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Authors: Vijaya Schartz

Tags: #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Fantasy, #General, #Angels, #Human-Alien Encounters

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BOOK: Archangel Crusader
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Michael felt cold. A sense of dread seized him when he realized the precariousness of the situation. If this were not a hallucination, he could be in danger. Assuming a defensive stance, Michael let his childhood ju-jitsu training take over. The being looked small and moved gracefully. Michael felt he could take him if necessary.

Through the fog, the blue man advanced at a slow, even pace. The sheer intensity in the big dark eyes made Michael forget to breathe. He gasped then steeled himself for the impending assault. A surge of adrenalin coursed along his spine, prickling the base of his skull. Was this an alien? He’d heard stories but never believed them. Would he be abducted?

The being raised one arm. When a strange vibration like the sound of many distressed cries assaulted his eardrums, Michael panicked and launched himself onto his attacker but hit an invisible wall and fell down. Scared as hell, wondering what struck him, Michael picked himself up and tried again. This time, however, he felt as powerless as if restrained by a straitjacket.

Paralyzed, Michael couldn't move a muscle or even speak. Sweat rolled down his forehead. He felt like a sitting duck. A metallic taste lingered in his mouth. Reacting to the determination in the alien's bearing, Michael stared back, hid his fear, and waited for some kind of explanation. He refused to give in to intimidation.

When the disturbing sound amplified, Michael clenched his jaw, eyes closed against the sensory aggression. Images surged unbidden on the screen of his mind. In the blink of an eye, he relived a fight on the reservation when he had enjoyed using his superior training against some Indian brothers. They called him the white man because of his looks. Few of them knew he had Navajo blood.

Michael saw the loathsome stepfather of his abused childhood, felt the hurt from the beatings, the anger, the frustration, the desire to kill the tyrant. How he loved and hated his pretty Indian mother, Maria, a slut who let it all happen. Falling to his knees, unable to control the tidal wave of repressed memories, Michael felt warm tears stream down his face.

The blue one had not moved. Standing in the powerful light, he just stared, expressionless, like a machine performing a duty. Michael felt the vibration change. Immediately the pain subsided, replaced by a feeling of well being, love, and compassion.

Pure soprano voices sang in a chorus. Michael saw himself very young, his mother demonstrating how to throw knives and hatchets. His daughter, as a toddler, innocent and trusting, laughed happily in his arms. His young brother, smiled with understanding. Veronica looked upon him with love in her eyes, no obstacle breaking the harmony.

The visions stopped abruptly. Michael felt emotionally and physically drained while the voice in his mind spoke again. The thin blue lips did not make any words, but the message came loud and clear:

"In a short time, you have become a man, my son, albeit an imperfect one. Should you want to claim your birthright, I would gladly welcome you among us. I hold the answers to all your questions. I can help you. I also need your help to influence your people. Should you choose to join us, however, you will have to change."

The short silence that followed felt like an eternity. The strange being observed Michael still bent with exhaustion, then went on.

"Already your brain channels are opening to allow access to your paranormal abilities. Soon, you may have total recall, see the past, the present and alternate futures. You may heal diseases, perform miracles, speak foreign languages. You will read other's minds, anticipate their moves, influence objects and people by thought to a great degree.

There is danger in what I offer, but if you do not accept your destiny, billions may die in the struggle that will surely come. With my help, you can fulfill the prophecy and change the course of events. There is little time left and much to do to prepare. You can reach me anytime you choose. I will await your answer."

The communication ended abruptly. When the light disappeared, the blue being vanished and the fog dissipated. By the time Michael realized he had survived the ordeal, he could see Roosevelt Avenue. The white van waited only a few yards away. The air had cleared, crisp again, without any trace of mist.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

As he stepped into the vehicle, Michael swore never to touch a drink again. He had a hard time separating illusion from real life. His brain did not function right anymore and the hallucinations and nightmares were becoming worse. Something else puzzled him... The blue stranger had worn no clothes at all!

