A Practical guide on communicating with Angels
I heard the mayhem before I could see it. The loud ‘crack’ of the wooden chair hitting marble floors was unmistakable.
I made my way across the courtyard, even the grass lawns at the Silver Oaks was perfect. On any other day, I would have enjoyed the walk: the faint aroma of citrus blossoms, the crunch of gravel under my shoes, and the cold wind that swept my hair ever so gently. But today my mind was elsewhere. I didn’t even notice that I had walked all the way from the grounds to the main building. As I climbed the stairs to my room, I felt my heart thumping in my chest. Call it intuition, call it a sixth sense, something was not right and I could feel it.
I heard the mayhem before I could see it. The loud ‘crack’ of the wooden chair hitting marble floors was unmistakable. I walked into my room, to find my things strewn across the floor. Almost as though someone had flung them from the opposite side of the room. As I moved closer, the curtains began whooshing around. I swept my eyes across the room, taking in all the damage. The carpet was moved from its original place, reading chairs had been upturned, most of the books lay in heaps on the floor and my bed looked as though someone had dragged it around. I took a deep breath, trying not to think of all the time I had spent making my bed and cleaning the room just this morning. Deep calming breaths. Yes, that’s better. I sighed, “Peter are you mad at me?”. Peter, or rather Jupiter was my roommate, he has a habit of being dramatic and this could only be his doing. Peter is also most certainly dead, and I am very sure he’s a ghost.
“Peter, come on now, this has been going on for a week. Just tell me what I did wrong. I know you are in here”, I screech turning around in my room. The silence resonates around ricochetting off the grey stone walls and the marble floors. The ancient-looking victorian era furniture was all moved around from its conventional places. Something that Peter would never do in his normal state, no matter how angry he was at me. “Peter are you mad at me? If you are, just move the chair to the right”, I say pointing at the upturned chair in the center of the room. I watch in trepidation as the chair is dragged to the left. “If you are not mad at me… why are you invisible?” I ask, nothing happens. I sigh exasperatedly. This was not going to be an easy task. “So if you are not angry at me…. are you not doing this on purpose?”, I tried a different approach. The chair moves two inches to the right. “Peter are you okay, are you in danger?”, I ask in a high pitched voice, to my embarrassment, my mouth tastes like chalk. The chair doesn’t move. I paced the room apprehensively. “Can you show yourself?”, I ask one last time looking at the empty room. The chair moves to the left.
I am not surprised, my past experiences at Silver Oaks had reminded me that there’s a lot I don’t know. I had come in here as a teacher not believing in ghosts, monsters, or demons. My roommate ended up being the previous occupant of the room. A teacher who had died an accidental death, a guy named Jupiter- goes by Peter. Peter who was haunting the place, Peter who always advised me to live in the present and we had ended up having quite the adventure. I even summoned a Demon. Yeah, that’s right. I summoned a demon that could raise the dead for a day. I bought Peter back for a day and we had a lot of fun, there was ice-cream involved. Then there was the incident at the Library. But that’s a whole other story. This whole ‘invisible-Peter’ was getting under my nerves.
“I am calling Dave”, I said addressing no one in particular. The room erupted in chaos. The curtains started flying around and the chair was moving wildly. I walked calmly to the bookshelf or rather what remained of it. As I weighed my options I picked up an old copy of ” A beginners guide to summoning demons: A user’s manual”. I ran my fingers over the leather-bound, weathered copy but my mind bought me yet another memory. Dave is a demon if I failed to mention that. I checked the index and found the easier way to summon a demon if you have summoned them previously. Since Peter and I had already summoned Dave once before, I could just follow the steps. I won’t tell you the steps, summoning a demon is a dangerous affair, even if I have done it from time to time.
Suffice to say, it involves quite a lot of garlic, and the smell of garlic will linger for days. After setting up the necessary things and reading out the incantation, which I won’t be sharing here, I wait patiently for Dave to show up. Dave appears all smoke and fire and ugly, then turns him to, well, a boring looking guy.
