I've been feeling… a little weird lately
Hello, all! Well, like the summary said, this is a one-shot sequel to my Charmed trilogy consisting of "A Power Divided", "United As Three", and "Their Cross To Bear"
To be honest, I was never really sure how this was going to pan out. I changed my mind on so many details so many times, and I think it's something I'll never be truly happy with. Nevertheless, I feel like I had to write this story. You may find it boring, or silly, or crap, or all of the above, but I honestly don't care. I just wanted to tell this story, and I now that I have, I feel that the character it concerns can finally be laid to rest.
The bits in italics that are dated are from Pamela's many journals that she keeps throughout her life.
I Know You Are, But What Am I?
July 16th, 2012
I've been feeling a little… weird, lately.
They found me in what was left of the Manor. Well, they don't know it's me, but I certainly did. I'm surprised there was any of me to find, seeing as how I was where the fire had burned its brightest, but I've never been one to go down easily, so why should it be any different in death?
Bone dust. That's all that was left of me. Just a small smattering of ash from where I had been completely vapourised. It seems Aidan didn't bring me back to life after all. He gave me an entirely new life, conjured a new body with new hands and arms and legs and stuck my old soul straight into it. I wasn't brought back to life. I was born again into a different skin.
And if I'm being perfectly honest, I wish I had never found out…
"Hey, Pam, it's me again. I know you're probably off having a great time, but if you could just call me back as soon as you get this. I want to talk to you about this amazing apartment you found for us… My number hasn't changed. Call me."
"Okay, I know Wisconsin isn't the most glamourous place in the world, but if you're going travelling, would it kill you to visit? You haven't even seen the place since we moved here. It's been Phoebe-ed! Please let me know when you get this."
"You'll probably just roll your eyes when you hear this, but you're starting to worry me. Actually, not just me; everyone. Please, please call me back when you listen to this."
"If you haven't responded to my other messages, then you probably won't respond to this one either, but I have some really good news and I don't want you to find out through your voicemail."
"…We miss you. Talk to us."
The soft click of Pamela Walker's phone closing over would have automatically stopped the rest of her aunt's message, even though she knew there was nothing else left to hear. She sighed, her hands clasped against her forehead as she leaned on the railing, eyes closed and expression pained. She truly had nothing to say to them but lies. How was she meant to reassure them that she was alright when she couldn't even tell herself that lie? Had that died in the fire too?
Pamela had harboured a longing to come to Rio de Janeiro ever since she had seen a picture of the city in a book in her adolescence. She couldn't remember what the book was about or where she had even seen it, she just remembered thinking there was such an air of safety to a city whose main landmark was a hundred-and-thirty foot man with his arms outstretched, welcoming you and ready to make your problems disappear. She would understand the relevance in later years, shirking religious beliefs along the way but still preserving those feelings.
She turned around for a brief moment to look up at the Redeemer statue towering over her, floodlights illuminating it from the other side and casting its silhouette over the city it watched. Christ had been resurrected too, only he had proof of the hardships he had endured for man in the form of two eternal holes in his healing hands. What did she have? A scar through her face that had never tasted the blade meant to have caused it, and a bullet wound in her side that lacked meaning. This body was a lie.
Shaking her head at the absurdity of comparing herself to Christ, Pamela grinned wryly and turned back to the city that thrived even more in the darkness than it did in the light. The faint whispers of the ocean were drowned out by the roar of life from within it all. A few months ago, she would have been a part of it, but now all she could think that it was nothing but sound and fury signifying nothing.
The humidity eventually became too much to handle and Pamela was soon yearning for the tiny battery-powered fan that lay on her nightstand back at the motel. Pushing off the wall, she headed for the stairs, a warm wind soothing her exposed shoulders as she walked. Thank God she had cut her hair.
She knew every curve in this stone staircase after spending the later hours of every night walking down them at her leisure. The walk upwards was never something to relish, but the descent was always something to savour for its serenity. At least, it was on most nights.
Pamela came to stop on one of the stairs.
She said, "It's late, I'm sweating in uncomfortable places, and I'm in a body that isn't my own. Just show yourself and save us both the trouble."
Pamela suddenly pulled a small athame from her jean pocket and spiralled on the spot, jabbing the weapon viciously into the air. There was a sharp intake of breath where she had thrust, and all of a sudden thin tendrils of golden light flew in all directions before reassembling and fading back into the obscurity of the darkness. She could see the faint outline of man.
"Wait! I'm not here to hurt you. I promise." Said a disembodied voice.
She snorted, "If you think I haven't heard that one before, then-,"
"I'm an angel."
Pamela was disheartened to find, thanks to her forgetting to shut the blinds on the windows of her room before leaving this morning, that the sunlight had turned it into an oven. She was assaulted by a wave of heat as she entered, slamming the door behind her with particular force. She moved towards the main window that led out onto a tiny balcony and threw it open, immediately letting in the rest of the city with it. The witch narrowed her eyes and looked around the small room cautiously.
"You're not still here, are you?"
A voice came from around the door, "Yes, and I'm not going anywhere. I've already told you this."
Pamela folded her arms and gave her best formidable gaze to the door, "And I've already told you to go away. I think we're having a breakdown in communications here."
"You must do as I say-,"
"Or you'll what? Get in the way of my air? Tell God on me?" She snorted. "You know, for an angel, you certainly aren't inspiring any awe in me. If anything, you're just annoying."
"I'm not an angel, for the last time." A voice now coming from the other side of room insisted, impatient. Pamela whirled around in the direction it had come from, only barely seeing the silhouette of a person against the city backdrop. "It's just easier to call ourselves that. It's easier for humans to understand our nature, our purpose. We're created when there is a grand purpose that requires us, and until we fulfil that grand purpose, we remain in this world."
"Then tell me what your purpose is, because right now all it seems to be is to give me a headache."
"There's a witch somewhere in the city…"
"You're talking to her, pal."
He continued despite the interruption. "She's been harvesting the hearts of innocents to sell them on the black market and she has to be stopped."
Pamela frowned, "That's it? What's so grand about that? It sounds like your run of the mill crazy Wicca to me. Nothing world-changing."
There was a shocked silence for a moment, "Has being a witch taught you nothing about the sanctity of human life? You're on this planet to preserve it. Not just human life, all life. This is your task, and if you hadn't been trying so hard to avoid your true nature then you would have recognised the threat."
"You sure are awfully judgemental for someone who's only existed for about half an hour." She snapped, "And since you'll evaporate the moment I neutralise this witch, the sooner I take her out the better. Where is she?"
"I'm here to guide you. I'll lead the way."
"That's not really helpful unless I can see you."
"I have no other form."
"Well, I've had two…" Pamela said quietly, thinking for a second before letting out a resigned sigh, "Alright. You'll just have to keep speaking. That certainly shouldn't be a problem for you. Let's go."
