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The Living Arc Angels Part 2

Heart of a Hero

By Timothy A RowlandPublished 9 months ago 41 min read
Image by: Tim A Rowland. Created via


In the alley behind the Italian restaurant a white light appeared in swirling circles. Out of it stepped the four living arc angels. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but that was what Thomas had called us. We were once again back on earth. We stood together a moment in silence. Then the silence was broken as Eric yelled, “Whoa! Guess what?” Our attention quickly turned to him with interest not knowing what could have caused such an outburst. He looked back at us a moment and then with obvious embarrassment said, “I’m hungry. I just never thought I’d be hungry again.” A roaring laughter filled the alley. “Well, I would love to taste food again. After all, it’s been 3 years since the last time I ate.” I didn’t wait for anyone else to respond. I held tight to Andrea’s hand and started toward the end of the alley. Eric and Christine quickly followed. Andrea jokingly said, “Maybe that’s why they brought us back behind an Italian restaurant.” Once again we all shared in much needed laughter as we rounded the corner and headed toward the side door. Then after several more steps we were walking through the door, stopping just behind the register and waiting to be seated. Promptly, a waitress came up and asks us where we would like to sit. Christine said, “it doesn’t matter… we’re just glad to be here.” The waitress looked a little baffled by the reply but still grabbed a few menus and then headed off to show us to a seat. Eagerly we followed her toward the front of the restaurant. Finally the waitress stopped in front of a table that rested against the windows that made up the front wall. From here you could see the cars moving back and forth on the road that ran adjacent to the front of the establishment. To most this would have been an annoyance, however it had been a little while since any of us had seen any roads even with out any cars to be on them, so it was a new wonder to rediscover to us. So happily we sat down. Andrea slid into the booth on the left side and I slid in after her, and Christine slid into the booth on the right side followed by Eric.

We viewed the menu briefly and then signaled the waitress over to the table. Quickly and in between pointless conversation we each ordered various meals. It wasn’t a real concern for us as to what we would eat. We were happy to be afforded the chance to taste any meal again. The waitress then walked away swiftly on her way to the kitchen. After she had left, Christine asks in a low voice, “Why do you think they would bring us back…and place us behind an Italian restaurant?” To that no one had an answer, so in response we just shook our heads and gave curious looks to one another. Finally, I said, “My guess is that we will find out when we need to… and sooner than we care for.” The other three gave an agreeing nod of their heads and then everyone stared out of the window. It had been a while since we had seen earth’s beauty first hand. Unable to resist I took a firm hold on Andrea’s right hand and then brought it to my lips. She turned her head slowly and with her chin down a little, which resulted in a look that melted me at my very core. I gently kissed the top of her hand and then slowly turned her hand to lay another equally as soft kiss on her palm. I opened my mouth to speak, but was suddenly struck by a very strange feeling from within me. It seemed to strike me in every fiber of my being. It was a sudden and very powerful feeling of worry, anxiety, and anger all at once. A quick glance at the faces of my fellow angels told me that this same feeling had in deed struck them as well. Eric shot up from his seat and a little too loudly yelled, “What the hell is that?” I glanced around the room at the others there and a realization hit me. “Sit down. Look around you at the other customers… we four are the only ones who felt that. And I think hell… is exactly what it is, or at least someone from there, taking a not so friendly tour of earth.” Andrea raised her eyebrows and half jokingly remarked, “Well I guess we got the answer to why we were placed here when we were sent back.” I slowly got up from the table trying to act as though I was unaware of what was going on. “There was a man that walked in a moment ago… about the time we were struck with that powerful feeling. I would be willing to bet that he is the cause of it. I saw him go toward the back, so I’m going to walk over there and see if I can pick up anything else from him by being a little closer.” As I started to turn and walk toward the back I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned and was face to face with Andrea. She gave me no time to comment, though. “I’m going with you and don’t even try to argue with me on that.” I knew better than to defy that command. So, acting as though we were simply walking back there for a distinct purpose, other than investigating the stranger, we headed toward the back.

As we rounded the corner of a small divider that had been placed mid point in the restaurant we were taken back by the sight of the stranger stepping out. “Following me are you? Well, I see that Gabrielle has sent his little humans to do his dirty work. How unfortunate for you… and I must admit that I had hoped for a real challenge this time. Oh well… no need to put this off any longer. I am afraid this is going to hurt.” With that he gave us a wicked grin and then closed his eyes. Quickly he reopened them and his eye sockets had turned completely blackened. He echoed a laugh that sent shivers up my spine and then in one swoop what looked to be a black shadow gathered in the center of his body and then took off, going through the window but not breaking it. Andrea and I looked out in the direction it had gone, but only in time to see it fly into the sky. As I looked back toward where he had been standing I notice that the man we had just talk to was now lying on the ground. Andrea began to bend down to check on him, but I knew he was dead. “Don’t bother, Love. He’s dead. My guess is this poor soul became a vessel for what ever that was that just flew out of the window.” She agreed but was looking around with a very puzzled look on her face. “What is it?” She stood in front of me and in a low tone said, “you notice that no one else here seems to have even seen that? None of the other customers are panicked or even paying attention to where that thing left out?” Sure enough as I looked around she seemed to be right about it. Everyone was eating and talking just as they had been before. That is until a waitress came walking up and took notice of the body lying at our feet. She started to scream and Andrea and I both ran to her to begin calming her down.

By Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Out of nowhere a deafening crash of thunder rang through out the restaurant. We jumped and turned our attention toward the noise. There was no time to recover, though. Before we could figure anything out the sound of the windows braking filled the building. I looked across the room and out the window. “Oh shit! We are in deep trouble!” Andrea followed my line of sight and then grabbed on to me tighter, digging her nails into my arm. “What the…?” That was all she could get out. Outside the window all that could be seen, was coal black clouds, rain, things tumbling through the road, and trees being bent over from high winds. Just as I began to yell a warning to everyone else, the building echoed the sound of lighting hitting the antenna. The electricity surged through the antenna, down the wires, and then shot into all the appliances in the kitchen. All of a sudden with no warning, half the kitchen exploded with another brain shattering crash. It sent debris flying into the dining area and throwing most of the diners out of their seats. With the debris sending clouds of smoke and matter our way, Andrea and I took each other to the floor holding to each other as tight as we could. Before anyone could get to their feet, the sound of the doorway and parts of the ceiling were heard falling and cracking. The only sound heard over the chaos around us was that of people screaming and babies crying. Everyone was on the floor, either from the blast or the fear of the unknown. I looked up and saw a falling tree take out a portion of the building followed by larger debris closing the gap. It suddenly occurred to me that I was looking at the area where we all had been sitting only moments ago. I started to pray that maybe Eric and Christine had seen it coming. I knew we had to get to them to make sure. “Andrea, we need to get over there and check on Eric and Christine.” I let her go and was about to get up, when I looked up and noticed a bare wire swinging above us. The sparks could be both seen and heard. I was looking over to warn Andrea and noticed that she was already half way to her feet. I quickly grabbed her arm and jerked her down on top of me. I covered her head and neck with my arms. Just then the wire swung across brushing my hand where her head was. I let out a groan and thank God that my hand was there. I took in a deep breath and then frantically ask if she was okay. “I’m fine.” I was thankful for that, but had no time to tell her that. I thought of the wire swinging down and glanced at my hand. I was shocked to find that just as I looked the burns that the wire had caused were finishing healing. Then an image flashed in my mind. I had noticed that a little boy had gone in the bathroom only moments before all this happened. The sudden shock and terror shot through me like a bullet through my heart. Then, I lost my breath when I began to wonder about Eric and Christine again. I knew they wouldn’t hear me over everyone else if I just yelled for them. I looked toward our seating area again and was relieved to see them searching through rubble, trying to get to the doorway, or any way out. Then came the distressing news as Eric shouted, “Damn it! We’re trapped!!” With that, my heart sank into my stomach.

I could see the fear on the faces of some of the people. Every one was shaking with tears streaming uncontrollably from their eyes. Most called out names of people who couldn’t be found. Andrea and I got to our feet and went to the end of the fallen rubble. I watched out a small hole where the window used to be, as the weather only got worse. For a moment I thought we would never see another ray of daylight. Then I quickly shook the thought from my head, and told myself that, that kind of thinking would get us all killed…again. I became very determined to get who ever had survived the already tragic events, out alive. Faint voices screamed in pain from the kitchen… muffled out a little by the sound of the crackling flames that filled the majority of the kitchen and entrance. The back up generators kicked in and finally we had more than the eerie flames lighting our vision. Andrea, kneeling down against the far wall, began to cry softly into her hands. I walked over to her, and with out even thinking of it first, I knelt in front of her, grabbed her in my arms and held her close. I tried to comfort her with soft words of courage. The truth was I was just as scared, but at least one of us had to keep it together. I motioned for Eric to come over where I was. He walked up with a half pissed look on his face. I whispered into his ear, “Start looking through the rubble and see if anyone needs help. If you find someone who didn’t make it… don’t yell it out or anything. I am going to try to calm everyone down as best I can.” He agreed. I took a step away from Andrea to check on everyone who was visible, and see if they were okay and to calm them. The instant I took that first step, she grabbed my arm and ask me to stay with her. “Others need our help too.” I couldn’t say it clearly, because of the look of terror on her face, and the tears rolling down her lovely cheeks. The sight almost brought me to tears too, but for everyone’s sake I quickly pulled myself together. “You are welcome to come with me. In fact, I could probably use your help. Remember… we are all in this together… chosen.” I tried to sound as confident as I could. She seemed to look right through me as she sobbed, “I’m scared.” I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to her in the days to come with what might happen to us in the future. We had just begun and she was falling apart at our first sign of trouble. However, no force on earth could have made me say that to her or even allow her to know that I was having such thoughts. “I won’t let anything happen to you, I promise.” I turned in Eric’s direction, just in time to see a look of horrific shock appear on his face. He looked at me, and I could tell what he had found. I ask Andrea to stay there for a moment and I would return as fast as I could. I approached Eric, as a dead body of a man that looked around his late 30’s laid upon the floor under some boards that had fallen from the doorway.