“Oh hey! Charlie was it?”, Dave smiles at me baring his fanged teeth. I take a step back and then sigh, “We have a problem”. “Where’s your pet ghost?”, Dave asks looking around. Then his eyes lock on something invisible right behind my shoulder. Dave turns to me and says “So he’s fading, that’s normal almost. It’s not what I deal with though, you would need someone from….” he trails off glancing at the room “Woah! Did you do this?”, he asks to the air. Then he nods as though he had understood something. Then he turns to me and asks,” Has anything weird happened around here lately, besides this?”. “Isn’t this enough for you?”, I snap my patience had stretched thin at this point. Dave walked around and picked up a magazine. I wished he would stop talking in riddles.
“Anyway, I won’t be able to help you, neither will any of my kind, you need help from…”, he points upward. I look up expectantly Dave gestures wildly again with his thumb and then it hits me. “Heaven?” I ask uncertainly. Dave flinches. “God?”, I ask Dave shakes his head angrily. “Oh, I know, Angels right?” I ask one last time. “Yes, that’s the one”, Dave says begrudgingly through gritted teeth. “I don’t know how to summon an Angel”, I say somewhat stupidly. Dave looks at me helplessly, “I have to leave, you might find a useful book there”, he motions towards the nearly empty bookshelf and the books piled up on the floor before disappearing in a poof of smoke. I searched among the books, as I suspected there was no book which contained rituals for summoning an Angel. “Peter, can you find any book?”, I ask to the empty room, no response. Of course, I didn’t know what I was expecting. I was about to give up all hope when a soft thud from the bookshelf jolts me back. I picked up the book and was surprised by its title,” A Practical guide on communicating with Angels”. I could swear that this book was not here before.
I picked it up expecting complicated rituals like in the other book, to my surprise, it seemed rather like a prayer book. There was a list of angel names in the index. When I checked out each chapter, I discovered each angel had ‘specialized’ in different things. There was a Prayer of sorts to communicate with the angel. If that didn’t work there was a hotline number to call. Since this was an emergency of sorts, I skipped the prayer and called the number directly. Long last I heard a message ‘Your Angel will be with you shortly’, and the call got disconnected. Rather anticlimatic if you ask me. Especially since no angel descended from Heaven.
A knock on the door made me think maybe it’s the angel, but I opened the door to find a little kid of around six. She must have wandered off from her dorm rooms. “What are you doing at this time?”, I ask gently, desperately trying to hide my messy room from her view. She looks up at me, her blue eyes seemed to hold the sky in them, “I was told there is an emergency”, she speaks with a wisdom that is beyond her years, her voice is deeper and it calms me down instantly. Everything is going be okay I could feel it. It was as if a blanket of peace had enveloped me. The aroma of hot chocolate hit my nostrils and I was surprised for a minute. She watched me for a few seconds and pushes past me walking into the room. “Oh! I am so sorry. I forgot to introduce myself. I am Hope”, she turns to me and grins. I exhale slowly. “You are the angel?”, I ask still not able to process the fact that this kid is the angel I requested. “Well, I wouldn’t say, Angel, we call ourselves Guardians”, she smiles up at me. “You are just a kid”, I say before I could stop myself. Hope erupts in laughter, “I am millions of years old, mortal, I have six wings covered in eyes and I am taller than this building here, my true form would blind you”, she says without batting an eye. “Now please don’t waste my time- is there an emergency?”, she asks her tone serious, the warmth had left her voice. I have never been more terrified of a kid in my life before.
I explained Peter disappearing and how Dave had guided us to call for help from Heaven. “Woah, don’t call our home ‘Heaven’, we have re-branded, it’s ‘Celeste’ now and we are not angels, we are Guardians of the Universe”, Hope interrupts me. “Guardians of the Universe? I feel like Guardians of the Galaxy is better”, I say smiling, I couldn’t help it, Heaven re-branding, it made me want to sit down and laugh. “Guardians of the Galaxy…. why didn’t we think of that, of course, that’s a much better name”, Hope smacks her head. Then she turns to me, her eyes stormy, and asks, “Dave? As in fiery huge guy? You summoned Dave?”, her voice has risen by a few octaves and I was genuinely scared now. She must have seen the expression on my face. It is unnerving to watch a kid transform into some celestial being.
