"The higher you climb, the farther you fall.
But don't be ashamed of wanting it all.
Cause the view from the top is beautiful but fleeting.
The world seems to stop, but looks can be deceiving.
You're surrounded, but you'll always be alone.
So pick a place, pretend it's home"
-Pretend it´s home, Beth Crowley
Light, blinding light. I shut my eyes, but I can still see it. Feel it. It feels warm and golden, like a mothers embrace or a late summer evening. The warmth that envelops my body gets hotter and hotter and begins to close in to one spot in particular between my shoulder blades. I begin to feel a tingeling sensation that spreads outward from this spot, it feels as if new bones and muscles were growing out of my back. I panic a little but there is something about the light that reassures me that everything is just fine. The light vanishes and I open my eyes. Insinctively I turn to look at my back and hold my breath when I spot...Wings! I have wings! They´re of a deep turqouise blue colour and the feathers are soft to the touch, but yet I can feel firm muscle underneath.I must be dreaming! That is the only reasonable explanation for this! A voice rips me from my thoughts.
"Welcome Felice, we have been waiting for you.", the voice is soft and melodic. I turn to look at the person speaking. She has a set of green wings the colour of her eyes. The wings set off her red hair that flows around her face in waves. She is beyond beautiful with her tall slender figure and soft curves.
"For me? I think you have the wrong person, my name is Katherine not Felice", all a dream, I think to myself. "My dear I am quite certain that I am not mistaken. Michael himself named you. You should feel honoured, named by an archangel...", her voice becomes dreamy.
"A what? This is just one of my freaky dreams...", I say to her, but it´s more to reassure myself.
"Archangel, they rule over the courts of heaven. This may be many thing but it is not a dream, of that I can assure you. Don´t you remember?", she looks quite perplexed.
"Remember what?", I inquire more than a little puzzeled as to what all this really is about. "I don´t know how to put this gently, but you are dead. Your mortal body died in a car accident. As I speak they are carrying your body away." Great I´m dead, this dream can only get better now. I only wonder that if dreams are suppsed to be messages from your subconsciousness what this is supposed to tell me.
"Okay I´d like to wake up right about now", I state a little sourly. The woman just looks at me in utter confusion.
"You cannot wake up, this is not a dream. You truely are dead, I am very sorry. Come with me, Michael will explain everything to you and you definetly won´t want to wake up when you see him...", her voice trails off but I am able to hear the rest of the sentence just as clearly. I decide to follow her, afterall what else is there to do. I attempt to ask her more questions along the way but she just keeps saying that Michael will explain it all. It strikes me then that she is talking about the archangel Michael from the bible, I was never very religious but I do know a few basics from school. We walk through a large field of grass until we reach a small cobblestone path that leads to what looks like a group of mountains and a town. As we grow nearer I begin to pick up on details. All houses are made out of a radiant white stone and look like ancient greek houses, with marble pillars and wide open windows. There are many plants including big oak trees and ivy climbing the walls of several buildings. Flowers are everywhere, hanging heavy from baskets, growing in the grass that runs along the pathway that has now turned into a wide road. I earn many curious looks from the inhabitants of this small village.
"Is this all the angels, I mean there´s gotta be more than that!", I can´t help it but stare at all winged men and women and even children around me, not a pair of wings is the same. Shekinah laughs and answers in a tone that makes it cloear she cosiders me a child
"Off course not, this is just one part of our heaven.Every religion has their own place and their own sacred messengers and protectors. You just happened to land here because it was Michael that spotted you, so we brought you right to the central of our realm. Only the more important angel families live in this town, well and the archangels protegés.".
"So let me get this straight? This heaven is just for christians? And there´s another one for say Buddhists?"
"No, this heaven is for all those who serve our god. The dead rest in the garden, paradise, the promised land, whatever you want to call it. That is the one place where all faithful and faithless meet. It is merely us servants that choose to live in different realms to avoid conflict."
"If you don´t mind me asking then, have you ever met god or spoken to him?"", I suddendly don´t feel half as excited anymore. What if I am to meet god and he doesn´t like what he sees? I haven´t exactly always been a good person. Shekinah swallows heavily and looks disappointed, I sense that I must have hit a sore spot.
"No, I have not been fortunate enough to have been summoned yet. It rarely ever happens to the archangels, nevermind ordinary angels like us. So I wouldn´t concern myself with wondering about your wrong doings as a mortal if I were you."
"How did you know I was worried about that? Did you read my mind?", at this point itw ouldn´t surprise me if angels had that ability.
"Merely a lucky guess, you looked quite tense when you asked. And no, mind reading is not one of my abilities", she replies. I focus on my surroundings now rather than asking more questions. The road ends at the bottom of a staircase that seems to be part of the mountain itself.
"Since you can´t fly yet we´ll have to climb the stairs", Shekinah doesn´t seem to be jumping at the chance to climb the stairs and neither am I really.
"Just joking, come on Raph promised he´d teleport us this one. He doesn´t usually use his power for small things like this but I managed to persuade him. Just don´t tell Michael", she winks at me. I look up and I can distantly see a tower at the top of the mountain, like the stairs the tower appears to just grow from the rock itself but I can´t see very well over the distance. As I look a little harder I can also make out the shape of a plateau beneath a mass of overhanging rock underneath the tower. It seems the only way to reach the toer is by flight. I can feel a tingeling sensation in my stomach and almost panicking I turn to Shekinah.
"Don´t worry, that´s just Raph teleporting us up. Close your eyes maybe, that helps", I take her advice and clench my eyes shut. For an instant I feel like all the air is knocked out of my body and then just when I feel my lungs may burst, fresh air hit me and I open my eyes from the shock. I now stand at the top of the staircase on the plateau, from here I can overlook the village and I can see as far as the field. I marvel at the sight for a few moments until Shekinah impatiently clears her throat.
"Come on now, we don´t want to keep Michael waiting Felice!"
"Off course not", I take another quick glance at the impressive scenery before I turn to follow Shekinah. The sight infront of me is almost as magnificant as the scenery of the valley. Eight massive houses sit on the plateau that I must have underestimated in size judging from the size of these houses. Three of them sit to the left and the other four to the right of a small cobblestone crescent shaped curve with the road forking out to each house, giving it the looks of half a wheel. All of these seven look similiar in their fundamental structure, but there are small additions to eah house that make it clear the owners have varying tastes. Hoever it is not these seven houses that catch my gaze, but the eight that is in the center of the crescent. It is by far the most beautiful of them all, its windows catch the light and throw them back like a prism, scattering tiny bits of light and small rainbow coloured specs all around. On closer inspeaction I see that all of the houses have a golden plaque on the exterior reading the owners name. The plaques on the right read Uriel, Chamuel, Jophiel and Raguel while on the left I encounter more familiar names such as Gabriel, Raphael and Michael. It is the plaque of the eight house however that makes my heart drop and I feel a small shiver down my spine, Lucifer. Shekinah grabs my hand in an attempt to draw me out of my haze and leads me towards Michael´s house. I notice that the houses on the right are slightly bigger and more extravagant than the other four and I wonder if the size of the house has anything to do ith the importance of the inhabitant. All of Michael´s windows are covered by heavy blue curtains so I can´t catch a glimpse inside. Shekinah walks me up to where the road forks into a small pathway that leads to the house and lets go of my hand.
"I think you´ll be fine from here on! I better get back to Raphael, but I´ll see you around. Oh and good luck!", she gives me a quick hug and walks away. I stand there for a minute, undecisive as to hat to do now. I mean I could always just walk back to the field, lie down and hope to wake up from this absurd dream. My curiosity gets the better of me and although I am nervous I begin to make my way toward the big, sturdy oakwood door to Michaels house. I take a deep breath and knock twice. When the door opens I have to take another deep breath because Michael is not exactly what I expected, but then again I´m not even sure what I did expect him to be like. Michael is tall and he displays the body of what I can best describe as a warrior. His face features high, strong cheekbones that are only softened by the chin lenght hair that frames his face. His hair is a bit of a mess but it gives him the impression of an absent minded intellectual, contrasting the warrior image. He gives me a dazzling smile that reaches his blue eyes. To my surprise he is wearing Jeans and a white button down shirt with two slits in the back for a pair of respledent white wings with tips that appear to be covered in gold dust. I am aestruck in the most awkward and embarassing ay possible, I feel like I have been staring at him for way too long already so i divert my eyes toard the ground to discover the he apparently fancies walking barefoot.
"Hello Felice, I´m Michael but I´m sure you know that. The plaque kind of gives it away", he winks at me and his voice has a kind, sort of playful tone to it. He extends his hand and I nervously shake it.
"Hello, well this is a bit awkard but why exactly is everyone calling me Felice when my name is Katherine?"
"It is custom that when a human soul transitions to become an angel he or she gets a new name to symbolise that they are no longer human but servants of the lord. I chose Felice and I believe it suits you well. But come on inside, I´m sure we have a lot to discuss. Fancy a cup of tea?", he gestures for me to follow him inside and sheepishly I do follow him. The door slams shut behind me and I cast an apologetic look to michael as he turns. This is going great, Kat...doing good ....one would think you´d be a more graceful angel, I think to myself. The interior of the house presents me with a black tiled marble floor and white walls. There are a couple of small framed drawings and paintings decorating the wall in the hallway leading into a big open spaced livingroom. One of the walls in the livingroom is completely made out of glass and oversees big garden. The furniture itself is all black and jewel colours and hard edges, which gives it a very modern look.
"How come your hosue is so modern, do you spend a lot of time on earth?", I blurt out, too nervous to control my impulses.
"I don´t get to spend much time there but I do get to observe a lot and I like to keep with the times instead of remaining still, fixed on one point in time", he answers me patiently.
"Do you mind if I ask a couple more questions, I´m sorry buts this is just...a lot to take in and to be completely honest I can´t really believe any of it!", I admit in a small voice.
"Off course, I expected as much.", Michael remains utterly cool and collected waiting for my questions.
"What do I call this pace for starters?", I decide to begin with a simple question that should not completely wreck my idea of the universe and everything really.
"I thought you might be able to have figured that one out by yourself. This place as you call it is heaven."
At least I have a name for what might just be a figment of my own imagination, as I think about it a terrifying idea hits me. What if I am in a coma? What if all this is just a fever dream I experience while my body struggles to wake me up?
"You are not in a coma I can assure you, Felice. You are truely right here, right now with me. Want me to prove it to you?", I don´t even bother asking how he knew what I was thinking and hastily nod. Michael closes his eyes and suddendly a picture explodes in my mind. I can see myself behind the wheel of my car, impatienty tapping my fingers to the beat of a distant tune on the wheel. Then I see how my own head turns, my attention caught by a lightning flare in an otherwise sunny sky and then ...the crash. The exoplosion tears my body apart instantly, but how long is instantly when you can feel your on body being torn into tiny fragments. Then nothing but black, no sound but my own heart racing. I open my eyes, not remembering when I closed them to begin with.
"While unpleasant that was necessary I believe. Have you regained some clarity on your current situation?"
"I...I am really dead...oh god I am actually dead. I have to let my aunt know I´m okay...oh my god", I begin to ramble of in a frenzied state of combined worry and shock. Up until this point some part of me had been sure that I would wake up to see that I had just imagined it all, made all this up. I bite my lip hard and clutch my hands to fists, trying desperately to regain some control.
"Are you alright? I am aware this must be of some shock to you but I have to ask you to calm down. I am very sorry but you cannot, under any circumstances, attempt to contact anyone you knew as a human. Believe me it is better that way, all it does is cause pain and distress for your loved ones and an awful lot of psychiatric treatment.", Michael reaches out and lays a comforting hand on my shoulder. Although I understand what he is saying I feel a sense of defiancy well up inside me, it´s not in my nature to just give up and let people tell me what I can and cannot do. But however strong my stubborn nature may be I do have a soft spot for reason and I therefore decide that for now the best course of action os to find out as much as I can about this new situation. I swallow heavily and move backwards, letting his hand slide off my shoulder gently before clearing my throat.
"I can see you have regained a hold on your emotions. Shall we continue?", there as no noticeable change in him at all from when he introduced himself, he has become a little more detached if there was any change at all.
"Where will I be staying now that I am here? How does all this work? Will I need to register somewhere?", I feel stupid asking those questions but deep down I know however ridiculous they may appear they are yet more answers that can provide me with information about my future and ym surroundings.
"Since I have taken it upon me to be your mentor you will be residing here in my house. And no there is no need for registration, you will be required to meet the council consisting of my brothers, the other archangels. They are very curious about your nature. It will all become clearer once we start your training.", he gives me a warm, reassuring smile. While it may appear odd to be staying with a man I just met I decide that staying is definetly a better idea than being homeless in heaven.
"You mentioned training, what am I training for?", I inquire and he must have picked up on the sharp tone in my voice because he raises a questioning eyebrow.
"Since you weren´t born an angel you will have to learn how to fly and me and my brothers will help you discover what special talents you might have, that and you will learn how to fight. This is an essential skill for every angel, we always have to be prepared.", this explains why he has the looks of a warrior.
"Prepared for what?"
"Another war like the one that saw my brother betray us.", he sounds grim and there is a note of barely surpressed anger in his voice. I must have hit a nerve to make him loose his cool.
"Oh right...Lucifer is your brother. Why is his house still standing outside? I mean isn´t he the devil, the root of all evil?"
"Lucifer is not what you seem to think he is, he is not that fateful snake that crept into the garden and tempted Eve. Lucifer was the most powerful of us all, he was the lords favourite. Lucifer thought he coud be like god, in his arrogance he thought he could be a better god. He did not agree with gods ways, he wanted to give human kind knowledge...he did not know you weren´t ready for it. It was that same evil that tainted Eve that got a hold on my brother and made him the monster he is today. We have not had the heart to tear his seat down, there may still be hope for him to redeem himself and to ascend again. Although I must admit I have little faith that is what my brother desires. His fall has changhed him and the evil has taken deep roots within him.", there is a deep painful sadness in his words but I can also see a fire raging in his eyes. His words are a lot to take in considering we were having a comparingly light hearted discussion before, but i understand why he feels I need to know this. I decide to change the subject seeing that this one seems to bring him so much grief and anger.
"So why me? Shekinah said you haven´t mentored any angel the last five hundred years"
"You were only the second angel I have ever forseen, I sensed there is something special about you", he says this with utter conviction.
"So when is all this training going to start because to be honest right now I am starving!", I try a smile to lighten the mood and he smiles back but I can see that like mine it is a rather forced smile. Well done Katherine...you´ve aready managed to fuck this one up pretty bad. Let´s hope he falls on his head and forgets about it.
"We can begin your training tomorrow. I´ll show you your room and then we will get you something to eat", he promises and rises. I am stunned by the magnificance of his wings yet again and only disover when I attempt to get up from teh couch by myself that grace does not come with being an angel. After a few failed attempts that only end with hurting wings and a cramp in my arms I let Michael help me up. Embarassed I brush imaginary dust off myself and follo him out of the room. He leads me up a sturdy staircase to the second floor of the building, up here all the floors are solid wood of a warm honey like colour and the walls are creamy rather than white. The hallway is wide enough for two angels to walk alongside without touching each others wings and decorated with small shelves covered in endless eyecatching objects. We stop at a door just before the hallway takes a turn to unknown rooms I immediately vow to discover. He opens the door without a word and I take a step inside what feels strangely fitting. The room makes me wonder wether he reached into my mind before decorating it because everything in it is exactly the way I would have imagined it. The outer wall has a large window with a windowstill that enables a person, even one with wings, to sit comfortably in the afternoon sun. I can picture myself sitting there, reading and drawing or just gazing out the window. The walls are of a soft blue that matches the sheets and countless pillows on the big four poster bed that takes up most of the room. I am too amazed to take in all of the carefully selected, perfectly fairytale like furniture in the room.
"Is this really my room?", I shyly ask Michael.
"Do you find it to your liking, Felice?", he asks with a smile that says he knows how much I have already fallen in love with this room.
"Well come on then, let´s get you some food. You have all the time to admire your room later", he says and I can hear him mutter something about a library and how I might faint if I´m already so amazed by a simple bedroom under his breath.
We stand at the far edge of the mountains plateau, right next to the staircase. My stomach is in anxious knots, maybe I shoud have told Michael I am afraid of heights before he dragged me out here. Supposedly this is my first flying lesson.
"Tell me again why we can´t do this from the safe ground?", I ask my voice shaking nervously.
"Have you ever seen birds learning to fly? The mother pushes them out of the nest. i promise you it´s way easier this way. Trying to lift yourself of the ground is way harder than what I plan to teach you now. Gliding.", he has a cheerful smile on his face, he is really enjoying this. In the four days that ahve passed I have gotten to know him better and I think I have warmed to him a little. I certainly respect him more but that does not mean I trust him when it comes to jumping off a mountain plateau.
"But what if I do something wrong? What happens if I fall...wait can i die? i mean am I not technically dead already?", I focus on these questions rather than the looming edge.
"Since you are a very young angel, yes you coud die. Your soul would then pass on to the garden where you would spend all eternity. See so even if you fall, which you won´t it would all be fine. Now trust me and jump!", he urges with a dazzling grin in my direction.
"Say I did jump, what do i do once I´m you know falling?", I inquire carefully, not making any promises about the actual jumping part.
"You open your wings, I´ll explain the rest once we het to that stage. It´s really easy, your instincts will kick in"
"My insistincts are screaming at me to back the hell away from thet edge I´ll have you know, Michael", I have to almost shout due to a sudden strong surge of wind.
"Jump already or I´ll push you!", he threatens and I am unsure wether he is serious or not so I decide I might as well just get on with it. The blood pumps in my veins as I take yet another step closer to the edge and look down.
"It´s easier if you jump from a running position, takes you farther away from the rock and lessens the danger for you to crush yourself on it", he advises. Not helping , I think and clench my teeth together as I take a couple of steps back and break into a charge and jump. After jumping there is the strange sensation of falling, not half as unpleasant as one would think until you realise that the ground is coming closer and closer every second you waste admiring the view.
"Now! Open those wings!", I instantly obey his command and feel myself ripped out of the free fall and I grit my teeth from the sharp pain. The pain lessens as I discover how to adjust the angel of my wings so that the air flows under them instead of through them. I see Michael taking a leap from teh plateau, diving face first downards with folded wings. my heart skips a beat thinking he´s done for but at the last possible second he opens his wings and surges upwards. Higher and higher until he reaches me and drifts along side me.
"Show off", I accuse him and it earns me a sharp look from Michael.
"Now that wasn´t too hard now was it? You just need to forget abotu falling and you´ll stop being afraid. No try flapping those wings a bit because otherwise you´ll be face first on the ground first that or the wind will drift you off god knows where!", I do as he says and after a few bad failures I succeed in changing my direction the tiniest bit. We glide along side each other for what seems like a small eternity to me. Like every child I used to dream of flying, of just growing wings and leaving. I dreamt fo the freedom wings offered and of beautiful views of the world from above. now that i am living that dream it seems all the more marvelous and exciting than i could have ever hoped to imagine. I glance over at Michael and find that he is flying with his eyes closed, almost as if he is letting himself drift in the breeze. He seems different here, he seems detached and at ease with himself. All too soon my wings begin to ache and I have to rip michael from his daze.
"I don´t think I can keep this up much longer, Michael"
"Fold your wings", he commands and I stare at him questioningly.
"But I´ll fall!", I argue.
"Isn´t that what you said earlier? Trust me, Felice", it bothers me to say he has a point. So I take a deep breath and fold my wings. Unlike I expected I don´t fall, instead I can feel a pair of strong arms wrap around my stomach, holding me tight against him. Now that he is no lounger concerned ith having to look after me, he picks up speed and ebgins to really fly. Faster and higher than I thought possible. I fell transcended from time and space, like a dream everything passes in a blur and I barely notice the cold sharpness of the wind around me. All too soon I feel solid ground beneath my feet again and when I do I feel like weeping.
"Now what did you learn today?", Michael asks me with a wink.
"Not to be afraid of falling", I reply with a big smile on my face.
"That´s more like it, we´ll pick up from there tomorro if you muscles will allow it", he promises.
"If my muscles will allow it?", I ask dumbfounded.
"Your wings are new, the muscles aren´t fully developed. You´re in for quite the muscle aches", he explains and what he says clears my confusion.
"Please tell me there is some sort of magical way to cure muscle aches?"
"Not really, but you´re lucky as an archangel I am able to use my healing abilities on others than myself without having had to work on that skill as long as other angels would"
"You will have to tell me about those special skills again, what exactly are they and does every angel ahve a special skill? Can you ahve more than one?"
"Whoah, easy there. You need to give me time to answer all your questions. But to make it short, yes all angels have skills. You´ll be working with my brother Gabriel on that. We have collectively decided that it might be the best if more than one of us oversees your training. Especially since Gabriel has a lot more patience than I do", I didn´t think that I would meet one of the other archangels this soon. I wonder if he is anything like his brother Michael at all or if maybe they are complete opposites.
"So what´s he like?", I inquire matter of factly.
"Gabriel is the most empathic one of us I would say, you will like him I think. He is the one that has spend the most time with humans out of all of us since he is the messenger"
"So he´s a people person, when will I meet him to do all this training?"
"Tomorrow afternoon right after your flying lesson with me", he explains whilst walking back in the direction of the house. I am starteled by a flash of black in teh corner of my eye and turn to get a better look but whatever the flash was is already gone. I look at Micchael questioningly, wondering wether I imagined the blur or not.
"Did you see that?", I ask y voice sounding more than a little panicked. At this point surprises aren´t really something I´m up for. I´m tired after flying and my muscles are already beginning to give me a glimpse of what´s in store for me later.
"Nathaniel, she saw you. You might as well introduce yourself now instead of sneaking around like a stray dog", Michaels voice sounds a little harsh. I sense he isn´t Nathaniel´s greatest fan. A tall, dark winged figure emerges from behind a rockface I hadn´t even noticed before. Whoever Nathaniel is he has the walk of someone who is sure of himself and I have to admit he has every right to seeing that he is quite attractive. Is there any angel that isn´t beautiful here or am I damned to be the only one?, I think a little annoyed. Nathaniel is tall and where Michael is all white radiance he projects a darker gloom, like midnight air. His hair is dark brown and a little shaggy, his eyes are so dark they´re almost black like his wings. They are a deep black, the colour of a moonless night and must have been the dark blur I saw.
"Nathaniel, pleased to meet you", he extends his hand in a friendly manner and I gladly shake it, he seems somehow less graceful and careful with his wording than Michael.
"Kather....I mean Felice", I correct myself hastily. You´re making a great first impression already, I mentally roll my eyes at myself and cover it with a smile. "Nice to meet you too", I add after some consideration. I am possible the most awkward conversation partner ever.
"Pretty spectecular set of wings you got there", he says and gives me a wink that is surely meant to be charming and it does work in his favour.
"Eh thanks, ditto", well this is awkward.
" I don´t mean to pry Nathaniel, but aren´t you meant to be running an errand for Uriel?", Michael interrupts.
"Oh yeah you´re right, better get back to it. It was nice meeting you Felice, I´ll see you around", he winks again before taking into flight right from where he is standing. I stare at Michael accusingly.
"You made me jump off that mountain...I could have just done that!", I cast him a glare.
"That takes a lot of training and your wings aren´t strong enough for a start like that yet", Michael replies calmly but I can tell he is annoyed.
I sit in my room, staring out from my window seat into Michaels backgarden. The sketch pad rests on my knees and I find that no matter how much I try I can´t really get the flowers right. My mind drifts off to images of flying and I soon see that what started as a garden scene has turned into a picture of a kneeling angel with open wings, hair covering the face as he is bowing to something unknown. There is a strange vibe coming from the picture and the longer I stare at it the more distant my mind becomes. There is a tingeling sensation on the deges of my mind and I am unsure wether to give in to the pull or not. The longer I wait the more the pulling sensation fades until it is completely gone. I try to grasp the feeling again but it is definetly gone and i spend quite some time weighing possible causes, but fail to come up with any reasonable explanations and decide to just forget about it. I am ripped from my thoughts when there is a loud knock right next to my ear and I jump in shock and end up falling hard on my ass onto the floor. I curse loudly and glare at a grinning Nathaniel who is hovering outside my window.
"Has nobody taught you that it isn´t nice to sneak up on people like that?", I greet him as I open the window.
"Not that I remember", his grin widens.
"What exactly are you doing outside my window?", a reasonable question considering I only met him about four hours ago and that technically he is a complete stranger. If I was still human, when did I stop think of myself as a human? I would have probably called the cops or at least gotten a secure hold on my pepper spray.
"Well has anybody shown you around angel central yet? No? I guessed as much and I have decided that I will take the burden to be your charming guide today, so what do you say?", he offers and I have to admit that i am more than tempted.
"Alright, lemme ask Michael if he´s cool with it?", why exactly I feel the need to make sure Michael is allowing me to go I don´t know, it´s not like he´s my father. But I guess in all the turmoil I have just accepted him as a new figure of authority. Nathaniel´s grin falls oh so slightly as he hears thos ewords but he quickly notices and gives me an even wider smile.
