“We’ve got to get him out of there. NOW!” Charles said, almost spitting out the words.
His outburst made me jump, and Nic reacted by quickly raising his hand for silence and giving Charles a reproachful look for making unnecessary noise.
“I know you’re upset, Charles,” he said turning to the red-and-black winged angel and speaking in a hushed, yet forceful tone. “But it’s not going to help that little angel if we just rush in without thinking.”
Charles, always calm and reserved, was absolutely seething with rage. I’d never seen him this emotional. But then my own mind was reeling over the sight that I’d just seen, and the fact that this sweet little angel was somehow Charles’ brother.
At first, it seemed that Charles hadn’t heard a word Nic was saying. I watched him start to rise from his crouching position, but then Nic grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back down. At first Charles tried to jerk away, but he couldn’t counter the iron strength that Nic brought to bear in restraining him. Watching the scene play out before me, my thoughts flew back to the time I, too, felt Niklas’ strength during my attempt to fly into the wreckage of the arena at Castle Rood after Damian’s disappearance, only to find myself in Nic’s vice-like grip as he restrained me from charging blindly into the ruins. Lost in the memory of that scene, I was abruptly brought back to reality by Charles and Nic’s heated exchange. I looked down and realized that my hand had reflexively gone to the place where my mate’s fingers, only a few weeks earlier, were clamped around my own arm.
“We have to save him,” Charles said as he glared angrily at Nic. He once more made an abortive attempt to get up, but Nic’s hold on him remained tight and firm.
“We will Charles,” Nic whispered, “but now is not the time. First we have to calmly assess the situation and then formulate a plan – please just take a moment and think about this. You know I’m right.
“From what I can see, he’s been caged and yes, mistreated, but at the moment Jonathan’s not in any mortal danger,” he continued more calmly. “If we just go charging in, your brother won’t be the only one locked in a cage. And considering the odds, that may be the least of what could happen to us.”
Charles nodded sadly, and I could see that while Nic’s words were beginning to the make sense to him, he wasn’t completely resigned to the present situation.
“Listen to me,” Nic said, looking intently at Charles, “I don’t have any intention of leaving him here, and if I even suspect that he might be in mortal danger, I’ll fly in there immediately and do everything in my power to save him. But he’s not in imminent danger and we need to formulate a plan. We have one advantage, Charles: surprise. If we sacrifice that in a hot-headed misadventure, our chances of rescuing your brother will dwindle to nothing.”
Once more Charles nodded, but this time I could see acceptance and resignation in his eyes. Nic appeared to see it too; I watched as his fingers opened, and he removed his hand from Charles’ arm.
“I have to agree with Nic, Charles,” I said. “You know none of us will stand by and let harm come to that little boy, whether he’s your brother or not. He’s one of us – we’re not going to abandon him without a fight. But Nic is right, the fight has to be on our terms, not theirs,” I said as I motioned back to the camp of circus folk.
I was just as shaken at what I’d seen as Charles; in fact, the sight before me brought tears to my eyes, so I could only imagine how upset Charles must be. I quietly made my way over to him and put my arm around his shoulders.
“We’ll get him out, Charles,” I said quietly into his ear. “But this is one time that I really have to agree with Nic. We must have some sort of plan or things could turn out very badly for all of us and also for your brother… Jonathan… right?”
“Yes, Jonathan, Charles said his voice cracking. “But it’s impossible for me to just hide here and see him suffer like that.”
I looked over to Nic, but his demeanor was all business as he began to give orders.
“Come on,” he said, “let’s get away from this clearing. We’ll make camp and formulate a plan. Cody and Luc, only get out what’s absolutely necessary, and no fire; we’ll eat a cold supper tonight. Jamie, you, Charles and I will devise a plan. Charles, don’t worry: we’ll have Jonathan with us safe and sound by tomorrow evening – I promise.”
All of this seemed to appease Charles, who although still visibly upset, was beginning to move back into the forest with the rest of us. When Nic determined that we were in a safe spot, he directed Cody to set up camp. Then he took Charles and me to a location a bit further from Cody and Luc and began to talk.
“Ok, somehow we’ve got to get in there quickly, get Jonathan out and then not only escape, but also put as much distance between these circus people and ourselves as possible,” Nic said, looking back and forth between Charles and me.
“I agree, Nic,” I said, in an attempt to show him my solidarity. “What do you have in mind?”
