“Themis, you’re needed right away!” the archangel Gabriel bellowed. I put down the Star Magazine I was reading and promptly responded that I was on the job. I did not mind being a lower-order angel so much, but I did mind that I never had a moment to myself. One of the higher-ups like Gabriel, Michael, or Raphael was always bellowing out some order at the most inconvenient time. Here I was, just back from saving a busload of kids that had almost gone off the side of Laurel Canyon during a pretty heavy rainstorm in Los Angeles, and again I was being sent out to try and save another kid.

This kid was special though. I had been to her before, and I knew that her life would be one of hardships. I tried to talk to Gabriel about the possibility of moving her to another home or letting her parents get killed in a car crash or something so that she would have a chance at a better life, but all of my suggestions were turned down. All Gabriel had told me was that this was a karma issue. She needed to learn some very specific lessons, and that was why she was fated to the life that she would have.

What is an angel supposed to do with that kind of information? When I get the call to go save her, how much can I do if she is fated to her destiny? It was all confusing and sad. Here I was, a celestial being, and I was being held back by arbitrary rules regarding karma and lessons. It just made no sense. When I tried to appeal to the big guy, I got a voice mail telling me that he was busy and to leave a message.

I laid my magazine aside and headed towards the girl’s house to see what I could do to help her without helping her too much. The usual scene was unfolding in their two-bedroom apartment.

“Why are you so messy, Sarah? My other three kids are neat as pins and you, you are the one always making trouble!” I could see the spittle flying out of her mother’s mouth, her lips bared in their usual thin grimace. The Revlon Devil Red lipstick just edging over the tops of her cracked lips. I wanted to drop something on this woman’s head right then and there. I was sick of seeing this scene, this verbal abuse.

Just then I heard her father’s heavy footsteps enter the room. He was even worse than she was. He protectively put his arms around Sarah’s thin waist and pinched her butt at the same time. “What a sicko!” I thought.

“What’s the problem, Doris; is Sarah up to something again?” She is such a troublemaker because her father was a black man; I know you cheated on me.” I hated when he would say that to her mother. I knew that later when she was not around he would use that ridiculous, made-up story to try and justify the sexual abuse. In his head he really did believe that Sarah was not his daughter but the daughter of someone else, and that was why it was okay to abuse her. He would stick his slimy, thin tongue in her ear among other things, and then once he was done with her, her mother Doris would beat her for having the darkest skin in the family. She would blame her for being the other woman. For being the reason why her marriage was the way it was. For being another girl when she had wanted a boy.

Poor Sarah, it was so unfair that this sweet, innocent little six-year-old girl had to endure so much, and for what...? Karma? I wondered what this little girl could have done in a past life to have to suffer through so much in this one. It just seemed so unfair.

The verbal abuse continued, and I sat there watching the whole scene unfold. I could feel my blood boiling, if I had blood. Then, something just snapped. I decided to take things into my own hands despite the consequences. What kind of an angel was I if I was just going to sit around and watch this sort of thing happen again and again and again?

Using the powers I was given I took control of Sarah’s mind and told her to run like she had never run before. I could see her face changing as she listened to my voice in her head. Then, with only a moment’s hesitation she took off through the front door. As soon as she was clear of the building, I made myself visible to both Doris and Frank. They immediately crumpled to the floor in fear and amazement. I then said, “ What you have done to that little girl shall not be forgotten or forgiven. Today shall be your last day on Earth, and you will be taken into the fiery pits of hell upon your death.” I could see the madness spreading across their faces. They grabbed their heads and cried out in anguish and desperation. I left the room and lit the whole place on fire.

As they burned, I could hear thousands of voices and thoughts take hold of me. I could hear the archangels reprimanding me, as shocked as I was that I had done something like this. I wanted to run and hide, but how can you hide from God himself? Then I heard him, the big guy, speak. “Themis, what you have done is unforgivable. You have taken the Lord’s hands into your own, and against better judgment and knowledge you have forsaken the Lord your Father. You will be stripped of your angelic powers and forced to wander the earth as a mortal.”

I then felt an all-powerful hand grab my wings and start ripping them from my body. I cried out in pain, pleading with God to give me another chance, to show mercy on me, to take into account what this little girl had been going through. My words were said in vain for the Lord had already made his decision. Then I was stripped, made mortal, and dumped into the alleyway behind Sarah’s flaming house.

Grabbing an old trench coat someone had thrown away, I knew that my mission now was to save Sarah, even as a mortal. Maybe if I could find a way to show God my good intentions and perform some kind of a miracle as a human, he would find a way to forgive me and give me back my wings. I headed off in search of her.

squaresIleana Albert

Ileana Albert graduated from California State University of Los Angeles with a degree in History. She is happily married and the proud mother of three wonderful kids. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.