I told Eric to get a tablecloth off the ground that lay beside him, and wrap the body as best as he could, trying not to let anyone else see. He took a deep breath and then began the unnerving task. I started to go back to where Andrea stood now hugging Christine tightly. As I turned to return to the girls, I felt a tug at my pants leg. I looked back in the direction I was facing before, but saw nothing. I looked down and before me stood the little boy that I had seen go into the bathroom earlier. He was crying. I looked at him closer, and noticed a piece of wood that was stuck through the front of his shoulder and sticking out the back. The sight took all the breath I had gathered to keep myself under control. A string of tears ran down my face as I looked at him and then heard him beg me to help him. I lifted a table back onto its legs, and then lifted him onto the table. I started to talk to him casually, asking him what his name was and what he was doing here, trying to keep his mind off the pain a little. Through his tears and sniffles, he told me his name was Ricki and he and his parents had come in to eat. He had to go “potty”, so he went to the bathroom as they started to come in. I rolled up a napkin, and then handed it to him. It was obvious that he was very upset… and rightfully so of course. I didn’t even try to pretend to imagine what the experience would be like for a little boy of his size. I smiled at him and told him that all the wind was because some big cloud caught a cold and sneezed really, really hard. He started laughing… ending his tears for the most part. My smile widened some as I laughed with him. “Tell me about your favorite things.” He started telling me of everything he loves. I continued asking him questions to keep him talking. He was laughing, telling me about the things he’s done to aggravate his family. As I laughed with him to the story, I snuck my hand onto the piece of wood sticking from his shoulder…closed my eyes, then whispered, “I’m sorry.” Then with a quick pull with all my might, I pulled the wood out of his shoulder straight. He looked at it sharply, then started to cry, but fainted into my arms.

I scooped him into my arms, cradling him as though he were a newborn baby. On the verge of tears from knowing all the pain I had just caused this little innocent child, I carried him to Andrea, who took him with a look of shock at the sight of such a young one struck so hard and outstretched arms. I went to the bathroom, and waded through the water flowing out of the urinals and sinks. I searched for a dry roll of tissue, but there were no dry ones to be found. I walked back and tore a piece of my shirt. Then, I wrapped up his shoulder as best and tight as I could. After giving a smile and quick wink to a little girl sitting near Christine against the wall, I scattered off to help any other people I could. Andrea handed Ricki to Christine. Only four feet away, as we walked by a pile of fallen wood and pipes, a small groan and whimper could be heard. It became apparent that it was coming from the pile. “Can you hear me under there?” Andrea and I both took a sigh of relief and comfort as a small voice came back to us. “Yes, Help, I can’t move.” I bent down and grabbed the bottom of a large flat board. Most of the rubble seemed to be on top of the one board. I didn’t want to attempt to lift it myself; unsure of how much damage it would cause to my own body, so I called for Eric. In seconds he came running. “Help me lift. We have to get this stuff up carefully. There’s a child underneath all this.” With a backward three count we both pulled up on the board. We began lifting it with no problem, but a loud and slow cracking was ringing out. “Eric, stop! It is going to have to be lifted from all sides. If this board snaps in half, everything on top will crash down on the little one.” He nodded his head and after a quick, “I’ll get some other guys to help us!” He scampered off. “Hold on, we’ll get you out soon, I promise you that.” The little voice cried back to me, “Hurry!” “We’re working on it. What’s your name?” There was a pause that seemed to last way too long. I opened my mouth to repeat the question, but the answer finally came back to me. “Stacey. My name is Stacey.” I signaled to Andrea to keep talking to her as I walked away to go help Eric find some more people to help lift. I easily spotted Eric across the room talking to a few guys. As I walked toward him I came across a lady who looked to be in her late 50’s. She was yelling for her medicine. She appeared to be having a light heart attack. I grabbed into her purse, and found a bottle with a prescription label on it. “Is this what you need?” This got a speedy, “Yes! That’s it, that’s it!” I gave her the pills, and told her water was scares so she’d have to swallow it with her saliva. She did as instructed. After that it only took about three minutes to calm her breathing and return her symptoms to normal. Now the flames from the kitchen had spread to the register counter and closer to the crowd of people. I cursed myself as I heard voices from behind the flames growing weaker and weaker. I couldn’t get to them, but I felt at fault. All of a sudden the voices drifted away into the day, now turned night, air. My heart had already sunk into my stomach. Now it felt as though it was making its way lower. Christine put her hand on my shoulder, snapping me out of my pity trance I had slipped into. “Tyler, is there anything I can do to help?” I looked at her and then at where she had been with Ricki. He was still there and looked to be calmed. “Andrea is over there; help her to calm down the little girl.” She quickly walked off in Andrea’s direction. I looked back in Eric’s direction. He was walking toward me, 4 guys trailing behind him. Together we went back to the little girl. We all surrounded the pile carefully. Slowly we all together lifted up on the board. “Damn this is extremely heavy!” The man across from me blurted out. Eric and I looked at one another puzzlingly but didn’t give it another thought as the pile began to move under our uniformed effort. We could see the girl’s arm and feet sticking out from the remaining rubble. Andrea turned to me and placed her hand on my shoulder. “Tyler, I think she passed out. She hasn’t said a word in a while now.” “Andrea will you do me a favor? Will you and Christine go check on our little friend, Ricki for me?” They both nodded and walked around me and back to the far wall.

