Cleo, Kelsey, and I run as fast as our sneakers will let us down the damp sidewalk. This wet, cold, and soggy experience has taught me one thing; you can't always trust the Weather Forecast! "I thought it was supposed to be sunny with clear skies?!" Cleo yells over the ever roaring thunder. "Doesn't look so sunny to me!" Kelsey states, slowing her pace. "Oh come on you guys! It's just a little rain!" I stop to catch my breath. Kelsey halts, placing her hands on her hips. "Thank ya miss optimistic, but I prefer to come home from school dry!" Cleo, who had run a ways farther than us and finally just realized that we had stopped running, made a U-turn and ran back to us, her sneakers squeaking on the wet pavement. "I'm not happy about being wet either! I'm just saying that a little rain doesn't hurt. And don't call me optimistic!" Kelsey rolls her eyes. "That's what you are though! You're always laughing and smiling about everything! You could be the most optimistic person in the entire school!" Cleo, who had finally made her way back to us, and had heard most of the conversation, spoke through gasping breathes, making gaps in her sentences. "I wouldn't go that far Kels ..but Aussie ..she does have a point. Come on, my house is a few streets away you can stay there until the rain stops." Cleo runs off again, motioning for us to follow. "Wait up!" Kelsey darts after her. "Hey! Don't leave without me!"
"Yum!" Kelsey stuffs another one of Mrs. Dayosmo's perfect chocolate chip cookies inside her mouth. The.entire.cookie. "Slow down! You're going to choke to death if you do that!" Cleo grabs the plate of cookies before Kels can snatch another. "They aren't going to vanish into thin air! Remember: bite, chew, breathe, swallow!" Kelsey laughs, and reaches out to take another, but Cleo moves the plate again before she has the chance. "I can't help it! Yer mom's cookies er epic!" I squeeze the ends of my dripping wet hair, ringing the cold water into a towel. My soaked jeans are stuck to my skin like a magnet. Geez this is uncomfortable. "Yeah, my mom's cookies are pretty great! Which is why you should savor them, instead of acting like you will never eat them again!" Cleo says, shoveling what's left of the cookies into a large plastic bag. "I won't ever get ta eat 'em again if ya keep taking 'em from me!" Kelsey pouts, crossing her arms. I let out a deep breath, and look at the clock; 4:08. "You want one Aussie?" Cleo offers, holding out a cookie. "Hey! How come she gets a cookie?" "Because Austria knows how to eat like a human, not a horse!" "I do not eat like a horse!" "Do so, now stop complaining." I laugh a bit; they're always like this, acting like a comic relief duo, that's my best friends for you. "No thanks," I say, shaking my head to the offered cookie. "I need to be home soon anyways." Cleo drops the last cookie into the bag, and zips it shut. "You're leaving already? But it's still raining outside!" I pick up my backpack, and throw the strap over my shoulder. "I know, but I told my parents I would be home by four, and it's already way past that deadline, so I really should go." Kelsey hops off of her chair. "Than can we VC later?" "Sure, if I get my homework done I'll call you." Cleo throws the bag of cookies into the refrigerator. "Alright, then we'll see you later!" She says with a smile "See ya!" Kelsey says, waving goodbye. I wave back, and walk out the door.
'You're so optimistic!' Kelsey's words echo in my mind as I walk up the driveway to my house. It has stopped raining, and all that is left are the water slicked sidewalks, and puddle filled roads. I wish the rain would continue. Even with the thunder, the rain is peaceful, and in a way, quiet. I love listening to the rain; I love to hear the near silence, the tranquility of it. I take hold of the doorknob. Once I open this door, I am leaving the peace, the tranquility, the safe outside world, the quiet. I love rain.