“Well…” Nic began to talk and before long, we had formulated a plan. It was a bit risky, but we felt that we could pull it off. Later, we went back to the camp and had a long talk with Cody and Luc. Nic explained in great detail exactly what he wanted them to do and without hesitation they both agreed to play their parts. In fact, they were almost bursting with excitement to help us.
“Don’t be too anxious.” Nic cautioned them. “This is a deadly serious business. We want to act quickly, and intelligently. No one gets hurt because of foolish heroics. Do you both understand?”
Cody and Luc solemnly agreed.
“Luc is the youngest of all of us and he’s a very mature boy for his age.” Nic continued as I watched Luc both blush and smile with pride. “But Jonathan is a child, and he’s blind. Being heroic, or careless, or foolish could get him or one of us killed. Does everyone understand that?”
There was silent agreement as everyone shook their head.
That evening, we ate a cold supper in silence. Charles hadn’t spoken a word for hours. I refrained from making any comments, lest I stir up an already tense situation. As we began to get ready for bed, I could see how worried he still was. Nic was preparing for sleep and urged the rest of us to get to bed as quickly as possible. Nic lay on the ground, and I moved next to him in my usual position. Then suddenly, I sat up and looked at him.
“Go ahead Jamie, do what your heart is telling you.”
“Are your sure, Nikki?”
“Yes. He needs a friend, and I think you’re a good choice right now.”
I got up and crossed to where Charles was lying. As I lay down next to him, he put his arm around me and I could feel his warmth.
“Charles, why didn’t you tell us about Jonathan?”
“Eventually I would have, as I told you of our history… we just haven’t had the time lately, and… on top of that….” He paused and there was a long space of silence. “I thought he was… dead.”
I could feel him tremble at those words, a shudder passing through his body.
“Charles, we’ll save him,” I whispered, “Nic promised.”
“Yes I know, but I can’t help being worried.”
“Well, we can do it… and I promise too.”
I turned around and smiled at him, but he didn’t smile back. I kissed his cheek, and wiped away a little suspicious dampness I found there. I stretched out and snuggled up to him, and soon we were both asleep.
That night I once more had the strange dream about the boy. He kept trying to tell me something, and just as before, I could see his lips move, but no sound reached my ears. He kept looking at me with his dark green eyes, smiling and speaking. And just as in my previous dream of him, he gently put his hand to his lips and blew me a kiss.
I woke up to the sound of Nic calling me. Morning seemed to have come quickly – too quickly, since I felt as if I hadn’t slept a wink. The sun was up, and Nic was once more going over the plan – preparing us for what he knew we must do. I felt both jittery and tense, and also a little frightened. I could see any number of things going wrong, but I knew that Nic had chosen the best plan of action he could possibly think of, and I wasn’t about to make things difficult by questioning his judgment.
As I silently chewed on some dried nuts that were so hard I though I might break my teeth on them, I dug into the soft earth with the toes of my right foot. I’d not yet put on my sandals and the dark earth of the forest felt cool and moist between my toes. I watched while a tiny insect crawled across the forest floor a few inches from where my foot rested, and couldn’t help but feel almost as helpless and insignificant. For just as I could easily move my foot another inch forward and crush it, so too did my life seem to rest on forces and events I had no power over. I frowned to myself, and spit out the rock-hard kernel I’d been unsuccessfully attempting to chew, put on my sandals, then slowly got up and made my way to the others.
I stood silently, listening to Nic’s final instructions. Then he made each of us repeat our parts out loud. Finally, when he was satisfied with our responses, he motioned for us to begin making our way back to the circus camp, while reminding us to be as careful and quiet as possible.
The journey back to the circus camp was short, but it still gave me enough time to ponder the fact that if our plan didn’t work, this circus would probably become the most popular one in all the land, with a full compliment of angels as the star attraction, either as caged animals or dead specimens exhibited for the amusement of curiosity seekers – at least until the Holy Office got wind of it and claimed us for its own. That thought made me shudder as the face of Abbot Gude flashed before me, but I pushed it aside and used all my powers of concentration to focus on the task at hand. The plan was simple, but one misstep and I knew we were all dead.
Finally we arrived back at open clearing and sure enough, everything was as it had been when we left the afternoon before. The circus camp was just coming to life with the new day. Nic quickly scouted the tents to get a better idea how many people we were up against, while Charles and I made our way around to Jonathan’s cage to check on him. Cody and Luc remained hidden, waiting for Nic to give them the signal to begin their part in the little angel’s rescue.
