“What do you mean, you’re out of lemons?” Anders hollered into his phone, stumbling around the inside entrance to the house in mismatched shoes and struggling to put on his coat at the same time. “I trusted you with the lemon stash, and now you’re telling me that they’re all gone and we can’t get another shipment until next month! I needed those, Giles!”

“What has Giles done now?” Miranda sighed, leaning over the guard rail by the staircase and repeatedly wiping over a few dirty spoons with a faded dishcloth. “Wasn’t he supposed to be the most reliable?”

Ignoring Miranda’s remarks, he hissed, “No, Giles, those were for discipline! I can’t have subjects running around the place and acting like zoo animals! I sure hope there’s somebody on the staff who likes lemonade.” Finally slipping his left arm into the sleeve, he whipped around and hung up, tossing the phone into his pocket. The house was silent for a few seconds save the sound of Miranda’s hands still scrubbing… at least until a shriek rended the air outside the home.

“Anders?” Miranda discarded the spoons into the kitchen sink and flew over the stairs, dashing outside to be met with strong winds blowing past his face and his fiancée passed out in front of an angel. “Anders! Are-”

“He’s okay!” The angel held out her hands, pleading Miranda to calm down as he kneeled next to Anders’ unconscious body. “He’s not dead. I just… kind of knocked him out a bit. Not on purpose, though! He fainted.”

“Why are you here?” Miranda attempted to hide his trembling from the spirit before him, but his pajama sleeves billowing in the wind betrayed the panic in his veins. “Why must heaven and hell decide that now is the time to play with my life?”

“Because Bes is on his way to steal you from Anders. He doesn’t give a damn about your choices, Miranda. He just wants to make himself and his superiors feel good about themselves.”

“And how exactly do you know this?…” Miranda scooped up Anders’ body, surprisingly light as he pulled himself to a standing position on the sidewalk.

“Because he was on my heels as I dashed here. You need to leave now, Miranda.”

“I don’t have a driver’s license or a pass to the sky tubes! How am I supposed to go anywhere?”

The angel shrugged, averting her gaze up to the swirling cloud formations above for a split second before bolting for the house. “Call that Giles person! Maybe he knows!”

“Alright…” Ignoring the hole in the cloud covers that was beginning to tear in, he set Anders down in the grass and pulled the phone out of his pocket. The servant was at the top of the contacts list, followed by what he assumed was Anders’ mother and various other affluent employees. After he tapped on the bolded name, the phone only rang once before he was met with the weary voice of the manservant. “Giles? Can you call a pod for me?”

“Good god, didn’t Anders teach you anything other than getting freaky in that tiny house of his?” A few subjects collided into each other in the background noise, and Giles shouted a few profanities at them before returning his focus to the phone. “Just press nine on the keypad, Miranda, and one will fly out to you within a few minutes.”

“Thanks, Giles.” Miranda hung up and immediately pressed nine as the angel came back out of the house and slipped the thick leather wallet into his hand. “And thanks, whoever you are.”

“Call me Cassandra. I’m your guardian angel.”

“Why are you doing this?” The pod broke out from behind the tree line, coming to a stop a few feet from Anders’ car on the curb and popping open its right hatch. “Did you get assigned to me, or…”

“I shouldn’t be telling you anything or doing this because I was never assigned to anybody, but it’s because-” A few long dark smears streaked out of the hole in the cloud cover, and Cassandra pushed Miranda and Anders’ awakening body towards the pod. “Just go! I’ll hold them off!”

What is this? Some low-budget action movie? Miranda picked Anders back up and deposited him inside of the pod, climbing back in to find that there was barely enough room inside for both of them. Anders’ pod card was tucked inside of the third pocket of his wallet, which Miranda promptly whipped out and slid into the front slot on the dashboard.

“Unauthorized passenger aboard. Please evict passenger and try again or insert additional ID card.”

“I’m Anders’ fiancée! What do you mean, I’m unauthorized? I made the call!”

“Unauthorized passenger aboard. Please evict passenger and try again or insert additional ID card.”

“The override code is 6684,” Anders mouthed, coming to and sitting up in the seat that Miranda had draped him over. Pressing his thumb against a darkened spot on the dashboard and tapping the numbers in, the mechanical insisting of the pod settled down and closed the doors. “Do you have a destination in mind? Or should we just escape to the nearest hotel?”

“Nearest hotel, probably. Anywhere but here.” Anders tapped a few commands in the console as Miranda looked over his shoulder at Bes materializing on the lawn and striding up to the front door, probably awaiting some kind of positive response from Miranda. Only after Cassandra whacked him away from the front door with a heavy wing did he date to look up behind him and acknowledge the pod drifting away into the sky.

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