Church (Chapter 4, Part 4)


(Continued from Church Chapter 4, Part 1, 2 and 3)

He was dead. I knew it without even looking. I went her. She had sunk down the wall and struggling to breath. Blood stained her clothes and turned everything red around us. Kneeling, I watched the slow raising and falling of her chest and the dagger still protruding from her. I took her hand, knowing there was nothing I could do but offer comfort. Our eyes came to rest on each other’s and she seemed to study me, questions forming and dying in her head.

‘Are you my guardian angel?’ she finally whispered.

I shook my head.

‘But you are an angel. I can see it,’ she rasped.

‘I was just passing,’ I responded though there was heaviness to my words.

Her eyes left mine and she looked around, ‘are you going to take me to Hell?’

‘I’m not that type of angel.’

I watched her face change into one of confusion and her lips trying to form more questions. I squeezed her hand and tried to think of something else to say.

‘I don’t want to die,’ she stuttered and began to cry.

‘It’s not so bad,’ I whispered.

Gently, I drew her into a hug and held her. Her hair was soft on my cheek and I could feel her tears falling on my shoulder. She smelt of sweat, blood and old perfume. She tried to put her arms around me, but instead I felt her collapse against me and her breathing becoming slower. I wondered where her guardian angel was and when a reaper would show up. I looked down, moved some of her hair from her face.

She went quietly.

Laying her down, I sit next to her and took some deep breaths. The city was still carrying on around us. I could hear cars and people going by, the ebb and flow of voices. Harsh breathing caught my attention and I looked over the three bodies to my left. Knife man was still alive.

I flattered my palms on the cold road and pulled myself up. Arranging my clothes, I walked over, anger burning in my heart. In a flash image, I saw myself dragging him up from the floor and shaking him. I demanded he tell me the truth about everything and why the girl had had to die. I had seen her aura and yes, her life had been tinted with badness, but she had tried to overcome it.

I reached him and made myself visible as an angel, with my wings unfolding around me, my sword appearing at my side, my armour glowing and robes flowing about me. Kicking him, bought him further around and he opened glazed eyes into mine, but as I looked down, I felt only pity.

‘I should kill you,’ I spit, ‘you helped bring her death.’

He groaned and twisted his head away, but all he could see was the body of Boss.

‘You would have had her after he was finished with her. I know it. I should bring you to judgement. You’re not worth of this life, you act like a daemon does.’

I nudged him to get him to turn back. Blood was drying on his face, but I could see that his breathing was steadying. This time his eyes widened and he took me completely in. I saw a spark of fear and his tongue roamed his mouth as if wetting it. My hand strayed to my sword.

‘Beg for forgiveness now and vow that from this moment on you will live a clean life. This is your only chance at redemption. I’ll grant it to you if you swear to this and that you will become a good man,’ I stated.

His mouth began to move, then his lips formed around a single word, ‘yes.’

‘Say it,’ I demanded and stilled my sword arm.

‘I beg your forgiveness for all my sins and vow to live a good clean life,’ he spoke quietly.

‘You will take up a religion,’ I added, ‘this will help you to keep you vows.’

He stared at me, trying to decide if he had heard me right.

‘Christianity, in its many forms, is often the preferred one,’ I suggested.

‘Yes, I will do it,’ he muttered and shut his eyes.

‘And if you don’t stay true, I shall seek you out and finish what you started today.’

‘I understand.’

‘Then I renounce you. Go in peace and may you see the light.’

I turned, my boots shuffling on the floor and went to the entrance of the side street. I lingered there, making myself invisible and watching for an angel to arrive. The sky had gotten darker and the streetlamps were flickering on. I leant against the wall, hand on my sword and watched knife man get to his feet.

He stumbled over to his Boss, kicked him hard whilst muttering some foul words and then headed my way. I ignored him, but placed him in my memory, meaning to stay true to my word. I shut my eyes, feeling a peculiar tiredness coming upon me. My job was over, I should leave, but I wanted to meet a reaper or any other angel. I turned over what I would say to them, but the two questions that kept coming to my mind seemed stupid.

It began to rain.

I opened my eyes as I felt the first specks fell and noticed the spray of droplets under the streetlights. A black cloud bank had rolled across the night sky blocking out the sprinkling of starts and half full moon. I turned my face up as it began to rain more heavily and marvelled in how refreshing and cleansing the simple water was. I decided I had to leave. I turned the corner and walked away. A reaper would come by to claim their souls, but clearly they were in no rush. I was feeling drained and couldn’t risk being exposed any more. I found another empty side street and took off. The rain beat down on my wings, sticking my feathers together and making it more difficult to fly.

I regretted leaving, but what would I have actually said to another angel? Really, there was only one I wanted to see and talk to. I flew higher and the weather didn’t change, but I battled on. I went over a few towns, then the park, then fields. The village was a dot under me and everything had become darker. I landed in the church graveyard, just as the wind picked up and forced me to hurry under the archway.

I shook the water from my clothes and hair, before putting my hand on the door. The sensation of being watched ran up my spine. I twisted my head and rested my chin on my shoulder, thinking it was nothing more than the spirits. My hand slipped from the door and I turned, knowing that it couldn’t be them in this weather. I glanced around the graveyard then down to the lichgate.

A figure was standing there, watching me.

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