When Shadows Dance
July 25th, 2001
Shortly after my Grandmother died, something inside me changed. At first I was sad, mad, felt guilty and robbed. Then I took a step back and realized that our family has been blessed beyond belief. Since my Grandmother died we’ve had no tragedies. There have been no diseases, no addictions, no wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time situations and no deaths. I should have died twice and have not one mark to show for it. My Grandma protected us in life and I remember her saying that she always would. Somehow, I know that she still is that she’s with us even though I can’t see her.
But just the same, I miss her terribly.
This story is not about but dedicated to my Beloved Grandmother:
“She will learn in time”, the Angel said as he straightened his white robe and took a seat on the step, “but there’s still this small matter of the children. They could hinder her as much as help but we’ll worry about that later.” The Angel stole a quick glance at the young angel apprentice.
“What was your name again youngster? I’m terrible with names. Never forget a face though, but names . . .”
“Bishop, Sir. Langston Bishop.”
“Well Bishop, she harbors a lot of blind hatred towards the people who were there and towards society in general. Now the irony in all this is that half of those people are here in the 9th circle.”
Langston Bishop looked at the Angel with a puzzled expression plastered across his face.
“It was a big incident back then,” the Angel said, “she’s never seen the outcome. Now, once this child re…You did read the scrolls on this didn’t you?”
The Angel raises one bushy, white eyebrow in Bishop’s direction. When Bishop nods the eyebrow glides back into place.
“Good,” the Angel continues, “once the child reaches adulthood and gets … Well, you’ve read the scrolls, no need to bore you with details. But this will be a huge turning point to say the least. Which way it’ll turn even I can’t say for she keeps reliving that night and frankly, it’s driving her mad.”
The Angel strokes his bushy beard with his thumb and forefinger.
“There is the dancing though; and the infant, we must not forget him. What’s his name again?”
“Percy, Sir. Percy Winters”, Bishop answers calmly.
“Yes. Percy. Percy may very well make or break this case. Now is there anything that I’ve missed or left out Bishop?”
Bishop raises his baby blue eyes upward in contemplation and his left forefinger darts towards his mouth. He stands that way for a brief moment then swiftly the hand drops from his mouth and quickly disappears in the folds of his robe. His eyes once again focus on the Angel.
“Her rage Sir; it may cause some people to think her presence is evil. But then again, Sir, we do have Percy. And Percy does mean the world to her, so to speak.”
“Yes, Bishop, we do don’t we? He’s our little ace in the hole now isn’t he? Well, I think this case is going to go just fine, don’t you?”
“Yes”, Bishop replies with a slight smile, “I have no doubt about it, Sir.”
“Good, now help an old man up, would you please?”
The Angel raises an arm and Bishop can’t help but admire the Angel’s silky, ebony skin as a sleeve glides down revealing one bony elbow.
“Now I gonna leave you in charge of this Bishop but I want you to keep me posted. I want to know every twist and turn, every incident. We can't let things get out of control.”
“I will Sir.”
“And Bishop . . .”
“Stop calling me Sir. Makes me feel old artifact.”
“Yes Sir, uh I mean, yes J.C.”
“That’s a good lad.”
The Angel flashes Bishop a heart-warming smile before they turn and walk up the steps towards the chapel.
The woman in white sat silently in the white rocker next to the crib in the room with the large Victorian windows contemplating events which had long since pasted from a time that had moved on.
The room was gorgeous and jaunty. There was cheery light blue wallpaper with puffy little clouds, a light gray carpet decorated with multi-colored teddy bears, a clock in the shape of a smiling sun (the sun’s eyes tick-tocked back and forth as it counted off the seconds) and cheery white furniture with tiny blue and yellow flowered etchings. There was also a huge mobile with swinging paper cranes, green paper frogs, turtles and tiny rainbow colored balls.
The crib was also white with the flower etchings and had a lovely blue canopy. Another mobile with miniature toys dangled solely for the infant’s amusement and it had the finest little mattress stuffed with down and fluffy white pillows.
But the woman in white did not notice the wallpaper with the puffy little clouds, nor did she notice the mobile with the paper cranes dangling from the ceiling. She sat in the rocker, slowly rocking back and forth, staring out of the window and into the darkened sky and beyond; she stared at something only she could see.