Standing at my post next to Charles, I performed my own quick survey of the camp. It seemed that by now most of the people were up. The tent that I assumed housed the kitchen was bustling with activity. Smoke from fires with boiling pots and cauldrons hanging above them curled up into the sunny, blue sky. A number of the circus people sat at long rows of tables in the tent finishing their morning meal. Laughter and friendly conversation filled the air. The mouth watering scent of the morning meal wafted past my nose borne on a gentle breeze that had begun to blow and my stomach rumbled, rebelling against the cold meal of hard nuts and dried berries that we had to content ourselves with earlier that morning.
In the blacksmith’s tent the breathy sounds of a pumping bellows blended with the clang and clatter of hammers and tongs against hot metal and the occasional shouted order barked out by the master wheelwright to his crew. A group of children played at the opposite end of the clearing and I could see a few men carrying buckets of water toward the animal cages. As I watched them, I started to worry. Jonathan’s cage was near some of the other caged wagons, and as the animal handlers made their way around watering and feeding the animals, our chances of being discovered greatly increased.
But I also realized that at this point there wasn’t much we could do, other then try to remain hidden, so I swallowed my fear and continued to wait in silence as I shifted uneasily from foot to foot next to Charles. I’d been watching two women removing wet clothing from a boiling black cauldron, using long wooden paddles and flopping the dripping wet garments on sections of rope that had been strung between two trees, when I jumped as a hand gently rested on my shoulder.
I turned quickly and saw Nic standing behind Charles and I. Charles must not have seen him either, because from the look on his face and the surprise in his eyes, I could see that he’d been just as startled by Nic’s stealthy approach as I.
“Including the women and children, it looks like there are about fifty of them,” Nic whispered.
“Uhm, five against fifty.” I muttered under my breath, “those are great odds.”
Then I looked over and saw the face Charles was giving me.
“I didn’t say we’re not going to do it, Charles. I’m just repeating the odds.”
Charles face softened.
“Ok,” Nic began. “You all know your parts?”
“Yes,” I said.
Charles nodded his head in agreement.
“Ok, then I’m going back to the boys and make sure they’re ready. I’m not exactly happy to be dragging Luc into this, but it’s going to take all five of us to pull it off.”
I was surprised by Nic’s remark. I too hadn’t been that pleased to involve Luc, but had kept my feelings to myself. At twelve, the young boy was amazingly mature for his age. In fact, there were days when I felt he was more mature then I was. I suspected it had a lot to do with being a servant back in Tardon. It couldn’t have been an easy life – especially under that evil witch Mathilde, who had caused the death of his brother, Jon. But mature or not, I remembered the incident with the monk and the dagger and felt guilty thrusting so much responsibility on such a sweet and innocent boy.
Nic left us, and I watched as he made his way back to Cody and Luc. I stood silently as I saw him quietly talking and gesturing to them. Both Luc and Cody had their eyes riveted on him, occasionally nodding in solemn agreement. But then when Nic finished, the boys turned to each other and I could see Cody flash a broad grin at Luc, while Luc appeared ready to jump out of his skin. This action caused Nic to frown at them, and once more I saw him speaking and gesturing to them. This time when he finished both boys had very serious looks on their faces, and I could only hope that Nic had struck enough fear in their hearts to make them cautious and avoid careless mistakes. Just as he was finishing with them he turned, and I caught the last part of his final admonition.
“…and remember what I told you. “This isn’t some kind of silly stunt. Don’t forget what happened at Castle Rood.”
At the mention of Castle Rood, the two boy’s faces became even more sober and serious. I frowned, wishing Nic hadn’t used that particular day as a reminder of the serious consequences that could befall us, but even though his words upset me, the thought of losing Cody or Luc scared me so much more that I swallowed hard and remained silent.
For a second time that morning, my eyes scanned the circus camp. There was definitely more activity than there’d been only a few minutes before as men, women, and the occasional child walked through the camp, talking amongst themselves, carrying water, cleaning up from the morning’s breakfast or working at other assigned tasks.
After a few additional minutes of tense waiting, I could see that we were all in our positions, ready to go. Charles and I were near Jonathan’s cage, but hidden in the bushes. Nic had Luc with him, and Cody had moved around to the other side of the camp.
Everyone positioned themselves at a place where they could see Nic. I watched while he rotated his head as one by one his eyes sought out each and every one of us checking for signs of readiness. I looked on as Cody slowly nodded his head, but frowned when I thought I caught just the glimmer of a smile breaking through his serious gaze. Charles and I were next, both nodding assent at our readiness. Finally Nic looked down at Luc, who looked up in anticipation at the king and shook his head in agreement as Nic quietly spoke his final words to him.
