by Sir Various
A girl travels through rifts that appear in her darkest moments. First Draft
Keep travel experiences consistent
Add curiosity about time travel early
Give her a goal and purpose.
To do: 2nd pass, clarity, grammar.
FIRST DRAFT ONLY
THE ANGEL'S DAUGHTER
The first time I saw the rift was the fall after my tenth birthday. 1963. I remember the year clearly because that was the year they murdered the president in Dallas. The murder had a profound effect on me, at such a young age, and that’s where I feel my innocence began to crumble. Nearly a week after that horrible day, I sat on the couch with my brother, full of turkey and stuffing, staring at the wall and listening to the adults talk about what had happened. My stepdad, still a stranger since mom had just married him that summer, spoke loudly and often, punctuating his politics with short fist pumps. Yet, despite the conversation, a pallor had filled the holiday, and in my memory, it seemed more like a funeral than Thanksgiving.
Death was completely unknown to me. I sat there thinking about it, watching the graphic videos replay on the old TV. I thought about what had been done to the president physically, a foreign concept that a head could do that. I thought about what it must be like to not be me, not be Jenny anymore, to be gone in an instant.
As I thought about it and thought about it, I felt a pull, as if gravity had decided to work sideways. I had become dizzy too, and I remember standing up, swaying, as if the room was slowly turning. To the left of the TV, I saw a light, not a bright one, more silver in appearance, much like a fluorescent bulb (but at the time I didn’t know what those were), that spread upward several feet, nearly to the ceiling. It drew me toward it, and I remember my mom faintly saying something, perhaps asking if I was alright. I remember approaching the light, this strange odd light, without a concern or fear other than whether I could walk straight and if this strange light belonged to anyone. I think I touched it, I’m not sure.
I don’t remember much about that really, until waking up. I was on the floor, but something felt different. It was dark, and I wasn’t sure if I had even opened my eyes. I felt for the wall, and it was there, where I expected it. I used it to stand up, and I knew that mom’s couch would be nearby, one of the two she had for entertaining guests around the TV. I reached for it clumsily, and nearly fell to the floor when it wasn’t there.
This was all confusing to my ten year old mind, and I remember flailing around looking for anything at all familiar. The walls were in the right place, but the house was empty. I recall feeling strange at that moment, as if I was in a dream. I called and called but my parents and family were not there.
I wasn’t dreaming.
My eyes had adjusted finally, despite my tears, and the first thing I recall seeing was that the windows were painted over. It seemed odd to me, and it all was very confusing. Why would dad have painted the windows? I went to the front door, just around the short hall out of the living room. I unlocked it, and opened the door, the edge of it sticking as if it was sealed.
It was dark outside too, but a familiar street light clarified that the streets were empty. Morning or evening escaped me, and it only fed my disorientation.
I didn’t know what to do. I was only ten.
Most of the next few hours, even the next day, were foggy to me. I’m sure that I wandered somewhere, probably to the elementary school nearby. Someone had spoke to me--it turned out to be morning--and I remember an officer talking to me. In retrospect, I was in a state of shock and confusion. Back then, there wasn’t DNA identification, and my fingerprints had no record. I imagine the police did all they could to find my family, but based off the information I gave them (which wasn’t much), they didn’t find anything immediately. I was told they had found a match once, but the dates didn’t fit, so it was disregarded. I wish I had known then the significance of that.
They disregarded my recollection of the presidential assassination as just the random confusion of a little girl. The biggest shock to me though was the one thing they said that made my confusion a reeling blow.
It was 1983.
Two decades had passed, somehow. There was an actor for president. People dressed strangely, talked strangely. We were fighting in some place called Grenada. It was all very complicated and strange. Looking back, I don’t think I really accepted this first jump as anything more than a strange dream that lasted for months. Years.
The second rift occurred several years later. I had been placed in state care, which meant foster parents. It wasn’t so bad at first. I had calmed down enough to come partly out of my shell, and I had been placed with a couple of families that tried hard to include me. I don’t think I ever fully recovered from the first jump, leaving my young mind to deal with a nagging skepticism of reality. I read science fiction--Asimov, Clarke, and so on--seeking answers that eluded me but fueled my young imagination. I moved from foster to foster, maybe five families total, over the next five years. It wasn’t so bad, I had already had a stepfather before. It was my mother I missed dearly.
