Jack's Angel

Even in the years to come, Jack Garson would never truly understand how he managed to get shot in the stomach in his sophomore year of high school. He lay on the ground, his left hand clutching his stomach where the bullet had entered. His right hand was being held by Angela. He looked up at her, seeing her gentle eyes comforted him.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of how to comfort her back. He knew that if this had been the first time she had lived through this, one of his jokes would work. But she had lost her sister in the same way. Everything was a repeat to her. Same place, same situation, same day of the year, same rainy night, same reaction, same gun even.

He didn't even remember opening his eyes, but he was looking back into her eyes again. Something was different about them now. He realized that not only were her eyes different, the entire environment was different. He was in his bedroom now. His room quickly faded.

He was now standing outside looking at Angela through her kitchen window. But this wasn't the Angela he knew, this was the Angela that never left the room to the world outside. He forced his eyes closed.

When he opened them again, he was back on the parking lot ground. He thought his life was flashing before his eyes. He was too young to die. He had to hang on, for Angela's sake. But the life he had lived refused to stay out of his mind.

He was nine years old and his mother was making him come with her to meet the new neighbors three doors down. This was the first time he had met Angela. She was only eight then. She had short brown hair the flipped under just below her ears. She had green eyes that sparkled with a kind of excitement that one feels just before setting out on an adventure.

Her sister had still been alive then, but Jack didn't even know that she existed. Jack would never meet the older sister that lived three doors down from him. He was much too interested in a frog that another boy meeting the neighbors had found. The two took it out side and let it hop a few feet before capturing it again and holding it upside down by one of its legs. They repeated this several times before Angela had come outside and yelled at them to let it go. When they had refused, she grabbed the frog from the other boy's hand and began to run away. Jack chased her, trying to retrieve the frog for several minutes. But she found a large lake and threw the frog in, just before Jack tackled her to the ground, making them both roll into the lake and get soaked.

She yelled at him for at least ten minutes on the way back to her house. First about the frog, then for tackling her, and finishing about how she might catch small pox from being soaked for so long. She didn't know what small pox was at the time. Jack's mom yelled at him too for much longer than Angela had. His family left the new neighbors, after his mother made an extended apology and had forced Jack to do the same.

Jack was pulled back to reality by the sound of a high, cruel laugh. The guy who had shot him was cracking up on the ground ten yards from him. The guy suddenly stopped. Jack didn't understand why at first. Then he heard the ambulance in the distance. Angela's cell phone was on the ground next to him.

The guy who had shot him quickly grabbed the gun next to him and jumped to his feet. Jack heard him clamor over a gate into a yard. The dog of the house quickly began to bark. The guy yelled, and tried to get back over. He was stuck. Jack knew that the dog in that house was kept on a chain. He also knew that only one corner of the yard was not reachable while on the chain. The guy was trapped.

Knowing that the guy could not escape, Jack suddenly realized how much the bullet really hurt. He couldn't hold back the tears any longer. Slowly the first tear dripped down his face. He was thankful for the rain; he thought it would hide his tears from Angela. Looking down at him, he realized that she could tell anyway. Tears suddenly dripped down her cheeks too. She was kneeling beside him, but suddenly she threw herself over his chest, hoping that maybe she could keep him alive by getting closer to him. She stayed there for several minutes, silently sobbing.

When the ambulance finally found the lot, it took them a full minute to get Angela to let go of him. They slowly lifted him onto the stretcher. As they pulled him into the ambulance, he suddenly realized that he probably wouldn't be playing baseball for the rest of the season. The only thing he saw of the world before he was completely inside was Angela's delicate figure being held up by a police officer trying to calm her down.

Jack hoped that Angela told the police why the dog was barking. He didn't want the guy to get away after his second murder attempt, though only one had worked. If she failed this, then the guy would surely get away forever.