"Sneaking out is all the more exciting, but I guess we both don´t ant trouble with mr high and mighty there. I´ll see you in five at the door?", he just disappears without waiting for an answer. With a sigh I close the window and rush downstairs with a racing heart. I shout for Michael and as I am too busy looking for him, I run straight into him as he walks out of the livingroom.
"Hey slow down there, what´s the matter?", he takes a step back and looks at me questioningly.
"Do you mind if I go out for a while to have a look around the town?", I try to act more calm than i actually am. I don´t really know why I am this excited, but I suppose it must lie somewhere in my curious nature.
"Are you going by yourself or is that the reason Nathaniel has been lurking infront of my door the last couple of minutes after flying by my backgarden?", Michael raises an eyebrow.
"Well yes I am going with him, does that matter?"
"While I don´t really approove of him, I don´t see any harm in it. Go ahead, but try and be back before sundown.", out of an impulse I give him a quick hug and within a few seconds I am out the door, almost knocking Nathaniel over. I really need to watch where I´m going, I think.
"Didn´t know you´d be that eager to get out", he says joyfully and offers me his arm, still drunk on the excitement I accept the offer and together we begin to stroll toward the staircase. He is considerate enough to walk it down with me since I can´t fly by myself yet and a small part of me instantly notes that I already have too good an opinion of him. I tell the voice of reason in my head to shut it since what I may have considered strange a couple of days ago, what I thought impossible has proven to be real so a little more strange can´t possibly do any harm. We walk in silence and as my excitement dies down a little I begin to feel more and more awkward. He seems to sense this, because he starts pointing out little things in our surroundings to me and I find listening to him quite pleasant. There is a certain sense of ease around him. It takes us fifteen minutes but we finally reach the bottom of the stairs and I take a moment to catch my breath. Today I have had more excercise than I did every day of the last month I was alive combined. I will really need to work on my stamina if I ever want to look as graceful as the other angels. Now that I am less anxious and more aware of teh reality of the place I notice more detail than I did the first time walking this path. I notice the little dandelions that grow in the cracks of the cobblestone pathway, the endless mysterious alleyways that lead to unknown places I vow instantly to discover. I see small birds sitting on rooftops and windowstills, quietly watching the town go about its business. The air is heavy with the scent of heather and honeysuckle and I breathe in deeply. The sun casts a hazy glow on the scene and gives it a dreamlike, surreal quality.
"Can you keep a secret?", Nathaniel whispers into my ear, he has to bend down to reach.
"I don´t exactly know anyone I could tell now, do I?", I retort with a conspirative wink in his direction.
"Then follow me", he commands and I figure i don´t have much of a choice but to follow him through a couple of winding alleyways and smaller paths. Admittedly I don´t know hwo he knows where he is going, I can´t tell one house from the other, but the disorientation and secrecy only add to the excitement of this little adventure. Finally we emerge from the field of houses onto a small clearing in the middle of a forest, that I hadn´t been aware existed in the first place.
"Well you can be sure I won´t tell anyone, seeing that I don´t know where we are or how to get home from here", I joke awkwardly.
"The point is that it´s so complicated to get here that nobody ever bothers, most angels don´t know this place exists. I figured you might want a place you can go to when all this", he makes a wide gesture, "get´s too much. I tell you, it´s not easy when you´re not born into this place!"
"What do you mean? Weren´t you born here like everyone else?"
"Nope, used to be human just like you. It´s why I´m not as stuck up as everyone else in this place", he grins and scratches the back of his neck.
"Well I can´t judge, so far I have barely met anyone. But Michael says I´m going to be training with Gabriel tomorrow...", I take a look around the clearing to get a better feel of my surroundings. The forest around us is pretty dense, only one side of the clearing is not covered in trees but rather the backwall of houses that encase the small walkway that led us here. The sunlight from above is interrupted by the thick canopy above and only small specks of pure sunlight reach the ground, everything else shines in an eerie, yet comforting green gloom. Most of the trees are thick, sturdy oaks that look like they have been here for millenia and will remain here forever, their thick bark covered with moss. I can see ivy climbing up some of them, clinging on to the bark like a dying man to his last breath. The grass is lush and vibrant with little, random intervals of blue forgetmenots and fiery red poppies. The clearing has a deep quality of escapism embedded in it in its deserted state. I marvel at the wonderous scene around me, not really expecting Nathaniel to say anything and yet I am glad when he does break the silence.
"Gabriel´s alright. He´s my mentor. He´s definetly more easy-going about things than Michael, but he can be a bit annoying. He always insists I talk about my feelings and he keeps banging on about how my human nature is such an advantage to me, most angels have a different outlook on that one...", Nathaniel sighs but it seems like he is trying to hard to be annoyed, like he is hiding something. I consider asking him about it for a moment but decide to let it go instead. I don´t really want to ruin whatever it is that we are developing here.
"Do the other angels not like you know human angels?"
"Most of them want to put us in the same sort of box as the nephilim, since technically we weren´t born with the angelic grace. They feel superior, well not all fo them do but most. I got a couple of good friends that are pretty okay, I´ll introduce you some time if you want?". Nephilim, the word strikes a chord but I can´t remember where I heard it before.
"What´s a Nephilim?", I ask curiously. For me there is nothing more satisfying than aquiring new knowledge, unlike most children I was always eager to go to school to learn about the way the world works. From a young age I devoured books way out of my age class with a passion that worried my teachers continuously. All this seems so far behind me now, like a different life all together and in a way it is. I wonder if being an angel will change me, will I forget all the people I used to know, places I used to go and all the memories I made as a human? The thought worries me beyong measure, change while necessary is also frightening.
"The nephilim are half breeds, children of angels and humans. In the eyes of most angels they are to be blamed for their parents sins. There is barely any of them left, there was a time when the angels still killed Nephilim, now it is humans that kill them. Nephilim are stronger than normal humans, some of their parents grace still runs in their veins. Humans and angels alike are often scared by things that are different from what they know", there is a sadness in his voice that resonates with something deep within me. I look up and at him for the first time since he lead me here. I notice that his eyes aren´t black as I originally thought but rather a really dark brown that is only visible when the sun hits his eyes at a certain angle. His wings seem to be almost melting into the dark of the forest. Everything about him in this place shows that he belongs in dark places rather than the light, the light gives him sharp edges while here he seems more at ease, at peace with himself almost. He notices that i am looking at him and smiles softly.
"You seem to be coping with all this pretty well...", he trails off at the end, almost as if to leave it open as a question. The sentence hangs in the air heavily. Am I coping well with this? Or have I rather just been ignoring the massive change my life has undergone, surpressed the shock and anxiety and rather focused on the pretty side of it? My mind is clogged, thoughts racing, but I don´t know him well enough just yet to place my cofidence in him.
"I suppose. I imagine that just like every other human I have always dreamt of being more than just that. Above all i have always wanted to fly. All this is mesmerizing and exciting and beautiful beyond measure. So I guess that helps, also I won´t have to worry about morgages and taxes now"
"Has nobody told you angels have to pay heavenly tax and morgages too?", his voice turns serious and my facial expression turns into disbelieveing surprise. He starts laughing as he sees my sour expression and I know that he is making fun of me.
"Come on...heavenly taxes...you should see your face right now", he can barely get the words out inbetween laughs and when I glare at him he laughs even harder. It´s impossible not to join in on the laughter and soon my sides hurt from all the laughing. We spend the afternoon talking about normal things, mundane things. He tells me about his past as a human. He used to live in a small town just outside Toronto in Canada and he tells me the most amazing stories about Grizzley bears and christmas holidays. It´s easy to talk to him, listening to him talk is relaxing and I barely notice how the hours pass until all the light is gone. With a heavy heart i realise that I really have to get home, I don´t want to leave this place. Ever since I arrived in heaven everything has passed in a hectic blur of new experiences, here time passed more slowly, dripping like honey.
"I better get you home before Michael goes looking for you. Wouldn´t want to get you in trouble with him just yet", Nathaniel says as if he could read my thoughts.
"Just yet? Are you implying you will be getting me into trouble with him on another occasion?"
"Only if you want me to.", he winks at me and I realise then that he must be flirting with me. Not exactly sure if I am comfortable with this new situation I reply lamely: "I guess we´ll see.". The spark in his eyes dies a little but he is quick to cover with a cocky smile.
"Let´s go then!", he says and gets up. He begins to walk toward the small pathway but turns after a moment to realise I am not following.
"Are you coming?2, he asks me, tapping his foot on the ground as if to symbolise impatience.
"I would, but I can´t seem to be able to get up by myself. You wouldn´t lend me a hand, no?", I really need to learn how to get up from the ground by myself, I don´t want to rely on people to pick me up all the time. He gently helps me up and together we walk down the cobblestone path through town and back up the stairs. He walks me up to the front lawn of Michaels house and hugs me goodbye. The hug is not half as awkward as I would have pictured it. I watch him walk away for a moment before I turn to knock on the door. Michael opens and I walk past him into the house.
"Felice, I asked you to be back before sundown...", he states and I hear anger in his voice.
"Sorry, I forgot how late it was. It won´t happen again."
"Next time it does I´ll cancel your flying lesson, I need to be able to rely on you."
"Michael, that´s not fair. You´re acting like you´re my father! I´m 22, you don´t need to babysit me", I throw at him harshly. He stares at me for a moment and I can see a fire spark up in his eyes for s split second before he snaps out of it.
"I am your mentor, I´m responsible for your safety and your training. You need to learn to respect my authority as such and I am not arguing about this. In case you ahve forgotten I am still in archangel", he is right I did forget about his position, I may have humanised him too much in my mind. The rules here are different but that does nto mean that I´ll let anyone push me around, archangel or not. I turn and leave him standing there and walk off to my room withotu saying another word. This is probably going to have consequences but i could not possibly care about that right now.
I cautiously walk down the stairs that next morning, unsure what to expect. I speculate wether Michael is pissed off because I left him standing there like an idiot last night. I choose to play it safe and sneak into the kitchen to check the situation, my stealth operation is interupted when I hear Michael clear his throat behind me.
"Trying to avoid someone?", he asks and looks at me sternly. I find myself quite stuck for an answer, not sure what to say to remedy the situation so I just blankly stare at him, waiting for a lecture of some sort.
"Well come on, let´s get you some breakfast. We got work to do, how is your back feeling?", he sighs and I realise that up until this point I hadn´t really payed attention to the throbbing pain in my back and wings. I know that now that I noticed the pain, it´s not going away and I already feel myselof longing for the comfort of a warm bed to lie down and wait until it´s over. Michael glances at me as he passes to prepare some breakfast, not waiting for me to answer his question obviously. As I have discovered, Michael is a fantastic cook and the fruit he serves with his pancakes is beyond heavenly, no pun intended.
"How come everything tastes so much better here and where do you actually get all the ingredients from?", I didn´t see any farms or fields on my exploration yesterday at all. Do the angels just manifest fruit and vegeetables and even eggs out of nowhere?
"We get all our fruit and vegetables from the garden and we have a trade system going on with the other realms that worship animals such as cows and chicken", he explains patiently and I can hear in his voice that he is trying his best to sound casual. Within no time I have a plate of steaming blueberry pancakes infront of me and a bowl of fruit salad on the side.
"Thank you", I manage to get out while already ravenously shoveling the food into my mouth. I have never felt this hungry in my life before and I suppose it comes from all the excercise the day before.
"You call that a lot of excercise? Just wait until Raphael gets his hands on you for combat training", Michael chuckles, clearly having read my mind this time. It appears that unlike Shekinah he does have the ability to read other people´s mind.
"Do you mind not snooping around in my head? It makes me uncomfortable and it´s not exactly fair", I ask him, the annoyance audible in my voice. I don´t like other people intruding my personal space and my thoughts are somethin I would like to have to myself.
"I won´t promise anything, but I´ll try to stay out of your thoughts as much as possible", he replies harshly, I must have hit a nerve. Does he not trust me? Considering he only met me five days ago I understand why he wouldn´t trust me, but then again he expected me to trust him when it came to jumping off a cliff liek rockface that could potentially kill me. For now I´ll acceot his proposition of trying but sooner or later I will make him promise to respect my privacy. There is no pint in argueing just now, especially not when I want him to take me out to fly again. I gulp down the last öpiece of pancake and look at him expectantly. Excitement wells up inside me, I can´t wait to get out again despite my hurting wings and back muscles. I have rarely ever felt so free and transcended from life like I did when I flew for the first time. The sene for wonder and excitement reminded me of when I was a little child, when I still believed that fairies lived in my backgarden. I would spend hours on end looking and waiting, leaving little snacks to lure them closer to me, but they never came. Soon enough I have up and grew up, looking back growing up was a terrible decision. Life is so much easier when you believe in the impossible and I have a feeling in my gut that all this is bringing out the person I was once. It might just be a change for the better to start believing again.
"When can we go?", I can´t hold it in anymore.
"Are you sure you´re feeling strong enough to do this?", Michael inquires with a sceptical look in my direction and with a sigh gets up. "Come on then"
Jumping off the rockface was so much easier today, but the flying put a greater strain on me than it did the day before and I tired very fast. Sadly excitement can´t cure physical exhaustion. Michael drops me off at the top of the plateau and tells me to weait there for his brother Gabriel since he has an errand to run and is already delayed. I sit there by myself in silence, legs dangeling off the edge and drinking in the scenery around me. The height no longer scares me, instead it sends jolts of adrenaline through my blood. I am no longer afraid of falling. It doesn´t take very long for Gabriel to arrive but I welcome the resting period it gave me. As he introduces himself I give him a quick once over, his voice is soft and melodious and he has a less strong build than Michael but i believe he might just be every bit as deadly. Like his brother he is fairly tall, but where Michaels hair is of a golden blonde Gabriel´s is of a dark mahagony colour more like Nathaniels. His eyes are big and friendly, the colour of autumn chestnuts and The dust that covers the tips of his wings is a dark jade green shade that remind me of deep forests. He gives me a curious look and it is then that I notice he must have said something while I was busy staring at his wings. I have to stop doing that...It´s probably very rude.
"I´m sorry, I´m still very new to all of this", I try to explain and he simply nods and gives me a kind smile.
"It´s alright, I frequently traffic among humans so I am quite used to people staring at me. Some of them faint so I´d say you´re doing pretty okay so far"
"So Michael said you´re going to teach me all about angel skills and powers?", I ask curiously, trying to make up for the initial appearance I must have given off.
"I suppose we better get started then. I´d prefer doing this somewhere a little less public. Would you mind flying with me, I´d understand if you´re not comfortable with that...", he asks politely.
"Oh no, it´s fine. Off course", I stand there awkwardly as he takes a step closer, uncomfortably close within my personal space.
"Put your arms around my waist and hold on tight", I do as told and wrap my arms around him, in return his arms go around my back pulling em even closer. He bends his knees all so slightly and in one swift motion takes flight. It´s different from flying with Michael in that Michael usually holds me the other way around but I can see why it was necessary for Gabriels method that I face him. I have difficulties keeping my wings close enough to my body, not to hinder him in his flight and have us both fall to death. Luckily the flight doesn´t last very long and the second we reach the ground he steps away from me.
"I apologise for any discomfort", he says and smiles reassuringly. He has flown us to the other side of the mountain to a smaller plateau infront of a small cave. The area infront of the cave is covered in short grass and in the centre of the plateau there is a big oak tree that creates a large area protected from the harsh sunrays of midday. I can see why he picked this place, it is rather peaceful and isolated. Not quite as tranquil and mystical as Nathaniel´s hideout in the woods, but I can´t really tell Gabriel about that place. I wonder if he knows why Nathaniel feels he needs that little place of escape since he is his mentor. I dismiss the thought when Gabriel begins to explain about these powers I ahve heard so much about.
"Every angel has a gift that is given to him or her by the lord, some of us have more than one and some are more powerful than others. While there are all kind sof different areas you can develop a gift in it is the most common for an angel to have an elemental link, all our gifts are in some form or other connected to the natural world. Off course archangels like me and Michael posses different sorts of gifts than the other angels would since our responsibility is much greater"
"How do I know what kind of gift I might have? Do humanborns have less strong gifts since we weren´t born with the angelic grace?", he looks surprised that I know of the grace.
"Au contraire, humanborn angels often display gifts far greater than other angels would. That is the reason many angels feel threatened by you and the nephilim. Nephilim are..."
"I know about the Nephilim", I interrupt. "I´m sorry...do go on", I motion for him to continue.
"That´s a good start then. The nephilim are important assets should it ever come to a war. Now where ways I? Oh yes humanborns tend to have greater abilities. The first thing we´ll do is meditate to help you open up to your gift. It could be literally anything and it takes some angels longer than others to discover where exactly their talents lie. Often an angel has several gifts that might not necessarily lie in the smae area at all. My student Nathaniel, I believe you know him, for example is able to manipulate shadows to hide him from sight, but he is also able to communicate with all sorts of birds. He is very talented, he has figured out how to use his gift to make them deliver messages for him. I have to say I was very proud when he developed that gift, seeing that I am heaven´s messenger. Sometimes your gift can be linked to your mentors if he was the one who foresaw you, the vision creates a link between the angel and his student.", all of this is a lot to take in but I try to listen attentively. I wonder if my gift will be in any way linked to Michael, will I be able to read minds too?
"What gifts does Michael have?", I inquire excitedly.
"Oh dear, that´s a very personal questions and not every angel is confident sharing this. You´ll have to ask Michael yourself, but I can tell you he is one out of four archangels that can conjure heavenly fire. It´s a very rare and difficult skill to achieve even if you are an archangel and we aren´t sure wether ordinary angels are capable of it at all. Both me and my brothers trained very hard for this, the archangel that is closest to obtaining teh gift of heavenly fire next is Uriel."
"What exactly is heavenly fire?"
"Heavenly fire is purified grace, it is the most pure material. Heavenly fire while highly destructive has the power to cleanse all evil. We believe that the great beast itself could be slain using heavenly fire. It exhausts whoever wields it greatly, one pays a great price for the use of it and if it believes you are not worthy of wielding its flames it will consume you. It takes a high level of self control and concentration to conjure it alone. Michael is by far the most adept of all of us in its use. He managed to bind it to his sword, the only weapon that was ever created capable of holding the fire.", I believe I have heard of the flaming sword before but I completely forgot that it was the archangel Michael who wields it. It is strange to think of Michael as this all mighty avenging archangel type from the bible. He is so much more...human than you would expect and yet he isn´t human at all. It´s hard to describe the way I just already begin to feel part of all this, I mean a week ago I would have called anyone who told me I´d develop cool powers a nutcase and quite possibly gone looking for my pepperspray. Things have changed and as it seems for the better. It turns out that a great deal of this discovering powers is sitting under a tree, trying very hard to concentrate on something other than the abundance of unimportant thoughts circulating in my head. Gabriel just sits there expectantly, looking at me and it is all I can manage not to laugh because for some reason not being able to laugh makes any situation all the more funny.
"Will you at least try to concentrate, Felice! You´re broadcasting your thoughts at such a frequency it is impossible not to listen in!", Gabriel complains and I feel a sudden pang of guilt. I am wasting not only my but also Gabriels time by not taking this as serious as I should. Afterall I will benefit from having cool powers. I take a deep breath and close my eyes, this time focusing on my breathing anf my breathing alone, I soon manage to shut all other thoughts out in favout of just listening to my own (slightly ragged) breaths.
"Better. Now I want you to focus on the ground beneath you. The hard earth and the roots of the tree, try to focus on the pulsing energy flowing from teh earth into that big oak tree that touches your back. Try to focus that energy into you, channel it", I do as he says and focus as hard as I can on teh ground beneath me but unlike him I don´t feel any pulsing energy or whatever he called it.
"I don´t feel anything Gabriel", I let him know, the disappointment in my voice more than clear.
"To be honest i wasn´t expecting you to, you didn´t strike me as an earth elemental. Just had to make sure. Maybe at a later stage, once you get over the initial hurdle of finding where your strenghts lie you will be able to develop in this field. I myself put a lot of time into it, I was curious as to what other elements feel like", he explains to me and I open my eyes for a moment to see him smile, as he sees this he gives me a chastisizing look and I quickly close them again.
"This time I want you to hold out your hand infront of you, you can rest it on your lap. Keep your eyes closed and now I want you to picture a small flame in your head. What does it look like? What sounds does it produce? What does it smell like?", his voice is melodic and easy to follow. I picture a small flame, hovering over my hand, it´s soft yellow and orange, there is no sound to it but I can smell the smoke rising from it. This time there is a spark, flashing brilliantly bright inside me. I can feel the heat rising from my chest and...outward. I open ym eyes in shock to see the small flame I envisioned dancing on my hand, it is beyond beautiful. I stare at it in awe for a long moment before I lift my eyes to see a broadly smiling Gabriel. As my focus shifts to Gabriel the heat disappears and when I look back down the flame is gone completely.
"That was really impressive for a first attempt, I wasn´t sure but it seems you have a rather strong link with the element fire just like Michael. Now you might have a strong wing in another section as well, but I believe this is quite enough for today. I´d like you to practice that for tomorrow and see how long you can keep the flame there. I´d advise you to be careful though, I remember Michael got himself burnt rather badly on his first attempts. He almost burnt heaven down! Don´t tell him I said that though", he gives me a conspirative wink and gets up. He instinctively offers me a hand up and I gladly take it. Of all the angels I have met so far Gabriel seems to be the most sensible and attentive one, he helped me up without having to be asked or watching me fall by myself. Gabriel probably wouldn´t have taught me how to fly by making my jump of a killer edge.
"Michael knows you need to be strong and he is making you strong, by making you learn that there isn´t always someone around to help you up so you better learn how to do it yourself. We have different views on teaching and yet I would have made you jump off that mountain too, well maybe a small mountain first but you get what I´m saying", I don´t think I´ll get over the whole jumping thing anytime soon and Michael will be hearing a lot more about it.
"Will I just wait in the same spot as today tomorrow?", I inquire politely and he nods absently. The flight back home is in mayn ways less awkward, I think I have gotten to know Gabriel a lot better over the course of this lesson and I believe I have taken to liking him. He has a very humane and gentle personality, but I believe that if need be Gabriel would fight for what he believes in and that whoever has to face him should it come down to that better be prepared. There is nothing more dangerous than a nice person when they are pushed too far, they are unpredictable and
I stroll aimlessly around the house in search of something to do while Michael is out running his errand. I do wonder what kind of errand it is that an archangel runs. At least I am failry certain that he isn´t out grocery shopping or doing his taxes, for a minute I try to picture Michael in a supermarker, calmly pushing a trolley infront of himself, buying biscuits and quite possibly knocking things off their shelves with his enormous wings. I reach the end of the corridor I have been walking down and to my surprise it ends in a huge, heavy wooden doubledoor. The door is covered in intricate gold carvings of extreme beauty, all of them seemingly melting into one another. I contemplate opening the door for a minute, because god knows what could be behind it. I come to the conclusion to check if it is locked, should it not be locked it can´t be classified as intruding. One day your curiosity is going to get you in serious trouble, it did kill the cat you know I tell myself as I test the lock, to my surprise the door swings open much too effortlessly for its weight and reveals a massive library. I stare in amazement as I step into the room, the librarys ceilings are high and and features many arches and elegant pillars. Every wall is covered with shelves upon shelves of books. The floor is made out of study, hardwood planks of a dark, honey like colour and the outside windows are works of art made out of stained glass that colour the enteringlight in a dozen or more hues of brilliant colours. One of the stained glass work especially catches my attention, it is a portrait of an angel with a spear in hand, the angel himself seems to be surrounded by light and at his feet lies a slain seprent like creature. I tear my eyes from the window and take another look around myself, all around the room there are sofas and sturdy armchairs of a ruby red velvet. Along with each sofa there is a coffeetable made out of one slab of hard, raw granite that gives the room a rather masculine aura. My steps echo loudly around the room as I walk toward one of the bookcases, wondering what wonderous secrets it might contain. I don´t have an inkling of an idea as to what kind of books someone like Michael might like, war tactics maybe or something in that sort of area. I let my hand trail along a row of books, all of them in mint condition at least on the exterior, until I finally stop a red hardback has caught my attention. I lift it out of the shelf and upon closer inspection discover that the title alone is written in some unintelligible, rune like language. Disappointed I put it back in its former place and pick up the one next to it. To my great delight this one reads in golden letters upon a dark leafy green Assorted Portraits. Curiously I open the book and immediately my breath is taken away by the sheer beauty of the first picture. The first page holds a carefully sketched picture of a young woman in victorian dress sitting on a staircase reading, the artist caught all the little details up to her expression. It is evident taht his subject was unaware she was being drawn, she looks lost in her little world, mesmerized and completely drawn in by whatever she is reading. I have rarely seen anything so intensly raw and beautiful, as a mediochre artist I have a high appreciation of other people´s talents and I can tell you whoever did this is a master at his craft. I flick through the next few pages, unable to stop myself from looking at more and more of them. There is men and women and trainstations, in their gardens, playing with children. And over and over the portrait of the victorian woman, only that toward the end she has wings. Since all the portraits are done in pencil I can only assume the colour of her her and eyes but I can see from the pictures taht she si very beautiful, her hair falls in long soft curls and is done up in some of the earlier pictures like the first one. Her eyes shimmer in a certain way everytime he captured her lost in something she was doing, never looking at the artist. I can tell from the pictures that he or she must have loved this woman very much, because it is clear to me that she is indeed real. No matter how creative you are and how much imagination you have, you can´t capture someone s very soul like that unless you have really seen them. I hastily put the book back where I originally found it when i hear footsteps approaching, for some reason I don´t want Michael to know I was looking at the book, it feels like a secret I´d like to keep to myself. Off course he knows the book is here, I mean it´s his library...I just don´t want him to know that I know about it. I turn around just in time to see Michael striding into the room, I try to wipe the guilty look from my expression and fake a smile.