Her good eye (a murky shade of gray mixed with dark maroon slashes) twitched slightly. The other drifted to the outer corner of her eye, jerked spastically then drifted back, slightly off center, and was still. Her chest heaved heavily then collapsed. Her mouth sucked in raspy little breaths of nonexistent oxygen. There were small flecks of white paint underneath her short-cropped fingernails where they had dug beyond the white lacquer and deep into the wood of the rockers armrests.
She was in that place again, that bad place.
That place where time stood still and the movies never ended. Where every showing was on the house and you always got a front row seat.
Dancing, you enjoyed the dancing!
The voice inside her head sounded familiar but she couldn’t quite place it, she never could. It had become a droning, vibrating voice which echoed through her skull.
But she remembered; she had enjoyed the music that floated through the great halls as she danced.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash of white light and she was catapulted to a huge ballroom with a massive black and white marble floor. A woman in a long flowing white silk dress stands halfway up a wide spiral staircase. The staircase leads up to one of the master bedrooms at the end of a long hallway with two smaller bedrooms, joined by a shared doorway to the left. Golden hair flows over the woman’s shoulders and rains down her back. The woman in white cannot see her face but she knows she is astonishingly beautiful.
‘But Belinda said I could play with her, Mommy.’
The child stood at the top of the staircase. She was holding a lovely porcelain doll by the arm. The doll hung slightly askew with her black ballerina shoe scraping the dark, parquet floor of the hallway.
The child was sobbing. Tears that were almost too large for such tiny eyes streamed down her cheek, the corners of her small mouth twisted upward. Her lips twitched.
“But honey, you might break Sally and Belinda would be broken hearted. You know how much she loves Sally. Next time we go into town we’ll have Mr. Reifenschmidt make you one just like her. You can name her whatever you’d like and play with her anytime you so desire. She can even sleep with you and Mr. Teddy, how does that sound?”
The words emanating from the woman’s mouth sounded distant and hollow, as if they had passed through a long metallic tunnel.
Suddenly, the scene dispersed, sending large ripples coursing through her head like the waves of a disturbed pond. The vision soon flickered, and just as abruptly as it had appeared, like so many times before, the vision simply vanished.
The woman in white sighed, rose from the rocker and floated towards the window. Her long hair, now brittle and charred in places, dipped and swayed behind her, seemingly dancing upon invisible winds. She wore a long, flowing dress of blazing white that rippled as it sliced through the air and gave just the slightest hint of a once gorgeous and voluptuous body underneath. A long white scarf tied around her slender neck seemed to disappear behind her and merge into the attenuated folds of her white dress.
She had been beautiful once, striking, but now her once silky smooth skin was blackened and charred a radical contrast to the blazing white of her gown. Her features seemed to have melted together and most of her upper lip was gone. Her face now had the slightly lopped-sided look of a stroke victim. Half of her face was burned and blistered; the other half, though only lightly scorched, seemed locked in eternal agony. Surprisingly, most of her teeth were still bright and shiny. Only a few were blackened, smoke stained and cracked.
As she hovered before the large window, her once delicate feet occasionally touched lightly upon the teddy bear carpet as her dismal gaze fixed itself once more beyond the realm of the world that now imprisoned her.
Outside, the wind gently hugged the trunks of majestic trees and whipped through their treetops as it scurried off into the night, leaving clumps of snow tumbling to the ground. The moon, cuddled in a bed of cotton-soft clouds, was well into its nightly shift. Powdery snow dominated the landscape, transforming the meadow before her into a massive white blanket. Other than large flakes of snow drifting in downward spirals and an occasional clump of treetop snow, nothing moved.
And mercifully for the woman in white, there were no sounds tonight. No clanking of glasses brought together in a toast, no distant drone of lighthearted conversation, no laughing voices, no cheers, no shouts, no…
‘No! No! Sarah, don’t go up there! It’s too late, honey! Help is coming! Wait! Sarah! Sarah! …’
Another white flash shot through her head and the woman in white’s hands shot up to her temples. She pressed hard, jerking slightly forward and slamming into the window.