I watched as Luc moved in front of Nic with his back to him. Nic had his hand on Luc’s shoulder. Then he removed his hand, bent down to whisper in the boy’s ear and patted him gently on his bottom. With that signal, Luc went running and stumbling into the camp, and began to cry as loudly as he could. Within seconds, a group of circus people were crowding around him, looks of worry and concern on their faces.
“What’s wrong, little boy?” an older woman said as she put her arm around him.
“My sister… she’s hurt.”
A murmur ran through the crowd of circus people.
A man stepped forward.
“What happened? Tell us so we can help you.”
Luc continued to cry and then buried his face in his hands.
“It’s my sister… you have to help her,” he wailed.
“Of course we’ll help, but tell us what happened and where she is,’ a second man said, who’d dropped to his knees in order to come face to face with Luc.
“My sister…,” Luc sobbed. “My sister and I were in the forest picking berries, and a giant creature with wings came down and attacked us. It hurt my sister,” Luc said as he choked back another sob.
I was amused and surprised at Luc’s highly convincing act; as his pitiable tones scaled higher, even I was feeling sorry for him. As more and more of the circus people began to realize that something was going on, they headed toward the noise and activity.
“Where’s your sister now?” the man asked, with concern in his voice.
“She’s there, over in the forest. You’ve got to save her, please…” Luc cried, pointing in the opposite direction of our camp just as Nic had instructed him.
“It was one of those things!” said another man who had been listening to Luc’s story. “I told you we should have killed the one we caught.”
I watched as he turned to one of the men nearest Luc. His expression was angry and he moved to face the other man who, although taller and larger, seemed to shrink from his gaze.
“We’ve been hearing rumors of this ever since we left Tardon, Anton, and then three days ago we found that little demon, but as far as you were concerned it wasn’t anything to worry about. Well, tell that to this little boy.”
The man called Anton took a step back and I could see the blood drain from his face.
“I… I… didn’t…,” he stammered. But the other man cut him off.
“I know you didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about. Well, maybe now you’ll think differently.”
I could hear murmurs of agreement rise up from the ever-growing crowd of circus people, who were now completely surrounding Luc. The sight of Luc in the middle of a hostile crowd made me uneasy, but I remained silent and still at my assigned post, carefully watching Luc’s performance and the reaction of the circus people play out before my eyes.
As Luc’s diversion continued, and I was sure the circus people were thoroughly focused on the little boy, Charles and I quietly made our way toward the cage where Jonathan was imprisoned. Luc continued his antics, crying and telling anyone who would listen his tale of sorrow, and the more of it he told the more agitated the circus people became.
By now it seemed like the entire camp had abandoned their tasks and were surrounding Luc. Then, without warning, Cody sprang from the bushes and jumped into the air, rapidly stroking his wings. In a matter of seconds he was airborne. As Cody jumped, the crowd turned and stared at the young angel. He flung himself high into the sky and then, furling his wings, hurled himself back towards the earth, only to swoop back up and head for the sky at the very last second. After his second dive, he soared upward again and did a double somersault. Every eye in the camp was on him.
In the meantime, Charles and I were attacking Jonathan’s cage.
I made my way over to inspect the bars of the cage, and although I thought we’d made a silent approach and hadn’t made a sound, the little angel heard us and raised his head.
“Who’s there?” a soft child’s voice asked.
Charles couldn’t contain himself. “It’s me, Jonathan... your brother, Charles.”
“Charles!” the little boy squealed and then smiled.
“Shhh, be quiet, the both of you,” I hissed, as I tried to silence them.
“My name’s Jamie; I’m helping your brother rescue you.”
“Charles, get me out of here,” Jonathan said, rushing towards his brother.
“I know little one, we’re here to help you,” Charles said with a tenderness in his voice that I hadn’t thought possible of him.
I was holding onto the bars, a frown growing on my face as I became more and more impatient.
“Ok Charles, let’s get started.” I whispered. “And let’s hope it works.”
I gripped the bars, and while I knew that I would never be strong enough to budge them even a fraction of an inch, I was hoping to rely on magic and not strength.
In the meantime, Cody continued his aerobatics and Luc kept crying for help. I suddenly caught myself unexpectedly smiling as the thought occurred to me that two of them could form their very own circus. But my smile quickly faded as I gripped the bars more firmly and began to concentrate. I could feel warmth and then heat and finally a burning in my hands. As I concentrated, the bars became soft, almost like rubber and Charles joined me in pulling them apart. Soon we had an opening large enough for a small boy to crawl through.
