A descent for the purpose of an ascent.
-attributed to the Frierkiker Rebbe
“Get up. What do you think you’re doing?” Michael Taylor rushed into the tiny clearing in the forest hoping he’d avoided the men chasing him. “The world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and you’re sitting there clutching your head like you’re coming off of the two-day drunk.”
He skidded to a halt, not knowing how the angel would react to his impulsive words. She took her hand away from her face and looked up at the middle-aged father of four. “If it were only that simple.”
“A woman? I thought all angels were men. In my visions, you were…I mean, in the Bible…”
“The translation from my realm to yours is a difficult one to explain, Michael, and what you call visions were my attempt to communicate across the chasm between our realities.”
“But you are an angel, right? I mean, I really want you to be an angel.”
“I am whatever you need me to be.”
“What’s wrong with you? I thought you’d be more…I don’t know…imposing. I never thought the wings would be literal. Don’t you even have a sword?”
“Do I need one?”
He continued to stare at the otherworldly apparition. She was more eerie than beautiful. Her pale face and deep blue eyes drew him in, but the tangled brown hair and the rags she wore almost repelled him.
“The world is in trouble. Everyone’s rioting. I barely got out of town after the President declared martial law and the National Guard came in to establish a curfew.”
“Are they your pursuers?”
“No. A bunch of punks I’ve had problems with before. They didn’t like it when my friends and I sang hymns on street corners in protest.”
“Why would you do such a thing?”
“I told you. We’re in trouble, all of us, the entire world. The war in the Middle East has set all the Arab nations and most of the Europeans against Israel. Everyone’s pretty sure Congress is going to declare war against the Holy Land anytime now. I just felt the need to pray and sing to the Lord, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, so my Bible study group organized a protest. We were peaceful, but a lot of people felt threatened by us.”
“Including your pursuers.”
“Yes, but that’s not important now. I saw you in my dreams, or I thought I did. Didn’t you come with the Armies of Heaven? Isn’t this the last war?”
“I think you have me confused with someone else.” She stood, her legs shaking, her hands trembling. “I’ve lost so much of my memory in the transition. I can’t be sure why I’m here.”
“But you know me.”
“I remember communicating with you, but I can’t recall what was said or why?”
“You never said anything to me. It was more like images. I couldn’t see you clearly. I thought it was a sign.”
“A sign of what?”
“The second coming. You know. Jesus leading Heaven’s Armies, defending Israel from all of her enemies. You’re a little off course. Jerusalem is about 7,500 miles that way.” Michael pointed in the general direction of East.
“I can’t be sure, but I believe I’m in the right place. You certainly do seem familiar.” She seemed to be getting stronger, more steady on her feet. Her wings fluttered like a dove’s as she took her first step toward him.
“Wait. What are you doing?”
“I won’t hurt you, Michael.” She slowly reached out to him with her right hand. “I only want to touch you.”
“Touch me?” He took a step backward. “Uh…is that allowed? I mean, why?”
“I feel it’s what I’ve come here to do.”
“But…but…” Michael tripped over a tree root and fell onto this back.
Now the angel was looming over him, blocking the moonlight with her wings. Then she looked up and into the distance. “They’re coming.”
“The mob?” He twisted his body to gaze back the way he’d come. “We’ve got to get out of here.” He started to sit up, but if he rose, he wouldn’t be able to avoid touching her.
“Come with me, Michael.” She extended her hand downward. “I will help you.”
He was scared of the thugs, but he was terrified of her. He knew they’d probably beat him, but what would happen if he touched the Divine.
“Please trust me,” she pleaded.
Indecision tortured him as he slowly lifted his arm.
“There he is. Hey, who’s that with him? Check out those cosplay wings.”
Six young adults, all men, came stomping through the underbrush, mere yards away from the strange pair.
“Okay, so I’ll trust you.”
They rushed into the clearing just as Michael grasped her hand and she pulled him upward.
A brilliant star burst blinded the crowd, and a terrifying roar and rush of wind pushed them to their knees.
“What the f…?” Don Miller, the unofficial leader among his friends, was the closest to the dazzling flash of light. His vision was clearing but he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
After several seconds, Miller got to his feet. “Who are you? What did you do with Taylor?”
All of them gaped in awe at the shining pair who seemed not wearing armor, but to have skin, hair, and wings made of alabaster and silver.
“I remember now.” Michael ignored the question, caressing the face of his beloved.
“As do I. I had to come back for you.”
“My dearest Ariel.”
“I rejoice in this reunion beloved, but we must be off. These small ones mean nothing. The world we have been assigned to is in chaos.”
“We will protect the remnant of the world, but Jerusalem is all important. It will become the key to peace, but first they must unleash their weapons of mass destruction upon each other. Only Israel will be preserved.”
“It saddens me. What a waste of so many lives. Is it really necessary?”
Don realized he was the only one still in the presence of the impossible pair. His so-called friends had run and left him behind.
“I’m afraid so. In the end, humanity is their own worst enemy. What they sow, they will also reap. We only stand guard to protect what we must, and then the remnant will be gathered to pay homage to their King.
“Of course, my husband. The Gruv’yhr will sweep in from our realm and another planet in this quantum universe will be ours. You have served well in your undercover assignment, a beacon leading me across the void.”
“You have always been a faithful herald, the vanguard of our forces. It is time.”
Don Miller was the only human witness of the beginning of the end of mankind’s dominance over the planet Earth as the two glowing aliens once again shone with ethereal light and then vanished.
Naturally, the apparent image of an angel invokes themes of Heaven, faith, and religion, but I decided I didn’t want to write a traditional apocalyptic tale. Thus I “twisted” the Biblical story of the last days into an alien invasion. Imagine a worldwide nuclear war wiping out most of the human race. After it was all over, extra-dimensional beings would have an easy time mopping up and taking over. Consistent (sort of) with the theme, I had them plan to rule the world from Jerusalem.
Michael did descend for the purpose of an ascent.