The white streaked forward, like a freight train, started to slow, nearly stopping, but then, almost as an after thought, it picks up speed, lurching forward at a breakneck pace. The woman in white presses harder against her temples as if trying to trip an emergency brake but the train pays no attention and hustles onward, like so many times before, determined to deliver its passenger to the final destination…
‘Raging fire lashes out from under the door and she barely makes out the second doorway (this is the child’s bedroom, she remembers) that connects with (her daughters?) the adjacent room. The hallway is thick with smothering, black smoke now. Her eyes are burning and she throws up a hand covering her mouth and nose, her fingers act as a temporary filter.
… Mommy! Mom-meeee! …
She touches the door and immediately jerks her hand back. She could feel it, a strong searing heat seeping through the wood.
… Jessie! Hold on honey, I’m coming. …
She tries to sound calm, although her heart beats like a terrified wild beast in her chest, but fails miserably. She darts to the second door, touches it and finds it barely warm. She snatches it open. The room is filled with more of the same black smoke from the hallway but she notices it quickly seeping under the adjacent room’s door well; being sucked inside like a dying creature’s gasping last breathe. Then she remembers; she opened the window. The draft intensified the fire.
…Oh God, No!!! ... Jessie! …
She dashes to the door connecting the rooms, grabs the doorknob and screams in pain. She looks at her hand. It’s red and blistering rapidly, trembling uncontrollably. A light scent of burnt flesh slowly creeps through the room. She absently snatches the blanket off the bed, wraps it tightly around her injured hand and tugs at the doorknob. Sharp bolts of pain race up her arm, locking her injured hand into a blistered claw. She hardly notices as fire lashes out probing fingers and embrace her in its fiery arms. Suddenly, she is engulfed in yellowish-red flames. Her mouth opens wide, but no sounds, not even the high pitched wail of her screams, seem to pierce the angry roar of raging fire.
With almost ethereal slowness and the clarity reserved for vivid, life-like dreams, she sees flames leaping and prancing about her. They tug at her flowing gown of white silk, demanding she join them in their fiery dance, then burst into patches of angry flames. Throbbing spirals originate from her head and course through her body in a perverted and twisted dance. They seem to entwine every nerve ending squeezing and twisting until black and white dots dance before her eyes.
…Mommy! Mommy … Aaahhh! …
She hears the child’s screams piercing the thick darkness threatening to overcome her. She ignores the pain and darkness, wraps herself in the blanket, which surprisingly didn’t catch fire and rolls on the floor. She gets up, throws the blanket over her burnt and smoldering head and frantically dashes into the burning room.
Immediately the sickly-sweet, pungent smell of burnt flesh assaults her nostrils. She had sensed the odor in the hallway but couldn’t quite place it. Her frantic mind had insisted that it was her own flesh when she first opened the door and she had nearly believed it until she saw the body.
It was a charred lump of twisted flesh, smoldering in the corner just beyond an angry wall of intense fire, burnt beyond recognition but still she knew; it was the body of her eldest daughter.
… Jessie! Jessieeeee! …
Her voice is hysterical now, eyes frantically darting across the room, scanning, seeking.
… Jessie! Jessi…
… Mommy! Mommy! Over here! Help me! Help!
She quickly falls to her knees, barely wincing at the pain as they strike the hard floor underneath, and looks beneath the burning bed. She doesn’t notice the flames on the wall behind her as they slowly seal her last route of escape. A strong wind kicks at the flames and they leap towards the woman, reaching out, trying to touching her one more time. She reaches blindly under the bed, searching for something, anything to grab hold of but her fingers repeatedly claw at air. In one last desperate effort, she thrusts her arm further under the bed. Finally, she feels something soft and warm and her fingers clamp tight around it and she pulls, revealing a badly scorched ankle attached to a frightened little girl with a beautiful, flawless porcelain doll in her arms.
She wants to tell her that its okay, that everything is going to be alright but the words seem stuck in her throat, as if saying them aloud would intensify the reality of their dire situation bringing the truth crashing down upon them, obliterating all that is real Instead, she snatches the child up into her arm and whirls toward to door.
