A Challenge in Creativity: Angels

Many people have a hard time not sticking a deity into a white robe, making him male, and giving him a white beard, gentle eyes, and a big voice.  But we know we shouldn’t get too Michelangelo about the idea of a god since that’s so limiting.  It rules out women, omnipresence, and omnipotence.  So fatherly.  It’s such a nice wish to have the ultimate father, but tossing in gender makes you wonder—boxers or briefs?  We don’t want to go there.  Ultimate realities are so tricky.

So how about a nice demi-god?  Let’s bring on the angels, give them special but not ultimate powers.  Man angels or lady angels.  Conjure them up in your imagination and show us what they’re doing.

63 responses to “A Challenge in Creativity: Angels

  1. Peanut Beranski (aka Becca)

    Angel

    The value of Real Estate is re-assessed every four years in the State of Indiana. The duties of this revaluation fall under the office of the County Assessors. I held the elected office of County Assessor from 2002 to 2010 in my county.
    This four-year cycle insured that at least one year out of a four-year term, the Assessor became “Public Enemy #1.” I did not enjoy this distinction, but I learned to live with it. In fact, I embraced the unpopularity of the office with my second campaign slogan “Elect Peanut…She put the Ass in Assessing.”
    In the years that I occupied the Assessor’s office, real estate was still an asset that appreciated, consequently, the taxes on real estate increased. Once a taxpayer received written notice of their re-assessed value, they could appeal that value within 45 days. During the appeal period, I would have appointments every 15 minutes, every day with the appellants who were very unhappy and put the blame squarely on me. One man came in for his appointment with a starter’s pistol, and told me if I didn’t drop his assessment, he would return with a real gun. After that incident, a Sherriff was posted outside my office.
    One afternoon, a frail but quite pleasant 80 year-old lady came for her appointment.
    “How are you today Mrs. Unger? Please have a seat.” I said while motioning to the chair in front of my desk.
    “I am fine. How are you dear?”
    I couldn’t remember the last time a taxpayer called me anything civilized, let alone “Dear.”
    “I’m fine. How can I help you today?”
    “Well, I hate to take your time; I realize that you are a very busy lady. I don’t envy you your position, everyone being mad at you all the time that is. Oh, I am not mad at all,” she said as she reached across the desk and patted my hand. “I’m just concerned mind you.”
    “Of course Mrs. Unger.”
    “What I’m concerned with is this value on my house. I have lived in this house for 63 years. I raised my three children there. My husband died there five years ago. I love my home. I am on a very limited income.”
    “I realize these are difficult times. Let me get your file and we will go over your assessment. Perhaps there is an adjustment that I can make.”
    I pulled up her records on my computer and was confused. Her assessed value had gone down by a $4,000.00.
    “Mrs. Unger, your value dropped considerably, so your taxes will go down, not up. Sometimes the forms that we send you are difficult to understand. You’ll actually be paying about $50.00 less in taxes this year.”
    “Oh, I know that Dear. I understood the form perfectly, that is my problem.”
    “You have a problem with paying LESS?”
    “Yes…well you see, my 40 year old son, Gerald, moved back in with me when His father died. He refuses to get a job. All he does is lie on the couch and play those damn computer games all day and he eats as if he hasn’t seen food in days. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Gerald, but I really don’t like him anymore.”
    “So how can I help you?”
    “If you could just raise my taxes a little instead of lowering them, I could finally tell Gerald that he must move out because I can’t afford him anymore.”
    “Mrs. Unger,I think I can help you.”
    “Oh Dear…You are an Angel!”

  2. This is cute, Peanut! I enjoyed reading it.

  3. Yes, PB . . . very cute! I think you and Mrs. Unger were angels in that situation. I always enjoy your stories. ~LJ

  4. PB, I love how you keep us guessing. I kept thinking where`s the angel in this story. I thought it was you, then I thought it was Ms. Unger, then it`s almost over and BAM. There it is last word in the last sentence. Great stuff!

  5. Angels are bright lights who speak with their eyes. They appear in front of the bad things in your dreams to block the view.

    Angels are huge shadows that move in around you. You can’t see them, but you feel them because they fill the room. When they enter, you stop what you are doing and gaze into the atmosphere in reverence and admiration.

    • It never ceases to amaze me how you write these short pieces that have such an impact. Your words always transport me to a wonderful place. I love your imagination.

    • Peanut Beranski (aka Becca)

      I loved the visions that you gave us here. I believe you have seen and felt Angels before. Thank you for this stunner.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Pamela Hill. It is so succinct and beautiful. ~LJ

  6. Are there really such things as coincidences? Or did a little angel tell you I’d posted a story at my blog about heroes and angels before your wrote this prompt? DId you know there is such a thing as a magpie angel? True. I even have a photo of one.

