Happy Purim, for those of you celebrating it.
For those of you not…. I wish you a happy Purim anyway.
Anyway. Short story, collage and a song for today.
Pertaining to Blank Mastermind, of course. Everything on this blog seems to have a way of doing so.
About angels and such. And written while feeling like I was going to throw up and I had nothing else to do, so I’m rather impressed that it actually makes any sort of sense. 😄
Set between parts 29 and 30 of the story….
I’m not telling you whose point of view this is from.
So you’ll have to read it and figure that out yourself. -eyebrow raise-
“I know this is only your third time,” Jebidaiah folded his wings closer to his back as he handed me the small scroll. “But I think this is specially suited for you.”
I blinked as I cautiously took the scroll. I held it tightly, but didn’t open it.
Jebidaiah nodded, giving me an encouraging smile. “The scroll holds the address. I’ll fill you in on the rest if you’ll just sit here.”
I took a seat on the white marble bench by the wall, tucking my feet under so they were hidden in my gown. My heart beat fast in my chest and I watched my hands in my lap. They trembled a little.
After only two small encouragements, I was being given one by Jebidaiah? Why me? Not that I didn’t like being an angel of encouragement . . . it was one of my favorite things to do here, other than writing the worship songs. But I didn’t see why I was so well suited for this.
Jebidaiah sat down next to me, clasping his hands between his knees and watching me as he began to speak.
“So this is a man . . .”
Oh, Lord why? I’m so bad talking to boys . . .
“ . . . fairly new to the kingdom. Or . . . well, newly returned. He’s been through an incredible amount of tribulation in his life.” He gave me a look like I’d know what he was talking about. I didn’t, but nodded anyway.
“Thankfully, through his troubles, he returned to the Almighty. But just over the past few months he’s been . . . having some issues. Nightmares. Questioning his salvation. Guilt over the things he’s done.”
I swallowed before speaking quietly. “What sort of things?”
Jebidaiah tightened his lips a little, looking sad. “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord . . . he didn’t believe that. His family . . .” he faltered for a second, “ . . .was killed. And he took matters into his own hands for a long while to try and exact revenge. He’s . . . he’s killed people. Injured many. And while he made things right to the best of his ability, he still feels incredible guilt over it all.”
“Killed people?” I whispered. I would be talking with a murderer? Encouraging him?
“He’s no longer a murderer,” Jebidaiah said softly. “He’s repented and turned from his wicked ways. He’s doing what he can.”
I swallowed, sitting on my hands to keep them from shaking. They felt even colder against the marble. “And what do I do?”
“Encourage. Tell him to keep the faith . . . keep fighting. That there is eternal reward waiting and that the Lord has forgiven him. His hands are washed from the blood he still sees on them in his nightmares.” Jebidaiah gave me a strange look again. “And just . . . let him see you. Let him see your face.”
My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. Not only was I taking a serious assignment . . . to a former murderer . . . I was supposed to show myself? I stammered a little. “Th-there must be a mistake . . . why would my face . . .?”
“Open your scroll and you will see why, Eloisa,” Jebidaiah gave me a reassuring smile and stood, spreading his wings. “My prayers will go with you.”
And with a whispering flutter, he was gone.
I sat there for another minute, trying to calm my nerves. I closed my eyes. Lord, give me strength . . .
Taking the scroll up, I unfastened the gold band around it and pulled it open, the paper making a stiff noise as it unfurled. There was the address. Around Salt Lake City, Utah.
Odd, that was kind of near where I lived while I was on earth. Was it a coincidence?
The next thing written assured me it wasn’t.
Wolfgang Samuel Dankworth
My big brother.
Warmth and joy flooded my chest, but was quickly chased away by the icy realization that all I’d just heard was about him.
I gripped the edge of the bench until my knuckles turned white.
After his family was killed, he left the faith and took matters into his own hands . . . to get revenge. To avenge whoever was responsible for our deaths.
My brother had killed people.
Wolfy couldn’t kill people, there had to be a mistake . . . how could he? He’d tickled me and read my poems and made jokes that made everyone laugh. No one like that could kill anyone, could they?
Ice trickled into my veins and I shivered, staring at the name on the page again.
But he’d made it right, Jebidaiah had said. To the best of his ability, at least.
How could he be the same person after years of killing? Of revenge? Wouldn’t seeing me just bring it back? Make it worse?
“Let him see your face.”
