This story is by Izzy Richards and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Please, let me go,” Anny whispered. She slowly lifted her head and gazed at me. Devastating chills washed over me when I looked back into her eyes. They were half-shut, cried out, emotionless, and her gaze was so vague almost delusional. If she could see me, it only meant one thing.
But how could I let her go? Anny was just a child. I have been with her since the day she was born. I was there every time her mother left her crying. I was there when she made her first steps, and no one else cared. I was always there – protecting and guiding her. But last Wednesday’s accident was only recently written in the stars. I was not allowed to interfere. Her little soul was tired, from all the pain and was ready to return, back above the clouds.
The first rule for guardian angels was simple ‘Do not get attached!’. But how couldn’t I? Anny was my first human that I had to guard. Her short life has been such a horrible and abusive mess. I didn’t understand, how Anny’s parents could lose their love towards own child and put their selfish egos up ahead. Love, respect, patience and forgiveness were hard to find in Anny’s parent’s hearts. All I could feel was anger, selfishness, poison and destruction.
Her mother’s ignorant and disdainful voice still echoed in my head. She had the guts to say that it was Anny’s fault she got lost. No one forced her to take the bike and cycle through the woods to visit her grandparents. My soul bled hearing that. Grandpa and Nana were the only ones who cared and loved Anny unconditionally.
I disobeyed the rules and showed signs to Anny’s mother, where to find her little girl, but she ignored them. I couldn’t believe she didn’t even try. Right then I understood, I would lose Anny. There was nothing else I could do. Bitter and heartbroken I returned by her side.
The cold autumn winds and cool nights were not on Anny’s side. Since she got lost, a couple of days ago, it had been heavy raining non-stop. Her clothes were soaked through, and her uncontrollable shivering had stopped. Her once rosy cheeks had gone pale, and her red lips were tinted blue. Fingers were barely responsive, but her toes had gone numb hours before. Hypothermia was sucking the life out of her small body.
Anny was sitting on the wet ground and leaning against a small tree, hugging her knees. I sat down beside her. All I could do was to watch how her life slowly vapoured out in the cold rain.
“I am tired…” Anny had gathered her last strength to speak and look at me.
“I am sorry,” I whispered and stroked her cheek wishing she could feel it. Her empty gaze pierced right through me. My voice cracked, and I looked up. I couldn’t anymore keep down the lump in my throat that was suffocating me.
Not a second later from a corner of my eye I saw her move. It brought back a sliver of hope that she had felt my touch.
“Anny…,” I reached out, but her body grew limp and slid onto a pile of wet leaves.
“Anny!” I cried out. I wished to be a human more than ever before. I would have been able to take her in my arms, tell her that I loved her and soon it all would be over, the pain would stop, and she would be happy again. But it wasn’t in my power to do so. I was only a guardian angel. My wail was just a scream into the lifeless silence. No one was there to grant my wish. I kneeled before her cold body and sobbed quietly.
A moment later I heard distant deep footsteps coming towards us. Each footstep echoed softly and lingered in the dense woodland.
“Who is out there?” I looked around, but I couldn’t see anyone. Then slowly a shadow formed into a man right before me. He was a stranger whose face I have never seen before, but his loneliness filled eyes I would remember forever.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“It is time,” He said and looked at Anny. His voice was kind and soft-spoken.
He stooped down beside us and rested his hands on his knees. Almost empty sand-filled hourglass slowly appeared over his opened palms. It was Him. He came to take Anny away. I was left, with no other choice. I had to let her go.
For just a blink of an eye, the rain froze in the air, and I watched Anny’s last life grain fall.
I swallowed my tears, stroked Anny’s cold cheek and whispered, “You are finally free.”