Waking is as hard as sleeping on wings of angels. Not the downy softness we had superstitiously believed. I have to be careful not to roll too suddenly onto sharp-edged pinions; I already wear the badge of small red scratches. Clouds outnumber angels; silver, ivory, shades of billowing grey, and blue. In that roiling stew of wind-stirred cotton I am the flesh. It is the sound that always wakes me, not trumpets or ethereal choirs, but the ominous rumbling of clouds meeting and the sharp snap and rustle of angel wings flexed.
Armageddon, people had cried. God has forsaken us. Only true believers need apply. Why angels chose the skeptic, Iíll never know. It was worth it, after admonishing end-of-the-worlders to deal with their lives and stop pinning hopes on fantasies, to see their shocked, reddening faces as I was plucked away. Then again, I was just as surprised.
Why, I asked. To see our point of view, they said. So they will stop praying to us. Iím not an angel, I said. My view will always be different.
They looked heavenward and yawned perfect yawns. Rather than fly over Godís flock, they prefer to hang in the air, silent, unmoving, as varicolored as the birds. The old painters came closer than modern romantics, who would flinch when angels fight, just like birds, over a thrown scrap of bread.
I am ready to return. I donít know which one brought me; there are so many. Even with celestial eyesight, angels rarely watch our world. The clouds are everywhere and they would have to fly too close to people's prayers. It is their watching that unnerves me. It is like the vulture waiting for the man to die. Those on Earth would do better not to dream of angels.
© 2001 Colleen Anderson
Colleen's fiction and poetry have appeared in such publications as Carousel, On Spec, Talebones, Tesseracts 3 and Northern Frights 4, with recent works in Chizine, Daughters of Dangerous Dames, and Descant. New work will be coming out in the Noirotica, Rough Beasts and Guilty Pleasures anthologies. She is a member of SFWA, the Helix writersí group, and the Editorsí Association of Canada.