Saturday, March 24, 2012

Angel Sanderson–Book Two

As we all know, Angel’s Wings has been release, and is available at Devine Destinies AND at Amazon.com for all of you Kindle users.

And just to show you that there is life for Angel beyond high school, here is the first chapter of her second book. Now, this is a work in progress, and a draft, so there may be technical flaws, and this may not be what ends up in the final book.

 

Chapter One

Angel walked along the hospital hallway alone, ignoring the usual looks of annoyance from parents. The practiced public smile and small waves at the pediatric patients hid the real reason she was on this particular floor, wearing her Avenging Angel flight uniform. Stopping at the nurse’s station, she spoke briefly with the charge nurse.

“Tamika Swisher,” the nurse looked at the locator board behind the station, “room six fifteen, she’s end stage.”

“Her parents?”

“The mom is supposedly on her way, dad’s in the wind,” another nurse replied checking a patient chart.

Angel nodded and followed the younger nurse to the child’s room. It was a semi-private room with an empty second bed. The overheads lights were off and bright sunshine streamed through the gauze curtained window. Tamika was in the bed closest to the window, hooked to a number of monitors and IV lines.

The girl looked tiny in the big hospital bed, her long, dark, kinky, hair spread across the pillow like a fan. Her eyes were covered with small gauze disks. From a whispered conversation with the nurse before coming into the room, Angel was able to learn that the girl’s body was being ravaged by a fast growing cancer. It had spread to Tamika’s brain where it had already taken her sight, and according to the nurse in charge of her case, was only hours away from robbing the child of her young life.

The winged woman stepped closer to the girl’s bed, the leather of her flight suit creaking in the quiet.

“Who’s there?” the little girl said, her voice weak, turning her head towards Angel.

“My name is Angel, Tamika.”

The girl was weak, her voice so soft Angel had to use her special ability to hear the girl’s reply.

“You came! Mama here too?” A small weak smile crept across the little girl’s face.

“Not yet, honey. Your mom is trying to get here.” Angel stood next to the bed and slipped her hand under Tamika’s tiny one.

Reaching into the small backpack she carried, Angel pulled out a doll and placed it in the child’s hand. With slow, careful movements Tamika traced the doll’s outline with her fingers.

“An angel,” she whispered.

“It’s a very special angel Tamika. She will watch over you.”

“Stay!” the girl’s free hand waved around, trying to find the flyer.

“I’m right here, honey, right here with you,” Angel told the little girl catching the girl’s hand. Her own voice caught with emotion.

As they talked, Angel could see the girl’s life fading. Her brown skin was ashen, her voice grew fainter. Finally Tamika barely moved her lips, making sounds so faint that Angel couldn’t hear them, even with her special abilities.

“Go to sleep, little one,” Angel said, spreading a wing over the little girl, bending down to kiss her cool forehead.

On the wall, the cardiac monitor began beeping, the trace across the screen becoming erratic. The beeping became louder, more shrill, then shifted to a steady tone.

Without looking, Angel reached up and turned the alarm off. When the nurses came running in, all they heard was Angel singing softly.

It took a while before Angel could gather herself together. She had been doing hospital visits since she was a junior at Stoddard Academy, almost eight years. Most were group visits, like the children’s cancer treatment ward, or the physical therapy room. Only a few had been last requests, like Tamika. The woman dabbed at her eyes with the tissue, taking a bit of comfort that Tamika’s passing was and that the young girl hadn’t been alone.

She had stood out of the way while the floor nurses streamed in and the doctor pronounced the little girl. Angel watched silently as the two senior nurses prepared the body to be taken to the morgue.

Stepping inside the curtain the nurses had drawn around the bed, she looked down at the little girl, all the wires disconnected, the IV needles removed, the bed sheet wrapped tightly around her small body with just her face remaining uncovered.

“Goddess Mother, receive this little one’s spirit, gently, into your care.”

Reaching over the little girl’s head, Angel pulled the remaining portion of the sheet down, covering Tamika’s face.

The senior floor nurse met the flyer at the door. The grey haired nurse was often, and openly, referred to as ‘the old battle axe’ by the other nurses for her sometimes brutal treatment of the personnel and patient’s families. To the children on the floor, she was a kindly grandmother.

“You going to be okay?” the nurse asked gently, surprising Angel. She expected the woman to live up her reputation of being a bitch rather than showing this softer side of her personality.

“I’ll survive,” Angel replied looking the other woman in the eyes, and seeing the concern there.

“Good,” the woman touched Angel on the arm. “She’s been here a month,” looking past Angel to the shrouded body. “The mom is trying to get her act together, she visits when she can. I’m glad you could be here for her.”

“You’re the one that called me,” Angel said quietly.

The nurse was silent, her face giving nothing away.

“We need to move her,” her ‘Nurse Battle Axe’ persona coming back.

Angel nodded, stepped past the nurse and slipped into the emergency stairwell. She didn’t want to walk past the people she’d need to in order to reach the elevator. It’s not like she needed to use it to get to the ground floor anyway.

