"The sun has risen, Christian Hale. Time to be awake!"
Christian groaned, glanced at Emmanuel, registered the time, and rolled over again with the express purpose of not moving again until lunch. Emmanuel seemed unsatisfied with this response, and re-doubled his efforts.
"Christian. Please get up, your life is so boring. I want to do something."
Receiving no response, Emmanuel used his last resort.
He climbed in bed next to Christian and put his arms round him.
It took some time for Christian to register that he was in bed being cuddled by a guy, and when the reality sank in, he really wished afterwards that someone had been there to see how fast he moved. He could have gotten a sports contract. Usain Bolt wouldn’t have stood a chance.
"What the heck? Are you insane? Get out! Go! Now!"
Emmanuel scurried from the room, and Christian realised, slightly annoyed, that he’d achieved his objective. There was no way he could sleep again now. Sighing, he began to gather up his clothes, pondering the amount of ways he’d read about that you could kill an angel.
Christian flinched for the twenty-second time, gritting his teeth. No matter what happened, he told himself, he was not going to give in. He would stand…stalwart. Yes, that was the word. He tried to focus on his new resolution as, for the twenty-third time, Emmanuel blew Christian’s grandfather’s whistle. If he’d only blown it a few times, it would have been alright. If he’d blown it quietly, it would have been annoying, but tolerable. But no- he blew it like he was trying to caricature a train whistle- loudly.
Colette had long since escaped outside under the pretence of making daisy chains, casting a pitying glance at her father as she scooted out the door. Christian wondered if it would seem weird for a thirty-four year old man to make flowery jewellery with his seven year old daughter. As Emmanuel blew the whistle yet again, he decided that it probably wouldn’t.
Making a quick and unintelligible excuse, Christian made a beeline for the cabin door, grabbing his coat as he slid outside, the tinny ringing of the whistle accompanying him out into the sunshine. Christian took a deep breath of the cool air, a smile spreading slowly across his face. Squaring his shoulders, he set off in search of Colette.
There were many stages of panic.
The first was a slight tightening of your gut, the second, quick breathing. The third quickly escalated to the tenth, (sudden unconsciousness) leaving the poor victim squirming in a field somewhere. Christian reckoned he’d passed the tenth quite a while ago, and was now doing a melodic waltz with death himself.
Colette had all but disappeared.
She wasn’t in the fields around the house, in the car, in the garden. Christian had even gone back into the house to see if she had sneaked back in, but to no avail. Emmanuel looked at him curiously. They were standing on the roof of Christian’s car, Christian scanning the surrounding area for Colette, and Emmanuel preening his wings. The afore mentioned angel coughed slightly. Christian turned to him, making a silent vow to himself that if Emmanuel made any useless suggestions, he would push him off the roof.
"Of course, you could always set your house on fire, and hope she sees the plume of smoke and comes running back- oomph!"
Christian dusted off his hands. There was something highly satisfying about all that preening being ruined. Emmanuel seemed unfazed by his recent brush with the dirt and clambered to his feet once more, scanning the darkening horizon from the ground instead. Christian joined him slowly. The sky was blackening quickly, and the thought of Colette at the mercy of the elements sent shivers down his spine. Christian stalked back into his cabin, Emmanuel scurrying behind. Christian grabbed the phone, dialling a number he’d hoped he’d never have to again. He called Bob.
Nobody in this small, American town ever called the sheriff. Well, they might for a prank call, but nobody serious ever called the sheriff. No matter how dire the situation, you didn’t call the sheriff.
Unless, of course, your only daughter was missing.
Then you could call the sherif.