The man across from me looked down at first. He was staring hard. “Hey man, what is it?” He looked up blankly into my eyes. He was as pale as a man could ever be. “I can see her face.” His words were chopped up and only in between gasp of air. Slowly I ask, already knowing the answer, “Does she look okay?” He just dropped his vision down and shook his head. “Damn it. Thanks for the help guys.” The man still looking pale and sickly turned and walked away staggering as if he'd been on a three-day drinking binge. Pointing to him Eric said, “Somebody stay with him.” I liked the idea so I said, “In fact, it would be a good idea for no one to be alone too long. We are all in this together.” Then I grabbed Eric, who was staring at the lost little girl. “I’m going back to Andrea and Christine… are you coming?” He didn’t answer. “Eric?” Still no answer. I waved my hand in front of his face. “Eric… you okay, man?” He looked up at me with little expression. “Why couldn’t we get to her faster? We got sent back for this?” “I doubt it would have made much difference anyway. We aren’t exactly equipped to handle serious wounds right now. Also, I’m sure this was not why we got sent back… it was just how it had to be.” For a moment we shared a silence while we prayed to ourselves for the little girl. “Eric, come on. I’ll help you cover her and get her with the others.” He looked up sharply at me and with a look of fire in his eyes said, “No. I want to do this one alone.” I didn’t understand why, but it wasn’t my place to. “Okay, I’m going to go check on the girls.” He said nothing. He just started tending to Stacey’s little body. I walked over to Andrea and Christine. Between them I could see Ricki sleeping. “How’s he doing?” Christine looked up and stroked Ricki’s hair. “He’s fine. He’s sleeping now. The less of this he has to see the better.” As I sat down beside Andrea on the floor she turned to me. “How is the little girl? Is she going to be okay?” “Nothing is ever going to hurt her again. By the time we got everything off of her she was gone.” I saw the familiar pain settle into her eyes, so I did the only thing I could do. I reached out and hugged her closely, as we both mourned the loss of a little life that we never knew. I pushed her away a little, and then said, “We have people to help.” She let out a sobbing, “Yeah, let’s go.” I took her hand and held it tight. The feel of her hand in mine was to calm her a little, but it seemed to calm us both. I got to my feet then helped her up.

By Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

We checked around, and found that most of the remaining people were just shaken up, with at most cuts and bruises. I saw a man’s head gazing up from under a great deal of metal and cord that had torn apart from the salad bar’s cooling system. Andrea grabbed the metal, just as I glanced over to the right about four feet away from the non-blinking face. I turned to her and cried out, “Andrea, no! Wait!” The words came out seconds too late just as she slung the heap of metal and cord back. She let out a scream as she realized that the face that gazed at her emptily was no longer connected to the body that had brought it here. She turned quickly, throwing her face into her hands, and then burring both in my chest. “I am sorry you had to see that.” I knew my words weren’t of much comfort, but it was all I could manage to get between my lips, without being completely obvious about the pain I felt. “I’m going to check on the others now.” With that she started to walk off. As she started to turn around, I quickly called her back. “You have blood on your shirt! Come here so I can make sure you are okay.” She came to me and I lifted her shirt to right below her breast and began to look inch by inch. There was nothing. I was puzzled. “You must have gotten the blood of someone you helped on your shirt.” She looked at me, and then said, “Oh my God! I think it’s yours!” I looked at her and she was pointing down to my side. I looked down, and noticed that I too had blood on my shirt. She lifted up my shirt and just as I had, she found no injuries on me. Then she let out a low, “Hmmm.” I placed my hand under her chin and lifted her gaze to me. “What is it? What did you find?” She half laughed and then said, “Take a look at this.” I looked down and there was a hole in my shirt where the blood was. But there was no sign of injury on me. I smiled at her and jokingly remarked, “I guess being a living angel does have its advantages.” She laughed with me a little and added, “Yep, guess it’ll take more than that to hurt us.”

