Joshua, his figment, and Maggie ran out the cell door and past a group of taser-wielding night guards. It appeared that they weren’t in the mood to play around. When they reached the door leading to the stairs, Joshua checked to see if anyone was looking in that direction. The guards were still in the cell, probably wondering why it was empty. He opened the door and rushed the others through. Then he closed the door quickly behind them.
The alarm was a little quieter in the stairwell, so Joshua told Maggie to try not to make any noise. Neither of them was wearing shoes, so that wasn’t too hard. And the figment didn’t really even exist, so it was easy for it to stay silent. They made their way quickly down the stairs until they reached the bottom, where two doors stood on opposite walls. An exit sign hung above one of them.
Choosing the exit door, they found themselves outside and surrounded by police cars. They must have been called after the first alarm went off.
“Crap!” the figment exclaimed. “I didn’t expect them! They saw us for a second. They can’t see us now, but–”
Guns went off, firing rubber bullets at the escaping mental patients. Joshua and Maggie cried out in alarm, but the figment sprang into action. He flew back and forth in front of them, catching each bullet in his stick fingers in the order they were fired and throwing them back at the guns that shot them. It was as if they hit a forcefield.
“What the hell?” one officer said after his gun was knocked from his grip. They took out their stun guns and moved toward the door in a tight circle. Fortunately, Joshua and Maggie were already outside of it before they began to move.
The three escaped inmates watched the officers disappear into the building before they felt safe enough to speak or move. First, they moved. Joshua and Maggie collapsed to the ground and tried to collect their thoughts.
“Which way to the church?” the figment asked.
Maggie closed her eyes, moved her head around, and then pointed toward the building. “That way. I’m sure of it.”
“As long as you’re sure,” Joshua said.
“Yes I am.”
“How do we get there?” Joshua asked, directing the question to the figment. “Can you turn into a car?”
“I don’t really know cars that well, but as long as nobody tries to look under the hood . . .”
Joshua had been joking, and the figment knew it, but it still conjured in its friends’ minds the image of a silver 2001 Ford Focus. Nobody would ever look twice at it, making it perfect for their purposes. Joshua opened the driver’s seat door, sat down, and saw that the interior was pretty much like every other car he’d ever seen. Maggie sat down in the seat next to him.
“It feels so real,” Maggie said.
“Reality is what you perceive,” the figment said through the car’s speakers.
“How can you do all this?” Joshua asked.
“I live in your subconscious. It’s a very complex place. This car is nothing compared to what I can make you see. You guys are pretty light, but I won’t be able to carry you forever. Watch the fuel gauge. When it gets low, it means I’m getting tired. I won’t be able to do anything for you then until I’ve rested.”
The amount of detail in the car was amazing. Joshua couldn’t believe it came from his mind. A key was already in the ignition, so he turned it and heard the engine quietly start. He felt in control of it. Operating it like any other car, he drove through the grass to the parking lot and then out to the open road. They had escaped, at least for the time being.
As they made their way down the road past grocery stores, doctor’s offices, restaurants, dry cleaning places, and all the other gears that drove society, Joshua kept an eye on the fuel gauge. It didn’t appear to be moving, so after a while, he relaxed and took in the situation. That’s when he began to hyperventilate.
“Hey, it’s going to be all right,” Maggie told him. She had been staring dreamily out the window, strangely unfazed by the fact that they were being carried by a mass of telekinetic energy. “The lord will lead us in the right direction. I think this figment of yours is actually an angel. He came to set us free. Angel, can you tell us your real name?”
“Angel?” the figment said. “Sure, why not? You can call me Happy Face. That doesn’t sound very angelic, does it? Maybe I can think of something better.”
“No, it’s a beautiful name,” Maggie said. “God is kind to have blessed you with it, and we are blessed that he sent you to free us and bring us to his house. I know we’ll be safe there.”
Joshua, of course, wasn’t so sure. “I’m sorry I got you into this, Maggie. Tell me if you want me to bring you back to the hospital.”
“Why would I want to go back to that place? You know what the guards, the doctors, the orderlies, and even the janitors did to me in there, don’t you? You said you’d take me to Saint Albert’s Church. Don’t tell me you’re going back on—”
“I’m keeping my promise,” Joshua said.
“Our promise,” Happy added.
“Yeah, our promise. I just think this might get dangerous, and I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Happy Face will keep us safe. That’s what he was sent to do.”
“Happy Face didn’t come from Heaven. He came from me. He’s a figment of my imagination. Didn’t you hear when he said he lives in my subconscious? He’s not an angel.”
“Come on, Joshua,” Maggie said. “Can you hear yourself? Figments of people’s imagination don’t knock down doors, catch bullets, and turn into fully functioning cars. This is God’s work.”
“I’m pretty sure there isn’t—”
That’s enough, Joshua. If she wants to think I’m an angel, it’s fine. It doesn’t hurt anything, and nothing you can say can change her mind anyway.
Yeah, I know. It really could get dangerous, though. Is there any way we can get Maggie to the church faster? Before the police find us?
A second later, the car around them disappeared, and they lifted into the air, each held by the midsection by an arm covered by a white robe. Maggie gazed up and smiled. Joshua looked at what she was so happy about and groaned in exasperation. Happy had taken the appearance of an angel.
“We’ll be there soon!” he shouted to them over the noise of the wind rushing past. “Hold on!”
The world beneath them shrunk as the feeling of rapid acceleration turned Joshua’s insides into jelly. He had no idea how fast they were going or how high they flew, because he held his eyes shut as tightly as he could until the feeling stopped. When he opened his eyes, he was on his hands and knees on the ground in front of a beautiful cathedral. In his mind, he saw through the eyes of Happy, still in the form of an angel, looking down at him and Maggie.
“That was easier than I thought it would be,” Happy said. “That gauge was totally unnecessary. Anyway, here we are. Saint Albert’s Cathedral. Safe and sound. Totally alive and unharmed. You can get up now, Joshua.”