After the events of the previous chapter, Dallas heads to Chicago to meet his new match.
Dallas froze, staring at both of the girls. He didn't feel dead. At all. He had felt Leann's skirt underneath his hand when he had touched her and he had felt the ground and his jacket. He felt the need to see the gang again. The want he felt when he had been looking at Leann.
"That has to be the worst lie I've ever heard," Dallas said bitterly. "If you wanted me to stay-"
"Dallas, shut up and stop being so full of yourself!" Julie snapped. Leann grabbed her friend's arm, a worried look on her face as Dallas visibly tensed, his face looking meaner than it had before. "If you would care to listen, or maybe remember what had happened to you, you would've known that you're dead already! And trust me, even if Lee were going mad with her desire for some sex, I doubt she would bother with you!"
"Oh really?" Dallas asked walking up to the two girls. Julie's eyes flashed something for just a second, before going back to their original fury. Leann looked terrified. "And just how do you know what Leann wants, Miss Julie? Has she told you? In one of your late night chats while you fantasize about her, is that it?" Dallas hissed, in Julie's face.
"You arrogant little-"
"Tell us Lee, who would you bother with?" He asked, turning his head to focus on the brown haired girl. Leann looked surprised, staring up at the white-blond hood. But her surprise faded as her lips pressed into a firm line. "Is it a secret?" He whispered leaning in, his breath dancing across her ear and her neck. She shivered.
"Stop it," Leann muttered, gently pushing him away. "You're dead, Dallas. Didn't you notice that you weren't in a familiar place? That none of the people milling around were familiar?"
Dallas stared at her for a second, before looking around him. The houses weren't there and neither were the familiar streets he terrorized. It was just a field with trees, and people milling around, most of them his age or younger. Occasionally, they would talk to each other, others were hugging or staring ahead. But none of them were familiar faces. His brain finally caught on. Leann and Julie...he had never seen them either.
"...Where am I?"
"This is where we go when we die. Well...kids anyway. And don't give me the 'I ain't a kid' thing. You are and you'll deal with it. This is a step towards heaven. But we have to repay for our sins first. 'How do we do that?' you may ask. We protect people."
"Guardian Angels? That's us," Leann piped up, adding to Julie's speech. "Kids always get the extra chance. So, really, there are more-"
Dallas raised an eyebrow. "More what?"
"I have to go. Julie can explain," Leann said, before fading away. Dallas stumbled back.
"What the hell? Where'd she go?" Dallas demanded, glaring at Julie.
"She is a guardian angel you know. She has someone to watch. A little boy. I think he's mentally challenged or...something. I dunno. I see her only when we come back here. Her job's in Illinois. Mine's in Oklahoma, actually. You might see her on your job. But we have to match you up first."
Dallas was hardly listening. 'So I really did die...I can't remember...but a girl suddenly disappearing like that. That wouldn't happen if I were alive. And I don't dream...maybe I should start,' he thought absently. Julie sighed and shoved him lightly.
"Come on, we have to get you matched up," she said impatiently. Dally stood where he was, in no mood to comply. Dead or not, he wasn't going to become some push over. Not for her or anyone else. Julie seemed to understand, because she huffed and crossed her arms.
"Dallas. I can't just do this for you. You have to stop being a lazy bum or you'll be stuck here forever. Or be sent to hell. I'm not sure. But, I'd hate to be stuck here. This is all it is, Dallas. An empty field with different souls wandering around. Now do you want your job so you can get out of here or not?"
Dallas winced slightly, taking one last look around the field. There were so many people wandering around with lost looks on their faces. But they all looked calm... maybe that's why he hadn't beat Julie up yet (A lot of people must be thinking "But she's a girl!" My answer: "It's Dallas fuckin' Winston. He don't care"). But, he also had an unsual feeling that he had died for some sort of reason...one that he needed that job to get out of here for.
"Hurry up then, broad. You seem to be in such a hurry, so let's hurry," Dallas snapped. Julie seethed as she walked off to the far end of the field. Sitting on a rock was a huge leather bound book. The leather was old, and the book looked like it was falling apart. Some pages were a little older than the others, but most of them were new, which puzzled Dallas.
"The pages don't get old," Julie said, bitterness in her voice. It was obviously pointed toward him, not the book. "If they did, they'd be falling out of the book. So, when someone dies, they're name just disappears and is replaced almost instantly with a new one. You may see it happen when we find your match, the names switching out; it's really amazing to watch and, usually, it's how we know when someone new is coming. Most of the time, though, we just happen upon them like we did you.
"Don't worry. I know the book may look huge, but all you have to do is open the book. It'll get to the right page on it's own. Leann's happened right away. Mine took a few minutes. The time it takes to find a partner varies from person to person. Do you have any questions before I push you up to that rock and you open that dingy thing?" Julie asked, her curls bouncing as she turned her head to look at Dallas.
"Why haven't I tried to hurt you yet, but you seem to have a temper worse than mine right now?"
"Ah. When you get here, you're still getting used to having some feeling back again. Gaurdian Angels aren't ghosts. We're dead, true, but we can feel emotional pain, anger...love. I'd rather be a gaurdian angel forever than be stuck in one place. If I'm good enough, I'll get that chance..." Julie said wistfully. Dallas studied her for a moment.
"Does that mean people see you?"
"Oh, no. I mean, sometimes we can choose to live normal lives, and people can see us then. But when our match needs us, they don't see us. They have the feeling of comfort and can hear us, but they don't see us. I know that Leann actually lets her match see her sometimes and talks to him a lot. He keeps it a secret though. He doesn't want to share any more of his life.
"You can smoke and such when you get down there. You don't need to eat and drink, but if you have a normal life or just feel like it, you can. And I wouldn't suggest having sex. Angel's are a bit ill-equipped," Julie said with a wry smile, before shoving Dallas forward toward the book. Dally could feel a small spark of anger rise up, but it was gone just as soon as it had come and he couldn't even feel frustrated about it.
He sighed and shook his head, his actions alone screaming that he thought this was ridiculous. But Julie was standing behind him rather impatiently so he put his hands on the cover and flipped it open. The pages flipped, so fast it seemed like they never settled down and a strong breeze caught his white-blond bangs and blew them out of his face.
Dallas was feeling a bit impatient after a few minutes when the pages still hadn't stopped turning. Julie had yelled over the wind (which had been getting stronger, as if the book were becoming more frantic by the second) that she had to go and check on her match. She said not to worry. He'd show up where he needed to when his match was found.
Finally, the pages slowed and it was a light breeze that caused his bangs to ocassionally flutter in front of his eyes. The pages stopped and he stared at the page, a few of the names fading and others being replaced. But, one had a faint glow to it.
Alice Lillian Tate, August 18, 1951, Chicago Illinois, 16 years old...
Dallas had found his match.