12 April 2013
NOT FROM MONTGOMERY
By Curtis C. Chen
On Thursday night, the angel reappeared in Gaby's room.
"Go away," the girl said to the glowing apparition floating above her bed.
The angel shook its head. The face was a haze of light, but the voice was unmistakably female. She wore a form-fitting, one-piece garment that covered all but her face and hands.
"I'm sorry," the angel said, "but I can't. I'll try to explain better this time."
"You're not real," Gaby said in a hoarse whisper. She didn't want to wake her parents. "I'm still sick. That's all. I'm not crazy."
"You're neither," the angel said. "I'm not actually here. You're seeing a projection—an image of me. Like a picture. Do you know what photographs are?"
"Yes," Gaby replied, somewhat offended. "Father has a brand new Kodak camera. He's quite the shutterbug."
"Hey! That's slang, isn't it?" The angel vibrated, momentarily dissolving into a mist of light. "Phil, can we pinpoint that word origin? If we can find the year—" The angel nodded. "I don't suppose you know the model number of that camera, do you, sweetie?"
"My name's Gaby. And no, I'm not allowed to play with Father's things."
"Right. Yes?" The angel nodded. "Okay, Gaby, this is very important. Can you tell me what year it is?"
"Leave me alone," Gaby said, pulling her blankets up. "I want to go to sleep."
The shape made of light pushed through the blankets and hovered underneath the covers, just a few inches from Gaby's nose. "Sorry, Gaby, but we're on a schedule here. I need you to tell me the date. Today's date."
"I don't know," Gaby pouted. "I've been sick."
"I'm very sorry, Gaby, but we need to know, and you're the only one we can reach."
"Why do you need to know?" Gaby asked. "And who's 'we?' I only see one of you."
The angel sighed, and the glowing outlines of her eyes looked sad. "There are others here with me, Gaby. You can't see them because—it's complicated. But we can only fit one person into this picture.
"It's very important that we find out when you are in time. We're on a very important mission. We didn't expect that you would be the only one we could talk to, but we can't control that very well."
"Are you in heaven?" Gaby asked quietly.
The angel pursed her lips. "Not exactly."
Gaby curled up tighter. "I know what you are. You're a devil. You're trying to trick me. Well, it won't work. I'm not telling you anything."
The angel frowned, vibrated, then turned and shouted over her shoulder. "Hey, you want to try doing this, Phil?" There was a pause. "Yeah, that's what I thought. Shut up and let me talk to her." The angel shook her head. "Asshole."
"Who's Phil?" Gaby asked.
The angel's eyes went wide. "I thought you said this mute button was working!"
She whirled around, and then her light dissolved away.
The angel didn't appear again that night. It took Gaby a long time to fall asleep.
Photo Credit: magro_kr via Compfight cc