This is a short story taken from something I’m working on. Its about an Angel and his decision.
I saw the world burn.
The darkness had finally overrun its defences and we could see the great cities in flames. The tall glittering skyscrapers turned into gigantic dead pillars of fire. The sky was blacker than the coldest night and filled with deadly poisonous clouds. The horizon was a thin red line of flame and death.
We were too late. The war was over. We, the Angels of the Choir Virtues, could save nothing.
We flew across the sky. My bright burning sword felt light and ready in my hands. But there was no one to fight. There was no one to save. All were dead.
We saw buildings crumble and burn, petrol stations blow up, bodies crumpled at the side of the roads, cars overturned and crashed. Yet there was no screaming. There was no panic or tears. Nothing living stirred.
And then came the explosion. It was like nothing I had seen before. On the distant horizon there was a great flash that blinded us for a moment. We each had to pause in the air.
We didn’t know what it was. But it was coming. Like a great wall, a burning inferno that reached from the ground right up to the black evil clouds. It sped towards us faster than we could think, decimating everything its path as if it were made of dead dust.
We froze in hesitation and we shielded ourselves with our white holy wings but the light was so bright and so hot. It tore through us as if we had been flung into the very depths of Abaddon. It shocked me into the denial of unconsciousness.
When I awoke I was sore and battered. My white robes, signifying my glorious status as an Angel of God, were in tatters. The light had been so ghastly I was left partially blind and couldn’t see more than black shapes that moved and the red light of nearby fires.
‘Prop him up!’ The voice was sharp and bitter. I was tugged and pulled and lifted up. The hands that touched me were cold. I couldn’t struggle against them or help myself. My body was broken. But then I heard the moaning of others in great anguish and pain. A sound I knew for it was the sound of those nearing a terrible death.
I fought but it was pointless. I was too weak. My eyes cleared just enough so that I could look around. The source of the terrible moaning I could just make out, on tall twisted spikes of metal human forms were skewered and were wiggling helplessly. They were still alive but dying quickly. I heard the weak flapping of wings and the realisation shocked me cold. They were my brothers and sisters, the other Angels of Virtues. They were dying.
‘No!’ I screamed pointlessly. I pulled but they had tied me with strong ropes. They tensed and my shoulders were painfully pulled back. The cold clammy hands lifted me up and I felt the razor sharp point of metal sticking deep into my spine.
There was horrid laughter, a perverse pleasure from my captors. They must be servants of darkness, monsters of nightmares. I could not escape them and my voice rose in song of mourning and shame.
Then I felt a light, a wonderful light that I knew and recognised even in my partial blindness. It was accompanied by glorious and great singing. It was the one true light of Him the Almighty. My brothers and sisters, Angels of God, had come.
I felt myself lifted and my eyesight was instantly restored. I was whole and glad again and my pain disappeared. I was ready to continue God’s great work and ready to battle the darkness.
I turned to face my one-time captors, planning to send them back to the very coldness of Hell. But I felt a gentle touch hold me back. It was only a light touch but it held great strength and power and I knew if was one from a higher Choir.
‘No! Let me bring justice,’ I pleaded.
‘No, Anthony, my child. Do you not see who you would take your vengeance on?’ I recognised the voice. It was the Seraph Gabriel, one of the blessed seven of God and one of his greater messengers.
So I looked and I saw.
My captors were not servants of darkness, not foul monsters. They were the human survivors of that apocalyptic explosion! Their skin had turned frighteningly pale and the sickness of radiation poisoning was killing them while it mutated them. But they were still human. It was not the darkness that had destroyed the world but humanity!
There was one who stood on a pedestal where a makeshift throne had been erected from the rotting remains of others. He stared at us, undeterred by the light of God and there was hatred in his eyes.
‘This world is now part of the Deadlands. This war has been lost. Do not look further. Not even our tears can save them.’ Gabriel cautioned. His tone was sombre and sad.
But I could not look away. I could not pull myself from staring at those human survivors and the dead bodies of my brothers and sisters that still hung on the metal pikes. They had died before Gabriel had arrived.
My sword had returned to me. Recreated out of the very light of Gabriel. I didn’t look at Gabriel as I descended. Nor did he stop me as I brought my holy vengeance down on them and slaughtered them all.
I tore the eyes out of all of them as they died for they were not worthy to look upon the light of the one true Heaven.
The trial had been quick and functionary. They had heard from Gabriel what had happened. They asked me nothing and said nothing to me.
I had killed humans knowingly and for selfish reasons. There could be no redemption. I was mentally readying myself for an eternity of torture in the 2nd Heaven.
I awaited their sentence. But none came. They must have believed my actions required no punishment yet I yearned for it. I yearned to be punished. I saw the world die and I know it was humanity that burned it. How can we protect and love humans if they willingly destroy everything God has given them? How can we stand tall and serve God if we were once human?
‘Why?’ I asked him.
Gabriel looked solemn. He was among the most beautiful of Angels and none would have dared ask such a question of him. But he did not strike me or condemn me. He bowed his head for I could see he was crying. He said, ‘It is simply the way of things Anthony. For Hope and Light to exist, there must be the darkness and failure. It is the Divine Plan.’
I once had faith. Even when I saw my mortal family killed in a mortal foolish war, I did not question my faith. But now I did. ‘I do not understand anymore.’
‘Do not try to understand. You must accept what happened and move on. Know that it is God’s Will. Have Faith in Him for through Him we are all saved.’ His eyes seemed humane and sincere. He seemed to understand what I felt but he knew as much as I did that it was impossible to give me the words I needed to hear.
The Earth was cold under my feet. I was naked and the sharp wind of this place whipped through me.
I had burnt my wings and left Heaven for good. None had stopped me and my brothers and sisters of the Virtues had begged me not to and so I had gone far from them and had made the fall.
It was night and very dark. I had expected to fall on a dead world but here I was in a living place. This world had not burned. A city of lights was in the distance. It made the horizon sky a deep orange hiding the few stars.
I made my blackened wings hide and I started to walk towards the city.
I was confused. The world was dead but here it was alive. Had I been given a second chance? Or had God sent me back so I may understand why He would let such a tragedy occur? Or perhaps this was my punishment to see the world burn again and know I could not stop it?
I did not know. It was cold and I needed clothes and shelter.