"So I see you have found my library, find anything interesting yet?", he asks and gives me an ever present questioning eyebrow raise.
"Not really, just browsing a bit. I only got here a couple of minutes ago. You ahve quite the impressive collection I dare say"
"Thank you, I´ve had quite some time to collect. I think the shelves over there would be so much more interesting for you, this section only holds books about battle theory and accounts of humanities greater battles. Nothing of interest to you really", he is lying but why? Maybe he doesn´t want me to see the books in this section for the same reasons I don´t want him to know I did see one of them....hmmm...could it be that he is the artist? I try and fail miserably to imagine Michael sitting there, patiently drawing the woman he loves, admiration in his eyes. No it just doesn´t fit at all. But why is he hiding the book from me then?, I think and for some mad reason I just know that it is this particular book he is hiding from me.
"What´s in the shelves over there then?", I try to not let him on how suspicious I am. He immediately walks away from the shelf and motions for me to follow him.
"Here", he says and hands me a small leather bound book that bears a familiar title, The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. "It´s one of my favourites and I think you might enjoy it. But be careful with it, I got Wilde himself to give me this copy so it is, allthough under a preservation spell, very old."
"Was he not surprised to have an angel ask him for a copy of his book?", I wonder out loud and Michael smiles faintly.
"Well he may have been a little intoxicated when I asked, the next morning he simply thought he imagined it", I take the book from him and feel like he is giving me something quite special to him. I push my earlier surge of distrust to the back of my mind and smile at him.
"Thank you Michael."
"How did your lesson with Gabriel go?", he takes a seat on a smaller leather sofa while I decide to pick the sturdy, red armchair facing him. I tell him everything about my lessona nd he listens patiently as I describe the small flame I managed to conjure up. He gives me a look I can only define as a sort of pride and I feel a small surge of accomplishment well up inside me. Despite the fact that I am 21 I do still like to hear when someone is proud of me for something I have done, believe every human being enjoys praise and the feeling of having done something quite right. We sit there talking for about half an hour until Michael tells me that he is fairly tired and that I am free to do as I like with the rest of my evening. He hands me a small key to the house in case I want to go out and I can tell he is trying to show me that he trusts me. He must have listened in on my thoughts again. i roll my eyes oh so slightly but he isn´t there to see. I leave teh library and carefully close the door behind me. I decide that maybe taking a walk would be a nice idea and I do admit that I hope to run into Nathaniel again. it would be nice to have a friend in heaven and think he´s the best candidate so far. God must have heard my prayers, because just as I leave the house I see Nathaniel sitting on the edge dreamily by himself. He turns around as he hears my footsteps and gives me a small, mysterious smile. He gets up immediately and gives me a slightly awkward hug.
"Felice, what a pleasure to be running into you this fine evening, which is not quite as fine as you if I may remark", he makes an old fashioned bow and I can´t help but laugh.
"Do me a favour and never tyr to pick up a girl with that line!", I barely manage to get the words out amidst my laughter and he joins in.
"No? I thought it was quite good. Well what brings you out here then?"
"I was just going on a walk, would you like to join me. If you´re not too busy making up horrendous pick up lines that is?"
"Let´s not waste anymore time then. Come on, we´ll take a shortcut this time...I don´t fancy walking all those stairs"
"But I can´t fly yet and there is no other way down, is there?", I object and look around me wondering if I possibly overlooked one.
"You could fly with me, I promise I won´t drop you", he suggests and looks at me expectantly.
"Are you sure that´s a good idea?", I´m not sure Michael would consider this a good idea at all, it´s not that I don´t trust Nathaniel but there just is a certain sense of unease.
"Worried Michael mightn´t be too happy if I flew you down? Come on where is your sense of adventure? Forbidden things are all the more fun!", what an odd choice of words for an angel, I think but he is right there is a certain thrill to the thought.
"Alright, you´ve got me convinced", I reply and he grins broadly as he steps in closer to me and puts his arms around my waist.
"Now hold on tight", he says and I swear he must be grinning like a fool as he lifts us of the ground with a few sure flaps of his wings. The flight is short and I hardly notice it when he lands us back on the ground just outside of town. I feel oddly cold as he lets go of me and steps away. I follow him silently to the little clearing and we both sit in silence for what seems like an eternity, it´s not exactly a comfortable silence. I feel incredibly awkward, like I should say something, anything really. I shuffle uncomfortably on the grass and try to find a position in which my wings won´t get tangeled up in each other and just look at Nathaniel. His eyes are closed and he seems fully at ease with himself, less tense than earlier, he seems to be listening to the silence around him. I wonder why he enjoys it so much, I could never bear silence, I always need some sort of noise around me, absolute silence drives me mad. I associate silence with all those dreadful nights I was unable to sleep because the thoughts in my head were racing, depsite the silence there was such a nois inside my head it was next to unbearable. I prefer loud music due to that, it dorwns out the noises of my own madness. Natahniel muist have finally realised my unease, because he opens his eyes and looks at me, his eyes lingering just a second too long.
"Sorry, I just needed that. You don´t believe how dreadfully tiring my training session was today, the birds were all so chatty!", he says apologetically.
"That´s alright, I´m just not a big fan of silence. So you can talk to birds, huh?"
"Yeah, it´s my talent. I heard you had your first session with Gabriel today. Mind if I ask how it went?"
"Not at all. Her explained an awful lot about powers and stuff to me and then we meditated. Turns out that earth isn´t my thing, but fire is. I managed to conjure up a small flame!", I tell him proudly and I believe I see a small ghostly smile on his face, the look on his face seems to be almost nostalgic. Which in turn makes me realise that I don´t actually know how old he is, I mean he looks about 24 but so does Michael and he has been around since the dawn of time.
"Would it be rude if I asked you how old you are?", I ask in a small, almost shy voice that doesn´t sound like me at all. But then again I picture myself differently than what I what other people think I am like all together.
"I was turned on my twenty fourth birthday about two hundred years ago. I went out for a couple of pints with my mates and picked a fight with the wrong person, ended up floating in the Themes with a cut throat. Some birthday present that was!", he tells me and his voice is humerous but I can see the slight bitter expression on his face. It makes me uneasy to see all those hidden, shadowed expressions, people who feel like they have to hide their emotions worry me. I wear my heart on my sleeves, you´ll always be able to tell how I feel with me. I can never keep anything in at all, much to the annoyance of my human friends. Wonder what happened to them, my funeral must have been awful for them, I wonder wether Shauna will be alright. She was always such a cheerful, bright and loving person. I do hope my "death" didn´t upset her too much, I wouldn´t want to be the reasons for shadows to cloud her sunshine.
"Penny for your thoughts?", I must have done that whole blankly staring into space thing again that I tend to do when I´m thinking.
"I was just thinking what my friends are doing right now...I do hope they are alright", I confess immdeiately.
"I understand that better than anyone possibly, I watched my friends die from afar. Well I made Gabriel tell me what became of them sinc ei wasn´t permitted to contact them", there is a deep sadness and I feel like hugging him but I am unsure wether he would want me to, so I keep my distance.
"I´m sorry, didn´t mean to be a buzzkill", I apologise, unsure what else to do really.
"My fault for asking", he shrugs. "So come on let us have a look at that fire!", he says encouragingly and looks me straight in the eyes, there is a trace fo excitement in them now. It´s slightly unnerving the way he just changes from one emotion to the next within a glimpse. I close my eyes, feeling a bit ridiculous, and repeat Gabriels earlier routine. Since I know what I am doing this time it works a lot faster and I manage to keep the flame up even when I raise my eyes to look at Nathaniel. The flame is mirrored in his dark eyes, breaking into dozens of different facettes of colour within them. He´s quite fasinating to observe, epsecially when eh thinks he isn´t being watched. There is something strange about him.
"You can stop admirinng my good looks now, love", he remarks in a thick welsh accent taht doesn´t sound like him at all. I can only assume he put it on to amuse me.
"Don´t do that, it doesn´t suit you at all! You´re not a welshman...or are you?", after a moments consideration he might as well be. I mean he died two hundred years ago, he could have lived anywhere before he died in London.
"Nah, Londoner born and bred. I do speak a tiny bit of welsh though, but I gott admit if you wanna hear a true welshman you´ll have to talk to Raphael. I suppose the welsh got it from him, considering he was there before there was such a thing as Wales"
"You´re joking right?", I cannot imagine an archangel creating an entire speech pattern.
"On the contrary, but you´ll see or rather hear for yourself. He will be training you too won´t he? He´s a good teacher as long as you keep up. But beware he gives everyone annoying nicknames and is probably the only angel willing to stand up to Michael that doesn´t back down all the time", I can´t tell for sure but I believe I can hear a bit of admiration or maybe jealousy in his voice.
"Does Gabriel not stand up to Michael at all? I mean they´re brothers, aren´t they?", I am fairly confused. Why wouldn´t they be willing to stand up to Michael, he isn´t all that scary. Yet again I haven´t really gotten on his abd side yet and from what I hear I don´t think I want to.
"Gabriel is more of a pacifist, he doesn´t pick fights and he doesn´t like being involved in them unless necessary. The only time I have seen him go really mad is when he had a feude with Raphael over Shekinah and believe me nothing is more dangerous than a righteous man when he forgets his principles"
"Him and Raphael had a feude over Shekinah?I met her on my first day, what exactly were they fighting over?", I inquire curiously, I did not know there is such a thing as heavenly gossip.
"Shekinah was Gabriels student and well a little more than that if you get me, but then Raphael well he caught her attention. Long story short she broke Gabriels heart and he blamed Raphael for it, the two haven´t been the same since. I mean they´re civil, but they´re not as brotherly as they were", wow if my friends knew that even angels have these sort of problems...It appears that something in the atmosphere has shifted, I feel less uncomfortable and things have moved more into a direction of friendly chatter. I wonder if Nathaniel considers me a friend, I mean I sort of think of him as a friend already which when i think about it is more than a little odd.
"So they´re fighting because Raphael stole Gabriels girlfriend?", I simplify.
"Well we call them consorts here but yes I do suppose it comes down to that", Nathaniel smiles and I can´t help but smile back.
"So have you got a consort or whatever?", I ask lamely and I admit I may be a little too interested in the answer than I´d like to admit.
"Not at the moment. And you, any significant other back with the mortals?", coming from him the term sounds less condescending and more affectionate. Less like he feels superior to them.
"No, the last one ran off with the prom queen that night", I sigh dramatically.
"I keep forgetting you´re american! What part of the states were you from?", this whole speaking of my life in the past tense thing is something I´m going to have to come to terms with, it´s hard to think of yourself as dead to the world when you are living and breathing.
"I was born in Baton Rouge but when my mom got a divorce, me and her moved down to New Orleans. I loved it there, the french quarter, the music and the surrealistic feel of the town. New orleans is magic for any booklover and artist!", I exclaim in a dreamy voice. The truth is I miss my home, I miss walking down the cobblestone alleyways, the old buildings, Phillipe the guitarrist that plays nothing but old french ballads, the smell of sage and magic in the air. To me New Orleans is a place like no other, there is something about it that is unique and no matter how hard I tried I was never able to capture it quite right in my drawings.
"Did you know New Orleans lies on a spot of very old magic? The legend has it and I can tell you it was Raphael, that an angel once got gravely wounded on a battle ground where new orleans is today and that the power and grace in his blood still flow though the town", he might want to improve his story telling skills but U have to admit it´s kind of cute how he is trying to impress me with all his insider knowledge. Or maybe eh isn´t trying to impress me at all, I mentally shrug, it doesn´t matter much either way.
"What was the battle about?", I inquire, always the relentless history nerd.
"Raphael fought one of hells demons, Pythius. Pythius was a demon of liars and deceiving spirits. He was tormenting what few settlers there were at the time and they prayed to the archangel Raphael. God knows why anyone would pray to him, he´s very annoying and does more talking than actually getting the job done. I guess he can afford to talk though, he is an impressively skilled warrior. I´m sure wiht todays education you have heard of the greek god mars, Raphael beat the guy in a duel", I see that Raphael seems to have quite the admirer. I look forward to meeting him immensly, he seems like he has a sense of humour.
"Wait a moment, the olympian gods actually exist?", hearing that is like a dream come true for me.
"Yeah in one of the parallell realms, not many left fo them though. They butchered each other when the last half blood came along. If you´re lucky Michael will take you on one of the meetings some day!", I still don´t really understand the whole parallel realms or heavens thing but I suppose one day I will and just imagine meeting Athena or Artemis. Once again time has flown by in what seemed to me like an instant, I only notice now because slowly but surely I am beginning to shiver from the cold that is creeping up into the forest. The peaceful clearing looks much more eerie at night with a soft blanket of fog creeping up on me like ghostly fingers. I surpress a sudden urge of panic, I donßt want to embarass myself infront of Nathaniel. I am one of these people who are more than a little scared of the darkk, always have been, absolute darkness and not being able to see my surroundings is possibly my biggest fear. The fear of the unknown, as a child I would refuse to go to bed without leaving some sort of tiny light on somewhere and when my dad insisted on turning them, complaining about the electricity bill I would keep a flashlight under my pillow. I was never the brave kid, always the scared little child afraid of the dark, of monsters lurking in the shadows, hands grasping at your ankles from under the bed.
"I think I´ll need to get going, I´ve got training tomorrow and it´s getting very late", I look over to Nathaniel as I say this and I am awestruck for a moment or two, his wings have almost completely melted into the background. He looks almost human and yet the shadows throw odd angels on his face, much darker than usual. He is almost frightening in the dark and my heart skips a beat as his eyes linger on me for just a moment too long once again.
"I´ll walk you home", he offers kindly and my heart rate slows. The moment of panic passes just as quick as it came on me. You haven´t had a panic attack since you were 19, Felice. Get it together! We spend the walk home in absolute silence and it hangs heavy between us, even heavier than it did this afternoon, it´s not an awkward silence. It´s a deafening sort of choking silence. I nervously clutch onto the hem of my t-shirt, a habit from my therapy days. M ypsychologist always told me that if I feel like I am losing control over a situation to find a gesture that gives me a sense of control, oddly enough in my case nervously clutching my t-shirt has always worked wonders for me. I feel the calming effect of the gesture and teh distraction of the memory flow through me. We reach the bottom of the stairs and Nathaniel just pulls me in without asking and ascends, I can feel the warmth radiating of his body and for a few second I wallow in the pleasant warmth. He sets me down gently just outside Michaels house and I am suddendly aware of every space between us, the cold already creeping back into my bones, reclaiming me. He doesn´t budge from his spot and I get the uneasy feeling that he is expecting something from me.
"Thank you for the lovely evening", I say sincerely, hoping to break the tension that has manifested itself between us. I look up at him, in the moonlight all the sharp angles on his face are softened.
"Same place, same time tomorrow?", he asks confidently and gives me a killer smile. How could I refuse that?
"Sure", I reply trying not to let on that I am really freezing my angelic butt off and would like to get inside the house as quikly as possible. He leans and and kisses me on the check, I am a little too shocked to do anything about it and within a blur he has turned around with a last wink and is striding away towards his own house. That was a totally platonic kiss, don´t get any funny ideas! I warn myself, unsure why I think it necessary to warn myself. Nathaniel and me are friends, totally platonic friends. Oh get a grip on yourself, I can´t help but roll my eyes at myself as I unlock the door and steo into the welcoming warmth of my new home.
Michael and I pass breakfast talking and joking with each other, he doesn´t ask where I went the evening before and I don´t tell him. For now I enjoy having a little secret hangout spot with Nathaniel, he has taken me there every evening for the last week now and I have a feeling we have become good friends already. He promised that today he would introduce me to some other angels so that I can hopefully have more than one friend, I don´t really expect to become popular in a day but it would definetly be nice to know some more people. I have never been the popular kid, rather the quiet kid in the corner observing the others from time to time when my eyes came off the sketch pad.
"Today you´ll be training with Raphael, I´m sorry but I won´t be able to take you out flying today. There is something I need to attend to and I might be gone for a few days, will you be okay on your own or do you want to stay with Gabriel?", urgent business? I wonder what said business is.
"Michael I´m an adult, I think I will be quite alright staying here by myself"
"I just thought you might not fancy being alone, I didn´t mean to offend", he says softly. The sun falls on his hair in a way that makes the golden shimmer in it more evident, creating the illusion of a halo. I feel a subtle itch in my fingers to draw him, I question wether he would let me if I was to ask him.
"Thanks but I´ll be alright. So I get to meet your brother Raphael today hmmm? Care to give me some background info so I know what to expect? I have heard a few things about him already...", he looks surprised for a moment and then sighs heavily.
"Raphael is a bit of an open book, he can and will tell you what he thinks of you, he doesn´t mean to be offensive so don´t take everything he says to heart. He is an impressive warrior and I could think of no better teacher for you. I´m sure the two of you will get along well just beware he can be quite...charming", Michael sounds a little worried and for a moment he reminds me of those dad cliches.
"Don´t worry Michael, I don´t think I´ll be suspect of those charms in any case. I´m very good at avoiding attention, you could say it´s my superpower", I smile almost wearily. Not being noticed isn´t always such a great thing.
"I wouldn´t be so sure of that", he mutters quietly under his breath, a gesture that seems painfully human on him. In some odd way it suits him though, I like him much better when he does these little human things that, he´s less of an untouchable all mighty angel then. He clears his throat. "I better get going then, Raphael will come around for your training some time this afternoon so make sure you´re there. Believe me you don´t want him going looking for you", he says this in a way that makes me wonder on what kind sof occasions Raphael has gone looking for Michael and what exactly happened. I make a mental note to ask either Nathaniel or Raphael himself. I get up to hug Michael goodbye, he doesn´t seem to stoked to be hugged but he permits it and after a very long, awkward pause he hugs me back. He says goodbye and disappears upstairs presumably to get his things. I know that I won´t be seeing him walk out the front door so I sneak to the backgarden to watch him take off. It´s breathtaking to watch him spread out his enormous wings, the way the light catches and reflects on the gold dust that upon closer inspection runs in a complicated pattern along his wings. His face is illuminated by the bright early morning sun and I can only describe the sight as glorious, when I look at him during these moments I understand while the whole world is so obsessed with angels, why the greatsest artists could not help but fruther imoortalizse them in their works. This time something is different however, Michael is wearing armour and I can see a broadsword fastened to his back just between his wings. Is he going off to fight some battle? What kind of battle needs interferance from an archangel?, I admit that I am worried about Michael. He is one out of quite the small curlce of angels I have gotten to know and over the short time that I have known him he has grown on me and I know that I already deeply care about his well being. There is also the matter that without him I am going to be more than lost in this world.
"Checking out the man himself I see, here I thought I had a shot", I hear a voice next to my ear and jump in shock. I turn to the side to see a grinning Nathaniel.
"Thought I told you that sneaking up on people isn´t very nice!", I complain and glare at him playfully.
"Thought I told you that my rudeness is uncurable? Now that Michael´s gone, have you got any plans this wondeful day?", he asks me cheerfully and I roll my eyes at him which causes him to grin yet again. It´s almost as if that devilish grin is glued to his face.
"What are you, a cheshire cat? Well I do have to train with Raphael later, but how about I give you a call when I´m done?", I realise my error just as the words are out. There are no phones or internet or anything of that sort in heaven. Their advances seem to have gotten just as far as electricity, beacsue for some reason Michael does have a fully equipped kitchen.
"If only I was a cheshire cat, I could think of many an occasion where being invisible would be of advantage", he says woefully. "Here, I´ll show you a neat little trick that is so much more fun than a phone", I look at him expectantly as he holds out his hand. I wait for him to move it or to tell me wether I ahve to do anything, but as I open ym mouth to speak he puts a finger on his other hand on his lips. And then I see it, a small blue colibri comes flapping towards us and lands on his hand. He cups his hand oh so sligthly as if to provide more comfort for the little bird and whispers something to the small creature. The little birds head turns and looks at me through his beady eyes and makes a small chirping noise. Nathaniel looks at the bird and whispers to it again, in a more persuasive tone, he frowns as the bird chrips and looks at me. Then he looks back at the bird and whispers to it more intently. I only remember then that Nathaniel can communicate with birds and taht the two of them must have been talking about me. I suddendly wonder what exactly the bird is saying. Finally, Nathaniel sighs and looks up at me apologetically.
"They´re very suspicious creatures and the colibris in particular are a little arrogant. However I convinced this little fellow and believe me I had to bribe that fucker", the word sounds to harsh coming from him and I look at him in surprise. He´s the first angel to have cursed around me, I didn´t even know you could swear in heaven. i somehow just assumed that god himself would smite you if you did dare to use any kind of abusice language.
"Convinced him of what exactly? And how does one bribe a bird?"
"To act as a messenger, preferably I would have gotten and owl or a raven but she was the first to answer my call. Oh you know I had to promise her to listen to her new song and to help her catch more worms with my magic tricks as she calls them", he shakes his head in what I would call disbelief.
"How can she act as a messenger if I don´t speak bird", I ask dumbfounded.
"Simple, if you keep this charm with you, she will be able to find you and deliver letters. It only works for this particular bird because the charm has one of her feathers on it", he throws the little bird an apologetic look and pulls one of its colourful feathers. The bird goes into a lithargy of what must be birdly profanity because she is now angrily hopping on Nathaniels hand, picking away at his hand. He gives her a warning look but I can see the affection in his eyes. He sets the bird down gently on the grass and carefully fastens the feather to a small leatherband with small pearls on it. "Give me your arm", he directs me and I obediently hold out my arm to him, his fingers brush against ym skin lightly as he ties the leather strap around my wrist, the feather tickles slightly as it slips down into position as I drop my arm back to my side.
"Thank you", I say and I have to admit that this is one hell of a handy present if it really allows me to communicate with him via bird message.
"The pleasure is all mine", the words sound too formal coming from him and it is all I can do not to smile. He´s quite dorky for an angel when he isn´t busy being gloomy. "Oh right I almost forgot, if you want the colibri to come to you to deliver a message you concentrate on the feather and conjure up a mental image of her as best as you can. It can be a little tricky at first but you´ll get the hang of it, the connection of the feather on your skin should be enough", he explains to me and I have to admit it sounds a little dodgy but then again everything in this place is more than a little dodgy when compared to human reality.
"I´ll let you know when I´m done training then?"
"I´ll be waiting", he says promisingly and hugs me tightly before he leaves. At this point i have figured out how angel hugs work and that the main thing is not to touch the other party´s wings. Hugging Nathaniel is less awkward than hugging Michael in the sense that Nathaniel seems to enjoy the proximity, however there is this odd sensation just at the back of my mind everytime we touch. Almost as if there is something off, something profoundly wrong. I push the feeling to the back of my mind and lock it in an imaginary box, I have no need for unreasonable paranoia and I certainly can´t start questioning the one friend I have. Nathaniel takes off, his exit so much different and yet so alike Michaels. Unlike Michael his wings don´t reflect the light, they seem to swallow the light. His messy brown hair falling into his eyes as the wind catches onto him in flight, I can see him smiling and he waves down to me before fixing his eyes back on the sky. I watch him get smaller in the distance and I swear that can see a small flock of birds joining him on the way. I sigh heavily, feeling strangely alone walking back into teh house. It feels so much more empty with Michael gone and Nathaniel gone back to his house, maybe I should ahve taken Michael up on his offer afterall. I wallow in self pity and loneliness for a moment before making a promise to myself not to be miserable, I had been living on my own for two solid years before the accident. I used to like being alone, it was so much easier not having to pretend not to see them look at me, judging me. However it was much more painful when they stopped looking, I have to admit, when I became just something constant in the background, forgotten about. It was Shauna who pulled me out of my misery and state of symbiosis with the wall behind me, she walked into my life one day a bubbeling ray of sunshine and decided that it wa sunacceptable for me to sit there all by myself. To this day I am unsure why exactly she decided this, it wasn´t that she had a lack of friends or admirers but it must have been her good natured soul. Thinking about how she must feel makes me feel so much more alone and I soon forget my solemn pledge not to wallow in my self pity.
Raphael makes quite the entrance upon his arrival by almost flying into the glassfront of the house, stopping mere inches infront of it. He smiles a killer smile as he spots me and gestures for me to come outside. Slowly I make my way outside, giving him a quick once over while I think he isn´t looking. Raphael had Michaels strong warrior like muscular build and reminds me of a celt for some reason. This impression may be due to the fact that his hair is a copper coloured mass od hair that seems deliberately messy. His eyes are green and seem to dance wirth excitement. I can see that he has a hard time standing still, waiting as he is tapping his foot to an inaudiable rythm inside his head. His wings are white, something I can now definetly narrow down as an archangel trait, all other angels I have seen have displayed all different kinds of shades but never this resplendent white. The tips of his feathers are covered in bronze dust that seems to attemot to mimick his hair colour unsuccessfuly.
