Just after nine and already the day wasn’t going well. I was late; my boss had called three times to remind me. I could hear the agitated rapping of his pen on the desk. A clicking I’d assumed was a poor connection at first.
‘I don’t care what you do, just get your arse here now,’ he’d said as he terminated the connection. Shit.
I raced out of the house, a bundle of blueprints curled under my arm. They poked out at jaunty angles from behind my elbow. I jostled them as I dug through my jacket pockets for my keys. One caught on the doorframe, pulled them free from my grasp. I watched them roll away down the drive.
This time I cursed so loudly that the choir above me lost their beat. Wings ruffled and the hosannas paused momentarily. A million gazes fixed themselves upon me. I didn’t look up. A pair of angels nesting on the roof of my car took flight, leaving a trail of stars and three silver feathers in their wake. Great, it’ll take me a month of Sundays to get the stardust off the Honda’s paint.
I grumbled to myself. Snatching each of the plans from the floor, I threw them into the back seat. Of course, the last one, and only one my boss cared about, had rolled under the car, just out of reach. I knelt on the ground. Something damp soaking through the material of my pants. I didn’t want to know what it was. I used a drafting ruler to fish at the plan.
My phone buzzed. I answered though the Bluetooth earpiece.
‘Hello,’ I said.
‘Where are you?’ It was the boss. ‘He’s due in fifteen minutes.’
‘Almost there,’ I lied. The ruler snagged on a rock. Its end flicked out, swatting the plan and sending it spiralling out the back. Not what I’d planned, but it was free. ‘Got to go.’ I keyed off the phone before he could argue and ran around the car to retrieve it.
My fingers curled around the sodden paper and pulled. It didn’t move.
Something growled, low and guttural, in my ear. Sour breath warmed my cheek and I half-turned to find a lion’s head chewing the end of the plan. A second head, this one the soft, white dome of an eagle, eyed me suspiciously. I let out a sigh.
‘Nice, cherub. Good, cherub,’ I cooed, placing a hand on its mane and pushing gently. The cherub growled again. Its teeth bit deeper into the plan. I felt like killing someone.
My phone vibrated in my pocket. I jabbed at the answer key.
‘What?!’ I screamed.
‘Where are you, Saraqael?’ The voice coming through the earpiece was almost a whisper and yet it still sent a shiver through my wings. Not my boss this time; something much worse. ‘The CEO is waiting.’