July 22nd, 2012
I've seen nearly everything this world can throw at me, but that… still surprised me. I don't think I'll ever fully understand the mechanics of it all, and I don't think I'm meant to. It's just one of those things that I have to accept for what it is.
I lost something in that explosion… something Aidan couldn't bring back to life. I lost my own sense of purpose, the drive to keep doing what I'm doing. It's perfectly understandable. I think, at least. When the rest of your family gains immunity from pretty much any danger, leaving you in the firing line, it's kinda hard to keep the will to fight.
Especially when I've already lost the fight once before…
"I forgot to ask…"
"Do you even have a name?"
Pamela instantly rolled her eyes with a small chuckle, "Naturally. So, wait. You get a name, but not a body?"
He murmured in her ear, "It's easier for us to carry out our purpose this way. If we had the same clumsy flesh as the humans we guide, we would never get anything done. Get off here."
She did as she told, getting up from her seat on the bus and exiting before it had even come a complete stop. It was a bizarre experience to hear the angel's voice pressed against her ear. He had stayed close to her side after leaving the motel, easier for them to talk without Pamela raising suspicions by her looking like she was talking to herself. It wasn't even a voice Leon had. It was the ghost of a voice. Nothing about him had form. She felt a sudden pang of immense pity for the ethereal being at her shoulder before he whispered another direction and her mind was back to the task at hand.
If she had been fully focused on looking for evil in the city, this was definitely where she would have ended up. As it was, Pamela had spent her time on the beaches, in her motel room, and at the Redeemer statue. Not all of Rio was tourist-friendly it seemed. The alleyway reeked of things Pamela would rather not identify; the buildings she was between were very close together, furthering the claustrophobic feeling. She wanted to turn back.
"It's just down here…"
The stench got worse as they descended into the darkness further, and Pamela could no longer deny the smell of death.
"Here. She's on the third floor."
Careful not to make a sound, Pamela made a series of gestures at the door's many locks. There was a succession of clicks before the door gently swung open, revealing a dark staircase that can gone damp from the sheer humidity of the slums.
She whispered, "Anything I should know?"
"She's well practiced in incantations. As long as you're faster than her tongue, you'll be fine."
"No pressure there…"
The climb up the stairs went faster than she would have liked, and before she knew it, she was standing outside the door, the strap of her small potion bag being twisted mercilessly in her hand before she finally raised her free hand and gestured once again, gently opening the door and allowing her access. She saw a flicker of dim light move past her line of sight as Leon entered with her.
The inside was similar to the outside, only even more bleak and grey. The fact there were no windows was something Pamela noticed instantly, before the large hooks that hung from the cement ceiling, dyed crimson from blood. The floor was also stained in a similar fashion. The heart of an empty man. It was the only way human hearts had value in a ritual or on the black market: if the host had been completely bled dry before the heart was removed.
Pamela moved slowly into the next room to find a stark contrast from the other. Comfortably furnished with overstuffed furniture and a fireplace, of all things, burning in a hole in the wall. There were still no windows.
Leon gasped, "Watch out!"
Speedy Portuguese babbling made the witch whirl round on the spot. There was a flash of light and she was suddenly hit by something very solid that sent her to the floor. Angered, Pamela threw whatever it was off her with a loud thump and got back to her feet, hands immediately thrown out at where she had heard the chanting. The flimsy wooden wall that separated the rooms was blown to pieces, sending splinters everywhere.
It was now that Pamela was able to get a good look at her attacker: dark skin, dark hair, and probably would have been considered beautiful if dark magic had not feasted on her soul, removing any life from her features. She spoke again, hand raised, and a green blob of energy burst forth from her palm. Pamela sent it back at her with a quick glare, throwing her enemy into the opposite wall in an emerald flash that only succeeded in irritating her rather than causing lasting damage.
More different coloured flashes, more counter attacks, and more near missies. The blood pulsed through Pamela's body as she dodged various assaults and unleashed her powers. The last she had felt this alive was the moment before her death.
Their duel continued for a few more minutes before a sphere of energy and a potion collided just as the former had been fired, throwing Pamela's enemy back in the resulting shockwave and hurling her against the brick wall that made up the side of the room that was on the exterior of the building. She didn't get a chance to recover, as this one lull was used by Pamela to blow her to pieces in a shower of sparks with a simple gesture and end the fight.
"Wow…" She said, "I totally wasn't expecting that to work."
When she didn't get a criticism of her fighting style hissed curtly into her ear, she frowned before understanding. The grand purpose of the witch being stopped had been fulfilled. He was gone.
"I guess you vanished the moment she did. Nice knowing-,"
She whirled around then she heard a groan of pain behind her, her jaw dropping the moment she saw who it had come from. In the cloud of dust from the blown up wall, she could see a man, completely naked, with shoulder length brown hair and fierce eyes that reminded her of someone she had been trying to forget for the past few weeks. He looked up at her, utterly confused and utterly lost in being there. Pamela thought for a brief moment that this was one of the witch's victims and she had saved him from certain doom, but then she put everything together. The flash, the silence after the battle…
"I don't understand how this happened!"
"Calm down? I have flesh!"
"Yeah, and believe it or not, you're actually not the only one. Now, for the love of God, stay behind that wall until I find you something to wear."
Pamela could hear his bare feet padding uncomfortably against the cool cement floor in the other section of the room. In the lived in side, she raided the various cupboards and drawers, finding nothing but potion ingredients and some less than savoury items until the final stack of drawers, where it seemed the witch had kept the clothes of her victims. Pamela threw a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and some underwear into the other room, earning nothing but silence where she should have heard the rustling of material and the clinking of the belt buckle.
"Walking around town naked is something you really want to avoid. You need to put the clothes on."
What followed was a long conversation a mother and a small child would normally have through the curtain of a store dressing room.
"I'm guessing she tried to use some kind of matter polarization spell. You know, a spell that would have turned me into nothing. But since you're already nothing and were in the line of fire, you got turned into… something." She let her head fall gently against the wall, "Pretty ingenious way to get rid of me without any mess actually… Wish it had been that way when I-,"
"Is this right?"
Leon stepped out, and Pamela was instantly grateful that he had got it right to the point where he was appropriately covered. He was padding around nervously on the spot, and was constantly touching the hair in front of eyes, but to any outsider, he could come off as a normal human being, despite his t-shirt being on backwards.
"Almost. Your shirt's on backwards though. Here, just put your arms back into it and I'll turn…" Pamela reached for the sleeve of the t-shirt, brushing her hand against the bare skin of Leon's arm by accident and causing him to suddenly shiver with fright. "What's wrong?" She instantly recoiled.
He looked at the spot she had grazed with his shining green eyes, "Oh, no. It's nothing, its fine. I'm just… not used to it. That's all."
