I have started writing a few short stories and this below is one I’ve decided not to push further than I have already gone. Having said that, I thought I’d share the beginning.
Hector dropped like a stone. The time he had been falling had been of sufficient duration he no longer noticed the rushing air as it blew through his blonde hair and if anything, the sensation was becoming a bore. Two miles from his destination, he passed through the cirrostratus and felt the cold vapour cling to his bare skin. It wasn’t a welcome experience as it reminded him of his naked form and caused him to swear at Peter anew.
The Earth below him suddenly became visible as he passed through the lowest layer of cloud and he tried to determine anything of the unfamiliar landmass beneath him. Everything looked utterly alien to him. Three thousand years had passed since he last had walked the land as a mortal.
Though his speed of descent hadn’t increased, the visibility of a city beneath him gave the illusion of acceleration. Below the white mist, ten seconds had passed and the general impression of a sprawling metropolis now filled Hector’s vision. At twenty seconds, streets and individual buildings dominated his view and the reality of the term ‘terminal velocity’ began to take on a new meaning.
Thirty three seconds after leaving the cloud cover behind, slate tiles were all the muscled man could give any acknowledgement to as he made landfall. The blue-grey slabs shattered into myriad fragments as the naked blonde crashed through the support beams that constituted the roof of the two storey dwelling. It did little to arrest his descent, Hector broke through the rafters and plastered ceiling and slowed a fraction. Slamming hard into the carpeted floor, he continued down through the bedroom and crashed, back first into an enamel bath, its cast iron feet embedding themselves three inches into the concrete beneath the expensive tiles.
“When I get back up there Peter” Hector muttered, “I’m going to rip your damned wings off and see how you like it!”
Sitting upright, the naked man winced, tensed his shoulder muscles and tilted his head to one side, then back the other, each movement bringing a crack as he tried to relieve the discomfort in his neck. Resting his hands on the sides of the bath he glanced around the bathroom.
He stood and stepped out of the cream bathtub, extending his hand to the woman who stared at him, a toothbrush held motionless in her mouth. “You must be Julia, Edward sent me.”
Julia Firenze’s eyes bulged and she glanced up at the hole in her ceiling and then lowered her gaze to the nude hunk in front of her and promptly dropped in a faint, the toothbrush falling from her mouth and hitting the floor a moment before her body did.
When the twenty-four year old woman woke up, she was laying in her own living room, stretched lengthways across her settee. Her feet dangled over one arm and her head rested uncomfortably on the other end. She turned her head to assess the room, unsure if the last remembered event had been imagined. In the armchair opposite, sitting in her eye-line, the man was dressed and staring at her.
“Edward is dead.” Julia stated. Remaining in a semi-prone position, the dark haired woman shifted her feet to the floor, tugging the bottom of her oversized shirt over the top of her pyjama but she still leant heavily against the settee arm. With a sad expression, her eyes involuntarily flicked to the urn on the centre of the mantel that had displaced the silver framed photograph of a young man laughing. “He died two weeks ago.”
The woman suddenly sat bolt upright, memory snapping her to reality in an instant. “That’s his suit! You’re wearing his suit!”
“You seemed to have issue with me being naked, you can’t have it both ways.” Hector was puzzled. It wasn’t a surprise to him that Edward’s fiancé would still be emotional but he found it somewhat disturbing that she should fixate on him dressing himself. “Edward won’t mind. I’ll talk to him about it.”
Julia frowned, then closed her eyes tight shut. When she opened them again, the man was still sitting exactly where he had been. “What?” Who the fuck are you?”
The blonde man rose from the chair and tugged the waistcoat down to cover the belt buckle of his trousers and beamed. Once more Hector held his hand out to introduce himself and this time he told her his name.
The surreal event failed to quash instinct and automatically, the dark haired woman took the man’s hand in her own and shook it “Hector like Troy?” Julia asked still slightly nonplussed at the way her morning was progressing. Shaking herself from her self-imposed reverie, she dropped the hand angrily and rose from the sofa in a quick movement, barging her way past the suited figure and hurrying to the bathroom.
