Author: TwistedInkIncorporated PM
Daniel, a homeless teenager from Alabama, is chosen to be an Ishim, a mortal angel that's job is to protect humanity and close every window that opens between Earth and Hell. He was a rather ordinary angel, and harbored a healthy hatred for the demons they destroy. To him, they were beings of chaos and evil. That is, until one began to change his mind. Warning: Boy Love, M/M.Rated: Fiction M - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 6 - Words: 20,577 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 04-06-13 - Published: 01-21-13 - id: 3094088
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Welcome to chapter one! This will be a supernatural story, I do not mean to offend your beliefs. This is pure fiction born from a mind currently addicted to the concept of angels and demons. Enjoy! :)
CHAPTER ONE: DANIEL
Life. It has a funny way of orchestrating itself. You have one, I have one, even a tiny insect has one. It's amazing, and hard, and ironic, if you take the time to examine the large and the small facets of one. I knew a man once that spent his life looking at the lives of praying mantises. I didn't understand his fascination, but just listening to him talk, I found myself catching his amazement in the animal. There were complexities there that I never would have imagined, and strangely, it took me a while to realize that we all shared the same traits. Birth, survival, death. But what humans have that mantises don't… it's our spirituality. Whether you believe in God, science, fate, whatever. It's all the same when it comes down to the core.
Okay, I have this problem of rambling on pointlessly. Let me get to the point. If I could record the life of every person I met, even the dullest of accountants, I would. Because life is amazing, precious, no matter the person or the circumstance. But I can't. I can only record my own.
But don't shy away now, I'm pretty sure this won't be very boring. Years ago, when I was an anonymous grain of sand in the enormous spinning hourglass of the sisters of fate, somehow, amazingly, I was chosen.
I was chosen for something greater, something larger, something… spectacular.
I was plucked right out of fate's hourglass, and cupped among few others in a pair of holy, glowing hands.
Once upon a time, I was chosen to be an angel.
Daniel was tired. It had been too, too long since the last time he had settled down for a moment. Taking a deep breath, he let his body slide down the gray bricks of a lonely, vacant post office, ignoring the scratching of the textured surface against his back. When exhaling, a mist curled from his lips in the chill of fall, and a shiver wracked his frame as an insistent wind swept over him despite his sheltered spot against the side of the building. He burrowed down into the clothing had piled on- the layers upon layers of scraps of all different colors and styles that helped to keep him warm as the seasons changed. Flipping his ripped, patched, and stained fedora off for just a moment to run his hands through his tangled, dark hair, he caught the eyes of a passerby.
He flicked his wrist to make a sweeping, bow-like gesture with his hat towards the woman with an air of mock respect, and smiled his regular, exhausted smile. He couldn't tell you what it looked like anymore. He didn't have a mirror to practice his smile in. The woman's steps faltered for just a moment, as Daniel gazed enviously at the long, thick coat she was wearing. Her lips twitched a bit, as if she wanted to say something, to ask him something, but she shook her head slightly, shrugged deeper into her pea coat, and turned away, continuing to walk with renewed speed. Daniel called a 'Happy Halloween' at her back as she fled.
"It's two weeks past Halloween," said a growling, grating voice.
Daniel's green eyes shot up and to the left, where a barrel of a man was standing with crossed arms. Despite the visage that screamed 'butcher' or 'boxer', he wore the suit and tie of a businessman. The teenager at his feet raised an eyebrow at him, but smiled nonetheless.
"Hi there, mister!"
"Did you hear me, brat? It's two weeks past Halloween."
"Yessir, I heard you. I know. I just didn't know what else to say. It's not like Christmas is just around the corner or nothin'."
The scowl on the balding man's face darkened, "Where are you from, brat? You've got quite the accent."
It sounded like an insult, but the smile stayed on Daniel's face and the lightness in the boy's heart swelled at the attention, "Alabama."
"Oh, really? Was your daddy a Baptist minister?"
"No, sir. He's an insurance man."
Seemingly stunned, the man's lips quirked, "Oh? And where are your parents now? They didn't abandon you all the way in Chicago, did they?"
"No, sir. My momma and pa… they're uh… well, I snuck out for a bit to be honest, sir." Daniel stuttered the words out, shuffling uncomfortably in his plethora of outfits. The smile had left his face, and the light had dimmed a bit. No one but police officers ever got this into talking with him.
What's going on here? Who is this guy?
The man hummed in response and twisted slightly so that he could dig through a suitcase that was hanging at his hip from a strap slung around the opposite shoulder. Curious, Daniel watched despite his trepidation, winching a bit when he saw a speck of snow glance off the man's coal-black jacket. The internal groan hummed in his chest and throat, but didn't leave his lips. He knew the drill by now. Even the faintest hints of snow, and the wind began to get harsh and unforgiving. People admired the 'WindyCity' in the summer, but damn if its winters don't kick one on his ass.
