"Over the past year that I've been here," Charlie explained, "I've been collecting things for my plan."
I picked up an old banana peel between my thumb and forefinger. "Is this part of your plan?" I asked, wrinkling my nose at the smell.
"No, that's trash," Charlie sniffed. "A lot of trash had to be piled up to hide..." He rummaged through a pile of junk and emerged with a cardboard box, which he set down and opened. "This."
I gaped at what the box contained: a lock-picking kit, a long rope, a box of matches, a nail file, a roll of money, three pairs of sneakers, two sweaters, and a pack of cigarettes.
"You smoke?" I asked.
"No," Charlie laughed. "I filled it with candy." He opened it to reveal multi-colored candies.
"How is candy part of the plan?" I scoffed.
"It's a bribe," Charlie smirked.
"Crazy Maisy," he sang. He jumped to his feet and raced down the hallway to Maisy's room.
A slamming door, then silence.
He was gone for a long while, so my thoughts began to turn to my family.
I felt myself fill up with hatred for my parents, who only loved Gabriel. The perfect child. I wondered why they didn't just give me away. That would have been for the best. For everyone.
But Gabriel was the only on who truly cared for me. He was ignorant and blind when it came to the ugly side of our parents. Everyone was. And I hated it. And I never told a soul.
Would it really be okay for me to go back? I asked myself suddenly. It's not like I'll be welcomed back with open arms. I'm just a bother to everyone, after all.
But what about Gabriel?
He'd have a better life without having to protect me all the time. He'd be happier if I stay gone forever.
I didn't want to believe that, but inside I knew it was true. All those times he tried to find out why I had so many bruises, all my lies that he believed -- I fell down; I'm so clumsy; I flew into a window. He didn't deserve it. I don't deserve him.
I was startled out of my trance suddnely as a chorus of shrieks and wails tore throught the Psychiatric Ward.
Charlie dived into the room, grabbed a bag, and dumped the box's contents inside the bag in one fluid motion. "Come on -- let's go, go, go--go!" he said urgently.
I followed him closely as he careened around corners and burst through doors. We jumped into the elevator just as the door were sliding shut.
Panting hard, Charlie giggled and pulled two outfits out of the bag. "Put 'em on," he gasped, handing me a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt. He changed into a similar one, but his shirt was pink.
When we exited the elevator on the first floor, we were normal teens who had just finished visiting a patient. No one stopped us as we stepped outside into the fresh morning air under a clear blue sky.
"Freedom," Charlie sighed happily. "All thanks to candy."
"How did you do it?" I asked increduously, but overjoyed still.
"Candy isn't allowed, so illegal contraband can motivate a lot of people. Especially Crazy Maisy," Charlie grinned. "Anyway, aren't we gonna find your chrysansehmoodalakalaka thingy?"
"Chrysanthemum," I enunciated, suppressing a laugh.
"Chrysanzahmuckalucka -- whatever. Let's just find one," Charlie moaned. "What do they look like?"
I opened my mouth to answer, then hesitated. What did a chrysanthemum look like? "Uh..."
Charlie laughed uncontrollably. Once he finally composed himself, he said, "We should go find someone who knows."
It didn't take long before we happened upon a floral shop. The old sign read, "Shay's Boquets."
"This looks like a good place," Charlie noted.
We went inside and who should be there but Shay McDarthie.
She spotted me before I could make a U-turn out the door. "Psyren!" she cried, grinning ear to ear.
"Hey," I forceda smile as she ran to me, arms outstretched towards me.
"Did you get released? Did you find your family?" Shay asked excitedly.
Charlie burst out laughing again.
Shay gave him a strange look.
"It smells like poop," Charlie said seriously.
"That would be fertilizer," Shay replied. "Um, and you are...?"
"Charlie,"he introduced himself. "I'm his father -- ow! I meant brother," he corrected himself when I stamped on his foot.
"Oh. Well, what brings you here to my shop?" Shay said, glancing between us suspiciously.
"Um, we're looking for a chrysanthemum," I laughed nervously. "For -- For our mother. They're her favorite."
"Oh." Shay's suspicions were immediately erased. "Come this way."
She led us to the back of the store, where dozens of flowers labeled "Chrysanthemum" awaited us. All of them were various heights, shapes, and colors.
"Which would you like?" Shay asked.
"Yeah, which one would we like, Charlie?" I stalled.
"One of each!" Charlie yelled, to both my and Shay's surprise.
"Well, we've completely depleted our money," Charlie sighed.
