The Angel of Zero City: Part 11

The Angel of Zero City: Part 11

A Story by Andrew Colunga

An urban-fantasy novella. It is an untold story between the chapters of its parent book: The Gauntlet of Maltese.





When Joseph woke up, the afternoon sun was hitting his face, and the ceiling of his bedroom was a welcomed sight. His body felt broken and heavy, and the alley seemed like a lifetime ago. Maybe I’m dead, Joseph thought, but then his eyes rolled to the right, and he saw his ex-wife, reading from a paperback in the chair beside him. “Oh good … I’m in Hell,” he muttered. His jaw was so swollen that his teeth hurt, but he looked to his bedroom ceiling and sighed loudly as a sign that he was awake.

Her paperback lowered, and Joseph spoke louder, “Hi. I didn’t expect to see you here.”

His ex-wife took a breath. “I called your phone a few times,” she said. Her voice rippled his mind like a lost memory. “I needed some information, but you didn’t answer, so I thought you were screening my calls. I drove down here, used my key, and moved you from the couch to your bedroom.”

“The couch?” Joseph asked.

“You were bleeding on the couch when I came in. I called your partner and he came by right away.”

“I don’t remember coming home…. What did Finlay say?”

“Nothing. But he has a lot of questions. What happened to you?” she asked.

“Just some work-related pitfalls. It was casework, just… casework,” he whispered.

She eyed Joseph’s gun on the bedside table. It was akin to a nightmare when she saw him slumped over the couch. Old arguments about Joseph being more cautious while on the job had been swimming in her mind for hours, but it was pointless bringing them up now. For the past few days she had walked around the apartment, and it was still the same brown, drab and stagnant that she remembered, but the familiarity only elicited the feeling of isolation that had persisted as their relationship waned.

Joseph was pushing away memories of his ex-wife: the cold times, the fun times; how when their divorce was fresh, he had fantasized terribly about her being traumatized by the sight of him laid out on a hospital bed after some heroic incident, but this was nothing like those cruel thoughts. What he desired when his heart was breaking only shamed him now. It’s been four years since they were together, and none of those desires mattered anymore.

Suddenly, a terribly loud noise exploded next to Joseph. His ex-wife was fumbling, and Joseph’s bowls turned cold. She had pressed play on his docked iPod, and the speakers were blaring Ray Charles’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

“Whoa!” she yelped, and tried to stop the music, but instead the volume got even louder.

Joseph scrambled to free an arm from under the blankets, but his sides ached and he let out a grunt. His ex-wife pulled out the iPod, but now the device was playing the song on its own speakers. “Give it here!” he said, but she replied, “No, no! I got it!” and after thirty seconds the music finally ceased.

She carefully put the iPod back, and the two of them stared stiffly in silence at the far wall.

After a beat, Joseph flatly asked, “Did Finlay mention I was seeing someone?”

“No, he didn’t. Is she nice?”

“She bakes.”

“That’s good,” she said, an unsure expression on her face. “Well, I’ll call Finlay and tell him you’re awake. I need to go back to Bennett Heights.” She got up, slowly collected her things, and then went to the bedroom door.

“Wait,” Joseph entreated her. “Thank you. I honestly wasn’t screening your calls. After I speak to Finlay I’ll figure out how many days I’ve missed, but, um … what were you calling to ask?”

She paused in the doorway and leaned against the frame. “What was Oscar’s favorite color?”

Joseph thought briefly. “Blue.”

© 2014 Andrew Colunga

Author's Note

Andrew Colunga
This is a 19 part story. All of which are completed and are expected to be posted.

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Added on May 2, 2014
Last Updated on May 2, 2014
Tags: urban-fantasy, fantasy, urban


Andrew Colunga
Andrew Colunga

Los Angeles, CA

Artist and Writer from LA. more..