The case of the angel
THE CASE OF THE ANGEL
A cross-over of “Angel the Series” / Kilworth’s novel “Angel” / soap opera “Passions”
Disclaimer: I do not owe any of the characters, but I have fooled around with them to suite my needs.
Los Angeles. 2 a.m.
Kate Lockley has just come off duty and was driving home, and this way brought her to a very suspicious place, where she temporarily parked her car and smoked. She needed to think about her life, which was going the wrong way. Both the causes and the consequences – they seem to be started in her-self. Currently, she found herself wishing to drink down a glass or two of beer after duty – not a good idea for her, as An-gel was quick to point out. Angel. Now there was a point to consider. Maybe she too should go into P.I. business. Nah. Her relatives – they’d go ballistic. Not that Kate couldn’t take them of course… That bespectacled guy, Wesley… he’s certainly human and looks kind of decent… but her uncle would never understand if she started to hang-out with him…
A gloomy, cold morning approached. Bits of fog stuck to the building walls, slowly crawled down via downtake pipes, and on the ground mixed with the vapours from beyond the sewer grating. Some distance away from Kate’s car stood a man and stared at the lightened window of a shabby apartment build-ing. His long eyelashes and nails made him look like a girl. Of course, other windows were lit-up in the building too, but the man concentrated his attention on that one alone. His whole demeanour demonstrated complete commitment. He couldn’t be considered a “Peeping Tom”, for there was nothing to peep at. Not even shadows on the window-shades.
“Whom are you taking me for?” came from some apartment, sounding as if the shouter held his head over a pillow. Re-turned shouts came from other apartments. This area was never quiet; at least a third of local inhabitants never slept: they couldn’t sleep because of the dogs, though they weren’t allowed to have any dogs; noise of forever-moved furniture above-head, clash of crockery and the most irritating thing of all – laughter. Some castrato laughed with his ringing tenor at something unseen and unheard by everyone else – nothing.
Laughter. Whisper-whisper-whisper. Laughter. Whisper-whisper-whisper. Laughter.
As soon as it appeared that that laughter died forever, it came back – even more penetrating and determined than before, piercing the thin walls. A man with such laughter deserves to die, Kate thought. He drives people mad, he makes them shout: “Shut up for God’s sake! What’s, dammit, so funny? Do you know what time it, you bastard is” – until, finally, a true Hell of noise begins, and our Mocking-Bird begins to shout with every-one else: “Quiet! Get a break!” Oh God!
Meanwhile, the watcher stood silently, and despite the strong cold, almost immobile. The only survived lamp-post lighted his face with a dirty yellow light.
Any woman who would’ve seen him – Kate including – admit-ted that he was good-looking. Pale grey eyes, lips plump and rose-coloured, and the face’s colour as tender as if he just came of a TV commercial for ice cream. Maybe that’s not a man at all but a disguised woman? Or a sexless man? Kate shook her head. One thing for sure, she decided, that this vul-nerable image hid a steadfastness and some serious physical strength. Of course, Kate herself had those qualities and was a woman, but she still didn't doubt that she was seeing a man.
The man suddenly turned towards Kate and stared at her with an absent-minded look, then turned back on his chosen win-dow. However, when he suddenly momentarily turned on her, Kate felt an unexpected stab of fear. Something was wrong here, and her policeman sense told Kate to call-out to the guy and ask him what he was doing here up so early. But some other sense made this first sense ignored. Maybe it was fear, something that Kate hadn’t felt in a long while.
Kate was happy that the man ignored her. She never liked dealing with sexual perverts, and she personally wouldn’t ask one of them about absolutely anything without complete ne-cessity. Kate, however, was enchanted by the stranger’s ap-pearance – enchanted and scared. She saw before herself the type of beauty that appeared only in English poetry: masculin-ity under the visage of beauty.
The man stepped forwards several steps, and Kate was en-abled to see the movements of his body, hidden under a white suit. As he expected, the man was athletically built and was in excellent shape. A dancer’s body. Under the clothes lay well-developed muscles – not boulder-like but elastic and oblong. The fingers, which touched the wall just where it was written ‘The Law of Red Scorpions’, were long and thin, almost trans-parent.
He moved powerfully and fluently, elegant as a cheetah. Ap-parently, a powerful machine was hidden in his thorax. A ma-chine that produced strength and grace. Kate felt the cold blow of primeval fear emanating from the pretty appearance of this young man.