Just then Eric came up quickly and with a hint of cheer informed me that the wind’s haunting howls and the mocking sounds of the heavy rain had stopped. Mocking for the heat that filled the building due to the flames. Also, the thought of knowing we had very little water and a number of people caused us all to be uneasy. As long as everyone kept his or her humanity we would be okay. It shouldn’t have been news to me however I was so lost in Andrea’s eyes I hadn’t noticed. A breathe of a kind of relaxation could be heard coming from all around the room. It was a great thing that the winds and all had stopped, but there was still no way out of the building. Trees or a large pile of wood and beams blocked even the windows. Eric, Andrea and I began to survey what remained of the building and found that a lot of the things weren’t broken just thrown around and messed up a little. As we started standing a lot of the tables and chairs back up, with everyone who was able to move helping, I told him about the discovery that Andrea and I had made. I even showed him the hole in my shirt with the blood, but no wound. We had already gotten most of the boards and all off the floor, and threw them into the inferno that the kitchen had become. The flames seemed to have stopped spreading further, so that was another thing in our favor. Once Andrea returned to where Christine and Ricki were, Eric and I decided to place all the bodies of those who had not survived into the kitchen’s inferno as well. But we were the only ones to see them, before they were cremated. I knew that the men’s room was flooded, so I decided to check if the women’s room was in the same state. Andrea came up and followed me closely as I walked to the entrance. I stopped just inside the door and turned quickly to Andrea. I promptly said, “Andrea, will you go and check on Ricki again for me real quick, please?” She turned to go back at first, and then looked back at me. In little more than a whisper she ask, “Is there something or someone in there you don’t want me to see? Is that why you are trying to get me to go back to check on Ricki again… especially since I just left him?” I glanced at the floor for a moment and then nodded and gave her a quick, “Yeah. There is some one in here that I don’t think you want to see. Now, it’s your choice. Let me know.” She paused a minute to think about it, and then said, “Why see it if I don’t have to right? Besides, I’m sure that I’ll be seeing more dead people before this is over than I ever wanted to.” Then gave a flick upward with her eyebrows. “Right. Meet me in here after a while.” She just turned saying, “Okay, I’ll be back.”

As she walked away I called out to her, “Andrea, make sure that none of the little kids around here try to come in here.” She looked back at me and nodded her head in agreement. Then turned and headed for the other side of the restaurant. I called Eric to the bathroom, rushing him. We walked into the bathroom, and I pointed out the pieces of glass that had scattered everywhere. There were shards of glass stuck deep into the walls, the stall doors, and everywhere else. Even the ceiling and floor housed large shards of glass. The pieces in the ground caught our attention first. For two reasons, the danger that it presented to us, and the horrific sight. There was a woman that had been torn apart and then nailed to the floor by glass. The mirrors and windows had shattered and the winds had shot them through the air like a shotgun blast… cutting her up. We disposed of her remains, saying a prayer for her soul as we carefully put the remains into the tablecloth, and then moved the woman’s shell to the kitchen and then into the flames. After that was done, we both headed back to the girls. As we got there Andrea was standing up. “I was just going to see how you were doing in there.” “Don’t worry. It’s all taken care of now. How is the little one and every one over here doing?” “They’re fine. Ricki is awake now.” I released a great sigh of relief at that news. I took her into my arms tightly and we came together in a soft kiss. She leaned her head up to my ear. “I see why you and Eric were chosen for this. You two are doing great at helping all these people… and me too.” I let a small short laugh out and said, “Last time I checked you were saving lives too, My Dear.” She pulled her head back and looked at me in a way that always melted my heart… and then leaned in slowly as we interlocked in a passionate, yet tender kiss.

I moved one hand to the small of her back and slid my hand slowly and softly up and down. I grazed my other hand on the side of her face, caressing her face delicately. We allowed our kiss to trail off and I suddenly thought about Eric’s anger and state of mind earlier. I had hoped that he had, had enough time to calm down a little more so that he would relax a little before it all got to him too much. Then I heard Andrea ask, “Where is Christine? She was just here.” We started to walk away to look for them, but they both came walking up hand in hand. Christine fell against the wall rather hard, taking Eric with her...and against her. They didn’t bother with a greeting; they just fell into a deep kiss. I laughed a little and joked, “You know, you two, there is a little boy here.” I sat against the wall only two or so feet away from where they were, now sliding down against the wall. Ricki moved over and sat himself down in my lap. “I hope you don’t mind me sitting in your lap. I feel safe with you… I know you’ll protect me.” I smiled and just said, “Wherever you’re comfortable, Squirt.” He laughed at me calling him Squirt. He laid his head against me for a moment. I still had a hold of Andrea’s hand, since she had sat down beside me just after Ricki made a chair out of me. I could feel her heartbeat… it seemed to beat in rhythm with mine. Eric and Christine slid over and sat in front of us. We looked up to make sure nothing was going to fall. The area seemed to be safe now. For the first time in hours, we all talked about something other than the force that hit us or the mess that we were all in. We were telling stories of some of the best times we ever had in our lives, and mistakes we’ve made. We were all cheerful again. We all spent a while laughing and joking. We were actually having a good time. We knew that we would have many more things to come and we would face horrors that we couldn’t yet imagine… but that was later. For now, we were at peace.

