I'm No Angel
Jessie sprinted down the hall, headed straight for the bathroom. She just barely made it inside before throwing up her breakfast in the toilet. Her body convulsed violently, uncontrollably. She heard a ripping sound coming from her back. She screamed. She could feel hot blood running down her back. She knew what has happening; knew what she’d find. Even so, she was still afraid of what was taking over. Her fingers throbbed from the deformation that was taking place. Jessie dared a glance behind her. She found just what she was expecting – bat-like devil wings, growing from her spine. They were wet and slimy from her blood. Her nails had turned black and grown out to look like claws.
Just wait it out, she thought. She lie down in the obnoxiously white stall and let her body enjoy the coolness of the red and white tile floor. This too shall pass, she whispered to herself over and over again. She continued to lie on the floor for what felt like hours. Reality corrected her and said it had only been ten minutes. She started to feel her pulse slow down and her blood pressure was return to normal. Simultaneously, her newly found wings and claws slowly merged back into her body, hidden.
Jessie exited the stall and risked a glance in the mirror at her self. She was short for her age with plain features. The only thing that stuck out was the streak of black in her long brown hair. Try as she might, it refused to be any other color. Once she turned 15, she learned to just embrace it. That was three years ago. She was deemed the “gothic” girl in her school. If only they knew.
She turned around and glanced at her back. Just moments before it had been covered in blood and ripped clothing but now there was no evidence of the event. There were light pink marks where her wings had just been moments before. Her clothes mended back together right before her eyes, like that had every time she “changed.” She glanced at the stall she ran into. The blood cleaned itself up, fortunately for her. She hated cleaning.
She put her ear-buds back in and pulled her black hoodie back on. She glanced at her watch. There was only a half hour left until lunch. No point in going back to class for 30 minutes, Jessie thought to herself. She turned on her heel to head to for the back courtyard and almost ran into someone.
He was very tall compared to her. And, he was a new kid. That was the thing about small town high schools. If you were new, you stood out like a sore thumb. He had striking features with short blonde hair. It almost hurt Jessie’s neck to look at his face.
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. Jessie shrugged. She didn’t really like to talk people. No, she wasn’t allowed to talk to people. Talking to people meant getting close to them. And she refused to get close to someone. She was unwilling to risk it.
“It’s fine,” she replied shortly. She started to move around him but he started to speak again.
“Umm…Could you point me in the direction of Mr. Helvik’s physics class? It’s my first day here and I don’t really know where I’m going.” Jessie sighed.
“Go down this hallway, turn left, go to the end of the hall. Last door on the right,” she replied. This was more conversation she was used to and it was making her uncomfortable.
“Thanks. My name is Seth, by the way,” he said with a soft smile. His eyes crinkled on the corners when he smiled.
“Okay,” Jessie said noncommittally. She found butterflies in her stomach when she saw him smile. She knew she needed to leave.
“So… This may seem forward, but may I join you for lunch? I haven’t met anyone else here and, so… Yeah.” He didn’t have to finish his statement for Jessie to understand what he was getting at. Unfortunately for him, he picked the only girl at North Wall High who would turn him down.
“I don’t do that,” she answered before walking off and leaving the boy standing alone in the hallway.
Jessie then found herself sitting in the back courtyard alone, listening to soft, melancholy rock songs. She found this music was the most comforting for it made her feel like she was not alone. She started thinking over her encounter with Seth. She kept picturing his piercing blue eyes and the way they crinkled when he smiled at her. I want to see that smile everyday, Jessie thought to herself. Then stopped. She mentally shook herself. She couldn’t afford to think like that.
Her mind shifted to a darker place. She thought back to her 7th birthday when her Aunt Marty presented her with the information that shifted her existence forever.
Jessie remembered blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. She’d wished to know more about her parents. She’d lived with her aunt as long as she could remember. Her aunt treated her well, but it wasn’t the same as parental love. It was then that her Aunt Marty presented her with an envelope, a sad look on her face. The paper resembled that of parchment. On the front was her name written in calligraphy.
“Your mother told me to give this to you on your 7th birthday, Jessie,” was all her aunt said. Jessie greedily opened the letter. To her dismay, it was not a “happy birthday” type of letter. Jessie remembered the curve and swoop of every letter. She remembered word for word what it had said. It read:
Being that it’s your 7th birthday, we’ve determined that you are now old enough to know the truth. All we ask is that you believe every word, no matter how unreasonable it may seem. Your father and I are a fallen angel and a demon. Because of this, you now possess both demonic and angelic qualities. Your caretaker Marty has been chosen to guide you as you get older and these qualities become more apparent. Be warned, that should you love any human, it will destroy both of you. Do not fall for love, my child.
We miss you.
Mom & Dad
Jessie remembered crying herself to sleep that night. Her parents hadn’t even said they loved her. And for all she knew, they didn’t. Just like they said, her Aunt Marty (who wasn’t even her real aunt) had helped her when her first transformation occurred when she was twelve. Normal girls get periods and I turn into a bat. How lovely, Jessie thought to herself.