"tired of your constant complaining! If you don't like what I cook then make it yourself!" Mom screams. "I won't make it myself! I shouldn't have to! You should be capable enough to make a meal that doesn't taste like crap!" Dad yells back. They are standing in the middle of the dining room, arguing once again. "What did you just say to me?!" Mom shrieks, like she's never heard it before. "You heard me loud and clear woman! I say what goes around here! Now get back into that kitchen and make something edible!" Dad slams his fist on the wooden dining room table. The impact is so firm that the table shakes, and the glass plate that was resting on top of it, falls to the floor, and shatters into a million pieces. "Now look at what you've done!" Dad blames, though it was clearly his own fault. I begin the escape to my room. "Don't blame this on me! I told you if you wanted the stupid meal, to make it yourself!! And clean up the mess you just made as well!!" Dad clenches his fists. "I'M SICK OF YOU! JUST SHUT THAT UGLY FACE OF YOURS AND TAKE CARE OF THE MESS!!" Dad raised his voice; the neighbors can probably hear them now. I am halfway down the hall. Mom decides to scream louder as well. "I'M NOT GOING TO FULFILL YOUR EVERY WAITING NEED! WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS LIKE THIS!? I'M NOT YOUR" "AUSTRIA!!" Crap. I stop, frozen in my footsteps. He's seen me. "DON'T JUST STAND THERE! GET OVER HERE!! NOW!!!" His voice hasn't quieted. I rush to where they are standing, dragging my feet the entire way. "DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS!?" He takes hold of my hair, and uses it to drag me into the kitchen. I glace at the time; 4:32. I'm over a half hour late.
Dad shoves me over to the kitchen sink, which is filled to the rim with dishes. Dang it! The dishes!! Dishes. Something I was supposed to do before I left for school. I can add that to the list of things I'm about to be scolded for. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LATE YOU ARE!? I SAID FOUR. FOUR O CLOCK. I THOUGHT I MADE THAT PERFECTLY CLEAR!! BUT I GUESS YOU'RE JUST TO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND THAT!!" Mom notices that all of Dad's attention is focused on me, and sees it as her chance to escape the situation. She grabs her purse and walks out the door. Leaving me to defend myself. Dad notices I've stopped listening to him, and tightly grasps my wrist, pulling it over the sink. He pulls on the sink handle, letting scolding hot water envelop my hand. I shriek. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to be late! It's won't happen again, I promise!!" He releases my wrist, and shoves a glass bowl into my stomach, making me lose breath for a moment. "DISHES! NOW!!" I catch the glass bowl before it can hit the ground. Dad grabs his keys, and slams the front door shut. He is going to a bar again, which means he will come home drunk again, and since he will be drunk, I will become his punching bag, again. When I'm done with the dishes I will have to sweep up the glass on the floor, then finish the rest of my chores, along with everything else I have to do. I don't have time to ice my hand, I don't have time to make myself any dinner. It's not like it will be the first time.
My name is Austria Bosem, and this is my life.
I am completely used to it. This suffocating day-to-day routine. My day starts off waking up to the screeching sound of my parents arguing, and then it's off to school. After eight hours of school, I come home to more yelling. After every argument my dad always drives to the bar. My mom usually stomps off to her room, and locks herself in for the remainder of the night. I'm left to cook dinner, clean the house, do the laundry and dishes, make a shopping list, and if everything else is done and I still have time, do my homework. I'm expected to get no lower than an A- in school, so I have to work quickly so I will be able to keep up with my homework. I'm always spending nights without sleep studying. Occasionally, mom and dad will argue to all hours of the night. When that happens, dad will come into my room and wake me up with a fist. I then listen to him ranting and cursing out mom and I while he holds my arms so tightly they bruise. In the morning the merry go round routine starts again. When I am home, this is my life. When I am outside, I'm forced to wear a mask that buries all these painful feelings. When I'm with friends, I am the optimistic girl who's always smiling. No one will think twice that I'm really a terrified 15 year old girl, who's slowly fading away until there is nothing left. That's how amazing this mask is. It hides all the pathetic truth with a lie, a secret. One that nobody can uncover.
It's morning, I can hear them yelling in the kitchen. I change out of pajamas and quietly turn the doorknob, opening my door. "If you want a divorce so badly then get the papers yourself!" "I do want a divorce! I will be overjoyed when I don't have your jerk of an annoying face anymore and I don't have to take care of it!" It, he's talking about me. "Once you leave this house you better take that worthless brat with you!" I had tip toed from my room to the hallway now. "Oh sure, dump her on me!" "You gave birth to that garbage so naturally you'd take her! If you don't like her then take out the trash!" I gasped. Bad move they heard me. Both parents give me the "Come here now or you're dead." Look. I hesitantly obey, and walk into the kitchen. "What the heck are you doing eavesdropping?!" I'm scared stiff. "I...well
" "SPIT IT OUT!" dad shoves me backwards, and I hit my head on the low cupboards. I'm fighting back tears. "I'm sorry! I'm really, really sorry!" Dad grabs the collar of my shirt, and lifts me back into an almost standing position. "You're so much dang trouble!! I don't see why a brat like you needs to exist! You're just an idiotic outcast! No one wants you here!! You should have never been born!!" That was it. I snapped. I'm used to the names, the punches, the yelling, but those words
.those last six words finally broke me.
