The Emerald Angel of Vegoz, Chapter 5

The trio instantly stood up and got into defensive stances. Daphne wasn’t sure why though- she doubted any of their physical movements could ward off an attack from a fallen angel! Neither she nor Heathrow knew how to react, but Nick accosted her, “You! What did you do with my vehicle?”

Whitney snickered, “You can’t prove I did anything from your previous vantage point! But I will say that someone turned it into a beehive!” She laughed derisively as Nick’s face soured from that update.

“So, what? Are you gonna kill us?” Daphne probed. “Gosh, I never thought I’d die this way! Seriously, murdered by an evil angel over a pair of shoes! I never saw it coming!”

“Any last words?” Whitney menacingly queried.

Heathrow began rattling off, “Word, name, resort, supper…”

Whitney gazed at him in complete bewilderment. “What are you doing?”

“Those are all words that go with last,” Heathrow justified himself.

“Oh, that’s idiotic!” Whitney snapped.

Nick differed, “Actually, that’s a pretty intelligent list to come up with! Ooh, don’t forget call!”

Daphne added, “Chance, dance…”

“Shut up!” Whitney barked. “Wow, I’m sorry I asked! Prepare to meet your doom for-!”

“How do we prepare for that?” Heathrow wondered. “Make a will? I don’t have any belongings to give away…”

Whitney let out an irritated growl. “Quiet! Or I’ll stuff a mattress with you!”

Daphne needled her, “Yeah, Heathrow! Be quiet so she can slaughter you! Don’t be inconsiderate!”

“Okay!” Heathrow obliged.

“No, you-!” Daphne tried to correct his misjudgment.

Whitney bellowed, “Enough of your blather! We’re doing this now! Say goodbye!”

Heathrow opened his mouth to do precisely that, and Nick covered his jaw with his hand so that he couldn’t. Whitney raised her hand as though she was about to throw something, and the triad was ready to duck and weave out of her hex’s path, but then, Daphne felt a raindrop fall onto her shoulder. Whitney scrutinized her intensely, so she took advantage of her distraction to shovel out another dig in her direction, “Maybe you should conjure an umbrella to use while you commit your felony!”

A couple of sprinkles hit Whitney’s dress, and she looked positively nettled at the concept. Daphne anticipated a huge blowup following her slur, and she was looking forward to watching her meltdown, but then they heard the familiar chime of an ice cream truck. As it approached their vicinity, Whitney disappeared! Her voice called out, “Don’t get too comfortable! I’ll be back!”

“Wow! Saved by the bell!” Heathrow remarked. Nick and Daphne groaned at his pun.

“Why would they do business now?” Daphne puzzled as she watched the ice cream truck drive through its route.

Nick instructed her, “Wait for it…”

A minute or so later, the rain stopped. Some children ran out of the houses next to the retirement home, and Daphne questioned, “That’s it? That’s how long wet weather lasts in Vegoz?”

“Pretty much,” Nick answered her. “Unless it floods. Either scenario makes headlines in local news! Thank heavens it’s gonna stay dry today though! I’d hate for a storm surge to block our path to the Emerald Angel!”

Our path?” Daphne enquired. “Does the man you’re coming with us?”

Heathrow reveled, “Oh, joy! You’re gonna get yourself a heart after all, aren’t ya?”

Nick sarcastically stated, “Yeah, everything about this experience convinced me to want one!” Heathrow clapped his hands in delight, and Nick more seriously told Daphne, “No, you were absolutely right about the Emerald Angel knowing a thing or two about Whitney. I’m completely on board with going with you if it means that I can finally get some evidence on that she devil! Psh! Made a beehive out of my vehicle! Let her try and explain that in court!”

“She said she was gonna stuff a mattress with me! That doesn’t sound very comfortable! I may not have a brain, but I do have bones!” Heathrow knocked on his skull.

“Well, the three of us should get moving in case that Ochre Angel finds us away from possible witnesses again!” Daphne recommended. The two nodded in agreement, and they all walked westward alongside the traffic cones on Gold Stone Road.