But the back and white dots return
They dip and twirl in front of her eyes again, swaying to and fro in their surreal, and hypnotic dance. She fights hard to retain consciousness but she finds comfort the rhythmic motions. They soothe her wounds, the pain subsides, and as the black dots grow larger, the white ones vanish.
Soon, she feels nothing at all.
She barely hears the hysterical shrieks and screams of the child she’d just dragged from beneath the bed before the darkness engulfed her…
A sharp gust of wind grabbed shutters and slammed them against window sills.
In the distance, the lonely howl of a wolf echoed through the darkness.
In the room with the puffy little clouds, the infant started crying.
This drew the woman in white’s attention; it always did.
She floated from the window and hovered high above the baby’s crib. The flashes of memory from a distant past were, for the moment, forgotten.
He was such a beautiful creature this child.
So innocent and pure, so needy and helpless, yet she could sense a great strength within. When she gazed at the infant, she felt something inside her stir. She couldn’t describe this mad rush of emotions but she felt them nonetheless. They touched something deep inside, something that lay dormant for so long. And although she couldn’t quite remember how long she’d been here or how long it had been since the flashes of white light first started plaguing her, she felt as if the child before her knew she’d been there all along and he felt the rush of emotions also.
She clearly remembered the first time she had sung to him. How he could barely open his eyes but would abruptly flash her that toothless, full-faced grin in recognition, not knowing how to just smile yet. She remembered when the mobile had fallen and almost struck the child. She had stopped it in mid-air, letting it fall noiselessly to the teddy-bear carpet a safe distance away. She remembered how the child had turned in his sleep and almost smothered on the fluffy mattress and pillows; she had gently lifted the child and turned him over without disturbing his sleep.
And the cat, oh yes, she remembered the cat also.
The crafty feline had lounged across the infant’s face. When the child attempted to move the cat, the feline had lashed out, clawing the child’s face, leaving two jagged lines streaking across one puffy cheek.
She had become furious and tossed the cat through the closed window in a blind fit of rage. It had smashed against a large tree trunk and crashed to the ground as she watched its spirit drift away.
The infant did not seem to care about her burnt skin nor her singed hair. He seemed to only feel the love lavished upon him and gave it in return. She felt fire in her heart when he looked at her, a warm, hearty wholesome fire. A fire that warmed as it caressed, not burned and destroyed.
It was a fire that she was not afraid of.
Miniature tears streamed down his puffy cheeks, his tiny hands were clenched in fists and his face had turned scarlet with strain. As always, when he began to cry, she hovered close to the child and began to sing. The child stopped immediately and stared at the woman clad in white. He began to kick his tiny feet with joy and anticipation, smiling his toothless smile.
As disfigured and hideous was the woman in white, so imperial and magnificent was her song. The paper animals danced to her velvety voice, as did the toys dangling from the crib. The wind seemed to stop and take notice before scurrying off into the night. She sang for the child, like she had for many children before him, sang until the ld fell into peaceful slumber.
And as always, in his dreams she placed the dancing toys.
The woman in white sat atop the roof slightly to the right of the room with the large Victorian windows. The joyful sound of the child’s laughter reached up to her and as always, she smiled. She enjoyed watching him romp and play and shriek with childish pleasure. Percy, (she had come to associate that name with him) had grown to be a lovely child. His tussles of bright red locks bobbed up and down as he ran which accented the light splash of freckles splattered across little nose and rosy cheeks. His eyes, as an infant had been a kaleidoscope of light blues, were now a glimmering shade of bright jade green.
At present, he was standing to the right of a little white triangle shaped something (to her it looked like a dingy piece of paper) holding a fat stick. The end of the stick made little circles in the air and Percy rocked back and forth on his toes.
When the little white ball came flying at him she tensed but sensing no danger she relaxed again. She heard a sharp crack as the stick connected with the ball and Percy dashed toward a white square, stopping with one foot on the square and waited. He stood that way for awhile, dashed to another square, then another square and back to the white triangle. When he wasn’t by the triangle or the squares he would cheer and laugh and jump around.
A strange game but it filled her heart with joy to see him happy and unharmed.
But something was amiss, she could feel it.