Kate stared at him, trying to figure out, what is this gay doing here at three a.m. Maybe he looks into his window? Maybe there’s someone with his wife? Or his husband, rather? Maybe a murder is looming?
Kate tried to concentrate, but she couldn’t. During the last two weeks, she was in a real quibble: where to go after she quit? Angel told her that Wesley, of course, was leaning on him to try her to get her to join Angel Investigations, saying that he would handle Cordelia, but both Angel and Kate understood how well this would work – not at all. So something had to be done instead. However, Kate had to admit, that knowing that at least some people tried to be supportive was nice. Still… she couldn’t just go in and join their circle like that, could she?
The man suddenly came to the door and went in.
The shouts and the warring didn't quiet for a moment. Also, stray cats added their bits from up on the roof. A bedlam typi-cal to such places. Soon a police patrol would arrive, inspect this dwelling-place, shake their heads and move on. Until they get the summons that’ll draw them into the house war, until they get into some apartment through half-a-dozen blocks, all will calm-down on their own. Someone will hit someone else, maybe even kill – but all will calm down on its’ own. Blood and tears may be spent, but the storm will die down.
Kate leaned forwards, reaching towards ignition. She never made it – she was blinded by a flash of white light. Something deafly blew-up and thousands of glass shards began to bounce on the top of her police car. Through bluish-grey smoke Kate saw how flame erupted through the windows and quickly spread throughout the house.
She heard how iron gnashed and bricks burst from flame; heard how the roaring flame spread through corridors, devour-ing all in its’ way. Long tongues of flame burst through the shattered window above Kate’s head and lacked the walls of the building across the street.
Kate was astonished by the fire’s fury, how quickly it had gathered force and grasped the whole building. As if a huge bubble has burst in one of the rooms, releasing the flame of Hell.
She thought: God, another fire-bomb! It must’ve been that gay who stood outside. I’ve seen this bastard. I’ve seen how he en-tered the building. I could’ve grasped him, stopped him.
She found the door’s handle and fell out of the car onto the pavement. Got up. Half-blinded, she began to stumble along the street, holding onto walls. People still cried out of build-ings, but no one now shouted “Shut-up!” They squealed “Help! For God’s sake, someone help!”
Somebody, stumbling, got out of the building’s door, with clothes afire. Kate couldn’t even come close to him: she reeled from strong heat. She smelt how her hair became singed and the skin on her face – roasted. The man fell with a groan onto the pavement and began to agonize, jerking like a wounded snake. But soon he stopped. Forever. The acrid smoke of de-composing plastic and burning rubber spread throughout the street. When poisonous smoke filled her lungs, Kate began to cough. For several seconds she shuddered from fits of cough-ing and vomiting, until she got onto another part of the street, with cleaner air. There she stopped, pressing her back around a light-post.
Heat reached her even there, striking her face with streams of scorching-hot air. Her skin became even more singed, and she had to seek retreat in one of the doorways. She stood, staring at the fire, and felt astonished to see how quickly this Hell be-came uncontrollable. Just like many people, Kate was secretly scared of fire. She has seen it in her nightmares.
What happened next made her shudder from terror. As if dreaming, she was saw how the man in white came out of the open door of the burning house. True, Kate’s eyes still hasn’t got over the explosion, but she was sure that the man’s clothes were smoking, even burning. The man didn't stop, but stepped over the lying, charred body and quickly went down street.
“Hey you!” Kate shouted. “Stop, you animal!” She was already reaching for her gun. “Stop!”
She grasped her weapon, but because of her confusion, didn’t manage to hang-on to it. The gun fell onto the street with a crash. Man in white stopped and turned around, looking at Kate. A strong gust of wind came through the narrow street, invigorated again the dying-down fire and brought a new smell with it, stopping for the moment the fire’s stench. This smell had no reason to be here: it reminded Kate of her romantic dinners with Angel she had, sometimes.
The man moved on, while Kate still struggled with her memo-ries. On the opposite side of the street her car burned. The grinding of metal mixed-in with the desperate cries that came from the house.
Kate had no phone. Kate couldn’t do anything but to stand and watch the dying cries and hope that fire trucks and am-bulances are nearby by now. She sat on the staircase of some another house, thinking what she’ll put into her report.
“I’ve had enough sir, I quit the force.”
Soon she heard the sirens of the fire trucks.