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LJ Idol X - Week [22] - Talking Through

“Hello there!”

“Hello.”

“And who might you be?”

“My name is Angela.”

“Angela. Is that it?”

“My mom taught me not to give out too much information, especially to adults I don’t know and in threatening situations.”

“I see. Do you feel like you’re being threatened in some way?”

“Actually… um… no.”

“That’s good then.”

“So wait. Who are you?”

“Don’t freak out when I tell you this. But I am an angel.”

“My mom named me Angela because she said when she saw me, I looked like an angel.”

“That’s a lovely thought, Angela. Thank you for sharing that with me.”

“But, I don’t look anything like you.”

“Yes, well, your mother had never actually seen an angel at that time.”

“And, I’m not a guy.”

“No, but you see, angels aren’t actually gender specific because, obviously, we don’t reproduce.”

“Well, you *look* like a guy.”

“We’ve found that humans tend to respond more readily to authoritarian figures who fall into the spectrum of male. If you find this thought sexist, I apologize.”

“So, you’re actually an angel?”

“Don't make me repeat it, Angela!”

“Oh. So, what’s your name?”

“Peyton.”

“Like Peyton Meyer, the guy who starred as Lucas from ‘Girl Meets World’ on Disney Channel. I cried when I heard that show got canceled.”

“Or like Peyton List, the girl who stars as Emma on ‘Bunk’d,’ also on Disney Channel!”

“I never liked that series.”

“Tell me how old you are?”

“Thirteen.”

And how do you currently feel, Angela?”

“I don’t feel… bad. I don’t feel anything.”

“Would you characterize the feeling you have as… numb?”

“I guess so, I mean, I don’t know.”

“You aren’t feeling too cold or too warm?”

“Not that I’m aware. And I’d have to say that normally I would be completely bored if I wasn’t watching something and texting or tweeting about it. Somehow, sitting here and talking to you, it’s strangely okay.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Angela.”

“So, are you like MY Guardian Angel?”

“Me? No. That isn’t my role at all.”

“Oh. Kay. So, why are you bothering with me?”

“Hm?”

“Why are you talking to me, if you aren’t my Guardian Angel?”

“Guardian Angels never speak to their charges. It would only complicate matters in ways that would likely create many more problems than it would resolve.”

“Yes. We established that you aren’t my Guardian Angel. So why ARE you talking to me?”

“Let’s come back to that question a little bit later, Angela.”

“Are you trying to hide something from me?”

“Hide? No. I can’t hide anything from anyone. But the mind needs time to understand and process, so we have to take things slowly.”

“Oh and where are we, anyway? This definitely isn’t my room, and it’s not any place I recognize.”

“Would seeing things that you would recognize be good for you, Angela?”

“Yes. I guess it would, Pey-ton.”

“Don’t be mean, An-gel-a. I’m here to help.”

“This looks like the main lobby of my Junior High School.”

“Yes!”

“How dull. How about this.”

“Alright. Times Square. Certainly not the first time I’ve been here.”

“It's weird that the whole place is empty.”

“That’s because it’s just the location, not the people in it.”

“It seems kind of sad with no one here.”

“Sad? Well, we don’t want that. What if we changed it to the porch and lawn part of your backyard?”

“Fine, I guess.”

“There. That’s more like it.”

“So, is this later, now?”

“Later?”

“So I can find out why you’re bothering with me when you have a whole universe to take care of, I mean there’s probably someone in trouble you could be helping.”

“Oh. That.”

“Or granting someone’s wish! Or, I mean answering their prayer?”

“That’s not exactly how…”

“‘You seem to enjoy being cryptic.’ That’s a quote from my therapist. But it also applies to you.”

“I don’t mean to be cryptic, Angela.”

“I just realized, I’m being a terrible host. Would you like something? A snack?”

“Angels don’t eat in the same way as humans do.”

“I see. I was going to get a glass of iced tea but I’m suddenly not thirsty at all.”

“I understand, Angela.”

“So, there’s more to this backyard than just the porch. Off to the right is about a hundred acres of woodlands. Now that I’m thinking of it, you can suddenly see it over there! Sometime deer come out and sit on the grass. We even saw a trespasser bear one time.”

“That must be fun to have happen!”

“It gets pretty old. Especially when the deer start to eat flowers my Mom planted. She throws a fit. And my dad had to scare the bear with a cherry bomb. Out there, is Dad's little driving range and mini golf set of putting greens. Oh, here’s my dad, now!”

