By Rachel LeCompte
An angel walked off the edge of Heaven. Unlike his rebel brothers, this angel chose to leave. His decision came with a price: he was no longer worthy of a name. As he fell, he forgot his home, his brothers, and the name given to him upon creation.
A spark of light bloomed in his chest. The spark accompanied by a void. Desperate to feel whole again, the angel without a name ignored the hole in his chest. Searching for a brighter light.
An eternal spark.
His compulsion drove him into seas, and over mountains: an angel who still had his wings grounded by a hunger in his soul.
Finally, the day came when the angel who lost himself discovered a field filled with wood and stone. Marked with symbols and numbers, these stones told stories—stories of lives lived, and lives lost too soon.
The angel wept. He, too, was lost.
Heavenly hosts were never built for grief. Days faded into nights until the angel felt his skin harden. He was far too stiff to move, to walk, to fly. He was becoming another story carved into rock to rest eternally in this field.
A weeping angel in stone.
And so he was for many decades, trapped in holy agony. Battered by the elements, his once soft skin became fragmented rock.
Many people came through the field, burying their own stories in the soil. He learned their language, their prayers, their names. He learned many things about the world he’d fallen into.
The hunger for everlasting light still pulling his thoughts toward a Heaven that no longer heard his prayers.
He saw her first in the rain. Bent over a bundle of scattered flowers stolen from her arms by a gust of angry wind. Struck by the glare of sunshine dancing in her hair despite the cloudy sky, his gasp caused a fissure near his torso to form. For the first time in many years, the nameless angel feared he may die. His granite body couldn’t survive any more damage.
The girl with a crown of dancing light in her hair returned one evening. Desolation buckling her shoulders. Grief mangled the girl’s face. The angel wished he could console her. Desire to reach for the girl with sunshine hair filled him.
Another crack formed at his arm.
The girl turned her head toward the sound of breaking stone. Fear and curiosity mingled near her eyes as she walked toward the angel statue.
Mesmerized by the detail in his face and wings, she reached for the graveyard masterpiece. Her finger tracing the strong jaw of the graven man.
Warmth bloomed beneath the stone. The angel felt joy sear the place where her skin met his face. Joy, he learned from his years imprisoned by grief, was often accompanied by a pang of fear at the consequences such a feeling might inspire. He prayed to his father, knowing he’d been forsaken long ago. But still, he prayed for her to leave before he shattered to pieces.
The rain was coming from the sky in waves, heavy and unforgiving. Moisture filling every crack in his stone prison.
The girl squealed from the force of the violent weather before running for dry safety. The angel said a silent thank you to the heavens before surrendering to his demise.
No end came.
Instead, the bloom of warmth from moments ago became a raging inferno as his granite form cracked, softened, and fell away.
He was free to feel. Spreading his too stiff wings, the angel lifted his head to the heavens rejoicing.
And when the girl walked from beneath the cover of her family’s mausoleum, she gazed upon the angel in wonder.
The distance between them became smaller. Neither of them aware of light engulfing them both.
“What are you?” The girl asked.
The angel returned the smile she gave him minutes ago beneath his cage of desolation. His memory restored with his wings, his fall, his journeys, his defeat. An abrupt wave of knowledge filled his once hollow rib cage. The spark he’d been starving for exploded in his chest once again as he whispered,
“I am a son of fire. I’ve been searching for you.”