    • ESP? Psychic connections? Visitations from celestial beings? Multiple universes overlapping suddenly? Or maybe we’re both just bird lovers. I’ll have to check your site.

  7. Phanuel slowly opened the door and peered inside. He didn’t mean to stare but the redness of the dean’s skin and the blackness of his eyes always alarmed him. Dean Lucifer stared back for a moment before he proceeded to work on the documents on his desk, then said, “You must be Phanuel.”

    Phanuel inched himself just inside the over-sized oak door and positioned himself ramrod straight in front of the dean’s desk, “Yes, Sir.”

    The dean waved him inside, “Yes, yes, come in.”

    Phanuel placed his book bag next to a life-size statue of a doberman and stepped further into the office. “Sir, I’d like to transfer to the College of Evil Affairs. I believe I’ve completed all the requirements.”

    The dean stood, “Please have a seat and we’ll check your file.”
    Phanuel seated himself in one of the plush red and grey tiger-striped armchairs in front of the dean’s desk.

    The dean stepped over to a black three drawer file cabinet and pulled on one of the red horn-shaped handles opening a drawer. Still looking at Phanuel he pulled out a file. “Ah, here it is. Now let’s see.” He reseated himself and then stared down at the file. He motioned toward the dimmer switch on the black wall. “Phanuel, please turn the light up.” The red glow in the room brightened. The dean began to thumb through the file. “Hm.” He turned another page. “ Yes. Very good.” He flipped rapidly through several pages until he came to a red sheet of paper. “Ah, here’s your request for a change. You were asked to attend a conversion seminar, a spiritual diversity class and a immersion retreat. It seems that you have fulfilled these requirements and received the required recommendations. However, a transfer to another College requires an immense adjustment on one’s part. Are you ready for that?”

    “Yes, Sir. The College of Alternative Studies — Conversion, Combating Religious Apathy, Grief studies – it’s not for me. Dealing with those in spiritual limbo makes me uncomfortable. I want to be a bad boy.” Phanuel tried to leer as he said “bad boy” but he only succeeded in looking pained.

    The dean stared at his fingers thrumming on top of his desk and sighed heavily. “I’m going to assign a mentor to you. You will shadow him for the next week. At the end of that time we’ll meet again and hopefully come to a decision. Agreed?”

    Phanuel’s smile spanned the width of his face, “Yes, Sir.”

    Dean Lucifer picked up his phone and dialed. “ Baphomet, can you please summon a mentor to my office. Please select carefully.” I’d like to hang on to this one, he thought.

    A few moments later a slim figure with deep set eyes, straight brows and thin pursed lips entered the dean’s office. “Hello, Dean Lucifer. I’m Azzaziel. I’m here about the recruit.”

    Phanuel glanced at his mentor. The dean came from behind his desk. “Hello Azzaziel, this is Phanuel. I’d like you to mentor him. He will be shadowing you for the next week. Please do your best to introduce him into the College of Evil Affairs. And Azzaziel, ” the dean eyed him closely, “ please ease him into fraternity life. Unlike the last recruit, I’d like him to last more than 24 hours.” The dean turned to Phanuel and placed a hand on his shoulder, “Good luck to you, Phanuel. I’ll see you in a week.”

    A week later Baphomet entered the dean’s office. He brushed past one of the Gargoyle figures and placed a letter on the huge oak desk. Dean Lucifer picked up his wrought iron three-pronged letter opener and tore open the envelope –

    Dear Dean Lucifer,
    I would like to thank you for the opportunity to study in the College of Evil Affairs. However, the mentorship made me realize I was in spiritual limbo. I have decided to request transfer to another College. I am now hoping for a transfer to the College of Enlightenment where I think I will be better suited. Please accept this as my withdrawal from the College of Evil Affairs.
    Sincerely,
    Azzaziel

    P.S. Phanuel has decided to remain at the College of Alternative Studies.

    “Damn, Baphomet. That’s fifteen this month. If this keeps up there will never be a balance between good and evil. Please review the files for the next potential recruits more closely.” He paused, “ Then post a raise in the price of the immersion retreat and draft a letter attributing the increase to a rise in the cost of supplies and let’s add fees for administrative and processing purposes. Send a copy to the School of Seven Deadly Sins and address it to the Chair of the Department of Greed to do the price adjustments and final approval. Please also draft a memo for all the College Deans and Department Chairs regarding a mandatory faculty meeting. We must increase our efforts in recruiting. That’ll be all.”

    “Yes, Sir.” Baphomet left the office and returned to his desk.

    The phone on Baphomet’s desk rang twice before he picked up. “Good afternoon, College of Evil Affairs. Baphomet speaking. How may I help you?” Baphomet listened for a moment and began to grin into the phone. “Yes, yes, that’s right. The required fifteen recruits.” Baphomet listened a few moments more. His grin grew. “I’ll be right over. Thank you, Dean Gabriel, for calling me personally. I’m looking forward to transferring to the College of Heavenly Virtues.” He hung up the phone.

