Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What You Sow

                A crowd had gathered around the spot where the angel had fallen to Earth. Police had just set up barricades and a fire engine was trying to block the street from any further traffic. The crowd got bigger and necks were craning to try and see what an angel really looked like and to try and figure out why one fell so hard and so fast to the Earth.

                There was a sonic boom of sorts, a clap of thunder in a cloudless sunny sky. A screaming noise, like an old WWII German Stuka, tumbled through the stratosphere before there was a tremendous crash to the street. The first person on the scene saw the large wings and the legs of the Angel sticking up from the smashed in pavement. Smoke and dust was thick in the air for a bit and as more people gathered it thinned out so you could clearly see the human-like form of this thing that had fallen from the sky.

                “It’s an angel,” said an old woman waiting at a near-by bus stop, “Fallen out of the Lord’s favor.”

                The growing crowd paid her little mind. They were shoving and jostling each other for a view. The police had put up horses and metal barricades and the detective in charge was walking around the hole in the ground. He was scratching his head, looking up to the sky, looking at the hole, speaking into his walkie-talkie, and generally looking completely stressed out.  He brushed his thinning hair back and motioned for the officers on the perimeter to get the crowd back.

                The ground trembled slightly and the sound of cracking rocks could be heard. The crowd stumbled on each other and the detective fell backwards, ripping his favorite pair of gray slacks.

                “God damn it,” he muttered as he tried to steady himself and inspect the hole over his knee where his favorite pants had been scraped in his stumble.

                A window shattered overhead, then another, and glass started raining down on the crowd. They screamed and started running all directions. The ground trembled again, with more force and a light started to shine from the hole in the street where the Angel had smashed it in. The old woman just stayed sitting at the bus stop. She figured she was too old to run from a little falling glass. Plus, if the bus was able to come she could still make it to the store and then stop by the church. She didn’t want to miss that.

                “Oh my god it’s the end,” screamed a lady holding two ugly dogs in her arms. One of the dogs peed down the woman’s beige trench coat but the woman had hardly noticed. A dark stain had spread across her as she tried to decide where to run.  The once clear sky started to darken with an unearthly pitch. Darkness deeper than any abyss or chasm swallowed the early autumn afternoon.

                The street lights came on, then promptly exploded into pillars of green fire, lighting the street and the faces of the cowering crowd with a sickly hue. The ground around the fallen angel cracked up to the curbs and the same green flames flickered upwards.

                “Ah, there we go,” said the old lady who was still sitting calmly on the bus stop bench.

                The angel’s wings fluttered and flapped up and then down. The being, naked but without genitalia, rose from the broken street. It cracked its neck straight, turned a backwards arm forward, and the gash across its chest started to seal. The being was tall and lanky, far taller than any man, and its arms reached up toward the sky. It wailed. It bellowed. It seemed to curse the sky in a language no one could understand.  It motioned toward the ground with an accusatory finger, making a large circle and then looked at the faces of the people brave enough to watch.

                “What. You. Reap,” said the Angel in a grumbling fury.

It swooped down toward the sidewalk, grazing the tops of the huddled people. There was heat as it flew overhead and the people screamed. They tried to cover their heads with their hands and get ever closer to the sidewalk under their feet.

The Angel swooped back up toward the sky as the police opened fire on it. The bullets missed and deflected or bounced harmlessly off it. One cop actually thought about it for a second and nudged his buddy, saying, “Um, it like crashed to Earth and just got up and healed itself, what good are bullets going to do?”

His buddy shrugged and kept shooting at the swirling angel overhead, missing.

The light of the day was gone, only darkness thick as smoke covered the city. The screams of the confused people mingled with sirens and helicopters, dogs barking and explosions, deafening crumbling sounds, and a little AC/DC from somewhere.  

The Angel rushed up the sides of tall buildings and each floor exploded out in its wake. The fires spread fast from building to building, carried on a wind of pure heat and panic.

The old woman was crushed; the recipient of a hastily made mausoleum of repurposed brick and mortar, blood and stone.  Her shopping cart was left standing next to a mostly intact bus stop bench.

The Angel rose up ever higher, knocking airplanes from the air, sending them crashing to the ground in flames. A news crew was trying to cover devastation but they seemed to have melted live, on-air, for all the rest of the world to see.  The screams of the panicked people filled the cities, soon the suburbs and then spread out through all the lands and then it was quiet.

“Crap,” said Henry, “looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking.”  He finished his beer and reached for his emergency cigarettes. He flicked off his TV and looked out his windows at the carnage that now swallowed the world.

“Thank God that’s over with,” he said as he took a long pull from his cigarette and blew the smoke out in a thick bluish cloud. He looked at the crucifix on his apartment wall and nodded. 

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