Welcome back to our weekly serial story posts. This week we present a flash fiction from our inaugural volume of Anthology Askew. As always, please let us know what you think.
Dark Angel – Mandy Melanson
Another lost soul falls. The distant sound reminds him that he failed his assignment, again. He had been sent here to protect them — which he did, for a while. When he first arrived he was sensitive to the humans’ plight and grateful for the change of pace. Seeing someone die when he could have prevented it was more than he could endure. Time passed. He grew weary of hearing the thoughts of weak mortals. So many selfish indulgences. Few had real problems, yet they chose death.
Why keep stopping them? It’s futile anyway, at some point they will all end up leaving this life.
It became repetitive: climb to the top of the tower, look down at the world, lament the latest minor setback in their otherwise beautiful existence. Then the decision to end everything. No logic. None. He gave up trying to save the humans from their mistakes.Their voices scrambled until the sound became an unbearable roar. He quit listening. He turned to the mortals’ typical means of escape, inside a brown paper bag. He held the glass bottle to his physical form’s lips and indulged his weakness. The entire bottle downed in one burning gulp.
He understood why some chose to despise alcohol. His eyes blurred, his movements a far cry from the elegance he was used to.
I’d rather be stuck listening to the mindless lamentations of the ignorant than this.
A voice cut straight through his fog. The sound was beautiful, melodic, but wrenched by pain.
“Father, forgive me. He wasn’t supposed to die. I only wanted to make him stop. I never wanted to wake up with him on me again. There was too much blood … it says ‘an eye for an eye’.”
He couldn’t believe the pain she felt from protecting herself; he actually wanted to help her. He went to the church tower in what he thought was the speed of light. Funny, the effects of alcohol once it is consumed.
She stood on the ledge. He moved to the top of the building, his senses still clouded. Her footsteps sounded nearby, but he could not find the source. He heard her draw a deep breath, unaware of his existence. Grasping through the dense haze he lunged forward, trying to save her from her mistakes. His hands grabbed a fistful of chiffon and he pulled as hard as he could, but the sheer force of gravity proved too much.
She tumbled over the edge and he followed holding her tight to his chest on the way down. He thought he heard her whisper, “I wish you found me sooner.” Her brilliant red hair flowed through the air as he tried to shield her from the impact.
Why did I give in?
Her body landed with a deep, penetrating thud. The blood flowed with a force he never witnessed before. His muted powers were not enough to save her. His sentence kept him confined; he couldn’t follow her though he tried.
He lost her forever.
If you liked this story, you can find more Askew tales inside Anthology Askew: The Collective Perspective.