She felt that familiar twinge of uneasiness; something just beyond the confines of her perception. She sensed obscurity, debasement and an absolute evilness hanging motionless and tensed, ready to pounce like a great cat.
The air around her suddenly felt thick and velvety. Darkness surrounded her and she felt herself being thrust into its depths.
She was spinning downward now, not the calming motion of dance, which she had loved so much, but the helpless swirl of vertigo. She felt as if she were moving against a soft wall of resistance. The darkness propelled her with the speed of light, but cushioned her as it sped her along its predetermined course filled with madness.
She was falling forever, it seemed, and she welcomed it.
Suddenly, Percy appeared.
He was riding a bike along a dirt road, much bigger and huskier; his locks of red hair were now cropped short.
She saw a car speeding recklessly towards him. Absently she willed the car to stall. Percy passed the car a short time later and the vision faded to darkness once again.
She could hear voices now, voices of children’s laughter and adult chatter. It pierced her head like so many probing fingers. Some were calling out to her. She felt their pain and their grief. It was a feeling of absolute hopelessness and abandonment and it plagued their voices and punctured her brain, like a thousand needles were being slowly and meticulously shoved through her skull.
“He was there,” she heard a voice say, “He has always been, He will always be.”
“The time is near,” another voice was saying, “give her time. We have not erred, we shall not be condemned, you will see.”
“Is she one of His soldiers? Is this His coming?”
“Have faith, you must believe. Surely you can feel the energy? Can you not sense the power?”
“Yes, but all is distorted.”
“Of course, she is not one of us, not yet.”
“But I don’t understand, how many more will join us?
“I do not know.”
“And the children, why all of the children?”
“He works in mysterious ways. Please, have faith.”
The voices diminished to a low drone before finally disappearing.
The veil of darkness lifted and she saw Percy sitting at a small desk with his face buried in a thick book. His red locks were long now. They formed a thick mane that flowed like a great river over his shoulders and down between his shoulder blades. When she floated towards him and hovered directly in front of him, he looked up and stared in her direction, his head cocked to one side as if listening to a minute sound that only he could hear.
For a moment their eyes seemed to meet.
She reached out her hand to him and smiled. Percy threw a curious glance over his shoulder before shaking his head and smiling also. He had felt that sudden feeling of comfort which had followed him throughout his entire before and did not dwell on it.
He returned to his books.
The woman in white was still smiling when darkness suddenly engulfed her again.
“There is still time.” she heard a distant voice state.
“No, she is lost. We cannot help her.”
“I shall not abandon her now, not while there is still time, we …”
The voices faded again.
Bright lights flooded the darkness; they flickered and dimmed and she felt the velvety walls dissipate around her, the swirling feeling abruptly vanished.
The woman in white sighed lightly and rose from the deteriorated white rocker. It was now faded and dented in places; the once smooth and even finish was now chipped and scratched.
She noticed Percy locked in a fretful dream and floated towards the bed.
She stared at him, in his queen-sized bed with the cream-colored silk sheets and smiles. As she hovers close to him, she begins to sing softly and Percy stirs lightly.
Finally, he falls into a peaceful and even state of slumber.
And as always, in his dreams she places the dancing toys, the ones that always make him smile.
As she hovered above Percy on this dark and dismal street, nothing could describe the sense of urgency and danger she felt.
She could feel it gnawing at her insides; twisting and writhing like an injured animal that refused to succumb to death. It tweaked nerve endings, heightened her awareness while it shoved Percy before her like a trophy. She could not only feel what was going to happen, in her minds eye, she could now see it through a thin film of haze.
The man was dressed from head to toe in black; black to blend with the shadows and become non-descriptive, black like smothering smoke and absolute void of death.
Although she could not see his face (he was hiding in the shadows tucked away in an alley), she could see the straight razor he held in his rugged hands. She felt the many tortured souls that were forced to accompany him, souls that were trapped in his essences and had formed an aura of death which surrounded him. She could feel them crying out to her, warning her.
