Today would always be remembered as the day Aurelius fell from Heaven.
Aurelius, who had spent his entire life amongst the clouds, would remember it as the day he was pushed, kicking, screaming and cursing from Heaven. It would be the day when everything would change. A monumental day which started as monumental days often do, very quietly.
The entrance to Heaven was still, the only sound as whisks of warm cloud rolled over the soft, light coloured wood floors was the faint resonance of the Heavenly Chorus. The gold railings that make up Heaven’s Gate are taller and more ornate than any structure built by man. In front of the Gate Saint Peter’s podium towers above any who stand before it. On a normal day the calm face of Saint Peter would look down and smile upon those who wished to enter Heaven. But today a different face looked down with irritation on those who come before Heaven’s Gate.
“Is there something wrong?” The woman who stood in front of the podium was fidgeting as one of the last remaining Angels in Heaven read her life story. She looked down when he paused in his reading to glare at her. He was smaller than a grown man, looking more like a teenage boy. He was delicately built with small wrists and dainty hands, a mop of blond curls fell to his shoulders and into his face. Great white wings arch from his shoulders, his name is Aurelius and he is glorious despite his foul mood.
“Unfortunately no,” he pushed the big green button on the podium. Heaven’s Gate opened and the woman scampered into Heaven.
Aurelius watched her go then turned and considered St Peter’s desk which was littered with a typical collection of workplace toys. He heaved a sigh and with a graceful sweep of his arm all of the toys clattered to the floor, only one did not break, a plastic cup with writting expressing a strong dislike for Mondays. With that petty revenge dealt Aurelius turned to the Book and let his eyes skim over the lives laid bare before him. About half way through the second paragraph he gave up.
With his elbows resting on the desk and chin in his hands Aurelius looked out at Heaven’s Welcome Center and was unimpressed. The tan coloured wooden floors edged by white cloud gleamed in the gentle light. Wrought golden benches made up the waiting area all of them stood empty.
“I miss my cloud,” Aurelius mumbled “even protecting Heaven from a threat that no longer seems overly interested in being threatening has more purpose than this.”
The abrupt sound of an electric drill caused Aurelius to wince. He turned sharply to glare at the source of the noise and spotted a Soul wearing the blue uniform of a union handy worker, her name badge read Wanda. Aurelius instantly regretted knocking the toys to the floor, it meant he now had to climb down to get ammunition. He clambered down and lifted most of the broken fragments from the floor, with a beat of his wings he hopped back up the podium and perched on the back of the chair. Wanda turned at the sound of wing beats and groaned when she saw him.
“Is Peter on holiday again?” She asked gritting her teeth, Aurelius did not answer and Wanda went back to her drilling. She had a length of coiled wire over her shoulder and a small tool box at her feet.
“What calamity are you forcing upon us now?” Aurelius snapped after a couple of noisy minutes.
“It’s not a calamity, it’s just a plug socket,” Wanda put on headphones and went back to work.
“Go away,” Aurelius hissed, he always thought it best to keep his instructions simple when speaking to Souls.
“Not until I finish this,” Wanda answered purposefully not looking up. A few seconds later something small and hard struck the back of her head, she looked at what had hit her and recognised it as part of a plastic bird. Another hit her and she turned to see Aurelius sneering, his hands loaded down with broken toys.
Ten minutes and all the broken fragments later the Soul had taken refuge at a safe distance and Aurelius was searching for more ammunition. Finding nothing he launched himself at the Soul. He lacked any real weapons, (Heaven had a policy involving those) all he had were his small needle claws and heavy wings, but they were enough. The Soul fled before he could reach her. Aurelius watched her go, then returned to his chair to admire the peace. His peace was very short lived however.
“There he is Darren,” Wanda’s shout made Aurelius glance up and groan.
“You beat last year’s record by nearly an hour, harassing my workers again?” Darren snorted.
“It is not harassment,” Aurelius rolled his eyes, “go away,”
“Back home you’d have been arrested by now, for that little stunt you pulled when we were putting the satellites up for sure.”
“It is not harassment,” Aurelius said through his teeth.
“No that was assult,” Darren smiled, Aurelius snarled.
“You enjoy torturing me,”
“I love my work lad, always have. Even when putting broadbund hubs on clouds for ungreatful angels such as yourself,” he waved the paper he was holding in Aurelius’ face, “restraining order number…I forget, how many is that now?” Aurelius refused to answer, Darren smirked.
“So I can work now?” Wanda broke the silence as she peered around from behind her protector, “he can’t try to hurt me?”
