Jeffrey Hollar’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Celestial Stres
It had been an exceptionally stressful week for Ivy and she was, gladly, looking forward to a day of rest and relaxation. Back when she’d been just another skater girl in Redondo Beach she hadn’t really given much thought to the idea of what happened to you when you died. She only knew she didn’t buy into that whole Heaven and Hell, St Pete and the pearly gates versus The Pit thing…well, until she died. Everything changed then in ways she could never have imagined.
One minute she was grabbing air on a half pipe and the next, she was looking at her own body with its head at a most unusual angle. The serene-looking dude in the flowing robes who led her away and in through those pearly gates was unexpected but not all that bad either. Turned out he was Dave, her Guardian Angel.
She wanted to be really catty about the fact he hadn’t done all that sweet a job of guarding her but she learned the straight facts about that soon enough. The Big Boss was VERY much into free will and such and, while Dave had done his best to guide her toward being worthy to wind up in Heaven, his hands were pretty much tied otherwise. Well, that was understandable and she could live with it…so to speak. She liked the idea once she got used to it. Her grandparents were here and, as that song said, they DID have a hell of a band.
Time didn’t exactly flow the same way here as it had when she was alive but there was a schedule and an order to things she hadn’t expected. It wasn’t all about flying around and playing harps and whatever. For one thing, she was kinda bummed to figure out she wasn’t gonna get wings at all. For another, she’d had no idea that “moving in mysterious ways” jazz meant the folks up here spent a LOT of time just trying to make sure the forces of good and evil did what they did on a level playing field.
That was how she wound up a Guardian Angel herself. She’d just been hanging out with some other girls of her generation when, of all people, Dave showed up and took her to meet her charge, Anna Leah. Ivy had never much been into babies but she felt an immediate bond to Anna Leah that Dave assured her she always would feel. That was how the whole thing worked. They would be forever linked to each other and Ivy would be the guide now.
There were a lot of things she had to learn and do and agree to and promise but she thought she settled into the job pretty well. It didn’t hurt that Anna Leah was a pretty good kid with decent parents. Ivy found herself nudging here and there but it was, mostly, like Dave had said just watching and worrying.
When the tone in her head alerted her Anna Leah might be in need of help, Ivy wanted nothing more than to pretend she hadn’t heard it. But, when your boss knows, literally, everything that’s going on anywhere, trying to pull a fast one on him is a really a counter-productive idea. With a nod of resignation, Ivy went to work.
Though she could have popped down to the mortal realm and taken a look firsthand, she didn’t like doing that anymore. It made her too nostalgic and a bit sad. With a sly grin, she decided it would be…the swings. Still a daredevil at heart, Ivy loved the swings. Even though there was no possibility she could fall, she did still enjoy the feeling of hanging upside down over all of that wide open space. What a rush!
Scanning the planet, she quickly located her charge and felt, momentarily, badly she’d somehow forgotten it was Anna Leah’s birthday! She was…hmm….15 today. Wow, how time had flown by. Zooming in on her, Ivy’s mouth gaped open and she mumbled some, decidedly, un-heavenly words. A low rumble of thunder in her immediate vicinity reminded her the Big Guy DID hear her.
Oops, she thought, but come on! A horse…a horse?! Did her parents just plain forget about the roller blade mishap when Anna Leah was five? Were they overlooking the motorized scooter debacle when she was nine? Did they somehow neglect to learn from the snow board/broken leg thing when the girl was 12? A horse? Why did it have to be a horse? Sighing, she wondered if Dave had purposely given her the care of a soul every bit as reckless and adrenaline-driven as Ivy herself had been?
Something told Ivy she was going to need to start paying a WAY more attention to this Guardian Angel gig than she ever had before.
Jeffrey Hollar is half Klingon, half Ferengi, visiting Earth in an attempt to negotiate a merger. He is currently working on a novella and a collection of zombie stories with his wife, Lisa McCourt Hollar. Jeff writes almost daily for his blog, The Latinum Vault, found at http://www.jeffreyhollar.com.