Angel of Rock

The Angels at The Office of Earthly Fates try to guide humans towards their best futures. But one angel trades her harp for an electric guitar in the service of a special Earth client.

 In the Office of Earthly Futures, it was busy as usual on Friday night. Blinding white walls and an infinite number of cubicles in rainbow shades housed the Angels of Fate, who were charged with guiding humans to their best possible futures.

            In her domicile somewhere near the middle, Fate Angel, Mistral, with long lemon hair and a bit too much sparkle in her green eyes, inhaled the perpetual scents of cappuccino and baking bread as she frowned at her surveillance screen.

            “That’s odd!” she muttered to herself.

            “What’s odd?” As Primrose popped up from the next cubicle, a sensation like irritation rippled through Mistral at her colleague’s unending curiosity. But she let it go as an emotion unworthy of an angel.

            “Well,” Mistral began, “it looks as if one of my clients is getting ready to go to a concert tonight.”

            By now, Primrose’s nose was over her friend’s shoulder, watching images of a 17-year-old girl preparing for a night out. “Symphony? Chamber music?”

            “Rock concert,” said Mistral. “I knew Griffin Vance, bad-boy-rock star, was in town. But I didn’t think it’d be a problem.”

            “Is it a problem?”

            Mistral leaned back in her chair, her smooth brow creased with worry. “If Bayley, the client, goes to that concert, there’s a small possibility of a very bad outcome for her.”

            Mistral tapped the keyboard and vibrant silver and gold lines criss-crossed the screen, tracing the trajectory and intersection of human timelines on the continuum.

            “I’ve seen an infinite number of futures for Bayley,” Mistral said.

            “As we do for all our clients,” Primrose chipped in, producing another ripple of irritation, stronger this time. Mistral brushed it off again.

            “Almost every one of Bayley’s futures is good,” Mistral said. “In a couple, she even uses her scientific knowledge to save the planet from catastrophe.”

            Primrose’s perfect angel brows pinged up at that. “Bayley’s one of the Specials then?”

            “Yes, she is.” Mistral glowed with pride at being the guardian of an Earth Special—an honour given to only the top angels of fate. “But in one timeline it doesn’t turn out well for her—the one where she meets rock star, Griffin Vance.”

            Mistral’s wings flapped a little with worry. The appendages were mainly decoration these days. Recent dematerializing technology had made them all but redundant.

            “What can you do?” Primrose asked.

            Mistral’s eyes slid left and right, ensuring no-one could hear them. “I have to intervene.”  

            “You mean…go into the field?”

            Mistral nodded. Bayley was her first client of earthly significance. She couldn’t stand by and do nothing as the girl slipped into a dark fate—even though she’d be contravening half a dozen rules in the Angel’s Code of Operations which specifically stated that angels were meant to “Guide, not Override.”

            “Hello, Angels.” The pair turned to see Orion, their unit supervisor, passing with a coffee mug on the way to the kitchen. “Ready for another heavenly day?” The guy was obnoxiously handsome with a golden complexion and onyx eyes that saw rule breeches everywhere and never failed to “take it higher.”

            “As ever,” said Primrose with a flutter of her long, to-die-for eyelashes.

            “You won’t tell that Goody-Two-Shoes what I’m doing, will you?” Mistral whispered when he’d gone.

            “Of course not,” said Primrose. “And what are you going to do?”

            Mistral turned back to the screen to watch Bayley, now dressed in jeans and boots with leather jacket, applying heavy eye make-up with intense focus. Flicking over to surveillance of another room, she zoomed in on a middle-aged woman, preparing dinner. “I’m taking over Bayley’s mother’s body. Any minute now, the girl will ask her mum if she can go to the concert. I’m going to tell her ‘No’.”

            Primrose laughed. “The girl’s seventeen. How likely is it she’ll pay attention to what her mother says?”

            “In most cases, that’s true,” said Mistral. “But Bayley and Leonora have a good relationship. She’s not one to rebel without a reason.”

            “Fresh angel cakes in the coffee room,” Orion said on his return. “Better get yours or you’ll miss out!”

            “We wouldn’t want that!” Mistral bared teeth at him.

            “Thanks, Orion!” gushed Primrose.

            They watched until he’d vanished along the corridor.

            “By the time he comes back for a refill this glitch with Bayley should be sorted,” said Mistral.

            “Do you want me to stay on comms in case you need help?” Primrose offered.

            The two angels slipped silver wing-shaped earbuds into their ears to continue a cross-realm conversation during the mission.

            “Thanks, Primrose.” Mistral said. Sure, the angel was irritating. But in a pinch, she knew Primrose had her back.