“Now come over this way, Jonathan,” Charles said, coaxing the little angel toward the new opening in the cage.
The little boy quickly scurried over to the hole we’d made in the bars, following his brother’s voice, and I was completely unprepared for the sight of how quickly and gracefully he moved, despite his handicap.
“Yes Jonathan, over here, and please hurry!” I called, wanting this to be over as soon as possible.
Once he was near the bent bars, Charles and I reached in and started to drag him out. I'd made the opening large enough for a small boy, but neglected to remember that this small boy had a fairly large wingspan attached to his body. After a minute of pulling and tugging it was obvious that the little angel wasn’t going to be going anywhere.
“Charles, wait. I have to make the opening bigger.”
I began the process all over again, and slowly I could feel my hands getting warmer and then hot.
“Please Charles, get me out of here! They hurt me,” Jonathan pleaded in a voice that was growing ever louder – exactly what we didn’t need.
“Shhh, please Jonathan,” I was trying to silence him. “We’re working as fast as we can.”
Finally, the bars opened wider.
“Alright, let’s get this job finished. Come on Charles, we have to pull him out”
As we began to extract Jonathan, one of his wings caught on the bar.
“Ouch, that hurts!”
“Shhhh!” I was frantic to get him out, and the little angel boy’s cries weren’t helping.
“Ouch, Charles it hurts,” Jonathan cried out once more, even louder then the previous time.
Just as I’d feared, Jonathan’s cries alerted some of the circus people to our presence, and they looked over just in time to see Charles and I drag the little angel out of the cage and on to the ground.
“Look over there,” one of the men shouted. “There’s two of them now and they’re trying to get the little one out!”
As he spoke I watched as the entire crowd of circus people raised their heads from Luc and stared at us.
“Charles, we’re dead,” I shouted.
Just then, Nic sprang from the bushes, jumped into the air, and landed on the ground separating us from the crowd of circus people, gripping his short sword in one hand and dagger in the other.
“Stay back or I’ll use these, and I warn you I’m very good with them,” he growled. His wings flared behind him, and he radiated menace and threat. I knew that it wasn’t Nic’s intention to hurt anyone; he was trying to give us all enough time to get little Jonathan and ourselves out of there.
Once Jonathan was out and on the ground next to us, we did a quick inspection. Charles knelt down beside the little angel and gave him a hug. The strong, loving hug that Jonathan returned to Charles left no doubt in my mind that the two were brothers, and for one split second as I watched them embrace, a feeling of jealousy ran through my mind as I thought of Loran and his hatred for me. But the moment was broken as I heard shouts coming from the circus people standing before Nic.
“Can you fly, Jonathan?” Charles asked.
“Yes, of course,” Jonathan said in the self-assured and confident tone that only Charles’ brother could have.
“Then to the air!” I cried.
Stroking our wings while executing powerful leaps, we flung our bodies upward. In seconds. Cody, who’d still been doing his aerobatics, stopped and flew over to join us, but Nic and Luc remained on the ground.
“So what did you think?” Cody said as he flew near me, a broad grin on his face.
“I think you should become a performer,” I said returning his smile with one of my own.
I was just preparing to address a few additional remarks in jest toward the blue-winged angel when I looked down at the ground and my smile quickly faded. Suddenly I could see that Nic was now facing a large and angry mob alone, and I realized he needed help.
Quickly turning to Cody and Charles, I asked, “Are you both alright with Jonathan?”
“Yes.” Charles answered. “We’ll get him and ourselves back to the camp.”
“No,” Cody yelled, “Charles, you get Jonathan back to the camp – there’s still something I have to do.”
“What are you talking about?” I shouted, suddenly becoming angry at Cody’s sudden and unexpected disobedience.
“I have just one thing to take care of… then I’ll be right behind you.”
“Cody, you know what Nic’s orders were – there’s no deviating from the plan, do you understand?”
“But there’s something very important I have to do. I wouldn’t disobey His Majesty if it wasn’t serious.”
I paused for a few seconds and looked at him, then looked back toward the ground at the mob moving toward Nic.
“Feather rot Cody,” I cursed, “I don’t have time for this. You know what Nic’s orders were.”
