Mount Barker, South Australia
I awoke, restless in the threatening low-pressure cell that hung over the countryside. My bed was too warm so I shrugged into a wrap and padded outside to lean against the cool back wall. Before me, bright moonlight lined paths and etched a tracery of shadows under the birches.
Up to my left, a denser light caught my eye: Gabriel, sitting yogi-like atop the chimney next door.
‘Gabe, get off that roof before you’re seen!’ Caution had seeped away during my third restless night. Still angry about the angel’s theft of my novel, I added, ‘You dunce!’
In a flash he stood before me. I wished I could dissolve into the brick at my back.
‘Dunce? I don’t know dunce; but from your tone I doubt it’s flattering. I like flattering, Elisabeth.’
He pulsed a stronger flash and leered at me. ‘Eleesabeth? I’m growing!’
I wanted to slap his face.
‘You wouldn’t, would you?’ Alarm replaced his leer. He stepped back hastily and stumbled over his left wing-tip. ‘Damn!’ He flipped back onto the roof, flashing brightly.
‘Dampen the effects, Gabe!’
He turned off, leaving a little light playing about his face. His expression was thunderous. I held my breath.
‘I want my hole!’
With his shout, the sun cracked the horizon. For a second, I felt the ground quiver.
‘Gabe! For god’s sake!’
A pair of slitted eyes bored into mine.
‘Sorry. But if you don’t quieten, you’ll meet some humans you won’t like—’
‘Who said I liked any of this misbegotten race?’
I turned to go inside. At that instant, I didn’t care what happened. Ever since Gabe had begun to grow, his moods had become erratic. Angels like him have to travel almost continually. Staying in one place too long means changing: losing angel-hood and taking on all the attributes of a sector’s dominant species. I loved Gabe, but was becoming uncomfortable in his presence and tired of his increasing narcissism.
‘Wait! Elisabeth! I need my hole! I have been forgotten! I want heaven! We do not grow in heaven…Where is God?’ he thundered. An answering rumble growled from a cloudbank looming in the north.
‘Gabe, come down. Come on. I’ll brew us a camomile and mint tea.’
He came. We sat in my kitchen and sipped our drinks.
‘Ah!’ I sighed, ‘This’ll put hairs on your chest.’
His cup shattered on the floor. He jumped to his feet and whipped open his shirt. A small thatch of golden curls winked in the light. He roared. The cupboards trembled, cutlery rattled, and two ornamental owls crashed to the floor.
‘Look!’ He flung a hand in front of my face.
I gulped, thinking he was about to strike me—until I saw his nails. They’d grown at least half a centimetre since the previous day, and his hair, his beautiful soft-gold hair, was limp and untidy.
He had to start travelling again—and soon.
The angel quit flinging his arms about and glared.
‘That devil’s spawn,’ he muttered. ‘What do you mean, “Where’s Aebon?” Travelling of course—as he should. Making trouble. But that is none of your business. You leave Aebon alone. He’s mine.’
We were both shocked into silence. Then it dawned on me that Gabe wasn’t using a figure of speech when he called Aebon “devil’s spawn”.
He knew he’d said too much. He slumped back into his chair, abashed yet smug.
‘Lucifer’s angel, eh?’ I mused. ‘No wonder he was so good-looking.’ Once again I saw the gleaming glory of that dark body stretched in front of Gabe’s fire, and saw the intimate glances they bestowed on each other; and I blushed, remembering my own yearning.
‘He’s mine,’ Gabe snarled. ‘I’m warning you, Elisabeth.’
I tore my thoughts back to the present.
‘The hole, Gabe; hasn’t Aebon got a hole? How does he travel?’
Gabe softened a bit. ‘I forget how little you know, Elisabeth. Each wormhole is individually tuned. Lucifer warped mine because—’ He caught himself, changed tack. ‘The Almighty could straighten it, but—’ His voice trailed away.
I thought I understood.
‘The Almighty’s chief angel consorting with Lucifer’s current shag, eh?’
Gabe leapt from his chair.
‘No need to be so cruel, Elisabeth.’ Alarm widened his eyes as again he stumbled over his wing tip. ‘Damn! Must have that trimmed. Would you Elisabeth … dear?’
I hurt. I wanted to be cruel. That blasted angel had banged into my life without invitation and captured my heart. I was jealous. I wanted Gabe and Aebon; more than that, I wanted their ageless beauty—the beauty Gabe’s mirror showed me. Time rushed for me now.
However, I found my sharpest pair of sewing scissors and bid Gabe stay still while I carefully trimmed the ends of those soft, shaggy wings.
‘I’m going into hiding.’ His words suddenly spurted out.
I couldn’t imagine why he, of all creatures, would need to hide.
‘I need to think about this “growing” thing—to regroup, as it were. If I told you where, I wouldn’t be hiding now, would I?’ He made an effort to smile, quirked an eyebrow, and vanished.
I moped through the rest of that morning, mad at him for plunging me into a state of useless longing, mad at him for ruining my best seller, and sad and afraid that perhaps he had been deliberately forgotten. Then, at midday, I made an omelette and took it with a comforting hot triple-choc marshmallow fluff out onto the back lawn. The early thunderclouds had disappeared. The sun was warm. The day sparkled and, as I ate, I played with the thought of exploring Gabe’s rose arbour while he was gone.
Bio: The angel is becoming frustrated by his enforced stay on Earth.