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author: cracklikeabone ([livejournal.com profile] cracklikeabone)
e-mail: eyelinerkisses [ at ] hotmail dot com

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
- Revelations 12:7-8

There were eight of you once, eight who were beautiful and bright, who each held a flaming sword aloft to defend the Kingdom of Heaven, although in those first days there was nothing to defend it from. Not one of you had rebelled, not yet. All was the Host your Father and the vast seemingly endless sprawl of Heaven that shimmered and pulsed, that reflected you and all the rest back at one another. You had many heads and wings, so many eyes to blink in unison as you shifted, a great thing with a head that peered into a beyond even you could not comprehend. Faint lights in the dark flashed messages and with feet rooted deep in what you would one day call Earth.

You asked Him once, about those strange lights, asked if they were brothers lost somewhere. (Not that that was your word, brother is their word, same as sister, you didn't have a word for what you were to one another then and what you will never be again, you are trying very hard to make sense of that, to be 'okay' with that as the humans say.) He had smiled and you had felt foolish, going to find your brothers so you could bear aloft your voices as one in praise of your Father.

You asked two of your brothers about it though. The eldest of you all smiled just like Father. The brightest flared and a discordant note soured him, his light cold and blinding. Worry about what takes so much of Father's time as you and the rest tend to the Garden. Worry was a new thing then, not like now, worry and fear that eat great black holes in you, howling voids of uncertainty and doubt. Still you went to the Garden and you walked and flew, swam and crawled and breathed there, touched all the green things, taught the birds your songs, tasted the fruits that you had no need of. A younger brother dared you to eat a yellow thing in waxy skin and Father laughed kindly as you howled and made faces, flapping your wings at a younger brother who hooted great peals of laughter. Other siblings outside the eight you belonged to laughed; even the Seraphim hid their smiles behind their many wings.

There was Adam. There was Lilith until there was not and then there were the arguments that shook Heaven and turned brother against brother. Father told you to love this new creation as you loved him and you did; you had made their Garden, the same hand had created you, how could you not love? But then there was Lucifer standing against Michael and Father and you were so afraid that it choked you and you wrapped yourself tight in your wings. Lilith ceased to be the Lilith you knew and then there was Eve.

You wept for the first time when Lucifer wormed his way into the Garden. Forbidden was not a word you understood because your Father made you to be as you were and you had never contemplated not obeying his wishes. You long for that certainty now. Eve ate, Adam ate and your brother smiled in a way that made you sick. (And that was new, that twisting sensation and the pain, the way it made you gasp for breath, how you could do nothing but tremble and now - now you can move on, you can ignore it, you can fight and kill and sometimes it's less than even a whisper in the back of your head and if you hate anything, perhaps you hate that.) You wanted to be there to help Eve after they were cast out when you saw that new life in her belly and felt hope - no one wanted her to hurt and it was better than listening to your siblings and the echoing silence of your Father - that you sat as close as you dared and gave them shade as Adam pretended you weren't there and let Eve squeeze his hand and claw at his arm. Sweat matted her hair long before she was done but there was a child, all blood-slicked and screaming and she laughed and smiled with a joy you had never known and called him Cain. You watched him learn to walk as her belly grew big with Abel.

You watched the earth drink Abel's blood after Heaven had tasted whatever flowed through your kind when Michael and Lucifer came to blows. The ones that followed, the children of Cain, the children of Seth and all the rest (you were not there, you did not shield Eve's straining body from the elements for all the rest, you were in the trenches and you opened your wings like rolling thunder as your many heads roared and spat and hissed) you lost track of and sometimes you saw Eve or Adam and they no longer flinched or spat curses but looked at you with tired eyes. You tilled earth. You felled trees. You rescued lost lambs. You delivered calves. Not only you, others came, weary from war and with bandages stained in blood and ichor, blessed silence and something that wasn't war, that wasn't death.

Heaven isn't the same. A great void in it that is always howling, always hungry and you cannot see into the stars and the ones you thought of as lost siblings and you tuck your feet close so that a brother cannot have his followers claw at them. You never see him. All that great light struck down by Michael who wept with blood soaking his armour as Heaven shivered and shattered around you, as more and more brothers joined with their broken wings and their light gone and twisted into something that swallowed all and left only darkness. You lift a sword and shield, you lift a bow and you lift everything that mankind will come to invent until there is something cold and merciless and the armour is a relic and for show, emblazoned with the image of God and of yourselves, the younger ones knowing nothing but the taste of the shrapnel they spit but they still sing as you did and their eyes light up when you touch their brow but it isn't the same, it will never be the same.