"Oh, right. Of course…"
She was careful to keep her hands strictly on the shirt as he fixed himself to avoid another situation like that. This was made particularly hard when he recoiled at his reflection in a nearby mirror and nearly crashed into her.
"Lemme guess: another thing you're not used to?"
Leon reached up slowly and touched his hair in amazement and Pamela could only smirk in amusement. It was like watching an animal when they first discover their reflection, unable to conceive the idea that it's not another version of themselves trapped behind some kind of barrier. It's just them from a different perspective. This seemed to be a concept that Leon was struggling with also, as he was perturbed by the fact the movement in the mirror matched his own movements exactly.
"Why do even need these things?" He asked defensively, clearly not a fan.
Pamela shrugged, "Vanity, I guess. And so you can see what's behind you. There are a lot of reasons." She walked closer to him, restraining the urge to roll her eyes when he looked at her reflection closing in with fear, "We need to go. This is a bad area, but we can't take the chance the police weren't called. C'mon, I'll try and fix this when we get back to the motel."
He was still transfixed by his own reflection, "Okay, narcissist, I think it's time to go."
She knew she was giving him a heart attack by grabbing his hand and dragging him to the door, but they didn't have a choice.
October 10th, 2023
I still think about the angel from time to time. What I didn't realize back then was the experience was similar to being a mother. You're put in charge of this completely innocent being, and it's your job to show them the world, guide them through the pitfalls, and ultimately show them everything there is to offer. But you're also the one learning at the same time, as you're seeing the world through someone else's eyes and learning to cherish everything that you've taken for granted all these years.
Of course, I guess it's even more special if you're trying to help someone who's in the same boat as you, even if you don't realize it's pretty much the blind leading the blind…
It was time to admit it: she was out of her depth.
Pamela leant back in her chair at the small desk in her room, retreating from the host of weather-worn books that she had spread out upon the surface. Her resources were too limited to be of any help, she had no idea where to even begin with a potion that would help, and considering the being she was dealing with the magic she was trying to reverse, she doubted she had enough power for a spell to work.
Perhaps it was time to bite the bullet and just-
"Have you found anything now?"
She bit her lip in frustration. "No. No, I have not." The witch turned in her chair to see Leon lying back on her bed, a hand to his head. "What's wrong now?"
"What is this?" He asked, for what seemed like the hundredth time since he had acquired a physical form. He sat up, pinching the underarms of his shirt to show that they were soaked through. His skin had also taken on a slight sheen in glow from the streetlamps outside. "Where is this water coming from? And why am I so-?"
"Hot?" She answered with an arched eyebrow, amused. "It's called sweat. It's basically what happens when your body gets too warm. I don't really know the science of the whole thing. Biology was never my thing in school, I was more into English than… you have no idea what I'm talking about."
"Please, just… fix me." He sighed, falling back, "So this is what heat feels like. It's so… unpleasant."
"It's not that bad. It's good when you're cold."
"Then how do I get cold so I can like being warm?"
There was a small moment, as he sat back up again and into the dim light of the motel's neon outside, where he looked exactly like him. It was just the way his hair was tussled from trying to move it away from his face, and how his bright eyes, regardless of colour, shone in the half-light. Pamela nearly fell off her chair and had to turn back around to her books to hide the fact that her face was now burning.
"Uh… Um, I can't fix you with what I've got here. I'll do some more research tomorrow, but I think I can help you with your temperature problem right now."
"How?" He asked wearily.
"Close your eyes."
Leon did so almost immediately, jumping at any chance from some relief from the heat. He felt Pamela's hand on his shoulder, as if she was trying to anchor him. The light was suddenly eclipsed as she bent down, leaned in and… blew a cloud of freezing ice right in his face.
The effect was almost instantaneous. A violent shiver went down his spine, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up, and the heat left him almost instantly. The hair that had been sticking to his skin previously had now been chilled and slightly hardened by the cold, and his arms were starting to erupt in little bumps… it was the most intense experience of the angel's short life.
A few minutes later, Pamela returned to the room with a bucket of ice. Once again, it was something that Leon gave a wary glance, but once she showed how her face seemed to lose its redness as she ran a cube across her cheeks and her forehead, he tentatively followed suit, surprised at the instant surge of coldness when his fingers brushed the ice before copying her movements.
There they were, witch and angel in a stuffy Brazilian motel room, rubbing ice on their faces.
"This was a little trick I learned from my aunt. When her kids were complaining about the heat in the summer, she would get an ice cube from the freezer and just gently rub it into their foreheads until it melted. Of course, sometimes, the heat calls for you to be a little adventurous with the thing. It's not just for your face."
Leon opened his mouth to speak, but was momentarily silenced as he watched Pamela bow her head and run the latest ice cube around her neck, on the skin just below her ears, and the skin on her chest that her shirt left open to the air. It was now his face that was burning, and it continued to do so until Pamela looked up, giving him a confused look which forced him to return to his cool down.
"Why don't you just use your powers again? I hardly think the cosmos would punish you for trying to cure yourself of this disgusting heat, so it won't qualify as personal gain."
Pamela smirked, "So you know about ancient Wiccan laws, but the concept of hot and cold is new to you? They really did give you all you needed for your mission and nothing more." She continued her ritual with the ice cube, "And I guess I could, but I dunno… I'd just rather not, even in this heat."
"You had no problem using your powers earlier."
"That was different. That was a fight with another witch. If I hadn't played on her terms, we'd both be dead right now. And using them on you earlier? Well… that was just an exception to get you to stop complaining."
"But… I don't understand." Leon stated bluntly. His voice was slightly freer of the usual frustration that had permeated it when he had been confused by her actions earlier. This seemed to be coming from genuine confusion and curiosity, not a blind need to fulfill a purpose.
"It's just one of those things that make me human."
"But you're not a human. You're a witch. Magic is the air you breathe and the art you refine. A witch without magic is-,"
"Stress free. Trust me, magic just… complicates things."
"…I don't understand."
"Well, maybe it's because you've only been in this world for a few hours." She snapped, instantly regretting it. Even the angel, alien to things such as moods, recoiled from her sudden outburst. "I'm sorry… Look, first thing tomorrow, I'll see what I can do about reversing the spell. I mean, going from what you said earlier, the sooner you're rid of that flesh the better, right?"
"Yes…" Leon replied quietly.
"Okay. I'm going to go to the bathroom and get changed for bed."
When the room had gone quiet, and Pamela had left, the angel said, "…I don't understand."
Back in New York, sleeping on top of the covers was something Pamela relished. The city was cold practically all year round, with three months of scorching heat in the summer where its cool citizens were disturbed by the sudden loss of the cold. Sleeping on top of the covers meant that summer was here and it was just a little too warm to sleep with your duvet. Sleeping on top of the covers meant that summer was here and everything was a little easier.
