Your Refuge: Chapter One: The Memories You Never Tell
Javert was awoken by someone nudging him in the ribs.
"Javert! Javert! Wake up!" Cosette hissed at him, and with a snort, he jolted up, his eye lids coming just barely open. He became more fully awake when he noticed the other souls turned around in their seats and glaring at him. He hunkered down in his seat and pretended to be invisible.
"You were snoring," Cosette told him.
"Wasn't," he contradicted with a yawn, whipping away the small line of drool that had escaped his slack jaw as he had dozed. He then rubbed his eyes. "Is the Weekly Meeting over with yet."
"No." She needn't have actually told him that, for St. Peter was still jabbering on, so Javert had gathered for himself that it had not yet ended.
"Good Lord, do they never shut up?"
"Shh!" came the scolding whispers around him. The only reason Marius, Valjean, and Fantine weren't at the Weekly Meeting – though they'd loathed to miss it – was because Heaven was trying to operate as normally as possible, and that left them on miracle duty.
"Javert! This is a state of emergency! Don't you think you can stop being snide for at least it?"
The reason that Heaven wasn't functioning normally was for sudden lack of Guardian Angels. Way, way, way too many had retired, and there hadn't been time to make new ones, and there wouldn't be time unless they found someone to temporarily replace them.
"No," he responded with a yawn, slumping in his seat. "I'm bored."
"Good, now shut up!" Cosette missed Marius terribly – Lord, they were together every minute of everyday! - and Javert had slowly been wearing on her nerves.
Javert snorted at her, and chose to ignore her all together.
"....And so, good creatures of Heaven!" St. Peter called. "It is up to you! We must all band together in order for the living down below us to thrive!" There were several enthusiastic cheers about this, and Javert merely crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. "Is there anyone opposed to making some of the ghosts of Heaven temporary Guardian Angels?"
Javert really, really wanted to raise his hand, but knew he'd be glared at for being the only one, so he had to sit on his hands to keep himself from doing it.
"Very well! The lists of the chosen shall be posted within the hour!" cried the absolutely glowing saint.
"So what were you going to do today?" Javert asked Cosette after the meeting was over as they strolled down one of Heaven's avenues, the former kicking absent-mindedly at a rock.
"I dunno. Probably read a book I guess."
"Oh," he responded, disappointed.
"Why? What did you want to do?" she asked him.
"Well, I was thinking of going down to earth, seeing Brianna-"
"You mean seeing Emily."
"Shut up!" he snapped. He hated it when they guessed what he really meant.
On a serious note, Cosette looked at him. "You've been acting very depressed lately."
"I'm just tired."
She stopped him, and he lost sight of the pebble. "You're not still having nightmares are you?"
"What? No, of course not," he said, sighing and brushing a hand through his hair.
"Are you being honest?"
"Well I can't bloody well be dishonest, now can I?" he said, irritated.
"Why can't you guys just ever take my word for it?"
"Why can't you just stop pretending that you don't care about anyone?"
He glared, his cover up for pouting, and slumped against the wall of a building. She rolled her eyes.
"Oh come on, don't act childish."
"I am not!"
"Stop!" he shouted. "See? You drag me into it, that's all."
"Sure I do," she said sarcastically. "If you wanna go down to Earth so bad, why don't you just go down? I mean, it's not like there's a law against it."
He grumbled something inaudible.
"What was that?" she teased.
"I don't like going alone!" he said aloud, getting red in the face.
"Awww.... Admit it; you enjoy our company."
"Yeah right," he said, rolling his eyes.
"Besides, I wouldn't go down there today if I were you."
"Why not? What's happening today?"
"The posting, Javert! Weren't you at all paying attention?"
"Oh. Guess not."
"What if your name comes up on the list?"
"Mon Dieu, that's the last thing I need."
Cosette stuck her nose into the air, privately insulted. "Well, I wouldn't mind being a Guardian Angel. Just for a while."
"Yeah, it's loads of fun," he said sarcastically. "Taking care of a spoiled, snot nosed little brat who throws temper tantrums ever two minutes."
"You're not one much for kids, are you?" she asked him, worried about him. She was always worried about him. Damn it, why couldn't people just leave him alone? Why did they have to care so damn much.
"No," he stated plainly.
