It’s always sunny in Heaven; never rains, no shadows, no grey clouds. It’s probably because we’re on the clouds, looking down upon Earth where they get the shadows and the rain. It gets tiresome, though, having constant sun. Sure when night falls, the moon comes out and stars shine above us, but it’s always clear skies, never anything else. We don’t sleep either; angels don’t need it, much like we don’t need food or water. It’s irrelevant. We just sit on the clouds doing our assigned tasks and not doing anything else.
But like I said, all that is about to change.
For my job as lookout on Earth for any unnatural occurrences, I have this thing called a Viewing Glass which allows me to look upon Earth without disturbing the humans as they carry about their daily doings. It’s probably as close as I’ll ever get to Earth without being there physically. I spend all day and all night looking into the Viewing Glass, watching out for any strange activity and reporting it to the Fixator’s who travel down to Earth and restore what was damaged by demons (who are the main causes for causing trouble on Earth). I’ve always wanted to be a Fixator, mainly because they get to travel down to Earth whenever something goes wrong, and that’s usually often. They get to spend time away from Heaven and see the world from below rather than above.
As I was one day gazing into my Viewing Glass, a flutter of wings sounded beside me and I looked away from the Glass and saw a young female with ebony black hair and bright blue eyes the colour of the sky, standing a few metres away from me with a small smile on her face.
“Hello Markus,” she spoke gently and with a faint British accent. “How are you today?”
I smiled as I held the Viewing Glass in both hands. “I’m splendid, Caroline. Thank you for asking. How are you?”
“Marvellous,” she replied. “How is everything on Earth?”
I glanced into the Viewing Glass as I watched a pair of mischievous looking teenagers break open a window and climb inside and abandoned building. “Alright, I guess,” I sighed. “There are just these two humans I’m watching over to make sure they don’t stir up trouble. They looked troublesome”
“You do realise that human’s cause trouble no matter what they do,” Caroline said as she walked over to me. “It’s in their nature, that’s why they sin.”
I let out a breath of air. “I know, but I’m just cautious.”
Caroline knelt down beside me and looked over my shoulder. “May I see?” she asked.
I moved the Viewing Glass so she could see it better as we watched the two humans ran amok in the abandoned building, breaking walls, vandalising property, smashing glass and putting graffiti on blank spaces. I heard Caroline sigh beside me.
“Markus, they’re just simple-minded humans causing their own trouble and making mischief,” she stated. “They aren’t doing any real harm to the balance, so there’s no need to worry. Look.”
A few moments later, flashes of red and blue lights appeared into view as the authorities pulled up and barged into the building where the delinquents were. I watched with Caroline as the two human teenagers were cuffed and put into the vehicles the authorities arrived in and taken away from the scene.
“See? All handled and we didn’t have to lift a finger,” Caroline said. “There’s no need to worry.”
I nodded and let go of the Viewing Glass. It dropped into the cloud and evaporated into thin air like it was never there; the perks of being an angel, and also my job.
“I know,” I said and looked at the area where the Viewing Glass evaporated into the cloud. “I just…” I couldn’t finish my sentence because by now, after all, my rambling I’ve done to Caroline, she knows my answer as much as anyone else does.
“You just want to prove yourself and do a good job,” she finished off for me. “I know, Markus, and I understand where you’re coming from. You just need to have patience. I did and look where it got me; I control all weather on Earth and can create thunderstorms wherever I want.”
“As long as it’s required in the area,” I added.
Caroline nodded. “As long as it’s required in that area,” she echoed. “But trust me, Markus, everything will turn out the way you want it,” Caroline paused. “‘And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.’”
I grinned and turned to look at her, her blue eyes shining like diamonds in the sunlight. “Galatians chapter six verse nine,” I recognised the line from the Holy Bible. “Nice reference.”
Caroline shrugged. “It’s something you need to remember, Markus.”
“I know and remember every line from the Bible,” I stated.
“I mean, it’s something you should remember more often,” Caroline elaborated as she got to her feet. “The verse is telling you to keep going and persevere, not giving up because one day you’ll be rewarded for it.”
“I know, Caroline, it’s just that-“
Suddenly, a shrill ringing noise was heard, cutting me off. Caroline and I both fell silent as the ringing lasted for about a minute before the airy silence replaced it and everything was quiet once more. Caroline and I looked at each other, our expressions both in shock and surprise.
The noise was the sound of the Archangels, and they had called for a Gathering.
“We have to go,” Caroline said hastily and straightened up. “They can’t be kept waiting.”
“I know that,” I replied and stood up. “This isn’t my first Gathering.”
