Every month we used to read a book together, out of the 50 I have written so far, free of charge, in three languages: English, Esperanto and Spanish, disregarding the original language I used when I wrote every one of them.
Up to now we have read:
Together with the English version of my works, there is also a Spanish one, which will be deployed in another part of this web, chapter by chapter, and an Esperanto version, which will always contain the whole of the book in its proper place. If you can read Esperanto, you will be able to read the whole of my books, as I translate and upload them. If you want to learn Esperanto, you can ask the American or British Esperanto Asociations for guidance on how to, as they will supply you with a lot of information about easy and cheap courses on the subject.
After a few days you will be able to read, chapter by chapter, The Book, of the Angel Chronicles and the Demon anecdotes, which I hope you like.
To those who believe
that there is eternity.
A couple of years ago I considered the idea of writing a book of tales with a spiritual slant in which angels and demons were important. My plan was setting the tales so that angels and demons acted in alternating parts or even together; but after my initial enthusiasm other projects of mine came in the way and delayed the completion of the book. However, a few months ago I decided to come back and finish it, and so that I could really take my task to its end, I decided to upload the tales one by one so that you, the reader, can have them all as soon as I produce them, taking advantage of the possibility Amazon gives us to add parts to what is already published by uploading new versions, and all within the same edition, so that the buyers of my book get the new stories automatically. Since translating is lying a bit because the two languages involved are so different that the same things are said in a different way in either of them, and also there are things you say in Spanish which you don't say in English, and vice versa, this is not a translation, but a full reworking of my set of tales. This is because when you translate your own book, you are really rewriting it. I first published this book on February 25th in Spanish, and now I present you my first rewriting of it into English, which I will continue till you have all the 20 stories. I hope you like my work.
So, with this book I accomplished two new things: 1 I registered my book at SafeCreative instead of the Local Registration Office for Intellectual Property, as I usually do; and 2 My book will grow with time as I add new tales. I hope the readers' comments and suggestions help me do a better book.
The twenty tales you are about to read amount to a peculiar collection which is varied in topic and length which range from one page, as in Bright Angel to the twenty pages of A Mexican Story, in four parts, though it is really a simple story told from four different points of view. Its title could also have been The Magic of Mexico, as magics and metaphysics join together in their concepts, since they both are not explained in the real life with the tools we have at our disposal. Even if it took me some time and effort writing the book, it is true that doing so let me be aware of magic in things and goodness in people, and also the lack of them in some other people. Also it made me think of the blessings we enjoy every day without noticing till we miss them. This is what happens to Rose, the main character in this tale, which nearly turned into a novel, as her life is complex and varied, as a novel is. But I think it is better in this way, as a simple story as seen from four different points of view.
Angels of a Feather is written in six parts and it is a cross border tale, as it belongs to several literary genres at the same time: there is romance, mystery, war, and it is a portrait of the most unfathomable adventure which you can find, the adventure of writing, in two different slants.
Chet's Chats was going to be a book on itself, but its topic is so similar to the rest in this volume that I decided to add here the five parts it had at the moment, though I may complete the missing parts to make it a novel in future. It deals with the relationship of the sixty-three year old narrator with his dead father, who passed away at that age, clarifying many things which were unsolved between them when we parted away, and celebrating their reunion in a simple, charming way.
The other tales in this book are much simpler, as mere anecdotes of magics or divinity (as you want to see them) in the presented events. It is to be noticed the collaboration by Jack Crane and Gema Gimeno Giménez, who told me their wish to contribute to this book, and so the former sent me his Elvis' Ballad and the latter, The Bet, which she finished on March 8th, to celebrate the International Working Women's Day, though she changed its end so that it matched the rest of the tales in the book. I included both tales in the hope other writers send me their angelic or diabolic tales as contributions to The Great Book of Angel Chronicles and Demon Anecdotes. Last but not least, Anne Lake sent me her Starway to Heaven, which I have included right before the tale Nineteen, even if that makes this one brecome the twentieth tale in the book.
Perhaps the reader feels himself or herself identified with any of the characters or events we tell in this book. I would like to add that every character or events told here are totally fictitious..., but honestly I have to confess that I am not very sure of that. But I can say that any coincidence with reality is alien to the will and intention of the authors.
