Screaming At Angels- Part 1
Sometimes, from where she would sit at the café, the birds would sweep in and steal her bread. Oftentimes, like right now, she would smile about this. She would laugh to herself, feeling that wonderful warmth course through her body, knowing that by smiling, she was helping the entire universe in its effort to heal. Magna never considered herself beautiful, but she felt rather pretty on most days. And from where she sat outside a small café in a small town somewhere in middle America, she was the one person that attracted the least amount of attention. She would have it no other way. Hers was a great effort to remain almost anonymous. As anonymous as she could since the angels arrived.
The angels came to her on a Sunday. She had gotten done with church and was on her way home to her cats and some lunch. Her cats always made her smile, and the cracked peppercorn chicken salad sandwich was also part of her happiness. She opened the door to her small apartment and was greeted by Tabby and Abby, two cats of great color and importance in her life. They rolled around her legs and feet, purring and cooing until she bent over and offered them some love. A few minutes of that, and then she was in the kitchen, prepping her lunch. And that’s when the angels made their presence known.
The first sound was like sharp cracking glass like it was slowly splintering. Magna stood up from her spot in front of the open refrigerator. She tilted her head in a curious way that is usually reserved for animals when they hear something odd. She waited a moment, sure that she didn’t hear things. And when the sound came again, this time louder and sharper, she closed the door of the fridge and surveyed her kitchen. She was alone, save for Tabby and Abby, who had come running at the sound of her startled voice. They both rolled around her feet again, slowly this time, cautious.
“Looks like momma’s got a case of the spooks,” Magna said to the two cats.
A flash of bright yellow light splashed the kitchen, and for the briefest of moments, Magna would have sworn to anyone who asked that she had seen a glimpse of what Heaven might look like. And as the light moved through the kitchen, bathing everything in its yellow magnificence, something else occurred. In the wake of that terrific light, two older women remained behind, standing in Magna’s kitchen, looking perfectly content. And of the five beings that stood in the kitchen, Magna, Abby, Tabby, and the two new ladies, only the old ladies looked comfortable. They seemed to belong somehow.
“Magna Hagopian?” the shorter of the two old ladies said.
Magna tried to speak but realized that her voice would not work. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Yes?” she managed.
“We are very pleased to meet you, Magna. My name is Dorothy, and this fine lady next to me is Lizbeth.”
But Magna couldn’t speak or move. She was shaken. Not in some terrible life-threatening way, but in a more profound way. A soul-shaking way. So she stood still for a moment and took in the scene. The way the room seemed to be slower than normal, like one of her recorded shows running at slow speed, two frames per second. She noticed her cats licking their paws, comfortable with the two ladies in the room. For all Magna knew, the cats may not even see the ladies. Maybe the whole scene was in her head — a weird delusion brought on by too much caffeine and chocolate.
Magna knew better. She wasn’t prone to weird thoughts or strange delusional fits. She was Magna Hagopian, a loving daughter to Casi and Jeroen Hagopian. She had a wonderful childhood, raised in the suburbs on whole milk and whole-grain bread. Hers was not a life filled with anything out of the ordinary. And yet here she stood, in her kitchen no less, watching as two older women watched her clear her thoughts. And that’s when Magna decided to go with the flow and see where this little incident went. She focused her attention on the woman who called herself Dorothy first.
“Hello, Dorothy. Nice to meet you.”
Dorothy nodded with a curt smile and motioned towards Lizbeth.
Magna understood the gesture. “And hello to you, Elizabeth,” Magna said.
“Not Elizabeth, dear. Lizbeth. No E,” Lizbeth said, sounding more than a bit annoyed.
Magna was taken aback. What kind of a self-righteous bitch, one that appeared to be almost angelic no less, would concern herself with matters of such little importance? But Magna was still in awe of these two glowing figures. So she kept her mouth shut for the moment. “My apologies, Lizbeth. Nice to meet you both.”
Dorothy moved towards the small kitchen table and pulled a chair out. She sat down and waited for Lizbeth to follow suit. And then Magna made her way to the table and sat down as well. The cats scrambled underneath, finding comfort around Magna’s feet. Dorothy cleared her throat then, bringing all at the table to the utmost attention. The woman seemed more like a drill sergeant than some celestial being.