“Yes,” Cody said, “but it’s important, trust me. And what did His Highness say to you, Your Grace? He told you to go back to the camp, but you’re not going to go, are you? You’re going to go down there and help him. You’re also going to disobey his orders.”
“It’s not the same!” I shouted, now angry at Cody’s seeming petulance and his accurate observation of my own behavior.
“It’s important,” Cody said, and his smile faded as a look of cold determination formed on his face.
“All right Cody, you have me in a bad spot, so I guess there’s nothing I can do. But so help me, if something happens to you, I guarantee you that His Highness going to cut out my liver and have it for breakfast for allowing you to get in harm’s way.”
“I’m not going to get in harm’s way,” Cody said. “I promise!”
By now, my furtive glances to the ground between pauses in my argument with Cody had me even more worried as I began to sense that the circus people were coming to realize that it was all of them versus just one of us, and even though Nic could be an awesome sight, it would only be a matter of time until some of the braver members of the circus troop would make the move to attack him.
“Don’t worry, Your Grace… I know what I’m doing,” Cody shouted, breaking my concentration and focus on what was happening with Nic on the ground.
“Fine, then do it.” I shouted back at the young angel boy. Then turning to Charles, I added, “And get Jonathan back to our base camp now. I have to help Nic.”
“Ok, we’ll meet you there Jamie,” Charles said, turning in the direction of the camp as Jonathan flew beside him.
While Charles flew off with Jonathan, I turned back for Nic. Cody just seemed to vanish.
I flew down to Nic, coming up behind him and hovering just above his head.
“Nic, watch out,” I shouted.
Almost as if he knew exactly what I had planned, he backed away while I began to gather a ball of white light in my hand and hurl it to the ground. After throwing the first one, I didn’t wait for a reaction from the circus people, but instead created another and then another, each time hurling them to the ground in front of the mob. The flashes of light were intense, and the explosions deafening. Although the circus people didn’t realize it, I was just creating a diversion. Though the white balls of lightning were giving off blinding flashes of light and loud, booming, concussions that rocked the ground, they were more of a distraction than a weapon.
Though they’d badly mistreated little Jonathan, and were in need of some punishment, I had no intention to gain a reputation for being the author of wholesale slaughter against defenseless men, women and children. We were hated and feared enough, and I wasn’t about to add any more fuel to that ill will.
The diversion was just enough for Nic to get airborne, fly to Luc, gather him up and head toward the base camp. That left me alone with the mob, who by now were terrified of the killer angel in their midst. I began to get ready to jump into the air and join the others, when a thought occurred to me. Now, if I could just remember what Charles had said… Yes, I had it! I looked directly at the crowd and shouted in my most menacing voice, and with all my might.
“I, James, Wizard of Icaria, Lord Protector of the Realm, Defender of the Gates of Justice, Vessel of the Orbs of Lon Nol, and Guardian of the Tower of Agramon do hereby warn you, that if you ever harm so much as a single hair of one of my angels again, I will rain upon your heads all manners of destruction. I spare your lives today for mercy, but I will not be so gracious again.”
With that oath, I flew a few feet higher. In my hand I formed another lightning ball, but this one was orange – a destructive one. Gaining altitude, I hurled it at the empty cage where Jonathan had been held prisoner. The ball hit its mark. There was brilliant flash of light and an ear-splitting boom as the wagon cage exploded and the wood it had been made of splintered into a hundred pieces. Shattered bits of it flew through the air and rained down on the crowd in fiery shards. Everyone screamed and ran for their lives. I smiled to myself and quickly turned to join the others back at the camp. It would be a long time before this group harmed another angel, I reflected with grim satisfaction. I landed right behind Nic and Luc, who’d arrived at our camp only seconds before me.
“Come on, we have to get out of here immediately!” Nic was shouting as we quickly gathered up our belongings. Then he paused and shot me an angry glance. “And where is Cody?” he shouted. “Jamie, did you lose him? So help me…”
I stood there staring at him, not knowing what to say. I swallowed hard and I could feel my mouth getting dry. “He… well he…” I stammered, all the while forced to endure Nic’s green eyes boring their icy cold look of anger and accusation into me. “He…,” but I was cut off.
“I’m right here,” a voice shouted out from above us.
Face turned skyward, I watched silently as Cody began his descent.
“I told you I had something important to do,” he continued.
And indeed it seemed that he had, for standing before us was our sweet angel boy Cody with a gleaming smile on his face, his beautiful silver and blue wings shining in the sun like a thousand diamonds, his hands cupping a softly pulsating purple orb.