From the living room, Hector watched the woman peer into the adjoining room and from her posture he knew she was looking at first the bath, then the ceiling.
“There’s a fucking great hole in my roof!” She yelled and turned back to the embarrassed man. “Why is there a hole in my roof? Who are you? What do you want and who the hell is going to fix that!””
Hector grimaced, not so much at her irate tome but at the questions she asked of him. “If it’s any consolation, it wasn’t my idea. Peter isn’t happy with me and… well… he sort of, took my wings away.”
Julia Firenze put her head in her hands and rubbed her face as though the action would wash everything that occurred from the moment she had risen. Taking her hands away, her eyes confirmed the man was still standing in her living room wearing the clothes of her dead boyfriend and she leant back against the door frame to the bathroom and slid down the gloss paintwork to sit huddled on the floor.
“Whatever it is you want, just take it and go; just leave.” Utterly defeated and unable to rationalise her day, the young woman just wanted her house back to herself. Whatever had happened, she would fix it later. For now, she just needed a little solitude.
Frowning and concerned he wasn’t communicating very well, Hector repeated that her boyfriend had sent him and tried to explain that leaving wasn’t an option he had. As the woman began to cry quietly, the angel felt he had no choice but to tell her why he was there; he’d explained Edward told him to come but he hadn’t told her the danger she was in. As the ancient soul gave her the details of Edward’s death, the woman slowly ceased her sobbing and stared with growing incredulity at Hector. She shook her head, not in denial but in disbelief.
“Edward threw himself in front of a train” Julia whispered, her voice hoarse with emotion and grief. “There were witnesses.”
Hector crossed the room and knelt in front of the pained girlfriend. “No Julia” he said. “If he had, he wouldn’t have escaped them. Heaven doesn’t forgive that kind of act.”
Refusing to meet the eyes of the angel, Julia stared unseeing to the side at the made up fire, refusing to raise her eyes even to look upon the container that held Edward’s ashes. She wanted to argue but deep inside, she really wanted to believe the love of her life hadn’t been as selfish as she’d been told.
“There were no witnesses.” The man reached out and tentatively placed his hand on her knee. When she made no effort to shake free, he continued. “A hellhound chased him onto the over-bridge and he’d turned to confront it. The demon came up behind him and threw him over the parapet and onto the rails.” Pausing while he assessed how much information Julia could cope with, Hector sat himself down and wrapped both arms around his knees. “There’s more… and I’m sorry about your roof.”
Confused and hurting, Julia couldn’t help but laugh at the sudden change of subject. She tilted her head back against the wall and with closed eyes, she shook her head gently. It was all too much to take in.
“I need a drink. There’s a bottle by the fridge.”
Hesitating as he absorbed her words, the angel eventually nodded and rolled onto his side and used the side of the armchair to raise himself to his feet. He’d seen the wine bottle she’d referred to when he’d been looking around the house while Julia slept. Making his way to the kitchen, he cast a last glance over his shoulder and felt apprehensive he may have said too much too soon. He was supposed to protect her; maybe he’d already said enough to destroy her. Biting his lip he walked through the door and headed for the bottle she’d sent him for.
Julia had moved back to the settee by the time her wine arrived. She took the long stemmed glass from Hector’s hand and swirled the ruby fluid against the bowl before taking a sip. She pulled a face, wrinkling her nose and running her tongue over her teeth.
“Does you water this down?”
When Hector confirmed he had, Julia asked why and confused the angel again. It was soon explained that in his time on Earth, watering wine was the custom. “Besides, I understand you shouldn’t be drinking in your condition.”
Spluttering over her drink, the wine spilling and staining her shirt, she asked him to elaborate and when he did Julia first laughed, then grew concerned. “You’re crazy!” Setting the glass down on the coffee table beside her without a care for the ring the damp glass would form, the young woman tried to mop at the spill on her shirt but only managed to spread the stain over a larger area. “I’m sitting here with an angel who has no wings listening to you tell me a demon killed my fiancé and now you say I’m pregnant?”