“I hope his angel is helping him feel better,” Billy said as he and Angela looked down into The Pit where Brandt lay. His permanent hospital bed now had a larger than normal number of tubes and wires around it as well as some sort of clear plastic tent over it. A number of nurses and technicians were tending to monitors or other devices.
“He doesn’t have an angel,” Angela said. Billy thought she sounded sad but then a thought occurred to him and it frightened him.
“Does he have one of those things?” Billy asked, shrinking back from the glass.
“No,” Angela said, turning to reassure Billy and reaching out her hand to him. He took her hand but he didn’t feel reassured.
“How does he get one? Wouldn’t that help?” Billy asked, moving back to the glass and looking down.
“He has to believe, Billy. Like you did,” she said and she smiled.
“I don’t think I believe, Angela, not like you mean anyway,” Billy said.
“Not in your head yet maybe, but in your heart you do. That’s where it matters. God cares about people’s hearts, not this worldly body we wrap around our hearts,” Angela said patting his hand in hers.
“Wait, you can see them! Is mine still here? Is she next to me now?” Billy asked excitedly, taking his hand from Angela’s and glancing around the room.
“No Billy, Theliel isn’t here now. Remember, she said she lives inside your heart.”
“But you can see the light, right? The light that connects us, I mean.”
“Yes. The light is still there.”
Another thought occurred to Billy. Angela saw the distant look in Billy’s eyes and turned to face him. “What is it Billy?”
“Well, I was thinking. If we’re the good guys and we have angels then the bad guys have demons, right?” Angela nodded. “You can see the angels and demons without the gear so why don’t we just have everyone paraded in front of you and we can weed out who’s on our side and who isn’t?”
“That’s a great idea, Billy. There’s just one problem.”
“Colonel Peters doesn’t believe and neither does half the team,” she said.
“We could still do it on our own. I mean if they really are real, and it looks like they are,” Billy said waving his hand toward the view looking down on Brandt’s wounded body. “Then we should be ready when they do believe.”
“Okay, so how do we, on our own, take a look at everyone?” Angela asked.
“I don’t know yet. I just got this idea and haven’t gotten that far yet,” Billy admitted.
Angela thought some more before speaking. “What do we do with anyone we identify as having a demon?”
“I don’t know that either,” Billy said.
“Well, at least they won’t know we know. They usually take no notice of us in the real world. It seems like we’re just things to them, at least to demons we are.”
“While we’re on the subject, what was that disgusting little thing clinging to that woman, what was her name?”
“Private Harrow. It was a lemur. They’re the lowest caste of Hell.”
“Why was it on her?”
“If I had to guess, I’d say it was enabling her desire for pornography.”
“They can do that? Make you want stuff?”
“It’s what demons do. They tempt people and lure them away from God until they own them.”
“If we can’t see them how do they own us? Like in the stories with a contract in blood or something?”
Angela laughed. “I don’t know, but I doubt it. Those are just stories.”
Billy wasn’t so sure but he let it slide for now. Movement through the window caught Billy’s attention and he returned his attention to the wounded figure of Brandt down below. A chill ran up his spine as the scene replayed in his mind.
“I don’t want to go back in, Angela,” Billy said.
“Don’t worry, Billy. Theliel will be with you now wherever you go,” she said placing her hand on his shoulder. The warmth of her touch seemed to connect to his heart. He began to relax until the door behind them opened noisily, startling Billy and making his heart skip a beat.
“Sorry,” First Sergeant Wilcox said coming in along with Corporal Williams. They stood by the open door and didn’t cross the room. “The server is up. Colonel Peters is spooling up for an op and wants everyone at their posts.”
Billy took one last look down into The Pit before turning to follow Angela from the room. The image of the fire washing over Brandt in the ether stuck in his head. He found his right hand rubbing a spot over his heart of its own volition.
Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm. For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at www.facebook.com/firstchevalierbooks.