Finally the guy hovering over the teenager seemed to find what he was looking for, and handed it to Daniel. It was a book, not very large but still large enough that Daniel knew he would have trouble reading it for sure. He was hesitant to take it, but accepted it eventually, his tanned fingers so numb he couldn't feel the black leather of the binding.
"Thank you, sir," the boy said, heart clenching and eyes watering. No one had ever given him anything in these last few years. Well, money, yes, but nothing of sentimental value. Nothing he could treasure as a gift from someone. Nothing he couldn't give away for money.
"No problem, Danny."
Daniel looked up, mouth opening to spill out a long string of more gracious remarks, but saw that the man was already walking away, hands buried in his pockets.
Wait… how does he know my name?
Confused, but still astounded by his kindness, the homeless boy looked down at the blank cover and stroked his frozen fingers over it. It was beautiful; clean, glossy. He wanted to cradle it to his chest so tightly that it sank through his skin and straight into his heart, but that was when he caught sight of the little paper corner tucked between two pages. He opened the book to the first page, mouth immediately dropping open. It was a journal, dating all the way to two years back. No name or salutation, just the date and the entry. But that's not what caught Daniel's focus first. It was the twenty dollar bill laying on top of the page.
With growing disbelief, he flipped through the entries, collecting the two twenty dollar bills between them. A bill per entry. He finally gave up counting the money and just began counting the journal entries. Some of them were long, some of them were only two or three lines. Daniel caught his own name a few times and only a slight twinge of unease rose in him at that fact. Because he finally came to the very back of the journal, where there was a letter addressed to him. Minus the letter, there were 96 entries. The teenager couldn't even think properly. He certainly couldn't do the math.
Gathering up the bills and pressing them into a stack, Daniel's heart ached with disbelief.
It's not true. It has to be some kind of cruel, cruel joke.
This is what he kept telling himself, but it was impossible to quell the traitorous burst of excitement that contradicted his thoughts. Suddenly, though, he realized exactly where he was. Still sitting in the icy cold of November with his back pressed into the grimy gray bricks of a forlorn building in the middle of East Chicago. He frantically tucked the money into his left boot (no holes in that one) and jumped to his feet. He could no longer feel the cold. He gripped the journal to his chest, the bundle of folded paper like a burning fantasy on the side of his heel, and looked around, hoping to catch a glance of the stranger that had given this great gift to him. But the man was nowhere in sight.
Daniel was unsure of what to do, so he just started walking at first, which soon transformed into running as his heart could no longer contain the excitement that burst like a dozen tiny firecrackers erupting in his chest. He ran past stores and restaurants, staring at them and wondering over them. Wondering if he would be kicked out if he tried to walk in. Wondering what fresh food tastes like. But he passed them.
Finally, exhausted, he stopped before a very large building and stared up at the stacked floors. He knew what it was, and he was going to walk in it. His feet had to be repetitiously encouraged to move forward, but he was eventually stepping up to the glass double doors and pushing them open. A bell sang above his head, making him instinctively jerk his face up.
The violent, intentional clearing of someone's throat had Daniel facing forward again, to the desk straight ahead and to the left, facing diagonally between the front door and the open recreational area that branched off to the right. He was frozen for a bit, looking into the curious eyes of the desk attendant, before steeling himself, removing the tattered fedora from his head, and approaching the woman. Suddenly Daniel was self-conscious about the way he looked, the way he probably smelled, but the woman smiled at him anyway.
His usual smile was definitely strained. He was too shocked and too bewildered and too elated to manage a genuine one at the moment, but he was polite as could be when he spoke quietly, asking her for a room.
"How old are you, young man?" she finally asked after struggling for a response for many moments.
"Eighteen," Daniel lied instantly. If he told the truth, he probably wouldn't be given a room, is what he figured, "my uh… my pa just sent me some money… hoping to get warm for the next few hours."
She nodded understandingly, face sober as she turned to her computer and started clicking away at the keyboard with perfectly manicured nails. Daniel continued to catalogue the features of the hotel in his mind as the woman worked. The carpets and drapes color theme seemed to be a regal silver, blue, and white. It reminded him of a sort of ocean scene or something. He could see a group of people in the other room, sitting around a table and laughing as they ate from the buffet, and just like that Daniel could smell the hot, spicy scents of the food and swallowed as soon as he began to salivate.
He had to make himself look at least a little more used to this atmosphere, so he put his hands on his hips and made an exaggerated point to look around the room and proclaimed dramatically, "Well, this is a beautiful hotel. I don't think I caught the name of it when I came in…?"
