Liquid Gold

Without reason or regret, we hid behind the broken buildings. They had to come!
The hours passed like slugs in a foot race, slow, slow, slower. Would they come?
Midnight clouds crackled with the contained might of the universe, a pulsing, throbbing, sentient sky. Was it them?
They dropped from heaven like liquid gold, their great, white wings clasped tight, their metallic forms glittering. They were here.
We watched the host like the naughty children we were, unmoving, silent as the void. We'd done it.
The angels stood, wiped the crumbs from their mouths, opened their wings wider than oceans and leapt back into eternity. The last one winked.

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Fly


Draped in a cloak grown wet by the rain, she lingered; it looked heavy in the gloom. Highlighted by the London gaslights, I watched from the quayside as she stared into the water with such intensity as to preclude a cheery hello. Instead, I remained sheltered by a convenient overhang shared with a small, stray dog. 
The rain came down heavier then, more tsunami wave than tumbling stream. I expected the girl or woman or whoever she was to move and seek shelter. She did not. For ten minutes more she stood there, then tipped forward and fell.
I hadn’t time to think, one just acts in such circumstances. I raced across the street and leapt into the churning Thames diving down, down, down. The water negated my eyes, so I groped with wafting arms. When I clenched something soft and squelchy in my fingertips, I dragged it up to the unstable, liquid surface. 
A passer-by helped me then much to my relief. A brave young fellow, he waded into the water and pulled the girl to shore where he stepped away a look of sheer terror upon his face. I hadn’t the time for such luxuries and leapt to the girl’s side intent on giving her the kiss of life that my army training had taught me. 
I flipped her over. She was awake. Her eyes, a deep cerulean, met mine; they were so sad, so very sad. Her lips moved as of their own volition. They whispered, “Why?”
Ignoring her, for surely the freezing water had addled her mind, I made to remove her overly large cloak of seeming wet mink, and replace it with my own jacket. The young man watched us in silence. 
Her cloak was fixed. Her clothing part of her. Wings she wore instead of garments although the elements had taken their toll. I stepped back beside my young companion and just watched as the girl dragged herself away. A trail of fallen feathers marked her path, the barking of that small dog her serenade goodbye.
I knew not what she was, though, of course, I suspected. And although her broken form brought tears to my eyes that left a saline slap upon my lips despite the incessant rain, it was not that per se that troubled me, but why? Why had she tried to end it all?
Only when the young man finally spoke did the scene have meaning.
“Fly,” he whispered. “Fly, if you can.”

#VignetteSeries – She Wore Feathers

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Author’s note: I wrote this scene for a specific story and then didn’t use it. It seemed a pity to waste it, so I hope you like it.

Richard

I came upon her quite by accident. She cowered beneath the boughs of a cherry blossom tree, one of which I presumed had disgorged its petals on her shivering self. She was one mass of light pink.

“Hello,” I said, then rolled my eyes at such predictability. I’d never been good with the ladies. If any of my friends had accompanied me, they would’ve charmed her with some wonderful opening line. I envied them often, but was glad of their absence this day.

If the enveloped girl heard me, she did not show it. She never even raised her eyes, her shivering intensifying.

“There’s no need to be afraid,” I tried. Still nothing.

I might have walked on by and left her to it, but it just wasn’t me. Her desperation called, and I answered.

I walked softly over to her, the grass lush and damp under my feet. Afraid that if I touched her she might scream, instead, I crouched beside her and whispered, “You don’t have to be afraid any more.”

I don’t know why I said it, nor why it moved her, but it did. The girl stirred, her second skin of pearlescent nature shimmering.

When she stood, her eyes agleam in gold, I realised why she hadn’t dared stir; the petals that buried her fell away as feathers, and she shone even more.

I am fallen,” she breathed from everywhere and nowhere. “Help me. Show me the way home.”

The Rainstorm

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Like a drowned rat my mum always used to say. I couldn’t have described it better myself. Cold, wet and tired, I splashed home through slick city streets with no other wish but to get out of the rain. Any meagre shelters, shop fronts and the like, were taken and all were unwilling to share. All but one, anyway.
Her wings unfolded upwards into a large, conical canopy, a very definite shape against the liquid onslaught. She offered an umbrella for two, that’s all, a sanctuary from heaven’s tears. For a while, I couldn’t have asked for more. For a while.

Falling Fallen Fall

Ungraceful, I fell,
a tumbling decline,
thunder in my heels and
lightning in my eyes.
That flirtation with gravity
unbecoming; the great equaliser,
less than a bird, more than a bat.
Time, they said: to think;
to weep; to pray.
But as I plummeted
the ground closing like an opened eye,
I had but one thought,
one only:
How the falling Fallen fall.