And then they walked on in silence for a while, walking to the street that lead down to their separate houses. Finally, hating the silence, Cosette asked "So where do you think they'll post it?"
"The list for who's on Guardian Angel duty!" she shouted exasperatedly.
"Oh. I don't have the faintest clue in the world."
"You're no help."
"Nope," he said proudly. He then lifted his head up from the bug he'd been watching when he heard a crowd.
"Well, looks like it's found us," said Cosette, clapping her hands gleefully.
Javert groaned. "Oh no.... Come on, let's just keep going."
"No way! What if one of us was chosen?"
"Heaven forbid that be the case!"
They hadn't a choice now, for one of the other souls had seen them. "Oh, Cosette! Isn't it marvelous! Frank's been chosen to be a Guardian Angel!" one cried, snagging Cosette by the arm and dragging her up to the poll where one of the angels had just nailed the list. Cosette got a good look at it and saw that her name wasn't on it. However, she did spy another name, and covered her mouth with her hand.
"What is it?" Javert asked her, pushing his way through the crowd to see. She shook her head and pointed. Javert nearly fainted.
His name was up there.
To keep himself from fainting, he had snagged Cosette's arm and dragged her out of the crowd, heading for the nearest coffee shop.
Having been a snuff fiend in life, he would have like to have been allowed to at least smoke a cigarette, but those were strictly contraband. You could go down on earth and smoke 'em, but try bringing a pack back up to heaven and it simply incinerated in your hand.
Javert could just picture himself chain smoking them: light, puff, another. Light, puff, another.
But instead of tobacco, he went for the only thing in heaven he really enjoyed: coffee. They finally reached the front of the line, and Javert slammed his hands down on the counter. "Coffee. Black," he said, breathlessly, pale as, well, as a ghost.
"Make it decaf," Cosette told the Seraphim cashier.
Javert glared at her. "Regular."
"Decaf; you need to cut back."
"This is my crisis!"
"And I say you're drinking decaf!"
Javert ran a hand through his hair. "Look," he told the cashier, "if you make it regular I'll....give you a hug." Everyone in heaven was just nutty about hugs. Javert couldn't stand them; the supreme sacrifice.
"I'll give you five," Cosette countered.
"Damn!" Javert shouted, knowing he'd never do that.
"And we have a winner," the Seraphim said, accepting his five hugs, and handing Javert the coffee cup. He glared at the two of them and then down at the coffee cup. Wincing, he chugged it, and grumbled as he walked out of the coffee place.
"They can't make me do it!" he shouted insolently as Cosette led him home; duty didn't start till tomorrow.
She snorted. "Please, I think the Alpha and Omega, Creator of Heaven and Earth can force you to go on Guardian Angel duty."
Javert grumbled; he hated it when she was right. He wondered where he could get some wine. He'd seen angels offer it to God, so he knew it wasn't contraband. Of course, as Cosette said, God could do whatever He wanted, so anything contraband was available to Him if He so desired. But all the same, Javert really, really felt like getting absolutely stoned.
"Are you listening to me?" Cosette asked him.
"What?" he asked, snapping out of his thoughts.
"I said it's getting late and you should go home and go to bed. You'll need to get up early tomorrow."
Javert desperately wanted to argue, but couldn't after a great yawn escaped his mouth.
"Right," he agreed, and when they came to a fork in the road, Javert walked down the left side to his house, and Cosette the right to her and Marius'.
Present Day: 2006
One of the Guardian Angel Temps shoves me off his shoulder, because apparently, I'd slumped against it and began to go to sleep. "Come on, Javert, wake up!" he encourages. "You don't want to be groggy on your first day!"
The truth is, I want to be in bed, first day or no. I slept terribly last night because of a nightmare. It's been quite a while since I'd had one of those..... Shivering as a tingling sensation runs down my spine, I yawn and straighten myself out. Right. I can do this.
"Alright recruits. This is going to be your first day, but I have complete faith in you!" a Guardian Angel – a real one, not one of us knock offs – tells us. Going down the line, he puts on us the most fake and fluffy looking wings I've ever seen. I mean really corny. These are followed by a halo. I got the bad one – it slumps to the side of my head. The others puff up with pride while I just roll my eyes. Saluting us, he turns, pushes a button, and the cloud floor beneath us vanishes.