The girl glanced at him, the kohl liner around her eyes deepening yet somehow brightening the chestnut-brown of her irises, but didn't answer. She kept typing away and finally murmured a little victory expletive as she cracked her knuckles. Smiling once more, she turned her full attention back to Daniel.
"Sorry for the wait. We have a room with a single bed open for 184 dollars and 79 cents per night. How long would you like to stay for?"
"One night," he said immediately, stooping down to bring the money from his boot. Just looking at the wad for a moment, he made the minute decision to hand it over to the woman. He didn't really count very well.
Not batting an eye, she began to count the bills, slowing when she reached what Daniel would be paying. Less than a tenth of the stack was taken away. Wide-eyed, she returned the rest of the bunch back to the teenager, who hummed anxiously as he stared down at it. He would be able to count it himself that night if he had time, he assured himself. While he was tucking it away, the bottle-blonde slid over a clipboard and instructed him to sign his name on the fifth line. Daniel obeyed, changing only his last name after a moment's hesitation. The girl took the paper back and glanced at what was just written.
"I'm Angela," she murmured, leaning over the counter, "call the front desk and ask for me if you need anything, alright Daniel?"
"Yes'm, thanks very much," he nodded enthusiastically, itching to go further into the warmth that was this establishment.
Angela smiled and gave Daniel an indecipherable look before handing a key over to him along with the change from a broken twenty dollar bill. He accepted both gratefully, feeling as if he was floating.
"You're room twenty seven. You just go to the end of this hall and take the elevator to the third floor, or you can take the stairs. Just follow the signs, you'll find your way. Welcome to CarterHotel, enjoy your stay!"
The ravenette nodded mutely, unable to say a single word. He felt as if he were truly dreaming. There was no way this was happening to him of all people; Daniel, the boy with the most rotten luck on the planet! But it was a dream he was happy to continue. So, with journal and room key in hand, he followed Angela's directions after waving goodbye to her, and found the elevator easily. He stepped inside after pressing the 'up' arrow, wondering how long it had been since the last time he was on an elevator. He rode up, found his room easily enough, and unlocked the door. When he slid the key into the lock and turned until he heard the tumblers click, though, he froze.
Everything came crashing down on him at once and he dropped to his knees in front of the door, eyes wide and breath turning to silent gasps that clawed the sides of his throat.
For too many years, he had been alone, without a home, desperate for any type of human contact. He would talk and beg to people just for an ounce of recognition. It was surprising how many people passed a homeless person, no matter what age they are. There Daniel was, sixteen years old, freezing in the cold and wasting his mind on memories from years ago, when a savior approached him. He hadn't looked like a savior, hadn't sounded like one, and certainly hadn't acted like one… but he had to be.
Daniel knelt on the carpet outside the room for what seemed like hours, but had in reality only been a minute or two. His head was spinning so badly he could barely hoist himself back to his feet, but he somehow succeeded. Warm and dazed, Daniel's stomach finally chose that moment to growl its demands, and his limbs began to tremble as he leaned with his forehead pressed to the warm wood of the door.
"This can't be happening," he breathed, lower than a whisper. His heart ached at the words and at the feel of his throat curving around the syllables. Even his organs knew it was a lie, "this doesn't happen to me."
It took many more minutes for the teen to actually open the door, but when he finally did it was like stepping back into an old life of six years ago.
He had been ten years old, warmly dressed, with a belly full and a laugh at the ready at all times. A few months later, he had been ten years old, but hungry, depressed, and cold. It's depressing how everything can change so suddenly. He had a home, a rich life, he was spoiled… and then he was homeless, helpless, and struggling just to live every day. But he had fun, and food wasn't all that hard to find. Fun… running through the streets without a care in the world. He didn't need to go to school like other kids did, which made him free of the stress of learning. He slept in playgrounds and trees every day. He wandered through his favorite stores whenever he wanted. Sometimes, if he was lucky and his timing was just right, he would sneak into movies. The only real problem was the weather.
Chicago, Illinois, so much different from where he came from in Newark, Alabama. But Daniel found he liked the city- the beautiful lights, skyscrapers, architecture, people, culture.
He looked out at what little of the city he could after he closed the door behind himself. The far wall of the room was almost entirely made of glass, so he could gaze at what looked like a skateboard park below. It was pretty close to the hotel, so he figured those types of people would stay at the hotel and go skateboarding as some kind of get-away. There was also a stage a bit beyond the ramps, rails, and arcs. That was really all he could see from his vantage point, but still, Daniel could see the culture from the city marking itself. Graffiti covered the stone jungle in every place, only a few areas were their natural cement gray still.
He admired one spot in particular, where a large, elegant pair of white, blue, and gold wings was at the top of one of the in-ground, smoothly paved bowls. The fading paint glistened dully in the gray sunlight. Smiling at the art, Daniel stood there for many long moments before turning slowly to face the room once more.