"Take your time, love. I am quite used to lasses staring at me", I can´t help but gape at him as he speaks in a thick welsh accent. Turns out Nathaniel was not kidding when he said Raphael speaks like a welshman. Arrogance seems to be something the two of them share as well.
"I´m guessing you´re Raphael then, hi I´m Felice", I try to extend my hand to him but he has already pulled me into a bear hug. Personal space obviously is not one of his priorities.
"I know who you are, love. Let´s waste no time with formalities ´cause we´ve got work to do! You better get changed into something more practical while I set up", he throws a bundle of clothes at me and waves his hand frantically, indicating I hurry up. I run inside and into the nearest bathroom to get changed. Turns out the clothes he has given me are aromor like, thick dyed black leather. To my surprise they are fairly okay to move in, a little stiff maybe but sizewise thesy fit like a second skin. Which thinking about it has me a little concerned as to how Raphael knew my dress size. Slightly creeped out I emerge from the bathroom and make my way back outside. While I was gone Raphael has marked out a fairly large, squared piece of lawn and a rack with a lot of lethal looking weapons. I swallow heavily, what exactly is Raphael training me for? He notices my presenc eimmediately and waves at me, a big smile on his face. He seems to really enjoy this sort of thing, I admit that while I am a little scared of what exactly is going to happen I am also pretty excited.
"Now, whatcha think of that darling? Don´t worry you won´t actually use any of those just yet", eh says as he sees my worried glance toward the weapons rack. "I just want to give you a short intro as what each of them are used. You can give them a try if you want, but we won´t get down to the actual fighting with them", he says encouragingly and walks me over to the weapons rack and away from what I mentally refer to his little pit. He picks up one of the many swords on the rack and balances it out on his outstretched hands. It looks very heavy, but for someone of his stature it mustn´t weigh much.
"This love, is a scottish two handed claymore. I forged this one myself a couple of centuries back. You hold it with your best hand on top and the other underneath liek this", he demonstrates the prper way of gripping the sword and shows me a few swift swings with it as to demonstrate technique. "Here come on ande give it a try", he hands the sword to me. I was right it is very heavy, either that or possibly more accurately I am simply too weak. I try to mimick his demonstration of the proper grip and the sword almost slips from my grip. Raphael, who has snuck up behind me apparently, places his arms around mine and repositions my hands to have a steadier grip. It appears that like Natahniel he has zero inhibitions when it comes to other people´s personal space. He helps me lift the sword and does a few practice swings with me, despite his help teh weight of the sword still puts quite a strain on my arms from holding its weight. Raphael steps back and takes the sword from me, carefully placing it back on the rack like something precious. Next he lifts a long, metal staff from his rack of death. The ends are sharpened and look menacingly sharp. "This is a quarterstaff and has the tactical advantage that you can keep a fair distance from your opponent. Remember it´s not used like a spear despite its similiar looks so don´t throw it. The spikes at the end are self explanatory I believe", he explains patiently. Again he shows me how to properly hold the staff and demonstrates a shot sequence of jabs and blocks before handing it to me. The staff is a bit too long for me but not quite as heavy as the claymore and I enjoy my small success in wielding the staff in a bad mockery of Raphael´s clean, systematic sequence without hitting myself with it. Raphael smiles approvingly.
"That´s pretty good for a first try, love. Now let´s try this one!", he takes the quarterstaff from me and hands me a weapon I can actually name, a Morningstar. For once i don´t follow his explanation quite as attentively since I already know about its origin and use. My granddad was a big collector of medieval german items, among them a morningstar or Morgenstern as it was called my the germans. Raphael seems impressed when I tell him this.
"I believe I would like to meet your grandfather some day! I don´t think there´s any point in trying to get you to swing it, you wouldn´t be able to lift it", so instead of handing it to me he simply places it back on the rack. There is still a few weapons left but Raphael tells me that we will get to them the next time. "That´s quite enough theory, let´s do some fighting!", he sounds almost giddy. He orders me to stand in the middle of his pit and demonstrates a stance. He watches my attempts to get it right and when he isn´t happy with teh result demonstrates it again. From there on he just has me switching between different stances for over an hour until he is happy with the way I stand. He tells me taht this is quite an essential part and quite crucial for my further training, all I can see is that my legs are beginning to hurt from a lot of lunging and holding tension. Next he teaches me a short sequence of jabs and kicks until i have a hard time lifting both arms and legs. Throughout the process Raphael encourages me, but he isn´t always as patient as he was with the weapons. I could hear him getting frustrated with me more than once and my spirits are diminished by the end of the session. In my current state I just want a hot shower and to crawl into bed and preferably die, I don´t even want to think about how I´m going to feel tomorrow. The whole exercise wouldn´t have been so strenous were it not for the wings adding to my body weight and messing with my sense of balance.
"Same time, same place tomorrow and I don´t want to hear any whining about hurting muscles and such. You´re well capable", Raphael tells me before leaving. "You did good today, but don´t rets on thos laurels. i´ll expect better tomorrow!", while that may seem a little harsh I´m willing to accept it as a compliment. Raphael smiles broadly and walks out the front door to my surprise rather than taking off flying. He left the equipment in the garden and I question wether i should move it or not for a minute, but my aching limbs make that decision very easy for me. I head for a long, hot shower. When i return to my room, wrapped up in a big fluffy towel, there is a letter lying on my windowstill. I completely forgot to close the window this morning, but seeing the letter I am glad that I did. I examine the letters exterior, the envelope is crispy white and my name is written on it in elegant black ink lettering. The letter within is not quite what I expected, instead of a message I find a quotation that is to be attributed to Edgar Allan Poe if memory serves me right. It reads: Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;" . I wonder what exactly Nathaniel is trying to tell me through this line since I am assuming he is hoping to tell me something. I make a mental not to ask him about it later, maybe it´s a sort of test? I am sleepy after the hot shower and decide it might be best to sleep on it for a bit before I call on the little bird to deliver a message to Nathaniel. However the so planned short nap, turns into a 5 hour long napping fest and i wake up to a pitch black night sky. I stretch lazily, already feeling pains all over my body and groggily walk downstairs to pour me a glass of water. I doubt it´s any use messaging Nathaniel now as I am sure he might be asleep already, I´ll just explain the situation to him tomorrow and hope he understands. It is in the kitchen that I remember Michaels absence and decide that now might be the best time to have another look at that book in the library without his knowledge. I grab a small blanket from the sofa and make my way upstiars, the floor is cold beneath my bare feet and the house is eerily quiet. My heart quickens a little when my mind tricks me into seeing shapes in the shadows around me. I hasten my pace and clutch the blanket a little tighter, it´s silly to be afraid but I can´t seem to shake my unease. I let out a heavy sigh of relief when the ehavy library door swings shit behind me, my heart rate slows. For some obscure reason I feel safe in here, like a haven the library is inviting with its dim oil lamps and heavy carpets. It feels like I´m doing something forbidden and yet I cannot explain why I feel this way, Michael probably wouldn´t even mind me looking at the book. Still there is this nagging voice in my head, telling me that there is more to that book, I feel drawn to it. I quickly cross the room, now almost impatient to get my hands on it. I reach the shelf, my heart almost exploding within my chest, ragged breaths escaping my lungs. I pick the book up and everything goes still, it is then that I realise the silence around me, nothing but silence. I notice something different about the book, it feels heavier than last time. I frown at it for a second before I realise it´s kind of ridiculous to frown at a book. I carefully open it to see why it might be heavier and to ym surprise I find a stack of papers lying inside the book. It takes me less than two seconds to find the nearest armchair and as soon as I get comfortable, I exmaine the stack of papers. The stack consists of ten or so pages, all heavy and thick paper, bound together with string. Delicately I loosen the string and examine the first page. The hand writing on it is done in black ink and is very neat and precise, I recognise a masculine hand in the writing. On closer exmaination I notice that the handwriting isn´t the only thing, the back of the page holds more drawings. Unlike the drawings in the book this one is highly disturbing, it shows a kneeling angel, arms and legs bound by chains to a wall. I can only make out half of the angel´s face, the rest is covered by long strands of hair. He head down in a way that suggests a lack of faith and utter defeat. The angel is wearing what looks like a white dress, torn in many places and from the looks of it covered in filth or maybe even blood since the angel displays many wounds. Her wings like her dress are filthy and slightly torn, the left one especially is bent at an unhealthy angel that suggests it has been broken. The image terrifies me, why would anyone want to draw something like this, it looks too realistic and it most certainly has shivers running down my spine. The writing on the front of the page reads:In that muffled monotone, Feel a glory in so rolling On the human heart a stone-- They are neither man nor woman-- They are neither brute nor human-- They are Ghouls:-- And their king it is who tolls I feel like I faintly recognise the line from somewhere but I can´t tell where I have heard it before. I am usnure wether I want to look at the rest of the pages after this, but something tells me I have to. The following images are even more bizarre, full of strange and twisted creatures with claws and fangs. They look like what I would have called a demon when I was still human, now I don´t know what to call them. There is no writing to accompany most of these images and I am almost glad, but the last page is even stranger than the first one. This page depicts a male angel with wings dark as night, almost like ravens wings, it´s evident from the drawing that the model is very well built and strong. Like the first picture it is impossible to make out the angel´s face, all that is visible is a mouth twisted into a darl, cruel smile. Hestitatingly I stare at the picture in horror, I can no longer believe that these are Michael´s drawings and yet the question remains what they are doing in his library. They must have been made by an angel, that much is clear to me and yet what kind of angel would draw such scenes and creatures and leave them in a book full of beautiful drawings. Some darker corner of my mind doesn´t want to admit the fact that I know for a fact these drawings have been done by the same artist, the same careful lines and teh same style. But what would change a person so much that they would go from observing utter beauty to depicting hellish scenes. The last page only reads a short note: "In a clamerous appealing to the mercy of the fire, in a mad expastulation with the deaf and frantic fire leaping higher, higher, higher, with a desperate desire". This final line resonates, dark within my mind, ringing in my ears. I put the pages back together carefully and tie them with the string and place them back inside the book. The pages are something I don´t want to look at again and I doubt that I will come back fro the book either, it changed something in me and I feel a huge wave of relief when my hand finally lets go fo the book and places it back on the shelf and yet there is a burning sensation in my heart, I feel as if some of that darkness has crept up through my arm into my soul. I try to shake the thought and yet it linegrs, dangerous and inviting. I feel as if a darker presence took a hold, sank its teeth in me and I know that it´s not going to let go. My breathing speeds up and I try my best to think of something, anything else. My mind is running wild and my imagination isn´t far behind. I try to control my breathing, nervously wiping my hands on my jeans as if that would rid me of this tainted feeling. I cluth the hem of my shirt in a desperate attamept to regain sie control, failing. It takes me over half an hour to get my breathing and my heart beat to level and still every shadow looks like a monster now, more so than before. I feel the panic rushing on and ebbing, like a wave. Deliriously I ride the wave of madness, time dripping slow, until finally I dare to open my eyes and to release my iron grip on mky t-shirt which is now frayed on the edges. My hands are beyond sore from the hard clutching and I can see red crescents on my plams where the fingernails have cut me through the t-shirt. I don´t think I have ever been this scared in my life, what was it about these images, I mean I have seen things that were perhaps more horrific in my life and yet. It must have been the reality of them and I have no doubt that the artist had real life inspirations for his art. Still shivering, I walk back to my room, jumping at every creak of the wooden floor beneath my naked feet and with the knowledge that these nightmare scenes will haunt my dreams tonight and my waking hours for days to come. I slide into my bed, pulling teh covers up to my chin in the childish hope they may protect me. But while the covers may protect innocent children from monsters under their beds, they can´t protect em from the monsters lurking in my own head. In my dreams that angel is me, I am bound in my cell, wings torn and broken. I should be cold in the dress and yet there is an unbearable heat coming from the walls. Worst of all is not the despair of having no eycape, no. Worst of all are the screams. The endless, agonising screams of tormented souls.
I barely slep at all last night and it is wearily that I walk down the stairs to get ready for my lesson with Raphael. I feel like throwing up as soon as I try to eat anything at all for breakfast and ultimately I give up on trying tof orce any more food down my throat. I have a quick shower and it is only under the hot water spray that I allow myself to slide down the back of the shower into a crouching position and start sobbing. I can´t understand the deep terror in my heart, I mean they were only pictures and yet... I scrub angrily at my skin, trying to get what I picture as black goo from my skin, but off course there is nothing there so I only succeed in scrubbing my skin raw. I tear at my hair in frustration and I feel like screaming. I know that I can´t tell anyone about this, they would only call me crazy, tell me I´m overreacting. I have been there before and at some point when enough people tell you you´re crazy, you start believeing it yourself. Eventually you learn to pretend you´re fine, sitting there in the shower I realise that what is happening must be surpressed emotions resurfacing. Up until this point I have glorified my human existence, pretended it was all fine and rosy. It wasn´t. My world hadn´t been quite right ever since my grandmother died.
I was with her that day like every other thursday, we always spent a lot of time together and were incredibly close. I left to get some cake for teatime and ran into one of my friends on the way back, we talked for half an hour until i remembered that Grandma was probably waiting on me. She always had been a very impatient woman. All the way back to the house I felt a sense of unease in my stomach and I was unsure of the cause, it wasn´t until I heard teh screams coming through the door on the front porch that I realised why. I rushed in to help her, thinking that maybe she had fallen on the stairs or that maybe a burglar had tried his luck, but when I burst in the door I saw something else entirely. A creature of human size, but it was clear from looking at it that this thing wasn´t human. It had long sharp claws instead of fingers and leathery, crippeled wings on its back. It must have heard me, because it turned and snarled at me visciously, my heart stopped and I was frozen in shock and fear. These sort of things were not meant to exist. It looked at me through yellow eyes with split pupils, snake like and the fangs in its mouth dripped with acid. The creature´s talons were covered in blood and it wasn´t until then that I saw what was lying behind it. It was my grandmother, but what the creature had left of her was barely recognisable at all, the rib cage torn open and blood everywhere, her guts were missing so the creature must have eaten them. Seeing her like that pulled me from my frozen state and I screamed. The creature didn´t make a move, I suspected I would be next but as I turned to run all it did was smile at me and put a finger to his lips.
"shhhhh", it said in a hissing voice before it just...vanished. From one second to the other the creature was just gone, the only thing that remained was the corpse. I screamed and screamed in terror, unable to do anything else. It took the neighbours five minutes to call the police and when they arrived they found my in the far corner of the room rocking back and forth. Off course they conducted several interviews, asking me what I had seen, I told them my story over and over but they never believed me. They said it must have been a psychopath and they looked everywhere for clues but never found anything at all. The papers made a huge story out of it and for months the whole town was in panic, but eventually the case was closed and everyone returned to their daily lives. Not me, my mother took me to see countless psychologists, put me on medication and everything, but nothing helped. They told me that in my trauma I made up the monester to cope with the situation, told me I was crazy. It wasn´t until long that I started to believe them, to believe that it was all just in my head. I gave up, defeated and began to distnace myself from the world and began to pretend I was okay, that I was fine just to make them leave me alone. My mother was over the moon when she began to hear of my "recovery", when I started hanging out with ym friends again and I began to forget or at least told myself I forgot.
I must ahve surpressed the memory in my excitement of becoming an angel, everything had gone so fast and I´d been so busy. But the pictures brought it all right back. I stop sobbing, when there is no more tears coming from my eyes, all I am left with is a dull throbbing in my head and a burning scalp. I release the grip on my hair and shakily stand up. Mechanically I dry myself and get changed into my training gear, a grim expression on my face. I see my own face in the mirror and I know that if I walk downstairs with an expression like that Raphael will ask questions so I try my best to smile.
"These pictures can´t harm you. They are just pictures. I am okay....I am okay", I repeat over and over to myself in the mirror, until it sounds like I actually believe myself. If you lie long enough, you start believeing your own lies. Training with Raphael helps, the repetitive excercise helps me drown out my thoughts. I fight harder than the day before in an attempt to tire my body to a point where it will be too exhausted to think.
"Something bothering you, love?", Raphael asks and I can hear a slight concern in his voice.
"I´m fine, thanks. Just didn´t sleep very well, chronic insomniac", I lie and shrug. He gives me a look but doesn´t say annything else. I must work on my lying skills, because otherwise they are going to catch on. The angels I am sure will be less depserate to believe I am alright than my mother was and who would blame her? I finish my training with Raphael, feeling not nearly exhausted enough but he tells me to take it easy and takes off. Wearily I trudge into the house to take another necessary shower.
I see a dark figure leaning against the screen door when I go downstairs to make some tea and I recognise Nathaniel immediately. I open the screendoor and walk outside, the chilling evening air creating goosebumps on my bare arms.
"You never called", he states and I find the expression of calling quite odd considering we´re talking about sending a message via bird. "Are you alright? You look a little out of it...", he says and steps away from the screendoor towards me. This is what I was trying to avoid, I can´t have him knowing or he´d only want to know more and my past is not something I want to reveal to someone I barely know at all.
"I´m sorry, I was exhausted after training yesterday and overslept, thought that messaging you that late would only wake you. No, no I´m fine. Just a bit of a headache", I smile shakily. He narrows his eyes in suspicion, clearly suspecting I am not telling him the full truth.
"I´m always up very late so don´t worry about that. I also don´t appreciate people lying to me and you are a terrible liar. However I´ll let you off the hook this once, if you don´t want to tell me what´s wrong that´s alright but don´t lie to me", he says firmly and I notice that this is something he is very passionate about. I make a mental note not to lie to him, I wouldn´t want to loose my only friends. But I am also not going to tell him the truth, that means can respect his principles and keep my privacy. Nothing good comes of telling people there´s something wrong with you, they only try to fix you then and there are things that just can´t be fixed.
"Why are you actually here?", I ask him wondering about the reason of his sudden appearance, surely he didn´t just come by to ask my I never messaged. He could have sent a bird for that, so why is he here?
"I have my reasons", his voice sounds rougher than usual and I notice an odd sparkling in his eyes. It´s quite an odd thing to say but I decide not to push it, afterall I´m not exactly sharing either.
"Well what do we do now? Do you want to come in,it´s kind of cold out here?", I offer shivering.
"If Michael knew you´re letting me into the house...", he mutters but follows me in nevertheless.
"Why do you think Michael doesn´t like you?", I ask suddendly and I can see a shadow move across his face.
"Haven´t the slightest idea", he says a little too quickly.
"I´m not the only bad liar and you´re also a bit of a hypocrite. Now why does he not like you?"
"You got me. I think he´s suspicious of my me, he told me he knows I´m hiding something", he shrugs.
"Hiding what?", the words slip out of my mouth uncontrollably. I shouldn´t be asking questions liek that unless I´m sure I want to hear the answer. He is standing intimidatingly close, making the kitchen look somewhat claustrophobic.
"We all have our demons, but I don´t have anything to hide, nothing that would concern him anyway", he says and I wonder what kinds of secrets Nathaniel thinks he has to hide. Are his demons anything like mine? Don´t even think about telling him, what good ever came of you telling people about what you saw?, a voice whispers in my head and some other part of me argues, but maybe he knows something you don´t? Besides what kinds of demons does he have, I don´t think you want to know what he hides in his own little hell. I find it quite worrying that two voices in my head contradict each other, I make a quick prayer that I am not developing a multiple personality disorder or going crazy for good.
"Do you want some tea, I was just making some before I saw you?", I ask politely in a hope to steer the conversation in a different direction. He shakes his head with a smile so I only fill one cup and take it over to the dining table. I motion for him to take a seat as I begin sipping carefully.
"Now, want to tell me what you did today? I have nothing of interest to tell really. I just trained with Raphael all day because Gabriel had to cancel as well. Do you know where all of them are? I mean Michael left wearing armour...", I inquire remembering how odd I thought it to see Michael leave in full battle gear.
"I just worked on my guitar playing, wrote a new song. Oh I wouldn´t concern myself with their business if I were you, they don´t like it when us ordinary angels pry into their business. Michael will tell you if he thinks you have to know about it", the words don´t sound liek the Nathaniel I have gotten to know at all. His voice is condescending and I feel like a scolded child, the Nathaniel I thought him to be would be the first to tell me if he knew what was happening. Yet for some reason he is withholding this information from me. The thoughts are racing in my head and I suddendly see him in a different light, there must be a reason for his odd behaviour, but for some reason I just know that asking him wouldn´t accomplish anything.
"I didn´t know you played the guitar, you´ll have to show me some time!", I say instead and try my best to smile convincingly. I find being around him eases the fear a good bit, he is a fine distraction and I find myself hoping he might stay. Not in a romantic way, just stay with me so I don´t have to be alone. There is nothing worse than being trapped in a nightmare all by yourself and I have been left in the dark of my own head too many times.
"I´m not very good, but it passes the time. I might play you a song or two next time!"
"I would like that. Now this might sound odd and don´t get me wrong I´m not making a move on your or anything. But would you mind staying tonight? I underestimated how creepy a big house like this gets when you´re on your own...", he eyes me suspiciously, questioning wether that is the full reason for my request but after a long minute he nods.
"Just let me get a few of my things", he says and leaves for a space of time that stretches awfully long, I am close to giving up faith in him coming back at all when he reappears with a small bag and a sleeping bad. I did not think angels needed sleeping bags. He sees my surprised glances at the sleeping bag.
"Has Gabriel not taught you about manifestation yet? You can manifest quite an impressive number of things if you try hard enough. We´re told not to overuse the power though as it is self-indulging. Not really angelic now is it?", he says and smirks oh so slightly.
"So say I wanted to manifest a phone?", my tone is hopeful. Being able to talk to my friends would be such a relief, one or two of them know about my past and the dark place it has put me in. I lost quite a lot of the few friends I did have in that time, but the few that remained at my side supported me through it.
"Phones don´t work up here, no connection towers. We´re on a different plane of existence as you might have notices, we exist at the same time as earth and the universe but in a somewhat different place. It´s hard to explain. There are some overlapping points between this realm and earth and we use those to travel between the worlds", all this sounds an awful lot like a science fiction book but I´m not picky about whatever explanation I can get about the place I´m in.
"I think I understand what you´re saying. Is there anyway to pass a letter or anything over at all?", I ask him in almost a desperate plea. I could really use soem support right now.
"Felice...as much as I want to help you, it usually doesn´t go over to well when you try to communicate with the living. Believe me"
"What do you know?", I almost shout at him angrily in ym desperation. If there is a way why not use it. It would do a great deal for me to know I haven´t caused anyone any pain.
"What do I know? I know better than anyone. Gabriel told me I couldn´t, but he allowed me to watch over my fiancée to protect her from harm. Which was already incredibly kind from him, as a human born you´re usually expected to leave that old life behind once you become an angel. I couldn´t bear seeing her hurt like that so I left her a note when she was sleeping. Instead of helping her in her grief, she thought some demonic presence was tempting her. I left her another note, trying to explain that it was indeed me. She became deeply paranoid and I was too foolish to see I was driving her into madness. She ended up taking her own life to escape the voices. Suicide is a mortal sin, I damned her soul to hell", there is a deep sadness in his voice and I fall silent. I have never seen him like this, this is raw and open and I can see a self hatred in his eyes.
"I´m sorry, I didn´t know...", I reach out to put a comforting hand on his shoulder and I almost sigh in relief when he lets me.
"You couldn´t know. Just promise me you won´t try, ever. You don´t want that burden on you", maybe this was one of the demons he was talking about. The fact that he has revealed something so painful to me makes me feel guilty for not letting him in, but something is still holding me back, telling me that I cannot let him know about my own demons. The fact that he himself mentioned the fact that his fiancée thought he was a demon gives me an idea, I feel almost cruel for exploting this but I need to know.
"You said your fiancée thought it was a demon tempting her, are demons real? I mean I know Lucifer fell, that one is true. But how about demons?", my voices shakes more than I intended to and under the table I clutch at the hem of my T-shirt.
"They are. There are different kinds of demons and first of all you need to know that Lucifer is not the image you have of the devil, the first evil. Lucifer is the highest ranking demon, the only fallen archangel. Most demons are the angels that chose to follow him into the pit and the flames of hell changed them, but other demons have existed just as long as angels. Keeping the balance, because without light there would be no darkness. Not even the archangels know when demons and the beast came into existence...", his voice trails off at the end. So demons are real, my heart feels like it might explode inside my chest.
"Can they cross over to earth like the angels?", I pray the answer is no.
"They can, but they are limited. They can only manifest on earth if they are invited by a human", so what i saw was real. Now the question that remains is who invited that demon to cross, who would invite something so gruesome to the world.
"Why would anyone do such a thing?", I ask wearily.
"Desperation, most humans summon them to make deals. We angels have limits, we cannot answer every prayer and demons prey on the weak. I said they could not cross, but they can however whisper thoughts into human ears. Tempt them into doing things they would otherwise never do. These deals, humans offer their soul in return for whatever it is they want and if they aren´t willing to make a deal the demon usually either seduces or torments the human into an action that will damn their soul to hell", I have shivers running down my spine imagining having to hear a demon whisper into your ear, driving you into madness. I had my share just seeing one once, nevermind hearing him or seeing him on a day to day basis.
