This story is by Kareena Kirlew and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
They say the eyes are the entryway to the soul. That eyes and beautiful feathered wings are the most characteristic parts of an angel. Alya’s were a crystal blue with small streaks of black. And her wings were large, golden-streaked ones, which she folded around her ethereal body.
Alya was seated with her legs crossed underneath her, atop a fluffy cloud. As of late, she found satisfaction in peering over, sorting through the puffs to see down to the earth below.
In heaven, she lived in infinite peace, where she no longer felt pain, and no longer cried. Harsh realities did not jar her here, so she recalled the detail of how she’d died with stunning clarity. She remembered that her father on earth had forced her and her sister into a vehicle, and fired bullets into both of their abdomens. They both bled out onto the leather.
Her sister’s soul wandered nearby. They shone their auras toward one another in loving greeting ever so often. But the rest of her earth life she’d left behind. She knew in her soul that much of it had been good, and she wanted desperately to visit again, to gain some remembrance or confirmation of what was, in order to have a true peace.
Ancient souls passed by her, smiled, and shone their auras her way, only for her to smile, and turn her attention back to the gaping hole in the cloud.
Down below were the bushy tops of trees that reminded her of the ones three hundred years old in her time. The trees that rose overhead and cast broken shapes against the blue sky and cast a cool shadow underneath. “That must be it,” she thought, leaning over, observing the world. She did not wait nor hesitate. She dove headfirst at top speed, flying out of the clouds and into the earth’s atmosphere, to see if she was right.
When she landed she became a bird. A crystal blue canary with black streaks of feathers, perched on a limb in the Amazon rainforest.
She hopped further down along the cold brown earth, letting the moist dirt sink and spread between her bare claws. The breeze consumed her, sharp and crisp, and the air smelled of green and nature’s own. Alya was beginning to prefer earth to heaven when the natural birds spoke to her and reminded her that living on earth meant living with the decay. She witnessed a large fallen tree covered with moss and parasites, festering carcasses swarming its gray, hollowed parts. It didn’t seem that bad to her.
Suddenly there was a large boom and the world shook. Animals fled by foot and flight and Alya struggled to flutter above the trees to see what had caused the commotion. Her own tiny heartbeat pounded painfully in her feathered frame, and she struggled to breathe through that tiny beak, but she saw the source of the fright. A tree that was cut had fallen from its base. A front line of orange machines were mowing them down one by one, leaving behind a colorless field of broken wood.
Alya cooed in her canary body, saddened at the sight of the peaceful beings massacred without mercy, and she began to feel the age-old sensation of overwhelm. She squeezed her eyes shut and began to seize in panic.
When she opened them she was back in the clouds.
It had happened again. She was transported without question back into the translucent atmosphere with the friends and family long since gone, shining their auras in her direction. They smiled at her while passing slowly by. They bid her come. But she remained there on her cloud.
It was not the first time Alya had missed the mark attempting to go back to her previous life.
“That was not what I wanted,” she murmured to herself. “I still do not remember my life on earth.” She sat alone with her large and powerful wings folded about herself again. She swam her fingers, sifting gently, as if one stroke might alter the era of the earth that lie below her before she had had the chance to get what she was after.
Her soul simply would not rest until she had tried everything.
Alya quickly got up and soared through the heavens, curious to see much more of the created. Beneath the moving wafts of white, she gazed fascinatingly upon the groups of creation. Men lived amongst one another, some in the forests, like the Amazon, others in scattered number throughout seas of brown sands. Many still lined the edges of the waters. Her life lay there on earth, lingering just out of reach, close enough to crave.
Alya made the decision again. She would go back.
As her wings flushed through the atmosphere above, the earth below was green and lush, similar to how she remembered. But she couldn’t be sure. She felt her soul swell with excitement and she chose not wait any longer. She spread her lively wings and bent them behind her, diving again toward earth.
She crashed to the ground hard. Her landing on earth erupted with simultaneous bomb explosions and blasted buildings. She inhaled deeply for air that had been knocked out of her lungs. Grasping at her stomach she touched her fingers to a bleeding wound in her abdomen. Her wings were gone.
With smoke filling her lungs Alya looked up to see a chaotic roadway of rubble and debris. Charred vehicles lay on their sides and fiery buildings burned blackened smoke. A fearful woman clutching her young to her chest was drug by a running man, taking her by her arm. Other men ran through the streets with masks, shooting large firearms.
There on the ground Alya stared at the scene before her, and felt the carnality of a fleshly bleeding body, and the heavy burden of time press upon her shoulders. In distress and with all the energy that body could muster, she released a deep, shrieking cry. Her angel scream was registered by the natural humans as none other than a blaring emergency siren, and they in turn turned all the more frantic in their war zone.
Alya was heard, and pulled vertically upwards into heaven. Suddenly the tears and the bleeding and the pain subsided. She was always saved. However, this time she emerged on The Golden Pathway, a wide road lain with bricks of pristine and shining gold. Mansions pressed into backgrounds of plush cloud lined the glistening pathway, and continued forward through to the depths of eternity. The atmosphere, Alya noticed, smelled sweet and lovely like her favorite flower when she lived on earth. She did, in fact, reside in supreme peace.
Alya recalled the vivid details of what life offered her, and finally had no desire to return there.
Smiling family and friends shone their auras toward her and this time she joined them. Her sister’s soul was somewhere nearby. She floated down the pathway, feeling the sanctity and finality of peace, joy, and rest in her soul.
Alya’s wings glided her slowly along the path. She turned to her right, and with crystal blue eyes she shone her aura toward an angel seated atop a single cloud. He was wafting and scooping his hands amidst the clouds, and peering through to the world beneath him.