The bed is what captured his attention the most. How he longed to just collapse onto its sheets and plump, warm pillows and comforter. But he was so dirty, he was self-conscious about ruining the cleanliness of it. And so he headed to the bathroom and faced the shower. He wasn't so dirty that he couldn't remember how to use the knobs. Sometimes a police officer would take pity on him and let him stay at their house for a night or two so that he could use their facilities and eat a good meal. But Daniel hadn't slept in a real bed in over five years.
And so he undressed and bathed without complaint, willing himself to just become clean as fast as possible so that he could climb in under those sheets. Despite Daniel's hurry though, he ended up stepping out of the bathroom almost a full hour and a half later, snuggling into the fluffy, cotton bathrobe he found in the closet in the bathroom.
He was content, and his skin was buzzing with the feel and smell of flowery soap. When he regarded himself in the mirror across from the bed, he looked upon the long, ebony locks framing the gaunt, tanned face with something close to disgust. For as long as he could remember, he was always disturbed by the reflection in the mirror. Maybe it was because every time he looked, the stranger and stranger his appearance became. Or the more and more different. But that didn't even matter. Green eyes shining with delight, almost glowing, caused him to quickly turn away. Such a pleasant expression wasn't for his face.
When he leapt onto the bed, a cheer slipped from his mouth, followed closely by a fit of mad cackling. It was the happiest he'd been in so long…
For hours Daniel just longed peacefully in the warmth and cleanness, figuring out the phone and ordering dinner, astounded when the food was brought right up to his room not twenty minutes later. He grinned and handed the man a whole twenty dollar bill, which the elderly man took with a stunned expression.
Eating the soup, bread, and water was like a bliss he had never felt before. Intensified because of the warm and cozy atmosphere. Of all the foods, these were the ones Daniel missed the most. Fresh, wafting broth- not that homeless shelter kind, but the actual, delicious, real broth of an expensive meal. Cubes of meat and vegetables floated in the thick, spicy liquid, still steaming with heat. He at the bread first, as slowly as he could, but lost all inhibitions when he reached the soup. He practically drank it, only pausing every few seconds to chew.
It was so fantastic he couldn't even believe that he'd just eaten it. He laid back, nursing sips from the glass of ice water, his eyes slipping shut. He slept for a little while, perhaps three or four hours, and when he woke up it was nearly midnight.
It was then that he got to work, curling up in the bed with the journal in his lap. He flicked the bedside lamp on, reveling in such a small but amazing technology, and opened up the leather book, beginning to read. He'd made it to entry ten when he finally realized what the journal contained.
On my way back to the Casels, I saw Daniel once again. He appeared deeply depressed about something. Purple. Reminiscence, perhaps. I wanted to talk to him again today, but held myself back and just observed. He is a fighter, a passionate, good boy, but goes through periodic episodes of deep depression. A few days ago, I got a glimpse of him perched on the edge of a high building, looking at the street below. He wanted to jump.
I will mark this SA1.
Daniel skipped through a couple of the entries, scanned over others, until he came to eighty-two.
Daniel is brooding about the streets on Halloween, foregoing his usual playground rest spot because of the increased presence of mischievous children. I approached him and finally spoke this evening. I asked him if he would like something to eat or drink, perhaps some hot chocolate. His eyes were scared. He has been hurt before by a stranger, in ways I cannot pinpoint at the moment. In any case, he declined the offer, and I did my best to appear harmless as I sat next to him. After a minute or so his nervousness faded and he was suddenly talking to me, smiling bright as the sun, as if we'd known each other for years. GOLD. He has a good heart. He is a good boy. Last week was his sixteenth birthday.
Happy Birthday, Danny.
He was scared. Nothing that was written was threatening or perverted, but somehow it was… eerie, reading about himself. Someone had been watching him- closely, it seemed- for the past two years, and he hadn't noticed a single thing.
'And what's this about me meeting him on Halloween last year?' Daniel wondered, 'I don't remember that at all! The only person I talked to that day was that old man in the weird witchy-warlock costume. He's been silly, and offered me candy- not in a creeper-ish way- and… hot chocolate.'
His eyes narrowed as he re-read that entry in disbelief.
Fearing for his sanity, Daniel read through the rest of the entries and then finally came to the end. The last entry was just dated a week ago, describing how Daniel was becoming ill in the cold. Blue was the color integrated into the words. After that, all that was left was the letter.
Daniel stared at the piece of paper and felt a chill scrabble up his spine like some kind of frazzled animal. Swallowing thickly, he acknowledged the one surety he possessed at the moment. He was absolutely not ready for whatever the scrawled writing had to say.
But he unfolded it anyway and tried to ignore the shaking of his hands.
To Be Continued...
Reconstructed Version Posted On March 25, 2013