In Rio, sleeping on top of the covers was the only way you wouldn't melt into a puddle in your sleep. And even then, it was risky.
Twenty minutes, she said to herself, I think it's been twenty minutes. Deciding that it had been, in fact, twenty minutes (Though it had really only been ten.), Pamela rolled onto the other side of the bed that she had vacated twenty (ten) minutes ago to find it slightly cooler than the side that had suffered her body heat. Settling into an unsettled comfort that would fade quickly, she stared up at the ceiling. Leon slept on a makeshift bed on the floor next to her.
"I'm sorry for losing it earlier."
No response. He must have been asleep.
"It's just that a few months ago, something happened and I haven't been myself since then… I died, and then I was brought back to life, but the thing is, I was brought back into a life that's not my own. My body was destroyed when I… and a new one was conjured. I think it's meant to feel exactly the same it used to, but it just doesn't. I don't feel comfortable in my own life anymore; it's like some part of me knows I'm not supposed to be here. This isn't the same body that's been thrown into furniture more times than I can count, these eyes aren't the ones that witnessed what magic is truly capable of, and these lips… they didn't get a chance to kiss him before he screwed everything up. I feel so numb all the time, I can't feel anything, something's missing and I know it was lost in that explosion and I can't find it or fix it and… I just don't know what to do."
Pamela lay in the darkness, tears spilling from her eyes as she stared up to the ceiling. Her hands over one another again and again, her breath hitching in her throat from her silent sobs.
"And I hate magic so much for doing all of this. If it wasn't for magic, I would probably be in New York right now finishing my last year in college, living on campus and going home to my adoptive parents every weekend to get my laundry done. And my brother wouldn't be a demon, and he would have had a normal life, and my other brother wouldn't have turned into a twisted psychopath that nearly murdered us all. I would have stayed oblivious to my real family while they lived peaceful lives… Things wouldn't be perfect, but that would be fine because at least it would be manageable. Right now… I wish I had never come back from that fight. Magic isn't a blessing; it's a curse, a vile, corrosive curse that causes nothing but death and sorrow… After all this time, I finally see that."
Letting everything go that she had been carrying around for the past few months had been a cathartic and exhausting experience. It only took her a few moments to fall asleep after that.
Leon remained still on the floor, his eyes closed and completely awake; he only thought he was sleeping.
November 2nd, 2018
I don't think there's ever been a point in my life when I was more selfish than I was back then.
It was all about just getting through to the next day. I wasn't getting anything from my travels. I was going to these places, scanning them a little, and moving on to the next place, never really seeing what they could teach me. If it wasn't for Leon, I never would have learned all the things I learned from that point. Here is this amazing being, an infant to the real world, and all I could think about was getting him out of my life… until he spoke to me that morning. He woke me up and showed me that I had just as much to learn as he did.
"Here." Pamela said as she dropped several bags of varying designs onto the bed, "I got you some better clothes to wear today. I'm guessing the stuff we took from that witch's place was from one of the Rio citizens, as there's no way a tourist could go around in jeans. I got this vest thing, some three quarter lengths that also double as swimming shorts, sandals…"
As she brought all of these things out, Leon could only look on in amazement from his vantage point on the floor. "Humans change their clothes a lot, don't they?"
"What can I say?" She shrugged, "You're not the only one constantly uncomfortable in your own skin."
"And neither are you, right?"
Pamela instantly froze, "Excuse me?"
"What you were saying last night."
"You heard all of that?"
"Yes. Was I not meant to?"
"I thought you were asleep!"
"I was! I had my eyes closed, I was silent, and I was very still. It didn't seem to bring me as much calm as it did you though…"
"Oh my God!" She stared at him in abject horror for a few moments before she kept her face down to hide the fact it was turning red, continuing to pull out all the clothes that she had bought. "I thought you were asleep…"
"I don't understand." Leon murmured, getting up from the floor. "Why would you say those things out loud if you didn't want me to hear them?" He didn't get an answer, just more rustling of the bags that Pamela refused to look up from in spite of their being empty. He sat down on the edge of the bed, facing the window and looking away from her. "A lot of what you said made sense to me."
The rustling stopped; Pamela looked up.
"I think the situation you're in is very similar to mine." He said, "You have a logical understanding of what it is to be human. To be hot, to be cold, to sleep, but it when it comes to actually experiencing it and feeling it, you can't. You know how it's all meant to feel, but you just… can't. Of course, I think it must be on a deeper level for you because you obviously know how your physical senses work, but the idea remains the same…"
Pamela could only stare at his back in quiet wonder. She never thought of her situation so dire that an angel who had never had a physical form before could even understand how she was feeling. Not only did he understand, but he felt it as well. Pursing her lips, she thought for a second before picking up some of the clothes she had bought and throwing them in his direction.
"Go into the bathroom and put those on. I'm pretty sure you know how to do it now."
"Why? Where are we going?"
"We're going to see the world."
"Can I ask you something?"
They sat on the small bench in the centre of the cable car. It had been lucky that they had got up so early and therefore got on one of the first trips first up the mountain, as the carriage was fit to hold seventy people and there was no way they would have been able to talk freely being crushed against the windows of the cable car. As it was, they were the only people present apart from an old couple looking out of the window on the opposite side as they ascended.
"Okay, so angels have existed since… well, forever. Right?" She raised an eyebrow questioningly behind her sunglasses.
Leon narrowed his eyes for a split second. He had given up trying to correct her on her use of the word 'angel' so he just replied to her question, "Yes, ever since guidance was required."
Pamela smiled wryly at his response before moving on, "Alright, so you guys have been around for pretty much as long as humans have. So why is there absolutely no trace of you? I mean, in all my years of dealing with the supernatural, the closest thing I've come across is whitelighters. And there is no mention of you anywhere in any book I've read. How is it possible that no one knows about your kind?"
His answer was almost immediate, "Because people never share their experience with an angel."
"Is that a rule?"
He shook his head, "It just seems to be what happens."
She frowned in response and they spent the rest of the journey upwards in silence. Leon left the bench to go and look out the window and left Pamela to her thoughts.
He was definitely the most bizarre person Pamela had ever met. If nothing else, for the way his knowledge seemed to work. There were holes when it came to the simplest things, but he seemed to know the answers to all the questions she would ask. Like just then: how would he know that no one talks about their dealings with angels? It's not as if he could ask one of his kind, and even if he could, he had existed for barely twelve hours. What contacts could he possibly have?
Pamela saw the face of the mountain come into view from her position on the bench and realized would be time to get off soon. She didn't feel threatened by him, and she wasn't afraid to be around him. On the contrary, she actually enjoyed his ignorant company and found his innocence about everything to be rather endearing, so she put her thoughts on hold and stood up. There was some sight-seeing to do.