           

In no time at all—and that was not just a cute phrase in this realm—Mistral had inhabited Bayley’s mother’s earthly form at the kitchen bench, as the girl emerged from her room, dressed up and ready to party.

            “Where are you off to?” Mistral asked in the mother’s voice.

            “I’m going to the Griffin Vance concert,” said Bayley. “It’s sold out but I thought I’d see if anyone’s selling tickets outside the hall.”

            Mistral had observed enough mother-daughter interactions to know what the older woman would say if she was in control. “Okay, sweetie! Have a great night! Call me if you need a lift home!”

            The pair had a strong bond based on respect. But tonight, it was time for something different.

            “I’m sorry you got all dressed up for no reason!” Mistral said nibbling a capsicum stick. “You need your rest for school tomorrow.”

            She really hoped Orion wasn’t watching or she’d be called before the Guardians of Fate board for sure.

            “I really need to go to this concert, Mum.”

            “Well, you’re not going. Go to your room.”

            “Go to my room?” Bayley looked stunned and horrified.

            “GO TO YOUR ROOM!” Mistral knew she was handling this in a less-than-ideal way. But desperate measures and all.    In the end, she used supernatural strength, forcing the girl into her room and jamming a chair under the door handle to keep her in.

            “MUMMMM!” Bayley shrieked, bashing on the door. “What the hell?”

            Within her disguise, Mistral felt ripples of discomfort emanating from the woman whose body she’d snatched.

            The screaming went on for a time. Then…all went quiet.

            There’s that fate averted.

            Relieved and just a bit pleased with herself, Mistral was about to return to the office, when Primrose’s voice crackled in her ear. “Just thought you’d like to know, Bayley climbed out the window. She’s running down the street.”

            “Oh no!”

            “What are you going to do now?”

            Mistral leaned out the window, watching the fleeing girl. “There’s only one thing I can do!”

           

As Bayley walked through a small park on her way to the suburban railway station, a large man in a black tracksuit rushed out of the shadows, grabbed her bag and ran off.

            “Come back here, thief! Help!” Bayley shouted.

            Mistral kept running until she was out of sight, then slipped out of the man’s body. He looked around in horror and confusion and took off again.

            “Tell me you didn’t just mug your client dressed as a man?” said Primrose.

            If Orion finds out about that…?

            “What else could I do? Now, she has no money or train pass. She’ll have to go home.”

            “She’ll still have a credit card on her phone, genius,” said Primrose. Mistral could imagine the angel’s lips pursed, shaking her head of wavy dark locks. She suppressed an unworthy emotion.

            Mistral watched Bayley try to buy a train ticket from a machine, then smack it and roar in fury. She smiled. “The ticket booth is recently out of order!” Very recently! “And the ticket sellers outside the concert will want cash, for these illegal transactions.”

            She was confident she’d covered everything as she followed the girl on her way back home. But, instead of turning left to cross the footbridge, Bayley veered right towards the street.

            “Ah, Mistral. She called an Uber on the family account!” said Primrose.

            A white car pulled up, the girl jumped in and it drove off. Mistral fumed: “I should have nicked her phone too.”

            “Broken her fingers and nicked her phone, you mean?” Primrose said. “By the way, Orion has been back and wants to see you ASAP. I told him you had some Angel girl business to attend to. But it won’t hold him for long. So, what’s the plan?”

            “I shouldn’t be much longer. I know where she’s going.”

 

Minutes later, Mistral was outside the Rock Saloon, a Sydney venue for mid-size crowds. Excited concert-goers streamed through the double doors to take their seats. Halfway along the street, a man with a foghorn voice shouted: “Tickets for sale! Don’t miss out!”

            The white car pulled up and Bayley got out. She watched the ticket seller from across the road for a while. She really wanted to buy a ticket, Mistral knew, but had no cash. The angel allowed herself a small smile at that.

            Bayley felt around in her jacket pocket and, with an expression of amazement, pulled out some cash.

            “What? No!” Mistral muttered.

            The girl crossed the road to the man with the tickets, but as she held the notes out to him, the Angel of Fate summoned a gust of wind that ripped them from her grasp, carrying them high and higher into the air. People who saw what had happened pointed and laughed. Mistral chuckled too. She was an angel…but she was no angel.

            Bayley stood scratching her head at that. Then she reached into her jeans pocket and found another note. So Mistral summoned a second wind that took that away too. And a third.

            Does she have the Bank of England in those pockets?

            “Thanks for nothing!” Bayley yelled in fury at the sky.

