I walk up an old, rusty barb wire fence with no gate and look across the street to the condemned looking two story school named West Bronx High school in you guessed it west Bronx, New York. The school looked like it dated back in the 1950’s. With its large barred windows and edgy stone work. The shutters were peeling dark mustard color paint and the entire building had cracks in the pavement, weeds growing everywhere, and graffiti. I watched as dozens of students from different cliques wandered in the school boundaries.
Even in the developing crowd they stayed at arm’s length away from each other until they On the school steps were the couples making out, along with the jocks and cheerleaders who were sporting their unusual school colors, dark mustard yellow and bright Pepto-Bismol pink. One of the tall cheerleaders with long bleached blond hair caught my gaze and whispered something to her shorter gremlin friend with a giggle. I roll my eyes, and before she can look back over I spot a group of five burnouts by the entry way. Bingo, just who I was looking for. I can’t help but shake my head before walking over. Six months’ worth of training and my first assignment lands me at some reject school in the Bronx for an ever bigger reject reliant. Definitely not my prime choice. I’ve only been on earth for three days, looking for my reliant and getting settled at hopefully my temporary home.
As a Guardian the stakes are high, with no room for error. Our job is to protect our appointed human from whatever incoming danger the Archangels want us to prevent. We’re sort of like personal bodyguards for unknowing humans that for some reason a higher power sees value in, a major flaw in our whole existence.
For centuries Guardians like me have kept the world in balance but it’s not often that we’re known as Guardians. Not ever since before the year 1611, when my kind have been identified by the world as Angels which I suppose isn’t wrong but does cause major controversy.
For six months I’ve trained to become a Guardian at a place my kind like to call the academy, there myself and forty others went through different obstacles to get us in top shape for this dying world.
For six months I lived with the mystery of my former life, my human life. Through trial and error someone figured that the best candidates for Guardians were perished humans, kind of ironic.
The other Guardians never seemed bothered by this except me and a close friend I made back at the academy. Which we quickly learned to ditch do to Law I- A Guardian is to fully accept his duty and is forbidden to search for information about his former history. To keep our world safe everything about us is changed so that the living don’t recognize us. From our appearance to our personality we are drastically changed so that even if we wanted to it would be impossible to find out anything about our past lives. The idea of family is pushed out of our minds as the academy is where all our needs are met, even our names. In training I was crowned as the most talented trainee in the century hence why instead of being known as XK0462 I was awarded the name Ace. As a Guardian trainee you don’t have a name but a series of letters and numbers to identify you until you have earned a name, which I was the first because of my intense focus and drive that honored me the first to earn a name in my class. Names are highly respected among my kind but down here it’s just an average thing that everyone has and once again because of the Ancient laws I must abandon my Guardian name and go by the persona of Dante Sebastian Valentino. A seventeen year old Junior in high school from Oregon.
A thick stench of cigarettes overwhelms me once I was a few feet from the burnouts that were smoking. With great hopes of course that my reliant is well known or at least acknowledged I think of basic questions to understand why missy has been such a chore to find.
They all looked to be the same age and seemed to have the same style. Dirty old sweatshirts, with dark beanies, baggy shorts. The only thing that seemed to be different was their hair color. A true army of clones. I wouldn’t consider myself as anything special or at the very least intimidating with my new human persona. My Dante persona has made me look like any teenage loner. Tall, with dark black hair, and clear gray eyes, perfectly toned muscles and a chiseled jaw line. With a Black hoodie, dark jeans with a spiked belt, and black converse shoes. Nothing special in looks but that’s the way I like it. Anything to keep humans away. One of the kids catches my gaze. Immediately he panics and curses under his breath, telling his friends to ditch their cigarettes and hide the evidence. I grin a little. This is going to be too easy. I easily make my way towards them and it isn’t until I barge in that they all look up at me.
“Any of you guys got a smoke?” I asked, looking from one guy to the next.
The kid that saw me earlier looked up and gave me his tough guy look. “Get lost.” He spat.
I gave an amused grin.
“I’m not looking for trouble. I’m new here and was hoping for some information.”
The kid laughed as though I was being naïve. “This isn’t Hollywood. Beat it before we beat you.” The other four nodded their heads in agreement.
I let out a small sigh before quickly snatching the kid’s pack of cigarettes and thrusting him up against the fence before the others could react.
“Dude!” He squealed with surprise.
I put one of the smokes in my mouth, enjoying the shocked expressions of the others. Just like I thought, they’re like starving animals looking for food and I have their only source of nutrients.
“tsk tsk.” I said in monotone. “Now that wasn’t very nice.” The kid looked at his friends for help but they all were cowering down.
The kids raised both his arms up in surrender. “Hey man I’m sorry just give me back my smokes.”
I looked at the carton, making it look as though I was debating it.
“Hey I paid $6.50 for those man. Give them back please.” I looked back at him.
“Is that so?” I asked allowing a long pause. “Got a light?” I asked turning my head to his friends.
One of them nodded and lit my cigarette. I took a few puffs, letting the smoke linger around.
“How about some answers? Hmm?” I asked him.
“Sure whatever man.” He said agitatedly.
I let him down from the fence and took another puff.
“What’s your name?” I asked pointedly.
“Ted.” he answered.
“Well Ted I’m looking for a girl named Scarlett Raven. You know her?”
The burnouts shuffled uncomfortably, even Ted dropped his gaze. “You don’t want anything to do with her.” He warned. “That girl is not to be trusted. There are some things, some people who are better off left to deal with their own demons.”
I raised my eyebrow, slightly intrigued I pressed on.
“And what do you mean by that?”
Ted worriedly looked around; like he was concerned someone was listening. “Okay between you and me, Scarlett does have a known history of gang related violence and a trip or two to Youth Authority.”
Ted let out a long sigh.
“Man I don’t know what g-”
“What Gang?” I pressed, not taking I don’t know for an answer.
Ted nervously bit the inside of his cheek.
“The Hounds. The fiercest gang New York has to offer.”
“What’s she in the gang for? Money? Drugs? Protection?” He rubbed his face.
“Man I don’t know! Besides if anyone knew I was selling out this kind of information for a pack of smokes they’ll kill me!”
Hesitantly I backed off, I couldn’t care less about his problems, he wasn’t my reliant.
“What about her social life? Friends? Family.”
Ted shook his head. “Nah dude. Not that anyone knows. As far as we’re concerned she’s alone. She is sometimes seen hanging out with some big guy named Richie.”
“What else do you know?”
“Man what are you? Her stalker?”
I gave him a look that said: don’t go there. Ted backed off and started talking once again.
“No one knows where she came from. She started school last year. She may sound like a native Bronx but everyone knows she doesn’t have a drop of Bronx blood in her.”
I nodded. “Anything else?”
He thought for a moment. Keeping his eyes on the pack.
“Yeah.” He said, after a while. “She shows up late to first period every morning then leaves school right before lunch for some reason.”
I pondered over the information for a moment. It sounds like I’m saving a criminal. I handed Ted his pack. Then walked away towards the open doors of the school. From behind I could hear Ted’s frustrated voice. “Hey! Where are all my smokes?!” He demanded.
I happily gripped the cigarettes inside my pocket and threw the one in my mouth on the ground. “Smoking’s bad for you.” I called back.