Everyone else could be heard telling their own jokes and laughing with one another by now. It was good to hear everyone so cheerful again. It was proof of the ability of the human spirit to overcome times of despair and challenges we are faced with from time to time. The building stunk a little, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone. We had planned on just waiting until someone arrived to rescue us. So we just went on with our chatter and cheering each other up. I spent most of the time staring at Andrea. She would look at me, and we would catch each other staring at the other. We would just laugh, and then return our attention back to the others, adding our thoughts and experiences to the story being told or the joke. About 45 minutes of joking and telling stories to each other, I realized that Ricki hadn’t said anything in a great while. I looked down and saw his face. He was breathing very deeply, but slowly… he had fallen asleep with his head on my chest. He looked so cute balled up in my lap and his eyes closed. He snored pretty well for a little kid. I smiled down at him, thanked God for bringing him out of this alive, and then held him to me as I got to my feet, making sure not to wake him. I ask Eric to clear off the booth seat next to us. He did, and then I gently laid Ricki down. He rolled over, and then drifted back off to sleep. It was already dark outside… we knew that by the time. It was almost 10:00 P.M. It had been almost 3 hours since everything had fallen victim to who or whatever that thing was. We were all a little sleepy and tired. We watched everyone else drift off to sleep. It was a mixed emotion to know that, at last count, there were 14 survivors including our little group of 5. It was sad, though, knowing that there were a total of about 23 people in here when it all hit. Meaning, it had left a total of 9 people dead so far. That was just in this building, we had no idea how many were dead through out the rest of the town… or city… which ever it was. After all, we still didn’t know exactly where we had been placed when we got back. We shook such thoughts out of our heads wanting to deal with the present pain first. I once again stared into Andrea’s eyes as she stared back into mine. We both leaned forward and kissed softly. Eric and Christine got up and went to a booth to try to sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I told Andrea to try to sleep if she could, but she said she didn’t think she could. We sat against the wall with her now sitting in front of me with her back against my chest, and I held her hands in mine, our hands resting in her lap. I kissed the side of her neck, very gently, trying to keep her from shaking. I didn’t want her to be scared, and besides the terror was over for the most part now. I told her this, and that I wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to her. She looked up at me, and said, “I’m not scared.” “Then, why are you shaking? I’ve got you.” I was genuinely puzzled. She gazed into my eyes and said in her loving and soft voice, “That’s why I’m shaking.” With that she leaned up a little and placed another sweet kiss upon my lips. “My lips are unworthy of a kiss from such an angel.” She smiled sweetly, and then both of us catching the irony of the statement, began to laugh a little. She then placed her hand on the back of my neck as I caressed her face. We pulled each other toward ourselves, and engaged in a kiss that could have redefined romance in any part of the world. I felt as though nothing could stop me while she was in my arms.

It was now 10:00 A.M. the next day. Andrea and I had fallen asleep in each other’s arms. I awoke her with another soft kiss to her lips, which still tasted of heaven’s honey. She stirred a little, and then pulled me back down to her for a loving repeat of her alarm clock. I looked around and no one else was awake, but, us. Ricki was still asleep, though, he had turned his body around so that his head was rested beside mine. I rubbed my fingers through his hair gently so as not to disturb him from any sweet dreams he might be having. Andrea smiled as she watched me smiling at Ricki as he was caught up in a deep sleep. I started thinking of how earlier Ricki had told me that his parents weren’t in the building when he came out. He said that he saw them get out of the car, then everything started to fall down and described in a little more detail than I cared for him to see what he saw and felt. I feared that he was now an orphan, and was scared of what might happen to him even if we were rescued. The feeling of Andrea’s hand on my back and shoulder pulled me from my thoughts. “What’s wrong?” She must have noticed the look on my face. I told her of my thoughts. She bent her head down, and said, “First, let’s worry about getting all of us out of here.” I agreed, and then ran my fingers of one hand through her hair. All this, and she was still as beautiful as she always had been. Her stunning beauty overwhelmed me. I woke Ricki up, and then told him I needed to change the bandage on his shoulder. I pulled the collar of his shirt down enough to see the wound. Only… there was no wound to see. A million thoughts ran through my head. Andrea asks, “You want me to see if I can find something to use as new bandage?” I just shook my head and then pointed to where the wound had been only one night before. When I looked up at her, I felt I wasn’t the only one in shock. She looked like me. Mouth wide open in disbelief. I, as calmly as I could, looked to Ricki and ask, “Do you have any idea how this happened?” He giggled in his little kid way and said rather matter-of-factly, “Of course, there was a man last night that wasn’t here before. He put his hand on my shoulder and then I got better.” Andrea almost shouted, “Did he say anything to you?” He looked up to the ceiling or what was left of it, and said, “Yeah, he said his name was Drataeo (dr-ah-tay-O) and then he just said ‘not yet, little one’ and then when I blinked he was gone.” We said nothing. There was really nothing that could be said anyway. Then Ricki looked at me through still heavy eyelids and asks, “Are we rescued yet?” A lump caught in my throat as I barely got out the words, “Not yet, Squirt. Soon… soon.” He laid his head back down, and then moments later drifted off to sleep again. I sung the only two versus of amazing grace I know softly into his ear as he dreamed his little dreams. As if knowing what I was thinking, Andrea put her hand on my shoulder and said, “We’re going to make it… all of us. Especially Ricki. After all, he’s got you.” I smiled up at her and said as I took her in my arms, “So do you.” She hugged me tight, and then kissed me. Christine and Eric woke up. At first they were laughing and smiling, between lip locks. And then Eric called me to them softly trying not to wake any of the others up. I walked to him, and Christine pointed to the couple beside them. There was a little boy with them. The little boy was snoring and smiling at the same time. I looked closer at the parents…they had died in their sleep. Waves of tears were running down all our eyes, as we thought of how the son is going to wake from a pleasant dream and find that his parents are dead.