Some time later, they passed by an enormous avenue perpendicular to their own, and its vision made Daphne’s eyes widen! Several large businesses were adorned with neon signs and colorful lights, and a dome above the terrain blinked in vivid designs and various advertisements for an assortment of casinos. Street performers tended to the tourists that flooded the area, and Daphne noticed that everyone gave the locality her ensemble was on a wide berth. She could easily understand why though! The buildings were drab and somewhat dilapidated, and trash was scattered throughout the sidewalks. The few occupants of this spot dressed in dingy clothes and kept to themselves, and the skies got covered in a dusty haze. “It’s like two different worlds!” Daphne observed as her eyes darted between both scenes.

Heathrow conversed, “That’s downtown Vegoz for ya!”

“Is it safe here?” Daphne inquired as a grumpy guy with far more outerwear than the warmth warranted walked past them.

“Oh, sure,” Nick replied. “Although you do occasionally get liars, muggers, and pimps.”

Daphne fretted, “Liars, muggers, and pimps! Oh my!”

Heathrow giggled, “That’s kinda catchy!” He then chanted, “Liars, muggers, and pimps! Oh my! Liars, muggers, and pimps! Oh my!”

 He repeated that line a couple more times, and while Daphne initially ogled him for making light of her worries, she couldn’t deny the accuracy of his statement and joined him. Nick stared at them judgmentally, but he soon shrugged and also joined in. The three travelers repeated that refrain until…

“Put ‘em up! Put ‘em up!” a man with tawny skin, a bald cranium, and dark stubble along his round jawline shouted. His white muscle shirt showed off his burly biceps as well as an ornate lion tattoo, and his fists were surrounded by white bandages. Almost everything about his appearance suggested he was an experienced fighter, so Daphne hid behind a couple of old newspaper stands. “Which one’s going first?” he addressed Nick and Heathrow, who did not have the fortune to evade him like she did. “I’ll fight you both together if you want! Scared? I’ll fight you with one arm around my back if you think that’ll be more fair! How about standing on one foot? Or with my eyes closed?”

“Go away! Leave us alone!” Nick somewhat nervously commanded.

The man espied Heathrow trying to sneak into the pawn shop he had burst out of moments ago, so the man aggressively regarded him, “Hey! Pulling an escape on me, huh? Not on my watch! Let’s go! Come on!” He turned back to Nick, who grew more apprehensive when he didn’t see a manner in which to elude his malice. “Afraid, huh? Don’t have the goods to take me on, do you?”

Heathrow chided him, “Now that’s getting personal!”

“Yeah! Go teach him a lesson, Heathrow!” Nick urged him.

“What… What’s wrong with you doing it?” Heathrow responded with his teeth chattering.

Tater hissed at the man from in front of the periodicals, so the man combatively expressed to him, “Oh, you wanna play, kitty? Alright, if you insist!”

The man lunged for Tater, so Daphne protectively hit the man on his crown! Nick and Heathrow gasped in alarm, but Daphne was too enraged to consider the consequences of her actions! As he fell to the floor, she berated him, “Shame on you! How dare you pick on a poor little animal! What gives you the nerve?”

Heathrow and Nick monitored the situation on pins and needles due to his previously contentious behavior, and Daphne readied herself to counter whatever argument the man had in store for his defense, but to their astonishment, the man began to weep! “I don’t! I don’t have any nerve at all! You weren’t supposed to hit back!”

Nick, Heathrow, and Daphne became thoroughly confused by his reaction, and Daphne posed to him, “What did you expect would happen when you went after my cat?”

“I wasn’t gonna hurt him!” the man cried. “I was just trying to get you to run away so I could strengthen my reputation!”

“That’s a real cowardly thing to do!” Nick commented.