“But it is your third,” Caroline gave me a small, cheeky grin as two large, bird-like, white wings sprouted from her back, each one about the span of two and a half metres in length. “So let’s move.”
Caroline raised her wings to their full extent, flapping them once as she took off into the air in a single go and began flying away faster than the eye could see. I began running after her, feeling my wings become exposed as I willed them to and took off just as Caroline had, flying just as fast as she had moments before. I flapped my wings to gain speed as I soared through the clouds, dipping and diving through them as I laughed merrily. As boring and lame my life as an angel may be, flying was the one thing that made it all worthwhile.
Usually for a human, it takes a matter of hours or days to get from one side of the world to the other; for angels, it’s only a matter of minutes. The Archangel Manor shifts every century to above a new city in a new continent. This year it’s above Paris, right on top of the Eiffel Tower. The Archangel Manor is basically just this giant cloud that when you fly into it, you get transported into a large room made from top to bottom from pure white marble and gold where a staircase leads up to a throne where the head Archangel sits; in this case, it’s Michael. Gabriel and Raphael stand beside the throne on either side, overlooking the rest of us as if we’re below them, which in some way we are.
When I arrived, the room was already filled with angels; some arriving just like I was. I landed on the marble floor, my feet jogging a bit as I slowed down and folded in my wings out of sight. I caught a slight murmur going around the crowd of gathered angels as they discussed on why the Archangels would be calling a Gathering. I spotted Caroline quickly and wandered over to her, standing quietly by her side as we both waited patiently for the Archangels to show themselves. A Gathering was rare, and only ever occurred when God had requested Michael to lead us with new information or to introduce new angels. I’ve only ever been to three Gatherings – not including the one where I became an angel – and each time, something new has come up and only one of them is where I’ve seen a new angel being created. It’s an astounding process but becoming an angel is rare and you have to have a pure soul.
The shrill, ringing noise from before sounded again as the last few angels entered the room and everything fell silent. This noise was much quicker as a bright, blinding light shone from the throne and as it dimmed, the Archangels appeared. We all bowed to one knee with our heads dipped low as we showed our signs of respect.
“You may rise,” the deep and husky voice of Raphael spoke above us and we all obeyed, standing straight as we looked upon the three major angels.
Raphael stood on the right side of the throne – my left – while his large, silvery wings were exposed but folded against his back as he stood tall and strong with a hard expression. Gabriel was on the other side, leaning on the throne with his arms crossed; his posture more lean and carefree while his bronze wings lay calmly against his back as a playful smile played on his lips, looking at us like we were all best buds. On the throne sat Michael; he wore a pristine suit that had no wrinkles and was as clean as a whistle, his face was expressionless but his eyes said ‘I-am-you-superior-and-you-will-listen-to-me-or-be-punished’, and his wings were quite the sight. They were a solid gold colour and were the largest wings ever seen on an angel. The span on them was eight metres in total and they showed just how much more important he was than to all of us. It was a method of intimidation and it worked on most of us.
“The Head Archangel, Michael, has called a Gathering in response to an order from the Father,” Raphael announced, causing a small murmur to rustle among the crowd but it quickly died down after an intense stare from blue-winged Archangel. “He will now speak.”
Raphael looked at Michael who nodded and rose from his throne, his wings fluttering slightly, seeming to ripple like a stone thrown into a river. He stood tall and proud with his head held high, shoulders back and squared as he walked forward towards the steps, a cane appearing out of thin air and clicking on the marble floor as he walked. Michael stopped at the top of the stairs, looking out over all of us and surveying the crowd with his cold, cloudy grey eyes. He stood quietly for a moment before he began to speak his order that he received from God to give to us.
“My fellow brothers and sisters,” his voice was gruff and deep, but powerful and loud. He spoke his words clearly and we all kept silent as he spoke. “I have received word from our Father of a new order He has given us as His loyal children.”
A few angels, I noticed, rolled their eyes ever so slightly as they were the ones who usually doubted Michael’s word. I sighed and ignored them, paying attention to the Head Archangel who was speaking to us.
“For billions of years, we have watched over humanity, loving them and protecting them as our Father told us to from the beginning of time. We’ve cared for them and kept them safe from any imminent danger that would harm them. We even used to live among them, keeping an eye on them up close,” Michael said, keeping us in anticipation. “However, as the humans adapted and evolved, we were no longer needed on Earth so we returned here, to Heaven, where we continued to watch them.”
“Get to the point, Mikey,” Gabriel interrupted. “Some of us don’t have all day.”
