Heaven Sent

Mercy didn’t just hear or smell the angel falling and becoming caught in the power lines; she saw it. Abandoning the wet clothes she had been taking out of the washing machine, she hurried outside and across to where she thought at first a person parachuting or using some other flying device had come down. She heard the crackle of electricity and could only watch as a bolt travelled along into the person.

Crying out, she saw the person struggling and more electric bolts striking them. Even as she came to stand close by, she knew there was nothing to be done and really, she should have phoned the police straight away. Too many times she had seen birds and other animals go the same way. Wrapping her hands in her dress and apron, she heard one of the lines twang and Mercy looked up to see it snapping. The now still body was weighing the lines down and they couldn’t take the weight. She moved back, torn between seeing if the person was still alive and going back to the house to phone for help.

The lines snapped, dropping down and wrapping around the person as if they had been caught in a spider’s web. Mercy stepped forward before stopping again, the lines could still be alive and she couldn’t afford to put herself in danger. A limb hand reached out towards her and for the first time she saw the white feathers. Frowning she wonder if a bird had become tangled up too, but as more white feathers drifted down, she came to the conclusion that the person must have been using some kind of winged flight contraption.

Slowly, she approached and nudged the bundle of wires and body with her booted foot. She wondered if the electricity had run into the earth now and if it was safe to touch the body. They must be dead, she thought, nobody could have survived that. A groaning called her out of her thoughts and Mercy knelt as best she could and tried to figure out where the person’s head was.

‘Hello? Are you alive? Moan or something if you can hear me,’ she spoke.

A moan sounded and she took that for an answer.

‘I don’t know what to do. Should I call someone?’

Another groan and then the person moved and slowly began to untangle themselves.

‘I don’t think you should do that,’ Mercy said as she moved backwards, ‘the wires could still be alive.’

A tumble of words reached her ears and puzzled she watched as a man emerged from the power lines and climbed to his feet before her. Her bewilderment grew as she saw the man was wearing what appeared to be a white robe- now slightly burnt and very dirty-and brown sandals. His hair was very blonde and just long enough to cover his face and neck. He also had large white wings strapped to his back and smoke was drifting up from them. Mercy pointed and tried to tell him this, but words failed her.

He stared at her with the bluest eyes she had ever seen before looking at his wings.

‘On no!’ he cried and began twisting and turning about whilst trying to stop the smouldering feathers.

That’s highly ineffective, Mercy thought and almost left to get a bucket of water, but the risk of causing more danger stopped her. ‘There’s a water pump over,’ she called out instead.

With an anguished cry, the man rushed over and pumped the handle like crazy. Water gushed out and he dived under. Mercy followed behind him, watching his hand trying to pump the water whilst his other grabbed at the wings. Mercy took over for him and instructed him to sit down. She was relieved to find that worked and the man became calm as the water rushed over his wings.

‘Can’t you just take them off?’ she asked, ‘it might be easier and you wouldn’t have to get wet too.’

He stared at her, water dripping off his hair and face. She gasped at his handsomeness and her hand slipped off the handle. He stood up and the two wings spread themselves out behind him. They were almost as tall as he was, but a lot broader, each made an arch shaped behind him and Mercy wondered how they actually worked.

‘They’re attached,’ he answered.

She pulled a face, not convinced she had heard him right. Before she could ask what he meant, he turned around and she saw that they were attached to his shoulder blades. Large holes had been cut in the robe for them to fit through and Mercy could see patches of skin.

‘An angel? But…I…how?’ Mercy stuttered.

He turned with a flourish, holding his arms wide in front of his wings, ‘that’s what I am. Well done. How? Because I was good in life. I’m Septimus, nice to meet you.’

Mercy swayed backwards, her mind and mouth trying to form words but making no sounds.

‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean too…’ Septimus looked over his shoulder at the broken power lines, ‘I can fix that…erm…you are Mercy Bentley, right?’

She nodded and had to steady herself on the water pump. Breathing deeply, she rested her other hand on her hip and looked down at the puddle of water which was slowly disappearing into the dry earth.

‘Are you okay? Do you want some water? A chair?’

Mercy waved her hand and kept her eyes fixed on the ground. So many thoughts and questions were rushing through her head. She wasn’t sure what to ask first or if she wanted anything to do with this angel as he claimed to be. Taking a deep breath, she brought her hands to her stomach and looked at him.

‘Maybe we should go in and sit down?’ he suggested.

‘Why are you here?’ Mercy asked instead.

‘God sent me. Well, really, my commander did. He got his orders from one of the angels above him and they might have got the orders from one of the angels up top and they were probably got there orders from Him. Though, I can’t be sure. I don’t understand the system, it can get confusing, you see?’

Mercy shook her head.

‘I’m here to help you,’ Septimus concluded.

‘I’m fine. Honest,’ Mercy replied and turned to leave.