“Angela, there’s something I should tell you…”

“Why is he running in slow motion? And there’s Mom running in slow motion behind him. Even for a dream, this is weird. Is this a dream?”

“Angela I’d like you to listen carefully to me.”

“There’s one other thing in our backyard that makes us the envy of the block. Our Olympic sized swimming pool!”

“Yes. About the pool…”

“Take a look! Isn’t it great? We had it installed during the Rio games last year and I only got to start using the diving board this year! Hey. There’s somebody swimming there, without me!”

“Angela, please listen to me.”




“Angela, do you see that person in the pool, the one your parents are slowly running towards?”

“Of course, I do. I was the one to say someone was in the pool.”

“That someone is you.”

“No, it’s not. I’m here, talking with you.”

“Yes. You’re talking with me. Peyton the Angel.”

“But if that’s me, how could…”

“Did you notice the expressions on your parents’ faces? If not, don’t look.”

“Are you saying that I’m…”

“Here’s the thing. You are at a crossroads, Angela.”

“That sounds ominous.”

“You have a choice! Not everyone gets this sort of choice, especially so young.”

“What are the choices?”

“You can either rejoin your family back here or you can come with me to a new existence!”

“So, what are the catches?”

“Catches? Do you believe I’m out to trick you into some sort of steal your soul bargain? Our side never pulls that kind of guff.”

“I didn’t mean to imply you were trying to trick me, just that usually there’s some elements that come attached to any decision that might make someone consider that choice more carefully.”

“I get it. You’re a highly intelligent being.”

“Am I going to be brain dead or impaired if I stay?”

“No, you should make a full recovery.”

“And what is this ‘new existence’?”

“I can’t tell you anything about it, just that it’s very different from this place.”

“Well, how am I supposed to decide which way to go?”

“I will say this. There is incredible beauty and overwhelming joy if you come with me.”

“But my Mom and Dad will be sad for the rest of their lives if I chose that.”

“It’s not like you’re going to see them. I mean, take inventory. How are you feeling now?”

“I’m okay.”

“So, you’d be okay with leaving them behind.”

“But THEY wouldn’t be okay. They’d be sad, or feeling guilty that I drowned in a pool that they wanted to help make me happy.”

“What if I told you they wouldn’t.”

“They wouldn’t?”

“That they wouldn’t be sad or guilty about this.”

“I wouldn’t believe you.”

“Have I lied to you before?”

“I have no idea.”

“Do you think that angels lie?”

“I… I never thought about it, but if I had to guess it would be no.”

“Then, what seems to be the issue?”

“Maybe you aren’t an angel?”

“Not an angel! Not an angel! I don’t understand how you can say that.”

“You're playing games with me. You are offering me some other existence. You are saying my parents won’t care if I died.”

“I’m trying to help you, Angela, but you have to let me help you. You need to make the correct choice!”

“I thought you said this was my choice! Now, it’s starting to feel like you’re practically forcing me to go!”

“Just release. Fall away. Come with me! Please hurry!”

“I… whoa… blur…”

“Angela?”

“Blur, glub, club, lub… skaaz!”





“cough-cough-cough-hasp!”

“She’s breathing!”

“Thank you, God, she’s back. She’s back!”

“Honey, are you alright?”

“Ca-caa-ahea-ah.”

“I’ll get the car. Let’s get her to the clinic.”

“My beautiful angel. You’re okay! You’re okay.”

“M-Mom.”

“Yes, Angela?”

“I’m… sorry.”

