The first set of segments come from a short story I wrote about a year ago to enter into a contest. I was inspired after reading a really cool story by my friend Tracy Astle, about a girl and her relationship with her guardian angel. After reading it I started to think about how I would write the story--as I do with most books I read. Not that I think I can improve upon the stories, but because it fascinates me to explore how writers are so different--how we could each sit down and have the same exact set of prompts and circumstances and come up with such different ideas!
That's how "Angel" came to pass. Abigail Emsley's guardian angel morphed into a whole different type of animal. Please enjoy ...
Angel: Part 1
Abigail meets her "guardian angel."
I thought I’d survived the year well. The death of my father, a serious illness, an engagement I thought would save me broken off. Perhaps endured would describe it better, but I hadn’t given up at least.
Apparently I was wrong.
“I don’t need an Angel.” The tremor in my voice ruins my firm intentions.
Mother lays a hand on my arm. “We want what’s best for you, Abbey,” she says in a soft voice.
I pull my arm away, clasping my hands in my lap and staring hard at them. “I don’t need some supernatural psychiatrist poking around my life.” I look up and try to appear determined when I meet Mother’s gaze. “I’m fine.”
Mother sighs. “Don’t be ridiculous.” She speaks the words kindly, but I bristle anyway. “You’ve lost nearly forty pounds. You hardly sleep and barely eat.”
I blink back tears. Mother reaches over and brushes them away, her eyes full of compassion. I feel selfish. I’d gotten sick right after Father died. She put her grief on hold for me. She still does. I grip her hand.
“I’ll do better,” I promise, my voice just above a whisper.
“This will help, Abbey. It will.” Mother smiles. “Your uncle insists.”
Of course. My uncle. The great CEO of Guardian can’t have his niece still falling apart almost a year after her father’s death. He expects me to get over it. That’s the message Uncle Edgar sends by forcing an Angel on me.
I don’t protest anymore. It won’t do any good. Instead, I pick over my breakfast and try to figure out how to appear more composed. The sooner I convince the Angel of the soundness of my mental health, the sooner he or she can leave me alone. I’d have to put on a better face for public events for Uncle Edgar’s sake. It’d help if I put on weight. I start pushing food into my mouth, despite the fact that it threatens to make me sick. I eat until my stomach can’t hold anymore. If I do this at every meal, I’ll start gaining weight.
The Angel arrives in the afternoon. I wait with Mother in one of the receiving rooms.
“Mrs. Emsley? The Guardian Psychiatric Analyst is here,” a very efficient servant announces. Psychiatric Analyst is the official name for Angels.
“Please have him sent in. Thank you.” Mother rises and moves to the door, getting ready to greet my holographic psychoanalyst.
He could’ve appeared inside the room, but he walks through the doorway out of respect, I suppose. I wondered if he did it because of our social standing or because he’s polite.
Mother gasps when he turns to her, covering her mouth with both hands. I don’t know what surprises her. I’ve never seen an Angel in person either, but nothing about the somewhat transparent, shimmering image startles me. He looks like I expected him to.
His holographic hand hovers over Mother’s shoulder. She uncovers her mouth and her eyes flicker toward me. She turns back to the Angel. “There must be a mistake. My brother couldn’t know—he can’t think that assigning you—”The Angel cuts her off. “He requested me.”