"What do you mean, 'we'?" I scoffed.
"Excuse me for trying to save your neck," Charlie retorted.
"I never asked for you help, you know."
"Is it normal for you to push away your friends?" Charlie asked, casting his eyes away.
I stopped in my tracks. Charlie continued for another three steps before stopping. "It's true, isn't it?" he said. "Why even in your world you're alone." He looked at me over his shoulder. "you're just like me."
We stood silently for a long moment. Then he chuckled; not an insane one, but a normal one. "What do you say we start going through these 200 species of chrysanthemums?"
I smiled a little, relieved.
I smeared a drop of blood from my thumb on a petal from the eighth chrysanthemum. It wasa pale orange color and had more petals than I could count. My thumb was already very sore, and we still had 192 to go.
"I summon forth my valued treasure," I chanted, "from Angel's realm to grounded Earth. I summon forth my valued treasure from Angel's realm to ground Eatth."
I began to feel slightly light-headed.
I chanted faster and louder in optimism that the magic was working.
Charlie's cackle said it all.
I opened my eyes slowly, and there in my palm was my earring. My heart swelled with joy.
I looked at Charlie. He beamed at me. But I saw the sadness and fear in his eyes. "I'm happy for you, Psyren," he said.
I glanced down at my earring, then at Charlie. Now his melancholy was a bit more obvious.
"Charlie," I said, smiling, "come with me."
The breeze tousled our hair; the sunlight made our skin glow. It was a beautiful sunset.
I took his hand and stepped off the cliff, pulling him with me. I let us fall for just a couple of seconds, but it was all in slow motion to me.
Then I spread my black wings behind me, catching an air current and stopping our journey down.
I was filled with nostalgia to be able to fly agian.
I looked down at Charlie, who I held by the wrists.
He smiled gently up at me. Had he been watching me the entire time?
As the sun began to disappear behind the distant trees, I descended back to Earth. I set Charlie getnly on his feet beofre landing myself.
I'd never seen Charlie so peaceful and serious for so long. He still had his soft smile.
"Psyren," he said. "You're so lucky. You have super powers."
"What?" I frowned.
He continued to look at me with distant eyes. "You can fly all on your own."
"On my own? But, my wings," I replied, thoroughly confused. I grew more concerned he became more confused.
"What wings? I don't see any wings," Charlie laughed.
I was silent. What's going on with him? I wondered.
Charlie suddenly yawned loudly and stretched his arms above his head. "Let's get some sleep..."
I nodded and took his hand, leading him back to the shelter we had "assembled." It was a simple lean-to made of long branches leaning against the cliff face with a quilt laid over the sticks.
Charlie crawled inside and was promptly snoring.
I stayed awake to watch over him in case any new symptoms occured.
I woke with a start when the first rays of morning light touched me. I hadn't meant to fall asleep like that.
I relaxed once I saw that Charlie was still sleeping soundly beside me. I shook him awake, and he sat up groggily, rubbing his eyes with his fists.
"Morning," I greeted.
Charlie looked at me, a deep frown etched into his lips. It took him a moment to remember me. "Psyren?" he asked.
"Where are we?" Charlie frowned. "Why are we here?"
"We're in the woods," I replied sadly, "outside of town."
He blinked a few times, looked around, and focused on my face. "You look familiar," he commented.
I struggled to swallow my sadness. Charlie did belong in the Psychiartric Ward back at the hospital. Where he could get the help he needed.
"Charlie," I said. "I'm grateful for all of your help. I couldn't have done this without you."
"Done what?" Charlie frowned.
I smiled. "Please remember me when I'm gone," I said sadly, a tear rolling down my cheek. I knew what I had to do.
I flew high above the city to avoid being seen by pedestrians below.
I set Charlie down on the rooftop of the hospital. He looked around.
"Wow," he breathed. "We can see everything from up here!"
"Charlie, you have to go down the stairs. They're looking for you," I said, holding back tears.
"...Friends," I answered.
Charlie turned to the door as the wind picked up. He inhaled slwoly as recognition filled him. He turned back to me halfway. "Good-bye, Psyren," he said with a smile. "Angel boy."
I couldn't stop the flow of tears as Charlie faded away from me. "Don't forget me," I whispered as the stairwell door swung shut behind him.
That was the last I saw of my best friend.
Link to Part 1: http://www.booksie.com/fantasy/book/yoshie_akira/psyren:-fallen-angel-part-1
Link to Part 3 (Final): COMING SOON