Murcia, February 25th 2014
(rewritten on March 14th)
It is said angels are ethereal beings who fly and bring us messages from Heaven. They watch us, it is said, and know everything we all do and say. But nobody saw them so far. What colour are their wings? And their hair? Do they really have wings? Do they have hair? But you will know they are there when they are with you, experts say. Perhaps. Or perhaps they are an invention of our sick brains.
Anyway we have lived a whole life thinking that angels are beings of reference. When someone is very good, when he or she inspires us confidence and good will, we say that he or she is an angel. When someone is very attractive or has something special which we like, we say he or she has angel or charism.
But they keep being ethereal beings made of air or something even less dense, in the same way as fairies. Angels, fairies..., are they the same? In the West's cultural collective there is no clear cut difference, no matter what scholars say. Except for the fact that fairies are supposed to be favour makers, godmothers, and angels are escorts and messengers, people who are there or who go and tell someone what they have seen. But, essentially they are the same: beings who are here but nobody can see them. They are messengers, but they tell nothing to us. They have a great beauty, but nobody can appreciate it. They are unbelievable beings we can see only with our imagination's eyes. Or not?
Do demons really exist? A few days ago I discussed this topic with a shoeshine, and, as he wiped my shoes, the man spoke passionately about Satan who tempts us so much, and wants to take us along the path of sin, and the poor man would not listen to the reasons we were all taught as children in church, that it could happen only if we wanted. Because demons, if they exist, are but spiritual creatures that have no influence on what we do, unless we decide to follow their advice. Some say the Devil is an invention of us humans to blame them for all the things we do and we later regret. We do not like other harm us, even if we usually matter far less when it is us who harm other people. So those of us who have a minimum sensitivity for justice and equity tend to be in the shoes of others and understand that it was not so well what they did because they understand other people's actions are wrong they are punished by what they do because of their interest or mistake, perhaps because they just did not pay enough attention. Atheists are more reasonable in this: no matter what you did, it is wrong if someone else did it to you: common sense is clearer than a set of rules nobody really understands or bend to his or her own interest. However this simple rule, do not do to others what you would not like others do to you, is what some religious people consider The Third Law of Creation.
But whether there are demons or not, it is true that is a notion that has invaded all cultures through the corresponding religion, at least the cultures that control the three monotheistic religions. And therefore devils and demons belong to Christian, Jewish and Muslim imagery. Since Luzbel himself, Lucifer or Satan to a crowd of devils whose sole mission is to make our life bitter and, if possible, draw us to the path of evil. However the path of evil and the existence blurs somewhat the idea of a just and good God who created us to be happy, even if it means we have to continually praise Him in this life and the next one.
In these tales I present a number of devils who do not always stand out well, although in one of the multiple stories, A Mexican Story, my fantasy has led me to show the same story told four times in a way that it looks four different stories which leave it unexplained whether the main character is an angel, a demon, or none of those things. If we consider these stories from the good-bad optics it is clear that demons have not the best part, but if we measure in terms of effectiveness, no one is mor effective than the demons in the stories that are not mine, that luckily I added to this collection to make up for my clear slant to what we call good.
Demons are considered spiritual beings whose only aim is to bring bad and evil things to human beings, from slight uncomfort to his or her total damnation, as we see in Bad Deal or Second Opinion. Angels, on the other hand, are there to help us when we need them, even if sometimes one of them goes beyond her limits, like the one in the first tale.
I hope the reader has a good time reading these stories and let me know their pleasure or displeasure, his or her criticism, friendly or not, on what I present for your reading, which is possible it gets fatter in the future with other writings with other writings by other fellow workers that have already expressed his or her will to collaborate; and even my one new, fresher ones.
He was walking nervously while he waited for the bus. He had just murdered his wife. She had gone beyond limits. He did not know what he was doing. And she was still making fun on him even while he was strangling her. Who was crazier, he or his wife? And now there was only one solution for him: waiting for bus, the bus he took every morning, and jump into its way when the driver no longer could avoid killing him.
And then he saw her. A young girl, around fifteen, blonde and freckled all over, with two large teeth in the center of her mouth. Those teeth were only too large, but they gave her face a touch of personality. Very remarkable, to say the least.«Do you know when the bus is due?», she asked with unexpected self confidence.