Jessie could physically feel a war constantly within herself. She’d never witnessed the “angelic qualities” but she felt them inside her, fighting against the demon. Her aunt explained that, because Jessie allowed herself to feel hate, anger, and pain, her demonic side showed more. Jessie had never allowed herself to feel love, or joy, and even real happiness. She was too afraid of what would happen if she did.
The bell for lunch rang and brought her back to the present. Jessie sighed. No use fretting over what you can’t change she told herself. She reached into her bag and pulled out her lunch: ham and cheese sandwich on wheat, a cup of peaches, and a green apple. It was when she started munching on her sandwich that she noticed Seth heading over her way, smiling. Jessie looked down, hoping his goal was to get to someone else. Seth stopped right by her blanket.
“May I sit with you, Jessie?” he asked. Her head snapped up.
“How do you know my name?” she demanded. This was not okay.
“It’s a small school,” he simply replied, sitting down. Jessie grumbled internally. “So what grade are you in?”
“I’m a junior,” Jessie replied. Maybe, if she didn’t talk much, he’d get the hint and leave.
“Nice. Me too. Maybe we’ll have a lot of the same classes together,” he said. He pulled out a sandwich and started eating. “So, why do you eat by yourself?” Jessie’s eyebrows furrowed.
“I choose to,” she replied simply. He just nodded his head.
“Yeah. I bet if you did hang out with those people the boys would be all over you,” he said matter-of-factly. Jessie almost choked on her sandwich.
“Excuse me,” she stammered. Who the hell was this guy?
“You’ve got this glow about you. It’s very alluring. Like you’re an angel or something,” he elaborated, like people said stuff like that every day. Jessie internally rolled her eyes.
“I’m no angel,” she replied.
“Because, I’m just… ugly,” Jessie uttered, searching for the words that wouldn’t come. He grinned at her.
“I guess that depends on your definition of ugly then,” he told her. Jessie just nodded. She continued to eat her meal, softly smiling to herself.
Seth reached out and ran his fingers through the black streak in her hair.
“Different. But I like it,” he said. Jessie looked in his eyes, really looked. She saw that he was being sincere. And Jessie found herself enjoying that. She smiled softly.
“Thank you,” was all she said, all she had to say. He winked at her. She blushed.
“You’re cute when you blush,” he commented.
“Are you always this honest?” Jessie asked.
“Only when it counts, sweet cheeks,” he replied. The bell rang to signal that lunch was over and it was time to move onto the next class.
see you later, Jessie,” Seth said. She simply nodded.
She didn’t trust herself to talk. She’d never met
someone so bluntly honest before. And she found herself
“I got a call from the school today,” she said nonchalantly. Jessie just nodded. She knew what it was about. “Is it that time again already?” her aunt asked, as if it was her burden to bear. Jessie thought about it. In the way, her aunt did have to bear a burden, just not in the physically, overwhelming sense that Jessie did.
“Yeah it is,” Jessie replied. She let her mind wander back to Seth and their conversation at lunch. She let herself remember the way he looked at her. Not as a freak, not a Goth, but just as a normal girl. Jessie caught herself smiling again. Her aunt seemed to notice too.
“What, pray tell, are you so happy about?” her Aunt Marty asked her. Jessie knew she couldn’t lie to her so she didn’t even bother trying.
“I… met someone. At school. He’s new,” she said, bashfully.
“Jessie…” her aunt warned.
“I know, I know. Don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen,” Jessie reassured her aunt. “I’m going to go take a nap, okay? These transformations just get worse and worse every time.”
Jessie lay on her bed. Her heart hurt. She liked Seth and wanted to get to know him more. She couldn’t do that though, for both their sakes. Jessie realized her body really was tired. Jessie was drifting off to sleep when she abruptly got pulled into a dream.
Again, her body started to convulse and shake. She could feel the wings pushing at the skin in her back. Jessie closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, praying it would all end soon. Her heart raced as the shock of pain shot through her body. Wings broke through and she let out a blood-curdling scream for the second time that day. She started to breath heavy. Jessie glanced down at her hands and what she saw shocked her. Her nails hadn’t grown out but they were white. They were a pearly white with an effervescent glow. She turned her head and gasped. She had white, feathery wings that matched her nails. Granted, they were streaked with her blood but that didn’t make them any less beautiful. In addition, her hair had a new white streak opposite the black one.
What is happening? Jessie was so used to becoming a demon that becoming an angel was something she wasn’t sure she could handle. Her body started going into shock from pain. The last thing Jessie remembered was falling down, down, down.
She felt fingers wrap around her wrist and when she opened her eyes. Seth. She was hanging off the edge of a cliff with only Seth there to save her. Jessie’s wings glowed, which was the only light they had in the emanate darkness.
“What are you doing here?” she asked
“You may be an angel, sweet cheeks, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still need help,” he said. He gave her a quirky smile as he lifted her up effortlessly. She just stared.
“I’m no angel.”
Jessie was then separated from her body, watching. The other her turned into a demon. She saw the other Jessie lift her arm, dagger in hand, in preparation to kill Seth. No! Jessie sprinted to jump in front of Seth. She screamed as the dagger entered his heart.