    “Ouch.” Baphomet removed his shirt, searched for the hand mirror inside his drawer and held it behind his head. He could see two nubs of white softness beginning to sprout from the center of his back and he smiled.

  8. He called me a goodie-two-shoes, I laughed because I’d been called worse. It has become my habit to come to this apartment complex to see if anyone needed assistance, either with food or rent. I was hooked on helping after the first time I paid the rent for a man who had lost his job two months before. I never seen a grown man cry like he did when I handed him a check that covered his rent along with extra so he could buy some shoes for his two sons.

    Now this guy is condemning me for helping. Goodie-two-shoes. I laughed again, which thinking back on it probably wasn’t a good thing to do. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a knife which he quickly opened. “What’s so funny Goodie? Ya laughing now?” Looking past me, he suddenly dropped his knife and ran back into his apartment, slamming the door. I heard the dead bolt click, locking the world out.

    Suddenly a sulfur laced stench enveloped me. I turn to look at a being twice as tall as me with red eyes, dried leather like skin which seemed to be steaming. He held some sort of pointed weapon in his hand which he pointed at me.

    “This is my domain, these people are my puppets which I do with what I please. Your interference here is unacceptable, but your death is very much desired. Your death will seal the fate of these slaves of mine. Prepare for much pain, prepare to taste a bitter death.”

    He raised his weapon as to throw it at me, when suddenly he tumbled backward, end over end. Between this angel of death and me suddenly appeared another being, this one taller than the other. It was dressed in white with huge muscled arms. In its hand was a golden sword which pulsed with radiating light. He voice boomed, “This may be your domain, but he is in my charge. You or your minions cannot touch him or his. Go, leave him to his duties.” With that both beings disappeared.

    I walk back to my car with weak knees and crumble into the driver’s seat, thoughts of wondering if I should drive mixed with the memory of what just happened. I start the car and as I reach for the gear shift, I notice in the seat beside me a dagger with a golden blade, light pulsating from it, a feeling of calm and safety falling on me.

  9. “Hi. Dave, is it?”

    “Yes, and I want to say that this is definitely the highlight of my career as a celebrity interviewer.”

    “I was wondering about that term. Are the people you interview the celebrities, or are you the celebrity?”

    “Well, I guess it’s become a little of each. I’m a celebrity because I interview celebrities, y’know?”

    “Uhuh. So, where do we start?”

    “I guess the same place as the book – in the beginning, when you created light and heaven and earth and all the other stuff.”

    “Actually, Dave, in all modesty I can’t take the rap for any of that. I didn’t come on the scene until way later.”

    “But I thought…”

    “Well, y’see, that’s the confusion. All those dividing cells and dinosaurs and evolution had already happened way before my time.”

    “But you created man in your own image.”

    “No, and maybe you oughta watch your terminology there, Dave. Your female audience would probably prefer ‘humans’ rather than the kinda exclusive ‘man’, y’know? But the point is, humans were already around before me. Fact is, they created me – not the other way around.”

    “I don’t understand.”

    “Me neither, to start with. But apparently, they had this basic need for some kind of deity, and somehow I got the gig. One day I was nothing, the next thing I knew – actually, the first thing I knew – there I am being willed into existence and thanked for crops growing. Or blamed for them not growing. All kinds of stuff. The weird thing was, I had nothing to do with anything.”

    “Okay. But then you took control of everything, huh?’

    “No. You gotta understand, I was always just an abstract concept, basically some kind of template that people could customize to suit their needs. Still am. You wanna justify a war, you say I’m on your side. You wanna dodge doing anything about little kids dying from famine, you say it’s my will. You wanna get elected, you say you know me. You wanna get people to send money to your evangelist TV show, you say I said to.”

    “But…”

    “You want people to work cheap for your multi-national business, you tell ’em I want ’em to be priests or nuns. You wanna get some dumb jerk to blow himself up in a market place, you tell him I’m gonna reward him with a bunch of virgins.”

    “Um…”

    “It’s been going on for squillennia, one way or another. I always felt so used, y’know? And schizo too, lemme tellya.”

    “Schizo?”

    “Hey, Dave, you’re on TV. I don’t have to tell you about the hassles of being all things to all people. There were times I felt like a Republican presidential wanna-be.”

    “But surely you could’ve changed all that.”

    “Only by dropping out. Back in the nineteen-sixties, everyone else was, so I figured I would too.”

    “Actually, I remember Time magazine ran a cover back then asking if you were dead.”