Eric and I gathered the bodies with out waking the little boy and gave them to the unforgiving flames as we had the others. Christine picked the little boy up and carried him to where we had been earlier. She laid him down on the floor beside us. We all cried silently as we all watched him smile and dream. Suddenly he raised his head, and sheepishly asks, “Where’s Mommy and Daddy?” He couldn’t have been any older than 4 years old. We all cried harder as soon as the words left his lips. Christine grabbed him, held him to her chest, and through her tears said softly, “I am sorry… they’re gone.” He asks in a very sheepish voice, “What do you mean they are gone? Did they get out?” Those questions only brought more tears. “No, Sweetheart… they died last night while we were all sleeping.” The boy gave us a look that shot through us all, as we watched tears slip from his eyes… down his nose… and then drop into his lap. She held him close the whole hour and a half he cried. Then, worn out by his tears, he fell asleep in her arms. She refused to let him go. She just held him and cried, as Eric held her doing the same. Andrea and I cried… then cried even harder when we realized that we would most likely have to tell Ricki the same news. There was no way that his parents could have survived. We knew that, but Ricki was still too young to realize it for himself. We gathered ourselves together. I didn’t want Ricki to wake up and see us all crying. About 25 minutes later when Ricki woke up, I began talking to him. I didn’t dare tell him about why Christine was holding the little boy, whose name we found out to be Nathan. Ricki climbed into my arms again squeezing me tight with his arms around my waist like a vise grip. He took me by surprise when he said in a voice that gave his age away, “I love you, Big Brother.” I allowed a few tears to slip out of my eyes. “I am your big brother now, huh?” I said in as cheerful of a voice as I could bring my self to get out. “Will you be my big brother?” He said. That brought my heart melting. “I would consider it an honor to be your big brother… Squirt.” He laughed again, at me calling him Squirt. I hugged him tight and then let him go as he ran off to play with some other kids that were now running around the room. I have been tough through many things in my life so far; and here a child of not yet 8 years old melted my heart with a matter of heart felt emotional words.

I feared for all of us as I started to remember that out of 23 people, only 12 of us were alive now. Everyone got silent as we heard voices talking. We realized that there were construction workers only a few feet on the other side of the doorway. They were making their way to us. After a total of about 16 hours trapped in the building we were finally getting rescued! Waves of laughter and cheering filled the room. Some people could be heard thanking God for the rescue and still praying for others. The rescuers broke out the last bit of debris from the doorway, and then helped some of the people out. Our group of now 6 was the last to leave. We all went out the door squinting in the first sunlight we had seen in too long. A rescuer reached for Ricki and Nathan. Both hid behind us. They attempted to grab the two slightly traumatized youths again. I pushed them back and quite angrily said, “You touch either of these boys and so help me I’ll drop you where you stand!” The two men got the point of my words and backed off. That moment my fears were confirmed… Ricki’s parents were dead. Ricki turned, buried his head in my stomach and cried. I picked him up, held his head to my shoulder and let him cry. A fireman came to us and instructed us all to get into the ambulance so that we could be rushed to the hospital. We told them we were fine and that we wouldn’t be going with them. He too reached for Ricki, and looked in my eyes… and then backed away his arms in the air as though he was being arrested. We looked up. Clouds as black as coal still filled the sky. The police informed us that they had apartments set up for each family and offered us a ride to one. Before he could even mention foster care or shelters for the little ones, Andrea looked him in the eyes sternly and said, “Okay, we’ll need one… the six of us… we are a family.” We were taken to the apartment with no mention or argument over the little ones leaving us. The apartment had 3 rooms in it, and all in all was a fair place to live. Especially, after being trapped in that confining building for all those hours. All of us settled in to the apartment, choosing bedrooms. Andrea and I stayed in one, Eric and Christine stayed in another, and Ricki and Nathan shared the last room. We all got settled, then started going through the groceries that were in the apartment. The police officer had already left, after saying, “Good luck to you all.” We made enough food to feed an army… and then some. None of us had eaten since the explosion of the kitchen had prevented it. We ate our meals; with a great deal of comments from the little ones on how long we took enjoying it. After that we laid Ricki and Nathan down for a long nap that might actually be restful for a change. It was nice for them to sleep in beds again. We covered them up, hugged them, and then left to our separate rooms. Andrea was unpacking what little stuff we had gotten from one of the few remaining stores left serviceable. She walked over to me and threw her arms around my neck. She pulled me close, and then softly kissed my lips. “Thank you for protecting me.” I smiled and said, “You’re welcome.” She looked deep into my eyes. It felt as though she was looking into my heart, staring at the love that had been there for her for so long. I loved that she could still do that. She kissed her fingers, and then placed her fingers to my lips softly. She started to unbutton her shirt rather slowly, looking at me with an erotic look. Then she undid her belt, the button on her jeans, then her zipper. Her hips began to sway a little as she slid her body back against mine, with her hands returning to my neck. Her hands slid down my back, around my waist, then across my stomach. I closed my eyes as I felt a hand slide slowly from my stomach… my midsection…my chest then back up my neck. I had no doubt at that moment what the term “living angel” meant…so without thought to it, I whispered, “It’s great to be alive again.” She laughed softly… erotically.

