Matt caught the kick the angel aimed at his face.
Sarihanel was on her back, laying on the painted old steps, and on Nicole’s last nerve judging by the look on the leprechaun’s face. She was holding a foot as well, and looked ready to rip it off.
“Kick, again, and I break this one,” Nicole said.
“She’s not joking,” Matt added. He let go of the leg, and she let it drop. Nicole held onto her’s.
“Going to be good?”
“I’m a fudging angel, donutcrisps. We’re always good.”
“Did you just call me ‘donutcrisps’?”
More static. Matt could not sense a curse, or spell, in particular, but every so often a word jumped out at him.
“She said the Yiddish word for boss. Balebos.”
“You speak Yiddish?” Nicole asked.
“I do a bad Jewish accent when I’m drunk enough.”
“I was asking her, fuckwit,” Nicole said. “Is that what you’re speaking?”
More static, followed by, “ an angel.” Despite the kicking, and the angry look on her face, Matt could hear a tremor in her voice. He could also smell sea water, and sweat, strong on the air.
“Fuck babe,” he said. “I think there’s something weird here.”
“I don’t want to have to break your leg either, Matt.”
“Can I have my leg back?” Sarihanel asked.
“Going to try fighting?”
“Not as long as he stays back,” she said.
Matt stepped backward, and Nicole let go of the leg. The angel stood slowly, picking a few leaves off herself.
“Do you speak Yiddish?” Nicole asked, pulling a few leaves from Sarihanel’s tangled hair.
“I speak all languages,” the angel said.
“I mean was that Yiddish? Earlier?”
“No, I was going for English.” She shook her head.
“Fucknuggets,” Nicole said. “Come inside I guess. Let’s get you dressed up, and bunkered down.”
“I’m not going to wear human clothes,” Sarihanel said. She gestured to the skin tight outfit she wore. “This is my-.” Broke into static again.
“I’d just do it,” Annabelle said from the doorway. “If you don’t Nicole will pick you up, and slam you into the wall a bunch, and choke you. She’ll get all mad, and lean real close, and say, ‘I’ll break your pretty neck’, and stuff.” The bruise around the fairy’s eye made the threat all the more ominous. The pantomiming ruined it for Matt, but the angel seemed impressed.
“Fudge.” The angel’s eyes were wide.
“She’s not joking.” Nicole’s eyes were harder than Matt had ever seen them. Brighter too, he realized, watching them shine in the morning sun. She enjoyed her job, at least this part of it. The helping people with their new start. Sometimes people needed a little kick, to get them moving.
The angel glanced around, looking at him the way you would watch a rattlesnake. Tears balanced on the edge of her eyes, filling more with each staticky burst of words.
“Sorry about all the threat stuff,” he said. Nicole turned back to him, a look of warning on her face. “I mean we’ll kill you, and everything, but don’t be all scared.”
“That’s really not helping, Matt.”
“Go inside,” Nicole told the angel. “You too, idiot.”
“That’s ‘Sir’ Idiot, they knighted me in Halio.”
“They did not,” Nicole said.
“They would have, if they had found me.”
“No, Matt, no, they would not have.” Nicole glanced across the street, and Matt stared with her, seeing a camera in Mrs. Smith’s aged hands. He stopped floating. “My head is really starting to hurt.”
“Want me to go erase those pictures?”
“We had a drake attack, Matt. Tinkerdummy is a living fireworks show after a few drinks. That thing with the jackalopes?” Nicole shrugged. “Probably for insurance in case we destroy her gazebo again. ‘See it’s the magic freaking neighbors.’”
Matt pulled the door shut giving Nice his most reassuring smile. “Probably right,” he said.
“You shower on your own?” Nicole asked the angel.
“I can,” she replied.
“Its first door on the left,” Nicole said. “We’ve got food, when you’re done.”
The angel lingered, eyes staring hard into the kitchen.
“Are you hungry now?” Nicole asked. The angel nodded slowly, her brown eyes a little wet.
Her mouth opened but just more static, besides the word ‘Latte’.
“Say ‘Latte’,” Matt said, an idea occurring to him.
“Latte,” the angel said.
“Coffee,” she said.
“Okay, now say ‘I got a latte, yesterday.’”
“Say, ‘I got a coffee yesterday’.”
“Why?” Matt asked.