I began crying, which made dad even more furious. "Geez, you're just a headache! An eyesore!" He lets go of my shirt and I drop to my knees, coughing. Mom stands there, doing not a thing, but watching me suffer. "I'm tired of looking at you." Dad pushes mom out of the way, and slams the front door shut. I can hear his car engine starting. Mom waits until she can't hear his car anymore, than storms out of the room as well. She opens the front door halfway, looks behind her, at my pitiful sobbing face, and shuts the door behind her. I can hear her car leave.
Something inside me had snapped. I couldn't take this anymore. I screamed, as loud as I could. I didn't care if the neighbors heard me, or if they called the cops again. It wouldn't matter anyways, it didn't last time, dad found a perfect excuse for every question, and the cops had bought it. I couldn't see well; my eyes were blinded by tears. The tears that I've been holding back for so long. Way too long. I run into the kitchen, take hold of the silverware drawer, and yank it out. Forks, Knives, and Spoons come flying out like rain. Silver metal rain. I lean against the fridge, and slowly sink to the ground. "I'm done" I whisper. "I'm done with this charade. I can't take this." My eyes scanned the mess of silverware until I found the Vespula Knife. I take it, and clench it between my two hands, holding it a foot away from my throat. I thought about Cleo, and Kelsey. They would miss me
right? My parents, they would come home to find me breathless on the ground and celebrate. I wouldn't mind, I hate myself as much as they hate me. You may think I'm melodramatic, but I don't care. I refuse to live this crap of a life. Besides, dad said I shouldn't have been born. I was better off dead. That's what they've always said. That's what they've always wanted.
I'll grant them their wish. "I'm done".
I pull the knife farther back, ready to end it all. I close my eyes and thrust the knife as fast as I can towards my neck. But I don't feel anything. I don't feel pain; I don't feel like I'm dying. This is strange. I open my eyes, and see a boy. He looks around fifteen years old. He's kneeling in front of me, his hands are on top of mine, stopping the blade from going the centimeter closer to piercing my neck. His emerald eyes look genuinely concerned. He has black, choppy, straight hair that goes to his neck. And side bangs. To be honest it kind of reminds me of an Emo hairstyle, but it suits him. He is wearing a plain white V neck T-Shirt and black jeans. His eyes are the deepest emerald green I've ever seen; their almost not human. It took me a second to make myself believe I wasn't dead. Not only because I was sure I had just freaking stabbed myself, but because there were feathers on the ground, and flying through the air. Yes, that's right, feathers. Thick, black, beautiful feathers. They were the type you would find on a crow. I wasn't sure weather to thank him, or yell at him for saving my life. I wasn't sure weather to squeal because, as out of the moment this is, he was immensely cute, or to yell, because there was a strange boy inside my house that made feathers appear out of no where. I chose the latter. "What the heck are you doing inside my house!? Who are you?! Why did you stop me?! Where did all those feathers come from?? Did you make them appear? What are you?? WHY ARE YOU IN MY HOUSE?! Did I already ask that?! AAAAAAAAGH!!" He makes a faint smile, then snickers, and then all of a sudden he bursts into laughter. I drop the knife, I'm so clueless as to what is going on. He slows his laughing and tries to breath normally again. "Are humans always this paranoid after an attempted suicide? Or is it just you?" "No no, answer my question fir-
WAIT! What do you mean humans? What kind of question is that?!" He leans against the kitchen cabinets. "Well, I figured you would know. I'm not human so of course I don't know how your brain works. But you sound somewhat paranoid so
" Am I dreaming? "Wait, what did you just say?" He cocks his head to the side. "You sound paranoid." I'm defiantly dreaming. "No, before that." "Oh, I figured you would know-'' "NO! I mean after that!" He straightens his neck. "I'm not human?" I snap my fingers. "That's it!" I have come to the conclusion that I am without a doubt dreaming! "Sorry, but this isn't a dream." What? My paranoia scale goes way up. "How did you
?" He smiles "I can hear your thoughts." I snicker, and cross my arms. "That's a little hard to believe." He tucks his legs in and wraps his arms around them. "Well," he says, "I know you think I'm 'immensely cute'." He smirks in a devilish way. "That's...um
.get out of my head!" He laughs, but then pauses, and frowns. "Your mom will come back home in a few minutes, you should probably pick up the silverware." Right, the forks, knives, and spoons are still scattered over the kitchen floor. "How would you know my mom is
.never mind I don't want to know. Just make sure to pick up all these feathers!" He stands up, and extends a hand towards me, to help me stand up as well. "What do you mean?" I ignore his outreached hand, and stand up by myself. "I mean--" I stop, the feathers were gone, like they were never there to begin with.