“Nope sweetness, he can’t come near you. If he does he has to answer to the Big Boss,” Darren continued to smile but stopped when his back pocket vibrated and a sound resembling a tin can being hit across metal posts rang through the air, drowning out the Heavenly chorus. He reached for his phone which stopped ringing before he could answer.
“Typical,” he said.
“You disgust me,” Aurelius growled, Darren reached into another pocket. The Foreman grinned.
“Here take a leaflet, it details the next rally.”
“Next?” Aurelius blanched, “you don’t think you’ve destroyed Heaven enough! Now you must set the rubble on fire?”
“You know we only do it to irritate you Aurelius,” Darren laughed and walked away. Aurelius watched him go and cursed the Union and cursed the Souls for filling what was once a nice Heaven with dental plans, holiday time, pop music, and a budding legal profession, they were ruining his Paradise. Wanda now back to working on the wiring looked at him eyes wide when she heard him curse, Aurelius made a face and looked down at the Book. It was golden and it shone almost as brightly as he did. It was a little piece of Heaven that the Union had not removed or destroyed, best of all it was simply a Book it didn’t play DVD’s or MP3’s or send text messages or beep at inappropriate times, it was just a Book. But that would soon change, Aurelius distinctly remembered hearing Peter mention computers more than once when talking about the Union’s next rally.
Heaven didn’t have many people who knew much about the computers. There were a few but Hell seemed to be getting most of them. Hell got most of everything lately. Maybe Lucifer had another deal on, he was worse than the furniture stores for sales. It also helped that Heaven wasn’t really busy enough to need computers to manage the workload. He had been out here for the whole morning and only one new arrival so far. Aurelius smiled to himself, a small smile showing off perfect little white teeth.
A low rumbling made Aurelius stop smiling and groan, he had jinxed himself, the Tunnel was opening again. The Tunnel was majestic, the clouds rolled together and let loose a roar of thunder and a flash of white holy fire. Many would have gasped and doubtless some would have fainted but Aurelius only rolled his eyes. The Tunnel was a relic, left over from the days when God had been really into wrath and vengeance, now-a-days God had mellowed out a great deal and listened to a lot of smooth jazz. But some melodramatic part of him had caused him to hang on to some of the old toys, the Tunnel being one of them. It was retro apparently, like sepia postcards. A Soul shot down out of the great thunderstorm and landed with surprising gentleness on the floor beside the podium. It picked itself up with about as much grace as a squashed grapefruit and looked around with open curiosity.
“Hello?” The Soul was in his mid twenties and spoke English with a strong Russian accent. Aurelius glared at him.
“Name,” he said, a delicate hand reaching for the Book.
“You, you’re a…am I dead?” The Soul was shaking, he fidgeted trying to fix his mussed clothing and lank hair.
“Name,” Aurelius said again, his small hand curling into a fist.
“I thought it was supposed to be St Peter who did this?” The Soul, despite being terrified, was able to point out faults. Aurelius glared once more and the Soul went paler than parchment. “Richard Vasiliev,” He said taking a step back. Aurelius’ small face disappeared behind the Book and there was the sound of pages being turned.
“Vasiliev,” Aurelius muttered trying to find the right page, “sounds like cold medicine.”
“Excuse me but how long is this going to take?” Vasiliev said.
Aurelius glared, his eyes moving up and over the book to land once more on Vasiliev who had begun to sweat. A sudden shrill sound made both Soul and Angel jump as Vasiliev’s pocket vibrated loudly. Vasiliev made a confused noise and pulled out a half crushed phone.
“Cool, I got a signal!” he grinned.
Aurelius slammed the Book shut with a small snarl and brought a delicate fist down hard on the big red button to his right. A small door opened up in the cloud covered wooden floor below Richard Vasiliev’s feet and the Soul fell. Aurelius grumbled in a satisfied manner and settled back into his chair.
Jason is stranded in a dark city, and is in desperate need of help when he has no idea how he will get home. So, when he collides with Aurelius, an Angel only in the mildest sense of the word – who has committed a crime worthy of great punishment, but has been handed a rare chance at redemption – Jason can see a way home. However, their journey will be hampered by Fallen Angels, Earth Spirits, and Griffons – and none can say if everyone will make it home.
Praise for Grey Wings
“Relatable and funny”
“There is a natural charm to the book that makes it hard not to love.”
“I welcomed the tug on emotions throughout the story.”
“A great story with a gripping plot.”