Alas, here is the final installment of Death and a Guardian Angel. It's been so much fun, and thank you all sooooo much for reviewing, you have no idea how much that means to me. And, thanks bunches and bunches to my beta: Ilada Jefiv. You have helped me improve a lot.
Above, black clouds had gathered. As if they too felt emotion, their drops of rain fell like tears. Was the whole world crying? What other deaths had happened as of late? The sorrows of the skies so often matched the sorrows of the people. Often, I did not hear the glorious laughter of children on such days. And there was no such merriment beneath the black, mourning umbrellas. Even they seem to weep as the water fell from their edges.
Near me, a blonde young man looked up, letting the rain hit his face. He exhaled, a light mist in the cold air. His clothes were soaked, his coat now useless, he started to shiver. But he didn't seem to care.
"Joe!" His brother, my charge, said. "Unless they have suddenly sprouted wings, we will not find them in the sky!"
"Frank, what you see, is not me looking up to skies in case they can fly, but me looking up into the skies with an expression of frustration."
"Yeah! How do you suppose we're going to find them out here in the street?"
Frank looked around. Only a few people were braving the side walks, their umbrellas guarding their bodies from the wet. A girl dashed by, holding her purse over her head.
Beside me, Malachi chuckled. "I can see Kenan and Jared ahead."
I turned my gaze in the same direction and saw our fellow guardian angels. Kenan looks back and decides to imitate a child. With a huge grin, he hops up and down, waving one arm high in the air, and begins to shout our names. All the angels in the area burst into a concerto of laughter. Kenan is none too happy with the choices his charge has made, but that doesn't stop his joy from bubbling over.
It was actually quite ironic that Kenan chose such a gesture at that moment, because right in the middle of our laughter, Joe shouted, "There they are!"
The other men started, one slipping on the wet ground in his haste to get away. Frank and Joe gave chase, dodging people and keeping the men in their sight. As Malachi and I followed closely, we saw the men reach into their coats.
Exchanging glances, we had the same thoughts-guns! The men turned a corner, Frank and Joe struggling to keep up. If we were in physical bodies, our vision would've been hindered by the rain. But since we weren't, we saw the men disappear into an alley.
"Anselm! Malachi!" Jared yelled. "They're getting ready to ambush your boys."
A message flicked through my mind, and it wasn't until I was standing by the alley entrance getting soaked that I saw Malachi had gotten the same message also, and I realized that we had gained our physical bodies.
I lifted my face, much like Joe had done before. "Ah, rain. It's so wonderful, but I do no like the cold that comes with it."
"I agree, Anselm. I sympathize with the humans for this," Malachi said.
I looked toward the boys. They were fast, even in the rain. A warning flashed through my mind, and Malachi touched my arm, a sure sign that he received the same message. We started walking in the same direction that the boys are running. The wet pounding of the boys running feet came closer and grew louder. I tensed.
'Now!' in one instant the boys pulled ahead of us, we glanced into the alley, and the men pulled the triggers. Malachi and I lunged forward, tackling the boys as the guns fired. As we fell to the ground, I glimpsed running legs come out of the alley and head down the street. We all grunted with pain when we hit the wet concrete.
After a moment, Frank began wriggling beneath me, trying to get up. I quickly rolled off and began helping him up. "Are you okay?"
Rubbing his elbow, Frank replied, "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Were those gunshots? Were they firing at us?" asked a now standing Joe.
"Yup," Malachi answered. "Aimed right for you guys. We saw them just in time."
The boys glanced at each other and began thanking us profusely. As Frank turned to me, he paused, his face indicating that he thought he recognized me. I just smiled back.
"Frank," Joe tugged his arm. "We better go, before they're too far ahead."
Frank absently pushed his brother's hand away. "Uh, yeah, Joe. Be right there."
I nodded. "He's right. They're probably not going to take any chances."
"Do you boys want some help?" Malachi offered.
Frank looked sharply at him, snapping out of his previous thoughts. "No thanks. We should be able to handle them."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah," Frank began walking away. "Besides, they've been running longer than we have. Hopefully, they'll tire out sooner."
With that, both boys turned and ran down the street. As they turned the next corner, we were back in our angel forms, right beside them. Though I was watching Frank, I could see Joe's worried glances in my charge's direction.
"He's thinking the same thing you were, I'll wager." Malachi commented.
I emitted a short laugh. "Most likely. It's been two months since the incident, but it will take time for the memory to fade."
"Hmm. I must admit, even for me, Joe's expression when Frank died is still vivid in my mind."
"Yes. And then their expressions when he awoke. Such relief!"
Further conversation was eliminated when we rounded a corner and literally ran into the men. Cries of surprise mingled with grunts of pain and bodies hitting the ground. The impending fight began as soon as everyone started to regain their footing. The struggle was brief, but violent nonetheless.
Kenan had to shift a garbage can and give his charge a nudge toward it so the man wouldn't crack his head open on a concrete step. Malachi pulled Joe back enough for the boy to stumble into a street light when a blow sent him reeling back, slightly stunned, so he wouldn't fall into a deep puddle and drown.
Within minutes, the boys were calling the police to pick up the now senseless men. Frank had a cut lip and a rapidly forming black eye. Joe received a beautiful bruise on the jaw, and his cheek had been cut just below the eye.
"So," Frank began, trying to catch his breath. "other than the obvious, you okay?"
"Yeah," said Joe. "I'm fine. You?"
Frank nodded, "Well, I'm cold, wet, tired, and hungry. My eye is probably swelling, and my lip smarts. So, yeah, I'm good."
After a moment of silence, Frank asked, "You know those two men back there? The ones that tackled us?"
"Did you recognize them?"
Joe thought for a moment. "No. Why?"
Frank shrugged. "I thought I did. Or at least the guy who had me."
Joe looked at Frank, eyebrows raised. "Okay. But I'm pretty sure we've never ever come across those guys before. Though we may have seen them in the streets before. They were pretty average."
The way he was looking across the street, it was pretty clear that Frank had gotten lost in his own thoughts. He muttered one name. "Anselm."
Jared and Kenan gave me bemused looks.
"I'll have to tell you later," I said.
They nodded understandably.
Joe was confused. "Anselm?"
Frank looked up quickly, slightly embarrassed. "It's a long story."
While Joe dubiously nodded, Malachi nudged me. "They're onto you."
I smiled back. "My cover's been blown."
Frank turned to Joe. "Can you watch them? I wanna check something."
Joe looked at Frank then at the unconscious men. "Unless they're faking this, I'll be fine."
Frank took off jogging back around the corner and down the street. Rounding the next corner, he looked about. After a minute or so, he shook his head and went back. I knew he hadn't seen me again, as I wasn't allowed a human form again that day.
Joe looked up as we approached. "Lookin' for those men?"
Frank shook his head.
Sirens caused them to look up.
Malachi sighed. "Just another day in the life of Frank and Joe Hardy."
"Hey, I shouldn't need to remind you that you two will talk again."
I laughed. "I know." I added to Frank, "And then, Frank, I'll tell of more adventures in your life regarding death and your guardian angel."
Oh, the light at the end of the last chappie? Yeah, that was a hospital light. One last time, Review? -Jimmy Candlestick