It turned out that the view from Sugarloaf Mountain was even better than the view from the Redeemer statue. From there, you could see the entire city stretching out along the coastline with the people slowly trickling onto beaches for a day of leisure. The sound was different also. Instead of the ocean being a faint whisper against the noise of the city, it was the other way around from here. You could hear the water churning below and waves crashing against the base of the mountain. A breeze coming from the sea kept the temperature perfect, especially for Leon who had decided he couldn't handle intense heat. Pamela hadn't yet told him that the heat got even worse during the day until the evening.
"I like it up here." Leon proclaimed, looking in the direction of the ocean instead of the city. "It seems like everything isn't trying as hard… if that makes any sense."
Pamela turned away from him and walked over to the other side of the viewing platform, bringing her camera out of the bag she had on her shoulder and taking a picture of the city. She smiled lightly, taking another one that got both the city and the sea, before returning it to her bag.
Her heart sank when she saw the old couple from the cable car talking to Leon about something. The woman was holding her camera, holding it out to him, and Leon looked terrified. It seemed his method of dealing with this sudden interaction was just to stare wide-eyed at the woman in silence.
"Would you please take a picture of my husband and I?" She asked the angel kindly, waiting for a response. The woman frowned slightly, before she seemed to come up with an idea. She leaned slightly and, speaking loudly and slowly, said, "Do you speak English?"
Pamela was quick to come to his rescue, running up to him and putting her arm around his back, ignoring the jolt of terror she felt in his spine and briefly leaning her head against his shoulder, "Sorry about him; he's too shy for his own good. I can take your picture if you want. Leon's not very good at taking pictures anyway. Are you, honey?" She looked at him, and even to someone who had only existed for half a day, what she wanted him to do was loud and clear: play along.
"No…" Was all he could muster, still intensely aware of Pamela's arm around him.
"Oh, thank you, sweetie." The old woman said, handing the camera over to the witch and getting into a pose with her husband at the edge of the viewing platform on the side looking over the city. "We're here for our golden wedding anniversary." She explained as Pamela took the picture, "Fifty years tomorrow!"
"Aw, good for you. There you go." She handed the camera back, letting the woman look at the picture preview in the screen.
"Would you and your boyfriend like a picture together?"
Right. Boyfriend. That was the ruse she had set up which she was now sorely regretting. She looked at Leon for a brief moment before turning back, "Actually-,"
"Yes, that would very nice. Thank you."
They took the same position as the old couple had, and after hissing to Leon to put his arm around her shoulders, Pamela tried to calm down and act as natural as possible. She found it easier if she pretended he was the person who should be standing with her right now, before he had let her down. With that, she was able to gently rest her head on his shoulder and curl her fingers around his hip, her arm around his back.
"You remind me of us when we were your age." The old woman said when she handed Pamela her camera back. "I hope you last just as long."
It took her a few moments to compose a response, fighting so many emotions at once it was a miracle she got any words out at all. "Thank you. So do I."
The couple went back down on the cable car half an hour later, granting Pamela and Leon a small window of solitude before the next car came up, no doubt carrying far more than just four people. She waved at the old woman as the carriage vanished from sight, before turning around and facing the angel. They locked eyes for a moment, before she strode past him, gripping the railing tightly as she looked out onto the sea.
"Are you angry at me again?"
Pamela gave him a fierce glance for a moment before returning to the ocean, "No… maybe… I don't know. Why did you even agree to a picture anyway? Do you even know what a camera is?"
"No, but I feel fine, and you seem as erratic as usual, so I'm assuming it's not dangerous. I don't understand; what did I do wrong? That woman seemed so happy when you took her picture, so I just thought that you would be happy if you got your picture taken."
Her eyebrows shot up, "You did that to try and… cheer me up?"
Leon gave her a look as if she was stupid, "Even I know sadness isn't a good thing."
She had to chuckle at that. "I'm sorry. I am… so sorry. It's just that you just remind me so much of someone I used to know. It's hard to look at you and not see him. It's not just effected the way I've treated you, it's brought up a lot of feelings I thought I had buried. So, if add heartbreak in with my little identity crisis, and I'm not exactly the best person to be around right now."
Leon gently bumped his knuckles together, looking down at the ground, "…I think you're a good person to be around." He finally said, making Pamela look at him with mild shock, "You're strong, you're kind, you're resourceful, and if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't even exist… you gave me meaning, Pamela, so please try and see that you have meaning as well. Even if it is just showing me around your world, because it matters. Well, it matters to me as least…"
"It matters to me as well." Pamela quietly responded, a strange new emotion flooding her, the nature of which she wasn't sure yet. "You're right… I do need to start seeing the meaning again. I… I think that's what I lost in the explosion that day. It was the one part that Aidan couldn't replicate or conjure, and I didn't know it back then, but it's like a piece of my soul is gone forever, you know? It's a part that I'll have to replace with something new… something unbreakable." She stared out to the ocean distantly, suddenly grinning and snorting out a laugh, "And if you actually understood all that, then it seems you were given a lot more knowledge than just what you needed!" Her smiled faded, her expression becoming grave, "I really am sorry, though."
They stayed and listened to the ocean until a new group of people came and drowned it out.
"Okay, it's kind of like the water I've been giving to drink, except it's on a spoon and-,"
There was a clatter of cutlery as the spoon fell to the floor and a small wail of shock from Leon as he clutched his mouth.
"…A lot hotter."
Perhaps teaching the angel about eating wasn't something meant for a public place after all.
Thankfully, the restaurant was too busy and loud for him to make a scene. Short of toppling the entire table and screaming his head off because of a burnt tongue, Pamela figured it was safe to keep trying.
"This is ridiculous. Do I really need to bother with this? Perhaps I'm not like other humans and I don't need sustenance."
"No, that's ridiculous." Pamela countered, picking up the spoon from the floor and giving him the one she wasn't using on his side, "You certainly sweat as much as a normal human and pretty much do everything else like a normal human, so why would you not need to eat? Now, try again." She thrust the spoon in his direction, and he took it with reluctance.
It was after a few moments of watching Pamela eat French fries that he looked at her pleadingly, paddling the spoon in the soup, "…Can I have what you're having instead?"
She sighed. It was like dealing with a child, "Fine… Although I did try and start you off on something easy. Are you sure you're ready for solids?"
"You move your jaw a lot when you're eating. I think I can do that."
"Alright then…" With an irritated sigh, she switched their dishes around. "You big baby." She shook her head, raising the spoon to her lips and instantly wincing at the temperature, earning Leon a glare when he smirked at her reaction.
"I honestly don't know why you bother with physical senses." Leon stated matter-of-factly between mouthfuls of fries that he chewed vigourously, "I mean, from what I can tell, it's just not worth it. Things would be so much easier without this form. For one, I'd just walk through the people in the street instead of bumping into them. It's such a flawed design that brings in nothing but pain. And heat! I hate the heat. First the air, and then the soup. Why can't the human body stand heat? It's horrible."
