The 25% excerpt today is from my contemporary fantasy short story, Tutelary.
“I told you I lived in the middle of nowhere, and I didn’t correct your assumption that I lived just outside of the city. My home is a long, long way away from here. I told you I’d had an accident and needed to recover. That was almost true; I did need to recover, but I hadn’t had an accident. You asked me what I did for work, and I said I had left my previous employment with a good stipend and didn’t need to work for a while and I wanted to attempt to paint instead.” As he spoke, Matthias’ gaze flicked to the portrait of Daniel on the wall opposite the bed. Painted from memory of the wonderful day they had shared at the beach; the sun glinting in Daniel’s rich brown hair and sparkling in his expressive eyes. Daniel had been overwhelmed at the way Matthias saw him when Matthias had presented that to him. “It is true I had no need of money, but I was well aware of my… talents as a painter, it is something I have enjoyed doing for many years.”
Daniel frowned, obviously he wanted to ask questions but he was trying to wait as he had been requested, but Matthias knew it was a struggle. Holding Daniel’s gaze, he took a deep breath.
“I am a Tutelar, Daniel and I have been called home to take up my duties again.”
“A what?” Daniel queried, frowning.
“A Tutelar. Perhaps you will know it better as Guardian Angel? I am a Guardian Angel.
Daniel’s mouth dropped open but it appeared he couldn’t put his reaction into words.
“I had taken on too many subjects. Michael always said I chose the ones who required the most help, but those were precisely the ones I felt needed me.” He laughed gently, “Too soft, Michael said I was. He was right, of course. I allowed myself to get too close, too involved until I could no longer handle any more emotional pain and I… what it is you say here on Earth? Oh yes, I burned out and then I was of no use to anyone.”
Daniel was by his side, kneeling next to the chair. In a very soft voice, he said, “Matt, you can’t really believe what you’re telling me. I can understand that whatever work you were doing was so stressful that your mind couldn’t accept it and so you have created this… this fantasy to help you cope. Oh Matt, you need help. I never had any idea you were ill. But it doesn’t mean you have to leave. You know I love you too, don’t you? Were you afraid I wouldn’t understand, that I would turn from you because of this? Oh, Matt.”
Matthias turned to look at him, smiling sadly. “If only I was ill, that would be so much easier. I am not crazy, Daniel. Every word I just told you is the truth. I have to go; I have no choice. I see now the only way you will believe, the only way you will have any peace, is to see for yourself.”