When I was little I was afraid of everything.
I was afraid of monsters and especially vampires. I would wear a fur boa around my neck and I hung crosses on each bed post. My mother thought that I was certain to die of strangulation because I had so many items - both religious and fashionable - wrapped around my jugular.
I would sometimes pee in the bed rather than risk the wrath of the horrible being that lived under my bed, or the werewolf that hid in my closet. I would always blame my dog, Tammy for these incidents - not knowing if my mother knew or no not.
I was always so afraid that one night my father gave me eleven angels to watch over me in any way I saw fit. He told me that his mother had given them to him when he was small, and he didn't need them anymore.
I was glad to have the angels, but I was stressed out about having them in my care. Having eleven angels was an awesome responsibility.
Each night I would disperse the angels. I would always place one at the foot of my bed and one at the head. When I was very afraid, I would add two to either side of me. This made me feel guilty because that would mean there would be two fewer angels watching over the world. I would send three angels to the rest of the house; one to my parent's room and one each to my brother's rooms. With the remaining angels, I would divide the earth into quarters and send an angel out to watch over the people in all the different parts of the world. I knew that this would be difficult for the angels, but I was not willing to give up the ones I had keeping us safe at home.
I kept those angels for a very long time.
When I was thirty five, I realized I was not afraid of anything anymore. I also realized it was wrong for my family to have enslaved the angels. I thanked each of the angels personally and marveled at what a great job they had done, especially with so few resources. We hugged. I asked them for forgiveness and told them to do what they wanted. And with great relief and nary a glance behind, they flew away.
I know that the angels are still out there slaying monsters. After all, it is their nature. But now they do it on their own terms.
I sometimes think of my angels, and I miss them. Occasionally I get a glimpse of one, or perhaps it is only one that looks like the ones I knew. I always mouth a silent, "thank you," and then they are gone.