Penance-A Story Beginning

So I came up with this beginning earlier today, and thought “Well, since everyone else is doing serial stories, why don’t I try my hand at it?” So if all goes well, and if people like the idea and the story, I might just do a serial story.

Cue fireworks of excitement.


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Any Landing You Can Walk Away From… 

I cough, the taste of dust and bone colliding down my throat and filling my lungs as I hit the ground with a crack. 

That can’t be good. I wince a little, feeling my tailbone. Hopefully I didn’t break anything?

I dust myself off, blinking at the sun that tries to scald my dark eyes and rubbing the dirt from my head. Oh well, you won’t be able to see it too much, since my hair’s already a dark shade of brown. 

Where am I?

Memories start flooding back into my head, memories of the council, of who I am, of where I am. Of what I have done. I clear that answer from my head, it won’t help me here. Best not to dwell on what we can’t change.  

“Porter Langston, by the power invested in me by the People and the State, you are exiled to Earth. Your penance? You must keep Myrtle Bloom alive and well, and protect her with your very life.”

It rings in my ears, vibrating through my cranium. It’s my only mission now. More important than my name, my age (25), my loves, my fears, my hopes. Myrtle Bloom is now my priority.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

I brush my hand over the gravel, looking up to see…

Nothing, really. Ordinary life. Kids are walking by, chattering loudly, women are walking by talking about men. Men are walking by talking about cars. But nobody sees me. How does nobody see me? I don’t remember dying. I wave my hand in front of my face.

Yep, still flesh and blood. So invisibility is out.  

I look around somewhat frantically to see a little girl watching me, her green eyes calculating but not unfriendly as she scuffs the dirt with her shiny new shoes. I suppose she can see me. I make a face, just to be certain. She laughs. I guess that’s a yes. 

Apparently I should become a comedian. I’m too relieved to be irritated with her. 

I look at her, trying to figure out where I know her from, because something about her face…



…oh. I remember now. 

I resist the urge to puke as my stomach turns in on itself. The infernal organ has a habit of doing that when it is least convenient. 

This is the girl that will make or break my life. The fate of my entire life rests in these scrawny dark hands. Tiny hands, matter of fact. 

I’m not sure I like this.

The green eyed girl’s name is Myrtle, and as of now, I’m her guardian angel.

“Who are you?” She asks, watching the expressions flit over my face like an old black and white slideshow.

I turn my head to stare at her. Brown meeting green in an odd contest.

I lick my lips nervously, which is odd. I never get nervous. Not like this. I get “hm this could be bad” nervous, not “shaking knees and dry mouth” nervous. “My name is Porter.”

“I don’t want your name.” She rolls her eyes. “Who are you to me? Why are you here? Nobody comes here, and if they do, nobody comes here to see me.”

Smart kid. 

“I’m…” I blink a bit, trying to figure out how to explain the future of the worlds and how there’s not just us and the council and everything to a little girl in a town back in the 80’s. This is a lot harder than I thought. 

She finally just rolls her eyes and walks her dark wiry form over to me and thrusts out a small nine year old hand.

“My name is Myrtle Bloom, and I’m going to change the world.” She grins at me, like she’s so amazing. I would be irritated, except I know who she will become, and yes, the girl is “so amazing”. 

You have no idea how much you’ll change everything, kid, no idea. I shake her hand back, marveling at how small it is in my calloused pale one. 

“Are you a ghost?” She asks, raising her eyebrows and looking at herself, her chest heaving with anxious breaths. “Am I dead?” 

“No, no, sweetheart, you’re not dead. I’m not a ghost. What made you think that?” I’ve been told I’m quite pale, but that is just offensive. I’ll have you know I tan a bit in the summer. 

“Nobody else can see ya.” She cocks her head. “They’re all looking at me like I’m some sorta crazy child.”

“Who I am is really complicated, and I can’t really explain. But somebody cares a lot about you, so they sent me to make sure you grow up alright.” Yes, this is a good explanation. Way to go, Porter. I just get done clapping myself on the back when she, as children are wont to, asks a hard question. 

“Was it my parents?”

“Yes.” I lie.

I don’t feel bad about it either. Oddly enough, I do normally feel bad about lying, if you can believe it. You probably don’t. 

She smiles a bit. “Kinda stupid, though, having a protector nobody can see.”

“Nah, honey, it’s better. That way they don’t see me comin’.” I let a grin stretch over my face. Ah, that feels better. Stretching out the old face muscles. 

She grins up at me and I smirk back. Smirking is like grinning, but more secretive.

Perhaps being a “guardian angel” won’t be so bad after all. The kid’s pretty smart, after all. It’s not like I’ll be babysitting an idiot. 

I have a feeling I’ll be taking that statement back soon. 

She winks at me, as if she knows what I’m thinking. “So, Porter.”

“Langston. Mr. Langston.” 

“So, Porter,” She continues, blatantly ignoring me. “I’m assuming you’re either a time traveler, an alien, or something else.”

I blink.


“Time traveler.” How did she…

Never mind.

“Nice. Bring any nifty gadgets?”


“Some future man you are.” She rolls her eyes. “What’s the point of the future if it isn’t all fixed up?” 

Hon, I keep asking myself that same question. 

Because honestly, the future is more messed up then the past.

The End (for now? Maybe?)

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