Nearing my sixteenth birthday, I had been living with the Johnson’s and their seventeen year old boy, Michael. I guess he had a thing for me, because when I first came to their house, he never took his eyes off me. I felt self-conscious, but not particularly threatened, but I was naive to many things and could not see the predatory sheen in his eyes.
Michael would always be near when I changed, or used the restroom. He’d lounge on his bed, watching the bathroom door, or pass by my bedroom door a lot on the way to restroom, which seemed like he used often.
The night before the rift appeared again, Michael had been lingering especially long. I had crawled into my twin bed and read some, then turned out the light. I may have fell asleep, or been in that twilight stage between awake and dreaming, but I’m positive he was in there, standing by my bed. It wasn’t enough to pull me from sleep, but I remember his dark form to this day.
It bothered me but I was afraid to talk to my fosters because I wasn’t sure they would believe me. I was already ‘that strange one’ because of my conviction of my actual date of birth and my obsession with time-travel. So I avoided Michael, and the rest of the day I did not see him, not even at a school.
I walked home from school and when I got to the house, I noticed his bike was out front. He had football practice normally, so being home was unusual. My fosters were still at work, so I would be alone with him inside. For some reason, the thought of this made me nauseous, and I instantly did not want to go inside. Yet, there wasn’t any place I could go.
Still, it wasn’t as if he had done anything to warrant such concern. I hefted my backpack and went inside.
I dropped my bag just inside the kitchen and went to the fridge to get a snack. Sometimes my foster mom made something for us since our schedules weren’t always matched. I grabbed some fruit she had diced up and the carton of orange juice and stepped back, kicking the door shut with my foot.
Michael stood behind me.
i yelped in surprise and dropped both the fruit and orange juice. He stood close to me, uncomfortably, and he was breathing heavy.
“You scared me,” I said to him. He didn’t reply and my stomach turned. I squatted to pick up what I had dropped.
“You’re very pretty, Jenny,” he had said. He put his hands under my shoulders, as if to help me stand up, leaning even closer.
I grunted a reply and moved away from him, avoiding looking at him. He followed me. I went upstairs and I could feel him so close.
I went into my room and tried to shut the door, but he held it open with his foot. “What are you doing,” I asked.
He made a weird sound and pressed into the door to force it open. The shove was unexpected and I dropped the fruit and orange juice, the latter coming open and splashing across the carpet.
He pushed hard again and I remember that one almost knocked me down. I struggled to resist his push, but he was too strong.
That’s when I saw the rift. To my left, behind the door, nearly within arm's reach, it had appeared without warning, a thin silver jagged light, exactly as I remembered. It pulled to me, like a magnet, like before, that sideways gravity, and I nearly lost control of the door again.
Somehow I knew it was meant for me. I let go of the door and leapt for the light.
I remember more about this one. There was a flash, as if the room brightened to starkness and I had closed my eyes from the glare alone. I was dizzy, like before. My skin tingled all over, little needles of pressure, as if they were recovering from being asleep. For a moment, it seemed as if I was suspended, reaching forward from the door, but frozen. It lasted very briefly, but I’ll never forget the feeling.
Things moved again, and I stumbled, falling against the wall.
It was warmer, much warmer,and I began to sweat as soon as I noticed the temperature change. Unlike the first time, there was still furniture and the room was well-lit. Yet, it wasn’t my stuff. No, it was spartan, no pictures or decorations, the walls now an off-white, unlike the light blue I had painted myself the previous summer. The carpet was gone too, replaced by cold wood floor. The only semblance of familiarity was the recessed window where I had sat to read and think; it looked nearly the same, with two pale pillows framing the cross-hatched wood window.
While disorienting, I knew more than I had before, that somehow I had moved through time again. I was older, and to a degree, experienced. Still, I didn’t know what to do.
I crept to the door. It was closed. I pressed against it, listening for any sounds in the house, any indicators that there was someone home. It would be fortunate if my foster parents were still here, but I figured that would be unlikely. I would be a stranger, an intruder, and I had to consider the repercussions of that. Faint music, namely the vibration of the bass, indicated someone was home.
The window didn’t open, although my fosters had promised to put in some that would. It seemed they had not done so, not surprising since I had “disappeared” on them. I hated that they would think I ran away, and like my mother, I missed them too. They had been nice.
The door opened without a noise, and I peeked cautiously around the jamb. Michael’s old room was open, but I didn’t notice any movement. The music came from downstairs, but that was the only indicator anyone was home. I didn’t think Michael’s window opened either. I had to go downstairs.