You still see Eve sometimes with wrinkles in her eyes. She and Adam have a farm that is nothing like that garden but there is always work and there is still a war that will only end in trumpets.

Eve always makes the sweetest apple tart that sticks in your throat.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven."
- Isaiah 6:6-7

They are strange. They are very strange indeed and the ones that hear the word of God are perhaps the strangest still and yet Metatron does not go himself but instead gestures to one of you and he does not ask nor does he command. You go. It can't be trusted to anyone else and though you are to guard the throne.

Well, it's not something you like to talk about and you're really the only option when everyone else is so damned busy fighting the war. You haven't fought since the first days, not since the war changed really and you leave it to the younger ones who flinch away from you more than the archangels. The archangels are their commanders of course and you are something else entirely, the ones who fly around declaring 'holy, holy, holy' as if that's all you do; they tell strange stories, the humans and even the younger ones, no doubt spurred on by certain archangels who should know better but nudge elbows in ribs and laugh. But you understand. They need the moments of levity and right now your voice is not needed by the throne, you are needed elsewhere and you go, go to a place that you never thought you would visit and force yourself to fit inside a strange skin you have woven that you are sure you'll burst through.

The first time you go you trip over the wings at your ankles and knock a poor woman flying and she hits you with her broom then screams when it burns in her hands. The second time you send a display clattering to the ground and help to pick it up with fumbling hands, apologising when you see how upset the young man is and that an older man has a chest heaving like a bellows, red face ready to shout.

There are other failures and oh how they titter at you behind their hands, you are sure, the cherubim most of all when this is a trick they've used to bring young lovers together but you are Seraphim, you guard the throne of God and His word and you are sent here for a purpose.

(No one tells you how you will become lost, they do not plan their cities well and sometimes they use such arbitrary markers for directions it is a wonder they ever get anywhere. But eventually a woman takes pity on you once they invent cars and says you should really just ask a taxi driver, they know everywhere darling.)

A prophet is a strange thing too, something none are wholly comfortable with but this is how it is, they are as your Father made them and someone has to take care of them because you know what it is to hear the word of God and how they tremble, how their awe can look like fear and you don't want that for them, as much as you can ever say you want or don't want something. You want them to feel it as you do. To have it sing through your bones and so when it is at last your turn to go down again and again - you get better and you fold yourself in, you and all your wings and your too-long bones and strange angles and light, you become something to make them comfortable. It doesn't always work, you were made as God intended as were they and though it is far easier for you to be like them, there is always something off about you, more your manners than your body, your sincerity, the resonance of your voice, your faith but sometimes they flinch and shiver when you pass or they stare at the shadows you cast or tilt their heads to better hear the whispering of far off stars that are as old as you and whisper like old friends, your many eyes blinking back a message.

You must make them fit to speak the word of God because He does not pick who you think would make sense. They are not all the perfect and devout, they are frenzied wild things at best and you've seen what happens when you speak your native tongue around them, how it makes their teeth rattle and their eyes roll back to show only the whites and there is blood trailing down their necks from their eyes as every inch of them vibrates, inexorably pulled towards you because you were made by the same hand after all. You tended the garden with all the rest that saw Adam and later Eve and they have come from her, more their mother than the other one but it's not your place to say a thing about it, you will not have a son, you will not know that grief, that loss.

But you still weep wrapped in your many wings because prophets are so filled with light, with stars, with something their fragile bodies were never meant to hold and they are gone in a flash, this constant presence until they burn out. You sit with them as they go cold and remember how they are always unafraid when you touch the coal to their lips and burn away a life before, remembering teaching them the correct tense to use when they scribble backwards in a language they can't even pronounce at three in the morning, watching them pace because they have to move, they have so much energy it makes you dizzy.

You do not see them again. You sit by them as they grow cold and you watch the weeping and wailing of the people they've left behind and it's awful, they've touched so many and something hot and sick swells in your chest, intense, feral. You knew them best, you listened, you touched the coal to their lips and prayed and cooled their fevers with your hand upon their brow, drew them in tight against your being but there is no one who will reach out a hand to you.