I swallowed, letting the scroll furl back together. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and stood.
I could do this.
I wore my hair down. That was the way I’d left it most of the time when I was back on Earth. It was longer now and I’d grown taller, but hopefully Wolfgang would still recognize me.
How would he react? Would he be happy to see me? How much had he changed?
Butterflies fluttered in my stomach like I was preparing to meet some stranger. I took another deep breath to calm myself and smoothed the front of my white dress.
He’s your brother, calm down.
It was time.
I closed my eyes, furrowing my brow in concentration and sending up another prayer for strength. There was a whooshing feeling that blew my hair around my face and the air turned cold all of a sudden.
My bare feet rested on rough, wet asphalt and cold seeped in through my thin clothes. City noises . . . car horns, traffic rushing and distant sirens . . . echoed distantly in the night air.
I opened my eyes and took in a breath of the crisp night air, catching smells I hadn’t smelled in a long time. Wet cement . . . gasoline . . . just a trace of cigarette smoke. The world felt sharp and gritty.
A small apartment building, only two stories tall, stood in front of me. Orange light bathed the parking lot in a misty halo, shining from a street lamp that bent over like an old woman. Shadows played across the front of the building, showing the peeling paint.
This was where Wolfgang lived?
I forced the questions away from my mind and focused in on the upper floor apartment on the right. That was his.
I straightened my back and gathered my courage with a shaky breath, starting towards the stairs. My feet made no sound on the rusted metal steps as I climbed. I hadn’t made myself visible yet. I reached the upper floor and stopped for a second to look at the sky.
Pink touched on the horizon, spreading a soft glow over the city with its pre-dawn light.
I guessed it to be around four in the morning.
I might be here for a while.
Gently, I touched my hand to the doorknob of my brother’s apartment and gave it a turn. The lock clicked open and I swung the door open just enough for me to slip through, then closed it behind me as I stepped inside.
I could make out the outlines of a couple of chairs . . . an old, patchy couch . . . a small table . . . a kitchenette. All were dark. But a bit of yellow light leaked in from another room, spilling from the half-open door.
This early? I frowned and tiptoed forwards, even though I was already silent, and peered around the corner.
My breath caught in my chest.
There was my brother.
Wolfgang stood over the bathroom sink, holding the edge of the counter and looking down as water dripped down his face.
His hair stuck up in the front exactly how I remembered. Maybe a little less trimmed than he usually kept it. He was slightly taller. Thinner, too.
His face twisted up like he was in pain and his hands shook as he gripped the countertop. His shirt clung to him with sweat.
A few scars I hadn’t seen before caught my gaze. One or two on his arms, but those looked like anything he’d get doing his regular mechanic stuff. There was one on the side of his face and a large, jagged one on the back of his head that I could see even through his hair.
He let out a ragged sigh and opened his eyes, looking up into the mirror.
I’d never seen him look like that. Like he’d been through so much. Like he hated what he saw.
Wolfgang muttered under his breath, hitting the faucet on the sink and splashing his hands under the water. He ran his wet hands over his face and up through his hair, then closed his eyes.
His hands still trembled. He shook his head, turned off the tap and started towards the door. I stepped out of the way.
Rubbing a hand over his face and muttering a curse, he went to the window and unlatched it, pulling it open. The cold, morning air spilled into the warmth of the apartment.
Wolfgang gulped in breath like he’d been choked before and relaxed a little as he leaned his hands against the windowsill. I cautiously moved closer, watching him.
His eyes closed and he swallowed hard, dropping his chin to his chest tiredly. With a shake of his head, I heard him mumble out a few words, his voice hoarse.
“God . . . I just . . . I can’t.”
Wolfgang stopped speaking, but I could still feel the silent prayers.
Can’t keep going . . . can’t forget . . .
I kept watching him, almost forgetting my mission of encouragement I was so absorbed in my thoughts . . . in watching him.
He was so familiar, yet so . . . different. I’d been of the opinion that my brother couldn’t take anything seriously. Yet here he was, being more serious, pained and convicted looking than I’d ever seen anyone.
What all happened? What was the rest of his story after we all passed on?
Wolfgang took in another deep breath and lifted his head to look out at the sky. It was lighter blue now and cotton-candy-pink streamers of cloud stretched across the horizon.
I silently stepped closer, taking a spot right behind him. I couldn’t make myself visible . . . not just yet.