The stairs were wood, with the middle section carpeted, just as I remembered, just worn down now to flattened tufts of thread. Each creak, familiar as they were, sent my heart racing. I was sure each one was louder than the music that played.
I made it to the bottom of the stairs without issue, and I crouched against the thick post that ended the baluster and rail. The wide living room was spartan too, filled with two white chairs and a couch that matched, with a glass and metal table between them. No pictures were on the walls, only a large electronic system on one wall, and a bookshelf on the opposite wall. A woman sat with her back to me, her head lolling backward to the music, a glass of wine dangling precariously on her fingertips over the armrest.
It should have been simple to escape. The front door was to my left down a short hall, framed on each side by doors, the left the basement and the right the kitchen. The basement had an exit, concrete stairs that led to the backyard. IF the front door was blocked or someone was in the kitchen, I could sneak to the basement.
At the time, my romantic sense of adventure thought that was a grand plan. I knew that I would have to deal with change in time, and I was so enamored with the idea that I was a sneaky time-traveler, that I didn’t even notice the shadow.
As I stood up, a strong hand grabbed my elbow. I looked up at a tall, bald man, shirtless and wearing a pair of running shorts. I struggled, jerking my arm, but he was quite fit.
“Calm down, girl. What are you doing here,” he asked, not angrily, but sternly.
I calmed down, and his grip lightened. “Let me go,” I said.
“How did you get in here?”
He wouldn’t have believed me, although in retrospect, he hadn’t seemed upset. Now, it seemed I missed an opportunity for help, but I was still young and naive.
“I don’t know, I just want to leave,” I replied.
“Did you steal anything? Tell the truth, girl.”
“No, please, I’m just…” I thought fast. “Lost.”
He began to pull me, and as he did so, I stomped on his foot, startling him. It was surreal, the music playing and the woman oblivious to what was happening. I sprinted toward the door, knowing the man was right behind me. The door was unlocked and I threw it open, glancing behind me to see how close he was.
He had not followed. He watched me leave with a concerned look on his face, and I had felt a twinge of guilt.
I guess as a teen, I had a hard time trusting anyone. For good reason, really. My life had been uprooted since I was ten, and to be honest, most of that time felt like a dream. Inside, I was still that ten-year-old girl, living a distorted life that never quite seemed coherent or real.
There wasn’t any place for me to go, and again, there had been a sizable gap from 1988. I knew i must have traveled forward again, and the cars on the road were sleeker and rounder than the large blocky cars I had gotten used to. I knew there was a park a few blocks away, and the area had not changed significantly enough to prevent me from getting there.
It was summer, nearly 85 degrees, and I still wore the jeans, sweater, and jacket I had on before, since it was October before the rift. I stripped of my jacket, but there wasn’t anything I could do about the sweater, and I was a sopping mess by the time I reached the park.
It was much as I remembered, although there was a large fountain now and a new statue of some figure near it. Many walked the the trails, some with dogs, some with bikes, and I felt reassured some by that familiarity. I sat on a green bench, paint worn from the many sitters it had seen. I needed to collect my thoughts.
What was the silver thing? Twice now, it had appeared in my life. The first time, there seemed no particular reason for it, although my memory wasn’t too clear, just that I had been upset about what the news had shown me. The second time the light had appeared, Michael had attempted….what?
Both times I had felt a pull, a sense of belonging and rightness that was nearly as alluring as a physical tug from a close friend. Was there a purpose to it? Did it seek to protect me?
I thought and thought about it, and could not come up with something plausible. I still hadn’t learned that they were rifts; that knowledge would come later. I read a lot, and the closest thing I could think of was maybe it was an angel. I know, it sounds corny, but at the time, especially with where my mind was, it made sense. A white light, appearing at low points, and carrying me away safely; what else could it be?
It was a dangerous thing to do, but I latched on to that theory, and I became convinced that I had a guardian angel.
It consumed me and it was all i could think about, but I also hadn’t lived in fosters for so long and not gained some semblance of practicality. I needed to know what year it was. The library was just a few blocks away, and it could get me a date easily enough. I could also research my theory.
I gave little thought to food or sleep. Those would be issues, but I had become obsessed with my angel, and it was a grip that would not let go of me for years.