    “Yeah, I had a quiet laugh about that, but it worked for me. What I did was, I let my hair grow, moved to a little island out in the Pacific, learned to surf, and that’s where I’ve been since then, and frankly glad to be outa the business.”

    “Except here you are now, doing this interview.”

    “Not really my idea, Dave. My squeeze has decided she wants to be a movie star or a supermodel, either way with a big recording contract, and she needs the publicity. And as omnipotent as I’m supposed to be, I can’t talk her out of it. You’re really here to interview her and make her famous, or I’m never gonna hear the end of it.”

    “Your, um, squeeze?”

    “Yeah. I got kinda lonely one night at a luau, watching everyone else coupling on the beach and in the bushes – coz I’m all-seeing, remember – so I created myself a cute li’l Gidget-style chick from some left-over spare ribs. But nothing like that Sandra Dee, mind you. More like Shelley Duvall meets the young Cleopatra – a real class act, as befits someone of my stature and exalted reputation.”

    “I don’t know what to say…”

    “Don’t say anything. She’ll do the talking, believe me. I’ll get her in. Hey, Angel, babe! Come and meet Dave.”

    • Loved this interview. Especially your squeeze being created from left over spare rib. Ha ha! And great last line.

    • Ah, yes, Fig. I knew you’d come through with something ……… controversial. Way to go. I got a real kick out of this one.

    • PS: Loved the spare rib line. Reminds me that once upon a time, I was recuperating at friends’ in Anchorage from an auto accident. I had broken ribs and torn cartilage. (Also a compression fracture of the spine, but they hadn’t yet discovered that.) The youngest daughter, about six, came into the bedroom and asked what I’d like for dinner. Then she suggested her favorite: space ribs.

  10. That’s one alternative universe, FigMince. Looks like you had fun with the dialogue. God as man’s creation and somewhat sassy to boot. Intriguing thoughts!

  11. “Oh, hello, Mrs. F. I didn’t think you’d make it back to this side of the island tonight. Let’s see, I have your rental contract right here. Ah, yes. Well, it looks like you’re ten hours overdue on your week’s rental.
    Now, was the Taurus okay ? Any problems?”

    “No, no problems with the car. It was fine, though I must tell you there’s a scratch on the right front fender.”

    “Oh, how did that happen?”

    “Long story. I’ll pay for it. It was my fault. I… I…”

    “Are you okay, Mrs. F?”

    “Yes. No. I don’t know.”

    “Is there something I can do? Would you like some coffee?”

    “No, thanks. I don’t drink coffee. Perhaps some water?”

    “Sure. I have some right here in the cooler. Here you are.”

    “Thanks. Phew. Would you mind if I sit down while we finish this?”

    “Not at all. Will you be needing a ride to the airport?”

    “No, I missed my flight. I’m staying another night at the Hilton Waikola and hoping to get on tomorrow’s flight back to Anchorage.”

    “So you’ll need the car another night?”

    “If it’s available…… Wait. Would you have a different car?”

    “Well, yes, but… I thought you said the car was fine.”

    “It… it was. Please, I really would like a different car.”

    “Certainly. One night?”

    “I hope just one more night.”

    “Mrs. F, are you okay? You seem upset.”

    “I… I have something to tell you. You know I was in Hilo today, right? And South point route was closed because of smoke from the Kilauea lava fires and the other highway was closed because of a mud slide?”

    “Yes, that’s why I wasn’t expecting you at all tonight. Did they get the highway open?”

    “I don’t know. I decided to chance the Saddle Road.”

    “Saddle Road!””

    “I’m sorry. I know you specifically told me that the Saddle Road is off limits to rental cars, but I had this flight to catch and the car to return and I just, well, I thought it would be okay. I planned to drive slowly. I asked at Mama Tia’s Ono café and everyone assured me the road was in good condition and I should be okay.”

    “What happened?”

    “Well, everything was going fine and then it got dark and it started raining so hard I had trouble seeing. I had the wipers on as fast as they’d go, but the wind picked up and was ripping leaves off trees and blowing all that across the road. It was just so hard to see…

    “And then this huge koa tree blew down across the road right in front of me and one of the limbs landed on the hood. That’s where the scratch came from. I think there might be a little dent there, too. It was raining so hard I didn’t want to get out and look, so I just sat there trying to decide what to do. I mean, the road was blocked. I couldn’t get around the tree. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t even sure I could turn the car around without getting stuck.”

    “Yeah, and then what? Well, you must have turned around. You’re here, after all.”

    “No. No, I didn’t turn around. I was sitting there in the dark and the rain and the wind and all of a sudden this woman came up to my window. Scared the bejesus out of me, the way she came out of nowhere. She motioned for me to roll down my window, so I did. Just a crack, though.