Mom comes threw the door a few seconds after I shut the silverware drawer. The feather dude was right, in only a few minutes mom had come home, even though she usually stays out for awhile. How did he do that? "Is your father home?" She throws her purse onto the table, and walks towards me and feather boy, who is apparently invisible to her. "No, he hasn't come home yet." You and him left but a few minutes ago, why would he be back already? Why are you back already?. "I'm going to my room." I say. "Fine." She opens the fridge, she won't even look at me. "Ok." I grab the feather dude's hand and run to my room, determined to figure out how I got myself into this insane situation.
I quietly shut my bedroom door, then I spin around to face him.
"Alright, spill it!" "Spill
what?" He sits on my bed.
"Tell me who you are and why you're here! And why my mom can't see you. And I know you had something to do with the feathers out there! And how did you know my mom was going to come home!?" He falls onto his back. "That's a lot of questions, which one am I supposed to answer first?" "Well...um
your name! I should know your name so I can stop calling you feather dude." He stares at my ceiling for a minute, like he's debating weather he wants to answer that or not. I stand there, tapping my foot. I'm running out of patience. "Quentin." "huh?" "Quentin. 'Kwen-tin'. That's my name. Next question." I blink. "Oh, ok. Then, why are you here?" He sits back up. "That's going to take a while to explain. But I suppose I don't have choice
" He scratches his head. "I'm a Scuro Angel." I cross my arms. "Aren't angels supposed to be all shining brightly with a white robe and a halo?" Quentin looks out my window. "You watch too much TV. And I said I was a Scuro Angel." "So? What the heck is Scuro?" He faced me again. "Don't you have a dictionary or something? Scuro, it means dark, deep, somber, grim, gloomy, without light-" "OK OK I get it! So basically you're saying you're a Dark Angel? Do you really think I'd believe such things exist?" "I didn't ask you to believe me. I simply answered your question." His lazy facial expression was staring to get on my nerves. "You didn't answer my question, you told me what you supposedly are. I asked what you were doing in my house!" He sighs. "I'll try to give you the simplified version." He looks to me, as if asking if that was alright. I nod, and he continues. "We "Dark Angels" have never fully been accepted by the "Light Angels", AKA the angels that are so popular down here on earth. These angels are the ones that shine brightly with halos and such. The Light Angels live in a world called Eternity, a world that we Dark Angels aren't allowed into. Unless of course, we make a contract with a human." My mind was going crazy. "A contract? What's it for?" "The contract states that the Scuro Angel, me, is suppose to protect the contractor, you, from any Physical, Mental, and Emotional damage. Once the Contractor has resolved the problems that were ongoing when the contract was first signed, the Dark Angel will be allowed to enter Eternity. Make sense?" I lean against my wall, crossing my arms. "Sort of
but I don't think I want to make a contract with someone I just met, and hardly know anything about." He stands up. "I will be here until the sun sets. You have until then to think about it. Once you have your answer just call for me." I blinked, and like that he was gone. Vanished. Leaving nothing but a single black feather behind.
I couldn't stop thinking about Quentin once I got to school which I was late for by the way! It's Quentin's fault. I should make him suffer through detention with me! That would teach him not to barge into people's houses and tell them fairytales and demand to make a contract with them and Dang, I'm doing it again. See what I mean? I can't focus on school at all.
Come lunch time I had managed around three minutes without Quentin in my head. I know, it's not much of an accomplishment. "Cleo, Kelsey, can I ask you a question?" I sit down with my two best friends at a Cafeteria table. "Why so serious Aussie? You sound like it's a life or death question." I lean on my right arm. "It's just been bothering me." Kelsey scoops a fork full of mashed potatoes into her mouth. "Fire away."
"Ok, what if by chance a guy your age who you have never met before asks you to make a
promise with him. Even though the promise doesn't make any sense at all and seems totally fictional. And the promise would include the guy being around you twenty-four seven. Oh, and if the guy was somehow an unknown supernatural being called a Dark Angel."
