Flash Fiction

The Angel

The rain fell incessantly over the land as if trying to wash away all the sin and pain in the world. People walked under umbrellas and ducked under trees trying to stay dry as they visited the gravesites of their departed loved ones. Some had tears that rolled down their cheeks and mixed with the water from the skies above. Others kept their eyes on the ground as if afraid to face the harsh reality of a lost loved one. Still others chatted amiably but quietly as they avoided mud and puddles on the saturated grounds. Flowers adorned the arms of some, others walked empty-handed. One carried a teddy bear and a heart-shaped cushion. Those would be soaked before the turn of the hour, she noted with a heavy heart. Death was not kind for the living or the inanimate objects that adorned their tombstones. Even flowers lost their petals and drooped piteously like overwrought souls pining for the dead.

Gracefully and serene she sat, a faint smile on her lips, a slight tilt of the head. The rain didn’t bother her even though she hoped, for the sake of the living, that it would stop. Her white dress fell to the ground in a cascade of folds, forever frozen in time, wet but never soaked, lifelike but not alive. Her right hand held a bouquet of blushing roses to her lap and the left touched the black cold stone with such tenderness those who walked by had to look twice to make sure they had not seen her move. Behind her two white wings unfolded, sheltering her body from the wind and framing her beauty with haunting grace. The Angel – for so was she known to all who visited the graveyard – had not been there long but she reigned over the quiet bleakness of the place and there was not a single patron that wouldn’t stop for a minute or two to admire the beauty of her lines, the serenity she inspired. A tragedy had summoned her there, commissioned by the surviving members of a family decimated in a terrible fire. Now, she sat on their graves, guarding them and offering them the company the living couldn’t afford to give.

Passersby think of her a stone monument to the love a family felt for those who had so tragically lost their lives; but she was so much more. For beneath all that pristine white and coldness of stone, there was a heart beating; a heart that beat to the sound of grieving humans and restless souls; a heart so full of love, she was willing to waste away her days watching over the dead. Death was lonely at first. As loved ones stream away from the burial site, there is a moment when heart-wrenching loneliness strikes. For those single moments the Angel waits, ready to comfort both those who leave and those who can’t. One day her spirit will leave that body of stone and alight somewhere else where she will once again comfort the dead and the living.

As the sun goes down on a dreary day and the mourners hurry to leave the realm of the dead into their brighter side of life, there she remains quiet and beautiful watching over those who are left behind.

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