Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
Angel of Mercy
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used factiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright 2013 Shannon Dermott
All rights reserved.
The broad colorless sky let loose puffy flakes to fall without mercy. The soft powder coated everything in a world of white. It was on days like these that school was closed. Unfortunately, not on a Saturday. Not on that day, during the single most important test of my life. Everyone said how critical it was to fill in the right ovals, to see through the convoluted questions and answer correctly. Yet I was frozen, my pencil in hand, wondering how I was going to make it through this test. My eyes were glued to the winter land just on the other side of the window, an escape that wasn’t likely to happen for another few hours. It all seemed so pointless. In the big scheme of things, why did it matter how well I did on this exam?
Still not looking to the bubble sheet that could rule my destiny, I surveyed the room and the other students whose lives depended on this one test. Where they all looked intent and focused, I felt scatterbrained and disillusioned.
It felt like I single handedly ruined all my friends’ lives. Maggie, Luke, Flynn, and Paul. I was like a bad penny that needed tossing out. So what was the point to this stupid test? There were just so many other important things to worry about. Demons and demon hunters were trying to kill me. My mom kept secrets that I had no way of getting the answers to unless I wanted to forfeit her life.
And it was a matter of days before we would know if Maggie had become a werewolf. She, on the other, hand seemed to be handling things much better than I, with her number two pencil filling in ovals like no one’s business.
I stared down at the question I’d hesitated on.
A synonym for licentious.
I’d used that word against him that very first night. Tightness seized my chest with the thought of him. I pushed back the grief, I just had to get through this; then the tears could fall.
Images however, flashed in my mind, Flynn with a hatchet protruding from his chest, his mouth speaking those three words and me pressing my lips to his to save his life. A single tear tore from my hold and raced down my cheek to blot an answer I hadn’t yet managed to fill in. It had almost been two weeks since that day.
Despite the clock ticking down the time left to work on this section of the exam, I couldn’t stop myself from being sucked into the memory of that moment.
It was as clear as if I was back in that moment. Willing all I had into him, I hoped for him to live. Solid hands came around my waist and wrenched me from him. I screamed in protest but felt all my energy leave me with that last breath. My vision tunneled like a fox falling down a dark rabbit hole until there was little more than nothing.
“She wasn’t kissing him, she was trying to save his life,” an accented voice said through the shadows. I knew that Scottish lilt anywhere. Sebastian. “Are you going to just hold her or are you going to use that angel light of yours?” So, Luke was here.
With a gentle kiss to my forehead, I was laid carefully down. Total darkness had encased me but I could still hear. The voices were growing softer, getting farther away.
“Nina, come over here and help.” Luke’s voice was panicked. “Sebastian do you think you could get our hands directly on the wound?”
Desperate to know, I tried lifting my head, but it was far too heavy. What I deduced from his words was that Luke must not be able to save him alone. Was Sebastian going make their hands disappear inside Flynn’s chest?
“I have to hold both of your hands while we do this,” Sebastian said, his voice now barely a whisper
Just as I’d begun to lose myself to the void of awareness, Nina’s voice popped in, a sharp, annoying intrusion. “Is this sanitary?”
I wanted to yell at the girl that none of it matter if he died. But it was too late for that. I lost my battle with consciousness.
The footsteps of the teacher monitoring the exam snapped me back to the present. I wasn’t even halfway done when the first warning of the dwindling time was called. I skipped over the licentious question. I just couldn’t do it. Each vocabulary word brought me back to a moment in time to remind me just how messed up things were. Paul was still in a trance. Luke went out of town with Sebastian to look for answers. And with Maggie across the room, her eyes and attention trained to the task before her, I never felt so alone.
Despite the tick tick ticking of the clock, I managed to bungle my way through. The math section, which should have been a breeze for me, was an utter disaster. I couldn’t concentrate. There would be other test times, I thought, even though I wanted to be done with it. I might just have to take this exam again if things ever calmed down. But for now, I was so done with SAT words.
When time was finally called, I walked out the doors of the testing facility. My first action besides heading to the car was to delete the word of the day apps off my phone.
With the sun breaking through and glaring off the blindingly white snow, I shielded my eyes to get a better view of Maggie as she caught up to me in the parking lot. She exuded relatively calm and at peace. Why wasn’t she in the same state of turmoil as I was? Making my way over to the passenger side of her car, I waited for the click that signaled that the doors were unlocked.
However, when the doors stayed locked, I looked into her probing green eyes. They told me she was worried about me. “So, how’d you do?” She sounded too bright and cheerful. Her red hair was pulled back for once in a smooth ponytail revealing more of her lightly freckled face.
I shook my head. “Not good.” My own signature ponytail shifted side to side with my movement.
She smiled but I could tell she was forcing it. “It’s okay, we can always take it again,” she said, trying to be positive.
I nodded, thinking what a bad friend I was being. She was the one in need of comfort, yet here she was coddling me. “Yeah,” I muttered before I opened the door and jumped in.
We rode home without speaking. Music streamed through the car radio to fill the silence spaces. And even in the quiet, I knew Maggie would be there for me. “So, you want to watch a movie or something?” she asked when she pulled up to the house.
My half smile and a quick shake of my head said it all. When I went to grab the door handle to get out, Maggie said, “This is all fucked up, Eme. It is. But it will work out. Somehow.” Her voice trailed off.
Feeling like the biggest jerk, I turned and gave her hand a squeeze. “I’m sorry, Maggs. I should be there for you. I just haven’t been sleeping well.”
“Luke, huh?” she asked. There were no more secrets between us. She knew the whole story and then some. Feeling like a bobble head doll, I nodded again. Now, she squeezed my hand. “Maybe later then.”
“Yeah,” I said for like the thousandth time. Giving her another small smile, I exited the car.
One glance over at Flynn’s dented Hummer that still sat in its same spot where he’d last left it, I hurried to my room. I took off my Harvard sweatpants and hoodie and got into bed with only a tee-shirt and underwear, forcing my eyes closed. I’d heard my mom in the kitchen but lately even cooking hadn’t soothed my mind like it had in the past.
Burying my head under the covers wasn’t going to solve anything, I knew, but I was tired and my emotions still felt raw. I thought about the closed door down the hall, the one I had avoided. I closed my eyes willing myself to sleep, hoping for oblivion and a release of all my shame and guilt.