"What do these demons look like? Do they still look like angels at all?", this question is the last one remaining before I know wether what I saw was really a demon.
"The flames of hell and the fall have changed them and it depends how grave the angel´s betrayal was and how powerful they were prior to their fall. We know that Lucifer while he is trapped still has his wings but god alone knows how much of his power remains. Most of the angels however lost their wings, they burned off. It is mainly the non angelic demons that look different, they tend to have claws, fangs, eyes in odd places taht sort of thing. Just look at a book with the oddest animals you can find, throw them together and you have yourself a demon"
"Is it possible that they look in anyway human at all, but with say claws and taht sort of thing?", he raises an eyebrow.
"There is something you´re not telling me, why do you want to know so bad? Have you seen one before?"
"No, I´m just curious", I lie and if he noticed the lie he doesn´t say anything this time.
"It is possible. Some souls that end up in hell don´t endure the tortures, they ask for a way out and end up as demons", I can hear my own harsh intake of breath. A human demon did this to my grandmother, what kind of torture does a soul have to endure before they decide to become something so unspeakable, so despicable and utterly evil?
"If a human is killed by a demon, what happens to their soul?", this question is perhaps even more vital than knowing wether I was right. I fear the answer.
"That fully depends why the demon chose to kill this particular human and on a couple of different things. If they made a deal they bypass the courts of heaven and go straight to hell. However if the demon killed them for a different season they await judgement", I sigh in relief. I am sure that my grandmother never would have made a deal with a demon, never. However that does not take away from the fear and the memories, it does not lessen the darkness in me but it gives me hope. I yawn, exhausted from my training and all this information.
"I think that´s quite enough for today, I probably told you too much already! Let´s get you to bed!", Nathaniel says and within the blink of an eye is out of his seat and offering me a hand. Hesitant I take his hand and let him take me upstairs to my room. He rolls out his sleeping bag next to my bed without a question and vanishes into the bathroom to get changed. I am glad that he has agreed to stay with me, I don´t think I could stand the darkness all by myself again. Last night was worse than ever and even with all this new knowledge the fear remains.
The next day I wake up feeling somewhat refreshed, I didn´t sleep much but certainly more than I would have if Nathaniel had not been there with me. Speaking of the devil. I look at the empty sleeping bag on the floor and wonder where he might be. A second later I can hear the shower go on which certainly clarifies his location. I stretch lazily and decide to make some breakfast in the mean time to give him some privacy. Making breakfast is an easy, mechanical task that doesn´t require much thinking. I look outside and to my great astonishment it´s raining, pouring buckets of rain to be precise. I am quite certain that unless there is some secret heavenly gym I don´t know about this means my training sessions will be canceled. Which results in me being stuck in the house. I am in the business of transfering the eggs into the pan when I hear steps coming down the stairs. I turn to see Natahniel drying his hair with a towel on the way down wearing a pair of battered, torn jeans and a black shirt. To be completely fair he looks incredibly attractive that way.
"See something you like?", he teases and winks at me seductively. I roll my eyes at him, but I do blush a little since he caught me staring at him. Not exactly something normal friends do, but normal people aren´t constantly surrounded by incredibly attractive angels.
"Isn´t vanity a sin?", I counter with a smile.
"Not a deadly one. That there looks pretty good by the way", he remarks with a look at the pan.
"And yet it´s still a sin. Isn´t that gonna cost you brownie points or whatever?"
"Well if you sin too much you get exiled from heaven, but if you ask for redemption and truely mean it...all will be forgiven. I still wouldn´t go around sinning too much, falling from heaven isn´t exctly pleasant and I hear the food up here is much better than whatever Lucifer dishes out in hell", and with those words he takes a fork and steals a bit of egg out of the pan. I playfully fake a glare and he pretends to be hurt. He laughs, the sound resonates loudly in my ear and I feel myself slip away and grow distant. As much as I feel better with him around, I don´t feel able to join him in his laughter. I can smile along and make jokes with him, but I can´t laugh like that. If I even tried he would notice and it hurts not being able to join in, I don´t want to be like this. I don´t want to be scared and distant again, I want to be...better. But I can´t be, not with everything resurfacing. It feels like a cold slap in the face by the universe. He stops laughing and looks at me for a good long minute in what I would call concern, but he obviously choses to keep hsi thoughts to himself and I am quite thankful for that. I transfer the eggs onto two plates and we eat together. Nathaniel tells me stories about how his first training sessions went and how he accidentally almost impaled himself on a spear during his lessons with Raphael.
"How long do you think Gabriel and Michael will be gone?", I ask him suddendly conscious of my own training, especially the flying lessons.
"That fully depends on the nature of their business, they shouldn´t be much longer than another day or two though. Since it´s raining I guess it´s safe to assume Raphael won´t be coming along to train you today. So I´ve been thinking that if you want I could go and get my guitar and teach you a bit?", he sounds nervous, almost as if he fears I´ll reject his offer. Something quite unusual for him.
"I´d like that, I have to warn you though. When it comes to music I´m untalented and my lack of coordination doesn´t help at all", I answer him and he sighs in relief.
"I´m sure you´re not that bad", he replies softly and soon after leaves to get his guitar. I feel sorry for him for having to trudge through the pouring rain. When he returns he is absolutely soaking and soon enough a puddle has collected around him. I rush to get him a towel since that´s the best I can do considering I don´t think raiding Michaels warderobe for something dry is a particularly great idea. It´s only then that i realise I don´t even know which room is his. Without respect for Nathaniels privacy I rummage through teh bag he brought with him the night before and I am relieved to find that he was thoughtful enough to bring more clothes with him. He gives me a questioning look when i return with the towel and his clothes in my arms, but he doesn´t dare to make any remarks. Probably because he is afraid I might send him straight back out into the rain fi eh doesn´t behave himself. I set the clothes down on the counter and hand him the towel, he dries himself as best as he can but his wings are still dripping wet by the end of it.
"Do you want me to...", I begin awkwardly, unsure wether touching another angels wings is appropriate at all.
"Please do", he says and hands me back the towel. He seems uneasy, almost uncomfortable. I take a deep breath before I turn to walk around him to get a better reach for his wings. I take a moment to admire the colour and teh softness of his feathers up close, I haven´t had a chance to get this close to a pair of wings other than my own before. Even though his wings are covered in water, I noticed that instead of soaking into the feathering, the water rather sits in drops on the cover feathers. The ones deeper down, the more soft feathers are soaked through with water. Carefully I reach out with the towel and begin to pat his wings down softly with the towel rather than rubbing it across. When i turn a bit to the side I can see that his eyes are closed. I stop for a moment and he opens his eyes to look at me, they look a little lighter than usual.
"Am I hurting you?", I ask quietly with an evident worry in my tone.
"Not at all, why do you think you are?"
"You had your eyes closed and you´re really tense. So I thought I was doing something wrong"
"I´m sorry if I gave you that impression. It´s just been a long time since I´ve let anyone touch my wings. For angels it´s quite a show of trust because our wings are so sensitive to the touch", he explains with a half smile that seems almost forced.
"Oh, I can stop if it makes you uncomfortable?",I offer.
"No, no you might as well finish drying them. It´s hard to explain what I mean...", I continue drying his wings, all the more careful now. We both let out a quiet sigh of relief when I set teh towel down on the counter and turn around to face him. His clothes are still clinging to his skin and I can´t help but stare a little at his chest muscles taht are quite visible due to his shirt sticking to him like a second skin. To my great surprise he takes his shirt of then and I blush. I turn around to give him some privacy to change, wondering why he doesn´t leave the room to get changed and why he didn´t at least ask me to turn my back. Thoughts race through my head and I decide for my own good to shut them out, be reciting a poem from my childhood in my head. The first blossom was the best blossom for the child who never had seen an orchard. For the youth whom whiskey had led astray, the morning after is the first day. The first apple was the best apple for Adam before he heard the sentence, when the flaming sword endorsed the fall....there it is again. I never so much noticed this line in the poem before, possibly because I didn´t know Michael back then. It´s one of the few poems I still enjoyed after what happened to my grandmother, after everything. My mother stopped reading to me then, she couldn´t really bear to be around me much and I never did blame her for it. So when she stopped reading, I began to read to myself in hushed voices late at night. This was one of the poems I stumebeled across by myself. Apple blossom it is called. Thinking about this poem I am drawn back into memories of when ym mother still read to me in our livingroom back in New Orleans before everything changed.
The room is dimly lit with dozens of colourful balloon like lamps hanging on the walls. The floor is covered in heavy rugs of all shapes and sizes that my mother had aquired over the years. The small fire place in the corner gave off a cozy warmth and I could smell the fresh wood in the basket next to it. It smells like pines, like deep and dark forests. It smells like adventure. My mother is sitting infront of me on a red pillow made out of a velvet knock off material. It´s her favorite pillow. My mother is everything I am not, tall and slender and beautiful. He long hair is a stark contrat to my own short black curls and her eyes are dazzelingly blue. I can smell the heavy scent of her lavender perfume in the air. She reads to me in a melodic voice and I am entranced by her. She reads me poem over poem, sometimes they are happy poems that make her eyes light up. Sometimes they are sad poems and her voice shakes a little when she reads. There is one poems she always reads, I have heard it over and over again. It´s a very strange poem for her, much too long. She prefers short poems, but for some reason this one is addictive to her. She tried to explain it to me countless times, how it draws her in and holds a mirror to her face, subjecting her to all of her emotions and her own self. But despite all the emotional climax it leaves her unsatisfied, so she reads it again. It´s Poe´s poem "the Raven". By now she has commited it to memory and I have heard her read it so many times that I can almost whisper along to it. But I don´t dare to interrupt her when she reads, I am too much in awe. She becomes something beautiful, but distant. Untouchable until the last lines have sounded. Until the spell is broken. To me it´s just a poem, I don´t feel the yearning for it like she does. She tells me time and time again that some day I will find a poem that will draw me in like that, that will become my own personal heroin, a literary addiction. She always tells me that nothing is more compelling, more dangerous than literature. Literature changes you, you can start a book and finish it a completely different person.
"Are you alright there?", Nathaniel´s words rip me from the memory almost cruelly. For the fragment of a second I am incredibly angry, could he not have just let me have this one moment of peace? I wish I could go back to the way things were back then, when I was still a child. Sitting there with awestruck, huge eyes listening to her. But then i realise he can´t know, he couldn´t possibly understand the importance this memory had to me. How could he know how dear thos emoments were to me and overall how much I miss the person I was back then.
"Just a memory, sorry if I blanked out on you", I quickly apologise. I must have blanked for quite a while because he has changed and is now standing infront of me, his arms crossed infront of his chest.
"Oh okay, come on then! I´ll show you some simple chords!", Nathaniel walks throuzgh the house as if he has been here a hundred times plus. His walk an arrogant stride as always. I shake my head, he is undergoing way too many personality changes for me to keep up this morning. My heart rate becomes rapid when instead of the livingroom, he goes up the stairs and into the library. Shit, shit...ok get it together. It´s only a book. It can´t hurt you. I swallow heavily, taking all my courage and enter the room after Nathaniel.
The guitar lesson went pretty well, Nathaniel is a very patient teacher and he managed to teach even talentless me a few chords. I much prefered listening to him play though. He is incredibly talented, it seems like the music just comes naturally to him. He is completely at ease with himself when he plays and it´s amazing to watch. His playing almost managed to distract me from the nagging fear in the back of my mind, almost but not quite entirely. Right now he is playing some songs that I don´t reognise. An idea forms in my head as I watch him and I muster up my courage to ask him.
"Nathaniel, would you mind if I drew you while you´re playing?", I bite my lip nervously and my hand sneaks down to the hem of my shirt.
"Not at all, go ahead. Do you want me to pose a certain way?"
"No no, just keep playing. It´s best if you just forget I´m here!", I advise while I hurry off to get my sketch pad and pencils from my room. Being able to manifest stuff would really come in handy, I´m going to ask Gabriel to teach me that next time. I wonder wether it´s possible to teleport things? I mean Raphael teleported me and Shekinah on my first day here. When I come back to the library I try my best to ignore the shivers running down my spine. It only strikes me then...who put the images in the book? They weren´t in it the first time I looked at it. I make a mental note to check around for clues when Nathaniel is gone sometime the following days. My curiosity soemwhat wins over my fear, but why am I afraid? They´re only images, maybe they have nothing to do with my memories at all? It´s all long gone... I begin to question myself immensly, there is no reason to be afraid at all. And yet despite it being unreasonable, the feeling doesn´t go away. I shake my head and return ym attention to the task at hand. There´ll be plety of time later to question myself. Nathaniel has gone back into his trance like state of playing the guitar, completely absorbed. I begin to sketch and soon completely lose myself in it. Drawing is the one thing that always managed to get my out of my own head. I don´t even notice that he stopped playing until he clears his throat behind me and looks at the drawing. I quickly press teh sketch pad against my chest to obstruct his view. I don´t really like people looking at my art, it makes me uncomfortable and I always think taht they feel compelled to say something nice.
"No need to hide it, it´s very good even though no drawing could ever do my good looks justice!", he laughs and snatches the sketch from me within the blink of an eye. Her examines it carefully and nods approvingly.
"Alright you got pretty close to it I have to admit", he smirks happily and I shoot him a glare.
"Give it back!", I demand but he doesn´t make a move to return it. I gather myself up of the floor and begin to chase him around the room. He lets me get close a couple of times but in the end he tackles me onto a sofa and I give up the fight when he begins tickeling me.
"I surrender!", I shout inbetween laughs, my stomach hurts. Nathaniel has managed what doctors, friends and ym mother couldn´t do when I was a human. he got me out of my dark spot and got me to laugh, truely laugh like I mean it. There is an odd feeling in my stomach that is all too aware of how close he is, but I am quick tosurpress the feeling. Nathaniel must have felt it too because he stops tickeling me and looks at me for a long moment before leaning down towards me. My heart skips several beats, time slows down but my head doesn´t. Oh no...oh no...is he doing what I think he´s doing...shit what do I do....do I want him to?.... The thoughts race and I can´t decide what exactly I want. On the one hand I do feel a certain attraction towards him, but on the other he´s my friend. And do I really want to get into something like this at all? Nathaniel stops mere inches ifront of my fae, looks at me for a terribly long moment and kisses me on the cheek. I am caught inbetween relief and disappointment.
I barely sleep at all that night, all the sleep I get is two hours of tossing and turning in my nightmares. I feel like a child again with my heart racing whiel I hold my breath in fear. The moonlight coming through my window casts eerie shadows all aroud my room and I see demons in every single one of them. Ever sound the house makes sounds like low growls and ghostly wails. I wake from my short lives nightmare panting as if I had just run a marathon to the sound of the frontdoor slamming heavily. Glad to have an excuse to get up and to have a distraction, I hurry out of my room and rush down the stairs at a speed that nearly causes me to trip over my own feet. I managed to balance my weight enough to avoid falling on the last few steps when I finally see the source of the slammed door. Michael is leaning against the door, breathing heavily and looking beyond terrible. He is barely recognisable under all the dirt and blood that he is covered in and his long blonde hair hangs into his face in filthy strands. His face and arms are all covered in cuts that seem to be getting smaller infront of my eyes, which tells me something about his regenerative powers and also the fact that they must have been a lot deeper before he got here. He looks up at me and smiles weakly. Without a word from him I rush over and help him into a standing position. He leans heavily onto his right leg and I suspect he must have fractured or broken the left one. He points to the kitchen and somehow I manage to suppost him along the way despite his weight. His voice is hoarse when he does finally speak and he seems to have difficulty getting them out at all: "Could you get me some water please?" I turn to fetch him a glass and when I set it down infront of him he drains it immediately and I get him a second one. It takes three morse glasses until he looks a little better than before. I can´t hold teh question in any longer now that he looks as though he might answer me.
"What happened to you?", I burst out, my voice full of concern and worry for him.
"I probably shouldn´t be disclosing this information to you but to hell with it. Knowing you you´re not going to give up so I might as well tell you. I went to take care of a bigger demon summoning, some fools summoned a greater demon and set him loose by accident. I went to take care of the situation and instead of one greater demon found a horde of over a thousand lesser demons and three greater demons. I fought them off but on my way back I heard that Gabriel had run into a similiar situation and things got pretty bad, I was already in bad shape after the first battle but we drove all the demons back to hell", he smiles grimly as he says this and I can hear a sort of pride in his voice.
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
"There´s a medical kit in the cupboard over there, get me that and a bowl of water with a towel. I just want to get the deeper cuts clean before they close over with flith and demon blood in them. They would only get infected at a later stage and let me tell you going through demon detox is no fun at all", he smiles weakly as he says this. Dutifully I retrieve the medical kit and the bowl, but instead of handing them to him I wet the towel myself and reach for his arm. He pulls away immediately and looks at mequestioningly.
"Let me help you, we´ll get it down faster this way. I did a first aid course when I was human and I can reach most of the cuts better than you could", I explain to him and with a sound of disapproval he puts his arm back out on the table. He seems more than reluctant to accept my help. And yet he expects me to trust him, trust goes both ways buddy!, I think to myself. I quickly and efficiently clean his wounds and put bandages on the really bad ones that might result in bigger bloodloss. We don´t speak while I clean his wounds and I have to say he is by far the toughest patient I have ever had, he doesn´t even flinch when I disinfect the wounds with alcohol. He seems to have a very high pain tolerance. He seems even more reluctant than before when it comes to cleaning the cuts on his face. He grips my wrist with one of his hands and holds it about an inch away from him.
"Just let me do this", I say softly and he lets go of my wrist surprisingly. I attribute his lack of argument to the high bloodless and the fact that he took a pretty bad beating. I have to change the water in the bowl multiple times, there is that much filth and blood on him. I don´t ask questions about the nature of both, btu I notice that the blood acts like an irritant on the skin. I can´t imagine how it must have felt running into his wounds and drying on his skin. After over an hour he is completely patched up and remotely clean, at least less filthy than before.
"Thank you, you did not need to do that. But thank you for doing it anyway",he says and looks at me for a long moment before returning his attention to removing his armour. I would help him, but I have no idea how armour works so I decide it is best to just stay out of his way.
"You were hurt, it was only natural for me to help", I reply as I watch him get rid of the breastplate. His armour is made out some sort of metal like material, that glistens unnaturally in the light and looks almost too thin to be metal. I feel the curiosity burning inside me but I postpone asking him about it to a later date. He has enough on his plate for the moment.
"And yet you wonder why you were made an angel, not many would have found it a natural thing to come and clean a man´s wounds at six a clock in the morning. I am going to go for a shower now, I´m sorry if I woke you up", he remarks and begins to drag himself down the hall. I begin to assume that his bedroom is somewhere on the groundfloor. I go for a shower myself and when i come back downstairs I see him sitting in his usual chair looking pretty much his usual self, the bandages and the dark circles under his eyes the only proof of what happened. His hair is still damp from the shower and he brushed it back so it won´t fall into his face. He is wearing ripped jeans and a baggy black t-shirt.
"Do you want some breakfast Michael?", I ask as I open the firdge to examine the contents to narrow down possible food choices.
"You don´t have to nurse me you know? I am just fine, Felice. I´m an archangel, I have fought greater battles than this", he sounds as though I hurt his pride. I roll my eyes when he can´t see me behind the fridge door.
"Don´t roll your eyes at me. It´s not very polite and I don´t appreciate that sort of disrespectful behaviour!", he instructs and I turn around in surprise. How did he know?
"Were you reading my mind again?", I ask him accusingly.
"Yes", he doesn´t even deny it. I feel a sudden burst of anger well up inside me, I know it´s not his fault but he left me here all by myself and then he comes back and bosses me around.
"Listen up Michael, we have been over this. You promised you´d keep out of my head and I am not nursing you, I was merely offering you some fucking breakfast because I was bloody making some for myself anyway. If you have a problem with me rolling my eyes you better fucking get used to it, because I am not letting you bully me into behaving a certain way. Are we clear?", I explode at him. I usually don´t curse but he just made something inside of me snap completely. I feel enraged and find that i almost blame him for the way I have been feeling, I blame him for having those pictures and I feel like generally everything is his fault. I blame him for my despair even though it isn´t his fault in the least. He didn´t decide to make me an angel. He rises from his chair and walks over to me too quick for someone who just had a broken leg half an hour ago. I back away until my back touches the wall and he is mere inches from me. There is a sudden rush of adrenaline going through me and I feel like a cornered animal between him and the wall. His eyes bore down into mine with a uncontrolled anger that isn´t like him at all.
"I said I would try, I am under no obligation to keep out of your mind, If I wanted to I could break your little mind into pieces, I could find out about all your dirty secrets and deepest feelings but I have the courtesy not to so I suggest you calm yourself and accept the fact that I can and will read your thoughts as I please. And you will watch the way you speak to me, I am your superior. I merely extend you a casual kindness, but I will not have you question my authority or disrespect me", he barely raises his voice and yet I feel myself almost tremble under his stare. The whole situation escalated much too quickly for my taste and I really wish he would move back a little to give me some space to move, I don´t like being cornered one bit.
"Am I understood?", he asks sternly clearly expecting me to back down and start worshipping him and his greatness. Well you can forget that, you can stick your macho behaviour where the sun don´t shine...I think grimly, clearly aware that he can hear it in my mind. It´s quite a reckless move to defy him, considering I am relient on him but I am not going to let him push me around. Archangel or not. I may be a mental wreck, but I can stand ym ground when I have to.
"Am I understood?", he repeats and I can feel an incredible heat coming from him. For a short moment I reconsider what I am about to say but then the stubborn side of me kicks in.
"No. I will not have you push me around. And as for this entire intimidation tactic don´t ever try to threaten me like that. You have no right to expect me to bow and obey your every command and I don´t care wether you are an archangel or human. I am not letting you push me around", I hiss the words between gritted teeth.
"Felice, I understand that you ahve your principals but I suggest you keep them to yourself. Down on earth this might have been a different story, up here things are different and you will have to get used to that. I am the authority here and I can´t trust you if you defy me and disrespect me. Now as a result of your actions I won´t take you out for flying and you will not leave the house without my permission until I can trust you to obey my orders. If you don´t like the way I teach I suggest you go and find yourself a different mentor. You can be glad your punishment is only that, Raphael is by far not half as understanding", this si different from teh Michael I have come to know. He sounds ruthless and almost cruel. While I am proud and stubborn I also know when it is time to surrender. I did not expect him to get quite as angry as I did and I certainly did not expect himt o start handing out punishments. I feel like a scolded child but I swallow the remark in the knowledge that argueing would not be the most sensible course of action right now. Not after he suggested I may go and leave, I have no one to go to so for the time being I will have to swallow my pride.
"Understood", I mutter defiantly and he finally moves out of the way. Instead of making breakfast as I planed I snatch an apple from the basket and stalk upstairs without a word. If he treats me like a teenager I might as well act like one. I feel a little better in the small victory that I didn´t get into trouble over my small gesture of defiance. I hastily scrawl a little note to Nathaniel explaining the situation that I won´t be able to leave the house for a while and ask him with Gabriel ever gets like that. Then I open the window wide and call for his little bird messenger, the bird takes her sweet time and angrily pecks at my hand before taking the letter. Nathaniels reply comes within the space of five minutes and I have a hard time getting the letter from the bird.
Sometimes, but Michael´s the bigger douchebag. Then again he´s the biggest fish around so don´t get into too much trouble with him. Take it this way, he only said you couldn´t leave the house. -N
I send my reply, trying to avoid the birds beak this time: Something´s wrong with your bird. She keeps pecking at me! I´ll try not to get into more trouble, he seemed incredibly pissed and to be honest finding a different place to stay in is not on my list of priorities. What do you mean he only said I couldn´t leave? - F
What I mean is that he never said I couldn´t come into the house instead. He doesn´t even need to know I´m there ;) I´ll fix the problem with the bird...she gets very jealous. -N
He replies to me and I smile at his sneakyness. It almost feels like a small conspiracy and a big fuck you to Michael. At any other time I would play it autious but depsite the fact that I backed down I am still incredibly angry with him.
What are you waiting for then? Why would she be jealous? She´s a bird... - F
Mere minutes later instead of a reply there is a knock on my window and I open the window wide. Nathaniel lands gracefully in the room and shuts the window behind him.
"I don´t think Michael saw me, but let´s keep it down anyway", he says and gives me a suggestive wink. He´s got to stop doing that...friends don´t do suggestive winks like that! He takes a seat on my bed without asking me, but then again he slept here a day ago so I suppose we´re beyond that. He pats the space next to him and almost reluctantly I take the seat, a little too close to him for comfort.
"Did Gabriel come back today as well?", I inquire eager for information and a distraction.