Less Than a Dollar but More Than a Dime

The brick and glass facades swamped me in shadowed reflections and concrete wrinkles. Never had I felt less part of the city than on that desperate night. Never had life meant less to me than in a cold, winter evening’s weakening of the soul. But angels are there to watch over us in such times with their burning, golden eyes and swanlike wings. My angel wore purple eyeliner and fishnet stockings, but I’d worship her just the same.
I approached her with trepidation. Women were not my speciality one might have said. I lacked the confidence of most men and sex appeal of the rest a combination that never went down well with the opposite sex. It wasn’t that women disliked me just that they never got chance; I wasn’t worth a look. But everybody needs someone, and I was no less than anyone else. That’s why I traipsed the midnight sidewalks counting the notes with my fingertips in a pocketful of lint.
I came to a juddering stop before a woman more girl than gran. She kept on chewing her gum and watching the taxis whizz by without sparing me a second glance, six-inch stilettos clicking out a staccato beat on the curb side. Even to such as she, I was pointless. How desperate I’d become.
Clearing my throat, I tried to catch her attention, failed, and then tried again. Her eyes never left the opposite storefront, her own dim reflection more worthwhile than me.
“How much?” I whispered.
“How much what?”
“For…”
“Huh!”
“Sorry,” I said, and began to walk away.
“I’m just messin’ with ya, kid.”
I was older than her, I was sure of it, but stopped nevertheless.
“What d’ya want?” she asked.
“I… I don’t really know.”
“Well, if you don’t, I don’t.”
She looked me up and down as though I was hung meat in a butcher’s window. Her thick, purple eyeliner must have contained glitter because her eyes twinkled like the stars; I’d forgotten the stars since moving to the city.
“Reminiscing?” she sniffed.
“You have beautiful eyes,” I mumbled.
“What?”
“Your eyes, they’re beautiful.”
“Thank you,” she replied, a touch surprised, moving her hand from a hip to run slender fingers through long, dark hair. “So?” she said, her mind back to business.
“I don’t have much money.”
“Does anyone these days?”
“S’pose not. I’ll be on my way. I didn’t mean to waste your time.”
“Less than a dollar but more than a dime,” she said, the words hurrying from her mouth like water from a faucet.
“That cheap! I thought it’d cost loads more?”
“Not for this,” she said.
The girl sashayed over, put long bare arms around my neck and gave me the warmest, wettest kiss I’d ever had.
When she pulled away with a smacking of lips, she looked me up and down again as she had before and said, “There’s someone out there for you, kid, you’ve just got to look. Go home.”
And I did. And I did. And I always wondered if she did, too.

Dark Angel


In the arms of angels, we sleep
Cosseted from a darkness
Whose midnight tendrils feel for us,
Searches us out in this teetering existence,
Listens for our heartbeat
In this reality not made for individuals,
This collective whole, this solo pursuit.
But it finds me; she calls it.
My angel has wings of black feathers,
They tease my bare flesh,
Stoking up goose pimples
With promises of luxurious honey;
They say the darkness wants
But won’t allow it.
My angel protects me, loves me,
Or so she purrs;
Saves me from myself, she coos.
Obsidian darkness creeps across her,
Touches her smile,
Peels back her glossy feathers,
Dissects her thoughts, and I see her
And she sees me.
I want this I whisper.
I know she smiles.

Coruscating

Coruscating

Less an explosion of twinkling lights, more an amendment to the general beauty of the night, she slipped from heaven in rainbow waves.

I shielded my eyes, who wouldn’t have, but never closed them. No, not once did I tear my eyes from her, so magical was she. A bioluminescent marvel, I thought myself slipped beneath the waves, madness to have taken me. But I hadn’t. And I wouldn’t. And I couldn’t. Not now.

She settled upon the breakers riding them like a surfer, balanced to perfection and able to move in any direction she wished. She slid from there to here, then here to there, then somewhere in between, until she rested before me; the waves never once touched her skirts. And despite her ethereal magnificence, her otherworldly charms, it was the humanity in her eyes that held me. She loved without reason of doubt, nor hoped for alternatives.

She reached out as my legs gave way, my arms extending upwards like a weed towards the sun. Filigree fingers took my own in hers and eased me from the surf like a knife from the kill. She pulled me free of my misfortune and held me aloft, then with the gentle kindnesses of a mother carried me atop the cliffs.

Her smile was kaleidoscopic sincerity, her azure eyes a shot to the heart. I watched as she lifted away like an airborne coral until the grey clouds took her and the night swallowed her whole.

What could I do with my angel gone? The most blessed moment of my sad life had passed and all else would be downhill. Of course, I did the only thing I could. I jumped again.