The groups of friends gathered in the front of the shop with no success…so they thought. When they looked around, they tried to find Angel, but instead found a tall man in a long black tail coat and jet-black wavy hair as he gazed out the front window deep in thought with his arms crossed. “…Claude?” Justine recognized him. “Where’d you come from? Where’s Angel?”
The spider demon turned to see the four teens before he pulled a small grin. “Ah, Justine Sutcliff Michaelis, it’s nice to see you again.”
“Cut the crap Faustus? Where’s Angel?” she repeated.
Claude sighed. “Look, I don’t know where Angel is.” he answered honestly. “I thought, since she came here with you, then she’d be back here to meet you.”
“How would you know that she came here with us?” Rachel asked.
The man was about to answer, then hesitated. “…I can’t say…” he stated. Of course, the teens didn’t believe him (seriously, would you?) as they crossed their arms and shot him glares of blue-grey, dark brown, lime green, and blue-green.
When he looked around at the disapproving looks, he raised his hands in defense with raised, innocent eyebrows and widened worried eyes. “Look, I was simply bringing Master Alois his tea and breakfast, then I heard…a song…next thing I knew, I was on the ground!” he shouted. “I had no control of myself; I couldn’t even move my mouth to speak. After a while, I was brought here, in this very room, just this morning. I thought I’d never be able to leave, until you kids came in an hour ago. I saw you come in, you even walked right up to me, but then you left to find your missing family members. You have no idea how much I wanted to scream and cry at Angel, tell her she was going the completely wrong way, that it was a trap, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t until just a few moments ago when I returned to my normal size with full control of myself.”
Justine looked at him disapprovingly, crossing her arms as she approached him. “…So, you magically shrank, losing your ability to change back, and unable to communicate with us?”
He nodded excitedly at her understanding. “Yes! Exactly!”
The teen rolled her eyes before returning to her glare. “How’s it feel, huh?”
The other teens only exchanged questioning looks and murmurs of, “Don’t look at me! I have no idea what’s happening.” “How am I supposed to know?” and “I only just met her, and I don’t even know this dude!” before Jeremy finally had enough guessing. “Yo! Scaredy Cat! Mind telling us what’s going on? Who is this guy?”
“This,” she growled. “Is Claude Faustus, the butler from the Trancy manner, spider demon, and Angel’s father.” she explained. “Only last month, he forced my form into a cat, which made it impossible for me to talk to anyone or change back, and locked me in so many places I lost track!” She then rejoined the group, keeping her glare on him. “Now, Angel is missing, and he claims to have gone through basically the same thing as I did. He doesn’t deserve our trust. For all we know, he kidnapped her so we wouldn’t find our own parents. He might even be working with the angels!”
“Now hold it right there!” Claude shouted offended as he took his turn to glare at her. “I know after what happened last month, you have every right in the world to not trust me, but NEVER accuse me of working with angels! That is FAR from the truth!”
“Well, it’s far more believable than the lies you fed us!” the cat demon shouted back before marching out the door and whistling in the street. As the large white dog bounded up the street and the three teens climbed on his back, Justine turned back to Claude. “Whatever you’re planning, we are going to get Angel back, find our parents, and crush those angels. After that,” She paused so she can climb on Pluto’s back and grab a firm hold on the black collar. “I am going to come back here and crush you like the little spider you are sitting in your web of lies.”
. . .
Angel backed in the corner in fear, even turned into her dog form to squeeze behind the furniture, to get as far away from these psychos as possible. “Come on out Angel.” Ash requested in a soothing voice just like he had for the past hour.
“I said it once, I’ll say it again!” she barked. “I. Want. My. Dad!”
Angela knelt beside Ash, looking at her with those purple eyes holding only false kindness. “Angel, sweetie, Ash is your dad now.”
“NO!” the teen screamed, bolting out the other way and under a large bed with a huge, white and purple, feathery quilt. “You’re NOT my parents! I don’t even know you, psychos!”
The angels followed her and surrounded either side of the bed, leaving only the foot of the bed open, which was blocked by a long, heavy box. “Honey, we don’t want to hurt you.” Angela promised in a comforting tone. “Just come out, and-” When she tried to crawl under the bed with her, the dog swooped out the other side and spread her wings. The canine started to fly but was wrestled to the ground by Ash.
“Don’t hurt her!” Angela cried as she scrambled out from under the bed and to his side as Angel squirmed out of his grip with no success.
“Angela, we must cleanse her!” Ash reasoned. “You know this!”
The woman’s purple eyes went wide as the man pulled out a large needle about as thick as a telephone cord, as long as a kitchen knife, and just as sharp, only making the canine squirm, push, kick, and flap her wings even harder. “NO! NO! GET THAT AWAY FROM ME! DAD! DAD! WHERE ARE YOU?! HELP ME!”
“I’m sorry, Angel.” Ash apologized emotionlessly. “This is for your own…GOOD!” Right at the word ‘good’, he plunged the needle in the back of her neck, causing her to let out a whine as she froze in shock, fear, and pain.