Jessie abruptly woke up, gasping for air. She looked at what time it was. 3:33 a.m. She sat up in bed and rested her face in her hands. Jessie couldn’t bear the thought of someone getting hurt because of her. It’s just a dream, she thought. It was just a dream. Jessie continued to breathe deeply to calm herself. She had to make a decision. She could take a chance and see what happens with Seth. Or, she could stop it before it started and return to her miserable existence. She knew what she wanted to do. And she knew what she should do.
He heart was aching. It’s not fair, she thought. Was she doomed to never love? What kind of life was that, anyways? Jessie knew what her decision was. For the first time in her life, Jessie decided to be selfish.
Over the next few months, Jessie let herself get close to Seth. They ended up having four out of seven classes together. They made fun of teachers, shared secrets in the hallway, and sneaked kisses behind stairwells. They bared their hearts to each other. Mostly. Jessie couldn’t bring herself to tell Seth about her parents or her unorthodox birth. Whenever that time of the month rolled around, Jessie explained that it was just “woman problems.” She had fallen irrevocably in love with him. Summer finally embraced them and Jessie couldn’t have been happier.
Jessie and Seth found they both had a passion for gardening. There was something joyful about it. They had started a garden in the back of Jessie’s house; it was there summer project together. It was an especially hot day when Jessie was getting ready to go plant flowers with Seth.
“Hey, I’m headed outside,” she told her aunt Marty.
“You’re glowing again,” her aunt replied, raising her eyebrow. Jessie just smiled.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“I just don’t want you to get hurt, dear.”
“I’m being careful. Besides, I’m happy,” Jessie said, giving her aunt a hug and kissing the top of her head.
“Yes, I’m aware. Just be weary of what time of month it is,” her aunt cautioned. Jessie waved her off, hardly listening when she saw Seth working outside. She ran up to him and planted a kiss on his lips, something they’d both become accustomed to. He smiled at her.
“Ready to work, angel?” he asked.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that?” she teased.
“At least once more,” he said, smiling. She just rolled her eyes and set to work. While working, her and Seth chatted about the latest book Jessie was into and Seth’s newest TV show obsession. They talked about movies they needed to watch together, going to the lake later, and where they would grab a bite to eat. Jessie enjoyed their talks. Their conversations were always about anything and everything. She never got bored of it. It was like they were in their own world when it was the two of them.
A couple hours into working, Jessie felt herself getting really tired. It’s just the sun, she told herself. She drank from her water bottle greedily. Seth walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. She turned around in his arms and hugged him back. She felt comfortable with him. He made everything so easy.
Then she felt her body convulse. Her heart started beating faster. She tried to pull away.
“Seth, you should go. Now.”
“Why? What’s wrong,” he said, confused. He was still holding her.
“Seth, please…” she begged. She felt her body convulse again. She pushed as hard as she could to get out of his arms but he held on tighter.
“Jessie, tell me what’s going on,” he insisted. Before Jessie could say another word, she heard her skin ripped. Then, she heard the sound of her own scream. The same white wings that had been haunting her dreams for months sprouted from her body. With her new found strength, Jessie managed to push Seth away from her.
She curled up on the ground. She felt rage and power coursing through her with this new transformation. She wasn’t sure how long she could control herself..
“Jessie?” Seth said softly. Jessie heard him but his voice sparked a different response. He was within reach at this point. And before Jessie knew what she was doing, she swung her arm out. Her nails sliced scraped his chest. Seth screamed out in pain.
The sound of Seth screaming brought Jessie back to the surface. What have I done? Her body slowly transformed back as it always did. Her aunt Marty had burst through the back door and was running over to Seth.
“I’ll take him to the emergency room. Jessie, I think you’d better just sit in your room. Please,” her aunt Marty said. Jessie was too shocked to make an audible response. She helped her aunt get Seth to the car before heading to her room and sat there.
Jessie thought back to her transformation. She had lost total control. The power and rage that coursed through her body scared her. Something told her it was only going to get worse. She couldn’t bare losing control like that again. Jessie just sat and cried. She desperately wanted to love and be loved. She looked up at the quote on her wall. “To love is to destroy, and to be loved is to be the one destroyed.” Those words had never ringed true for her until now. To have people hate her would kill her. To have someone love her would kill her faster.
Jessie heard her aunt return hours later but she didn’t move. Couldn’t move. She vowed not to hurt Seth and that’s exactly what she did. She let the pain envelope her and she continued to sit there deep into the night. At some point Jessie had decided she couldn’t do this. She wasn’t willing to take the risk again.
She padded softly into the kitchen. Jessie found what she needed and headed to the backyard in her pajamas. She knelt by the tree Seth had carved their initials into. She couldn’t stop the silent tears from falling down her face; she hadn’t really stopped crying since that afternoon. Jessie refused to let anyone get hurt because of her existence. She sent up a silent plea. Mom, Dad, please, if you’re listening. Save me.
“I’m no angel,” she stated out loud. Jessie then plunged the knife into her heart. She didn’t scream, didn’t cry. She was at peace. She felt the essence of her get carried away by the wind as life drained from her body.