            But it was odd, Mistral thought. Money just didn’t appear in people’s pockets when they needed it. Someone must be doing this. She glanced up at the sky. Could Orion, Goody-Two-Shoes, be on to her and trying to thwart her efforts to save her client? Maybe she should quit now before she got into even deeper trouble.

            But Mistral was no quitter. And there was too much at stake—not just for her career at the Office of Earthly Futures, but for Bayley and perhaps the whole planet. She had to do this.

            It was strange, though. Bayley wasn’t usually this…obsessed. Especially not with pop idols. Maybe she was going through a change.

            By now, the last stragglers hurried into the hall and the doors locked behind them. Mistral looked left and right, along the street.

            “I can’t see her,” Mistral said, checking in with Primrose. “Any idea where’s she gone?”

            “It looks like she’s heading home! She’s in an Uber!”

            “Thank Heavens!” Well, an angel from the heavens, anyway. Or two.”

            “You’d better get back here, pronto,” said Primrose. “Old Goody-Two-Shoes needs to see you urgently!”

            “Okay. Heading back.”

            But just then, Mistral spotted someone getting out of a car and hurrying down an alleyway she hadn’t noticed at the side of the venue. She thought she’d have a last look, just in case.    In the dingy, rubbish-ridden laneway, she heard raised voices as Bayley harangued a man guarding the Stage Door.

            I thought Primrose said she was going home.

            “Look, I’ve been robbed,” Bayley told him. “I’ve had all my money swept away by an unnatural breeze. I really, REALLY want to see the show. And I need to use the bathroom.”

            “Sorry, sweetheart!” the doorman said. “Why don’t you squat down behind those bins over there. Promise I won’t watch!”

            “I won’t get in anyone’s way!” Bayley pleaded. “I’ll be very, very grateful!” She made big flirty eyes at the guy, who chuckled and licked his lips lustfully. I really think he would have let her in. But at that point, I stepped into his skin.

            “Don’t go getting suggestive with me, girly. You’re not my type!” The doorman’s voice was raspy. “Go home. You’re not getting past me tonight.”

            Bayley glowered at him, and began walking back along the alley. The man’s body felt heavy on Mistral’s shoulders. And gaseous. With not nearly enough deodorant, though the man had tried to cover the stench with cheap cologne. Nausea bubbled in her stomach, surging into her throat. She slapped a hand over his mouth, but couldn’t stop vomit spilling out through his fingers, down his shirt and all over the doorway.

            Mistral leapt out of that body, leaving him gagging!

            “What the Hell just happened!” he bellowed.

            Back on the street outside the concert hall, the angel couldn’t see Bayley anywhere. The doors to the theatre were locked. Deep rhythmic booms emanated from within. The concert had begun.

            Okay. Job done!

            Just then, she saw the doorman shoot out of the alley and climb into a waiting cab. Poor guy! He’d need a shower, or three.

            And then it hit her. Who’s guarding the backstage entry?

            She raced back into the alley in time to see Bayley slipping through stage door.

            Nonono!

            Comms crackled loudly in Mistral’s ear. “Primrose?” she said.

            “Not Primrose. This is Orion!”

            Uh-oh!

            “I see what’s been happening here,” he said. “A major rule breech, which we will discuss in due course. But first, I need to tell you, we had an alert tonight, of a Special bound on a dangerous course. I believe the client’s name was Bayley.”

            “I’m trying to fix that.”

            “And Primrose?” he asked.

            “She had nothing to do with it!” Mistral didn’t want her colleague in trouble because she’d tried to help her.

            “She had everything to do with it.”

            Orion explained that while Bayley’s fate was dark if she met the rock star, Griffin Vance’s future was much brighter with the girl in his life.

            “Do I need to tell you who manages Griffin’s fate?” Orion said. He did not. Primrose. “In fact, tonight, Primrose has not been at her desk on comms for you. She has been in the field, inhabiting the Special’s body.”

            Primrose was in Bayley’s skin? That explained a lot. A wave of negative emotions washed over her, which she did not try to curb.

            “Come in and we’ll sort this out,” said Orion.

            “First, I have an idea how to get things back on course,” Mistral said. “It’s drastic! But necessary.”

            “Do what you must!” Orion ordered. “I’ve recalled Primrose. She won’t be bothering you any more tonight.”

            And, so, with the real Bayley watching, smitten, backstage, Griffin Vance performed…the worst show of his life.

            “He was off-key, forgot the words. To liken his voice to cats screeching was an insult to cats!” one reviewer wrote later. Mean!

            Bayley headed home before the concert had even ended.

            Mistral sighed. Job well done.

            Though she suspected no-one would be asking her to sing at the Angel of Fate’s Christmas party this year!