Edith lunged forward, poised to plunge the blade straight into Clara’s heart. Her eyes focused on the precise spot to strike at the expense of anything else. That is, until a blur of blazing orange materialised from out of the ether.
“What the—” Edith said, questioning her eyes.
The apparition gained definition in both shape and form, but the girl maintained a modicum of transparency. The red hair, freckles, and acolyte’s uniform were all clues to this interloper’s identity.
“Carrots,” Clara tried to say, inducing a coughing fit that sprayed liberal amounts of blood over the pavement.
Edith questioned her next step, and the why of this situation was her first thought on the matter. She had not summoned this child, nor was there a reason that she could think of. Doubt set in and infested her thoughts, much to Clara’s relief. Sadly, that coughing fit had been severe enough to render her unconscious.
Angela’s lips moved, but she was unable to vocalise. Frustrated, the apparition closed her eyes, calmed down, and materialised fully into this world.
“What in heaven’s name are you doing?” Angela questioned.
“I’m fulfilling my mission,” Edith said bluntly. Her features then softened before adding, “So I can get back to you.”
Angela smiled before wrapping her arms around her lover’s mid-section. Given their age difference, this looked more like a mother being reunited with her long lost daughter. Edith dropped the blade and lifted the child. That single moment of intimacy was enough to feel whole, wanted, and alive.
“So,” Angela said. “You think that killing the greatest love of your life will bring you back to me?”
Edith jerked her head back and blushed. She never thought it possible that Angela would defend Clara, let alone show a mastery of insight on matters that Edith had yet to admit to herself.
Angela giggled and gave Edith a quick peck on the lips, “You really thought I knew nothing of this, or even suspected?”
“How did you?” Edith asked.
“For one, you summoned me from the grave to fetch Clara. You could have chosen anyone else, like say the Reverend Mother,” Angela replied.
“And?” Edith urged the other to go on.
“I saw you two during the war,” Angela said. “That woman saved your life and endangered her own when she left behind her great coat to keep you warm in the dead of winter.”
Edith always figured that Angela had stayed within the confines of her own world. She never once questioned why Angela was able to recognise her after aging twenty-years. For this to make sense, Angela would have had to visit the overlook and keep an eye out for Edith.
Angela knew the thoughts running through Edith’s mind and said, “Yes, I saw that.” She then giggled before adding, “I wanted you to be happy. So why complicate matters?”
“That… I was aware, yes,” Edith replied.
“Just like I knew that your vigils over the mortal realm were for more than sightseeing,” Angela countered.
Angela squeezed Edith’s neck and kissed her cheek. The senior of the two did not notice any waning in affection or emotion. In fact, the opposite was true.
“Besides, I saw Clara fall to the mortal realm around the same time you did,” Angela said with a nod. “Happened right after that shockwave hit us.”
“You mean?” Edith asked.
“That she was telling you the truth?” Angela asked to confirm. “Yes, Gabriel confirmed it for me. Although that wasn’t the biggest surprise.”
“Oh?” Edith asked.
Angela kissed Edith passionately before pushing herself away and landed on the pavement. She then walked over to Clara, placed her wrist against the wounded woman’s forehead, and shook her head. She then turned to look out towards the alley’s entrance. In the distance, there were signs of panic building in the park and that meant their time was growing short.
“You were waiting for me when I got home,” Angela said with a straight face.
“I was home?” Edith queried.
Angela nodded, “The incarnation of you who never became an angel. The one who finally managed to find release from all of that duty and honour that haunted you in life.”
There was another Edith out there which meant there could be two Claras as well. That did a lot to explain the remnant she found back in the apartment.
“I know you don’t really get what’s going on,” Angela said.
The sounds of people in a panic were growing more pronounced. Edith turned her head to investigate and saw streams of people fleeing the park.
“Your destiny awaits,” Angela said while she pointed to the commotion in the park. “I’ll take care of Clara, just like I did for you. Remember? Now go!”
Angela’s smile was warm and compelling. She remembered seeing that beautiful child, even through the delirium induced by a near fatal infection. All the while, the sense of panic out there continued to grow.
“I love you!” Edith said before running into the chaos.
“I love you too!” Angela said with a smile.
In the back of her mind, Angela hoped that Elizabeth would get back here soon. Otherwise, Clara would not have long in this world.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!