The man was not listening, but he nodded now and then dumbly, while he was wating for the bus. He was no longer nervous.
«Who cares what teachers say?", he asked suddenly.
«Well..., » she was silent for a moment. Then she went on after a brief pause: «actually when you like someone, you care for what they say. Not even for what they think. That's why I don't use my belly piercing any more, do you know? I hate those angry looks from my drawing teacher. She usually talks to me with affection, very patiently. It looks as if she knows always what I am thinking. And then there is no need to use my top leaving my belly on sight. What's the use of piercings if they are not seen?»
The man looked at her even more carefully. It was unbelievable that so young a girl could talk so wisely.«Tell me, girl, do you learn all the things you are saying at school, or it is your parents' talk?»
In that moment the bus stopped behind them. He was so deep in their conversation that he did not realise the bus was arriving, or why he was waiting for it . The girl got on it, and so did he, and they sat together. They went on with their conversation, till the bus halted at her stop.
As she was saying good-bye, she added:
«Sir, look at me when I am outside, as I have to tell you two very important words for you. See you in a minute».
Curious, he followed her with his eyes all along the bus alley, he saw her get off and come back on the pavement to the place where he was looking out of the window. Over the noise of the bus starting again, he could understand the words coming out of her lips:
The man opened his eyes, and looked to his right. There was her wife peacefully sleeping at the other end of there bed, the woman he was certain to have strangled a short time ago. So everything had been a dream. The man felt like he had just been born again. Wake up!, he was told by that angel. But..., was it a dream? Or was that girl a real angel with powers to undo what he had ruined, his wife's life? And he wept. He wept in thankfulness for this second oportunity that indescribable-faced angel had presented him with?
Humans are stupid. More and more. They want things for free. They say they love each other, but they do not want to cede to be able to live together. But they do not want to live alone. They get bored. But if they are not alone, they feel oppressed.
That happened to Ernest. He had lived with his wife for forty years, and all along them, day after day, he had dreamed of murdering here for many different reasons. And so did she. They loved each other, but they hated each other, too.
We demons are more serious. We hate people. We hate angels. We hate other demons. We love not even ourselves. It is funny to make people hit one another, murder one another. The lesser the brighter. Life cannot be a lot of insipidness and people who start weeping for nearly everything so that they are assured nothing is the matter. Because it is. Life is a bad joke. Thus, we all have to behave in the way we are. Like real bastards.
That’s why I suggested Ernest it was high time to do always the same things. He should leave home. Or get rid of his wife. Afterwards, with a little bit of luch, he’d be taken to an asylum for free and for the rest of his life. I suggested the same for his wife. The wrong thing is that there are always bungler angels fussing around. I hate them. But from time to time it looks as if they are on holiday, or fall asleep, or leave their protegés alone because of the free will thing, demon’s best invention.
Rose did not understand how she could marry to such a boring guy, too. When she met him, she was amused by his way to interpret common things in life. But after a few years beaing together, she already knew all his jokes, his sayins, his unwelcome mockery. And under that surface apparently bright there was only a limited repertoire of weird concepts of the world he had inherited from his dad, who must have been a remarkable man. But this guy, Ernest was a bore. And that is the worst somebody can be: a painful bore. And being a bore should be a crime punishable with death penalty. She could not stand him.
He could not stand her, either, with her airs of superiority, a super woman, an undervalued genie. She never lost a chance to state that he was a second rate chap who did not deserve her. One of these days he’d strangle her. He simpley was not brave enough to do so. He was a coward.
And she was not determined enough. It should be easy to add some cyanid in his soup, and then give him his favorite desert, a whiskey cake, when cianide was already in him. He’d die without any traces in his blood. But she did not have the guts. She, the super woman, could not make up her mind. He, the quiet man, had not what a man has to.
Both could use a demon’s help. A demon like me. I am evil, treacherous and cynical. So I approached the strange couple.
«Can you help me, madam? Is the bus station near here?»She observed me in distrust, but also kindly: when I want I can be charming.
Rosa E. R.
It was evident that document would prove nothing to a jury: only that she wished that he died. But to her conscience there was a big difference. It was as if she herself had killed him. A mortal sin. One of those God punishes.«But I will have to pay some money for this, won’t I?»
