Catastrophic Angel Response Team (C.A.R.T.)
Guardian Angel: Zeek
I expected the ride to be more bumpy. Instead, one second I was standing on the transport cloud, and the next I was in a home.
An earthly home.
I pulled my flaming sword from the scabbard, conjured my plumed helmet, and readied myself for a fight.
“Seriously, you brought your sword, kid?” my controller, Zedekiah, asked in my ear.
I ignored him as stats poured into my mind.
Two parents. Three children. One cat. One snake.
No immediate danger.
The tabby cat sitting in the corner hissed.
“Stop scaring the animals,” Zedekiah growled.
The green indicator light on my wrist band lit up, indicating I had plenty of time.“What’s my mission?” I asked, looking around the cluttered bedroom. It had been a while since I’d been a kid, but the blocks, cars, and clothes on the floor indicated it likely belonged to a young boy. Maybe he was the one in danger. I slowly moved into the hall, checking both directions for enemies.
The cat hissed again.
“Put the sword away, kid,” Zedekiah said.
“I’m not reading anything out of the ordinary,” I said. Which was unusual. They’d told us at the academy that we should understand our assignment right away. So far I had nothing.
Zedekiah sighed. “Kid, this is a Class A mission.”
“They taught us to be prepared.”
“Tell me what a Class A mission should entail?”
I crept along the plush carpets toward the center of the house, not daring to blink in case I missed something important. “Class A missions are low-level saves.”
“Which include?” Zedekiah prompted.
When I reached the next bedroom, I jumped in front of the doorway with my sword up and ready. Only inanimate objects lay inside. “It depends.”
Zedekiah sighed. “Kid, you’ll never need a sword for a Class A mission.”
I felt the soft padding of paws on the floor, and I whirred around to find the cat in the hall, staring at me. “This cat is following me. It reads as normal, but I’m not so sure.” Demons could be tricky, especially disguised as cats.
“What are you feeling?” Zedekiah asked.
I continued to stare into the cat’s yellow eyes as I considered. Besides the cat nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I closed my eyes and let the mission pull me. A gentle tug, like someone had pulled in a single hair of my head, lured me backward. Away from the cat.
“Do you feel anything?” Zedekiah asked.
“Maybe.” I opened my eyes, glared at the animal, then followed the pull.
A sudden rumble filled the air, and the floor shook.
I moved into a fighting stance. “Something’s coming.” A shriek sounded, then laughter. “Something loud.”
“Probably the kids,” Zedekiah said. “Try to figure out if they’re your mission.”
I really thought it would be easier to feel what my mission was supposed to be. A dark presence would indicate something occult, but there was nothing that oppressive here. A pull toward the cat or the children would give me a clue, but as the three children thundered up the stairs and then through me, which made me shiver, I felt nothing. “It’s not the kids,” I said.
“Keep moving,” Zedekiah said. “It should be close.”
I obeyed, creeping past the last bedroom, where I found the mother picking clothes off the floor and putting them into a basket.
That’s when I finally felt something. “Zedekiah? I’ve got something.”
“The mother. She’s…” I fought to remember the task. “She’s preparing laundry.”
“Are you drawn to her or to something in that room?”
I closed my eyes and let the tug guide me. It moved to my right, and when I cracked one eye, I saw that the woman had moved in the same direction. “Her.”
“Okay, what kind of a feeling are you getting?”
Again, I’d expected more. “Frustration. Anger. She seems like she’s on the ragged edge.” Each movement she made looked jerky, and she was muttering under her breath.
The indicator light went from green to yellow, telling me I needed to hurry.
“What do you think that means?” Zedekiah asked.
Lessons from the academy came back to me, as I processed the information. “It probably means that I’m here to…” I trailed off. This was silly. I’d graduated top of my class. Well, almost the top of my class. Certainly in the top ten. Why had they sent me on a feel-good mission? Anyone could do this.
“Hold on.” I lowered my sword and released my helmet. How was I going to tell the other angels that my first mission was nothing more than a pep talk? This didn’t seem like a guardian angel sort of thing.
That thought struck me. We were protectors. Usually from some sort of physical harm. We didn’t go around making people feel good about themselves. There was an entire team of support angels for that.
What was I supposed to protect her from? Herself? I finally answered Zedekiah. “I’m not sure why I’m here.”
“Keep looking around.”
I did as he said, walking to the stairs, then floating to the bottom. As soon as I left the stairs the pull tugged me back to them. “It’s something about the stairs,” I said.
I didn’t know how. They pulled me back as if the way to them had suddenly become downhill. There was nothing extraordinary about them.
The yellow indicator light turned orange and began blinking.
I had to hurry.
There was nothing extraordinary about the stairs. They were carpeted and led up to the second floor. One side had a banister while the other was the wall. A couple of toys sat at random intervals.
There was no apparent danger.
The mother got to the top of the stairs.
I searched frantically as the blinking sped up. Nothing caught my attention. Nothing felt off.
The mother started down.
The light turned red, but continued to blink. I had seconds.
There was nothing I could see that would be a danger. I let out a frustrated sigh and kicked one of the toys out of the mother’s way.
She stepped right where it had been.
My indicator light went green.
“Nice job, kid,” Zedekiah said. “Prepare for extraction.”