SPG: November Part 3/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly serial that updates on Mondays. Each month will cover a self-contained story told over four parts.
It will not be overly edited, and character arcs and plotlines could be adjusted with your feedback! PLEASE let me know what you think!

“Fuck, sorry, we should’ve been here.”

“It’s cool,” Pete assured Dakotah. She had just told him about Pratum, the angel who had come looking for Oceanus. She’d invited Val over for extra support, but once Pratum had left, nothing eventful had happened. She yawned. It was past eleven.

Dakotah looked at the angel. He had set the clockwork toy near him, but he was watching Val braid her hair, answering whenever she asked him a question.

Val got up and went to stand with the others.

“I feel like an idiot,” she said. “I dunno what to, like, even say to him? He’s super nice though.”

“I don’t think we need to babysit him,” Dakotah said, explaining what Arturo had told him. He figured Oceanus would be safe while whatever problem blew over.

“Then we can go to bed?” Val asked.

Dakotah cast a wary look to the front gate. He noticed both of his cats were back in position by the front gate. He’d tell them to keep an eye out for Pratum. “Can you walk Val home?” he asked Phin.

Brother and sister nodded.

“What about you?” Pete asked.

“I have to do my homework,” Dakotah said with a roll of his eyes. “I’ll hang out here, see if the grimoire gets delivered.”

Dakotah put in his request for an angel grimoire—feeling strange as he set the note on the front counter. Then he sat on the ground and showed Oceanus how to play a racing game on his iPad.

“Are you…hungry?” asked Dakotah.

The angel shook his head.

“K…I gotta do some stuff, so…let me know if you need anything.”

Dakotah wandered away, still feeling like a babysitter even though Arturo had said he wasn’t.

What is a Guardian, then, if not a babysitter? What’s the point?

When he left for the night he kept a sharp eye out for Pratum or any other angels. No one bothered him, and he flopped into bed.

~*~*~

“He been mean-muggin’ me, man.” A locker slammed as an annoyed kid smashed a hand into it.

“I understand that, Damien,” a calm teacher said, “but do you think the appropriate reaction is throwing pencils while others are trying to work?”

Dakotah had woken up late and arrived to school (Central was within easy walking distance) in the middle of first period. The halls had filtered free of most students, and class was going on.

Mostly. Out in the halls was another world. A free-floating space you could wander like a maze, like skirting behavior specialists like Pac-Man ghosts.

“Waddup, Kotah,” someone said.

Dakotah gave the other boy a nod. Savion was definitely skipping class. He stopped to have a conversation, obviously more interested in anything but class.

“You late?”

“Yeah. M’tired.”

Savion nodded. He always fell asleep in class, Dakotah knew. Two years ago he’d been the same, when they’d been moving a lot. He’d been tired but filled with a restless energy.

The boys talked for a minute more, then a passing adult gave them the eye. Dakotah flashed his late pass for the both of them, and once she passed by he and Savion went different directions.

“Dakotah,” Pete said as she approached.

“Busy hallway,” Dakotah muttered. “Hey, what’s up? Where’re you going?”

“Library. Did you see Oceanus today?”

He shook his head. “Woke up like 15 minutes ago. I’ll check after school. He was fine last night though. I think angels don’t eat. Or sleep.”

“Was he still playing with that soldier?”

“Yeah, kinda. Like he played on the iPad but kept the soldier by him. I dunno. He seems alright.”

“I’ll go with you today.” She felt responsible for the angel. Dakotah hadn’t seen Pratum, he didn’t know the weird look in the angel’s eyes.

“K, cool.”

~*~*~

She and Val met Dakotah by the front doors. Phin stood with him already.

“When’s it going to get cold?” Phin wondered aloud. They started out from Central’s front doors, down the steps and the wide expanse of concrete to the sidewalk.

“You want to be cold?”

The four talked about nothing important as they made their way to the shop in the unseasonably warm weather. Yellow leaves fell around the Summit neighborhood, putting everything into a blaze of color. Construction and renovations on the Summit areas homes had finished before winter could settle in. Many had fresh coats of paint.

Dakotah worried about the upkeep of Ike’s shop. Did he have to handle that? Would magic hold it together? His enemies had broken the front window on his first night as Guardian. What did that mean for the future?

They arrived at the shop. Dakotah pet his cats as he walked by the statues, not noticing the others do the same.

Inside, the shop was quiet. Dakotah looked around, frowning.

“Oceanus?”

No answer. That wasn’t really weird, he reminded himself. His guest was quiet.

“I’ll check upstairs,” Pete volunteered.

“Has anyone been in or out?” Phin asked. “Can you tell?”

Dakotah closed his eyes, feeling instinctively for the house’s physical memory.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “Nothing feels weird. But I don’t know if what I’m feeling is anything…I know, I’ll ask the cats.”

Dakotah ran outside. Phin and Val split up and checked the shelves and back rooms.

Within a minute they all met by the front desk.

“He isn’t upstairs,” Pete said.

“He’s gone,” Dakotah said grimly. “An angel came by the front gate.”

“Oceanus went with the angel?”

“No,” said Dakotah. “He apparently left out the back while the angel stood by the front.”

“Shit,” said Pete. “He got scared, don’t you think? And ran?”

“This is a safe place,” Dakotah said. “Where would he run to?”

“If he’s out there alone, the other angels will find him,” Pete said, an edge to her voice.

Dakotah stood frozen while he considered. What were the responsibilities of a Guardian? Should he look for Oceanus, or did the angel cease to be his responsibility the moment he left the grounds?

“Fuck,” he said. “Alright, let’s look for him.”

My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD will be out December 15th! Keep checking back for updates!

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