Hope sighs, “Dave is an acronym for Despicable and Villaneous Evil spirit. That’s what those lots are, we go a long way back. Their lot has always backstabbed us. Nothing good ever comes from their association. We were all friends once you know? But they did the unthinkable…..”, she trails off, a faraway look on her face. “Yes, we have all heard the stories, the demons wanted to be as powerful as God, so they were banished”, I say softly. “What?”, she turns to me, her eyes glowing as she continues, “that’s not true, their appearances are a bit unfortunate, and lack of intelligence even more so, but don’t call them demons! They were Watchers, they would protect the humans from the wrath of …..”, she trails off a dark look crossing her innocent face, “other powerful beings”, she completes arousing my suspicions. “We worked side by side. Watchers and Guardians to defeat true evil. But the Watchers were no match for the evil beings, so they found a way, they consumed the souls of some humans who had passed away to make themselves stronger. We found out and we rebelled against them. All the Watchers were banished, even though only some had done this horrendous crime.” she stops and takes a deep breath before continuing, “Hence the phrase, ‘Sell your soul to the Devil’.”
“Thanks for the history lesson, it was truly fascinating can you help Peter?”, I ask wondering if she will decide I am a mere annoyance and turn me into a pile of goo right where I stood. “Right, of course”, Hope says waving her hand in a circular motion I watch fascinated as Peter appears before us from thin air. I had never been happier to see his silly pajamas and pale translucent rather anxious-looking face. “Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?”, I joke, finally being able to see Peter had definitely lifted my spirits. “I have so many questions, what was happening to me, and why? Do Angels interfere in the day-to-day activities of humans all the time? Have you seen the world from the time of creation?”, Peter says almost immediately in his signature-Petery style. Hope seems to roll her eyes at Peter before answering, “You are fading, it happens to all ghosts. That’s because the people who are alive are forgetting you. You see their memories are your tether to his world. This is normal, once the people who loved you the most have passed on peacefully, without becoming ghosts like yourself, the memories that allow you to exist here will be gone and you will pass over to….” she trails off looking uncomfortable. We both stare at her quizzically. She continues on, “In your case Jupiter, your friend Charlotte here has been holding on to your memory, so you couldn’t pass over completely”, she finishes apologetically. “My parents are dead?”, Peter almost whispers. “I am sorry Jupiter”, says Hope, her face full of compassion.
“This will happen again, until you pass over, especially if Charlotte keeps remembering you “, Hope turns to Peter and asks” Shall I wipe her memories of you so that you can move on”. I was stunned, “No, please don’t wipe my memories I … don’t want to forget all of these”, I gesture around. Peter is silent for a minute or two, he looks at me his face distraught, almost beatific. “I am so sorry, Charlie”, says Peter softly to me and turns to Hope,” Do it”, he says firmly. Hope turns to me eyes wide saying, “It’s gonna be okay, I will leave all the fun”.
Everything went dark.
I am not feeling any different. Hope said everything is gonna be okay and left. Charlie was still asleep. Hope had done us a last bit of favor, she had cleared up the room of the mess. What concerned me the most was that I had not caused the mess. I had done nothing. What really annoyed me was that I couldn’t see what was doing it. The only explanation Hope could give me was that maybe I wasn’t in control of my ‘powers’, that I was doing all this without knowing. I had hoped for an instantaneous result like the time we had summoned a demon. Not this slow ‘fading away’ business. What’s with that? Secretly though I wished I could have more adventures here. I also like knowing the destinations of my journey. All this fading away into nowhere is making my anxiety worse. I turn to Charlie to ask for her opinion out of habit. She was fast asleep at the moment. Even if she did wake up, she wouldn’t remember me, she wouldn’t see me. Before Charlie had come along, I had watched in a daze as days blurred into nights and nights shifted to other days. Oftentimes, I’d standstill in a cupboard or bookshelf forgetting about everything. I’d end up being startled by the humans who’d open the cupboard. Imagine that, a ghost who gets scared. Charlie had changed everything. She even took me to an amusement park. things will never be the same. I hope this misery ends.