I give a small gasp in surprise and feel a gust of wind surround me. Well, we might be "Guardian Angels," but we're still ghosts, heart and soul. Instead of the plummeting feeling I normally have, I realize my wings are slowing my descent so that it's calm and surreal. The halo has slumped so that it's merely hooked onto one of my now black ears.
I feel a sudden rage at the phoniness of all this. Who do they think they're kidding? We're no angles (A.N.: Yes, that is a line stolen from the greatest movie ever! The Greatest Movie Ever is We're No Angels. You really must see it.). Sitting in your garage won't make you a Cadillac (A.N.: And that line is stolen from Garrison Keeler), and sticking wings on a dog won't make him an Angel from Heaven. Angrily, I rip the halo off my head, and struggle with the wings for a bit, going into free fall. Finally, they're off, and I'm plummeting toward the ground. Good. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it respectably as myself.
I'm going to do this right.
The other "angels" around me have these terrible shocked looks on their faces and are looking at each other as though they ought to do something about it. Too late. We're on Earth, in New York City, and I look just like any other ghost.
That is, until a sudden gust of wind knocks me down.
"If you think getting rid of the uniform gets rid of the job, you're sadly mistaken Monsieur L' Inspector!"
It's the Holy Spirit, and a private gale is howling in my ears. I manage to cover them with my paws, but His voice still rings out. "Now you do this, and you do it right, or so help me I'll send you straight to Hell, no matter what!"
"Not doing it hadn't crossed my mind!" I try and protest. It stops momentarily.
"Very well then. Go left. There'll be a light. Just follow it, and it'll take you to the apartment of the little girl you're to be Guarding."
I get up and brush myself off and notice all the other "angels" are staring at me. "Javert, are you alright?" the one that I had been leaning on earlier asks.
I shake myself like a wet dog – ignoring the fact that I am a dog – and answer "Me? I'm fine! Why should anything be wrong?" I ask ever so smoothly.
They're not buying it, it's obvious, but decide to ignore me and find their children. Giving myself another shake, I decide to do the same, and look to the left. There is a light, not surprisingly, and it glows a faint purple hue. Following it, I walk on, hoping for the best.
It's really a nice apartment complex. The people here aren't exactly Bill Gates, but it's obvious that they do have one thing in common with him: money and lots of it. Still, being inside the building won't narrow down where I need to go, will it?
Apparently that's already done for me. The complex immediately stops glowing. All I need to do is follow the path that is. I walk calm as a breeze through the lobby, and up into the stair well. Another fifteen minutes is spent climbing up stairs, and I'll be grateful when I know which room it is so I can just jump the roof tops and glide through the window.
Finally, huffing and puffing, I reach the last stair I need to climb and walk out – through, really – the door, and down the glowing purple road until I reach apartment 17C. Walking through this door, I find my trail is not yet ended, for it winds through the house, down a hall, and to yet another door.
Nudging it open, it creaks slightly, and a little girl turns to look at me, her blonde head of hair flying behind her. She's sitting on the wood floor, playing with a few toys in the lavish room. Why would a kid like this need a Guardian Angel?
She begins to grin, her teeth a pearly white, her dark blue eyes sparkling. "Oh, hello! How are you! My name's Abigail, what's yours?"
That just about knocks me out! I've never, ever, ever been seen before in broad daylight without the use of Devine Intervention, aka a miracle.
"What?" I ask her.
"I said," she repeats "My name is Abigail. What is yours? I've never met a talking dog before! Oh, this is fun!"
I blink again. "You can see me?"
"Of course I can!" she says proudly. "It's very nice, because I haven't seen anything for a long time. In fact, I can see everything in this little cloud around you. So that's the color that daddy painted the wall last June!"
I still stand there. "Are you a medium?" I ask her.
"A what?" she questions, puzzled.
"A medium. It's like a physic. They can see things that others can't. Like the future, or... a ghost."
"Oh," she said simply, and then plainly answered "No."
"Then how can you-" but I don't finish what I was going to say. I suddenly take a closer look at her eyes, at all the things in the room.
She has a bookshelf, only the books have bumps on the spine instead of words. There's a few padded places where sharp edges could hurt if someone couldn't see them. On her dresser lies a pair of sunglasses, and in the corner rests a white cane.....
"Are you alright?" she asks me personably.
She is totally blind.
To Be Continued......