It had been far too long since we had experienced the pleasures of the flesh. Making love in Heaven had been far different than here on earth. Of course it didn’t loose its magic, but it had been far different all the same. I looked across the room at the radio that sat upon the dresser. “We should do this right, My Love.” She gave me an up turned brow and then squinted her eyes in confusion. I laughed and then pulled away from her. I made my way to the dresser and switched on the radio. The CD’s stacked against the speaker where all oldies, and to me were not recognizable for the most part. However, I did find one that had a song I knew of. “Earth Angel” it said. It was track 5, something I will always remember and not really know why. I set it to play and then turned to face her direction again. We gazed at each other from across the bedroom. Then the music started. The rhythm was slow and sensual, much like the air surrounding our bodies. The words… like our hearts, filled with love. We walked toward each other slowly, never breaking our loving gaze of desire toward one another. We both smiled as I took her hand. My other hand caressed her face gently, like the touch of a feather on the winds. My fingers drifted through her hair as soft as a gentle breeze… and then slowly down the contours of her neck. From the hand I was holding, I turned her slowly and pulled her to me. Now with her back pressed against my chest, I knew she could feel my excitement grow against her. The love swelled even more powerful in our hearts and our souls seemed to be joined even more than before, all while the sweet music filled our ears, provoking us to tenderness. It was great to feel like a mortal kind of touch again, and we both bathed ourselves in each sensation and in the very thought of each other. The love we made was something that was only ours and only as we two could connect.

By Abdul Gani M on Unsplash

We awoke the next morning to the sweet sounds of children’s laughter. Reluctantly, we rose from the bed and dressed. Just after another tender kiss, we went out toward the living room. At first glance we could see Ricki and Nathan sitting on the floor talking to someone who was concealed by the wall. Assuming it was either Eric or Christine we gave it very little thought. That is until we saw both walking down the hall behind us. We grew curious and worried in one instant, so we took off down the hall faster and rushed into the living room, not knowing what to expect. We were quite surprised to see a familiar face standing before the young boys. There stood Thomas. Upon noticing us standing there, Ricki pointed to him and yelled, “Look, he came to see us! His friend is the man that made my shoulder all better!” My mind drew a blank suddenly and was obviously in the same state as the others. I say this because they too said nothing. Finally I found my breath and told the boys to go play in one of the bedrooms so that we could talk to their new friend. They seemed to be rather disappointed at being sent out of the room, but did as they were told with out question. Once they were gone down the hall, Christine asks, “Why are you here?” He looked us over and shook his head with a smile. “You four don’t seem to fully get it. You are now alive once more… but you are not human.” The four of us exchanged a shared confusing look amongst ourselves and then Eric finally asks what we were all thinking. “What is that suppose to mean?” Before he could answer I interjected, “You said that we were married, so it can’t be our love making that has warranted this visit.”

Thomas gave a smile again and said, “No, it’s not that. In fact, I would encourage you to show your love for one another in any and all ways you are able. I am referring to the situation you found yourselves in back in the restaurant. You do not seem to realize that as Living arc angels, you are capable of much more than you give yourselves credit for.” Again there was a narrowing of the eyes among us. He pointed a half lazy finger slightly to the sky and said, “Allow me to explain. What you have been through is nothing compared to what lies ahead of you. This I’m sure you have already figured out for yourselves.” He then walked over and took a seat against the far wall. “What you may not know is that you were started off there because of those two little boys playing there in the back.” We started to say something, but he cut us off before we could make a sound. “Don’t worry about that now, though. You are taking care of them and that is all that you are meant to do and all that you need to know now. What you do need to know is that you are capable of things and posses abilities that humans do not. These powers are directly connected to your emotions. This fact will be both a blessing and a curse. So keep in mind that it is your emotions that will give you the power to defeat what will try to stop you.” Andrea interjected quickly, “So what is it that we need to do to ‘get it’ as you put it?” He laughed a little, more to himself than to us. “Stop thinking like humans and start thinking like living arc angels. You are both unforgiving warriors and bringers of peace. Your loves will fuel both of these duties. If you wish to look at it this way… you have no limits upon what you can do, if the time and circumstance calls for it.” With that he stood and walked to the center of the room where he had been standing when we had first come in. Then he simply gave us a smile and said, “Good luck.” Just after that and before we could say another word, he faded away in a display of white light. The moment was intense, until Eric in a half sleepy and half sarcastic tone casually said, “Gee, the fate of Heaven and earth rest with in you…but, no pressure or anything.” With that comment there was no choice in reaction. The room suddenly roared with laughter as we scattered toward the kitchen.

ThrillerSequelScienceSagaRomanceRevealPlot TwistMysteryMagical RealismHistorical FictionFictionFantasyEpilogueDystopianDenouementCONTENT WARNINGCliffhangerAdventure

About the Creator

Timothy A Rowland

I’m an every day human Xennial from the United States. I have many interest. I just want to improve your life and maybe entertain you. Available for editing and LeadsLeap projects at:

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