You return to guard the throne, you sing holy holy holy and think of how they are always more ready for the flame than you have ever been.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
- Genesis 6:1-2

There is a girl by the river scrubbing linen against the rocks, singing with a voice that is a pale reflection of all your siblings on high but still beautiful, a nonsense song but then isn't most of what they are little more than nonsense? You watch and you do not judge, not the way they think of it but you're good at judging and she stares up at you eventually, fear giving way to something like hostility and into a challenge when you do not look away.

"Did you roll in the dirt like a beast?" she asks, and this is the time when they were less surprised to see you come among them so you shake off your wings and clap the dust from the rest of you as you cross the river to her.

Your landing was less than graceful but you would never call it a fall.

You learn her name and you teach her how to sound out yours and she offers to show you how to scrub your robe so you won't horrify the good folk of the village, as if that would be your concern and she laughs at the faces you make, pins the clothes out to dry and then tumbles you into the river with an almighty splash. You remember Eve when you slide your hand up her ribs with something like reverence and you tremble when your lips touch. She takes you by the back of the neck and pulls you close and the earth trembles, lightning forking down and you blanket her in your wings before you go to the river and scrub yourself clean. They are not meant for you, not like that, you were not sent down to touch only to watch and you leave her there, creeping away in the small hours to lurk in the shadows, making sure she at least leaves safely.

She's hurt that you're gone but unsurprised and you shoo away a wolf that comes sniffing.

You watch because that is what you are and you remember Eve in the swell of her belly like the full harvest moon and the taut line of her throat when she howls but you cannot touch, you have touched too much and you have sinned and you are afraid.

You leave a new thing in this world. Unlike the creations of men because they do not make flesh and blood things and you were alive when God made Adam and Lilith, when he gave the very dust you shook from your wings life and when he cut out that rib of Adam's to create Eve. It is not like anything you have ever seen before as you stare through the window at the barely disguised horror on the faces of the women in the room who do not show this mother her child. Their mouths are pinched and their eyes hard as flint even as she struggles to sit and thrusts out her arms, sweating and bloodied (the last time you saw so much was when you fought a brother and threw him to the ground, your sword thrust deep in his belly, one hand weakly clawing to hold his insides in even as he breathed his last) and they move to deny her, lies on their lips until the child cries and the windows shatter.

Your child. Your blood-slicked child wrapped in grey wings with slitted eyes blinking, scales at the elbows and cheeks and too many fingers and his mother laughs and takes them though they're too big because you've seen a newborn and they are so small and this child is as large as one that could already be walking and talking. She is ashen but smiling, singing praises and the women turn their heads away until she is gone because she was not meant to carry a thing like that and it split her in two, you saw the blood, you smelt it in the air and it was hot and bitter and salty on your tongue like your own tears when you wash in the river and sob apologies to your Father who hopefully cannot hear and cannot see even though you know that's a lie, He sees all and you have damned her and yourself.

They leave the child outside for the wild things and perhaps that's what you are when you lift it, a strange weight that quiets at your touch. You can't leave it out for the animals even though no one will miss such a thing though sometimes you do, setting the child down and walking away, watching from a distance but it cries each time with a cry that pierces the very core of your being until you gather the child close and let it pull at your wings until it rips feathers free and throws them at you.

Eventually you meet others, another with a child only their child is covered in eyes with skeletal wings that will never lift them. The father looked on in horror, so you are told and there are the marks of the stones they threw to drive the demon (it would make you laugh but it is too raw and you almost cough blood instead) and what brought it into this world from the town and so you travel together, you watch and your children grow as tall as the mountains and there is no place for them and you can only watch when down come the archangels with their flaming swords and eyes that slide past you as if you are nothing and perhaps you are. You do not fall but then the only fall you ever saw was when your brothers plummeted down into the pit Michael cast Lucifer into.

You don't think about it. You watch. You walk until the soles of your feet are hard as the ground and just like those descended from Cain and all the rest, your children linger and somehow, they make themselves better than you could ever hope to and you wonder (worry) if this is what pride feels like.

Guardian angels
"For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."
-- Psalms 91:11-12

You are and aren't like the ranks of the grigori, the most shadowy of all if any of your brothers or sisters could be said to be such.