The library had changed enough for me to be surprised. It had expanded, a longer section tacked onto the far side. The front had been redone, with a covered deck area across the front. I went inside, and even there it had been remodeled. I wanted the periodicals, and a bank of what looked like TVs lined the wall where they had been before. I was reluctant to ask for help, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do. I approached the desk where a middle-aged woman sat, typing away at what i assumed was some sort of typewriter.
I overcame my shyness and asked for help. She turned out to be more than helpful. The periodicals were moved to the back, along with microfiche. I asked about a card catalog, and while the librarian gave me an odd look, she told me that I could search for books and periodicals on the computers, which were apparently the line of TVs along the far wall I had seen before.
That was the first nearly overwhelming indicator of how far I had come this time. The computers of the 80s were cool and amazing, but the computers the library had, just for public use, seemed right out of an Asimov story. The TV screens could be touched, the mouse used a light instead of a ball, and there was an actual camera.
Once the librarian had finished her explanations, i was able to navigate well enough. I checked the date as soon as she was gone, and again, assuming the computer was not deceiving me, I was shocked.
July 23rd, 2023.
Thirty-five years! Nearly double the first time. I would have been seventy this year, but instead I was a lost fifteen year old.
I was not entirely convinced I wasn’t still dreaming, stuck back home at ten, dozing on the couch after turkey and dressing. Yet, even if it wasn’t real, I was still here, and I had to accept that until the dream ended.
My search turned to guardian angels. I wasn’t really religious, and the many years of deep science fiction reading had given me a solid lack of faith in the existence of a deity. In fact, after the first jump, I was sure aliens were involved. But, somehow, the angel theory felt more real to me, as if I intuitively knew that something was guarding me.
Much of what I found was Christian-related, and I found several instances of guardian angels in the Christian Bible, as well as in Judaism. Catholicism seemed to latch on to the guardian angel idea and developed it into part of daily rituals or prayers.
They were still just stories. All actual “accounts” of guardian angels that I could find seemed to lack any real evidence. While I certainly had evidence that something was guardian me, there was little similarity to anything I had experienced.
Frustrated, I left the library and sat outside on the deck. I had a real problem, now. There wasn’t any place i could go. I knew no one, and had no idea how to contact anyone who would. I had my hot winter clothing, and nothing.
But I did have a purpose. I needed this answered. I needed to know what was happening to me and even more so: why?
An idea came to me that seemed preposterous, but of course it made logical sense then. I would have to summon it somehow, or lure my angel to intercede for me again. Would deliberately putting myself in harms way force this thing to appear again?
What happened next was probably the darkest time of my life. I didn’t become suicidal, at least not in the traditional sense. No, I became reckless.
I lived off what I could find, or steal. The supermarket in town threw out food daily, and that kept me going. I didn’t need much. I showered at the Exxon travel stop near the highway just outside town. I stole clothing from backyard laundry lines, and I was smart enough to keep them clean and presentable enough to not look like I was homeless. I had a purpose, and while it was rough living, I survived for that purpose.
I devised plans to do crazy things. I ran across the highway a few times, hoping I could summon my angel. I wasn’t going to stop and let a car hit me, but I could put myself into the danger and hope it happened. Once, I jumped off an embankment to an intersection, hoping that something would reach out of the heavens and pluck me away. I was lucky that time, and didn’t hurt myself besides my pride, but it all seemed normal.
I began to doubt after the first year. Nothing worked.
I didn’t want to risk drugs or alcohol. I could get either readily enough, but it seemed to me that an angel would not protect me from myself as much as it would from external sources. So I abandoned that notion, as well as the idea of putting myself in harm’s way.
Discouraged, I settled into a routine of foraging and surviving. Life trickled by. I met someone and for awhile, I had a roof over my head, saved for a while from the life I had. I took care of myself as best I could and while those years were rough, I never became trapped or controlled by poverty. I became an adult, throttled by doubt, but hardened by living on my own.
I survived. Without my angel.
For the next decade, I abandoned the idea. I buried my “purpose” deep down inside, let it be covered by doubt until it was forgotten. Not gone, just forgotten. Why should I believe an angel that did not protect me from starvation and theft?
And then, it came back.
The angel, or whatever it was, had not been seen in years. I lived day to day, never really settling down with anyone. It was my security blanket, relying only on myself and no one else. I waited tables and did extra jobs when I could. I educated myself, completing my GED. I saved money.
With enough grants and loans, plus the money I saved, I was able to go to college. I didn’t want something that relied on helping anyone; no one had helped me. The big thing in this time was computers, and I hadn’t forgot my first shock and surprise at seeing the power of information available to me at the library those years ago. So, that’s what I studied.