    “Trouble?” she asked. She had to strangest voice—dry and cracked like her vocal cords were damaged. Really weird. Anyway, I told her I didn’t know what to do, what with the tree across the road and all. And she said she could show me a short route around this section of the road, so I told her I’d certainly appreciate that and asked her to get in.”

    “You didn’t!! Tell me you didn’t.”

    “Yes, I did. There’s no rule against giving an old woman a ride, is there? I never saw that in the contract.”

    “No, it’s not in the contract. It’s just that… Well, there aren’t any roads… never mind. Tell me what happened.”

    “Well, she got in back, even though I moved stuff off the passenger seat so she could sit in front. That’ when I noticed she had a little dog with her. They were both in the back. I‘m sorry. There’s probably some muddy dog prints on the back seat. I really hadn’t seen it before they got in. And then, well, I couldn’t very well throw her out into the rain after she offered to help me, could I?”

    “No, no. Go ahead.”

    “Well, she told me to back up about a hundred yards and there would be a narrow opening in the forest on the left. So, I did what she said, and sure enough, there was an opening. I hadn’t seen it when I’d passed it, but then the visibility was awful. So, I followed this track for a way—actually, it was in better condition than the road—and whenever it seemed to disappear, the woman would point to where it was. And then…”

    “Yeah, go ahead.”

    “Well, this is going to sound crazy, but one of those times when she pointed to where the trail was, well… I noticed that her clothes were dry. I mean, she’d been standing out there in that torrential raid storm, and yet her clothes were dry.”

    “Was she wearing all white?”

    “Yes, oh, you know her?”

    “Everyone who lives here on the Big Island knows her.”

    “Oh, good. Well, sure enough, the road circled around and came back to the Saddle Road so I pulled onto it. I turned around the thank her and ask if I could give her a ride somewhere….”

    “And?”

    (Silence.)

    “Mrs. F?”

    “She… She wasn’t there. She wasn’t in the back seat. Shed gotten out without me hearing her open and close the door. Her and the dog.”

    “Yes, that’s usually the way it happens.”

    “I mean, it’s like she just disapp… What? What did you say?”

    “I said, ‘That’s usually how it happens.’”

    “What do you mean?”

    “She isn’t real. She really wasn’t there.”

    “”Of course she was real. I wasn’t seeing a ghost, for Pete’s sakes. I saw her and I saw the little dog. They were right in the back seat. Go look in the car and you’ll probably see muddy dog prints on the back seat.”

    “It’s okay, Mrs. F. There won’t be any mud in the car. There won’t be anything in it.”

    “Look, I know I shouldn’t have gone over Saddle Road but you don’t have to make like I’m some batty old dame who’s seeing things.”

    “I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I really didn’t mean to do that. But, the thing is, Mrs. F, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.”

    “Oh?”

    “No, not at all. What you saw was Madame Pele.”

    “Oh, come off it. I know Hawaiian folklore. I know about Pele. Pele’s the mythological goddess of fire, of volcanoes. Come on. I saw an old woman with a dog and they helped me get out of trouble on Saddle Road.”

    “You’re right about one thing. Madame Pele is the goddess of fire. Madame Pele hates water. Water puts out her fires, her volcanoes. She wanted out of the rain so she appeared to you. I’ll bet it had quit raining when she disappeared, hadn’t it?”

    “Well, now that you mention it.”

    “Yes. And another thing. Did you notice a smell when she was in the car?”

    “Well, sulfur, of course, but Kilauea’s erupting.”

    “Uh huh. It was raining.”

    “So, you think Madame Pele came to me like a fairy godmother or an angel and helped me out of trouble?”

    “Uh, no. Pele’s not known to do good deeds, but it sure seems like she helped you, doesn’t it? Now, let’s go see that back seat.”

    (car door opens)

    “I don’t see anything here Mrs. F. The seat and floor mats are clean. There’s no mud or dampness or…. Oh, what’s this?”

    “What? What is it?”

    “Oh, just some small lava pebbles. They probably came off your shoes whenever you stepped in the back.”

    “I wasn’t in the back. Only the old woman and the dog were in back. I never even opened the rear doors.”

    • Gullible ~

      I guess the lesson here is that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

      Thanks for the fun read.

      ~LJ

    • One of the things I like about this blog is that it seems to get people writing. I don’t know if this is something you had stashed away or if it’s new, but it certainly was fun to read. Good dialogue!

      • Wrote it just for this blog. I was aware of the legend of Pele, though, and of her mysterious appearances. Always dressed in white, always with a small dog.

    • What I love about your writing is that I’m always being entertained and educated at the same time.

  12. “Sing once again with me our strange duet
    My power over thee grows stronger yet . . . .”

    “The Phantom of the Opera” played softly in the background. Curtains were drawn to dim the August sunlight. Petals lay drying next to crystal vases on top of a wheeled cart. The black screen of the wall-mounted television was silent. I sat to the right of the only bed in the room. The room was just one of many in the medical center where Gini and I worked.