Humans don't understand light and shadow all that well and you love them for it. You were made to love even better than all the cherubim put together because their job is done all too soon but you are there when there is a tiny thing, a tiny loud and smelly thing but you are there in all the hours no one else is. You, trusted most of all, made for this person until the next time and with each life you are less who you were before, carrying all the pieces of them with you and you know that your kind fall as often as the grigori, whispers of design fault - the highest scandal, such a terrible thing because the last time anyone dared to say such was right before the war and everyone knows how that turned out. Or rather, how it's been since because the war has never actually ended and you aren't truly sure how the dust will settle, you can only be sure that it will settle because some things are inevitable, even for angels and for Heaven.

Your charge is a girl, sobbing with colic and howling, who will not settle no matter how many baths her parents give her or for all the soft lullabies in the world and you hunker in a corner, hidden from all except a child that can barely focus their eyes and wish you couldn't hear. But when at last her father coaxes her mother to bed, tucking her close because she's so tired, they all are, we'll get through this you'll see, you scoop the girl up and you tell her about your brothers and sing quietly, tucking her close and pacing this tiny buttery yellow room until she's a warm heavy weight, her little fists unclenched, her knees no longer drawn tight to her belly and in the morning her mother smiles and laughs and kisses her. You feel jealous but you're good at pushing it down and pretending you're tired.

Your charge is a girl and you are her imaginary friend because that's how their little minds work and she is delighted that one of your faces is a lion and another is a crocodile. She is less enamoured of the horse face and so you keep that turned from her when she makes you sit down for a tea party at her pink plastic table with all her stuffed animals assembled. She sticks her hand in your mouths, pokes your teeth and you hold your breath, so frightened, still unable to believe how bold such a tiny person can be and she giggles. You hold her hand on that first day of school, that tethered other part of yourself hunkered at the side of the building and when she cries you let her hide in your wings.

Your charge is a young woman who has scabs on her knees and her lip gloss is slick and sticky when she presses her mouth to yours and looks away, all angry hot flushed cheeks and wild hair escaping the braid swung over her shoulder. You're flustered and look away too, clenching your hands into fists and it's your human face or close enough and you can taste the synthetic chemicals of the gloss, manufactured cherry and you don't know what to say. You think of grigori and giants, nephilim and a family tearing itself apart again but you remember a baby and a girl, a girl who is almost a woman with coltish limbs like the face she never liked as a child and you smile and laugh and walk her home. She doesn't see you touching your lips for days. She doesn't know that you never forget the taste of her lip gloss.

Your charge is a woman and she kisses you again, so sure and full of wanting and you cannot deny her more than you ever could when you snuck her sweets or agreed to stay up late with her so she could read a book under the covers or when you helped her sneak in and out of the house without her parents knowing. There's no gloss on her lips and her hands are so sure on your hips that it makes you laugh. You who have lived for millennia, slipping in and out of lives from the first heartbeat to the last and you're afraid, more afraid than you've ever been and you fought in the war once when you were young and wept when it was Raphael bandaging your wounds and telling you to rest. (And Raphael had wept, Raphael had never stopped weeping in quiet moments, hands warm and so gentle, willing you to fight so no more would be lost, to lose even one at first was too much to bear.) You would do anything for any of those you have watched over, you would kneel before the rest of your brothers and your Father for judgement, to be cast down into the pit or to have your throat cut, swift and terrible, before you would allow her to come to harm.

She twines her fingers in your mane and scratches your rough scales, pets the velvet of your nose and nips your lips and finds a spot between your wings that has you arching and aching and singing praises that should never be uttered to a mortal. This is idolatry, this is blasphemy and sin and you have always been there and you shouldn't love her like this but you want it and she wants it and you would never hurt her.

After it's done, she sits with you and holds your shaking hands and she is so much stronger than you, they always are, they have something you and your brethren lack and she is always polite enough not to say anything about the feathers and teeth and hair and scales you leave wherever you go.

Fallen angels
"There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."
- St. John Damascene, De Fide orth. 2,4: PG 94,877.

It's a formless thing really, something you can't look at for too long before your eyes hurt and your stomach hurts, maybe others can see it better but there are things it's not polite to talk about. Humanity taught you that. Too much honesty hurts them, you learned the hard way, angry words and clenched jaws and eyes like flint, like the edge of a blade. Or the chin wobbles and the voice cracks and there are tears you never meant to cause, so many, so many. Sometimes they turn away to stare at nothing, wrapped in silence. Sometimes they laugh it off. And sometimes they pretend not to have heard but you know they won't ever forget. You don't understand. You won't. You were made by the same hands but a soul is a strange thing and you wonder if your father intended for it to be that way.