The man sobbed, “You’re right! I am a coward! Ever since I was a boy, I’ve dreamt of being the king of the boxing ring, Lionel the Maniacal they’d call me, but I can’t fight no one! Everyone can best me! Old ladies, toddlers, pets… I even got defeated by a roadrunner once!”

Heathrow related, “Oh, I’ve been there!”

“Uh-huh… So, I gotta ask- what exactly changed you from a brawler to a bawler?” Daphne petitioned Lionel.

“I moved to Suntop Mountain!” Lionel caught Daphne’s befuddled visage, so he dramatically elaborated, “You don’t know what it’s like out there! Fires, earthquakes, and the scariest figures you’ll ever meet!”

Daphne blinked in shock at hearing that claim. “The scariest? You mean, there are scarier people out there than here?” She gestured to across the lane where a very shaggy fellow held up a handwritten sign that both beseeched the passersby for money and threatened to remove his attire if they didn’t.

Lionel nodded, and Nick reiterated a disposition he relayed earlier, “See? Didn’t I say that this place wasn’t too bad?”

“Why would you live in such a terrible location?” Heathrow pondered.

“Suntop Arena!” Lionel dreamily recalled. “It’s the finest of the fine! All the best athletes in the world train there! I was gonna get myself hired there and surround myself with champions! Then, during my days off, I could compete in matches! But no one will take me now! Everyone knows what a wimp I am! I’m no pugilist! I’m pathetic!”

Nick catechized, “Was your neighborhood terrorized by a fallen angel?”

Lionel filled him in, “Two of them! I live by Niles Air Force Base, which is both east and north. Whitney occupied the space mostly, but Almira kicked her out whenever she was in Vegoz.”

“Did you ever see them disputing over this territory?” Daphne interrogated him.

“As a matter of fact, yes! They’d meet up once every so often, and their feuds made conditions worse for us ‘cause they took their anger from this out on us! And it’s been occurring a lot more than usual lately!” Lionel shivered at the memory.

Nick and Daphne exchanged knowing glances, and then Nick pressed him, “Did you ever overhear either of them hint about using violence against each other?” 

Lionel whimpered, “No! I’m usually too busy hiding and blubbering to catch anything else that goes on!”

“If it makes you feel any better, Almira is dead now,” Daphne strove to console him.

“If Whitney’s still around, it won’t help much!” Lionel sniveled. “Oh, if I could learn to not be such a chicken, I’d learn some counterattacks and walk my block in peace! That’s an impossible idea though! I’ll never get enough bravery to go toe-to-toe with her! I’m doomed!”

Heathrow disagreed, “No, you’re not! You can come with us to see the Emerald Angel! He’ll fix you up, no problem!”

Lionel declined that offer, “Nah, I couldn’t! I’d be too afraid to talk to him!”

“Don’t be silly! We can assist you! We’re all in this together, aren’t we, guys?” Heathrow articulated to Daphne and Nick.

“Apparently!” Nick shrugged.

Lionel appeared heartened by this offer, and he somewhat shakily stood up. “That’s awfully kind of you! But won’t you be ashamed to be seen with a sissy like me?”

Daphne assured him, “Of course not!”

“Hooray! The four of us are off to see the Emerald Angel of Vegoz!” Heathrow kicked up his legs into the air, and he did another merry jib while humming.

“Get used to seeing a lot of that!” Daphne acquainted Lionel.

As Heathrow linked his arm with Lionel’s Nick leaned in close to Daphne and whispered, “Shouldn’t we warn Lionel about Whitney?”

Daphne watched Heathrow attempting to persuade Lionel to skip with him, and she decreed, “Let’s just get to Summerland as fast as possible. Maybe we will get there before another encounter.” Nick didn’t seem so convinced, so Daphne demanded, “Do you want him to start shedding some more tears?” Nick signaled his distaste for that notion, and the quartet trekked towards the west.


One thought on “The Emerald Angel of Vegoz, Chapter 5

  1. Connie F. Allen says:

    I am available to read and review your book on Amazon. You can send a copy to my email

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