If anyone else had cut Michael off, they would’ve been disintegrated on the spot. But Gabriel was a free spirit and everyone loved him, even his hard-headed brothers had a soft spot for him. He’s what kept everyone from tearing each other’s heads off and what brought a small state of serenity to Heaven. He was also the only one who could call Michael, ‘Mikey’.
Michael shot Gabriel a small warning glare but nothing else to show that he was going to smite him. “As I was saying before getting so rudely interrupted,” Michael turned his attention back to the crowd and straightened his posture. “After returning to Heaven, the connection between humans and angels became more and more distant as centuries passed, our knowledge growing less and less of the humans as their evolution increased immensely. So, as an order from God, our Father and the Creator of Heaven and Earth, He has requested an enormous task from us that would be incredibly dangerous.”
“And what would that be, dear brother?” Gabriel asked cheekily, this tone and expression playful and mischievous but his eyes showed great curiosity and confusion. He – and along with the rest of us – were wondering what in the name of the Father had God asked us to do?
Michael paused for a few moments, scouting the crowd and looking behind him between his powerful brothers who stayed by his side 24/7. He exhaled and looked out among us once more, slowly making eye contact with each of us.
“God has asked us to carry out an enormous and possibly extremely dangerous task that requires only the bravest and most resourceful angel who is willing to pursue it,” Michael announced, pausing for effect. “To become reconnected with the modern human society and learn about their new technologies, the Father has asked for one of us to go down to Earth and survey the humans up close, living among them as if they were one for them.”
The room exploded into a riot. Angels began yelling at Michael, saying that such a task was absurd and that he was lying, accusing him of making the task up for himself. Caroline and I looked at each other wide-eyed; not once had God ever asked us to do something like this, to live among the humans. It was scandalous. We weren’t sure if Michael was telling the truth or not, so we stayed quiet.
A loud crack of thunder struck the stairs in the room, lighting the place up with lightning as the marble stairs were scorched black; angels yelped and jumped back as the noise died down. Gabriel’s carefree stance was now more firm and robust, his expression tight with pursed lips as he had an outstretched hand, pointing to where the lightning had struck; his eyes losing their friendly feel, replacing it with a more hard and deadly look.
“Shut up, the lot of you!” Gabriel shouted, his tone more demanding and dictator-like, nothing like his usually cheeky and playful tone. “Now I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation to all of this and I’m sure that the Head Archangel Michael would care to elaborate,” Gabriel lowered his hand and turned to stare at Michael who was looking at him as he gained control over the crowd.
Gabriel marched over to Michael, his shoulders back and angel wings bobbing up and down as he walked. Gabriel leant near to Michael’s ear and whispered something to him, excluded all other angels from the conversation. They exchanged a few words between each other, keeping their voices low and out of earshot from everyone else. After a few moments, Gabriel walked back to his spot by the throne, returning to his carefree stance with his arms crossed but his expression still hard.
“I understand that this task may seem impossible, as angels are forbidden of travelling down to Earth and socialising with mortals,” Michael said. “But fear not, because God will protect whoever volunteers to descend to Earth, watching them with His own eye. They will be protected and guarded by the Father Almighty and no harm shall come to them. It is his wish.”
A dreaded silence filled them room, not an angel spoke a word or moved a muscle. I could feel Caroline staring at me, both of us knowing which decision we’d make.
Or rather, I’d make.
“So who volunteers to work in God’s name?” Michele asked, pacing the top of the staircase as he looked out over all of us. “Who is willing to prove themselves as the angel they were created to be and honour our Father’s name with this single task? Only one may be selected, so think it over.”
Michael wandered back over to his throne and sat down, looking at the crowd of angels once more.
“To whoever decides to fulfil this task will be greatly respected upon all angels. You have until sunset tomorrow to decide you decisions; dismissed!”
A blinding, white light filled the room once more as it had at the beginning of the Gathering and the throne, as well as the three Archangels, dispersed into thin air. In silence, angels began to leave the room, extending their wings just as they jumped through the wall in which we all entered and returning to their assigned jobs as Heaven’s angels. Caroline and I stood in our places, my gaze still trained on the spot where the Archangels had once been.
“Markus,” Caroline’s voice was urgent. “You can’t possibly be thinking about making this decision of venturing down to Earth among the humans? You don’t even know how long the task will last.”
I said nothing but kept my hard stare towards the throne area before turning on my heel and making my way to the wall.
“Markus, come back here!” Caroline called. “We need to discuss this!”
“There’s nothing to discuss,” I mumbled just loud enough for her to hear before exposing my wings and taking a running jump through the wall, leaving Caroline behind.
I knew what my choice was, but the question remained if I was going to proceed with it.