It was hard, but it was all I had. So I did it.
When the rift came back, it was my senior year at the local university. It was cheaper to stay on campus, and I roomed with girl that tried hard to get me to open up. But, again I kept to myself and studied. I worked in the evenings, sleeping maybe five to six hours a night, before tackling the classes. The workload, including my job, took so much of my time that it seemed rare for me to have an idle thought.
I had been walking back from a late afternoon class on advanced data structures and algorithms, with a pretty intense headache keeping me company. I had made it this far, with a B average, but this class was giving me fits. Lost in thought, I didn’t notice the first gunshots.
Several students ahead of me were running, sprinting between cars and cutting across the half-circle drive that lined the curved line of buildings. I dismissed it, at first, as students occasionally sprinted to a class they were late to. But the number increased. Screams, muffled and counterpointed by the pop-pop-pop of more gunfire, became louder, easier to identify now.
It was clearly a panic now. I wasn’t sure what to do, then, and I think that indecision crippled me. There wasn’t really a precedent...do I run? I moved off the sidewalk and hunkered next to a parallel-parked Chevy, as others did nearby.
The area had cleared out mostly, but I could hear yells of “he’s got a gun!” not far from me. I dared to peek around the small car. A boy, probably fresh out of high school, walked calmly out of the side of the administration building. He wore just a simple white t-shirt and jeans, but his shirt was splattered with dark spots. He had a pistol in one hand, and another tucked into his belt. He was smiling, a constant grin that was disturbing, and he walked stoically along the path to the sidewalk that lined the curved drive.
He would come this way. I didn’t know what to do. If I fled, I was positive he would shoot me. If I stayed, he would see me. I hunkered against the back of the Chevy, frozen again with fear, my heart pounding loud enough that it seemed to play counterpoint to the boy’s approaching footsteps.
He neared, his shadow long, and I panicked. I dropped my bag and ran.
The first bullet hit me in the shoulder, and I only knew it did because it felt as if someone had shoved my shoulder forward from behind. I stumbled, but my fear kept me upright, twisting awkwardly until I was upright again, falling more than running forward. The second shot hit my side, and that one I felt, a blow to the stomach. I dropped to the ground hard.
It was excruciating. I curled up and howled, kicking my legs for no good reason. An iron, red hot buy icy, scary icy, was shoved into my gut, and it seemed as if it was setting the rest of my insides on fire.
Through blurred eyes, I saw the shooter walk toward me. I knew I was going to die. I clutched at my stomach, my hands warm and sticky, and waited for him to come.
That was when the rift appeared. My angel. It blocked my vision of the shooter, and it seemed to fill my view with a blinding light. It had come. It had come to take me away again, not to a different time, but to whatever afterlife existed. The feeling of relief was so profound that my pain melted away. I reached for it. My world filled with light and I knew I was gone.
I woke up, slow and tedious, swimming through a swampy haze of awareness. I don’t really remember what it felt like, but it seemed to me to last forever. I do recall that I thought once that this was a decidedly odd heaven, but the rest of the time was a thick soup of senses.
Images appeared, some I was able to make out, but most seemed to be blobs of darkness. Briefly, I had entertained the notion that this was, indeed, hell and not heaven. As my sense strengthened, so did my awareness, and I gradually realized that I was alive.
One figure had been at my side often, and when I could see clear enough, it was an older man, bearded with neatly combed hair, sitting in a gray chair next to what appeared to be some sort of electronic panel, numbers and graphs dotting the flat dark area. I was in a bed, also gray, and the room itself was round without corners. There wasn’t any visible light source, but it was quite bright. I blinked a lot, trying to clear my vision more.
“Hello, Jennifer,” the man said in a gentle voice.
“Where am I,” I asked, my voice cracking, husky with dryness. The man stood up and poured water from a pitcher into a glass from a nearby recess. I took it from him when he offered it, sipping it and spreading the cool clean taste of it around my lips.
“You’re at a hospital. You were shot.”
I knew that much. “When am I?” A far more important question.
The man frowned. “Maybe you should get some rest. There’s plenty…”
“What time, damnit?” I tried to sit up but nothing cooperated, and I winced at the twinge of sharp pain in my side. The man stood up quickly and moved to the bed. He tried to help me lay back down, but I pushed his hands away.
“Easy, Jennifer. I’ll answer your questions if you just relax.”
