirking at the blonde’s comments. I don’t think they like Celeste much.
“They’re just clothes,” Celeste says, lowering her head and mumbling. Her cheeks are bright red. She’s embarrassed, but also angry. I can tell she’s angry by the way she balls up her fists by her sides. This isn’t the first time I have observed her like this but it will probably be the last since soon I’ll be on the earth realm beside her. I’ll be in her life then – perhaps we’ll even become friends.
I continue to watch the scene unfolding through the celestial portal, wondering what will happen next and hoping Celeste can hold her anger. She’ll only make the situation worse otherwise.
“Clothes? More like rags. You’re such a skank. Why are you even here?” The blonde girl snickers.
“The school has to help a charity case now and again.” One of the thin girl’s friend’s chips in, a red head with a face as immaculately carved as if she were one of the Angelus, as if she were an immortal just like me.
Those kind of looks don’t interest me much though. When you’ve grown up around tall, perfect-bodied beings that pretty much never visibly age past 30 your whole damn life, you get tired of all that flawlessness pretty quick.
Someone like Celeste is much more interesting to me. Puerto Rican, dark haired and small, with a dusky caramel complexion and a smattering of freckles across her nose, she intrigues me. I love her eyebrow piercing and her battered DM’s, her worn Levi’s with the sewn on band patches.
She looks different from most of the other girls at Dunmow Academy but what I like about her most is she doesn’t try to hide it. She stands up to them but boy she’s punished for it. I’ve heard the names they call her slut, skank, loser, trash. She’d never let them see how much they affect her but I’ve seen how she bawls it all out when she’s alone in her bedroom at night. I’ve seen the cuts she makes on her arms with the razorblade she keeps in her bathroom cabinet too. Humans can be so cruel to each other.
“Get lost Sarah. I’m no charity case,” Celeste says and I see she’s gritting her teeth.
The thin girl takes a step closer. She pushes a strand of polished blonde hair back from her hawkish face, her eyes mean as she looks at Celeste.
“No? You’re on a scholarship, what else would you call it? You should make more effort to be nice to us you know. We run this place.”
“It’s not me who’s got the problem.” Celeste turns away from them, kicking a piece of grit. The look on her face is defiant.
The blonde girl puts her hand on Celeste’s shoulder.
“Listen skank, we know you’re a just a slut who puts out. We all know you’ve got no class. Danny told us you went with him last week and let him do you in his car.” I can see the tears in Celeste’s eyes though she’s trying to hold them back.
“So as you can see she’s in need of some err, help,” Ganor says, looking at me. His brown eyes are kindly when he speaks but his tone is formal.
“I’ll do what I can.” I have no idea what I’m supposed to do but I guess I’ll figure that out when I get there.
“I’ve set up everything you need. A bank account, a car, your apartment is ready,” Ganor says, nodding at me.
“What kind of car?”
He grins at that. “A Mustang. White of course. What else? You have to fit in with all the rich kids in the 10th Grade.”
I grin back. Ganor’s right, Dunmow Academy in Rochester, NY, is a place of privilege. Nearly all the kids there have trust funds and rich parents. Except Celeste.
“You’ll need appropriate clothes. But I’ve arranged for all that as well. You’ll find them in your apartment. They should fit you perfectly,” he says.
I look down at the white initiate’s cloth adorning the lower half of my body, fastened at my hip with a golden clasp. It’s the only thing I’ve worn for many years now, after I took the oath of Duty when I was five years old.
“So what exactly am I supposed to do to help her?”
Ganor looks at me sighing and shaking his head.
“Don’t you remember anything you’ve been taught? It’s your job to protect her until the Guardians recall you. Solve her problems. You can start with those girls.” The Guardians are responsible for watching over the Angelus. Some of them are cool like Ganor, but some, like Morlath, scare the hell out of me.
“Yes sir,” I say. I feel oddly apprehensive about my time finally arriving even though my whole life I’ve waited for this moment. The chance to live like them. The chance to live as a mortal.
As an Angelus I’ve never known what it is to have parents. We don’t have family here, our only job is to serve and protect. We have super human hearing, sight, and sense, and each one of us has a special gift as well as a natural talent. Our gift’s not revealed to us until we complete our mission but we know our talent almost from birth. Mine is my Patha sense, the ability to sense people’s pain when I’m in close proximity to them. I can do it with humans and with some celestial beings too, except with Conceal’s and Arch Angels.
Even though I’m nervous because of my Severance, I’m excited that soon I’ll get my chance to live like them. I’d never let Ganor know of course, I’m not supposed to get excited about such things, it’s discouraged. I’m an angel, we’re supposed to be neutral. We’re the gatekeepers, the guardians of the peace, the ones who stand between.
Basically we’re supposed to avoid all the things that make human beings, truly human. We must be above feeling, as Ganor never tires of telling me.
“Donta will accompany you,” Ganor says and I nod again.
Donta is my Spiritus. He’ll be my link if I need to communicate with the Angelus when I’m on earth. A Spiritus can create a portal between worlds and Donta will enable me to link with Ganor while I’m in the earth realm. Here though Donta doesn’t ever do much except gurgle. He’s about a foot tall and kind of looks like an owl crossed with a fat, furry teddy bear. He gurgles now, as he nuzzles my feet making funny little cooing noises.
“Remember, don’t get too involved. Just guide her, it’s all you’re supposed to do,” Ganor says.
I remember the stories about Mano. I’ve often wondered whether they’re real or not.
According to gossip, after being assigned to guard a mortal girl, Mano fell in love and refused to return. Apparently the Arch Angels expelled him from Mythica, though why they wouldn’t just strike him dead doesn’t make any sense to me. Thorus and the Lightbringer are all powerful, they can do anything they want to. Anyway it’s impossible for an Angelus to become mortal. As much as I might wish it otherwise.