Your Father certainly never intended for you to fall.

Sometimes you catch it out of the corner of your eye, white and transparent and too many colours all at once. It was you. It fitted inside a body that was and wasn't all blood and bone. Sometimes it spilled out, it cast a strange shadow and you could see what a human body couldn't see, your wings could stretch out and wide and anyone who walked by or came close felt its warmth. Your warmth. It's tall in a way you aren't now, a great monolith for all the flickering but you can't touch it. You think you feel it like the phantom limbs you've heard about. Sometimes you wonder if it's really there or if you're imagining it but you never ask and they never say but it's there, your glowing flickering shifting shadow.

You think about the halo and how it just rolled away, how you - you who can move faster than a blink of an eye - could not catch it, tripping, fumbling, burning your fingertips. They're still red and hot all this time later. Because time has changed. You do not feel as vast as you did; you are more like a star than you ever were because angels do not outshine the brightest thing before fading away. An older woman saw you dumbly clutching your hand that day when the angry fingertips glared at you as if in accusation, taking you by the elbow when you tried sucking on them to find it didn't do much except cause your breath to catch in your throat. She chattered away when she held your hand under a tap in a tiny restaurant, the tap protesting at running for so long

That other you shivers and takes shape, curls one huge hand into a fist and even though it hurts you stuff your hands in your pockets and walk. You don't know where you're going because there aren't instructions. There isn't silence, a blessing and a curse because life has always been full of song and other voices but they're faint enough that you have to strain your ears as you walk along, your hand throbbing long after the wound heals. Your feet hurt and you get blisters. Your legs hurt and then your back. You get cold. Your mouth goes dry and you cough until everything aches and your stomach won't stop growling like a vicious angry beast.

It's another woman who helps you as you stand amidst a sea of other people without a clue as to how you got there, trembling with wide eyes and she feeds you soup and brown bread to dip in it and you stumble over your name and she teaches you 'I'. It doesn't come easily to you but you remember it when you keep moving, when you wander from place to place with your silent companion that feels less and less like you, an invisible thread stretching until one day you turn and at last you are alone. You are alone and you talk to yourself (sometimes you cry, sometimes you scream) to fill the silences that could swallow you whole because there was never silence and how do they stand it? How do they go along and live inside their own heads when they aren't talking to someone else.

Sometimes you pass a sibling who turns away. Sometimes they stare and you drop your head because you don't want their scorn or their pity so you watch the humans, squaring your shoulders and folding your arms, practicing how to stare straight ahead. Maybe they're meant to do something to you because that's what they did with the others who fell even if this feels less like falling and more like stumbling because it doesn't hurt exactly and you know that falling hurts. Because you do that now. Your wings are a heavy weight you have to carry with you and there's something wrong with them now without that other part of you that's barely there now, the one that spoke to stars and moved so fast, that could reach out endlessly but you watch the humans, watch them shoulder their burdens and you do that. You grit your teeth. You take a deep breath and you cope.

It never goes away. But you go to school and to church, you get a job in a restaurant and sometimes you volunteer with the elderly and they're the ones who look at you differently, who see something you can't even see anymore. They smile and reach out to touch where there's only empty space and it's not like when a brother would brush by you and you tell them that because they'll indulge you more than anyone else ever will, they won't instantly dismiss you and they've lived long lives (for them, you don't know how long you're going to live, if you'll always be like this now).

Your Father never intended for you to fall but you're realising now that he never intended for an awful lot of things to happen and the world spins on and - and that's okay.

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
- Genesis 6:4

Your family tell strange stories.

There are stories of a place they once knew, or a few of them did, a place that must be real because where else would they have come from (they don't lie, they can't and it hurts sometimes, it cuts you to the bone) but films and TV shows and video games all seem more real. For all that you have imagination in spades, you cannot fathom the splendour of Heaven or that unquestioning fierce devotion that rattles your grandmother's best crockery. Once the wine bottle broke, flooded the table in red, dripping to the floor, warm between your toes. The stain never quite did come out of the carpet and there weren't family dinners for a long time.