She stepped out into the bright midday sunshine. Donning her sunglasses she walked to the safety rail and stood, surveying the surrounding area.

“Why Lady? Why one so young?” Angel said into the wind. The woman didn’t know why this one little girl’s death had hurt her so much.

She had seen other children who were terminal from injuries or illness. Four previous private visits had been ‘last requests’ where the children had passed on not long after she’d left.

But this little girl, Tamika was so small, so young.

Angel turned to lean against the rail and came face to face with a woman, who’d she’d seen many times in her dreams.

“Goddess!” Angel gasped and dropped to one knee, sweeping her wings to the side in a show of submission.

“Oh, gracious child, stand up.” The woman said, “Genuflecting is reserved for old men in expensive robes wearing silly hats.”

Angel stood, but kept her head lowered.

“Look at me, Angel,” the woman’s tone became firmer.

Angel looked at the woman’s face. Laugh lines creased the skin around eyes that were bright, youthful, but at the same time showed the wisdom of age and tinged with the haunted look of someone who’d seen suffering beyond imagining. She carried an air of someone who demanded respect, and would give love unconditionally to those who needed it.

“You asked why one so young?” the Goddess asked after a moment.

Angel nodded.

The black haired goddess turned and walked away a few paces before turning back and giving the flying woman a look, like she was calculating how much to reveal.

“The spirit, the soul, which inhabited that body, had finished what it had come here to do. It’s time on this realm was at an end.”

“Tamika gets seven years? That’s all? What about her being a mother, having a husband or children? What about all the other things…”

“Angel, do you really believe that everything a soul needs, or wants, to learn can be learned in a single lifetime?” The Goddess’s tone changed, sounding as if she were instructing a school girl.

“I… I don’t know Lady.”

Angel had never considered that a person, a soul, could be reincarnated. But it struck something inside her, something that felt true.

“Tamika, the soul inside her body, has lived before, just as your soul has inhabited a body on this planet before.”

A smile lit her face and quiet laugh escaped the Goddess.

“Oh, Angel. There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

“That’s Shakespeare.”

“A very old soul that took on the monumental challenge of trying to enlighten the people on this little world,” the Goddess said lightly.

“Isn’t that what the church is for?”

“Whose leaders have always been more interested in their own power, rather than the welfare of the people who look to it for guidance and protection.” The contempt in the Goddess’s answer was clear.

“But…” Angel looked at the woman, into her eyes and felt the confusion that had swirled inside her drain away, replaced by a calmness, a peace unlike any she’d felt before, a feeling that all was as it should be.

“Only her body died, Angel. Her soul, the part of her that is immortal, will return when it has another lesson to learn, or teach.”

“Why did it hurt so much, Lady?” Angel asked. “I never met her before today, but it felt like I had lost one of my own.”

“Because in another life, you and she were lovers, were married and had children together,” the Goddess said. “Your soul recognized her. The two of you have unfinished business, and when the time is right, you and she will be together again.”

The Lady nodded at look Angel had on her face.

“Be at peace Angel Sanderson. All things are as they should be.” She stepped forward, sliding her arms around the younger woman and kissed her forehead.

Angel closed her eyes as the Lady’s lips touched and when she opened them a moment later, she was alone on the rooftop.

“All things are as they should be,” she repeated in a whisper.

Turning to face the rail, she reached into a pocket of the waist cincher and removed her avionics headset. Setting it into place she listened a moment before keying the microphone.

“PDK tower, FOD six one two, wheels up from Children’s Healthcare helipad.”

With the response crackling in her headset, Angel jumped to the safety rail. Taking a deep breath she leaped into space, her arms out in a perfect swan dive. She enjoyed the thrill of free fall for a few seconds before snapping her wings open and climbing into clear Southern sky.

5 comments:

  1. Great excerpt. Good luck with your newest release.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice excerpt. One possible error?

    "The woman dabbed at her eyes with the tissue, taking a bit of comfort that Tamika’s passing was and that the young girl hadn’t been alone."

    Her passing was what? "peaceful"? "easy"?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike: This is exactly why we have editors and beta readers, to catch the mistakes we authors make. Thank you.

      Delete
  3. A zing against Catholics? Really?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catholics in particular? No. A zing at organized religions in general, oh yeah.

      I've just spent the better part of the last five years nose to nose with people who want to cut my throat for no reason other than I'm an infidel, that I don't accept their worldview of the Creator. I have no wish to be converted, taxed, enslaved or killed because I think differently than the local 'holy man'.

      I also reject the western view of a vengeful Creator that tells parents to beat their children, a husband to dominate and subjugate his wife and calls for the "convert or die" fundamentalism practiced by the knights of the Crusades, the Spanish Conquistadors and missionaries of various denominations as they crossed the Pacific Ocean.

      I have no doubt that my little zing will go mostly unnoticed and cause no great outcry, or start any great movement. Just my poke at all intolerant religions.

      Delete