I relaxed, as he asked, but my head teemed with questions.
“Don’t be alarmed by what I’m going to tell you. Will you promise to try to remain calm?” He stayed near the bed, looking at me reassuringly.
“Alright,” I said. “Tell me.”
“It’s the year 2347.”
I gasped. Such a large gap. Yet, I was more surprised at the number of years than the fact I had moved at all.
“Good,” he continued. “You seemed to take it well enough.”
“Well, I have done this before.”
I had jumped in time again, and now I was not alone. This man knew about my jumps.
“Are you an angel?” I asked. The question surprised me, but of course, it was the important one.
“An angel? No, Jennifer. But you are important to me.”
Of course it wasn’t an angel. “Okay, please tell me what is going on.”
“Yes, it is time. We call the light that you saw rifts. We can create them and allow matter to transfer through them, through time but not space. We cannot go back in time, but can allow matter to come forward.”
“I understand, I think.” I was getting tired and my head spun, but I had read enough science fiction to comprehend. I still wasn’t sure it all wasn’t a dream. “Is there not paradox?”
“Not really. Paradox is why we cannot send matter to the past. It has already happened, so it cannot b changed. Nature seems to prevent paradox naturally. The future, however, is open.”
“But you can send a rift back in time.”
“Sort of. it’s not really there, it’s more like a...bridge over an intangible chasm...called time.”
Dizzying, I followed along. “Who are you then?” His answer was the dinger that changed everything for me.
“I am your father, Jennifer.”
I was genuinely surprised. The thought had not even occurred to me, it wasn’t even in my realm of possibilities. My father? I had known him, the first ten years of my life was just my mother until she married my stepdad. I had a father?
“I will try to explain it. I am not from this time, either. I worked for the government in the 1950s, doing research into theoretical quantum mechanics. We were testing a few things, things we didn’t understand fully, and we didn't have the technology to really control what we were experimenting with. Something happened, a mistake, and there was an explosion. But not a normal one.”
He turned and pulled his chair closer to the bed, then sat down.
“Several of us were moved somehow to this time, in the same research building we were in. We made contact with the government, who were very keen on our accident. See, they knew something had happened, but they had covered it up and hidden it as a mishap. When we showed up, they were startled but not unaware of who we were. They debriefed us, got us up to speed on technology--and let me tell you, whooowee, it’s crazy stuff--and we’ve been working on this ever since.”
It was a lot to take in. If I hadn’t been involved for a long time already, I would’ve laughed at this strange man calling himself my father.
“How...why am I…?
“Why are you here?”
“Well, I love you Jennifer. You’re my daughter. I could not go back to you, but I could follow along your life easily enough. I used the software to monitor you, keep you safe. I was able to send a rift at key points in your life, where I thought something I could change. And it worked. “
“Why the first one? I was fine.”
“No, darling. You became so caught up with the assassination that you killed yourself when you were fourteen. You had become obsessed with death.”
Preposterous. “I wouldn’t have done that.”
“Maybe. But in my history, you had.”
“Why did you let me stay in foster care? My mom...is gone…” That’s when the tears began.
“I know, Jennifer. I know. I’m so sorry. You turned out alright, but when you were a bit older, your step brother had taken advantage of you, forced himself on you. He took away your spirit, and you became a hollow shell. I couldn’t let you have a life like that, so I tried to pull you forward just before the first time.”
It all felt right, correct. I sensed no dishonesty, and it was a lot to take in, but difficult to deny the truth of it. “Why so long for the next one? I gave up on the angel...er...you.”
“Yes, well, you actually did quite well for yourself. You struggled for awhile, and that hurt, but you came out strong and intelligent, and I couldn’t have been prouder of what you did to become an adult. But, you died at the university that day. I didn’t want to bring you so far, not all the way to me. You were doing so well. But, you died, and I died too. I knew I could save you, so I did.”
I didn’t speak. The answers were there, given honestly as far as I could tell. I couldn't go back in time, he had said as much. But, I had found my guardian angel. It was real. Someone really was looking out for me, the whole time. I had spent all those years alone, relying on myself, and I was better for it, but I was never alone, really.
“Do you forgive me?”
Forgive you? Yes, oh yes. Of course, I did. I couldn’t reply but I smiled, and nodded, my vision blurred with emotion. I raised my arm up and my father came to me, hugging me, his own face covered in tears. He was real. My angel had never left me, and now I was home.