An Angel's Job
Author: Lyndsay Noemia

Chapter 22
A Cockroach Among Butterflies

Ephraim's POV-
     I walked up the alabaster hallway, casting leers over my shoulder to anyone who stared at me. Peter stood in front of me, but nothing could stop me, not even the big man Himself. Carson was waiting for me at the end of the hallway, in his room. "Ephraim," Carson said, not looking up from his desk, "How was your mission?"
     I pinched the bridge of my nose. "You already know, Carson. Peter has already told you, yes?" 
     He stood up, looking every bit like Peter, except for his pallid skin tone. "Yes, he has told me. I also witnessed it."
     Carson looked stern, but caring at the same time. "Jasen shouldn't have escaped, but there wasn't really anything I could do."
     He nodded once, dismissing me. The halls were all that same shade, and ending maze white. Even so, I found my room without any trouble. Somebody was in the room, waiting for me. "Is it impossible for somebody to get a few moments to themselves?"
     Peter smiled at me. "Well, I'll let you have a few moments, but later we need to go train."
     "Whatever, I'm going to change. Then we'll train. Maybe."
     Peter's voice came from the other side of the door, "Twenty minutes then?" I didn't answer, because he already knew what I would say. His laughter chorused through the whitewash halls. My eyes grazed over the room, all gold and white. The room was horrid, but Carson wouldn't let me decorate it my way. He did let me wear something other than those all white clothing, though. The closet was next to the window, and filling it was the only thing that wasn't white or gold in the complex.
      I pulled on a pair of black jeans and a black shirt. As I walked through the complex, it struck me- as it often did when walking around the complex- that among the whites and golds of the Guardians, I felt like a cockroach among butterflies. The Guardians just had that effect on people that weren't like them. They made you feel inferior, as if they were God's gift to the world- which they technically were. Peter was the only one that treated me decent, and sometimes he would even snap. It didn't bother me much, though; I just wasn't a people person.
     There were Guardians gathered in the training field, sparring with one another, blurs of feathers and perfection. Envy swept over me, the muscles in my back twitching. One of them called my name, but my body surged forward, something unseen pulling me to somewhere that wasn't inhabited by Guardians. My legs carried me to the gates- or more specifically the forest near the gates. The forest was sort of like my salvation within salvation itself. At that moment, a thought struck me. People thought that this was a glorious place- one where nothing bad happened, but really it did. Scratch that, bad things didn't happen, unless you didn't belong.
     The trees covered me in a blanket of shadows and a faint smell of pine. And to me, it was mine for the taking. Something felt off about my forest today, though, as if the trees were sad. The thought was dismissed, but hung in the back of my mind like a nagging mother that wanted you to clean your room. A ray of sunlight poked through the trees, making the dead needles on the ground glisten with a golden sheen that would make a Guardian jealous. I settled against the needles, felling their familiar pricks made me feel instantly at ease. That nagging thought resurfaced as my mind wandered throughout thoughts of Jasmine and Zander. Because those thoughts made me angry, the thoughts went back to the ones that didn't make me feel like killing somebody.
     Something deeper in the forest rustled, causing me to pull myself up onto my feet. You really couldn't have a moment to yourself there. Another rustling. Immediately, I crouched into a defense position, my wings threatening to tear my shirt. The figure stepped out in front of me. "Ephraim," She purred, "It's been a while."
     I straightened up. "Not really."
     She took a step towards me. "I'm sorry about how I've been acting lately."
     "Lilith, you've been acting like a stubborn child."
     "I'm sorry," She put her hand on my shoulder. "Forgive me?" I didn't really answer, just shrugged off her hands and walked away.
     She probably caught me is she wanted to, but she just stood there, staring after me.
     The training field was empty except for the solitary figure standing in the middle. "Peter," I called.
     He looked up and smiled. "Hello, Ephraim."
     "Look, I'm not really in the mood for training, okay?"
     Peter closed his eyes. When he opened them, his eyes rested on the forest in the distance. "I understand."       
    

 

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