"You know what's also human nature? To focus on the bad instead of the good." She said, blowing the spoonful of soup before eating it, "For instance, take the heat. If you couldn't feel the heat, then you wouldn't be able to enjoy cooling down. You liked the ice cubes last night, and the wind on top of the mountain this morning. If you couldn't feel the bad stuff, you wouldn't be able to good stuff either. Besides, for all your complaining about the physical pain and discomfort, spiritual pain is a helluva lot worse. It leaves bigger scars too; you just can't see them…"
"That reminds me. How did you get that scar…" He leaned over, surprising her when he briefly touched the scar on her face with his index finger, "On your face?"
Pamela immediately lost her appetite, "No one trusted my instincts, including me." She laid the spoon down and reached for her purse in the bag that lay on one of the empty chairs at the table, "C'mon, let's just pay and get…" She trailed off, frowning at her bag. With a touch of panic, she brought the bag onto her lap, rummaging through it hastily. "My purse is gone!"
"Is that bad?"
"Very!" She snapped, "Someone must have-,"
There was a wail from behind them, and they turned around to see a tourist-y looking woman wrestling with a black haired man for the purse that sat on her shoulder. The man eventually ended the scuffle by hitting the woman crisply across the jaw, sending her to the floor and causing a wave of gasps in the restaurant before he flew out the door and bolted down the street.
Pamela's nostrils flared for a split second, before she leapt from her seat and tore after him, Leon in tow.
She ran in the direction the thief had, using the trail of decked pedestrians to follow him. The market had been set up on the street that morning, so the path he had made for himself was pretty clear, also allowing her a swift passage through the crowd to go after him. Her jaw was clenched, her bag was in her hand, and she had an angel on her shoulder. She wasn't about to let this guy get away.
The witch saw a flash of his cheap white suit on the other side of the market, and she darted after him, cutting through the crowd with agility and grace that her prey didn't have. There was a small, empty channel behind all the market stalls which the man was either too scared to notice, or was just plain stupid. Nevertheless, Pamela made for it, now running with no obstructions and overtaking the man in the crowd from her. But they were heading down into the main road, and he was already at the edge of the street. If he reached the road, she wouldn't get to him in time…
"Use your powers!" She heard Leon shout over the rabble. He had lost her somewhere in the centre of the crowd, but she didn't have time to go back for him.
With a deep breath, she swept her arm through the air, and at the very same time, her motion seemed to sweep away nearly every bad thought she had had over the past few months. The man was instantly propelled higher than the crowd and forward, landing hard on the sidewalk of the main road and in far too much pain to move.
Pamela sauntered up to the downed thief who was still writhing on the ground. She bent down, picking up the purse he had stolen from the other woman, and found her own in his pocket. Getting down on one knee, she grinned in the man, slapping his face lightly.
"Sweetie, didn't your mother ever tell you not to take a witch's things?"
"Oh my God! That was incredible! I haven't felt a rush like that in so long! It was just like when you had to chase a demon down a street now and again, but you always got it in the end… And the punning! I punned for the first time in years! I mean, I didn't think I still had it in me, but I guess it's just like riding a bike!"
"I… don't know what that means."
"You don't have to." Pamela grinned broadly to the confused angel, "But thank you so much. You just seemed to make a light bulb go off in my head when you shouted to me. I've spent so much time focusing on what's different that I haven't taken the time to notice the things that stayed the same: I can still kick ass with the rest of them!"
She laughed heartily for what seemed like the umpteenth time since she had thwarted the thief. Leon looked on at her bouncing jovially from his seat on the bench on the sidewalk, and couldn't help but grin himself from her infectious happiness. The miserable young woman he had met at the Redeemer statue seemed to have vanished, leaving nothing but the real Pamela behind.
His smile faded slightly when the witch seemed to calm down, sitting down next to him and looking at him intensely, "Okay, I'm gonna hug you now; the only reason I'm not totally jumping at you as because I know you're not that comfortable with the whole physical contact thing but I just have to do this. You don't have to understand why. Just-,"
To her complete surprise, Leon cut her off mid-sentence to pull her into his arms. It took her a few moments to reciprocate and get over the shock, but eventually she put her arms around him, smiling bitter-sweetly over his shoulder and trying to stop feeling like she was hugging him.
"…Am I doing this right?"
Pamela chuckled. He definitely wasn't Keith, and she had to understand that.
"You're doing great."
They came apart, sitting in silence but listening to the din of the city that continued on around them. The sun was low in the sky; it was late afternoon. They had spent a lot of time with the local law enforcement, trying to explain what happened through the language barrier and how they had no idea how the man had suddenly flew into the air.
Pamela sighed contentedly, seeing that Leon was mesmerized by the beautiful of the beach and the ocean, only for his expression to turn thunderous when a car tore through his line of vision, loud music making the ground shake and the neon paintjob being the most offensive thing in Rio. She followed the car with her narrowed eyes until it vanished, turning back to Leon with a small smile.
"I wanna take you somewhere. It was somewhere I was gonna visit on my last day here, but I think now is as good a time as any."
The Jardim Botanico, it seemed, was empty for the remaining duration of its opening hours.
The witch and the angel stood at the mouth of a wide path lined with the tallest trees Pamela had ever seen. Their senses were smothered by the scents of the vibrant flowers, the bright colours of all the bushes and trees and other plants, the soft sound of the animals that made the garden home, and the air felt so pure against their skin that it was almost taking physical form in its intensity. At the end of the path, there was a large pond with an equally big fountain in the centre, shooting water up nearly as high as the trees that surrounded them and creating a rainbow effect with the fading sunlight just cresting the hill behind them.
"Why did you bring me here?" Leon asked. Pamela immediately noticed that the bluntness of his questioning had slowly been vanishing throughout the day, and now it was completely gone. All there was now was innocent curiosity.
"Because something tells me you're not a big fan of the city, and this… well, don't you think it's the most beautiful place on Earth?" She began to walk down the path with him following slowly, taking in everything around him, "Besides, we could both use the piece and quiet for a change."
They walked to the end of the path and sat down on the low wall that encircled the pond, looking up at the hill that stood over the garden. Pamela took her sunglasses off and placed them in her bag, catching the screen of her cellphone for a brief moment and seeing that she said a new message. She brought it out, biting her lip at the sight of the familiar name on the screen before shoving it back into her bag.
"Why are you avoiding them?"
"Because I don't know what to tell them." Pamela answered, "At least not yet. I think I'm close to getting all this figured out. I just need to sort it out in my head first." She sighed again, propping her head up on the heel of her hand and staring forward.