Static, and then, “-Angels-”, followed by more noise.
“Eat your pizza, while I work on this.”
“I made eggs,” the fairy said.
“I thought all you could make was pizza?”
“I was tired, and giving you food, you ungrateful-.” Cursing, he guessed, in fairy.
“Yeah, just take the food jackass,” Nicole said. “Come on S, let’s grab you some breakfast.”
“I need to work on this,” Matt said. “I think we can figure out a way to communicate.”
“Can she write?” Annabelle asked.
“Let her eat first,” Nicole said. “Matt, go grab my phone.”
“Aye, aye,” he said flying up the stairs. The mage grabbed the device, tapping in the password for her, as he started back.
The last texts popped up. <Do you trust him?> From the Witch. No reply.
Matt walked down the stairs, locking the phone as he went. Considering that conversation, she probably would not be that impressed with him for figuring out her password. He handed it to her, his hearing returning, as the ringing in his ears stopped. Immediately she started texting, probably the Witch.
“Eggs are good.” The angel yawned, after she spoke.
“I can’t eat them, but Nicholas likes them,” Annabelle said. “I tried a little, but they hurt my tummy.”
“I get that way with lattes,” the angel said.
“Do you drink soy?” Matt asked, putting his mind back on a problem that was solvable.
“Yes,” the angel said.
“When did you get one last?”
“What’s heaven like?”
“Matt! Let her eat,” Nicole said. “We’ll get Cowell over her to read her, if we need to.”
“I can do it,” Matt said.
“He’s probably going to come kiss up to the Witch anyway, babe,” Nicole said.
“We trust him that much?”
“No, but I’ll watch close.”
“I don’t like him,” Annabelle said, grabbing an orange from the fridge.
“Me either,” Matt said. “You hear from the Witch? She speaks a few languages, maybe we can work something out. I think it’s just a mix of words from different languages. All languages, I guess.”
“Not since yesterday,” Nicole said. “You trust her more than Cowell?”
“Not sure really. Tough question,” Matt said. “Doesn’t Nicky know a language?”
“Writing first,” Nicole said. She set a piece of paper, and a pen next to the angel. “Whenever you’re ready.” The angel pushed her half-eaten breakfast aside, and picked up the pen
“What do I write?”
“Name?” Matt said. “Then where you live.”
‘Sarihanel’, across the top.
Matt read the bottom line aloud, “‘What the most desirable thing about an orange?’”
“‘It’s ap-peel-ance’,” Nicole finished.
“Ha,” Annabelle said.
“How did you get here, Sari?” Nicole asked.
“Flew,” she answered. “Can you call me ‘Sarihanel’.” Matt chuckled a bit, pulling some eggs out of the fridge.
“Write it down,” Nicole said. “You don’t have to keep that name, but I’m struggling to figure out how we’re going to pass you as human. You’re wings don’t exactly look like they can be taped down.”
“Mine are flexible,” Annabelle said, fluttering hers. Human size, the gust she created blew the notebook pages, and ruffled the angel’s hair.
“I don’t think it worked,” Sari held up the notebook. Then turned to the fairy, “Mine do this.” Her wings disappeared with a -pop-, then reappeared a moment later. The fairy’s jaw dropped.
“That’s useful,” Nicole said, grabbing the paper. “‘Did you hear about the guy who was hit in the head with a can of soda? Luckily it was a soft drink.’”
“This is going well,” Matt said. “Soon, we’ll have enough bad puns for a popsicle stick factory. What went wrong there? You said you ‘flew’, why can’t you write it down?”
“I just wrote how I got here,” she said. “It looks normal to me.”
“Powerful magic,” Nicole said. “Really powerful”
“I don’t feel anything,” Matt said, with a little shake of his head.
“Then it’s really strong,” Annabelle said. The angel stuck her tongue out.
“I tried to-.” she said, breaking into static, then into tears.
“It’s okay, S, we’ll figure this out,” Matt told her. “If it’s magic, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some things.”
“We’ll just get a read on her,” Nicole said. “Cowell isn’t a mage, or wizard, but he can get into heads. We’ll figure this out, Sari.”
“I want to go home,” she said. Her mouth opened but just static poured out. Then sobs. Nicole put her hand on the girl’s shoulder, and Annabelle walked over to hug her.
“Your wings are cool, that they pop. I wish my wings popped.”