top of page
  • Writer's pictureAutumn Isobel Smith

PARADISE

In which Autumn Isobel Smith writes about angels again.

 

Despite being a fairly sound atheist, I've always been fascinated by angels and religion in general, particularly the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The stories and rich history involved in these religions inspire much of my writing. However, I am also a huge horror fanatic, and thus, sometimes the two themes intertwine. This story is one such occasion.


 


 

PARADISE


There was not a benevolent god. Though the breezes that blew through the land were simply divine and the grasses were lush and greener than emeralds, Faith knew from the moment she awoke there that this was not the Heaven of which she had dreamed. This was something else, a predator's paradise, and she was the prey.

The other unfortunate souls who had ended up there were few and far between, at least as far as Faith had seen. She had only been there for a week at most- time was strange in that place, so it was hard to tell, but her first few days had been spent in tears, wondering how it had come to this. She had been a good Christian girl who lost her battle with a terrible disease. Her very name was a testament to the strength of her beliefs. She followed the Commandments and went to church every Sunday, but the Heaven she was promised did not exist. This place was beautiful to be sure, although the grey of the empty sky left much to be desired, but there was no jubilation here, nor everlasting love.

And how grateful she was that the skies were empty. At least for now, no solitary silhouette of wings shadowed the ground. No angels flew overhead, searching for nourishment in the hapless souls that knew no better.

She peered out from the makeshift shelter she had constructed out of branches and leaves. The forest nearby was too dangerous to enter, but its scraps were her sanctuary, bits and pieces she had scavenged from the outskirts. The verdant grasses that grew so long and luscious coated the top, disguising it from the aerial hunters who dominated this place.

The angels nested in the forest. She knew from a too-close experience in which she had only been saved by a soul who saw her wandering alone, too new to understand the dangers of this hellish paradise. She caught a glimpse of one then. Wings dripping in silver, eyes within eyes, and wheels within wheels. It surpassed understanding, and she had been unable to look away from its hypnotic gaze until the kindly soul had spotted her and dragged her from the edge of the forest.

Now, as she crouched in her hideaway, she wondered why she must live this way. In her mortal life, earthly delights had passed her by constantly. She denied temptation again and again, and this was where that discipline had brought her? It was unjust, to say the least.

A shadow fell across the ground outside, skimming over the grass. Faith held her breath, though she had no need to breathe any longer. It was habit, nothing more. More daring than she had ever been in life, she peeked out towards the sky. The angel moved fast, its wings slanted at a harsh angle. It was hunting.

Sure enough, she saw its prey moments later. It was a young boy, even younger than Faith. He stumbled through the grass towards the forest. Faith’s heart lurched as the angel swooped down. She looked away, watching from the corner of her eye, lest she become entranced once more. Silver tendrils erupted from the angel’s impossible form, curling around the boy. He cried out in terror, but that sound was the last he could make, for the tendrils sought his open mouth, filling it and choking off his cries.

Faith could watch no more. She closed her eyes, hot tears seeping down her cheeks. There was nothing she could have done. She knew that. And yet, something in her awoke. Something fierce and intense. This was her paradise, not theirs. Angels were servants of God. That was what she had been taught.

Once she was sure the angel had disappeared, she left her shelter. Her body shook with fright, but she forced herself to move towards the forest. She took long, deliberate strides, passing shelters belonging to other souls. She felt their eyes upon her and she called out to them. “We must fight!” she said. “I will not live in fear any longer. Rise up and join me against this terror!”

No one moved. An old man raised a trembling finger and pointed as a shadow fell across her body. She stiffened and spun around. The golden irises of eyes within eyes were so close now, so beautiful. Silver tendrils slid out, reaching for her. She almost let them. But the image of the little boy came to her, and she clenched her fists before snatching for the tendrils. They were slick in her hands, but her grip did not falter. She pulled.

The angel screamed. Never before had Faith heard such a sound, and she fell backwards, out of its reach. She landed in the soft grass, and the angel loomed over her. But Faith was not about to give up. She leapt to her feet and caught hold of the tendrils once more, tugging with all her might. The angel’s scream echoed across the hills, and Faith felt something pouring from her ears. Blood, if she had to guess. It mattered not.

A thick tendril lashed out, flinging her away, and she grinned even as she hit the ground hard. She had hurt it. She was on her feet in seconds, and this time, a second pair of hands joined hers as she wrenched at the tendrils. The old man was not so feeble as he appeared, and he ripped a tendril from the angel. Silvery essence drifted from the wound. The angel’s screams intensified.

Another woman appeared beside Faith, then two more, and a man. Soon, the bedraggled, frightened souls surrounded the angel. They slashed at its eyes with branches, small stones, and even their fingernails. Tendrils were flying overhead, disconnected from the body of the angel. Gleaming feathers were torn from its wings. It could not stand against the souls’ assault, and at last, it toppled, staining the grass with its silver blood.

Faith stood in the center of the souls. They all looked to her with wide eyes. Never before had there been a victory against these hunters. Never before had hope filled their hearts while in this place. Faith took a deep breath and raised her fist in the air. “We will take back Paradise!” she cried. “Together, we are strong! Together, we will prevail!”

The souls cheered. A woman with a low, quavering voice began to sing. Faith didn’t recognize the song, but others joined in, and she found herself singing too. The words were easy to remember. It was a song of triumph, a song of victory.

Shadows fell upon them, and Faith looked skyward to see angels circling overhead. The battle was just beginning, but they would win. They had to.



 


Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page