Catastrophic Angel Response Team (C.A.R.T.)
Guardian Angel: Zeek
I materialized in the midst of a hotel room that looked as if it had been hit by a tornado. Open drawers gaped wide, the contents of four suitcases lay across the two beds and trickled down onto the floor, a pile of towels towered in one corner, and the contents of the garbage can were scattered on the cement outside the open door.
Stats came into my mind.
Two adults—parents—with two children.
There were thirty one more people in this section of the hotel.
No immediate dangers.
The green indicator on my wristband lit up. Plenty of time to figure out why I was here.
“Left the sword at home?” Zedekiah asked.
I hadn’t. It just wasn’t visible.
“Tell me what you see, kid.”
I repeated what I had observed. “The parents and one of the kids are pouring through their belongings. The other kid is outside crying that her pony is suffocating in the car.”
For the first time in five missions I got an amused snort out of Zedekiah.
Which I didn’t think was very appropriate. Maybe I was here to save the pony. I moved outside, past the crying little girl, and circled the large vehicle she sat curled up in front of.
Strange, I didn’t sense any animals in there.
“It’s my favorite pony,” the girl sobbed.
I looked again, and finally saw a small toy pony with a white body and bright pink hair lying on the second row of seats.
“Ah,” I muttered.
“Did you find the pony?” Zedekiah asked in a sarcastic voice.
I ignored him and went back into the hotel room. I was here to guard one or more of these people from harm. The only way to do that was to figure out what was going on. I stood in the middle of the room—heedless of the woman walking through me—and closed my eyes.
The past four missions had made it easier for me to find my mission. I’d gotten better at finding my mark, and I’d grown to trust the tug.
“Is it possible that the entire family is my mark?”
“Sure. Whatever you’re supposed to stop could happen to them all.”
I stood perfectly still, feeling the almost imperceptible pull toward all four people. Not just one. “I think that’s the case.”
“What about the event? The catalyst?”
This had continued to be frustrating for me. I’d gotten lucky on my first mission, kicking that toy out of the way just in time to save the mother from tripping down the stairs and ending up with a broken arm. Zedekiah was still having to prop me up in this department. I’d never make it past Rookie status if I couldn’t do it myself.
He’d taken me through the steps each time, so I started them on my own. What was going on around me? I opened my mind to the conversation.
“They have to be here somewhere,” the man said. “Did you check your purse?”
“They’re not there!” the woman wailed. “I checked twice.”
“My pony is dying,” the girl cried from outside.
The boy nudged the tower of towels with his foot.
They’d lost something. Using a bit of my power, I focused on the man and the woman until I could feel what they were talking about.
Small. Noisy. Metal.
I frowned. A bell?
No. The picture firmed in my mind. Keys.
Keys that unlocked and ran the vehicle outside.
“Kid?” Zedekiah asked.
“They’ve lost their keys,” I said. “Why would I be here for that?”
“What’s your indicator light show?”
“Green. No, yellow.” It had just changed.
“What does that tell you?”
Sometimes I hated it when Zedekiah used the middle of a mission as a teaching moment. With my powers I drew the layers of the room away, searching for the keys. “It tells me I need to hurry.”
“But there’s no immediate danger there?”
I gritted my teeth. “No.”
“Think outside the box.”
The keys weren’t in the room. I looked again with the same result. The family continued to ransack the room. I stepped outside, check the little girl, then the vehicle, where I finally felt a stronger tug. “The keys are in their vehicle.”
“I assume it’s locked,” Zedekiah asked.
I’d never dealt with modern vehicles, so it took me a moment to figure out the mechanics. “Yes.” My wristband light went orange. “Great,” I muttered.
I had to assume I was there to help them find their keys. Why that fell under C.A.R.T. I didn’t know, but that’s what my gut was telling me, so I went with it.
My wristband wasn’t blinking, but it was orange. Orange meant hurry.
Opening the lock took a flick of my wrist. Then I whispered to the little girl. “Your pony is scared. Go to her.”
The girl sniffed, got to her feet, climbed up on the running board, then climbed into the seat.
I went inside the hotel and nudged the mother. “Check on your daughter.”
She stiffened, then rushed outside.
A few seconds later the keys had been found, and the family was stuffing their belongings into their suitcases and shoving everything into the vehicle.
The orange light on my wristband began to blink, but stopped as the family drove away.
“Nice job, kid,” Zedekiah said.
“What was that about?” I asked.
“Follow them and see.”
“But my mission is over.”
“Just follow them,” the old angel grumbled.
So I did. Through the town and out onto the freeway, I believed they called it. They went around a big curve and headed north.
A few minutes later a sickening feeling pulled me back the way I had come.
Back at the curve a truck had overturned.
I told Zedekiah what had happened. “I don’t understand,” I said.
“You mission was to get them through before that accident. Once in a while you get one like this. Not bad, kid.”
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