    The musical notes faded further into the background as Gini’s frail voice aroused me from my reverie. “Do you believe in an afterlife, LJ?” I chewed on my lower lip and silently lowered my gaze to Gini’s pillow. “LJ, we both know I’m dying. My time is short. I want to know what you think.”

    My heart ached as I choked back tears. “Gosh, Gini, that’s not an easy question to answer. I was raised to ‘believe,’ and I guess I do believe. Still, I question the belief in an omnipotent being and an everlasting life. What do YOU believe, Gini?” I asked.

    Gini’s lash-less pale eyes stared blankly at the ceiling for a time before she answered. “What I know for certain is that I do not believe in some ethereal otherworld. What I think is, perhaps, everlasting life is nothing more than being remembered; you know, living on in the hearts of those you leave behind,” she said.

    There’s a silence before death when words can’t be spoken. I experienced that silence for the first time on the morning Gini died a few days later. No words were exchanged; yet, in some strange way I felt as though we had communicated. As though we had spoken our farewells. How? Angels, I wondered?

    Months later, I began volunteering for a local hospice. When I began as a volunteer I believed that all deaths were peaceful, like Gini’s. But, what I experienced was something much different. Sometimes death did not appear to be peaceful. Sometimes death seemed to be dark and mysterious like the underworld of the Phantom of the Opera. Again, when at deaths door—no words exchanged; yet, I felt cold; I felt restless; I felt fear. Why? Demons, I wondered?

    We wonder about the mysterious afterlife. We wonder about the inhabitants of this unknown otherworld. Will we see Angels? Demons? Do they exist? What do they look like? What special powers do they possess? Perhaps, we need not look any further than ourselves to know the answers. Perhaps, we need not search for a super power. Perhaps, we already possess one. Perhaps, it is simply the power of choice.

    We can choose to be kind and compassionate and shine light in the world as Gini did; or, we can choose to be unkind and hateful and risk being cast into a world of darkness for eternity.

    “Those who have seen your face draw back in fear
    I am the mask you wear it’s me they hear . . . .”

    ~LJ

    • LJ,
      Amazing essay. Amazing.
      Pamela

    • I think it’s very important to write about death, if only once. Here you combine Gini’s death with commentary about the nature of what comes next. Many good thoughts. I especially like the idea that choice is a super power.

      • Hi, Ann. I find myself wondering if you sleep. I don’t know how you find the time to teach your ed2go courses, read all our posts here, and have a life. But, I’m glad you’re able to do it all, and I thank you. ~LJ

        PS Do you think it might be a good idea to put a word limitation (or range) when you offer a challenge?

    • Talk about creative, LJ. You always have interesting and varied structure and insightful or motivating pieces. I love your style. I feel one dimensional next to you. This is another great emotional piece.

      • Thanks, Lisa. I feel very one-dimensional next to you and the other writers here on Ann’s blog. I want to write creatively like you and the others, but I seem to only be able to write from my heart rather than from a creative place. No imagination! Again, thanks, Lisa. I appreciate your kind thoughts. ~LJ

    • LJ, Interesting comparison. Good questions for the reader to figure out for themselves.

  13. Things couldn’t get any busier tonight, Gabe thought rushing to steady Natalie. She had slipped on the ice in her high-heeled boots and was careening towards the barberry bush outside her work place. He’d almost missed her leaving.

    They always gave him the young ones. They said it was because his reflexes were better than most of the other Guardian Angels. It was true, and he was proud of it. He’d been training for the Angelympics in his specialty, the Skyathalon: Cloud Jumping, Rainbow Relay Racing, and Moon Vaulting. He hoped to win first place and receive his very own star this year.

    In the short time his mind had wandered, he saw Natalie had poured a bottle of water on her frozen car door lock. When it released, she opened the door and got inside. She waited a few minutes for the heater to come on, and then tried to open the door to scrape the ice off her windshield. But when she pushed on the door, it wouldn’t budge; it had frozen shut again.

    Good, she’s locked in and out of trouble for now, Gabe thought.

    At that moment he heard Lucy yell, “Gabe, watch out for Jake!” He moved with lightening speed to steer the sled of the ten year-old boy that was sliding out of control down the snowy unlit road behind his house. “Time to go inside for the night,” he said to the boy’s conscience. He left when he saw Jake pick up the sled and head for home.

    When he got back to Natalie, she was leaving the parking lot with only a small circle of clear space to see out her windshield. “No, no, you were supposed to wait for the windshield to defrost before you started out,” he shouted. She cocked her head as if she heard something, but kept on going. “Besides, there’s no one left at the party; they’ve all gone home because of the icy weather.” If she heard him, she didn’t react.