Shaking his head, Michael tried to make sense of the incident but couldn’t. He picked up the keys and looked around. Nothing moved. No one stood anywhere near or far. Curiously, the damaged tire looked inflated, intact, and firm against the pressure of his boot, so he climbed in and turned on the ignition. His overactive imagination had probably made it all up.

During the drive home, he tried to erase the incident from his mind. It hadn’t happened. It couldn’t have. The blue light, however, felt somehow familiar. It brought back unsettling memories.

Fifteen years ago, his newborn son and teenage wife had died during birthing. He’d been mad, blaming the Almighty. It wasn’t fair. They were innocent. He remembered lying in bed, wide-awake with anger, when a blue light blinded him, and he levitated. While he lay, paralyzed in mid air, a voice had boomed. “No, Michael. It is not my doing.”

Had the voice come from inside or outside Michael’s mind? Had he been scared? No. Thinking back, he’d been irate, helpless, manipulated by forces he could not explain. He’d felt uncomfortable. Most of all, he disliked not being in control.

Michael parked the van in the back of the row-house, stepped out, and opened the door silently, careful not to wake up Jennifer. The child always seemed aware of his slightest move as if she read his mind. He pushed open her bedroom door on the second floor and walked to the bed. Jennifer slept snugly with Shadow, the huge black and white cat. The feline raised its head at Michael's familiar step.

"Sleep tight, angel." Michael kissed his finger, touched his daughter’s forehead, then left the room.

How many times did he tell her not to sleep with the damn cat? But the truth be told, he understood her need for comfort.

The quiet house smelled of freshly baked apple bread, a new recipe Veronica favored these days. It was her place. He counted on her to help raise Jennifer, soon to become a beautiful teenager. Michael did not keep his hopes too high, however. Women had come and gone in his life, and Veronica, although he loved her deeply, may be no exception. He could see signs of fatigue in the fabric of their relationship and wondered if his life would ever change.

 

*****

 

The next afternoon, back from finishing a remodeling job, Michael dropped the blue beer cooler on the beige carpet. With a grimace, he removed the dirty band from his soaked forehead, then shook his long hair streaked by the sun with light golden tones. “Honey, I’m home!"

Veronica, tall, lithe, auburn hair neatly pulled in a bun, came down the stairs, flashing a hurried smile.

"Oh, hi, honey. I was just leaving." She gave him a quick kiss and checked the pink uniform in the full length mirror by the front door. "There's food in the Fridge. Are you hungry?"

"Hardly... I'm thirsty, though."

"I better hurry." As she gave him another peck on the lips, Michael tried to seize her waist, but she retreated. Green eyes sparkling, she said, "That'll have to wait. Work first, then play. Okay?" She blew a kiss and turned to leave but she faced him again, serious this time. "You look strange tonight. Anything wrong?"

"No, I'm fine. A little tired, that's all... Run off or you'll be late."

Veronica only smiled.

Forcing a grin, Michael scratched his head. His timing always stunk. He watched the door close then sunk heavily onto the blue velvet sofa. Big hands explored the cushions. "Where's the damned thing? Jennifer! What did you do with the remote?" He found it and winced. It stuck to his fingers.

"Hi, Dad, I thought I heard you." Jennifer came down the stairs bare-footed in a white T-shirt and purple shorts showing lanky legs. Her big green eyes lit up in a candid smile.

"You watched TV again instead of doing your homework! You can't fool me, kid." Michael tried to look stern but couldn’t. Hell, how often did he do what he was supposed to? “Tell you what, I'll forgive you if you get me a cold beer..." As she stared but didn’t move, he added, “What are you waiting for?”

Jennifer scurried to the kitchen while Michael turned on the news. When the refrigerator door opened with a thud, she called from the kitchen. "Can I have the last piece of cake? There's just a little bit left."

