The Human Child glides effortlessly and doesn’t want any help. She is sweet.
She did not cry when we spoke to her. Which was a relief. She’s far too young to ascend and anyway she seems so happy here.
She is a practical child. She hears everything she is told and knows how to respond, but she makes up her own mind about things, which, frankly, is a relief because her father is absolutely the worst at knowing what to say.
Initially we tried to work with him, but he kept saying “angel” and his voice is extremely loud and everything we tried to tell him got scrubbed out by the Secret Police so after a while we just grabbed the salt shaker and ran.
Asking the child was Josie’s idea. “That girl is clever,” she said, stirring the chili in the crock pot. Erika, Erika and I were at the table, heads pressed together, despairing. “And what you’re asking isn’t all that bad. She’s taken worse chances to sell cookies.”
Erika and I met eyes and nodded. Erika wasn’t convinced but she agreed to give it a shot because we didn’t have anything else to try, really.
We approached the child on a Wednesday afternoon, shortly after she returned from school.
“I thought you’d be taller,” she said, leaning back in her chair to look us in the eyes. “I mean you’re pretty tall, but I was expecting you to be taller.”
“Maybe it’s because you’re always with Old Woman Josie and she’s pretty small,” she went on, rolling gently back and forth, like other human children who fidget by shifting their weight from foot to foot. “So you look bigger by comparison.”
“You can call me Janice,” she said, and her smile was sweet.
“Janice. We need your assistance. We can return to you the salt shaker of your father if you will help.”
“You do not want to know what we require before you agree?”
“Nah,” she said, “You’re an–I mean, I know you. You’re Erika. And you’re Erika too. I know you’re probably okay.”
Josie was correct. The child is bright.
We would need knowledge forbidden by the City Council. The child was not in grave danger by knowing it, since the City Council forbids so much and this was probably not the first law she had broken, but we had thought finding it would be difficult.
“We can just ask my dad.”
“Janice,” she corrected.
“No, Janice, we have spoken to your father. He is not…able to assist us in this way.”
“Trust me, he knows. He probably just thought you were spies for the world government stationed here under deep cover, and that’s why he didn’t tell you.”
Erika nudged me carefully and cleared her throat.
“No, Janice,” I went on. “He knows we are angels, but he is…careless in speech.”
“We have considered, and thought that perhaps we could appear to him in a vision–”
“I can just ask him.”
Erika and I exchanged a curious look. “He would tell you?”
“Yeah! He loves talking about that stuff. I’ll ask him after dinner.”
We had assumed it would be far more difficult, really. We appeared unto her in the late afternoon (night is generally better for divine appearances but her mother chased us off the porch with a broom) and she gave us the information we needed.
We returned the salt shaker with a grateful flourish. She had done well and had earned her reward.
“Oh. Thanks.” And then after a moment, sliding back and forth, “you want a brownie? My mom made brownies.”
We broke bread with the child and her mother, who was much more agreeable towards us in the light of day.