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Like Falling, With Style

by on April 17, 2019

“Well, congratulations, Donny,” the archangel Raphael said. “You successfully defended the ducks against what’s his name.”

“Gormley, sir,” Donny said tiredly. It had been harder than he had thought, protecting ducks against a third class demon who got kicks out of tormenting the things. Absently he brushed a few stray feathers off his halo.

“Right, yeah, him,” Raphael said. “Good job. Ready for your next post?”

“Sir yes sir!” Donny said, hope flaring. “Is it demon locusts this time, sir?”

“No, it’s not demon locusts,” Raphael said. “That’s upper rank stuff, I told you. We’re assigning you to personal detail.”

“Personal?”

“You watch over a guy, make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. Sound fair?”

Donny saluted, this time managing not to knock his hand on his own halo. “Absolutely, more than fair, sir!”

“Great. Here’s the file on your guy.” Raphael handed over a small sheaf of papers. “Name’s Bill McCormick. He’s a windtech.”

“So he summons the winds to fight against the forces of darkness?” Donny said excitedly.

“No, you idiot. What do you think this is, Avatar: The Last Airbender? He works on wind turbines. Makes sure they don’t break down, that sort of thing. By the way, you afraid of heights, kid?”

“Sir, no, sir!” Donny said, more out of hope than lived experience. He was an angel, after all. That meant he could fly, and that meant he couldn’t possibly be afraid of heights.

“Excellent. Go to work, then.”

Donny saluted a final time. “Sir, yes, sir! Won’t let you down, sir!” He vanished in a spray of light.

Raphael sighed. “Kids.”

***

Donny, discreetly invisible, followed Bill up the ladder to nearly the very top of the turbine nacelle. Bill paused and said something into his radio. Donny was concentrating very hard on the ladder, and missed what he said. The angel was also trying desperately not to look down. He had only just discovered that even if one can fly, one can also be afraid of heights.

Bill spoke again. “Yeah, looks clear up here. Hydraulics check out. Hang on, I’m coming back down.”

Donny realized all at once that he had a problem. He was just below Bill on the ladder. He was invisible at the moment, but not insubstantial. Bill might be somewhat alarmed to collide with an unseen person on the wind turbine tower.

“Right,” Donny said to himself, trying to put out of his mind the fact that he was two hundred feet above the very hard ground. “I’m an angel. I can fly. All I need to do is let go and push off. Not a problem.”

Bill had just finished closing up the panel on which he had been working. Now he started back down. It was now or never, Donny realized. With a final lurch of his angelic stomach, he let go of the ladder.

His wings flailed at the air, then caught. The wind turbine steadied before him. Unthinkingly Donny pumped his fist in the air. “Yeah! Woohoo! I can fly!”

“What the hell-” Bill jerked in surprise, and promptly lost his balance. Donny grabbed him by the sleeve of his work shirt just in time, pulling him back to the safety of the ladder. Then he realized what he had done and let go.

Bill seized hold of the ladder, breathing hard. “Someone-” he gasped. “Someone out there?”

Donny froze in midair, saying nothing.

Bill looked around. “Bill, old boy,” he said to himself. “If there was ever a time to start running, now would be it.” 

“What?” his radio crackled. Bill had momentarily forgotten it was still on.

“I mean, ah, start her runnin’,” Bill said hastily.

Donny carefully backed away, hovering in the air, as the wind turbine thrummed to life. Bill gathered himself, looked around to make sure there was no one within sight, and cautiously started down again.

His guardian angel sighed in relief, hoping fervently that Raphael hadn’t been watching. It probably wouldn’t be a good thing for a guardian angel to nearly frighten his charge to a premature demise.

5 Comments
  1. You are also fantastic at finding humor in any situation. Donny’s fear of heights as an angel made me like him and also made me laugh. And the duck feathers in the halo was a nice bridge between stories without needing too much explanation.

  2. Kirsten Britt Baltz permalink

    I kind of want to know more about what happened with the ducks. Overall I think this is a really cute story. I think it’s a great twist that our guardian angels aren’t completely incorporeal, just invisible. That idea creates so many hilarious situations. Submarines must be complicated.

  3. I love Donny being afraid of heights. You’ve given your angel just enough human foibles and weaknesses to be a fun protagonist. The thought of him as somebody’s guardian angel is scary and funny.

  4. Fun story and good use of the prompts! I like your easy humor and seeing the challenges a fledgling angel would have to overcome. Thanks for sharing!

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