“It might seem more than a little strange that we are here, Magna. But I can assure you that we mean you no harm. Quite the contrary. We are angels if you can believe that given my partners’ propensity for correcting people about her name.” Dorothy shot Lizbeth a hideous glance and then continued.
“But whatever the case, we are here for a specific reason. We are here on a mission from God.”
Magna thought of The Blues Brothers. It was a movie that her father watched almost weekly, thinking that it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. Magna had seen it a few times herself but never thought it more than humorous, at best. But she knew that line as well as anyone. And when Dorothy spoke it, Magna couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. She knew the older woman would wonder why she smiled but decided to let her ask a question if she needed to. After all, if these ladies were indeed angels, wouldn’t they be able to read her thoughts?
“I can, Magna,” Dorothy started. “But a lot of the time, I choose not to. Not a huge fan of that movie, by the way. But I assure you, we are here on a mission from God.”
Magna’s smile disappeared then, instead, turning into serious concentration as she realized that maybe something important was about to happen in her life. Perhaps she wasn’t bound to a safe existence. And by the time Dorothy finished her next sentence, Magna would know with absolute certainty.
“I think it might be time to listen up, Magna,” Lizbeth said, leaning forward in her chair and focusing on Magna’s eyes. “What you are about to hear is going to change your life forever.”
“The mission we were given is simple in the saying, but will prove to be much more complicated than you can imagine. It will take a lifetime of loyalty and commitment. But in the end, the world will be saved,” Dorothy said.
Magna shuddered then, thinking only of her family and how they might react to this whole situation. How her father might first laugh and then get serious as he told her to stop keeping her head in the clouds. She thought that might be the most fitting comment he could say, given the situation. But she still shuddered and wondered just how long before she might go crazy.
“We came to you for two reasons,” Dorothy said. “One is obvious; we were told to. But the other reason was that we knew who you were on the inside. Your soul, if you will. That thing that people talk a lot about but don’t really have any concept of what it is. Where we come from, that soul is everything. It’s as important to us as air and water might be to you. More so even. Without the soul, you have nothing. Anyway, the task is this: you are charged with bringing love to the masses. Making it more popular, if you will. And by doing so, saving all of mankind.”
Lizbeth, still leaning in, spoke up. “Simple in the saying, but more complicated than you can imagine,” she said, reiterating the words spoken not a minute earlier by Dorothy.
And Magna could not agree more. She thought for the first time about why she was chosen. She had never lived a very religious life. Had argued when her parents wanted to go to church. She was always bored silly during her years in Catholic school, and she even laughed during parts of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. Not because she thought the movie funny. It was far from it. But because Mel failed to capture the real reason for Christ’s demise. Not to show how much he suffered, but to spread love. And that’s when it hit her. Was she being charged with a similar task? A task that only the son of God had been given in the past? Surely not! She would never dream of comparing herself to Christ, but if the message was the same?
“You are not the second coming, child. Don’t even begin to think that. He works in mysterious ways, and we do not question what He chooses. But you can rest assured that yours will be a much different fate than that of Jesus,” Lizbeth said.
“Are there others like me?” Magna asked.
Dorothy and Lizbeth shared a thoughtful glance and then turned back to Magna.
“There are others. Many others, actually. But so many have failed in their tasks,” Dorothy said.
“How could they fail? Aren’t they locked into some foolproof routine?” Magna asked.
Dorothy smiled. “I wish that were true, Magna. I really do. But even a task given by Him is not without the possibility of failure. He simply puts the tools in your hands and then lets that crazy idea about free will take over.”
“He’d take that back if he could,” Lizbeth said under her breath but loud enough for Dorothy to hear her and shoot her another ugly glance.
Tabby and Abby scrambled out from under the table and shot out of the kitchen. Magna watched them go and then turned her attention back to Dorothy and Lizbeth. “So what now?” she asked.
“Now you either decide to do this or not. It’s that simple,” Dorothy said.
“And if I say no?” Magna asked.
“Then your life will continue to be empty,” Lizbeth said, and a sharp chill raced up Magna’s spine.
She had never thought of her life as empty. She was actually quite happy. But then a very dark thought struck her. What would her life be like after this event? How could you go back to some mundane routine, knowing that maybe you could have helped all of mankind? That maybe you could have changed the lives of millions. How could she possibly refuse?