“Is there anything else you have questions about?” Ganor’s voice snaps me to attention. Donta emits a high pitched gobbling sound so I dig my foot into his side and he quickly shuts up.
“No, I think that’s it.”
“Then you’re ready for your Severance.” I shudder. This is the only part of my Calling I have not been looking forward to. I know it won’t be pleasant.
“I guess so, “I say, shrugging and trying to put across an air of bravado I do not feel. Severance ceremonies are never exactly benign. At my friend Dima’s Severance, he screamed out loud. And Dima was tough, even tougher than me. I hope I don’t scream, especially not in front of Janna. That would be kind of embarrassing.
“This way,” Ganor says, releasing his Spiritus and closing the portal. He walks through the Gate that leads into the Circle of Ages, turning back to beckon me to follow him. I know once I enter the Circle there will be no going back. But I’ll soon be where I’ve always dreamed of, where I do not belong but have wanted to be ever since I was a child.
I nod, following him as Donta scampers after me, bounding up excitably on to my shoulder. I don’t want to think about what’s coming next. Searing the wings off an angel’s back is no easy task.
At the moment a lustrous pair of white wings sprout from between my shoulder blades but once my Severance is performed they will be gone. I will be Fallen, banished until I complete my task on Earth and am recalled. I’ll savour living as a mortal while I can.
As I step through the Gate, I see them all gathered there. My childhood friends stand around the Circle, most of the Angelus I grew up with, their flawless faces homogenously beautiful, lit by the evanescence surrounding its perimeter. I see Janna, my best friend, look up and smile encouragingly at me and I force myself to smile back despite my nerves. Donta starts to shriek, sensing my fear, his little furry paws digging into my shoulder, and I reach up to soothe him.
I take a step closer to the Circle; I’m freaking out now the moment is finally here. Who will be performing my Severance? I know it won’t be Ganor, that’s not his job, I have never known him to perform a Severance. I take another step closer and Janna and another of my friends, Michelo, step aside to allow me to enter.
As I step into the Circle I see him, his sallow skin illuminated by the golden light. My stomach drops. Morlath. Of all the Guardians he is my least favourite. Small with a sharp looking face and deep set, red rimmed eyes, Morlath, servant to the Lightbringer is not known for his kindly manner.
Now he will be the one to perform my Severance.
He grins, lips splitting to reveal yellowing teeth, as his thin fingers beckon me closer. Donta’s shrieks become higher and I clamp my hand tightly over his mouth. Luckily he takes the hint and shuts up.
“I see your time is come,” Morlath says, looking at me, then Donta. I feel Donta shrink back; his little legs trembling and I whisper to him that it’s okay.
“Yes Lord Morlath,” I say, I have to address him as Lord or he’ll bitch. He’s kind of narcissistic that way.
“Ah little Bailey, come of age and bid to do his duty.”
“Yes, Lord Morlath.” I say again, floundering. What do I say to him?
“You will do your duty won’t you? We’re all counting on you, you will not let us down?” He takes a step towards me and cups my face, his flesh damp as it touches mine, slimy almost. I shiver but my face reveals nothing. I am an angel; I am good at being neutral after all.
“I will do my duty.”
Morlath nods, releasing my face from his grip. He reaches into the folds of his dark coloured robes, withdrawing something. I already know what it is before he holds it up. The Larna, a necklace all Fallen are given at the time of our Severance. Each of us has to wear it for the duration of our entire time on the Earth Realm so we can receive Ambrul, the divine sustenance we need to survive on earth from the Gods. Without a Larna and the Ambrul it gives us to sustain me, I would wither and evaporate into nothingness in the earth realm.
“Behold the emissary of the ancients. In tacitus complicitae exulta,” he says, holding the Larna aloft. All around me my friends chant, repeating his words.
“In tacitus complicitae exulta.” May the food of the gods sustain you.
He reaches toward me and I extend my head forward, enabling him to place it around my neck.
“The Gods have granted you their divine sustenance,” he says, fastening it. I look down at the peculiarly shaped pendant suspended from the thong made of Snaka now encircling my neck. The pendant looks like a sun with curling snakes instead of rays emanating from its sides. The Larna glitters a strange grey green in the red gold light that permanently enshrouds the Kingdom and it appears to be almost translucent.
Morlath takes me by the shoulder and I brace myself, for I know exactly what is coming next. His fingernails grip my flesh as he leans in to my ear, his breath hot upon my neck.
“Let it be done. In Sutris Decidus Domiticus.” May the Law remain unbroken.
All around me I hear my friends repeating his words. In Sutris Decidus Domiticus.
There’s an eerie red glow in the middle of the Circle and I find I can’t help but look at it. As I stare it seems to pull me closer even though I know my feet are still glued to the spot. Donta starts to wail again but though I try and reach up to comfort him, my arm is too weak to lift.
I feel my chest tighten as the red glow grows, the light increasing in size and intensity until it begins to burn my eyes.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Morlath raise his hand and panicked I try and ready myself. The voices around me rise in pitch, climbing higher and higher feverishly, and blending with Donta’s shrieks. I start to feel as though I’m spinning, like my body’s floating above the ground.
I wrench my gaze from the fire and look straight in to Morlath’s eyes. His face is a smirk as he lowers his finger to my chest and I find I’m struggling to breath. His eyes appear much darker than usual, bloody and terrible, and for a moment they make me tremble.
“Arise Fallen One. Let the Gods bear you witness,” he says, his voice a low hiss as he releases his grip on me. I feel a searing pain in my back and hear Donta’s high pitched cry pierce the air before everything around me goes black and I tumble into nothingness.
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