    Lucy shouted again, “Gabe, its Sandra now.” He was glad Lucy had his back. The three people he was assigned to tonight were almost too much without his Assistant. He got to twelve year-old Sandra’s second story window just as she was climbing out to run away from home. Her backpack was bulging with all her important possessions. She clutched her pillow-pet monkey in her left arm and her right hand clasped the gutter. Gabe caught the gutter as it fell away from the house and slowly eased it and its burden to the snowy ground below.

    “It’s cold and it’s not safe,” he whispered to her. “Go back inside and talk to her. She understands, she really does.” He watched her wipe away her tears and walk through the front door into her mother’s arms.

    He caught back up with Natalie and was impressed at how slowly and carefully she was driving. But as she made a left turn, her car door flew open and the car began sliding towards the embankment on the right. He knew there was a creek below.

    Gabe took control of the wheel and steered the car back onto the road. Natalie was holding the door closed with one hand and gripping the steering wheel with the other. He could tell at that moment she made the decision to head home instead of to the party.

    Gabe needed to make sure she got there without any further mishaps, so he stayed with her while she drove the rest of the way. When she turned the corner onto her street, he winked at the porch light causing it to gleam brighter. The silhouette of her mother was outlined at the front window watching for her.

    He saw Natalie visibly relax, then try to stifle an uncontrollable giggle. Yes, she would have a good story to share. And he would add three more saves to his list of accomplishments tonight.

  14. Hi, Parrot ~

    This is a great story. I hope everyone reading this blog has a “Gabe” watching over him or her. And, I hope his or her “Gabe” has a “Lucy” calling the shots. You must have been an administrative assistant at some point in your life.

    Enjoyable! Thank you.

    ~LJ

  15. This is a poem I wrote when my Father passed away:
    Promise

    Bright lights florescent unmerciful
    Mocking the light which was fading
    Splashing focus on a face of regret
    On hands that could no longer protect
    Midst of dying
    Violin sonata drifting through the atmosphere
    A lazy cloud
    Must have been an angel sent to comfort the Hospice crowd
    Maybe it was Heaven
    Descending
    Scent of roses drifting from the vase next to his bed
    Unmerciful light relenting
    Leaving love in place and the
    Promise of beauty waiting

    • Pamela ~

      I am sorry for the loss of your father. It’s lovely that you could write a loving tribute to remember the time of his passing. I love the ending lines: “Leaving love in place and the promise of beauty waiting.” So very true. Thank you for sharing.

      ~LJ

    • I too am sorry for the loss of your father. You truly write beautiful poetry.

    • You have captured these final moment with a lot of beauty and gratitude. What a fine tribute.

  16. After reading all the beautiful entries under this topic, I thought of skipping this challenge and wait for the next one. But I already spent so much time on my story, I can’t hold it now. Moreover, I am still in the intial steps of my journey and can use all the feedback.
    For this challenge, I chose a fictional character Pam Inman, who is a Private Investigator.

    My name is Pam Inman. I am a Private Investigator.
    I am meeting a new client today who is willing to pay four times more than my usual charge. I wonder why he is doing it. I believe this is going to be a difficult case. We agreed to meet at a bar. He said he will wear a black suit and a Christmas tie to make it easier to find him.
    When I entered the bar I saw him waiting for me. I went to him and introduced myself.
    “Hi, I am Pam. We spoke on phone.”
    “Hi, I am Tom.”
    “How did you come to know about me? Did you hear about me from one of your friends?”
    “I found your website on the Internet. Reviews were impressive.”
    “What can I do for you?”
    “I am the Co-Owner of a Novelty Items Company. My partner is James. You need to bring me an envelope that is with him.”
    “What is in that envelope?”
    “You need not know that. In fact, one of the conditions is you should not see what is in the envelope. Your job is just to get me the envelope.”
    “Whoa… I can’t do that. What if something illegal is in there?”
    “I can assure you this is all legal. We are partners in a company and that envelope has confidential documents related to our company.”
    “Ok. I will add an extra line in our contract that I am not responsible for the contents.”

    “And I need that envelope within 24 hours.”
    “That might be a problem. I am on another case now and I need minimum three days to analyze your partner’s daily routine and his psychology.”
    “That is why I am hiring you. You are the best in your field and I am paying you four times your regular price.”

    If this person is so desperate, I will try to get some information from him and start working on this case.

    “Can you tell me anything more about your partner? Where does he live and his daily schedule?”
    “He lives in Brightown. He lives alone. I don’t know what he does after work. But he never misses work and is always at work from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. He doesn’t have the envelope on him. I don’t know much more about his personal life.”
    “How did you both become partners in business if you don’t know much about him?”
    “We met at a product fair five years back. Both of us were looking to expand our businesses. So, we became partners and till now everything is working great. I can’t tell you anything more.”
    “Ok. We will meet tomorrow. You have to pay me half now and half after the job is done.”

