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The angel did not want his wings.
He had, after all, a place in Paradise. He had harps to polish, and music to sing, and the occasional soul to comfort. And if he could not rise to the heavens during the angelic choruses --well. From where he stood, the music of angels surrounded him and fell upon him in golden drops, and in those moments, he needed nothing else.
Certainly not wings.
Especially given the time it took to care for feathers and wings, a burden even in the eternity of Paradise. And their weight. And their size. He had seen the exhaustion that swamped angels after a flight, how gratefully they fell into cloudy beds. How sometimes, they struggled to fit on chairs.
He had seen the looks they gave to the mortals who entered Paradise still clutching bells in their hands.
No. Polishing harps was not flight, of course, but he had music--enough to drown out the sounds of mortal bells, enough to drown out the agonizing sounds of wings emerging from the backs and shoulders of an angel. He had Paradise in all its beauty. He kept his eyes on his work and the holy ground below him, a glorious shimmering of colors almost painful to see, his ears tuned to the angel choirs, which each day grew brighter and brighter with shining white feathers.
And so, he did not hear the mortal bell ring out below, or see the divine light hurtling towards him, cutting into his back before he could turn. But he felt--oh, how he felt the wings emerging from his back, straining to lift him up further from the heavens, away from what he loved, felt the tears falling from his eyes to spill down to the earth below--too late to stop the next ringing of the bells, or the next angelic scream.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
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