Not An Angel

It brings the elegant cup to its lips, taking a moment to appreciate the warm, spiced aroma of its favorite tea blend before taking a delicate sip and setting the cup back down with a soft clink on the saucer.

Its companion is still upright, pacing, and fretting.

No tea for that one. She grips a to-go cup of some dark and potent swill that reeks of unpleasant earthiness, the stench of which wafts its way from time to time.

It’s at least thankful for the wide brim of the hat shading its eyes from the harsh glare of its friend’s halo.

“…so obviously I had to get involved, and—”

It interrupts. “Not so obvious to me, dear.”

The friend whirls to stare at it, aghast. “You can’t just stand by and do nothing when someone is spewing such pernicious, twice-damned bullshit, or else you’re just as bad as them!”

“Right, of course, silly me,” it replies. “The world is full of sinners who must be corrected, isn’t that so, angel?”

The friend’s mouth twists in disgust. “I am not an angel.” She tosses back the rest of her drink. “I shattered and discarded my halo aeons ago.”

“Is that so?”

“It is,” she growls with hard-edged emphasis. “I fell. I am a demon now. I am free.”

It raises an eyebrow, prodding further. “And all of this about fighting anyone who’s in the wrong so that you won’t be ‘bad’ like them?”

The self-styled demon tries to sip from her empty cup, frowns in disappointment, and then with one hand crushes it in irritation. “Demons are allowed to have our own ethics.”

“‘Allowed,’ are you?”

She groans. “You know what I mean!”

“I know,” it says, tilting its head just right to look its friend in the eye while keeping its own eyes shaded by its hat. “And I also notice that you’re still making all the world’s evil your duty to fight. You’ve only changed how you define ‘evil.’”

Its friend resumes her restless movement, circling the room like a hawk, trying to find somewhere appropriate to set down her garbage. The only available receptacle is full.

“I do what I want now,” she says. “I want to make the world a better place.”

“The whole wide world? You can’t make everything your responsibility, my dear.”

She pauses her irritated hunt and gives it an incredulous look. “You? You? You, of anyone! Don’t have any room to talk! You declare everything your responsibility!”

It scoffs. “Hardly.”

“Oh? Then who’s to blame for the garbage here not being taken out?”

It sighs. “Well, alright,” it admits, “I should have made sure that got done before you arrived.”

An exaggerated lift of her wings projects mock-surprise. “You don’t say? And here I thought I remembered you telling me it was Daisy’s job to take out the garbage.”

“Of course it is, but I really should have reminded it.”

“There you go. Claiming responsibility for Daisy.”

“I don’t claim responsibility for everything! Just everything that happens within this house,” it objects.

“Witch behavior, to be honest.”

Its posture stiffens with indignant anger. “As head doll, it is my responsibility to keep this house running. We have no witch!”

A flurry of activity interrupts their argument, as Daisy and a handful of other dolls scramble into the parlor.

“Miss! Miss!” Daisy yells. “Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t know your angel friend was visiting. Hi! Um, we found out there’s a parade in town today and we wanna go see!”

“Miss” takes a moment to remind them of the duties each needs to get done by the end of the day and questions whether attending this event will interfere.

In the end, however, it sighs, relents, and tells them they can go as long as they promise to be back by dark.

After the dolls leave for their parade and the house quiets down again, the Not-A-Witch makes eye-contact with its Not-An-Angel friend. Both remain tight-lipped and sullen for a long moment.

“I’ll drop this topic if you do?”

“Yeah, alright.”