    After I took some more details of the envelope, I started off to find more about James. I quickly found out from my other sources that he doesn’t have a safe deposit box in a bank where he could keep the envelope. But, his transactions showed that he is a philanthropist contributing donations to many charities. Recently he made a huge donation to a children’s hospital.

    If he doesn’t have a deposit box, he must either think it is not important or has some other place to hide it. I can start by looking at his home. Before that, I wanted to know more about his family.

    I made some inquiries about his family and found that he was brought up in foster care and is not close with any of the families he was with. One of his foster brothers who he visits occasionally lives in the city.

    I wonder who he is paying the hospital bills for. I will need to find that out from the hospital. One of my close friends from school, Rhonda, works in that hospital’s Administrative Department. I called my friend and it wasn’t difficult for me to find out about James. My friend spoke very highly about him. She said that he sometimes helps patients who can’t pay for their treatment.

    The more I knew about James, the more I started to respect him. This person is a saint. What could he be holding from my client? Whatever is in the envelope might not be illegal but that might be immoral.

    I decided to wait for James to show up at the hospital and find out from him about that envelope.

    He came right on the hour and I observed him from a distance. He is very nice to all the staff and patients at hospital. Everybody is very fond of him. I thought I should listen to James’ side of the story before working on a plan to retrieve the envelope.

    I waited for an opportunity to have small talk with him. I got it in the hospital cafeteria.
    “Hi, my name is Pam. I am good friend of Rhonda. I heard you volunteer in this hospital.”
    “Hello, I am James. There is always a need for volunteers in this hospital. I try to make proper use my time.”
    “That is very impressive. You are a noble man.”
    “There is a reason for me to do this. I was brought up in foster care. I am just trying to pay it forward in whichever way I can.”

    “What do you do for a living?”
    “I am the Co-Owner of a Novelty Items Company. I help here after work on three days of a week and I help in the soup kitchen on rest four days.”
    “How is everything going on at your work? Is your partner as generous as you are?”
    “Recently there was a child in this hospital who needed a major surgery. His parents can’t afford to pay for it. So, I persuaded my partner to pay for that child’s surgery on behalf of our company.”
    “Is he reconsidering it?”
    “Yes… How did you know that?”
    “Mr. James, I am PI. I was hired by your partner, Tom, to retrieve an envelope from you. I believe that envelope has some legal document endorsing your company’s contribution towards this child’s operation.”
    I continued, “In my line of work, we generally don’t get emotionally attached to either the client or the case. But this case is different. You are a very noble man. After knowing you, I can’t do what Tom has asked for. I am going to tell him the same.”
    James is shocked. He said, “I can’t believe Tom could do that.”
    “Judging by the kind of person he is, he may hire somebody else to get it once I reject his offer. I suggest you keep it safe.”
    “Thank you Pam! You saved a child today.”

  17. Hi Parrot, Beautiful Story! I enjoyed reading it!

  18. Nice story, SC. I’m glad you decided to post it. I enjoyed reading it but the conversation gets a little confusing without the paragraph breaks. Ann’s prompts are great practice so keep practicing and posting.

  19. Hi, SC ~

    First of all, I’ll say that I agree with Lisa’s comment that the conversation (story) gets a bit confusing due to spacing and possibly some grammatical issues. Therefore, I read your piece several times in order to understand it better. And, I must say I’m glad I did.

    SC, I truly enjoy reading the stories you post. There is a “sweetness” (or kindness) to your writer’s voice that makes me want to stop and pay attention to what you have to say. To me, your “Angels” story demonstrates the Yin and Yang of life–the constant push-and-pull of good vs evil. I like how PI Pam warns the “good” Mr. James that the maybe not-so-good Tom will just keep trying to destroy his efforts.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts. Please keep writing!

    ~LJ

  20. Thanks for sharing your angel piece. It always helps to have some good guys and some bad guys to generate conflict. Keep ’em coming!

  21. Out of the mouth of babes. Children explain angels from the housetohouse church bulletin:

    “I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold.” Gregory, age 3

    “Angels don’t eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows.” Jack, age 6

    “When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath again, somewhere there’s a tornado.” Reagan, age 10

    “Everybody’s got it wrong. Angels don’t wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it.” Olive, age 9

  22. All cuddled up on her feathery cloud, the little one waited and waited.

    “How long will it take?” She said, growing impatient.

    Wait. Listen. You will miss the sound. Far and away there was a faint little something. The softest ringing of a tiny gold bell. A child had found it and enjoyed the sound of it. Then all of a sudden, feeling light as the air, she was floating and floating, she was growing her pair. Two little wings so beautiful and white they were just what she wanted, now she’s learning to fly!

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