– The Holy Guardian Angel. His instruction.1 –
"Because I feel I know I’m alive, that something more inhabits me,
even if what I feel slowly makes me sink into a dark ocean of terror.
Ah, how I wish that the threads that bind me were everlasting,
eternally tying to me the cold, white hands that command them ...”
Tuesday came like any other day, with the difference being I had an English test early in the morning.
On the way to school I adamantly forbade Alexander from talking to me, taking the chance the review some of the concepts I’d been cramming for the last three days. I ignored his mocking smile, which clearly told me that only a Human Being could give that degree of importance to such an insignificant thing, and buried my head in the notes that I’d so carefully compiled.
Michael was waiting for me by the entrance and it felt good to talk to someone who could understand and share my anxiety. With an unusually awkward smile he confessed that it would be his birthday, the next day, and asked me if I’d spend the afternoon with him. Before I could even question him, he explained that tomorrow was the day he’d been found, two years ago, and that he and Father Jorge had adopted the date, since no one had found anything regarding his birth.
In any other circumstances I would have refused him on the spot, and I immediately predicted the infinity of arguments that an afternoon away from home would provoke on my guests. But still, I just didn’t know how to refuse. That was obviously an important date for Michael and I was truly happy that he’d chosen to spend it and share it with me. I accepted his invitation without even blinking and told myself the worst that could happen was having Alexander tagging along in his invisible mode. The idea alone gave me the creeps and I immediately decided that I’d be inflexible in this. I also needed my time with my friends, and my privacy. After all, there had been no incidents or any signs of any kind of danger for more than one week. Up till then I had abided by all their rules without question. The next day I’d have an afternoon out!
Like always Michael left me on my floor and wished me good luck on my test. I took a deep breath before I entered the classroom and reassured myself that there was no reason to be nervous.
Steph was late, like always, although her motives for being late were others now. As I got in I’d seen her with Mark, by the entrance, holding hands, and I was sure she had been with him up till the last minute. The teacher didn’t complain or asked for an excuse. She just handed her a blank test sheet and I focused on my own exam.
When I finished reviewing it for the second time only an hour and a half had gone by. I was rather happy with the outcome and certain that my grade would be higher than I’d initially anticipated.
I was the first to return the test and left the room with a smile on my lips, as my classmates’ gazes followed me with expressions of surprise and suspicion. I went down the stairs, glad that I’d finally gotten rid of that extra preoccupation, and went outside to the small area where I usually spent my lunch breaks, now completely deserted at that time of day.
The absence of human voices made me realize I could hear birds singing and I walked towards the trees to listen from up closer. I couldn’t recall ever noticing that there were birds on those trees, which was kind of the logical assumption now that I thought about it.
I don’t know for sure what happened first, my body freezing in place or my ears hearing her sweet, mellowed voice.
“I see. So it’s you.”
The soft, melodic sound of that voice was enough to make me tremble from head to toe and I knew, deep in my Soul, in all my cells, that I had to run away as fast as I could. The command, however, was given all too late and my legs stood exactly where they were, shaking uncontrollably. Fighting against the waves of panic that threatened to drown my brain, I raised my head towards the sound of that rich and sensual voice. And the world seemed made of gray stone when compared with her beauty that could only be surreal.
With an almost imperceptible movement, I saw her jump from the branch where she’d been sitting and her lean, pale body floated to the ground right before me, where she landed as if she were weightless.
I couldn’t breathe and my heart exploded against my ears, dragging me down to that world of silence where all I could hear was the sound of my own panicking heartbeat. Along with the terror that eroded my stomach, I noticed that she was looking at me with a mix of curiosity and scorn. Her large eyes had the delicate shape of almonds and were yellow and fierce as if they belonged to a wild animal. Her hair was shiny like copper, falling down her back in large waves all the way to her waist. And she wore a simple, summer, sleeveless white dress, the hem softly caressing the perfect pale skin of her shins.
“One simple ... insignificant ... detestable ... little Human,” she finally said with a sigh, spitting bitterly each and every word and, in a movement too fast for me to see, she grabbed my face, her thin, hard, icy fingers digging into my skin.
My mind screamed and something beside my body, which already hurt all over the place, threatened to break. Color and light escaped from my gaze, surrounding me with darkness, and I stopped feeling the excruciating pain of the pincers that were her fingers on my face.
“I will not allow a miserable, disgusting little thing like you to put everything at risk,” she declared in that enticing melodic voice, the only sound able to penetrate beyond the chaos screaming inside my head; and yet I couldn’t understand a single thing she said.
I felt something cold, hard and icy touch my forehead and the world seemed to stop. I felt like I was falling, but I couldn’t feel the impact, whether the ground below me was hard or soft.
It looked like eternities went by me before the light returned to my eyes, showing me a world of green shades, all trembling and dancing above my head. Then it was the sound, bursting into my ears in a ragged, sickening noise that distantly sounded like someone’s breath. And finally, feeling returned to my body and I wished it hadn’t, and I screamed in pain, although I hadn’t enough air in my chest to scream. Pain, pain, pain! Pain like I’d never felt before burned through my veins, through my lungs, through my heart, and I knew I was dying ... and I wished I would die! I wished I would die as soon as possible!
The sound of my name echoed from far away and the next thing I knew, the two most scared pair of dark eyes that I’d ever seen were looking down at me. There were smears of blood on his face, shinning bright red in my distorted vision, and then the green was back, and I was alone, and still painfully alive.
Hands touched me and picked me up, and I screamed even more, but my mouth was too busy with gathering enough air to utter a single sound. My muscles seemed to catch on fire as my body was forced to move and then I was dizzy, and sick to my stomach, until they put me down on a much softer place.
The chaos inside me became even more destructive. Besides the spasms that already cursed through my body I began shaking again, terrified to the bottom of my being, blinking furiously as I tried to see who else was there.
One hand held mine, that kept twitching and squirming making my fingers hurt, and I squeezed it with all my strength, feeling it firm and cold.
“Mariane.” His velvet voice sounded bitter and hurt. And I waited for the magical effect of my name in his voice, but I still couldn’t breathe and the pain didn’t lessen at all. And, as my life slowly slipped away, all I could think of was how much I wanted to tell him I was okay. “You’ll be all right ... Rest now.” I wanted to cry for the pain in that beautiful voice, and another cold hand was placed on my forehead.
The ice from his skin magically interrupted the wave of agony that was torturing me and, although I was still trembling, the burning spasms began to fade away. Bit by bit my lungs started allowing air in and a huge wave of sleep weighed over my eyes.
I knew immediately that there was nothing I could do to resist that drowsiness. I squeezed his hand, unable to utter a single sound, and wished I could keep him there while I slept.