It was the most peaceful they had been ever since they had met one another. After a while, Leon got up and went to inspect the flowers, interested in the vivid shades of colour that they all seemed to have. Pamela watched him lean in a large yellow flower with orange freckles at the edge of its petals, seeing a sliver of a smile when he liked what he smelled. That was what this garden was: a mass of almost-electric green, with splashes of other bright colours thrown in. It was all so alive, and Pamela felt like she could stay here forever.
"I didn't know the world could be like this." Leon said, still enthralled by all the plant life. "I thought it was all metal and noise and sweat. But here… everything is so quiet and fragrant. How could you be so miserable in a world like this?"
"It's not always as simple as just smelling a flower or sitting in a garden."
Pamela hugged her knees, enjoying the cooling mist coming from the walling water behind her. There was a great happiness within her, but also a great sadness and she didn't know how to identify either. All she could do was sit with her internal paradox, going over everything in her head. She had this newfound appreciation for existence, but something was missing.
"You should contact your family." Leon's voice came from behind her. He had moved on, and was now standing on the other side of the pond, watching the fountain.
She stood up and turned to face him, looking at him through the torrent of descending water and, with the sunlight shining through it; it gave Leon a halo that seemed to encompass his head perfectly. "Why?"
"Because they're worried for you." He responded simply, staring up at where the water was shooting out, "They don't know whether or not you'll come back, or if you're alright. You left without telling anyone, you left with something wrong. They're so confused, and if you were to just reach out and contact them, everything would be just a little better."
"How do you know what they're feeling?" Pamela questioned, somewhat defensively, "You didn't even know what heat was until last night. How can you even comprehend-?"
"Because that's how I feel every time you leave." Leon cut her off, stunning her with his confession. "When you left this morning to go shopping, and when you ran after that guy and I lost you in the crowd. Even when I couldn't see you sitting there because I had moved further away. I kept thinking where you were, if you were ever going to come back, and if you were okay. I've known you for a day, and I feel that way. Imagine what the people who've known you for years feel like."
Pamela had only been half-listening for most of his proclamation. She was twisting her bag strap violently, her face turning red and it wasn't from the heat. He understood how he felt, but he had no idea of the magnitude of what he was saying, or what he was feeling even meant. Pamela knew what he felt all too well; she had felt it a few times in her life and knew what it meant to Leon even if he didn't. The angel had fallen in love in her, and her heart was racing, and before she knew it, three little words had tumbled out of her mouth.
"Travel with me."
Leon blinked, "What?"
In that instant, he had never more looked like the person she was trying to forget. His brown hair slightly tussled from the wind and humidity, his vibrant eyes looking at her in shock, and his handsome face that she had missed so much.
"You say you worry when I'm not around, so why don't we just fix the problem of me never being around?" She suggested breathlessly, walking around to his side of the fountain, "Come with me. See everything, do everything. You have no idea what this world is about, so there's no better way to learn than to explore it. I can't figure out a way to reverse the spell, and I can't exactly leave you alone here, so come with me."
"…Okay." Leon said uncertainly after a few moments, "Alright, I'll come with you."
March 23rd, 2025
…I think I was trying to use him to fill the hole Keith left in my heart. Him stomping on my feelings, combined with the fact that I didn't feel like I belonged anymore, was just too much for me to bare at that point. But even after all that, a part of me knew that it was actually Keith I wanted to ask to go with me, just like when he had asked me to go to London with him.
In retrospect, I probably should have. We could have avoided everything that happened after that. But at the same time, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world…
Pamela and Leon sat on the edge of the motel pool, their legs submerged as far as their positions would allow. Dead leaves littered the water's surface, but it didn't seem to matter to either of them; they had been on their feet in the sun all day, and this was just the right way to unwind. Their faces shone in the light coming from within the pool, illuminating them in a blue hue that made them look dead, were it not for the life that shone from their eyes.
"I think I may head back to Europe in a few days. I'm done with South America and after Rio I don't think there's anything else I want to see. Maybe I should go to China… What do you think?" She immediately realized the redundancy of her question. "Sorry… I'll fire up my laptop and show you all these places, then you can choose."
Pamela smiled faintly, sensing something was wrong, "What's up? You seem a little more off than usual."
"I don't know…" Leon said quietly, not helping her quell her fears, "I guess I'm still adjusting to everything. Being human… it seems like the door to limitless possibilities. I think I just need to get my head around it all that first."
"Well, you'll get there." She replied reassuringly, "It's just all part of the experience."
"Oh, that reminds me." He looked down to the pocket of his shorts, pulling out a small necklace that had a wooden amulet hanging from a simple black chord. "I found this in the flowers when we were at the garden, but I completely forgot it because… well, you know. I… I don't know what to do with it."
Pamela shrugged at him, smirking, "Wear it."
Is if to prove a point, Pamela held her arms out and shook them, making the many bracelets and various other forms of jewellery rattle violently. Some were things she had bought when she was at home, some were gifts, and some were ones she had picked up on her travels. "It's very human to wear needless crap on your body." She said with a grin.
"Alright." Giving the necklace one final apprehensive stare, he bowed his head and slipped it onto his neck. It felt heavy around him instantly, as if he didn't have the strength to support it anymore.
"I guess it's a little unseemly, seeing as how I stopped a thief today and you're now wearing something someone's probably lost, but oh well. I'm gonna go change my shirt." The witch announced, jumping up into a standing position, "Even I have a sweat-threshold."
She walked away, and the smile Leon had been wearing their return from the garden finally faded. He looked up at the night sky, staring into the starlight mournfully. Something was unravelling within him, and he wanted to deny what it was, but he knew he couldn't. Something had changed, and it couldn't be fixed. It was trying to hold onto the water he now padded in with his fingers spread wide. It was just running through his grasp.
The angel looked down when his hand began to tingle. Sure enough, tiny particles of light begin to rise from his skin, taking his physical form with them as they dispersed into the atmosphere. He sighed miserably, looking to the sky once again.
"I understand now…"
Something wasn't right anymore, Pamela had decided, and as she changed her shirt, that feeling began to grow and worse and worse. Leon had changed in the last few hours; he seemed worried but the only thing he had to worry about was something that seemed to have been taken care of. The witch sighed softly, pulling her new shirt over her head and thinking what could possibly be wrong.
As she thought, her hand instantly froze on her doorknob. That was the answer.
He had had to think about his answer to come with her… had to think about everything since then.
He no longer had the answers he needed; he was making up his own answers. His knowledge had run out, meaning his purpose had as well.
Every question, every answer, every action… it had all been divine planning until now. Whatever he was meant to do, he had done it.
He was finished.
"Oh my God."
Pamela pulled the door open and rushed to the edge of the balcony that her room led onto, scanning the pool area wildly and her heart starting to shatter when she couldn't see him there. "No… No!"
