You don’t need to believe in angels to hope, but sometimes they can get you through terrifying moments like math tests and car accidents. Other times, they quit. Angels among us can be kind-spirited people, birds bearing unexpected gifts or the effigy of warrior power.
Writers explored the different ways angels could manifest in a story with the December 10, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features an angel.
First, a special angelic offering from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, who has released a new book (if you hear a sound, that’s me squealing with delight). She posted a taste of Blue Horses on her Facebook status. Ms. Oliver did not participate in the challenge, but her poem seemed appropriate to share, as it’s brief and fits the prompt:
I’ll just leave you with this.
I don’t care how many angels can
dance on the head of a pin. It’s
enough to know that for some people
they exist, and that they dance.
~ Mary Oliver
Angelic Protection by Paula Moyer
Two hours behind schedule. Jean stewed about it all day. Her husband had puttered. The long drive up I-35, the last leg of their vacation, waited for them.
Just into Minnesota, the flashing lights of a dozen patrol cars pulled her out of her stew. She stared at the accident scene, car-become-accordion. No ambulance – no survivors?
Jean switched her gaze back to the interstate. Oh, no – two men on the road? Oh. Yes Oblivious. Then she blinked. Shadows.
The next morning, she googled, and found it: wrong-way head-on crash. Right there.
Two hours before.
Archangel by Larry LaForge
The surly government agent meant business. “You can’t perform angelic acts without a license, ma’am.”
“Since when?” the serene woman with heavenly blue eyes asked.
“Look, lady, just pay the fee. The government doesn’t care if you’re bogus or legit. We just need you to register and pay up.”
“But I work for a higher power.”
“There’s no higher power than the government, ma’am.”
After a few moments, the angel decided to end the standoff. She could have made the agent disappear, but instead removed herself gracefully, evaporating before his eyes.
“You still have to register,” the agent yelled.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
I Quit by Sarah Brentyn
She hadn’t planned to show herself.
His lungs were filling with water—she panicked, materializing and assuring him she would always protect him.
It was a mistake. He filled the next year with stupid stunts.
“Check it out,” he shouted, jumping off the bridge. “I’ve got a guardian angel! I can’t die!”
His angel appeared, much clearer than she had the first time.
“You’re looking haggard,” he chuckled and rubbed the back of his head. His hand was wet. Glaring at her, he brought his fingers to his face. Blood. “What the hell?”
“I’m sorry,” she smiled. “Good luck.”
A Narrow Escape…by Ruchira Khanna
Weary and overworked Jack opened the door of his apartment, let out a big yawn prior to entering, and then stepped in gently shutting the gate after him.
Walked to his bedroom to change, and was about to lurch towards his bed, when his eyes fell upon the frame that was slightly tilted. He paused, scratched himself while introspecting and after taking a deep breath, walked towards it to straighten it.
Just then, a loud noise made him shriek in fear, turned around to see a beam over his bed. He held the frame tightly and whispered, “Thank you!”
Feathers by Ros Nazilli
Her last remark. The final slur on his already destroyed character.
He took himself away. For her sake as much as his own.
He laid on the wet sand, stretched star-shaped, staring up into a black sky.
As he prayed that something would take him, release him from the torment of his unacceptable love for innocence he felt a soft fluttering against his face.
He reached up, feathers from something invisible.
His feet were wet. The tide was in, channelling a moat around him.
The sudden flapping of wings did not scare him. He knew they would come.
Lips of an Angel by Georgia Bell
“You’re my angel,” he said, brushing the hair back from her eyes.
Her face hidden, she nodded, but her heart dropped and disappointment loomed.
It always ended the same way.
Months later, she jammed her clothes into the suitcase, scanning the apartment for the last of her belongings. Her eyes rested on the photograph, framed carefully.
His wild hair now tamed. His piercings gone. His eyes, clear and loving as they gazed at her.
She walked out and slammed the door behind her.
She was looking for the one who wouldn’t change to please her.
She liked them bad.
Angel Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin
The Angel of Death raged through our people, anointing us with yellow stars. Some perished in gas ovens, others by disease and starvation; some survived through happenstance, determination and guile. Even once the purge was over, we were forced from the debris of our homes. Exiled among strangers, the less we remembered, the more we grew content.
Years passed before they came for our stories, armed with notebook and pen. What did these well-fed youths know of suffering? What did they care? Yet when they promised compensation, we opened up our hearts. The Avenging Angel had arrived at last.
Angels Fear by Pat Cummings
The theater waited, ready for opening night: cast rehearsed, orchestra warmed up, marquee lit. Some critics had two items already written, a smash review and one for a dismal flop.
Jeremy and Evan paced nervously in the foyer. They had gambled everything investing in the success of this venture. If it failed, the writer, director and leading lady would suffer only loss of reputation. The brothers would be ruined. They would lose the business and their homes. Even Jeremy’s cuff-links were mortgaged. Evan’s wife had threatened to leave.