You have family who are giants that carved the very mountains their bones are buried under, giants with beastly faces, snarling abominations in the stories of your grandparents (they aren't grandparents, not exactly but it's less of a headache) that they cut down with their swords. What must it have been like to be so large, or to fall like lightning to deal out justice and punishment? You have family who fell and smell like graves, sickly sweet and earthy, their wings trailing behind them and their smiles are tight, a grimace. They cry in church - a lot of your family cry in church - and it's embarrassing, shameful, it makes you squirm when people look because you know that you're always being watched and you don't need even more eyes on you but worse than that is the thing you can't deny and so instead rub away with a sideways look and the back of your hand: you want to weep too. You wish you could laugh it off like your mother who says how silly it all is, your mother with her voice like a hundred bells, a thousand war drums. Your mother who knew Heaven before she knew your father; some stories say that nephilim are half and half, the sons of Heaven and the daughter of men but you know better, oh how you know better with all that entails. Angels don't work like humans, nothing touched by any sort of divine does because once you've touched it, it never goes away. Your father never knew heaven, he is a son of a son of giants and sometimes when you look at him your head hurts because he flickers between too many shapes all at once and you're never sure if you know him but he knows who he is, so sure and so certain and you envy him enough that it makes you sick.

Your parents are the sort of parents who roll their eyes at their own or whatever comes close to it and tell you not to fill your head with nonsense when you ask for stories. Enough time has passed that you are allowed to live rather than having a flaming sword cut through your guts or having your head dashed on the rocks or whatever other grisly fates they gave to your kind but you don't lie to yourself (because you can't, not really, the words always stay caught between your teeth on the tip of your tongue): you aren't loved by your grandparents. You are tolerated at best and viewed as a mistake they should never have let happen. A monster. The weakness that created your parents and aunts and uncles and the tangled web of relations, the ones who tell you of a place you are barred from because there is no place for you. You with your face too symmetrical for anyone's comfort and eyes as gold as the throne of God that glow with a fire that could rival a Seraphim's brazier. You had feathers everywhere too once but plucking them out has been the family policy for far longer than you've been alive and it's only a hazy memory at best, the sting as your parents took turns holding and scraping as you squirmed and whined.

Your parents love you. It's why they did it. Your parents have spent a life looking over their shoulders, drawing battle lines over dinners. It has to be why even if love doesn't sit well with you but what does? You who were never meant to exist. You who have no real home. You in the liminal spaces, wedging yourself in the cracks between two worlds that don't want you because one world never dreamed of you and your own family still have members who have to be kept away, who talk of the battle and the blood on their armour, the taste of the bullets they spat out in the war and the rest you will outlive because you're not human and they can only be fleeting faces who know you're wrong. After all, you were a mistake, you and all your kind. You are a sin of lust, of forgetting - or perhaps worse, forsaking - duty and the words of a Father. Even the creatures Lucifer spawned hate you and bare their teeth because he corrupted them, not himself, with something so base as lust.

Sometimes you don't know what you are. Who you are. None of the words fit, not the human ones or the language that makes you cough up blood whenever you try to use it until someone points out, neither kindly nor unkindly, that you should leave the table and wash your face and you never come back, locked in a room as you touch all the little puckers from where feathers would have grown and the places where your skin sloughs off like a serpent and glitters in the light forcing you to wear long sleeves and trousers in the summer. You open wings you have to tuck close to your body that hurt from where they had to be bound when you were small so no one would see because all of you are different and you couldn't hide what you are the way your parents do. No one comes to look for you and it makes you wonder what would happen if you walked out of the door but you can't walk out of a life so easily, not like the family who tell stories of being elbow deep in ichor and how they watched the stars being born with eyes that see colours you can't even imagine and ears that could hear the first delighted whispers of atoms bouncing around.

It scares you, how badly you want that. It scares you to know that even if you burned, you would want to see Heaven as they see it, something almost petty and childish about it, wanting a thing you can never have now you're old enough to know better. It scares you how much you want to find a sword and storm in, to scream and force them to look at you, to give you answers to questions that never fully form, the half-formed notions that sit in your belly and have you staring at the ceiling until your eyes burn as the sun comes up.

It scares you how badly you want to know if there is anyone who will ever love you or if you are always going to be the monster in the stories.

the end

Author's Notes: Second person isn't a tense I'm as used to writing in but I wanted to be sure I could avoid referencing pronouns and genders with the angels (outside of 'brother') so playing around with second person was the best I could do.
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