"He came back in quite a state. Don´t remember the last time he looked that bad...Gabriel usually doesn´t get into these sort of fights at all, but he got ambushed when he was delivering a message"
"You should have seen Michael! What could have done that much damage to two archangels? I mean unless all the literature I´ve been through is wrong, but aren´t archangels supposed to be the strongest of the celesitial beings?", I am very proud of myself for remembering the word celestial and smile a little at what i almost consider my own brilliance. Underneath all the tragic back story and confusion, there is a different person. Someone who is a little snappier and has a bigger ego, but she rarely ever comes through at all and I´m not even sure if I like that version of me all that much. She seems almost like my alter ego, confident, almost cocky and all too careless. However unlike me, she´s brave and she doesn´t care if she´s different. She likes being different, to be the outsider. The usual me is afraid of the dark and of being along, because the shadows scare me and the silence only wakes up all those thoughts I try so hard to surpress.
"Celstial, fancy you with your new words. Yes and they are, nothing has ever managed to kill an archangel. We´re not even sure what would happen if one of them was to die and if it is possible for an ordinary angel to ascend to the rank of an archangel. Uriel is probably the closest thing", he explains.
"So you don´t know wether they can die at all?", I ask quietly.
"We can´t tell for sure, but if Michael´s sword has the power it is believed to have it could potentially even kill an archangel", his voice is grim and his mouth set into a hard line. I have observed these changed in his expression for a while now, he will go from flirty and cheerful to a almost harsh grimness and rarely he will display a heartbreaking sadness.
"So if this sword is so powerful, why did he not take it with him when he left? I assume he didn´t at least, he wouldn´t have come back looking like that if it is really all that powerful!", my voice sound soverly agitated and I can´t really tell why. Is it that despite his earlier behaviour the thought of Michael being hurt angers me? Admittedly I do care for him more than I like to admit, especially considering the way he acted earlier and yet I can´t deny the connection between us. I shake my head disbelievingly, trying not to slip into forgiving him just because he has this effect on me.
"Wielding heavenly fire takes a great strain on the user, all power has its price and heavenly fire demands a high one. I also don´t think he was expecting to run into quite such a commotion of demonic activity. But can we for once just not talk about all this terrible political stuff and Michael?", if I didn´t know better I would say he´s jealous, but really knowledge is the one thing that gives me an advantage in this world. I need to know these things and I always just assumed that Nathaniel didn´t mind me asking him about it, seems like I might have thought wrong.
"Oh alright, I´m sorry. Tell me something about yourself then!", I encourage him with a small smile. I can see that my request gives him at least a tiny bit of satisfaction from the short gleam in his eyes.
"Let me show you something cool, instead of telling you...how about I show you?", without waiting for a response he takes my hand and a rapid succession of images nearly explodes inside my head.
A cacophony of noises around me, people talking, the sound of carriages and hooves and in the distance a train. The sounds overlap and I take a minute to adjust before I can begin to examine my surroundings. The people around me are dressed in victorian dresses and business looking suits, obviously upper class citizens going about theur business. The houses enveloping the cobblestone road grand and made out of red brick with big colourful doors and windows allowing view into salons and studios. In the distance I can see Big Ben and as if to welcome me, the bells begin to ring to announce lunchtime. The people around me are all husteling and rushing around me, some absent mindedly focused on whatever business they´re attending and others stopping to greet each other to exchange short pleasantries. I look down and to my own amazement I see that I am wearing men´s shoes for the formal kind and suit slacks. It is only then that I begin to shift my focus from my surroundings to myself, I feel taller and somewhat more muscular than usual and I notice that my hair is not falling down to my shoulders as it usually would. I hold out a hand infront of my face and notice that it isn´t my own, or at least it doesn´t look the way I remember my own hand looking. When I try to hold up my other hand to compare this strange occurance I notice that it is held in place by someone elses. I turn my head slightly to look at a woman that looks painfully familiar, I reocgnize her face with its high cheekbones and soft lips. The long elegant curls framing her face make her beauty all the more striking, while softening the harder angles that might make her face appear sharper otherwise. He eyes are of a piercing blue colour that is highlighted by the dark colour of her hair. Her smile is breathtaking and she seems carefree and beautifully unaware of her own appearance.
"Come on Nate, we´ll be late for tea with your aunt if you don´t stop daydreaming!", her voice is soft and melodic, with an undertone of excitement audible in it. Nate? It dawns on me then that I must be sharing some sort of a psychic connection with Nathaniel, he is showing me his memories. But what is this woman doing here? I am a hundred percent certain that this is the woman from the drawings, I swallow heavily as the implications of that dawn on me. She eagerly pulls at my hand and my mouth opens without me intending it, the voice sounds familiar, validating my theory that I am indeed seeing all this around me through his eyes.
"You are terribly impatient, Vivienne! Have you no appreciation for all this?", his(my?) voice is dreamy and distant. Vivienne rolls her eyes and pulls at my hand again, with a small laugh I follow her, unable to do anything but move with the body my mind seems to have attached to. Her hand is warm in mine and I feel a sort of buzzing energy come through me as her idex begins to draw small circles on my palm. Her walk is quick and she seems to almost bounce with happiness, which strangely doesn´t take away from her elegant loveliness at all. If anybody else were to walk like this it would appear childish and maybe even clumsy, but on her it only creates aura of carefree excitement. I barely have time to order all the thoughts running through my head as my head turns to look at all sorts of magnificent, curious things that seem so out of place for someone like me who has never lived in a time where there was no cars on every street and no people staring at their phones and tablets. I feel almost overwhelmed with all the sensations around me and the turmoil within. The scene begins to fade around me as we reach a driveway leading down into a larger estate park, the last thing I see a radiant smile from Vivienne.
The vision wears off slowly and I take several moments to adjust and process the experience. My hands immediately run up to the hem of my shirt, clutching onto it as if it was a lifesaver. The soft cotton material convincingly real. I have a hard time sorting my thoughts out and I sit there for a long while just breathing in and out. Nathaniel doesn´t say a word, but he looks at me with a smug smile clearly thinking that he has impressed me and he surely has. My head is burning with questions to which i am unsure wether I want the answer. I am sure there are countless explanations and maybe the book with the drawing did belong to him but maybe, just maybe the new additions don´t? But what was it doing in Michael´s library if it was Nathaniels? I am a hundred percent certain that the woman from the drawings is the same one as the woman I just saw in Nathaniel´s memory. Vivienne, the name echoes over and over in my head. I finally open my mouth as if to to speak but close it when I realise that I don´t know what to say. Finally I can think of something that might give me some clearance, afterall what could I accuse him of? Knowing some girl I saw drawing of in a book that also contained pictures of demons, I mean for all I know they could just be documentations of things he has seen. He doesn´t know about my past, I am dumbfounded about this, there is nothing I could accuse anyone of? Hell I am being unreasonable for being scared of a couple of drawings, no...not drawing. Memories.
"Was she your fiancée, this woman...Vivianne?", I taste the name on my tongue. I find it suits her and yet there is a draker, bitter taste to it as I remember how my curiosity about her portraits led me to the resurrection of my memories.
"Yeah", is all he says. I suppose he regrets showing me this memory already, his voice is shakier than usual and I can see a deep pained expression on his face.
"I´m sorry", I say and touch his shoulder in an attempt to comfort but he shrugs it off. I can relate to his pain so I just sit there in silence with him, not pushing him to say anything or to do anything.
"I should get going", he says after a while and turns to the window to leave without another word. I let him, pain is something I can understand.
I am woken by Michael marching into my room and opening the curtains, I groan sleepily and I am more than tempted to just throw a pillow at him. He is not exactly someone I want to see at six am on the morning, but obviously he doesn´t care much and I know that I will have to get along with him. Once again I swallow my pride and unkind remarks and vow to myself to make this work by any means possible. I can always leave once I am finished with my training. And how long do you think it´s going to take for them to train you? For all you know it could be centuries!, it appears that my alter ego has woken up along with me. Michael stand at the foot of my bed with crossed arms.
"You´ll be meeting the rest of my brothers today, I have decided that maybe taking you to a small council meeting will replace your confidence in me and show you that maybe respecting me isn´t such a bad idea. Being able to swallow your pride and show some respect is going to get you farther than your attitude", his voice is stern but I sense that I am not the only one willing to make amend. I feel a sens eof excitement well up inside me at the thought of meeting his brothers, the other archangels.
"And this meeting is at six am?", I groan from under my pillow, only taking a small peek out to see a small smile on his face. he is enjyoing this too much for my liking.
"No, but you want to go out flying don´t you?", huh? I thought he made it clear he wasn´t going to take me? "But only if you get out of bed now, I am willing to give second chances and I do realise I may have been a little harsh yesterday", his tone has softened and I immediately move out from under my pillow and sit up. Michael leaves without another word and I hurry to get ready at record speed, forgotten is my anger at him. It´s way too easy to bribe you, you do realise that?, I tell that inner critic to shut up in a rather rude manner and remark once again that maybe I should get checked for a multiple personality disorder with all those voices in my head. In an instant even that is forgotten at the thought of the rush that comes with flying. Michael is waiting downstairs, leaning against a pillar with hsi wings stretched out on either side. He looks almost too comfortably casual, something I will probably never get over. He is so interchangable, one moment he´ll be all high and mighty archangel and the next he might as well be an ordinary man lounging in his own house. It´s hard to come to terms with, for a human angels have always been something untouchable and distant. I begin to get a different view of them, they might just be more human than they like to admit. I can see through the windows that it is still rather dark outside and wonder once again why we have to do this so early.
"Because we have a meeting later and I want to shwo you something!", Michael reads my thought and in a good willed manner I let it pass. No way I´m going to risk getting him mad again and therefore losing this...chance I have been given. I nod shortly and take a minute to appreciate the clever design of his leather jacket. i didn´t think angels could wear jackets at all...I meanw the wings are kind of in the way. This one however has to slits for the wings on the back that can be buttoned up under the wings. I wouldn´t mind one of those..., I think and as if to prove that apart from mind reading he also has some sort of prophetic gift because he throws a similiar bunched up jacket at me. It´s smaller than his in size, my size to be correct.
"Thought it might come in handy", he remarks as I attempt to put it on. He watches me struggle for a minute before he walks over with a sigh and helps me. To put it on the jacket it lifted over the shoulders and the junction between wings and back. What i didn´t notice before that the arms are also open and are closed off to make proper sleeves with zippers. The best thing is that the arms are removable with a different set of zippers. The jacket is surprisingly warm despite the thinness of the leather. The leather itself is very soft on the inside but harder on the outside, presumably to keep the wind out. It fits like a glove and I can´t help but notice that his bribery is totally working on me.
"Thank you, Michael", I say and he just nods, but I see the small shadow of a pleased smile. Together we walk outside and strangely enough I don´t feel the cold at all, the jacket is realatively thin so I should at least feel a little cold. I throw a questioning look at Michael who answers the question before I can even ask it. He may be pushing it a little, but it would seem more than ungrateful to make a fuss now after he gave me such a gift.
"I enchanted it to preserve body heat, it´s quite a useful enchantment to have especially in winter. Believe it or not even in heaven it gets cold", I try to picture angels wearing parkas and home knit granny sweaters, little angels gathering around a fire and making christmas cookies.
"Do angels celebrate christmas?", I wonder out loud which leads to another question of where angels might buy christmas presents.
"Off course we do, Christ is as important to us as he is to humans, but we celebrate it a little differently. For example we don´t really do christmas trees or stockings. We still give each other gifts and spend time with family if we have any, but it seems more meaningful", he explains patiently and I wonder wether he has any family apart from his brothers, but I don´t dare to ask. It would seem too much liek prying and I´m not as comfortable with him as I would be asking Nathaniel. When we reach the edge of the plateau, i can barely see the ground despite the sky beginning to lighten up. Michael points to a point farther upwards and it takes me a moment, but then I see a small brilliant sun ray coming up in the distance from the field. From then on the sun begins to rise more rapidly, painting the sky a light/greyish blue that is inercepted with smaller tufts of cloud in rose and almost pastel yellow colours. The ground becomes easier to see and I begin to notice that the village is covered in a thin layer of fog, giving it a somewhat mystical, dream like quality. It seems like a secene from a fairytale to me. It´s quite simply the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. I stare and stare all around me, drinking in the sight of my first sunrise in heaven, cursing myself for not having had the thought of watching one before.
"Are you just going to stand there forever or do you want to go and fly?", Michael asks his voice sounding unusually playful.Come to think of it he is behaving quite oddly this morning in contrast to last night. Could it be that he truely is sorry and that this is a somewhat concession to me? Let´s not read too much into it, shall we? I don´t need a second invitation from Michael, I take a few steps back to get a good running start and leap of the edge. I enjoy the sensation of falling and I admit that I push my luck a little, opening my wings as late as I dare. The wind is sharp and cold in my face, but the few sunrays of the morning warm my wings and fill me with a joyous sensation. the jacket holds true to Michaels words and I don´t feel the cold wind at all where it covers me. I turn my head to watch Michael jump instead of a straight up start, his wings are pressed tight to his back and he races toward the ground almost too fast to bear watching in his swan dive. He opens his wings mere meters from the ground as always and shoots upward with a radiant, almost childish grin on his face. I like seeing him this way, carefree and happy, no trace of his usual facade of stern discipline and responsibility. I understand then why he took back on his punishment, he knows what it´s like to feel trapped and I curse myself for not having noticed it before. The weight of the world lasts on this mans shoulders on a daily basis, his world is so different from the ones I used to belong to and I haven´t managed to open my eyes to that. Off course he has to be stern with me, how else could he demans the sort of respect he needs from other angels, how else coudl he demand their loyalty. I understand also why he thinks he can just take whatever he wants, why he thinks he can demand this respect without having earned it just yet. He believes there is no need for him to earn it, he is at the highest point of a hirarchy that you can possibly achieve. Leader of the archangels, only god above hima nd from what i ahve heard god doesnß´t interfere much. There is two sides to the coin and maybe even an archangel doesn´t always do things for the right reasons. Thinking about it makes my head hurt so I shift my focus back to just watching him fly until he catches up to me. The sun catches and is reflected by the gold dust on his wings and his hair is getting tangeled by the wind. He doesn´t seem to mind and the grin on his face doesn´t vanish. We fly in a silence that is somewhat comforting, there is no need for words at all and for once I don´t feel uncomfortable at all saying nothing. For the first time since I began to learn how to fly I see other angels in the distance, a pair of them coming towards us. I don´t recognise either of them, but one of them bears the sort of small resemblence that only a brother can have to Michael. The angel has wings of a light gray shade and I can see traces of silver dust on them. I briefly wonder what exactly the dust on the wings is for and notice that it can´t be for flying since I don´t have any dust on mine. His hair is short and curly and strawberry blonde, giving his face an almost cute look rather than the stern hardness of Michael´s face. I can hardly make out anything else from the distance. The angel at his side is rather short, but yet athletically built with a hard jawline and short brown hair. To my surprise they are holding hands and look rather lost in each other, could it be that they are a couple? But wouldn´t that mean...I feel a surge of happiness run through me as I realise that there is no way I am wrong about this, unlike a lot of scholars and self proclaimed prophets. Michael sees them to as he stops in mid air, in a standing position, still flapping his wings to keep himself in the air. With some difficulty I manage to mimick his actions and find that I can stand in the air like him, however unlike Michael I don´t look as casual and graceful doing it and hardly manage to stay in the same spot. The angels approaching us slow down facing us and copy Michaels actions. The angel with the grey wings nods at Michael and then turns to me, eyeing me with a clear curiosity and interest that makes it evident he knows who I am. He doesn´t extend his hands due to the rather difficult state of all four of us somewhat standing in mid air more or less. His voice is astonishingly deep when he speaks, but very pleasant to listen to.
"I´m Uriel and this is my consort Phillip", he introduces himself. Phillip seems to be a rather Mundane name, to be honest I never expected an angel to have a name like Phillip. I do a short wave and introduce myself.
"Hey, nice to meet you. I´m Felice", at this point I have grown accustomed to my new name and made my peace with the fact that I´m not Katherine anymore and maybe that´s a good thing. Maybe in time I can forget about my human life...the fact that I am even considering that shocks me. Why would I want to throw away everything that makes me who I am? The answer is simple, because I am scared and I am sick of being scared and weak. Uriel eyes me with an obvious interest and I am quick to put on a smile. To my surprise Phillip smiles back at me, a shy small smile. I have to admit he is quite cute and I can see that the two of them are very happy together. An awkward silence follows and it lasts until Phillip whispers something to Uriel who makes a quick apology that they have places to be and fly off together. The reason for their departure is quite obvious but neither me nor Michael dares to say anything, I really don´t blame them. Michael rolls his eyes in mock annoyance but I can tell that secretly he is happy for his brother, he just has to play tough man.
"Play tough man? Felice, if I didn´t know better I would think you´re disrespecting my authority once again", his tone is light and humerous.
"Wouldn´t dream of it", I reply jokingly and I earn myself a brilliant smile from him that I am sure would make a lot of woment week in their knees, admittedly I am not completely immune to its charms either. I shake my head and quickly focus my thoughts on something else in the knowledge that he can read my mind and I don´t want to give him that satisfaction. My wings begin to throb and with a heavy sigh I let Michael know, today he doesn´t take any detours but takes the fastest route and lands in the backgarden. He holds onto me just a second longer than necessary and I am unsure wether that is a good or a bad thing. Michael tells my I am free to do as I like until one o´clock so I withdraw into my room, feeling the best I have in days, to draw.
I stand infront of the big marble tower, anxiously clutching the hem of my shirt and biting my lip. I am about to meet the most important and possibly most powerful beings in creation. I swallow heavily and watch Michael to distract myself a little. He is kneeling infront of the door, whispering words in some unintelligeble language. Suddendly there is a small flash of flight and a small semi circle of runes begins to glow infront of the doorway and the door swings wide open. I take a step back just in time to avoid getting hid by the door. The room we enter is much bigger than possibly from th proportions of the towers exterior, but at this point buildings that are bigger on the inside are my smalles concern. To be honest the enrd within me rejoices at the thought that maybe the inspiration for the Doctors Tardis on Doctor Who stemmed from soemthing like this. I wouldn´t put it past the angels to have pulled a couple of strings and whispered some words into unssupecting people´s ears. For a split second I also remember the shows eerie villain of the weeping angels and make a quick prayer that the inspuiration for that was just some random mad thought. The room has no windows and the floor is made out of a deep black material while the walls are radiantly white. The room is shaped like an hexagon with two doors facing each other. One behind me and the other door big and sturdy, just a couple of big steps away. The door facing me is guarded by two stone angels and so is the door behind me as I note with a look behind me. Every other of the four remaining sides of the hexagon has a small alcove with a statue inside it. The statues "guarding" the doors are much bigger than the ones in the alcoves. I immediately recognise one of the statues and I have to admire the worksmanship on it, it looks as though the real Michael turned to stone and rests there. it is accurate down to the wings being covered in gold dust on the tips and his eyes look severe and formal, made put of what I can only guess to be lapislazuli. His hands rest on a swords hilt and I know it represents the famous flaming sword without having to ask. I don´t recognise the other statue but when I turn to examine the other two statues guarding the door behind me it all becomes clear. They are the spitting image of Raphael and Gabriel, Raphael holding a spear while Gabriel is blowing a horn and holds a scroll in the other hand. In one of the alcoves I can make out the familiar face of Uriel as well, while the other faces are strange to me. After a quick count I can puzzle together who the last statue next to the door is. One angel too much to add up to the seven archangels. He doesn´t look demonic at all, no trace of cruelty on the carefully crafted face to be seen. I would have expected Lucifer to look different, one woudl think that the evil would be cast even into his stony replica. Instead I am mesmerized by the sheer physical beauty of him, I see then why so many so willingly followed him. He has the kind of face that can inspire loyalty with a smile alone. Unspeakable to think what a man like him would be capable of had he a voice. Each wall has a big, church like window on it with teh colourful glass mosaics depicting each angel in a different pose again in a dozen fractured shades of stained glass. It is beyond beautiful and the many different patters overlap and dance on the floor as the sunlight comes through the windows. Michael clears his throat and I snap out of my daze to follow him to the door, a shiver passing down my spine as I cast a hooded glance at Lucifers statue when Michael opens the door. I would find it more than odd to keep a statue of someone like Lucifer around, I mean I understand that they have not yet given up on him but would it not hurt to have the statue and his house as a daily reminder of your brothers betrayal.
"You have no idea", Michael whispers to me and fakes a smile as we walk into the next room. This room is much simpler, no decorations of any sort, no statues and no big windows. The room is lit by simple lamps on the walls and the only pieces of furniture are a big oakwood table and chairs. I count 16 chairs in total, enough for each archangel ( including the fallen Lucifer) and a companion or a guest. At this moment six of the seats are filled and the occupants are all deeply caught up in their conversations. I can see Gabriel leaning over a book with another archangel with wings in rosy pink shades and short blonde hair that is combed in a very orderly manner and yet still falls into his face. To my surprise he is wearing a pair of glasses on his nose, I thought that angels wouldn´t suffer from optical impairments and that sort of thing. Raphael sits on the other end of the table, looking quite bored as he tosses a coin into the air again and again. The conversations stop whe the door slams shut behind Michael, the sound vibrating all around the room. All eyes turn to us and I can see that actually they all turn to me. I count three unfamiliar faces, including the angel next to Gabriel. Uriel gives me a kind smile and an encouraging nod.
"Alright, have you all stared at her enough now? How about you show some manners and introduce yourselves!", Michael thunders sounding quite cross. I suspect he is trying to show off his authority and it works, apart from Raphael almost all of them guiltily look down to avoid Michaels gaze. Interesting to see that seemingly only Raphael is brave enough to defy Michael even on such a small matter, I immediately decide that should it ever come down to it he is my best bet. The first angel to stand up to introduce himself is a tall and very lean archangel with yellow wings and curious amber eyes, his hair is a black mass of braids and I can see pearls of all colour woven into it.
"I´m Jophiel, I have been quite excited to meet you indeed and I can only ask you to forgive my own and my brothers bad manners", he sounds awfully formal but his voice is pure and sweet. I can imagine he must have a beautiful singing voice as well. I reach over the table to shake his hand, which is surprisingly rough skinned especially on the finger tips. "Sorry, guitar hands", he apologises and smiles. Next to extend his hand is the pink winged archangel with the glasses. he introduces himself as Chamuel and I notice that his wings are covered in amethyst dust. Amethysts always were some of my favroite gemstones and I can´t help a little pang of jealousy and yet I find him immensly likeable already. The last angel to get up has soft, soothing green eyes with a curious look in them as he gives me a quick once over. His wings are soft hues of blue and he emits an aura of collected calmness that is reflected even in his voice. His grip is firm but not too tight and I relax a little as his hands touch mine. He must be projecting some of his calmness onto me somehow and I am more than grateful for it.
"Now that we have that done and dusted, let´s move on. We have a lot to discuss", Michael ends the introductions and takes his seat at the top end of the table. He gestures for me to take the seat at his side next to Uriel. I finally release teh frim grip my left hand had on the hem of my shirt and notice red crescents on my palm where my nails bore through the material. Michael begins to talk in a stern, business like manner about things I cannot begin to understand. As much as I try to listen attentively I soon find my eyes wandering around the room, observing the other council members. Raphael is still playing with his coin, seemingly bored and not listening to a word Michael is saying. When he catches me looking at him he winks at me and mimiks a person falling asleep. I surpress a small laugh, it feels liek High-School all over again. Jophiel is tapping his fingers as if in some distant melody on the table and I almost swear I can hear him hum to himself. The only ones listening attentively to Michaels words are Chamuel and Gabriel. Uriel next to me touches my arm for a second to get my attention and when I turn to look at him passes me something under the table. Under closer inspection I find that he has given me a small sweet and I give him a grateful smile, he winks at me conspiratively and scribbles a small note on a piece of paper infront of him.
Sorry about earlier, Phillip only came back from his travels and was very eager to spend some time with me alone.
I pick up the pen and write him a reply: It´s quite alright, I understand that.
I find that maybe, just maybe me and Uriel might be able to become friends some day. I would like that immensly, seeing as currently my number of friends is down to one and a half. Michael being the half since I am desperate enought to count my mentor as a friend. I find myself focusing on Michael again as he begins to give a detailed report of the demon attack he was involved in, which is followed by Gabriel giving his view on his own incident. Unlike Michael he still looks quite beat with dark circles under his eyes. They are both calm and collected reports but I can see that Raphael doesn´t perceive them as such, his face grows harder and grimmer with every second. I am surprised he doesn´t burst out while they are still talking. When they finish the room errupts into a chaotic, heated debate and I find it hard to follow. There is talk of a war and marching toward hell and something about horesemen and seals being broken. The nois is almost unbearable and after covering my ears fails I move to the other end of the table and find myself next to Raguel.
"I can never bear to see them fight", Raguel says and shakes his head with a regretful expression. He seems to be a rather calm person and I sense he means it when he says he finds it unbearable.
"But I don´t mean to worry you, dear. They get like this during council sessions which is quite frankly why I avoid attending them. I came out of mere curiosity of finally meeting you I must confess", there is a genuine warmth to his voice and I feel a lot less unsetteled than I did before we began our conversation.