They showed her visions; a little girl bound and gagged with her skull smashed in on one side. He was standing over her grinning with a bloody hammer in his hands. A little boy lies naked on a large rug shielding himself, one arm over his head for protection. A look of sheer terror was plastered across his face. The man in black stood over the boy with the same straight razor he had in his hands now and a sickly grin on his face. The vision of a man in a drainage pipe gazing at her through horror-stricken dead eyes crashed into her head. There was another little girl with a gaping slit in her throat, the same dead stare of horror stared back at her. An old woman who had been beaten to death with a huge hunk of stone stared at her now. A younger woman now, naked and cowering, whimpered in the corner of a dimly lit room.
He was there.
He was holding a machete.
And as he lurched towards the woman, he was grinning.
She could feel the souls turning towards Percy. They were shouting out to him, warning him, but he could not feel nor see nor hear them. He was rounding the corner just yards away from the man dressed in black now.
Almost instantly, she was beside Percy and she touched his shoulder lightly, stopping him dead in his tracks. He stared in her direction, not unseeing but she knew he sensed her presence.
Now, she concentrated on the man dress in black.
She placed an image of him in Percy’s head. She withheld the disturbing visions the others had given her and instead showed him the razors straight edge, flashing in the moonlight sleek and deadly, telling many tales of murder and torture and suffering.
She floated over to the alley now feeling her rage growing stronger as she grew near. When she reached the man dressed in black, her rage had become an uncontrollable rabid animal full of loathing and hatred for the thing before her. There had been so much death at the hands of this one man, so much fire and smoke.
But there had been no help for these lost souls.
And the children, she could see some of them hovering around him, their souls trapped and begging to be freed. The little girl with her brain crushed and dripping out of a gaping hole in her skull, the little girl with a gaping gash in her throat, the little boy naked and helpless all reached hands out to her and suddenly she felt like she would explode with rage.
She hovered close to the man dress in black. The alley filled instantly in a soft blood-red light and her blazing white grown was transformed into an extant color of blood that expanded and contracted like an angry heart beating faster and faster, threatening to burst free of its confines.
The man dressed in black was staring at her.
She felt such loathing and disgust as she reached out her hand. The dead souls were also staring at her, reaching for her outstretched hand, begging for freedom in the form of this burnt and charred woman. The man dressed in black turned and ran, dropping the straight razor, deeper into the alley and she followed him shrouded in the reddish-white light. She could still see the dead souls reaching for her as he darted away; their eyes locked in eternal ghastly stares and gazes.
The man dressed in black had run into a dead end and as he spun around, once again facing her, he stared at her with terror in his eyes. Why, she briefly reflected, should this look be spread across his face? Is it not he who enjoys the look of terror on the faces of others? Is it not he who wanted to see that look of horror on the face of my beloved Percy?
Without warning, her arms shot out. She grabbed him by the head with both hands and all of the torment and fear, all of her rage and pain, all of the suffering and remorse she’d experienced for centuries, she gave to him.
It came like a great mental tidal wave, crashing into his head with the force of an archaic tempest. She flung him into the air like a rag doll and his body jerked once before going rigid. His arms flailed frantically in the air before finally falling limp at his sides. One shoe tumbled to the ground as she lifted him higher.
She stared into his blackened eyes, searching for goodness, searching for a soul hidden deep inside this rotten crust begging for freedom.
But she found none.
Gently, she placed a tender kiss upon his forehead.
Then crushed his skull between her charred fingers.
When she released him, he hung suspended for a brief moment and she turned her back to him. Moments later, he fell to the ground in a crumpled heap and as she watched the freed souls shoot past her and drift skyward, a realization finally came to her with an intensity that she never experienced before.
She staggered when her feet touched lightly upon the cracked pavement and smiled as she kneeled down upon her injured knees and thanked God for freeing her.
Percy was standing with his face turned upward, watching the strange glowing balls of white light drift up to the heavens when he noticed the woman in white floating towards him.
She was encased in a blazing light of radiant white.
She was smiling at him and Percy felt absolutely no fear. The woman was somehow grotesquely disfigured yet magnificently stunning at the same time. He could envision such an inner beauty in her that it was overpowering, and suddenly he knew that she was without a doubt the most beautiful creature that he had ever seen.
Her smile; it was filled with such warmth and love that it made him dizzy; love seemed to reach out and encased everything it touched in a feeling of comfort and safety. It was a feeling that was very familiar, a feeling of warmth, tingly and joyous that made him ecstatically happy.