She scrambled down to the pool, looking around once again. Her eyes widened when she saw wet footprints that weren't her own lead away from the water. His shoes were gone from the place they had left their footwear before sitting down and he was nowhere to be seen on the complex. Hope blazed inside her. Perhaps it wasn't too late after all. Perhaps she could cast a spell to hold him to this world, something to anchor him, something to…
This was the train of thought she followed as she run from the motel.
Leon had a similar pose to the massive Redeemer statue that stood behind him. His arms were outstretched, and he was watching with a mixture of awe and sadness as his hands and arms slowly began to disappear. He was sweating from running here, but he couldn't even feel his body overheating anymore. It was like his spirit was still contained within this body, but they were no longer connected. It was the worst possible fate imaginable for him now. The numbness was beginning to return…
"I… I understand now." He announced, knowing that she was behind him.
Pamela's clenched her jaw in fury, "Then explain it to me, because right now, I need to know everything I feel anything for always has to vanish. Tell me, Leon, because I don't understand!"
He slowly turned to her, not realizing he was hurting her purely from the fact that she could now see the city through his torso. "My purpose… It had nothing to do with defeating a witch… It was you along. You were my purpose. I was meant to save you from throwing everything away. That's what everything has happened for. I guess if I had known, I wouldn't have been able to help you."
"Then if this is my fault, I can fix it." She whispered hoarsely, desperate. "I can cast a spell, or-,"
"You have no power over this anymore, Pam. Your power over the situation vanished when I saved you." Leon grinned at her, "And I'm so glad I did. You're incredible."
"This isn't fair…" She growled, stepping closer to him and grasping what remained of his corporeal hand. Where parts of his fingers had faded away, she could see a faint golden shimmer of his true form, "You're the only person I've been able to talk to for months. If you go, then I don't know if I can…"
"You can, and you will." He said firmly, raising his other hand to her hot cheek and acting purely on what was left of his emotions. His heart was thumping in his transparent chest, and for some reason, he couldn't keep the smile off his face. "You're so strong; you just had to be reminded of that. You had to be reminded of the strength you get from this world, and it was only by showing that strength to someone else where you able to find it for yourself again."
His hands completely vanished, and Pamela gasped in shock when the hand on her cheek passed through her. She felt a sudden rush of love that only intensified as what happened repeated with the hand she was holding, passing through her fingertips like water and marking her soul at the same time.
"Don't think of this as magic being unfair to you. If anything, thank it." Leon said, the awareness of his purpose now filling him with so much transcendent knowledge that his only choice was to now ascend. "Magic was what brought me to you. It's the most wonderful gift you'll possess, and now, you'll be able to do great things with it because you're not afraid of it anymore."
"But how am I meant to do this alone?"
"Alone?" Leon arched an eyebrow, "You have more love for you in this world than most people will ever possess. You just need to connect with it again. And besides, if worst comes to worst, you'll always have me."
Pamela shook her head, tears freely falling from her eyes, "But I won't have you here…"
"It won't matter."
His legs had now completely vanished in a spray of golden light, slowly travelling up the rest of his body and dissolving the instrument that had taught him so much in this past day. He had fought this process until she had reached him, and now it seemed it was happening quicker than it normally would, as if it had to make up for lost time and couldn't allow Leon to exist in this world for any longer than he was meant to.
"Thank you." He said, and Pamela instantly felt the love pour from him with just those two words, "For everything. I don't think anyone of my kind has ever lived as much as I have."
As a reply, Pamela crashed her lips against his, putting her arms around his shoulders while they still remained. He was too stunned to react, and she knew it was better that way, so she kissed him, pressing herself to what remained of his body before her arms fell to her sides, his shoulders vanishing.
"We'll see each other again." She said strongly, bravely fighting her tears, "We will."
"I look forward to it…"
The last remnants of his physical body perished in a shower of golden rain, before there was another bright flash of light, and he was gone completely. Pamela wept freely in her solitude, falling to her knees and continuing to sob until her hand brushed against something: the necklace. Halting her tears, she grasped it tightly in her fist and calmed herself down long enough to put it over her hand and let it scrape against the ground as she went into a foetal position on the ground.
The amulet would only leave her neck five times in her entire life. The first time, a demon's claw would tear it from her. The second time would be when the chord needed replacing due to being worn out. She would take it off the night she conceived her first child, silently showing her fidelity to Keith in her own way. When it came to the fourth time, it would be because her second child, in a fit of teething, would chew through the chord while in her mother's arms.
The final time would only be a couple of days after the previous time, when she died thirteen years from now. Some cold medical examiner would pass it to Keith in a plastic bag full of her personal belongs, and her eldest child would wear it proudly for the rest of her long life, unaware that she was carrying the memory of two people around her neck.
August 1st, 2013
I think I know why no one ever talks about their experiences with angels now.
When I think of my time with Leon, I don't think I'll ever be ready to share it with anybody. It has nothing to do with rules or promises; it's just something no one else will ever understand. He pulled me back from the brink and not only saved me, but he made me even stronger than I used to be, and if I was to talk about that strength with someone else, it would make that strength… useless. An encounter with an angel is this intensely personal thing, and if you were to talk about it with someone else, you would ruin the time you shared together.
There's that, and the fact I don't think I'll ever love anyone else in the same way…
TWO DAYS LATER
Pamela sat out on the balcony that overlooked the ocean surrounding Rio, the salt breeze blowing her short hair back and caressing her shoulders. It was her last night in the city tonight, so she had decided to move up from her dingy motel and get a room at one of the flashiest hotels on the seafront. If nothing else, it had been the high-pressure shower that had given her the first proper clean in months that was worth every single penny.
To anyone on the street that looked up and saw her, they would see a woman wearing sunglasses and gazing peacefully out into the sunny ocean, totally unaware of the red, blotchy eyes that lay underneath Pamela's default accessory for hiding her emotions. At this point, she didn't even know why she was crying. Her mind had come to terms with what happened at the Redeemer statue a couple of nights ago; her tear ducts just hadn't got the message.
A copy of The Amber Spyglass lay on the small table next to her, along with a steaming cup of coffee, her cell phone, and several travel brochures. She didn't even know what plane was going to get on tomorrow, and that, she realised, was half the fun of what she was doing. But there was something she had to do first.
Finally whipping off her sunglasses, she stared out into sea with an intense clarity. Her eyes were dry and there was a faint smile on her lips. She had her answers and she was no longer afraid.
Taking a deep breath, she reached for her cell and flipped it open, finding the number she wanted and raising it to her ear. There was a moment's pause as she waited for the person on the other end to pick up.
"Hey, Piper… Yeah, it's me… I know, I know. I'm sorry. It's just that I-would you please stop shouting and listen to me? …It's just that I… Well, I've been feeling a little… weird, lately."