Eventually Michael decided it was better to have me leave the meeting as they had highly sensitive information to discuss, so he asked Raphael to summon Shekinah. I noticed how he declined Gabriels offer to send Nathaniel to pick me up right away. I know he doesn´t like him but he doesn´t need to e so rude about it, Nathaniel is my friend and I would have much prefered his company to Shekinahs, who I barely know. I don´t have to wait long for the green winged fairy like angel to arrive. She is wearing a floaty white dress and her curls are tied back into a messy bun. She has an easy kind smile on her face and I can hear her humming a short melody to herself. She seems different than what I remember. For once she is a lot less annoyed.
"Heya, heard they kicked you out. Don´t fret it, I have to leave all the time so they can have their manly war talks", she sighs dramatically. I laugh nervously unsure what else to do.
"Let´s get you out of here! Come on, you weren´t that shy last time! You have finally come to terms with the fact that you´re not hallucinating, right?", her voice is bubbly and excited and she doesn´t seem to really care wether I answer her or not.
"I guess I have accepted that I am actually dead if that´s what you mean", I try and she gives me a sympathetic smile.
"Wonderful!", she exclaims even though I cannot see anything particularly wonderful in the fact that I am actually dead. "Now I want to know everything, Michael must have some juicy secrets!", she is acting as though we are est friends and I find it a little unsetteling.
"I don´t thik he has any, we don´t talk that much", I reply lamely and she looks rather disappointed. I follow her to sit on the edge of the mountaintop. The view from here is even better than from the plateau and I am convinced that I can see the little clearing Nathaniel and I like to sit in from here.
"I reject that at hand! There must be something! Now then I have seen you hang around with Gabriel´s stray a lot, what´s he like? He´s so mysterious and fascinating. He also happens to be quite an eyecatcher, nothing liek Raphael or Michael off course...but I wouldn´t push him away either", she exclaims excitedly and I stare at her in amazement.
"I think you have the wrong idea..Nathaniel and I are just friends", I try to explain to her. She pouts at first but then a smile replaces the pout and she winks at me.
"Sure, friends. It´s fine with me if you don´t want Michael to know, you´re secret´s safe with me! I wouldn´t rank your chances with Michael very highly though, he hasn´t taken a consort since the last one ran off with Lucifer!", now that´s interesting! I wasn´t aware of that fact at all, but then again Michael and I haven´t exactly been discussing our private lives. I cast aside her argument and decide that any attempt to convince her taht me and Nathaniel are actually just friends is probably fruitless.
"What do you mean she ran off with Lucifer? What happened?", she immediately realises her mistake.
"Oops, I probabyl shouldn´t have mentioned that and whatever you do, don´t say anything to Michael about it. Now that I started it I might as well tell you the rest of the story!", she puts on a pensive face and I node encouragingly. My biggest sin, my curiosity shining through. As if it hasn´t gotten me into enough trouble!
"Alright, so all this happened before I was even born, ergo before the fall. Michael had taken this angel as a consort, I can´t seem to be able to recall her name, I think it was Liv...anyhow...she was beautiful and I mean really beautiful. Raphael showed me an old portrait of her and damn I would hit that!", the expression sounds so strange coming from her, too casually mundane. In general she acts very humana nd I find myself warming up to her bubbly personality. She must have had a really bad day the first time I met her and I was probably annoying her with all my questions then.
"Off course they were quite happy together and Raguel was planning to perform a bonding ceremony on them, however Michael was not the only one who had an eye on her and she certainly didn´t mind the attention Lucifer was giving her. I hear he was quite persuasively charming and at least twice as handsome as Michael and you know Michael", I blush slightly as she talks about my mentor like a normal woman our age might talk about some man she saw at the bar the other day. "She ended up taking the fall with him, it changed Michael. He not only had to face his brothers betrayal but hers", there is a deep empathic tone to her voice and I feel as though I understand Michael better already. Pain is something I can understand. That brings the conversation to a new downpoint and we both shuffle uncomfortably.
"Right, I´ll get you home then!", she says and forces a smile. Unlike the archangels and Nathaniel she makes it clear that due to her rather slender figure she is unable to carry me and the only way to get off the mountain top and down to the plateau is to fly. Now that´s what Michael gets for insisiting Shekinah pick me up. After a lot of pep talking from Shekinah I feel ready to attempt the short flight, the difference is that I will have to land by myself for the first time. Shekinah flies ahead with the promise to show me how to do it properly and taht she will do the best humanly possible (I sense the irony) to not let me die horribly. I follow her almost reluctantly and we reach teh pleateau within two minutes, this is where the tricky part comes in. She flies over the pleateau and out towards the town and I follow her slightly starteled, but as she takes a wide U-turn I begin to see the tactic behind it. As she gets closer to the pleateau she seems to cup her wings almost against the wind, slowing down and finally lands safely. She gives me a thumbs up and with a poundig heart I try to copy her actions. The closer I get the more nervous I grow and I try my best to cup my wings like she did, bit it is much harder than it looks. The wind resistance is strong so it takes me much longer and instead of her graceful stepping toward the ground I do more of a crash landing that ends with scraped knees and me breaking my fall with my hands. I let out a couple of curses as she helps me up, she smiles reassuringly and says: "Takes a while to learn, you did well for a first timer!"
"I don´t think I want to do that again to be honest", I joke still breathing rather heavily as I brush the dust off my clothing.
"Oh don´t be so negative! You´ll get the hang of it in no time, believe me!", she walks me up to the house and quickly hugs me goodbye. I find that while she is rather...strange, she is also quite likeable. I should ask her to ahng out with me some time, it wouldn´t hurt to have more than one friend. I find myself humming the little rythm that Chamuel was tapping during the meeting as I make my way up to my room, recaping on the council meeting in itself. I wonder what they were talking about that I am not supposed to hear. My curiosity will be the end of me eventually. For some strange reason I feel more confident being by myself now, the knowledge that Michael can and has fought demons of a bigger calibre than whatever I encountered gives me a sense of security. I suppose the memories and the sudden, looming possibility of the monsters I was so scared of for so many years being real was what got to me in the first place. As I walk into my room I notice that Michael never closed the window thsi morning and there is a small bundle lying on my windowstill. On closer examination it turns out to be a small leather pouch. I carefully open it and out of it falls a small dreamcatcher. The strings at the bottom of it hold a mixture of feathers in all sorts of different patterns and colours and even sizes taht are held in place by multi coloured beads and pearly on the strings. The dreamcatcher itself is an intricately knotted pattern that remind me of a spiderweb with one bigger obsidian coloured stone in the middle, upon closer inspection i can see that there are golden veins running through the stone. It is an incredibly beautiful and thoughtful work of art and I can tell that he must have spend a lot of time on it, I know immediately who it is from but I pick up the small note next to the pouch nevertheless. His hand writing is elegant, but masculine as always and in his usual manner he has left me an extract from a poem with it.
"All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream"
In the hope that this might help with your nightmares... -Nate
I find it quite curious to see him sign off with a nickname, especially considering it was what his fiancée used to call him. I carefully pick the small dreamcatcher up and after I spend half an hour searching for something to put it up on the wall with, I give up and just tie it to one of the bedposts.
"Where do bad folks go when they die?
They don't go to heaven where the angels fly
They go to a lake of fire and fry"
Lake of Fire, the Meat Puppets
As I lie down that evening I am hit by a sharp pain that feels as though a lightening bolt went through me. I feel myself unable to move, almost as if I was glued to the bed, my limbs paralyzed. My heart pumps in shock and the fact that i can´t move adds to my panic and the searing pain. Then after what seems like an agonising eternity I decide to try and calm down by breathing slowly and deliberately. I close my eyes and focus soley on my breath and find that the pain begins to subside. Then another bright flash of lightening, momentarily I see stars dancing infront of my eyelids, then darkness. I open my eyes again, but instead of the library I find myself in a different place. I am standing in what looks like an underground cathedral, a big altar like slab of stone on an elevated are and there are candles everywhere illuminating what must be a mountain cavern because the walls are solid stone. The altar is covered in ivy and lustrous red roses, almost too red to bear, the colour of blood. Their scent hangs heavy in the air and only mixes with a small undertone from the smell of an abundance of poppies strewn all around the cavern floor. The only other thing on the altar is one bright apple that is held up by two hands made out of solid silver. The hands encase the apple like an athelete might present a trophy he has won and upon closer inspection I see that around one of the hands there is a silver snake with eyes made out of ruby. Its tongue is out giving it the impression of hissing. The statue looks like a symbol of victory almost in a rather crude contrast to what it is depicting.
"Fascinating, isn´t it? How much one little apple caused to happen...", I turn around in shock as I hear the deep voice behind me. Out of the shadow a figure emerges, a figure with wings even more radiantly white than Michael´s and platinum blonde hair so fair it is almost white. His eyes are a piercingly light shade of grey and his face is all hard angels and edges, I can see the resemblence to Michael in his hard jaw and cheekbones and in the way he carries himself. His light coloured, radiant features are in sharp contrast to the black armor like clothes he is clad in. I can see the hilt of a sword taht is sheathed behind his back and take a cuatious step back. He is strikingly, mesmerizingly beautiful, perhaps the most beuatiful being I have ever seen and it is hard not to succumb to the easy charm of his dark voice. . I always thought the devil would be ugly, a foul creature, repulsive...it turns out I could not have been any more wrong than that. I bite my lip hard in an attempt to break whatever charm he is holding over me and I bite hard enough to draw blood. The bitter taste or iron helps me regain some of my own piece of mind and I finally muster up my courage to adress Lucifer himself.
"Why am I here? How did I get here?", I demand with a shaky voice. I cannot even begin to pretend that I am not terrified of him. This is the most powerful creature ever created, the closest thing to god himself and yet the greatest sinner of all.
"You´re not strictly speaking here, it´s all in your head. I do beg your forgiveness for the crude intrusion, but I had to see Michael´s new student for myself. I am impressed by the fact that you were brave enough to demand answers from me. Especially considering you´re barely an angel at all, you haven´t lost your humanity yet. It´s quite refreshing to see someone who hasn´t become one of their mindless puppets yet...", he sounds almost angry when he gets to that last part. I wonder who exactly he is refering to as a mindless puppet, all the angels I have met so far are rather stubborn and passionate.
"You know your brothers think there´s still hope for you...", I change topic trying to sound casual about it and probably failing horribly at that. He lifts a questioning eyebrow.
"Hope for me? Do they still think of me as the lost sheep needing to be found? Millenia have passed and they still don´t understand", he shakes his head in obvious disbelief.
"That what I did was right. Not once did I regret falling from heaven", his voice is almost forecfully convincing, he is trying to convince himself o his own words rather than me. I make a mental note of that, it might be the sort of detail to report back to Michael once I figure out how to get oput of here. While I am here I might as well collect as much information as possible.
"You disappoint me so, you have already become one of their pawns", there is a theatric quality to the disappointed tone in his voice.
"And what will you get in return? A pet on the head from Michael? Do you really think he is ever going to treat you as an equal? You´re nothing more than a soldier to them and if you dare voice your opinion they will force you into obedience, for your own good. They´re never going to respect you for who you are!", his voice is full of mockery now, the bitterness clings to it. Afterall those are his brothers he is talking about and I can tell he can´t help but have a certain tie to them still. His words hit me hard, he must have been able to tell from my thoughts about my insecurities and my doubts concerning the angel´s motives.
"And how you any different? Those demons follow your orders mindlessly, your followers are no different.And what have you ever done for them? Thanks to your arrogance they lost everything! Look at what they have become and all because of you! Look at what vile creatures you have created, look at your own monstrosity!", I shout at him but it doesn´t seem to produce any effect at all. I anticipate his response with a tingeling sensation of fear. I doubt many people would dare shout at the devil, but he has sparked something within me and taht something tells me that he can´t hurt me here. He stares at me for a long while before he begins to laugh a maniac laugh that echoes from the walls all around me and turns into a bizarre, almost monsterous sound.
"They followed me of their own free will, I forced no one to come with me. I was prepared to take the fall all by myself. Do you know what they did when they got here? They danced and sang in joy, so glad to be free for the first time in their lives. They were mindless soldiers, do you think heaven was always so fond of free will? No, whoever dared to speak their mind was silenced and told to fit in and even today not much has changed. All they do is hide it so much better. How did Michael react when you disrespected him? He threatened you and punished you as though you were still a child. I took the fall because I wouldn´t bow down and be silenced anymore. I gave them a choice and they took it, they followed me because I offered them freedom", his voice is full of passion and purpose. He believes what he says and I have to admit his argument is convincing.
"My father never loved us angels like he loved the mortals, he gave all he had to them and forgave them everything. The only flaw was that he did not give them knowledge, they were perfect in his mind because they knew nothing, questioned nothing. I gave them knowledge, my first trespass against father. However they had something we did not have, free will. Eve chose of he rown free will to eat that fateful apple, Cain chose to kill his brother. We angels just followed, obedient soldiers rather than sons and daughters. I loved my father with all my heart, but I saw his mistakes and his arrogance too.I talked to him many a time and time and time again he told me I was arrogant and foolish. Without darkness there is no light and there can be no redemption without what you may call sin. I call it freedom, a freedom to choose. What is goodness worth if it is forced on you? How can you be good if there is no other option? I gave them the choice they so desperately craved! I made them worthy of this goodness!", I can see the part where the arrogance comes in. Despite his words having truth in them, he is justifying his actions and he definetly likes the sound of his own voice. He sees himself on the moral high ground, he feels like he did the right thing. There is barely anthing half as dangerous as a maniac convinced he is doing the right thing. I feel a strange pulling sensation nagging at the edges of my mind. I wonder what would happen if I gave in to it? Lucifer sighs.
"My brother has finally noted my presence, go and be a dear and deliver a message for him. Tell my dear brother that I am on my way to claim my rightful place. Tell him that he should have killed me all those years ago and that I certainly won´t make that mistake if he fails to surrender. Oh and you might want to reconsider who you trust. Heaven is just as full of traitors and thieves as hell, where do you think we got them from? The most cruel demons were once the most faithful angels!", his last words echo in my ears as the pulling sensation becomes unbearable and I give in. the last thing I see is Lucifer taking the apple and with a big smile he bites into it.
"Wake up!", I hear a roaring voice and I can feel someone shaking my body hard. I imemdiately snap out of the trance and find Michaels eyes boaring down into mine in something that is between anger and worry. His eyes are now a darker shade of blue taht reminds me of storm clouds and I can see a raging fire behind them, carefully caged and reserved anger and a trace of helplessness. Not an emotion I can picture Michael dealing with. He stops shaking me, but he doesn´t let go. He holds me at arms lenght in an iron grip and for a long moment says absolutely nothing. Then to my great astonishment he pulls me toward him and hugs me hard and tight, I have difficulty breathing. He doesn´t let go until I begin to struggle to signal that I need air. I feel dizzy as he finally releases me and my mind hasn´t quite processed this sudden outburst that is so unlike him at all. I have seen him express anger, but affection?
"I felt his presence. I wish I could explain how this happened...he is not supposed to be able to reach out like that! Are you alright? did he try to harm you in any way?", his voice is almost anxious and completely out opf character.
"I´m fine, he didn´t try to hurt me. I don´t think he would have been able to", I state and he relaxes slightly. I never thought that Michael could worry like that or even betray an emotion that isn´t anger or even pride.
"Never underestimate Lucifer, I made that mistake once", the words are almost a cold hiss. I sit back to put a bit of distance between him and me and to give myself room to breathe, being that close to him is more than a little intimidating. There is a certain fire burning in hsi eyes and I know that maybe getting too close to that fire would burn me.
"I´m sorry this is probably traumatising, but i have to ask you to let me have a quick look through the memory", he sounds terribly uncomfortable and I´m surprised he even apologises, usually he doesn´t care how uncomfortable him reading my mind makes me at all. If I remember correctly he gave out to me because I told him I don´t want him to read my mind at all. Maybe he has finally taken into consideration taht he can´t expect me to become a good little obedient angel over night. I wish I could say I would never bow down to anyone, but teh truth is I always like to stay in the shadows, to just be left alone. I never felt liek I belonged, it felt liek a bad masquerade to me. Without further words he reaches out and takes my hand and I see the scene flash infront of my eyes again and come out of it feeling more than a little dizzy. I didn´t know that touching was necessary for him to read my memories like that. I pull my hand back as fast as I can when he is done, not really caring wether that seems awkward. I don´t really feel like getting anywhere near him with that fire in his eyes, my instincts tell me that wouldn´t be a smart move. On the one hand I feel like chasing those flames away, the darker parts of me are excited by them, but the more rational side of me is afraid. Who would have thought...
"I´ll let you get back to sleep now", is all he says after that, no explanation, no nothing. He seems distant now, detached and thoughtful. The stern, serious look gives his face a darker yet not entirely unattractive quality if it wasn´t for that frown and the scorching brightness of his eyes. I have never quite seen eyes like that in my life and I suppose that is an angel thing, they seem to be more uptight about their emotions but as I know it all leaks out somewhere. He leaves the room, but lingers in the door frame a long moment just looking at me before he turns his back and turns the light off, softly closing the door behind him. I am way too tired and worn out from ym experience to wonder about is and forget it happened at all as soon as I close my eyes.
To my own astonishment I slept like a baby and wake up feeling almost happy. I humm a little melody to myself as I shower, trying my best not to get my wings soaked up too much. I have discovered that drying your own wings is much harder than drying someone elses, due to well being unable to reach and bending them hurts a lot. I wonder shortly if there is anyway to magically dry your wings, I don´t know maybe using hot air? It doesn´t sound too abstract an idea to me after all the things that I have seen. Michael is nowhere to be seen and there is no note or anything from him in the kitchen, which seems rather strange and a little worrying after last night. I make myself some fruit salad for breakfast and sit at the table with my sketch pad, working over some details on teh drawing I made of Nathaniel. There is an audible groan and the sound of wings dragging over the floor, almost like a sweeping brush. Michael enters the room looking nothing liek himself at all, he looks terrible and not in the way he did coming back from battle. There are dark circles under his eyes and his hair is standing up in all directions, looking rather shaggy and not in his usual gracefuly, goodlooking messy way. He looks like he barely slept at all and if I didn´t know better I would say it was because he was worried. But Michael isn´t the type to admit that so neither of us says anything about the state of him. It´s a mutual agreement between us, I can understand that and I wouldn´t want him prying into my business. I let him keep up the illusion that he has around himself of always having to be strong, I know he feels responsible and that he does have teh weight of the world on his shoulders. perhaps until this very moment I didn´t really understand the strain all the responsibility and having to push his own feelings aside to be that stronghold has on him. Over the last few days I have begun to understand how much he really does for the angel community and I have seen the hopeful looks they all give him, he´s their hero and their leader. But he would also be the first to blame if anything ever went wrong. I don´t dare to ask wether he is going to tell the other angels about Lucifer being able to reach out, I´m not the only one who is concerned about the implications of it. I know he isn´t supposed to be able to do that, but seeing Michael like that put me in a mirror situation whereas I don´t want to be a burden to him, so I will do what I do best and be strong for someone elses sake. In a way taht was exactly what I needed to get past my own fears and I know taht isn´t going to do away with them, but maybe it will help lessen them. Michael starts soem chatty conversation and lets me know about my training schedule for the day. I´m actually rather excited about my sessions, talking to Lucifer has given me a sort of motivation. I need to be prepared if he is ratteling on the bars of his cage and maybe becoming stronger will help me in other ways as well. I suppose I have finally fully embraced my new nature and the advantages that come with it and I haven´t trained with Gabriel for days now. I barely follow Michaels hollow words and he soon stops talking and he doesn´t look to disappointed at my disinterest in the conversation either. He promises to take me out for a flight in the evening and excuses himself from the table. I leave him to it and make my way out to go for a short walk, some fresh air certainly won´t hurt and I can´t help the urge to just...get out. I put on the leather jacket Michael gave me to protect myself from the weather that seems to be getting colder rapidly as the days grow past. I somewhat suspect that time passes differently here, either that or maybe it´s just liek Ireland and its rather unpredictable weather. I once spent a summer there with my aunt and within one day you could go through several seasons...it would be freezing cold in the morning but by the time noon came around people were parading the twon in short sleeves and hotpants. I smile fondly at the memory, especially thinking back that it was that summer that I got my first kiss from a boy I met there. He was quite cute, stereotypically ginger with a lot of freckles but unlike so many other boys he always kept the conversation going and was exceptionally gentlemanly. He took his sweet time to charm me before he kissed me and I was heartbroken when I had to go back to New Orleans. Sadly like so many things I lost sight of him as the years went on. I walk by myself not exactly lonely, but rather in a state of almost blissful solitude. I usually don´t like the oppressive silence, but for once I like having some space around me to get a clear thought. The cold air makes me feel rather focused and the sound of the grass under my feet seems almost melodic. I walk and walk by myself, not really caring where I am going at all just continueing for the sake of walking in itself. The few other angel I encounter on my walk throw me curious looks but nobody disturbs me in my walk, I supspect tehy are rather curious and taht some day I will go through the town and actually take the time to walk to them. I walk all the way down to teh field and decide that this is far enough and just sit. I stare out at the sea of grass and small wild flowers infront of me and can´t help but remember a line from one of my motehrs favorite poems Poppies in July. "Little poppies, little hell flames, Do you do no harm? You flicker. I cannot touch you. I put my hands among the flames. Nothing burns", I muse to myself, reminded of the poppies in the cathedral Lucifer placed me in. The memory isn´t as traumatisingly unpleasant as Michael made it out to be, I would have thought it to scare me much more than it did to meet the devil. Instead I find myself intrigued by his words, the fact taht he so passionatly believed them says something in itself. I wonder why he placed all the flowers in teh cathedral, he doesn´t seem to be the kind of person to do it without some reason or symbolism. The apple served its purpose so I suspect teh flowers did too and the connection to Plaths hellflames suits almost too well. i reach out and pluck one of the poppies in teh field, running my hand along the soft, wrinkeled petals and the waxy stem of them. I am rather lost in the sensation of just touching the flower and staring out into the distance, pleasantly distant from the world and yet strangely present at the same time. It is only reluctantly that I get up to walk back to the house for my training because I can tell from the position of the sun that it is nearly time. I spend a lot more time than I planned here and what felt like half an hour to me was at least four hours in total. I pluck another poppy out of an impulse and stick it behind my ear before I actually begin my walk back.
Again most of my session with Gabriel is filled with meditation, but I find myself to be less agitated and distracted as usual. this time it comes easily to me to just let go and follow his voice. He is rather impressed by the flame I can conjure at this point and he ends up showing me a new trick. This new trick includes shaping the fire into all sorts of creatures and shapes. It appears rather useless but nevertheless eyecatching and fascinating. It takes a lot of concentration, but Gabriel is more than patient with me despite all of my intial attemots looking like three legged tennisballs rather than the cat I was attempting to shape. He laughs softly as he sees me create yet another tennisball and conjures up a perfect little fire cat and has it run around me, I am rather surprised taht the grass doesn´t catch fire but I suppose he knows what he is doing. I concentrate very hard and this time my cat looks a little less like a tennisball but rather like a very fat hamster. It vanished immediately as I am distracted by howling laughter from behind me. Gabriel throws a disapproving glare at Nathaniel but he can´t help but join the laughter himself.
"Nathaniel, it isn´t very kind to laugh at others. Do you want me to tell her how you almost burned down heaven on your first attempts? I am quite glad that you never worked with fire again after that...it just didn´t suit you. It´s more for people liek Raphael and Michael, passionate but yet controlled like the fire itself. I find that air was teh rgiht choice for you, it´s for the free spirits!", Gabriel´s words are awfully poetic for my taste but I don´t comment on it.
"Do you mind if I join you?", Nathaniel asks and gives Gabriel a charming smile and with a sigh Gabriel agrees. Nathaniel insists to show off his few tricks he picked up when he still thought he had a chance at becoming a fire elemental. Apparently he did have a certain affinity for it, but was just not patient enough to control it. He soon has dozens of fiery birds flying all around us and I can´t help but giggle at his obvious attempt to show off. It seems rather childish but there is a charming boyish quality to it as well. Gabriel sighs heavy and seeing that he is going to ahve a hard time actually teaching me anything else today heads off, leaving me there with Nathaniel. Nathaniel grabs the oppurtunity and immediately repeats Gabriels earlier words in a mocking falsetto. I feel a little pang of guilt for mocking Gabriel, but laughing feels good and incredibly relieveing. Nathaniel eyes the poppy behind my ear with a special interest and bends over as if to take it out of my hair. He is incredibly close and I can feel teh warmth coming off him as he gets closer and closer to me, almost unnecessarily close if it was just to pluck the flower out of my hair. I feel his warm breath on my face and stare into the dark of his eyes, not exactly sure about his intentions. His eyes close and there is a panic like sensation that makes my heart beat faster, but in a not completely unpleasant way. He tilts his face slightly and menacingly slowly closes the excess distance between us. There is a sort of an electric current jolting through my body as our lips touch and for a long moment I juste njyo taht jolting heightened awareness of my lips on his. He gives me time to adjust before he moves his hand up and softly places it on the left side of my face. He doesn´t push it any farther than that and it appears he is pleasantly surprised when I kiss him back. The current settles into a soft mellow feeling rather than fiery passion and I am glad for it. We just stay there like that for what seems liek an eternity before he pulls back to breathe. He looks at me almost expectantly, waiting for me to say soemthing, anything. if I didn´t know better i woudl go as far as to suggest he is nervous.