The next morning Charlie seems to be in high spirits. As she leaves for breakfast, she stops by the door, a curious expression on her face, the same one when she forgets her glasses are on her head and tries to locate them. A burst of laughter escapes me. I am reminded of that one time Charlie was looking all over for her reading on glasses and all along they were perched on her head. I couldn’t help it, I was laughing again. Charlie looks straight at me and I think she saw me for a split second, but her eyes glaze over me and she turns away shutting the door behind her. I spend the rest of my day brooding by the bookshelf and trying to move random objects at my will, lately, I haven’t been able to control what I can move. When Charlie returns, I wished the fading happened then and there. Being a ghost is rather cumbersome, now I know that Charlie speaks to herself. I wish I didn’t know this stuff.
The evening brought me a pleasant surprise. I was not prepared for Charlie to walk in and pick up a book off the bookshelf and sit in our corner and start reading loudly. Just like she used to. I sat on the opposite chair and listened. Something connected Charlie and me and despite all efforts from Hope a literal Angel or whatever they are calling themself, she still remembered some things. Or at least that’s what it seemed like. At midnight as I watched the moon silently, I noticed Charlie waking up clutching her throat, as I moved closer I realized she was having a nightmare. There was not much I could do, so I watched as she settled back. Her nightmares continued for a week, I was fast losing my patience, what if Charlie still remembered me? That could be the reason for her nightmares, that meant I wouldn’t pass on or fade away or whatever the hell I am supposed to be doing. Instead, I am stuck in limbo. This was excruciating.
Sometimes I notice Charlie suspiciously looking around the room or jumping at the slightest noise, she has picked up another annoying habit as well. Late into the night, she has started binge-watching “Supernatural”. Back in the day I enjoyed the show too, yeah it’s a pretty old show, so I have seen quite a few episodes where they ‘salt n burn’ the monsters, ghosts, and the supernatural. But now watching it made me a bit uneasy, after all as a human when I watched it I thought it was full of crap. Now that I am a ghost, let’s say my thoughts have changed. Needless to say, I am unimpressed if not a little amused when Charlie makes a salt circle around her bed. If Charlie could see me now, I would have made fun of her for believing in an old wife’s tale. I was more surprised that it actually worked! I couldn’t get past the salt circle. Damn that show and damn the bloody Winchesters and their stupid car. Every night I watched helplessly as Charlie had yet another nightmare. The salt circle seemed to be working through her nightmares and wasn’t waking her up anymore. Every day the salt circle would be messed up when Charlie got back, even though I had done nothing to mess it up.
On the 14 the day of this whole business I decided enough was enough and tried contacting the angel who had put me and Charlie in this predicament. She came looking like the little girl, her eyes the color of the sky and her curly hair framed her face looked like clouds. “You want your friend to remember?”, she asks without preamble. I simply nod. “Well, it’s not that simple, Charlotte has to remember you I can reverse the spell, but there’s no telling when it will take effect”, she informs me. “That’s fine, as long as she remembers and stops having those stupid nightmares every night”, I say not bothering to hide my elation. Hope looks up at me her face an unreadable mask as she asks, “What nightmares?”. So I tell her about the nightmares and she walks around the room and stops at the foot of Charlie’s bed.
“Who put the salt there?”, she asks, her face still not betraying any emotions. I embarrassingly told her about Charlie watching Supernatural and doing this herself. “She did the right thing, salt keeps away evil”, Hope says to my surprise. “What?”, I say my mind trying to connect the dots. “When did you last call Dave?”, she asks sharply again making no sense. I tell her I hadn’t called Dave. She turns to me and says,” There was an evil entity here, I can feel the presence and it was trying to kill Charlie. I had wondered if it was Dave, but whatever this is, it’s much more powerful”
I don’t know if it was the shock or if the fear that somehow I was the cause that made me say it. But I said, “I wouldn’t kill Charlie”. Hope considers me for sometime before saying, “You are not that evil….. yet”. I am sure if I had a head, my head would hurt right about now. And I would definitely want to sit down. She looks around again, “It’s not here anymore, someone has exorcised it, but the evil it left behind still lingers”, she says. I silently wonder if there was an episode of “Supernatural” that featured an exorcism. Then she proceeded to perform some sort of cleansing ritual as I watched in a muted horror. It was rather unnerving coming from a little girl looking angel or guardian. Finally, she said it’s all done.