When she got home, she found her husband sitting on his favorite armchair, reading the paper. Before getting home has was lucky enough to meet her friend Henriette, who had seen her park and they had been chatting for a while. Then she stopped at the kiosk to buy some cigarettes, and finally she came into the house.
«Are you all right, dear?—, she asked as she failed to hera his usual Good night, dear. Where have you been?
She came closer to him and saw the paper open on his knees. His look was on it, but it was empty. She touched him softly, and his head rolled against one of the sides of the armchair: he was dead.
«Waw!», she said to herself. «The gentleman turned out to be right. Now I have only to call the police so that they send a doctor to certify the time of his death, when I was with that nice gentleman».Automatically she took a cigarette to her mouth, and lit her ligher. The explosion woke every nighbour in the street. Her husband had not died from a heart attack, but from accidental gas leaking. When the fire was put out, there was on the floor a half-burned paper with a small text:
I, Ernest Brie Chaumont, wish my wife dead as soon as possible.
«Do you know? I am going to the Conservatory to learn music. I'm doing preparatory. I've always loved music.
However, she could not finish her music studies, little poor Helen. One year later I found her on the street. She was leaning on crutches as she walked with her sister.
«I suffer from multiple sclerosis», she said. «It is a sickness which can change only for the worse. I do not know how much it will take.
It will take... She lasted only for one year. I met her sister one year later, and she said Helen had just died. Blessed Helen.
Recently I visited a witch. In fact she is only a medium, but I call her my witch, and she laughs at the idea. I had a session wth her: she rubbed my whole body with almond cream, and I fell sound asleep. Out of the two hours I was there, I slept for one and a half. When I woke up, my witch told me that she had seen a very old man who told her to let me know that I could be relieved, as he was very happy. My dada and I were not in very good terms when he died. Was that man my dad? Probably.
But she told me something else: she said she had seen a bright woman, around twenty to fifty years old, who was projecting light on me.
«Why are you sending light onto him», the witch asked.
«Everybody has some light», she said, «but he has non. That's why I shed light on him. So that he also has».
My good Helen, blessed Helen. I am sure you are my bright lady. Thanks for your grace, Helen. Will you be the one who will come for me?
Puerto de Mazarrón,
July, 25th 2013.
This is the story of a ship wreck. Ships were for a long time the only means men could use to go across the sea to other places to trade, to find a better life, to rob, or even just to enjoy himself. As time went by, many of those activities, above all the latter, stopped being done by sea, as aeroplanes have taken the lead because they are so much faster and cheaper. But there are still some people who have the money, the time and the mood, in addition to some taste for for adventure, and so they still find pleasure in going off to sea in long cruises, thirsty for knowing new lands, or just to experience the smooth movements of sheer and camber, which make the decks curve up and down, as the ship rides the waves one after the other. They cause a particular movement which some people, like Eustace, enjoyed lying on his bunk, reading under the day light which came to him through the porthole, a round little window, in his cabin. There he used to keep away from the ship’s noises by not paying any attention to them as he was deeply inside his readings.
But on the third day of his cruise to New York, he suddenly looked away from his book, a minor writing by Emilio Salgari, The Damned Ship, which tells us Papa Catrame’s adventures. He was so deeply in his reading that when he finished the book, he kept thinking about what he had just read… Till suddenly he was conscious he could not listen any noise, not even the ship’s engines. Nor people’s. He could hear nothing at all. He jumped on his feet, leaving his book on the bunk. He got dressed and came out of his cabin. He met nobody on board. The ship was leaning a bit to portboard, that is to say, leftwise, if you look towards the prow, the fore part. He came to the board, that is to say, the ship’s handrail, and saw a gorup of lifeboats with people inside. He turned to the place, where he had seen them hanging the previous days, but they were not there. How was it possible the ship had been abandoned without he realising it? Ha people not screamed, shouted, cried? Yes, but he was with Emilio Salgari at the time. More exactly with Papa Catreme, who was telling him stories about memaids and missing people at sea. Probably they had shouted, but he had not heard them, in his cabin, away from the world’s problems, deeplin inside his reading. Now he recalled hearing the ship’s siren, but he thought it was just his imagination. The ship was now leaning more, about fifteen degrees to portside. He looked, shattered, and saw nothing: no lifeboat, not even a life vest.
