"I don’t know me. Who I am, I mean. All I know is I’m different."


7. Upstairs

“It all starts Upstairs where our wings were once white and feathered and we looked down on the Almighty’s humans in many ways.  One day the Almighty set his sights on new projects, he grew tired of Earth and wanted to try and start again elsewhere. He left a few of the higher Archangels in charge and gave them the challenge of trying to keep Earth going.

Things began to take a turn for the worse. Wars, many wars, immoral acts… things were heading south until the Archangels grew tired of their new toy, they wanted to help the Almighty with his new project. When appeased, they grew self-righteous and arrogant. They thought they could quick fix Earth by ridding Upstairs of all the angels presiding over the darker realms and elements. They tossed us out. Thunder, Lightning, Blaze, Storm, Disease, Fury, me, you… the list goes on and I won’t bore you with it” He smiles.

I blink dumbly, trying to take in the dozen or so men in the ramshackle shelter, drinking beer with black, leathery wings tucked close to their backs.

They- we were angles?

  “Why don’t I remember this?” I ask, meeting the man’s dark eyes. Not entirely sure it wasn’t all a tale, a prank on the new guy.

A timid voice clears his throat.

  “I know.”  A young man steps out, a similar build to Thunder and Lightning but with dark hair.

“I was there.”

I slip off the stool, standing to face him.

  “What happened?” My pulse races, my hands damp fists as I stand tense and waiting.

  “You were angry. Yelling at him. He was the angel of Minds, he must have wiped your memory and kicked you down here.”

I stare at the muddy floor and try to place the memory into the gap in my mind, waiting for the pearly gates of Heaven to appear out of the empty darkness, for at last part of this history to slot into place.

It doesn’t.

I remember none of this.

“So when you asked what I do…?” I say, trying to distract myself from the overwhelming frustration.

Blaze smacks my back, beer sloshing out of his bottle.

  “We meant like this.” He grins and points his beer bottle at the fire which becomes long and thin, slithering like a snake in the air.

  “So your names are your realms?” They nod ad I turn back to Blaze, a small smirk on my lips.

  “Shouldn’t you be Fire then?”

He chuckles. “Technically yes. But we choose these names ourselves. Our old names are just reminders and don’t really translate. Besides, Blaze sounds better.” He grins and empties his bottle.

 I rub the space between my eyes where an ache would be forming if I could feel pain.

  “Didn’t the Almighty stop them? Surely they can’t just throw us out.”

  “Technically we were just “reassigned”.” Hate spits. “We’re meant to collect souls for safe passage to Upstairs.”

I turn to the stranger who still sat on his stool, watching me with a curious expression.

  “So what’s your name?”

His lips jerk into a crooked smile.

  “Death. But it’s a big job so you can call me Murder.”

Suddenly, I understand the wide berth of space around him.

  “You were the angel of Murder?”

  “More wrongful death then Murder. It just gives me the fun of introducing myself and watching them run away.” He smiles.

  “So what did I do? What’s my name?”

  “You brother,” Murder answers. “Were the angel of darkness.”

  “Is that why I can’t see in the light?”

I’m met by silence and something twists in my stomach.

  “You can’t see?” Blaze slurs.

  “Upstairs was a bright place brother, your realm wouldn’t affect your eyesight.” Murder says and stands to squint into my eyes. “It sounds like you really pissed off that angel.”

I grit my teeth.

  “You saying I only think I can’t see in the light?” I growl.

He shakes his head, there’s a flick and fire blinds me, my eyes stinging and tearing as pain signals flame a path to the back of my eyes.

  “Your pupils don’t change.” Murder explains, not apologising. “You couldn’t walk around in daylight with pupils that large. Not to mention how badly you’d scare the humans.”

  “You might want to go home soon then.” Blaze clumsily waves a blurry hand towards the beaded curtain where I can just make out the lightening sky through my still sore eyes.

I nod and say a quick thank you which I’m rewarded with a couple of acknowledgments before I part the beads and leave.

Standing on the edge of the roof, I look down to the city I’d thought was my home. Then tilting back my head, I look up to the sky where I was once doing good, I had a name, white wings and I could watch the sunrise.

I sigh, step off the roof and unfold my black wings to fly back to my home in the dark.


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