Happy Hump Day!
I had hoped to get this up yesterday, but things got busier than usual.
Anyway, this week, I had a hard time picking just one of Our Write Side’s Master Class prompts to use, as all of them could fit Secondhand Soul fairly well. I settled on “Holy Heretic” because I like the idea of that contradiction, and I felt it fit Videl the best. Sometimes she feels at home in her demonic life, sometimes she comes close to breaking down over it. Poor girl – she definitely has it the worst out of all my leading ladies. Even the ones that exist outside this blog.
Even though there’s no word limit for this prompt, I didn’t go as long as I usually do with it, so enjoy the short-ish read 🙂
“Holy Heretic” serves as both inspiration for the piece and the title. Max had some fun with the concept, too.
After some discussion, we decide it’s no longer enough to watch from afar – we’ll be taking turns watching over them. I’m not exactly eager to risk Eva seeing me again, but I don’t have much of a choice. According to Max, the other side has also been keeping an eye on my grandmother, higher-ranking angels spying on her the way that some of Lucifer’s demons are, though they’ve fared no better than us. One angel got too close and she dispatched them without so much as breaking a sweat – she’s getting stronger.
So that’s why I’m sitting in the corner of Eva’s and the baby’s shared room in the middle of the night, waiting for Max to show up so I can leave, hoping that my glamour holds in case she wakes up. I still don’t know why Marcus prefers to watch over my mother instead of the kids, but whatever. Either way, it’s torture. A part of me is glad, though, that I get to spend some time with my half-siblings, even if it is as a sorry excuse for a protector.
“This must be difficult for you.” Max’s voice makes me jump, but I manage to stay quiet enough not to wake Eva. They lean against the wall beside me, watching the room with their arms crossed.
“Not like I have a choice, though, is it?” I glance up at them, still imposing as ever, before directing my gaze first to the baby’s crib and then to Eva. She’s holding a small bear close to her chest, curled up on her side as her soft snores fill the room. “I won’t let her do to them what she did to me, no matter the cost.”
Max chuckles, but I don’t get the humor in the situation. With a smirk, they seem to read my annoyance in the dark before speaking, “It’s funny – you’re a demonic guardian angel. Or an angelic demon – pick your moniker.”
“I’d hardly call myself angelic.” I can still feel the blood dripping on my hands, visible now thanks to Max’s presence. It’s gotten easier not to see the woman I gutted when I close my eyes, but every once in a while I hear her screams – can’t help but bring her image to mind. Bloody, beaten, barely recognizable. Maybe Marcus was onto something when he tried to evoke that hidden violence.
“Really? From what I’ve seen, you’re a saint by demon standards.” The angel makes their way over to the crib, leaning slightly over the railing to look into it and at the baby.
“Something tells me those standards aren’t exactly high.”
“You’re right. Even by human standards, then, if you prefer those.” They’ve turned their back on the crib now, leaning against the railing instead. “Your sister seems to like you. Kids are good at detecting evil, and I don’t think she sees any in you.” Somehow, I’m not surprised they were watching that interaction.
“She’s just human – wouldn’t you be a better judge of that?”
“I just told you, but you don’t believe me.” They shrug.
“Vee?” Eva sits up in bed, rubbing her eyes and trying to adjust to the poor lighting. Dammit. She looks around the room, her eyes settling on me. When I look back at the crib, Max is gone, leaving me alone to deal with my sister. “What are you doing here?”
“Were you feeling lonely again?” She’s wide awake now, her bear still tight in her arms.
“No – it’s nothing like that.” What do I tell her? I sigh, unable to come up with anything that won’t scare her. I don’t want to say what comes to mind, but it comes out anyway. “I’m your guardian angel. Didn’t get a chance to tell you last time. I was just making sure you’re okay.”
I’m sure Max is watching from somewhere – I can almost feel the smirk.
“I’m okay.” She smiles. “Are you going to stay for a while?”
“Only if you go back to sleep. You’re not supposed to be able to see me.” I find myself walking over to her bed, trying to tuck her in the way my mother used to tuck me in.
“Because. I’m invisible, remember?” I tuck the bear in next to her.
“Oh.” She’s already getting sleepy again, the word trailing off into a yawn before her eyes start to droop. “Sing me to sleep?”
“I’m not a very good singer.”
“Please?” What is it about this kid? I just can’t say no. With a sigh, I start to sing something that simply comes to me. When’s the last time I listened to music? The song is old – at least by my standards – and sad, lyrics of loss and grief leaving my mouth before I can stop them. It’s difficult to get through, but I manage. When she’s finally asleep, there’s a knot in my throat, and I feel the need to cry.
“I can take it from here, Videl.” Max appears behind me again, no humor or jest in their words. “I’ve brought someone to relieve Marcus, too, so you can get some rest.”
I don’t bother saying anything or looking Max in the eye. Instead, I simply nod and head back to the house, not even stopping to wait for Marcus. When he catches up, he finds me sitting on the floor against the couch, legs folded up against me so I rest my arms on my knees, hiding my face from view so he can’t see me cry. It was the first time I really let myself mourn my situation – the first time it really sank in that I could never let Eva see me as more than a figment of her imagination. One day, she’ll grow up and forget, or only remember me as an imaginary friend of her childhood.
“Videl.” Marcus sits on the floor beside me, only inches away. Caution and apprehension roll off him in waves, and I almost feel bad for making him uncomfortable. He doesn’t know how to deal with this any more than I do. “Is there anything I can do?”
“No.” I wipe my face of the offending tears, glad my voice doesn’t crack when I speak. “It’s much too late for me.”
And there you have it! What misfortune and sorrow awaits Videl? I feel a tragedy coming, but hopefully this story ends well. We’ll see.
Be sure to check out the rest of the responses at the prompt!
Friendly Reminder: #TuesFlashFicTrain is in the station and waiting for you to board! How will you wrap up Rita’s story?
As always, think happy thoughts!