‘No you’re not,’ the angel called and came to her side. They walked together for a moment then the angel added, ‘you’re just in shock. It’ll pass soon. Would you like to go and lay down? I can wait.’

‘I’m good, thanks, please leave me alone. I’m sorry you had a wasted trip. Goodbye now.’

Mercy reached her porch and walked up the steps. As her fingers reached out for the door handle, the angel’s voice spoke close to her ear, ‘I’ve been assigned to stay with you. I’ve come to help you and the baby.’

Mercy spun, her hands dropping to her lower belly. She saw that the angel was behind her, waiting at the bottom step and looking up at her with a sad expression on his face. Septimus shrugged his shoulders and wings as if in reply.

‘How do you know?’ she asked.

He looked up at the sky, ‘we see everything.’

Mercy glanced up then opened her front door and stormed in.

‘It’s’ the truth,’ he called after her.

She heard his sandaled feet slapping on the floor and the door opening. He followed her into the living room and joined her on the sofa. Miraculously, he was dry and clean as he sat down. Fascinated, she watched his wings folding around him and fading in definition until they had almost disappeared. She wanted to reach out and touch them to see if they were still there, but she resisted.

‘You asked God for help,’ Septimus begin softly, ‘He can’t come Himself, so He sent us- His angels- in His place. We try to do the best we can, but people can be so…resistant, I guess?’ he shook his head, ‘humans don’t believe like they used to. It can take a while for them to accept us, but we only want to help.’

‘And how do you plan to help me?’ Mercy cut in.

‘In whatever way I can.’

‘Useful. Really useful,’ she puffed, ‘aren’t you suppose to try and convince me to keep the baby or something? You do know I’m still thinking about getting rid of it or adopted, right?’

Septimus nodded, ‘of course, I know that, but that’s not my job. It’s up to you what you do. It’s your body, your fault, free will and all that.’

‘My fault, huh?’

‘Well…’

Mercy picked up a paper fan and began to fan herself, though she was half tempted to hit the angel with it. He was shrugging his shoulders again and looking for a better way to explain his words. He shook his head and turned back to Mercy’s piercing eyes.

‘I’m here to guide you and help you to reach a decision, if you like. But, I’m perfectly happy with what you decide to do. Your baby isn’t one that’s important to the world, so that should make it easier. I mean…he, they, don’t really change anything. Ouch!’

Mercy hit him with the fan and stood up, ‘don’t talk about my baby like that! Get out!’

‘I’m sorry!’ Septimus shouted and curled up in a ball whilst his hands stayed held up to ward away the fan, ‘this is my first job in a while. Really, I wanted one of the female angels to do it, but she wouldn’t swap. I’m trying to get it right. I’m sorry.’

‘How can you be so unprepared to do your job?’

‘I’m not. I had this speech and anything. Just nervous or something, I guess. I want to help. Honest I do! Please!’

‘Well, I don’t want it. Leave! Go back to Heaven or wherever. You’ve caused enough damage. I don’t need any more around here.’

‘I’ll go and fix the power line right now. I said I would, didn’t I? Septimus bawled as he jumped up and fled to the door.

Mercy watched him go then dropping the fan, went into the kitchen. Her washing was still on the floor. Tutting, she picked it up and began hanging it up. From the corner of her eye, she saw a flicker of light and turned to the window. Frowning, she stepped closer and watched as the angel fried himself again on the live power lines. Shaking her head and putting her hands on her hips, she decided she had no choice but to go and help him again, least he get into more trouble.

Putting on her coat, she went outside and saw Septimus curled up on the floor shaking, his wings and robe with smouldering again and he looked miserable. Mercy tapped him with her boot and his eyes rolled to her face.

‘Come on,’ she said, ‘before you actually kill yourself.’

Slowly, they went to the water pump and she dumped cold water over him once more.

‘Seems, like I’m going to have to teach you a few things,’ she added.

The angel nodded, ‘I have a lot to learn.’

Robbery

In the evening, James walked home from work. Snow was starting to fall, but as he only lived a few streets away from the office, he didn’t mind. He strolled past an alleyway and from out of the shadows a hunched old man stepped and threw a punch at his jaw. The fist caught him off guard, giving the man time to grab James’ wallet and flee. Turning after him, James saw that the man had a hook instead of a right hand and wondered if he had just been robbed by no other then Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

Snow and Sand

The beach was deserted as Casey and Bilbo took their normal Sunday walk. A fine snow was falling and Casey paused to watch it landing on the choppy wave tops and the sand. She tucked a loose strand of her brown hair back into her hood and wiped at her somewhat runny nose. Switching her red umbrella to her other hand, she flexed the stiff fingers on her bandaged left hand, A result from a fall on ice a few days ago and tried to pull up the fluffy glove covering it. She had to juggle the umbrella and fight against the sleeve of her caramel coloured parker coat to do so.

