Catastrophic Angel Response Team (C.A.R.T.)
Guardian Angel: Zeek
“This guy again?” Zedekiah, my controller, grumbled in my ear.
“What do you mean, again?” I asked.
“Tell me what you see.”
I’d learned that the grouchy angel wasn’t going to answer my questions until he was good and ready—which was often never—so I got to it.
I stood on the top of a high roof in a city. A thick, wire rope connected this building to another several hundred feet away. Three men and one woman stood at this end of the rope. A woman and a man waited at the other end. I recognized recording equipment and a drone.
My conscious reached out to the people, and one of them lit up in my mind like a light bulb.
“Let me guess, you’re here to protect the blond guy,” Zedekiah asked.
“Looks that way.” I moved toward the group. The blond man was talking.
“If we nail this, the world record is next!”
The others cheered.
I frowned and glanced at the wire rope. World record? For what?
“He’s an adrenaline junkie,” Zedekiah said. “This is the third time this year that we’ve been sent to keep him alive.”
“He must be important,” I said.
“Can’t be him. He’s too stupid. Maybe his kids or something.”
I’d never heard Zedekiah criticize a mark like this. Interesting. Not only could I feel that the blond man was my mark, but that the air around the rope was the danger. That came as a surprise. “Can wind be a danger?”
“How do I stop the wind?”
“In this case, you might have to stop him.”
It took me a moment to parse the words. “That’s not a Class A mission.”
“Looks like you just graduated.”
A little thrill ran through me. Zedekiah pull me out and send in an emergency team, but he didn’t.
The indicator light on my wristband went from green to yellow. The blond man had moved to the edge of the building and was looking out across the gap. One of his followers brought the drone to life and flew it out over the rope. There was a wind sock attached, and the little piece of cloth stood straight out.
“Wind is kind of strong,” the drone controller said.
“It’s always like that here,” the blond man said. “This is better than most days.”
The hum of danger began at the base of my skull, and I flexed my fingers. My sword didn’t appear, but it sure wanted to. Even though slashing the wind wouldn’t help—I needed to be at least a level three guardian angel for that—I itched to try. I moved to the edge of the building, standing just a few feet from the blond man.
He seemed sane enough, until I got a good look at his eyes. Bright green and filled with greed and the need for power. To be adored. To be the best. He longed for danger, and the conquest of success.
The thought of failure didn’t seem to be in his mind. That was going to make my job more difficult.
“Don’t bother whispering to him, kid, others more experienced than you have tried and failed,” Zedekiah said.
Whispering was more a support angel’s job, but I’d been trained. I sidled up to the man and spoke. “It is quite windy.”
The two other times I’d whispered to someone they’d stopped and looked around, as if they’d heard me. Or at least sensed me. This guy didn’t even blink.
He obviously loved the danger, and appealing to safety wouldn’t work.
Perhaps he had a routine he did before he started. Tying his shoes or whatever. I’d watch for it and mess it up. Some of these people would see that as a bad omen and change their mind.
The blond man looked at one of his people. “Two minutes.”
“You got it.” He relayed the information across the gap.
My indicator light turned orange. The man with the drone tested it against the wind. The woman held out her hand.
The blond man stripped out of his clothes, revealing a purple skin-tight body suit beneath, and handed them to the woman. He walked to a box I hadn’t noticed and sat to lace up his shoes.
Here was my chance. I went to him, squatted down and waited for him to tie a bow.
Only there were no laces. Straps that stuck to one another kept the shoes on, and he had them tightened before I got there.
“What’s your plan, kid?” Zedekiah asked.
I was too low of a rank to hurt him to keep him from greater harm. He wouldn’t listen to my whispering. He wouldn’t listen to reason.
The orange light blinked.
I gathered my strength, held out a hand, and said, “Stop!”
He hesitated as he stood, but shrugged it off and moved to the edge of the building.
“What if he falls?” I asked.
“He likely dies.” Zedekiah didn’t sound terribly upset about that.
“You fail, but after this guy’s shenanigans, it probably won’t go on your record.”
I thought fast. What could I do?
The blond walked to the edge of the building and tested one foot on the rope. Wind whipped his hair, tearing at his precarious stance.
What did I have? There was nothing to manipulate. As long as that rope was in place, he was going to try.
Then it hit me.
I ran through the guy’s posse. The man placed one foot on the cable. The other still on the roof.
My sword appeared in my hand.
The man moved his second foot toward the rope.
I ran on the air and sliced through the rope a few feet out.
The woman screamed.
One of the other guys grabbed the blond.
Zedekiah let out a humph.
I took that as a “Good job, kid.”
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