Kels and Cleo exchanged glances between each other, the kind of glances that are easy to read, like: Kelsey, dial 911 and get her to a Mental hospital. Or, Cleo I think she's finally lost it. "Is he cute?" Not the response I had thought it would be not even close. "What?!" "Well, if he's cute than nothin' else matters!" Cleo slugs Kelsey in the arm. "Don't tell her that you'll rot her brain. Aussie, listen to me, if he's a complete jerk don't make the promise with him. He has to be sweet, and gentle, and smart, and good at sports, and " "That's too many expectations to fill! Aussie, you said he was an Angel right? If such things as Angels did exist I would love to have one by my side." "I completely disagree! If you just met him how do you know you can trust him? I vote that you shouldn't make the promise." Kelsey crosses her arms, and scowls at Cleo. "I vote that you should!" I sigh. "You guys are no help at all."
I lie on my bed, staring at my ceiling. "I don't know what to do. He said he would protect but
how is he going to do that? Do I even need protecting?" I sit up, realizing I was talking to myself. Mom is eating out with friends, but dad would be home soon, so I should start on dinner. I stand up and pace to the kitchen, deciding I would fix spaghetti. Dad came home a few minutes after I finished making it, but gave it a look of disapproval. "Can't you make something better?" "I haven't gone shopping yet so besides this all we have is left-overs." "Worthless." He scoffs. "Make something else." "But all we have is this and left-overs! And you already told me that you don't like left-overs so I don't know what else to cook!" He balls his fists, he's not drunks, but he's in an apparent bad mood. I know perfectly well that I'm going to get hit soon. How would I explain this one? If he aims for the face and I get a black eye, I won't be able to hide it. And I didn't want to get hurt. I didn't want to feel the excruciating pain of the air being knocked out of my lungs. "Can you please settle for spaghetti at least for tonight? I promise I'll go shopping tomorrow. Please?" He steps back, like he's preparing for a punch. This was it, just another smack in the merry go round of my life. So why did I feel more scarred than usual? Why did I try to protest against him and save myself? I wanted to yell stop. I wanted to plead for mercy. But I just closed my eyes. And instead of pleading, instead of yelling stop, without even thinking about it for a second, I yelled as loud as I could; "QUENTIN!" In a split second dad's fist went straight for me, but my body was pulled away and dad hit the fridge instead. I felt a hand on my arm, the same hand that had pulled me away from harm. I didn't need to look to see who it was, I already knew. Dad swung at me a second time, but I was pushed down, so instead of my face, he smashed the glass vase. We really should stop buying glass items.
That was enough to make him give up, I was grateful to that. Dad stomped out of the kitchen and into his bedroom, swearing all the while. I turned around to see Quentin, still looking at dad's slowly closing bedroom door. "Thank you so much! I can't believe you saved me, even though I haven't even made a contract with you yet. My gratitude is overwhelming, its-" "Bubbling over." He turns to look at me. "Um
not exactly the words I would choose but sure." "No, I mean the water in your pot, it's bubbling over." I look back to the pot in the kitchen which, in fact, was boiling over the sides. "AHH!" I run to the kitchen and turn the stove off. "So much for noodles tonight." I groaned. "Guess you better run to the store then. But I would hurry and decide first, you only have around two minutes until sunset." Suddenly I remembered everything. Quentin being a Scuro/Dark Angel, the Contract, and the deadline. "Hey, what happens if, come sunset, I decide not to sign the Contract? What happens to you?" His usual nonchalant expression turned to a frown, and he hesitated to answer. "That's not important." What was with that reaction? Now I really was curious as to what would happen to him, but I didn't have time to bring that up right now. "Alright well, if I do decide not to sign the Contract, will you reappear another time and ask again? Or will another Scuro Angel come?" "No. I am the only Scuro Angel who is aloud to ask you. Once sunset comes and goes I will be gone, and I won't bother you again." I think about this for a while. "2 minutes
" I was under a lot of pressure, I couldn't think rationally. Time seemed to move faster and faster. "1 minute
" "Oh alright!! I'll sign the freaking contract!" Suddenly a gray piece of paper and a black ink pen was floating in front of me. "Just sign at the bottom." Quentin said, but he was starting to disappear, going transparent. I signed as quickly as I could. My hands were rushing, the ink was smearing, I was writing faster than I had ever done before. But by the time I finished the last letter of my name, Quentin was gone, and the paper had turned to ashes.