Bilbo barked and she looked down at the white West Highland Terrier. He was wrapped up in a warm tartan patterned dog coat and had just dropped a small piece of drift wood at her wellington booted feet. His stumpy tail was wagging madly and his panting pink tongue was covered in sand grains and a sliver of bark.

‘It’s too cold,’ she told him and shivered slightly.

Bilbo barked again and jumped a pace back. He wouldn’t take that as her reason.

‘Just for a few minutes,’ Casey said and switching the umbrella again, picked up the stick.

Even through her gloves, she could feel the roughness of the wood. The sea had yet to make it smooth and she wondered where it had come from. She threw it along the beach, careful to keep the little dog out of the chilly waves. Bilbo shot off, barking like a mad in determined to retrieve the new play thing.

Casey watched him go before glancing around the beach once more. Snow was piled up against the wooden wave breaking fences and the chipped stone wall. She thought it was strange to see snow and sand meeting, but then it happened every year in her seaside town, no matter how much snow they got. She still could see anyone else around and really she didn’t blame people from staying away. In this weather, the sea was always unpredictable and the beach looked highly uninviting.

She walked on, holding the umbrella in both hands and following the light paw prints left by Bilbo. He was now wrestling with the stick, but when he saw her, he darted back to her side, stick in mouth and jumped up, proudly showing her he had won the game. Laughing, Casey took it from him and threw it again. He raced after it, kicking up some sand in his wake and barking again. She watched him tumble on top of the drift wood and a large wave smack into him.

‘Bilbo!’ she cried out and rushed over to the spot he had been in.

The wave rolled back, dragging sand and the little dog with it. Casey dropped the umbrella and let out a scream. From somewhere inside the wave, she thought she head Bilbo yelping. She paused at the frothy edge of another wave and shouted his name again. Everything was yelling at her to step into the sea and searched for her dog, but a slight fear of danger was holding her back. As her eyes searched the now growing waves, she saw a flash Bilbo’s tartan coat.

Calling his name, she hasty walked towards it and saw him struggling in the water. Quickly, she reached out for him as another wave arose and threated them. Bilbo must have known it was her as he renewed his efforts and paddled towards her hand. Casey felt her now wet gloved fingers trying to grab him and finding no hold. Franticly, she tore the gloves off, and scooped Bilbo up. He shook in her arms and licked her face with salty kisses.

The wave broke around her wellies, almost knocking her down and she felt water splashing up her jean covered legs and running down into her long woollen socks. Clutching him tightly, she fought her way out of the sea and up the snow covered sand. Breathing heavily and feeling unable to catch her breath, she fixed her sights on the glowing lit windows of a café on the beach front. Bilbo whimpered and nestled against her.

Casey stumbled up the snow concert ramp, almost falling over, but somehow finding her balance again. She picked up her pace at the top and ran towards the café’s door. Throwing the door opened with her almost frozen fingers she rushed inside and shrieked in a raw voice, ‘My dog almost got swept away! Please, you’ve got to help us!’

The elderly couple behind the counter stared at her then rushed forward. Casey felt the woman tumble Bilbo out of her arms and the man easing Casey into a wooden chair. Suddenly, Casey realised she had been crying, but now because the café was warmer then outside, her tears were falling more freely. She sniffed and tried to compose herself, but couldn’t. Her vision went blurred and her ears seemed to dim all sound. She was aware though of the man quickly walking away, the woman shouting orders, then trying to comfort her and showing her that Bilbo was still alive.

Casey reached out a hand to the dog as she sobbed hard. The woman handed him back, repeatedly telling her that he was okay, ‘a little shocked and exhausted, but he’s okay. See? He’s worrying about you, Dear. It’s okay. You’re all right. Joe? Where are the towels? I’ll get you a cup of tea, Dear. Don’t worry. It’s fine.’

Casey hugged Bilbo and buried her face into his wet and sandy fur as he tried to lick her. The woman had removed his coat and now came back with a towel, which she tried to wrap him in.

‘You should take off your coat,’ the woman spoke, ‘here, have this towel. Joe? Can you bring the tea over?’

Casey did as asked and let her coat fall against the chair. She took up the towel and pressed it to her face and hair. Breathing deeply, she tried to calm herself, but found that panic and fear where still racing around her body. She heard Bilbo yapping and dropped the towel to her lap. The woman was on the floor, scrubbing him dry and the little dog looked over joyed. He turned his face up to Casey, his tongue lolling about, his eyes bright black and his eyes pricked up.

‘There, Dear,’ the woman said to him, picking another towel to wrapped him up in before placing him on Casey’s lap.

The man put a cup of tea beside her elbow and Casey bust into apologies and thanks. The couple waved it all away and encouraged her to drink her tea. With shaking hands, she picked up the cup and took a sip. Bilbo nuzzled into her, pressing his wet nose against her and making soft noises.

‘No more beach for us until spring,’ she told him.

Bilbo barked and Casey placed the cup back down, hugging him tightly.