My apologies for not writing in a couple of days. I had pressing matters to attend to. They are now done for a time and I have chapter 11 for you to read. I hope you like it.
Cali couldn’t remember crying so much in her life. The things that she had seen and been forced to do, had never caused such a deluge of emotion. That’s the point. Anyone can face a Demon and walk away. But, the Demon will remain to plague you again. To face Demons and kill them, you have to release the pain that they have caused in your life. Crying, was the beginning. It marked a point of acceptance of the pain. Releasing that pain, now that was the hard part.
“But don’t the Demons make me hard, make me… I don’t know…able to cope?” Cali had always been proud of her ability to push the Demons down.
Nonna smiled sadly. “No child. That is a ruse. Demons do not make you stronger. They make you vulnerable.” She pulled one of Cali’s hands to her thin chest. “Demons stop you from doing things. They make you fear, where there should be no fear. They hold you back. You must release them to move on.”
Cali wanted to understand. But, it was eluding her. “But without them, I wouldn’t be who I am.”
Nonna’s smile brightened. “You’re right! Without them you would be better.” She could see that Cali was not comprehending the concept. “Okay, let me try to explain it in another way.” She released Cali’s hand. “These people hurt you. Right now it only matters that they hurt you. How they did so is not an issue… right now. We’ll get to that part later.” Nonna leaned back and took a sip of water.
She and Cali were sitting alone under a tree by the fields. It was not the same tree as the one in which the community gathered when they were working the fields. There was always someone in the fields tending the plants. But, today was not a day for weeding. Rain clouds were coming in. The animals sounded happy. It was a nice quiet day. Only the tears running down her young charges face broke the mood. The ghosts of thousands of people had come to her over the years. They had told her about the great door opener. That’s what they called Cali, the door opener. She was meant to help those that wanted to move on. But, the ghosts knew that Cali, was trapped as well. She needed help moving on. They tried to help her but, they just didn’t know how. So, they had come to Nonna.
It wasn’t until Patricia had visited her that she had taken the requests seriously. Ghosts were limited in their ability to communicate with the living. But, Patricia was not a ghost. She was an Angel. A very rare Angel. She had been chosen of the dead, to become one amongst those that the Creator had fashioned with his own hands. Not many humans were given this honor, or this responsibility. Patricia was Cali’s mother, a woman taken from this life abruptly by the same man that had so roughly used his own child. Her concern was for Cali. She had already lost Monica. But Cali, she could save. She wanted to give Cali a gift but, she knew that eventually she knew that Cali would have trouble and need someone’s help. Nonna’s name had come up. She asked the middle aged Italian woman to learn English, but to tell no-one. Someday, Cali would come to her for help.
And here she is. Nonna sighed. It was a good memory. Cali was the spitting image of her mother. Nonna had known her the second that she had seen her. Now the child… the woman…Calisto Gabrielle Casey, sat before her, waiting for instruction, and the ghosts hovered nearby watching. The only one in the cast that she had not seen was Patricia, but she knew that the Angel was not far away.
“Alright, all of your life’s experiences, good and bad, help form who you are as a person. So, yes your Demons have played a part in making you. But, you do not need to keep them to remain who you are. If you keep them, as they are now, you will continue to be shaped by them. And that my dear child, would not be a good thing.” She saw the look of concentration on Cali’s face. Let her absorb that.
Cali had seen people that had allowed their Demons to consume them. The thought of Monica flashed across her mind. My baby sister. I tried to protect her. But… she envied me. She grew to hate me. Did she have her own Demons? Did those Demons drive her away… drive her mad? She thought back on her childhood. She remembered how Monica would treat her after their father had raped her. Monica had shunned her. Cali had never understood why. Momma was always there… but… Monica could see her. Monica could see her! The thought galvanized inside of Cali a flood of memories that were forever changed by the knowledge, Monica had known that momma was an Angel. She had never said anything. She knew that what their father had been doing to her was not alright. It was not love. Yet she still had wanted it. She had spurned their mother and Cali. Oh Mon, how could you do that? Cali’s heart sunk in her chest. I sacrificed so much to try and save you. The thought should have made her angry but instead, it brought despair.
Cali’s heart was heavy. Nonna could see that something had congealed inside of her and was threatening to sink her. She had no idea what to do. Luckily someone else had an idea.
One moment they were sitting under a tree, listening to the birds sing. They were alone in the world. The next minute the world had become so bright that only the ground on which they sat was visible.
They both squinted and shaded their eyes. The light smiled, and it did not recede but, it no longer hurt. They blinked almost as one, and saw before them a woman dressed in white and silver flowing robes. Her hair was the color of the sun and her eyes were soft hazel, just like Cali.
“Momma” Cali breathed the word, afraid that if she spoke too loud the Angel would fly away. It had been so long. A fresh fountain of tears sprang from her eyes. She jumped up. It never occurred to her that the image that she saw was not solid. She rushed into her mother’s waiting arms, buried her head into the fold at the base of her neck, and cried until there were no more tears.