Angel felt the tube of the ‘medicine’ right against her skin, bypassing her thick fur. The sounds of the liquid bubbling down the tube and through the needle were torturing until the last drop sunk in her skin. As Ash pulled out the needle, he let her go, causing her to drop to the floor.
Everything felt heavy as she tried to lift my hundred pound paws, or her two-ton wings, ending in no success. The teen’s eyelids grew harder and harder to keep up as the weight piled on and her vision blurred. She let out a weak whimper as her hearing started to ring and buzz. The last thing the dog saw and heard was Angela’s form rushing up to her and holding her tightly as she screamed and cried at him. After a second of seeing that picture, all the white in the room started to turn gray. It wasn’t long at all before she was swallowed by the growing darkness.
. . .
Angel woke up hazily, groaning as she steadily stood on her four paws before a white light flashed over her eyes as a thump was heard and the teen had a sharp pain on the top of her head. Shaking her vision clear, she saw that she was in a kennel. The bars on the door left small holes and the lock was thick, square, and black, so she couldn’t even see what kind of lock it was.
The dog tried to change to her human form, but for some reason, she couldn’t; some unseen force kept her as the dog she was. When she tried spreading her wings, they pulled on each other. Looking back, the canine saw that they were clipped. Then, Angel noticed a new weight on her neck. She straightened her neck to look and saw that it was a black collar just like Pluto’s weighing her down.
As the teen looked past the bars of the cage, she saw Angela sitting in front of her, gazing at her with tear-filled, thoughtful purple eyes. “…Angel…” she cried. “…My sweet baby Angel…”
“How many times do I have to tell you lady?!” the dog growled. “I’m NOT your pup! You’re not my mom! I don’t have a mom!”
“I am.” she nodded. “I’ve been watching over you throughout your whole life.”
“Then prove it!” she barked. “Tell me something only I would know!”
Angela thought for a moment before she smiled and connected her thumbs to her index fingers.
“The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout~”
She then wiggled her fingers as her hands dropped and the teen in the cage tilted her head in disbelief.
“Down came the rain and washed the spider out~”
As the angel lifted her hands again, now formed in a circle, she continued her little rhyme.
“Up came the sun and dried up all the rain~
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again~”
Angel couldn’t believe what just happened. Only Claude knew that the Itsy Bitsy Spider was her favorite nursery rhyme when she was a little pup. The two of them kept that their little secret; never told another soul. “…I-I still don’t believe you…” the girl stuttered.
Angela nodded as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a large pair of round glasses. She didn’t put them on all the way; but instead, she kept her fingers on the thin frames as she zoomed the glasses in and out between the two of them. “…What’s with the glasses?” Angel asked though she had a feeling she knew what the angel would say.
“The better to see you with,” she stated.
What does that prove? The demon asked herself. All it shows is that she’s a Little Red Riding Hood fan.
What the woman said next caught the dog off guard. “…my Angel.”
Angel hung her mouth open before shaking out of it. “…Okay, you got me…you might be my mom, but even my dad is untrustworthy. What makes you different?”
As if to answer, Angela reached over and started working the lock. “Ash doesn’t trust that you’d stay even if you knew the truth.” she stated. “But I do. I never wanted you to get hurt in this, I only wanted a second chance to be a mother, the mother, you deserve.”
When the lock clicked and the door squeaked open, the demon just stared at her with flattened ears and lowered head. “…Mom…?” She nodded as the teen cautiously left the kennel.
As soon as she left the threshold of the cage, she grew into her human form and stood before her. The newly found mother then made a spinning gesture with her finger. “Turn around.” she instructed. Angel did so trustfully, still in a daze as she messed with the clipped wings. When she was done, the daughter fully spread them, happy that there was no clip to prevent them from separating.
When the dog demon started to mess with the buckle on the collar, Angela shook her head. “You won’t be able to get it off that way.” she stated. “Only Ash and I can take it off.” Angel looked at her expectantly before she laughed a little. “If I take it off, Ash will know I did, then he’ll punish me.”
“Then why would you stay here?” the teen asked in confusion. “Why not come back and stay with me and dad?”
“I wish I could,” the mother sighed as she stroked the long brown hair. “But I’m an angel, and your dad is a demon. Just as I was told long ago, I am forever chained to the heavens, just as he is forever chained to the earth.” Angel was discouraged at her answer before she smiled again. “I noticed your flying was choppy and uncontrolled for your age when I saw you fly to the toy shop with that cat in your arms.”
“Sure.” the teen scoffed, crossing her arms. “Rub it in that I can’t fly right. It’s not like anyone ever taught me!”
Angela smiled. “Well, I’m right here…if you want to learn, that is.”
The hybrid looked up and smiled brightly. “You would do that?” she asked.
“What else is a mother for if not to teach her daughter?” she giggled, spreading her wings and taking off. Angel’s smile widened as the teen joined the woman out the window.
This was already more than the demon hoped for. When she was younger, she wanted nothing more than to learn her mother’s name, now she’s not only spending time with the woman she wondered so much about, but she was also learning something new from her. Angel couldn’t wait to tell her father all about it.