When the woman in white neared him, he felt a strange sensation; it was a mixture of Déjà vu and a certainty of realization that brought him to the verge of tears. He felt as if he’d been here before, knew that he’d met the woman in white before, that she’d somehow always been there. Slowly, he reached out for her. He wanted to take her in his arms and hold her. He sensed the pain, suffering and guilt even through the love that emanated from her. And as they touched, visions of a long dead past filled his head…
… There were massive amounts of food and drink. Elaborate garments of the finest silk hung from the shoulders of beautiful women and handsome men. A few children romped and played inside. The sound of sweet music drifted through the air. She was dancing. Dancing and twirling and laughing. Swaying with the sweet music. Nobody noticed the fire upstairs until it was too late. Her children, two little girls, were trapped upstairs. He could hear them screaming. She ran upstairs to save them but the fire had already spread throughout the upper portion of the huge house. People tried to follow her but a wall of fire had sealed her in and blocked their entrance. People were running frantically about, trying to put the fire out. Beams came crashing down. Not long after the roof caved in killing a great many people. Upstairs, she and her youngest daughter had joined her eldest daughter in death…
… and just as quickly as they had come, the visions were mercifully gone.
Percy embraced the woman in white and silently they danced. They danced to the sound of music from a time that had long since moved on. And as they danced, Percy noticed a tear stream down the woman in white’s charred cheek. Percy felt the music. He felt it drift upon the air ever so lightly and lift the woman in white’s heavy burden from her shoulders, carrying it off into the night.
Just before she vanished, Percy knew that she would be reunited with her loved ones very soon.
He also knew that she would always be with him.
That she was his guardian angel.
“… but he is going to prove a very trying case,” the angel was saying, “pretty much like yours was.”
The angel looked at her and winked.
“I thought we were going to lose you there for a moment.”
He walked over to the water fountain, dipped his cupped hands in and took a long drink. His eyes fixed upon the woman standing on the other side of the fountain and one bushy white eyebrow raises up in her direction.
“Sir,” she said, “is something wrong?”
“No. No Sally nothings wrong. I was just wondering…”
“Sarah, Sir. My name is Sarah Parker”
“Oh my, that’s quite embarrassing, I’m so sorry. You know I’m just terrible with names. I never forget a face though.”
The angel flashed her a heart-warming smile of apology.
“That’s quite alright, Sir. You were saying?”
“Oh, never mind. Wasn’t very important. We’ll get back to it at a later. Now, did you get a chance to read the scrolls on this case?”
“No Sir, not yet, I just arrived yesterday.”
“Yes, yes, that’s right. I always seem to lose track of time here, so much to do you know. Well, we’ll get together tomorrow after you’ve read the scrolls. Believe you me, it helps out tons.”
“Have you seen the girls yet? A fine pair, those two. What were their names again?”
“Jessica and Belinda. We call Jessica, Jessie for short. And yes, Sir, They greeted me when I got here. Such a wondrous surprise, Sir.”
“I’m glad you were surprised. We aim to please here. Oh, that reminds me. I have something for the girls. Would you give it to them for me?”
The angel reaches into the folds of his white robe and produces two beautiful porcelain dolls with shiny black ballerina shoes. He smiles that heart-warming smile again.
“Ah yes, thank you very much, Sir.”
“Please don’t call me Sir. It makes me feel like ancient. Call me J.C, everybody else does”
“Yes Sir, uh, I mean J.C.”
The angel grins at this.
“What never fails J.C?”
“Never mind. Now, I bet you have more important things to do than listen to some old mans babble. We’ll talk tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay J.C.” Sarah smiles at the angel.
“I just wanted to thank you. Thank you for everything.”
“Oh, come now. I didn’t do much. Thank Langston Bishop when you see him. He was on your case from beginning to end. He deserves all the thanks here.”
“I will thank him as soon as I see him.”
“Now those girls are probably waiting for you right now, Sarah. What say we get a move on?”
The Angel flashes Sarah another heart-warming smile.
They turn and Sarah grabs a frail arm, and together they walk arm in arm up the steps towards the chapel.