Nonna stood in reverence to the Angel, and watched in shock and joy as, Cali disregarded any known or assumed decorum, and embraced the Angel that had once been her mother. Patricia smiled at her, before turning all of her attention on Cali.
Patricia held the woman that was her mortal body’s child. The connection that she felt towards the woman was strong. This personal connection is why the Creator selected some humans to become Angels. These few kept the mall honest. She was an Angel now. She no longer bore any true resemblance to the woman that she had once been, with the exception of her memories and her feelings, especially for this child. It was all by design, she knew this. She was in on the plan.
Slowly the tears came to a halt. Cali leaned away from her mother. At that moment, she realized that in all the time that she had been visited by her dead mother, she had never embraced her. She wasn’t sure if she should feel ashamed for not doing so then, or for doing so now.
“You need feel no shame at all. You were, and will always be, my child. I was not there to hug away your fears, as I had once dreamed of doing. It brings me joy that you still want me to hug them away now.” Patricia’s voice was ethereal. It came from everywhere and nowhere, and it brought warmth and comfort on its lilting notes.
Cali realized that she was afraid. She had clung to the management of her Demons for too long. It had become a crutch. That’s why she felt that it made her stronger. Still, she didn’t know how to let go. Tell me what to do!
“Nonna, you have done well in caring for my child. Yet, I must ask this also of you, please take her to see her sister. But, do not let them meet. Only let her see.” She took Cali’s face in her hands, and gazed into the eyes that matched her own. “Monica is not your responsibility. She never was. I’m sorry if I placed that burden upon you. I had imagined that you would have a parent, a real parent, to shoulder the real responsibilities. Monica is who she is because, it is who she chooses to be. She is where she is because, it is what she chose for herself. You tried to save a person, that did not want saving. Nothing that has happened to Monica, has ever been your fault. She is her grandmother’s child.”
The last statement struck Cali’s heart like a railroad spike. When it did, something dark inside of her burst. A great pressure was suddenly gone. Relief flooded through Cali’s being like a rampaging bull, sweeping aside or trampling anything and everything that foolishly tried to stop it. A breath escaped her lips, and with its departure the guilt of failing Monica, swept from her body.
“Patricia…” Nonna, still wasn’t exactly sure how she should address the Angel. Before, it had been more of a once sided conversation. She had only asked a couple of simple questions. This time however, things were a bit different. As the Angel’s gaze once again fell upon her, Nonna felt very self-conscious. “I’m not sure that I can help her.” Her mind drew a blank. She didn’t want to lose the Angel’s attention, nor did she want to throw the job back into her face. “I mean… look at the fact that you had to intercede already, and we’ve only just begun to work on it.” She was wringing her hands. When she noticed, she angrily threw her hands down to her sides. I haven’t don’t that since, I begged my father to let me marry Alfonso.
The Angel smiled down at Nonna. It always seemed that heavenly creatures were taller than they really were. Perhaps because mere mortals are so enthralled or awed by their presence. The idea never crossed Patricia’s mind. Such thoughts were behind her. She had left such inconsequential things in the grave with her mortal body. This mortal, was a woman chosen by the powers of heaven and earth to shoulder a gift of great magnitude. Patricia had given her an additional task. She considered Nonna’s words for the briefest of seconds. “Nonsense, you are doing well.” She turned away and smiled at Cali’s upturned face. It did marvel Patricia that this face was much like the one that had once belonged to her mortal body. If Angels could feel pride then, she most certainly would feel pride in this, her child. “I needed to intervene because, I was the source of that particular pain. I was the author of that Demon. It grew without further assistance from me but, I did give it birth.” When she was done speaking she returned her gaze to Nonna. The woman must understand.
Nonna thought about what the Angel had said, and nodded. Yes, she could see how the words of a mother could give birth to such a Demon, especially given the extraordinary circumstances of Cali’s childhood.
Patricia gave Nonna an approving smile, and returned her attention to Cali. “You must rid yourself of these Demons. The past is behind you. Do not let it mold your future. Become the Phoenix. Burn away the past, and rise from the ashes. Make a future for yourself that does not include the darkness of the past. Use the darkness to find the light.” She kissed Cali’s forehead.
Cali listened to her mother, as a child. She felt like she was tiny and so young. Every word that her mother spoke was written no… chiseled onto Cali’s heart. When her mother kissed her, she closed her eyes.
Somewhere between the time that she closed them, and when she opened her eyes again, the world had returned. The Angel was gone. She and Nonna stood under a tree by the fields. Time had passed. The clouds were beginning to spit. Without a word, the two gathered their things and rushed to the safety of their home. As they entered the front door, the rain was set loose.
This one was kind of difficult to write. Getting rid of those Demons that haunt you is difficult to do. But I think I managed to get rid of one for Cali. Let's see what happens in the next chapter.
Live well and be good to each other.