"Ok...you gotta give me something here...anything. I´m sorry if that was a bit out of the blue but I´ve been wanting to do this for a while now. It´s been driving me crazy and I swear I wanted to give you space, the last thing I want to do is force myself on you...", his voice is hasty and he is rushing the words. I smile a little, the ever mysterious and untouchable Nathaniel is as nervous as any guy could be. It gives the moment a wonderfully mundane and rodinary quality without ruining it. He bgins tio fret with his hair as he waits for an answer from me.
"I have to admit I really didn´t expect that but the fact that I kissed you back should tell you enough", I grin at him and he sighs in relief. He pouts a little at the vagueness of my answer but the pout is soon replaced by a smirk. I do admit there is something insanely hot about that smirk. I roll my eyes at myself, I am excatly doing what I swore not to. Getting attracted to him is probably not a great idea, but I have quite a hard time telling myself that after the kiss.
"Now how did I do?", it seems an almost vain question to ask. Almost as if he is looking for approval, but then I see the slight quiver in his lip. He is nervous! I smirk evily, deliberately stalling.
"I´d say you did rather well, but I think I may need some more input to give a better review", I fail at seductively winking at him and he almost falls over howling with laughter. I glare at him but join him when he starts tickeling me. It all feels so normal, not something I would have seen myself doing at all but decide not to spoil the moment by asking where all this is going to go at all. Perhaps it doesn´t matter at all.
I walk home still high on the sweet carefreeness that comes with kissing someone you like, but haven´t exactly fallen deeply for yet. There is no promise in those kinds of kisses and it feels rather nice that I can choose wether or not they are going to have a meaning or not. For all we both know we could just go back to being the way we were tomorrow, there is no haste for anything. I know that as soon as I walk in through Michael´s door I am going to be in trouble for missing training with Raphael. On the other hand I did also miss my flying lesson with Michael so he can´t exactly hand that out as a punishment either. I stall deliberately as we reach the door, suddendly rather nervous again. I lean against teh doorframe and look at him, my heart beating a lot faster than it should. He places his arms over my head and leans down dreadfully slowly. To my great disappointment the kiss is dreadfully short, leaving me all flustered and the short warm rush is immediately replaced by teh harsher cold of the evening as he moves back. I am suddendly overly aware of the fact that I don´t want him to leave at all, but I know that he has to. He smiles down at me and can´t resist but reach up and ruffle his hair a bit more, leaving a little mark of me on him in a way. He smiles again and turns to leave, I watch him walk over to Gabriel´s house before I take a deep breath and quickly try to order my hair and clothes a bit before knocking. Michael opens the door and gives me a scolding look, but says nothing. He walks back inside and leaves me standing there rather confused. i would ahve expected him to get angry again, to shout or in any way voice his anger. I am rather confused but I don´t really mind not having to argue with him. He turns only to give me a look of utter disappointment and says: "You missed your training today, if you´re not serious about this maybe you should consider letting me know about it and I will find you a place with a mentor that is more laid back about your training"
"I´m sorry I got carried away and forgot the time", I try weakly. I don´t really like him being disappointed with me any more than his anger. Somehow it cuts a lot deeper to see taht he is just giving up on me like that. He is all too calm, unnervingly so.
"Don´t give me excuses, Felice. I know exactly what you were busy with and I can´t say I approve. And I will have you know that if you continue to miss your lessons for taht sort of thing I am inclined to ask you to move out", ouch...
"It´s not going to happen again", I say in a small voice. He has managed to make me feel guilty beyond measure. he is quite right in what he is saying, I shouldn´t miss important lessons...but on the other hand I don´t even know why everyone is so damn pushed on training me to fight and all that. When will I ever have to fight and what? I don´t want to fight demons like Michael, I would run scared. I´m not brave like him, never have been. Michael just leaves me standing there and turns his back on me. I realise I would much rather an outburst of anger than this sort of indifference toward me. If he got angyr that would show he cared...I feel rather liek a hypocrite saying that but it is true.
I lie in bed, aware of the soft hands of sleep reaching out to me but not quite able to embrace them. I stare at my ceiling, reliving todays events in my mind with a smile. I wrap my arms around myself comfortably, trying to picture what it would be like if I decided to keep this going. Do I really want to attach myself to Nathaniel...that would mean losing him as a friend for sure and I know that Michael wouldn´t be happy about it either. On that rather negative turn of thoughts I decide that maybe going to sleep is the better option. I can worry about it all some other day. I give in to the sort pull and glide into the darker depths of night. My dream begins with me standing in a field of poppies, a lot like the one I visited in the morning. Exept taht thsi field is entirely made out of poppies and regardless of where I look there is nothing but more poppies from one horizon to the other. There is a soft gleam of sunlight in the distance and I see a figure descending from the sky. I recognise him immediately and he walks over slowly, watching me with great interest. I cross my arms infront of my chest and keep my eyes on him carefully. He stands infront of me and gives me a once over.
"You look good", he remarks, a rather odd thing to say. I can cross chit chatting with the devil off my bucket list, I think to myself and he smiles with an amused expression. Can´t any of these winged bastards keep out of my head?, I think deliberately loud and can´t help to smirk at his almost pained expression.
"I am rather intrigued at your bravery, does Michael not teach you to be respectful?", his voice is almost condescending but there is a trace of humours beneath the layers.
"He tries. I thought you weren´t particularly fond of his teachings?", I could slap myself...talking to the most powerful being in creation loike thsi can´t possibly be a great idea. I am one of the greatest cowards alive, scared of a demon but brave enough to stand up to the devil. And probably only beacuse I am pretty certain that he can´t hurt me in this dream world. At least i presume it is a dream world, i could be wrong entirely. But something tells me I am right, a subtle voice...the same voice also points out to me that if this is a dream world there must eb a way to force myself to wake up from it. In a rather pathetic attempt I rach and pinch myself, off course nothing happens but Lucifer raising a questioning eyebrow. In this simple little motion I can see the realtion to Michael almost painfully clearly.
"You caught me there.I must say I find you quite to my liking, you´ve got a fire to you. Humour me, what´s your elemental link?", the question seems a bit out of the blue. But yet again chatting with Lucifer is not exactly an ordinary sort of thing either. I decide that maybe it´s best not to tell him the truth, afterall you never know what he is after. He isn´t known as the biggest sinner for nothing.
"Air, I can talk to birds and stuff...", the lie comes easier than I would have expected.
"Liar", he says and shakes his head in what I can only call disappointment. "That means you must be a fire elemental like him, because of the fact that you felt you needed to lie to me I somewhat doubt the other two. Both earth and water elementals are rather truthful, only fire elementals harbour taht sort of sceptiscism. You know that you´re going to have to trust someone sooner or later, don´t you?"
"That´s pretty rich coming from you to be fair. You´re expecting me to trust you?, my tone is full of accusation and I feel a flare of anger in me. Who is he to be giving me taht sort of advice?
"Never heard of the phrase sympathy for the devil? Trusting me could be quite worth your while, when I get out of here you should know where you stand and I can guarantee you I will not stand on the loosing side again. The question is whose side will you be on?", he seems dead serious, all traces of humour gone from his voice. He stares at me out of his piercing grey eyes, a flame burning in them brightly and I can see his wings appear to glow oh so slightly as his mood intensifies.
"You´re using a Rolling Stones song to justify yourself?", did he really think I was going to let that one slide. As an outsider i got my fare share of musical knowledge trying to avoid having to talk to people.
"I need no justification, what I did was not for me alone but for all of you. Like it or not, I am not the bad guy they want you to view me as. Where is that god they all speak about, where is my father? I for one have not heard a word uttered by him ever since that son of his walked the earth! I will take his place and rule over the heavenly courts, all angels and all humans will have their choice. I will rule fair and justly...can´t you see I only seek the best for our kind?", he sounds sincere and it is hard to argue with him as I myself have never beena big believer. Even now that I have seen heaven I am not enitrely convinced...it always astonished me how far people are willing to go for their faith. But the thought of Lucifer ruling sends shivers down my spine. From what I know about him he is far from ideal as a ruler over heaven. I know that Michael still has faith in his brother but seeing him like this I know that he hasn´t lost that arrogance and vanity that cost him his grace. I wonder once again what the poppies are meant to represent, this is the second time he has had them present in these dreams. Once could have been an act of creativity, twice they must have a meaning. Like this morning I thinkof Plath´s poem of Poppies in July...but something else comes up in my mind as I recall the comparison of the poppies to "little hell flames". It all makes sense for him to surround me with hell flames, however much of a contradiction it makes sense. The poppies around me suddendly seem less beautiful and harmless, but rather threatening. I can hear Lucifer humming a small tune to himself and I recognise the Meat Puppets "Lake of Fire" immediately. He must have been reading my thought again and linked my thought process of the hell flames. Standing in the middle of the field certainly does work as a metaphor for a "lake" of these hell flames.
"I admire your thinking, I have to admit I have a rather soft spot for metaphors", he isn´t ashamed whatsoever to admit having read my thoughts. How can he go banging on about free will and choice and yet invade my personal privacy like that? Yet another thing him and Michael have in common. In general the similarity of their demeanours is rather frightening, they carry themselves the same way and even speak in the same manner. I can´timagine how close they must have been before the fall and the pain it cause Michael to lose his brother like that. However I doubt Michael was the only one affected as I can see Lucifer wince oh so slightly when I make the comparison in my head.
"I am afraid our time is limited, dear. I want you to pass a message to Michael for me...tell him the seals are breaking and I will see him soon", he says and I am filled with a sense of dreadful foreshadowing.
"What seals?", I ask as I feel the edges of wakening clawing at me mercilessly. He smiles and vaguely answers me: "You´ll see"
I want to shout at Michael as he releases me. I was so close to find out what he meant by the seals and I know that Michael is not going to tell me. He would be far too concerened to keep me oblivious of any actual danger, keep my focused on my training. This encounter with Lucifer made one thing clear to me, fighting might be quite the essential skill to have because I doubt that any sort fo seal being broken is a good thing.
"Are you alright?", his voice is full of concern once again. i wonder what he thinks Lucifer could possibly do to me in a hallucination.
"I´m quite alright Michael. I have a message for you, but you need to promise me something first"
"No. You will tell me what he said without any condition. This may be of the utmost importance to the high council", his eyes are hard and his voice is severe and cold.
"No deal. It´s not a big promise", I try but his eyes remain fixed on me, no change in his expression. I feel a lot braver after my encounter with Lucifer, I am not going to let Michael intimidate me now. The only difference is taht while Lucifer couldn´t hurt me Michael surely could and I am not entirely sure how far he is prepared to go to get the information he wants. I know it´s stupid to demand this promise from him, but I am not going to be helpless at the back again. I have found my voice and I am not going to budge on this one. Knowledge is power and maybe with enough power I will be able to face my own demons.
"Do I need to bring you infront of the council on this? There are things that do not concern you or your safety at this point and the stakes are too high ont hsi one for you to be of help", in other words he wants to keep me in the dark because he doesn´t think I can help in any way. That comment stings quite hard and encourages me all the more not to tell him. I focus my mind on something else to make sure he can´t read my thoughts either.
"I could extract that information forcefully and believe me it would hurt, I have the power to tear your mind to shreds. Now will you tell me willingly or is it going to be the sword of truth infront of the council? Few remain their dignity under the power of the sword, not even I would be able to resist its powers", that surely does not sound good for me and my plan. I suppose I am going to have to give in on this one and ask Nathaniel what he knows about these seals. Or maybe do some reading in Michaels library, however reluctant I am to go back there.
"He said the seals are breaking", I can see the dread and worry on Micchael´s face. he doesn´t bother masking them and I see my fears were reasonable. The seals breaking is quite a big deal then.
"Michael, what seals are breaking?", my voice mirrors his dread and the sudden dead expression on his face worries me beyond measure.
"It´s nothing to worry about", he tries to sound matter of factly and for his sake I pretend I believe his lie. There is no point in trying to get information out of him if he goes as far as pretending it´s nothing. Nathaniel is my best bet then, or maybe one of Michael´s brothers can be persuaded. I purse my lips in thought as Michael looks at me curiously from my bedside. I am suddendly strangely aware of the fact that I am only wearing a relatively thin nightgown and pull the covers farther up. He moves his eyes away and almost blushes, could it be that the I just caught the archangel Michael blushing?
"I have to go now, try and get some sleep alright? I don´t think you will be training tomorrow so you have the day to yourself", huh? This must be some seriously important shit...he gave out to me earlier for missing my training... As if ridden by some random impulse he kisses me on teh forehead and leaves. I sit there pretty confused. The news must have been more than starteling to cause that sort of impulse. I shake my head in disbelief and I have to admit I immediately go back to sleep and forget about it.
I am woken for the second time by a loud knock on my window and a grinning Nathaniel floating outside my window. Is that man incapable of knocking on the front door like a normal person? With a groan I get out of bed and open the window for him. To my own surprise he pulls me close and kisses me long and hard, leaving me rather breathless. His hands are on my back, holding me close to him. He smirks and whispers: "Morning" It´s hard to be mad at all after that and I lose my sarcastic comment about knocking on the front door somehwere inbetween kisses. He doesn´t push it any farther than the kissing and I am rarther glad for it although a smaller voice in the back of my mind disagrees. I tell that part to be quiet in a relatively rude way and focus back on Nathaniel. He is insanely good at what he´s doing and a small voice in teh back of my mind wonders how much practice that took. The thought sort of kills the mood for me and he notices it.
"What´s wrong? Did I do something?", he seems concerned and I can´t help but smile at how sweet that really is. Who would have thought that he´s a big old softie afterall. He let´s go of me and I stagger slightly. That sort of kiss can get you out of balance really fast and I´m not exactly a master of coordination under the usual circumstances. He smirks a little when he sees that, all too pleased with himself. I am half tempted to make a snarky remark but decide not to.
"Now I am guessing you weren´t only here for that, what´s up?", I ask casually whilst rummaging through my warderobe for something more decent to wear than my nightgown.
"I was going to take you out for a short flight, Gabriel told me there was a council meeting so I figured my chances were good"
"Hmmm I´m not sure, I think I might have a better offer", I tease with a half smile before leaving for the bathroom to get changed. I come back and see him sitting on my bed, looking through my sketchbook. I blush slightly seeing that he is looking at the portrait I painted of him with great delight.
"What do you think of it?", I ask in a small voice, uncertainy and a hint of embarassment nagging at me. He brushes his fingers softly over the page with a smile before he looks up with a devilish grin.
"I like it, but you didn´t quite capture my unearthly magnificent beauty", he winks an casually dodges the shirt I throw at him. I glare at him and he blows me a kiss in return.
"Come on then, I thought you wanted to go flying!"
Cloud pitch black rolling towards me, full of fiery red in intervals. the flames of hell set loose upon an unsuspecting world. on the clouds I see riders, clad in all black with hooded faces. each of them carrying a scythe like a grim reaper might. Their horses dark as night with eyes of flaming red, foam in front of their mouths. They run and run under their merciless riders command on the clouds, coming closer and closer. Their hoof beats the thunder deafening my ears, followed by a quick blinding flash of brilliant lightning. The lightning makes the terrible scenes in front of em visible for mere moments. The rain lashing from above, mixing and pooling with the blood of so many fallen, washing away the foul scent of death and decay. The millions of screams and cries drowning between thunder and rain. They all bed for mercy, for salvation but their god has failed them. I see many an angel with stumps where there wings used to be, now all that is left burned marks and blood soaked backs. Others weren´t quite as lucky, half their wings remain, torn and broken beyond repair. They will feel their pains later when whatever is left will be cut off and burned. They will never fly again, never chase the dawn and feel the sunlight slowly warming their wings. I brought this upon them, this agony, this never-ending suffering. I damned them all to hell, what right have I to stand here on this mountaintop untouched? I can fly away if choose to, leave it behind and find somewhere to hide. I entertain the thought as I watch them crawl to their fallen brothers and sisters and weep. I watch them pray, I watch them curse their god and I watch them fall. Broken as their wings are. Amidst dead angels, some demons have fallen. Their corpses often intertwined with those they used to call their friends. Now monstrous corpses are all that remains. I am glad for the dark of the clouds, glad for the rain covering the stench. I turn my back on the scene and face my own hell. The price I payed for my own deeds is just as high as theirs, but unlike them I chose this. Unaware of the consequences I followed Nathaniel to hell, out of love I thought. I thought I could save them, bring them peace. instead I bet it all on the wrong card. My ace turned out to be worth nothing after all. I wanted to be good so bad that I forgot myself and turned into that monster I feared so much. For a moment try to picture what it would be like if the monster within me shone through to the outside. I am sure that I would be a perfect twin of that devil that took my grandmother, that haunted so may of my sleepless nights. In the end we are all running from ourselves. I smile grimly. I know I brought this on myself, but why did he have to pay the price. He lies there, fallen. You would think that his death would be beautiful, that he would be brave. I can tell you he was not, I wish he had been brave but in the end he is just another soul begging to be saved by a father that never came. He begged for mercy in the end, cried out to his brother to have mercy. His death wasn’t glorious or beautiful, he died on his knees begging. He lies there, his eyes still open. His armour once stainless full of tar like demon blood mixed with his own. his hair clinging filthily to his head. His armour is torn upon at the chest, or what used to be his chest, his ribcage is exposed showing his missing heart. The area around it burned beyond recognition, where the heavenly fire did its worst. Who would have thought the devil could wield heavens greatest force while he was too weak to stand up and die fighting. I hate him for it, I hate him for not being strong enough. for leaving me like this. I wish I could be braver, I wish I could pretend he had been brave but these last images of Michael begging repulse me. His eyes stare at me accusingly, now milky white and dead. I fall to my knees void of all emotion. I stare at his dead body far too long, but nothing of him remains. his all too familiar scent is gone, overpowered by the stench of death and demon and burned flesh. His eyes expressionless and dead, no more flames in them and no more words to be said. His wings are all that remain untouched, unbroken and horrifyingly contrasting white. His wings are all that Lucifer could not take, didn´t dare to take. Lucifer is just like all of us, weak in the end. I know his brothers cries hurt him, he cried as eh ripped out his heart and burned it. He lost his brother and yet underneath those tears a cruel victory emerged. As Michaels flame burned out and passed to Lucifer, he took up his sword and held it high above his head. The heavenly fire casting shadows all across his face as he started to glow. Glorious and god like he ascended with a laugh so deafening and cruel I covered my ears in fear. His beauty blinding I closed my eyes at it and waited. He told me he would be back, now would be the time to run, to fly to leave it all behind. But I know there is no where to hide, he could find em anywhere. I gave him this victory and I know he won´t let me escape it. That´s what I get for having sympathy, for thinking I can save the greatest sinner of them all. I am numb to it all, sit there, repulsed by the dead corpse that once was the closest thing to family that I have ever known. The pain comes slowly and then treacherously fast like a wave crushing over me. My ears are ringing from the thunder and an ear piercing scream is heard, I don’t take long to accept the knowledge that this scream was mine. is cream and scream until my voice is hoarse and useless, my fierce tears mixing with the blood but their shedding doesn´t change the fact that he is dead. I succumb to the pain, curl up beside Michael and let the waves crash over me mercilessly. how I wish I could drown in them. he is gone beyond my reach, his all familiar present blank and empty. there is no consolation in lying next to a dead body. This isn´t him and won´t ever be him again. Anger fills me, boiling hot and as my last tears fall I curse heaven and hell and most of all myself. I sit up and clench my fists, hammering and shaking Michaels corpse in one last useless attempt of breathing life back into this dead heap. Over the thunder I can barely hear him approaching if it wasn´t for the feet entering my view I would not have known him to be here. I look up to face him and he smiles radiantly, like a good natured god above all the chaos around him. he is radiant and he leans down and offers me a hand. Willingly, almost numbly I take it and let him help me up. Behind him I can see the four riders on their horses. Their hoods have fallen back and their faces are human to my surprise. Who would have thought that the horse riders of the apocalypse would be so plainly human, no disfigurements nor cruel faces. Blank expressions that tell me they serve neither good nor evil, but their own course. The look at me blankly and I can feel the icy cold of indifference coming from them chilling em to the bone. So different from the burning light that is Lucifer. he doesn´t let go of my hand but rather lift me unto one of the horses and with a sharp warning not to let e out of sight to the horseman lets go of me. The horseman arms wrap around em tight as chains I know there is no use of trying to escape his iron grip. He whispers a command in some unintelligible language to the horse and I close my eyes as we begin to move, I have now is to view the destruction beneath us but rather pass into the dark of aether and let the darkness envelop me fully.
I lift my head when i hear steps on the corridor, dreading them to be Lucifer or even worse Nathaniel again. Nathaniel visits me a lot in here, always smiling in this all too familiar way. Encouraging me to give in already and to join them. I refuse everytime again and when I do that warm smile turns cruel, a fire sparking in his eyes. it is then that he lashes out on me, that he uses his power to choke me and on some days he comes over and cuts me with a sharp knife. The whole time he whispers to me how I am only making this harder on myself, that I can end my misery any time I choose to. I have been tempted to give in, but the thought of what that would do to those I have come to see as my family gives me enough strenght to hold on just a little longer. However that does not mean that I am some strong, heroic figure. Everytiem again I cry and beg him to stop, I plead with him. I know very well that what I have gone through is nothing in comparison to what he is capable of, to what lies in my future. I know that one day Nathaniel is going to stride into my cell with sure steps and he is going to do his worst. I am no hero and I know that everyone has a breaking point. The physical torture isn´t the worst of it, Nathaniel knows about my past. He knows about it all and he has discovered how to use it against me. He replays the gruesome scenes in my head over and over until I scream and beg. Beg for him to just kill me already. He then kneels infront of me, time and time again, and brushes the tangeled masses of hair out of my face and wipes the tears away. Today is no different from those times. I can hear my own screams echo from the prison walls, ringing in my ears ruthlessly. He kneels down and I flinch as he reaches out towards me, but there is no use in that. The shackles on my arms and legs hodl me firmly in place and the wall behind my back gives me little space. His knuckles brush cruelly soft against my cheek as he tucks a few greasy strands of hair behind my left ear. I never hate him more than when he is gentle with me, I want to tear at him with my nails, bite him and kick him. I want to see him on the floor, unmoving. Most of all I want to wipe that cruel smile from his face, even here it haunts whatever few hours of sleep I get once I pass out.
"Just tell me where you hid your grace and I will stop. I don´t want to do this Felice, but you´re doing this to yourself. What have they ever done but lied to you to inspire such loyalty? They left you for dead on the battlefiel, he left you. Michael didn´t come to save you, where is he now I wonder?", he gently moves his hands up and down my bare arms. In my mind I have watched him die a million times over, it´s the only thing keeping me remotely sane here. the thought that if I hold out long enough Michael will come and then I will kill Nathaniel. These visions of killing him have become my only solace, everyday again I tell myself tomorrow. Tomorrow Michael will come and save you. Tomorrow But Michael never comes. Tomorrow, has become my mantra. My voice is too hoarse from screaming to say anything at all so I just shake my head. He leans in closer and whispers into my ear:
"Now that´s a shame. I can make it all stop. You just need to tell me where you hid it", his voice dripping heavy like honey, thick and too sweet. I gather all the courage I have left and when he leans back, blancing on his toes, I spit him in the face. Angrily he wipes the fluid from his face and glares at me, fire raging in his eyes. I have pushed it too far and I know it. I take a certain pleasure in knowing that while I cannot escape or save myself I can make him lose control, show him he´s not as powerful as he thinks. At least that´s what I tell ymself, teh reality is different. in reality I hope that one day I will push him far enough to snap, to make him lose control and kill me. How I wish he would just get it over with. He glares at me and slaps me hard, hard enough that I see stars and loose focus. I vaguely hear him get up and leave. I laugh, a horrible inhuman sound turning into a sputtering cough. My head falls back against the wall and I am suddendly, painfully aware of the heat of the brick behind me. One would think it would be cold in a stone cell, especially considering my dress is at best a patchwork framework of torn rags. And yet the stone wall is warm, almost hot. I guess the one thing I won´t have to worry about in my special little place in hell is developing pneunomia. I know that he won´t be gone for long, not nearly long enough. He takes pleasure in tormenting me with his presence as often as his father will allow it, Nathaniel is the one that bring me food, that tortures me and the one that takes me to the bathroom. You can say a lot but at least they let me have some of my dignity, either that or they just don´t want to have to bother with cleaning the cell. The food while it looks mouthwateringly delicious tastes stale and rotten as soon as it passes my lips. i tried the first few days to starve myself to death to escape, my efforts were quickly discovered by one of the demonic guards and from then on Nathaniel stayed with me during mealtime and made sure I ate my fill of it.
A fond reminder that the first commandment binding, it forbids the whorship of anything but him. What kind of arrogant god would demand such a thing, it would mean that he himself is flawless and omniscent. But if your god is all powerful, why create a world in which children are born crippeled and blind. A world where hatred is possible, being teh creator he must have himself created hate
Texte: Louise.A.K.Delz aka Aurora Morgenstern
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 04.05.2013
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For mom...because you´re always there for me and because you believe. I love you.