//

This entry was written for LJ Idol using the prompt Turn Back or Forge Ahead.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
ravenfeather
Jun. 24th, 2017 12:55 am (UTC)
I want to know why her parents would not be sad.
penpusher
Jun. 24th, 2017 05:41 am (UTC)
That's a reasonable and very much expected question!
bleodswean
Jun. 25th, 2017 04:33 pm (UTC)
Nice work with a dialogue-only story. I found it fascinating how you took us through mystery, supposed answer, increasing creepiness, and then no answers!
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 08:53 pm (UTC)
I was trying to reveal and leave the mystery for people to interpret, so a couple of tightropes all at once! I'm glad you found it intriguing!
eternal_ot
Jun. 26th, 2017 07:17 am (UTC)
The dialogues worked well here and it did convey all kind of emotions while reading. I am glad she choose to come back, I would have done the same thing :)
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for a lovely compliment! I think when you have a better overview, you can make better decisions!
i_17bingo
Jun. 26th, 2017 12:11 pm (UTC)
I also enjoyed how you painted the scene using only dialogue. You conveyed polite setting and character, as well as menace and urgency without a single word of narration, which is really hard to do.
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for a tremendous compliment, I appreciate that. The challenge was to cut away everything for the sake of telling what needed to be told. I'm glad that it worked for you!
baxaphobia
Jun. 26th, 2017 06:59 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. I'm glad Angela chose to remain. But as someone asked, why would her parents not be sad? That seems strange to me.
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 08:56 pm (UTC)
I think that is a really interesting observation, and one that some people share with you! Thanks so much for reading and for commenting!
beeker121
Jun. 26th, 2017 08:27 pm (UTC)
I love that Angela introduced the idea of this being a threatening situation right up front, and then it drifts away from that only to come right back to a threat by the time their conversation finishes. You did a nice job of differentiating their voices, making the dialog easy to follow.
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 08:58 pm (UTC)
Making sure the voices were clear was the most important element of this, since I was relying on the dialog to convey everything. I'm happy you thought that worked! And yes, the ebb and flow of the scene did cast Angela at sea, as it were! Thanks for reading and your compliment!
halfshellvenus
Jun. 27th, 2017 07:22 pm (UTC)
Really terrific all-dialogue piece, and I loved the slightly snotty teenager-voice and the overly patient angel-voice.

Or should I say, "angel"-voice. Because I think Angela's question was a good one, and if her parents wouldn't be sad if she died, then I doubt she was conversing with an angel.
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 08:59 pm (UTC)
Hm. It may be that you're onto something, possibly... And thank you for a very kind compliment!
rayaso
Jun. 28th, 2017 12:59 pm (UTC)
Using all dialogue was a great way to tell this story! You did a great job capturing Angela's voice. I loved the ambiguity of the angel -- was it in fact an angel? You left some clues that it might not be, but also some very un-angel-like snippets as well. Very good!
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 09:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! There did seem to be some ambiguity, didn't there? It probably would have been clearer had Angela chosen to "Forge Ahead!" I always appreciate your comments.
xlovebecomesher
Jun. 28th, 2017 07:02 pm (UTC)
I love that this is dialogue only and it was really fascinating! I got a kick out of the fact that there was Disney character stars thrown in. I'm curious to know why her parents would not be sad?
penpusher
Jun. 29th, 2017 09:06 pm (UTC)
I think the unisex names are interesting and this particular one was an obvious pairing that I figured a girl of the age of Angela would care about. It helps to have something familiar to get people talking!

It seemed like her parents were concerned and then glad to have her back? Hm... Thanks for offering something to think about and for your wonderful compliment!
xlovebecomesher
Jun. 29th, 2017 09:13 pm (UTC)
These lines makes me wonder what Peyton knows - if there's more to this?

“What if I told you they wouldn’t.”
“They wouldn’t?”
“That they wouldn’t be sad or guilty about this.”
murielle
Jun. 29th, 2017 09:10 pm (UTC)
I don't think she chose to stay. I think that's why she said, "I'm sorry." (Ain't I bad?)

Great read! You did the dialogue really well, and never once wondered who was speaking. Great job!
lordrexfear
Jun. 29th, 2017 10:03 pm (UTC)
So... let's ignore the good writing and ask a more pertinent question?

What's wrong with Bunk'd?

I watch that show for three reasons...Miranda May, Tessa Netting and Mary Scherr. I guess Peyton is cool too... the other Peyton List is better, but isn't a singer.
flipflop_diva
Jun. 29th, 2017 11:04 pm (UTC)
You did a great job with this. I liked the dialogue only approach. I find it's hard to do that well, but this really worked.

I'm choosing to believe she decided to come back and that 'angel' was maybe not who they said they were! Or maybe there is something even more creepy going on than it looks like.
favoritebean
Jun. 29th, 2017 11:40 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh! As soon as Payton introduced himself as an angel, I realized something terrible was happening. But to say his parents wouldn't be sad- such awful trickery.

As a parent with a backyard pool, this was actually a scary read for me.
marlawentmad
Jun. 30th, 2017 12:19 am (UTC)
I had that tell-tale feeling of skin crawling...I don't think Peyton is quite the angel.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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