“Does this mean Charlie will now remember me?”, I ask smiling. Hope doesn’t share my happiness she shifts around from one foot to another and says, “You are fading pretty fast, I don’t think you have much longer, even if I reverse the spell Charlotte may not remember you in time”, Hope says looking apologetic.” To say I regretted everything was the understatement of the year. I regretted asking Hope to wipe Charlie’s memory, I hated myself for having waited so long to contact Hope. I can only blame myself. I looked at Hope whose face mirrored my despair, “Do it”, I said. She merely nodded. “One more thing, don’t tell her about the attempt on her life if she does remember you, keep a close watch on her and call me if you need any help, just pray to me”, she says. “What are you not telling me? You wouldn’t do this for just any mortal would you?”, I ask unable to comprehend what was going on. But I get no answers in return. With a flutter of wings, she’s gone.
I pop into the classroom to check on Charlie, she looks no different and if she could see me, she shows no sign of that. She continues on about Hamlet, but never once looks in my direction. Even after two days, Charlie cannot see me, neither does she seem to remember. Yet she salts the area around her bed. I wonder what will happen if she finally remembers and I disappear. Hope never covered that topic. On the third day, I noticed something strange. Well, stranger than me being a ghost. I couldn’t pop in and out according to my will, I was blacking out. I don’t remember what happened for hours on end. The fading was in its final stages, perhaps. I couldn’t move any furniture, I couldn’t do any of the fun things I could. I probably didn’t have another day, I could feel a pull from some unknown force, a pull I couldn’t resist. So with the last bit of my strength, I mustered to visit Charlie for one last time. I still remember the first time I met Charlie any sane person would have left, not Charlie. “Are those pajamas?”, were her first words to me. Now it all seemed precious. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Charlie was probably the closest thing I had to a best friend.
Charlie is still discussing Hamlet in the classroom. Charlie was stating that Horatio and Hamlet were the best friends relation that Shakespeare probably ever wrote. Until one of the student pipes, “Do you have a friend like Horatio too?”. That’s a landmine because a lot of people have commented that there is a chance that Horatio and Hamlet were gay. By the way, this class is giggling I could see that was the case, they were messing with Charlie. Yet Charlie smiles, I have always felt that her smile was rather infectious, she shakes her head and replies smoothly her voice is almost like a lullaby. I am not listening though, I am trying my hardest to etch Charlie into my memory, her over-animated hand gestures, her messy black hair, and that glint in her eyes when she spoke about something so passionately. That’s what made Charlie, Charlie. “…..we went to this amusement park one day and that is still one of my favorite memories anyway we are gonna read books and have some tea after class today in fact”, Charlie finishes up and looks straight at me. Well not at me, perhaps where I stood. But Charlie doesn’t look away. She’s smiling as she says, “My best friend is Peter and you are right, he’s a lot like Hamlet”, Charlie tells the class. “Am I Hamlet because I am dead?”, I ask hoping after hope that Charlie could see me and hear me. “Yes”, mouths Charlie silently, her eyes never leaving my face.
I can feel the pull wearing off and me becoming more tethered. I pop back into our room and wait impatiently for Charlie. After the bell, Charlie all but runs into the room and looks at me,” That was a nightmare you stupid ghost, why would you ask an Angel to erase my memories?” I laughed, finally, fucking finally she could see me. I have never been more relieved after I was a ghost. As I fill in Charlie on what had happened after she lost her memories he turns to me and asks, “Want to watch Supernatural?”. “That reminds me, the salt line thing works and those exorcisms, they are the real deal”, I pout. Charlie has the dignity to look ashamed as she says, “We can skip the exorcisms”.
I silently wonder if I should tell her about the demon that was trying to kill her in her sleep, but I decided against it. I would tell her of course, just not now. I just got her back. I had two weeks’ worth of fun stories to hear, so we settled in and exchanged stories. After a long time, I felt content, maybe I didn’t want to go just yet. I still had Charlie. Hope was right, something could happen again and until I figure out what was happening I was staying.