Remember when I said that there were guardian angels and those angels could influence people? Well, a guardian angel would have been perfect at this point; some voice of reason to light Spider’s path. However, the powers that be didn’t assign the Ice Cream Gangsters a guardian angel because half the city, including Arch Angel Gabriel and an angelic governor Azreal had taken a vested interest in them. But thanks to a cat with a loud voice, they weren’t completely alone.
“Somebody has to save ya’ll from these monsters, and my name is Isabella, but if I can call you Spidey, you can call me Izzy.”
Standing beside Spider a girl appeared. Spider could see why George had fallen for her.
“What are they, Izzy?”
She made an unpleasant face that looked out of place on the demure ghost. “Fairies,” she scowled and spat on the ground like she was cleansing her mouth of the word.
“So what are we gonna do?” Spider whispered without moving his lips like a ventriloquist.
A ballroom dancing George spun past in the arms of an especially sexy girl wearing heels only a few feet from them, then disappeared into the crowd.
Spider thought he could feel heat coming off of her as Izzy hissed, “First, we are gonna get that creature’s paws off my man.”
“I already tried to get him away. It’s like they’ve been brainwashed. They’re like dancing zombies.”
“No, not brainwashed. They’ve been cleansed. The fairies take out all the things they deem unpleasant like anger, greed, sadness, pain, heartbreak, grief.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad..”
“But it is, because it takes everything good with it. If you have no fear, you can’t have courage. Courage is triumph over fear. If you take away the things that make the blood run hot, it’s just cold. How can you have love without passion?”
“How do we change them back?”
“We’ve got to find their bodies.”
Pan pointed at Spider from inside the circle. “If he’s not a scorpion, then why does he carry one of the dark blades?” Spider realized they couldn’t see Izzy.
“A sword?” Ty scrutinized Spider. “Why didn’t you take it from him while he slept?”
“I tried, but I couldn’t touch it. I didn’t know what it was, only that it burned my hand.” Pan held out a badly burnt, crust covered hand that looked like it belonged in a monster movie.
The old man looked at Pan with sympathy. “Don’t worry, we’ll heal it. Those swords are made by dark elves and their magic is strong.”
Izzy whispered, “If you have a sword DON’T drop it.”
At the same time Ty turned and bellowed, “DROP THAT SWORD!” The fairies stopped dancing, all turning to look at Spider.
He pulled the straight razor out of his pocket. “All I have is this.”
The fairies shrank back with gasps of horror and fear.
Isabella whispered, “That’s a magic sword. Go ahead, awaken it.”
“How do I do that?” Spider said back, no longer whispering.
“Just drop it!” commanded Tyresius.
“Stop him! He’s trying to awaken the sword. He’s talking with a familiar!” Pan shrieked. “Do something!”
The old man dropped to his knees and began to draw a quick symbol to perform a binding spell.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Izzy shouted.
In that moment, time was hers. The fairies froze in place, Uncle Ty’s mouth froze on the words, birds froze in the air, and Pan’s panicked face made him look more like a frightened boy playing dress up. Spider had heard how Izzy had stopped time to save George in the tree house many times, but it was another thing to experience it.
“How did you do that?”
“I don’t know. It’s what the angel did when I died. I didn’t even know I could until that day at the treehouse. I just can. We don’t have much time. Awaken the sword.”
“It’s not mine. I have no idea how to a-w-a-k-e-n it.”
“Just call it’s name.”
“What is it’s name?”
“You should know.”
Spider gave her a look of incredulity.
“Ok, let’s try something else. How did you get the tattoo?”
He quickly told her the story and after a second of deliberation she explained to him what it meant. The group Mr. Curtis belonged to had a fixed number of angels, or ministers, as they are called. When Mr. Curtis traveled to the underworld, he made Spider his replacement so the balance would be maintained. That’s why he wasn’t a dancing zombie. An angelic minister cannot be made into a fairy.
“So some part of you is still connected to that minister. Whatever it was that he used is still hooked to you. Clear you mind and find that name.”
Spider tried hard, squinting with effort. “Nothing.”
“Do you know where the bodies are?”
“Um, no.”
The cat who had been purring away since Izzy’s arrival said, “I do. Follow me.” She ran to the trees.
Spider saw a leaf barely move. “What was that? I thought everything stopped.”
“We have to hurry. I’m slipping.”
Spider looked down at the razor and concentrated. Nothing came. “I can’t do it. I don’t know.”
“You have to know. I am about to lose control and those fairies will be livid.”
Spider racked his brain. A word popped into it. He smiled at the idea.
“Why are you smiling? Did you think of it?”
“I don’t know, maybe.”
“Try it! I can’t hold back any longer!”
“Here goes everything,” said Spider as he held out the razor and said, “Awake, SARAHYOU!”
The cat, the ghost girl, and Spider squinted in the light emanating from the straight razor like a shooting star blazing into the atmosphere. It melded into a brilliant broadsword that took two hands to hold up.
“Quick! Stick it in the tree!” Isabella said with all her strength straining to hold onto the frozen world.
Spider stepped forward and stabbed the tree with the blade, but as the very point of the blade touched it, the tree leaped away, roots and all, and let out a girlish scream, “Aaah! Stop!”
The world was in motion.
Spider’s resolve weakened as he realized this was not just a tree he was stabbing. “It’s just a child!” he argued.
“Quick! Kill it!”
“I can’t!”
Pan jumped between the tree and Miguel, wrapping his arms around the trunk, trying to shield it from the blade. “Uncle Ty, make him stop!”
Uncle Ty appeared next to Spider and looked at him with tears in his eyes. “We just wanted to help you. You boys have lived your whole lives with pain and grief, fear and doubt. We just wanted to take all that away.”
“But you didn’t ask us what we wanted.”
The old man hung his head in shame. “Take them.” He raised his hand and swept it across the grove. The boys separated from their dance partners and walked to a tree. The wood groaned and creaked and a large cavity formed in the trunks and three boys crawled inside. “I don’t want any more madness in this place.”
Spider started to ask him what he was playing at, but the old man said, “I’ve had enough of you,” and snapped his fingers. Spider fell to the ground as limp as a stuffed animal, deep in sleep.