Setting a translucent hand on his shoulder, I closed my eyes and hummed an old hymn into his thoughts. One Momma used to sing.
His stiff, trembling muscles relaxed as I continued humming, occasionally singing a few lines and adding my own. The song came to an end and I gently continued the encouragement.
You are loved. Forgiven. There is a happy ending. Wolfgang Dankworth was not made to kill . . . it’s the name of a good man. One who chose life.
He swallowed and let out his breath in a steady stream of air.
“You’re not alone.” I took my hand off his shoulder as I whispered it. Right on the cusp of being audible
Wolfgang blinked and straightened up a little with a confused frown creasing his forehead. Silence buzzed in the air.
“Hello?” he said cautiously, turning to look around his apartment. Looking right through me.
I took in a breath and closed my eyes. Lord, let him see.
My dress brushed against my legs with the slight breeze from the window. As if materializing from mist, my body took physical form. A warm glow lit the air around me and I opened my eyes.
Wolfgang stared at me, his face blank with shock. A quiet curse word slipped out, his lips barely moving.
Not most people’s reaction to seeing an angel.
I knew I should be horrified, but my lips pulled up into a shaky smile.
He opened his mouth, trying to speak, but no sound came out. I saw the question in his wide eyes and nodded, still smiling.
His face went white as paper and he stumbled back a few steps. For a second, I was worried he’d fall over. I stepped towards him, holding out a hand. “It’s okay, really . . . I’m . . .”
“You . . . but you can’t . . .” he shook his head, “You’re . . . dead.”
“I know.” I took another step towards him, making a soft sound on the carpet. “But you . . . needed encouragement. I was sent to be your encouraging angel. From heaven.”
Wolfgang’s hands were shaking again. He licked his lips and spoke carefully. “El-Ellie?”
I smiled at him again.
His face looked almost whiter, even though I wasn’t quite sure how that was possible. One of his knees buckled and he barely caught himself.
Dropping my smile in my worry, I rushed to his side, helping him over to one of the chairs.
He sat down hard, but his eyes didn’t once leave my face.
I stayed standing next to him with one hand on his shoulder, unsure of what to say. Or more overwhelmed with too much to say.
I ran one of my hands over his still-damp hair, spiking it up more. A grin came across my face. “Well, your hair hasn’t changed much at all.”
Not a typical angel-of-encouragement phrase.
Wolfgang swallowed and broke my gaze, bending over to put his head in his hands. “B-but I have, Ellie. I’ve changed.”
I went down to my knees next to him, tucking my feet under me. “I know.”
He rubbed his knuckles over his pale face. “You don’t know all the things . . . I . . . it was three and a half years. It was the only thing I could do . . . just . . . blowing things up. K-killing people. Trying to get what I thought was justice. When you . . . when you and mom and dad and Peter were gone . . .”
His voice trailed off for a bit. I put my hand on his knee and tipped my head, trying to meet his eyes.
“I was a . . . a monster. A villain. And I thought I was doing what was best that whole time. That I was doing it for you.”
Wolfgang looked up again, but didn’t meet my eyes. His lips tightened.
“But you repented,” I prodded. “You made things right.”
“God, I tried.”
“And you’re still trying. That’s beautiful in the Lord’s eyes. You’re one of his children and he loves you. Despite the scars and everything you’ve done.” I scooted closer, folding my hands over one of his knees and resting my chin on top, still watching his face.
He met my eyes finally. Desperation bled through in his look.
I gave him a small smile, tipping my head. “I’m an angel. I should know.”
For the first time, I saw the brother I used to know flicker through. Wolfgang’s mouth quirked up in a half smile, though I saw a bit of wet in his eyes, glinting in the early morning light.
The sun was starting to rise. I had to go soon.
I stood up. “Don’t ever give up, Wolfy.”
“I’ll try.” He stood with me and nodded.
I turned to go, but was stopped by a sharp tug on my hair. I yelped, putting my hands to my head as I spun around.
Wolfy grinned at me, innocently spreading his hands. “No hug?”
Generally, encouraging angels are supposed to avoid being too touchy.
But I guessed this time was an exception.
I came back, burying my face in his chest and hugging tight. His hands held my back, squeezing gently, and I felt his chin resting on my head, just like he used to do.
The warm, angel glow enveloped us both in the pink light of the dawn.
Do what you will with all those feelings.
Here’s the song and collages to go with. 😛
See you guys later and as always, I’d love to hear what you thought! -salutes-