Doors opened, and the first night audience began to trickle in.
Angelic Flash Fiction by Gary Moyer
“Stewart! Turn off your damn light!” I hear. As I open my eyes to mumble my witty response, I see that the thick acrylic window was glowing. “Derek, the window!” I exclaim.
As we both gaze out the window, an overly bright orb positions itself equally as close. Non-material features are apparent on what resemble a head. It gradually departed from us in the way a car passes by someone intoxicated.
Ice crystals form on the outside, making the window opaque. We observe as a trail of blue light fades into the final frontier.
“A comet” I whisper.
Naked Angels by Jeanne Lombardo
He was dead; he was alive; he was somewhere with a needle in his arm. Only one thing was sure. Her son wouldn’t be home for Christmas this year.
She reached for the next small box amidst the flurry of crumpled tissue paper and discarded containers. “Naked Angels” the label read. She smiled. Thought of Tom, who had given the Mexican folk figures to her at successive college Christmas parties.
She picked one up: a male angel in a deep lacquered purple-blue; fierce countenance; wings like thunderclouds; thrust-out cock and flaming sword.
“Go find him,” she whispered.
Cloud Angel Flash Fiction by Susan Zutautas
We got the call, my sister and I, that dad had died shortly after we’d left the hospital for a few hours. Quickly we drove back to comfort mom and say our last goodbyes.
As we were leaving to drive home that night we looked up into the sky, and there before us was a brightly illuminated angel cloud floating by. A calmness came over both of us as we felt that this was dad saying his last goodbyes to us. He was now finally out of pain and at peace, after so many years of pain and suffering.
Gift Exchange by Charli Mills
That first Christmas after Papa died, Mama took a town job, waiting tables. While she was working, Clive and Maggie decorated the spruce next to Papa’s grave near their ranch. They hung shining red balls, silver bells and Papa’s favorite collection of glittering musical instruments. The next morning, they took Mama to the tree. A crow flew past with a harp hanging from his beak. Mama began to cry.
Maggie glared at her brother. “Clive, that crow took Papa’s favorite ornaments!”
“Children, it’s okay. Look what he left.” She pointed to the pile of gold coins on Papa’s headstone.
Present Imperfect by Geoff Le Pard
‘Be an angel.’ Mary held out a tray to her daughter.
When Penny left Rupert said, ‘I wasn’t expecting an invite after what happened.’
Mary swallowed; she wanted to say it was only because of Penny.
‘Peace offering.’ He smiled sheepishly.
As Mary opened the parcel he added, ‘Dad’s diary. They were in a box in mum’s attic. I found them a week ago.’
1965. The year she was adopted. Why had Angela – her Dad’s mistress – had his diaries and not her mother? She flicked it open and read her dad’s spindly script. ‘An angel granted our wish today…’
Angel’s Light by Sherri Matthews
Gripping the steering wheel so hard that her knuckles turned white, Misty drove into the darkest corner of the car park and switched the engine off.
In the quiet and gripped by a sudden panic, she wondered why she had ever agreed to come on this blind date.
Walking across the dimly lit car park towards the pub’s entrance, a bright light suddenly shot across the sky. Misty looked up at the pub sign, now mysteriously illuminated, as she stopped short: ‘The Angel’.
A strange peace came over her then as she saw him walking towards her, smiling brightly.
Angels in the Halflight by Tally Pendragon
The idea was there. I even had half the frame for the story! It would cushion the blows from the other half, a bit. And the concept? Everyone loves Christmas, an Advent Journey makes it perfect, doesn’t it? But such an undertaking … so much work … so much psychology revisited … how on earth can I get through all that?
Would it become lost on the shelf of ideas, or would a miracle give this one life?
I slept. In the halflight that woke me the shimmer of wings and the gentle smile that conferred success shone miraculous in my eyes.
Angels by Irene Waters
“Get up Randolf. Time for school.” Phaedra watched her son stir before going downstairs.
“Remind me why we sent Randolf to this school?” Her husband frowned as he looked over their son’s report card.
“We wanted to give him a good start in life. We thought…… Unicorn school would teach him how to properly channel his special powers. We wanted him to be an angel.”
“Instead we’ve paid a fortune for the privilege of seeing him as an angel only if he gets chosen for the part in the Christmas play. They’ve created a unicorn with attitude and gun.
Angel Flash Fiction by Pete
Gus sneered at the rookie, who’d questioned his practice of dipping candy canes in hot sauce. His haggard wings fell aimlessly, unused in two decades.
They tipped around him, for it was no secret that Gus loathed Christmas and would not be going tonight or any other. Suddenly the room lit up, like sunshine between drifting clouds.
“Look, I’ve told—“
The eyes. From that Christmas Eve so long ago. When he heard the trumpets of death call a little girl home and vowed never to go back. Now she was there, all grown up.
Gus spread his wings.
A Cute Angel by Norah Colvin