"Uh? Oh hell, why not. Go for it, kid." If he could have his beer despite the harm it did to his brain, she could have chocolate cake.

Jennifer returned from the kitchen, a plate in one hand and a can of Coors Lite in the other.

Michael took the beer and popped the tab. He’d sworn never to drink again, so he’d only have one. “How was school today?"

"Boring." Jennifer licked her fingers.

"Oh, I wish I had a boring day at school." He looked at her plate. “Holy Moses! Are you going to eat all that? I thought you said a small piece?"

"I can eat it all." No doubt she could when it came to chocolate.

He gulped half the beer. "Give me a bite."

"I thought you didn't like chocolate!"

"Goes well with beer." He took a forkful. "Umm! Good stuff... Can I have another little piece before you finish it off?" He smiled mischievously before taking a huge bite.

"Dad!" She looked offended. "That's a big piece!" But she laughed. He liked that about Jennifer. She held no grudges.

He chewed with exaggerated gusto. "What can I say, I have a big mouth. And since you're up, go get me another beer." He turned his attention to the television screen and switched the channel. One more beer couldn’t hurt.

Jennifer came back and handed him the beer. "Can I sit in your lap, Dad?"

"You're getting a little heavy for that, kid, but how can I resist those beautiful eyes?" He treated her like a woman, always had. It made her feel important. That way she didn’t resent his girlfriends as much. There had been so many before Veronica, since his teenage wife and son died. Jennifer’s mother had been one of them...

Jennifer jumped on his lap and spilled the beer.

"Goddamn, girl! You have been doing that since you were four!" He brushed the wet couch. Was she doing it on purpose? She knew he always kept his beer on the right side. Even as a toddler, she would come straight at him and spill it. “Go get me another one."

Jennifer hurried to the kitchen and came back handing him another can with an unsteady hand. "I'm sorry Dad. I didn't do it on purpose, I swear."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. Come give me a hug." He kissed her on the forehead. “You know, if you become as pretty as your mom, with these big green eyes, I'm going to have to lock you up, or make you wear braces or something, before you turn thirteen."

" Was she pretty, my mom? Why don't we have any pictures of her?"

"Good question. I think Krystal burned them."

"I never liked Krystal, and she sure didn't like me."

"You never liked any of the women I brought home."

"Veronica's okay... Do you think Penny is in heaven?"

Michael braced himself. Why did kids always have to bring up painful memories? Little Penny...Krystal’s daughter, not his but close enough. He couldn’t stand children’s suffering. "I'm sure she is up there, Jen. Why do you ask?"

"Kids at school... They say heaven doesn't exist." There was a short silence. "Penny would be eleven now... Why did she call you dad? You were not her dad."

Michael smiled sadly. "No, but I was there for her, so I was kind of her dad since he wasn't around. I always wondered, were you jealous of Penny?"

"A little bit, I guess." She closed her eyes, as if with guilt. “She always got everything she wanted."

"That's true... But since she had cystic fibrosis, we knew she was going to die, so we tried to make her happy."

"I know... She really loved you. Just before she died, you were the only one she wanted to see... Why?"

"She knew I loved her too. She wanted me to die with her so she would not be alone up there."

"Is that why you tried to kill yourself, Dad?"

"I don't know, love... I really don't know." Why did kids ask the darnest questions? “But I know that if I'm here today, it's because of you. You're what's keeping me alive, like a guardian angel."

Shadow the cat appeared in the hallway and jumped in his lap. Michael petted the big furry head.

"Are you going out tonight, Dad?"

Michael recognized the emotional blackmail. "I don't know. Maybe. Anyway, it's your bedtime."

"Dad?"

"What is it?"

"My mother... You told me I looked like her... I know she was doing drugs and stuff, but you told me that when I was old enough to understand, I could see her. I think I'm old enough now. I would really like to see her."

BOOK: Archangel Crusader
3.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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