I’m finished”, he said to himself. He felt horrible because he did not realized two thousand people had abandoned ship. Nobody missed him. He had lived alone for all his life. Alone with his fiction characters. They are least painful, he thought. He saw the sea come nearer. Suddenly the ship leant on her back side, raising its prow to the sky little by little, but suddenly she stopped. He was grabbing the handrail and was almost hanging inside. Chairs and other things unfixed to deck had fallen into the sea or inside the sihp. But she had stopped her fall into the deep, and now, as there was more and more water inside, was getting horizontal again. Then he saw it: a shark some hundred yards away, around seven hundred. It appeared to have an appointment with him.
“At least my death will not be slow”, he said to himself. Now he could stand again.“What would you give not to die?”, he heard a clear, loud voice say.
He turned. There, a few feet from where he was, he saw a small man, bald, in a bow hat.“Everything I have”.
Indeed, there it was. But it was too heavy for him to launch into the sea.“Don’t worry”, said the little man, as if he had read his toughts. “Release it from the fixing ropes. Use the ax on that screen (that is to say, wall), but you are running out of time. Get inside the boat”.
So Eustace did, and he saw the sea fall into that deck and “go up” little by little as far as where he was and then his boat was sea borne. When it was over the level where he was, the boat started floating.“Now yo row towards the Sun, as you have little time”.
And he knew nothing more about that little man. He was busy at the oars, till he found himslef beyond the spot where he'd seen the shark. He was getting farther and farther from the ship, always keeping her on sight. He had heard when a ship sinks, there is a swirl on the spot she sinks, which could capture any floating objects near it, as his little boat ws, and drag them along. But the ship did not sink completely. When she stopped sinking, the bridge, that is, where the helmsman and the captain usually are on duty, was over the sea level. There was no swirl, then. Many hours later he saw a subtle shape in front of him, under the place where the Sun appeared to be. With a lot of hard work he arrived at the island. It was a few miles large. He went to the highest place and from there he saw some of the boats which had left the ship before he, but they were adrift, lost. He gathered some plants and wood and with a lighter he lit a fire, which was seen by the survivors and then they started rowing to the smoke. Unfortunately, they were caught in a storm and he saw them go up and down among the waves, till they capsized one after the other and he stopped seeing them. There was nobody left to be seen. He was the only survivor, then. Not any single soul was saved. Because his was also lost.
But demons don't exist, he said to himself. Then, who could be that little poor man I found in the ship?
He found the answer a few days later, when he was starving to death, since there was no food in that island. He heard his steps and raised his eyes: there was the little man there.“I've come for your soul”.
And looking at that peculiar guy, he uttered his last sigh.
A minute later they both were in hell.
There is something even worse than being a poor little thing: being poor. Yes, man, not having a cent. Because you can be a poor little thing because your girlfriend no longer loves you, or because you can't find a girl who wants to be your fiancé, or because you had her, married her and then she left you for another guy. Or you can be unfortunate at work, do everything wrong, or in a way your boss does not like. Or else you can do everything perfect and then not get along with your colleagues, those bunglers. Or you can have everything in life: fame, money, love, and still be an unhappy poor little thing. Or you can be a victim of a thousand and one mishaps in fortune and love but however many bad things happen to you, there would always be something even worse: not having money.
Yes, man, I know what you are about to tell me: you don't have money, either. But if you bought this book, you have money. If you bought the computer you are reading me with, even if from a pirate pdf, you have money, even if you spend it on my books1. In your case you do not suffer the biggest misery: not having money.
The one who has no money does not know what he or she's going to eat the next day, even not the very same day. There is a glorious hundred years old institution the solution it provides Damned Shipnot being, however definitive or to be proud of: it is called Forsaken Jesus. But it is a shame for those who knew better times before.
Poor people are so because they have no money, and they reached that condition for a series of reasons. One of them is not having a job. Another one, perhaps worse, is earning less than one spends. But if you earn and spend, even if you are on deficit, at least you use the money you have. But it is much worse not having any money to manage, as your digestive tube needs material continuously, and when you don't feed it on a regular basis, you can reach a state we call death.
As you get deeper into that we call poverty, the worst of which is not having money, you go down the moral ladder, accepting jobs, if you find them, which nobody else would want or could do. That is the opportunity demons exploit most, and there we angels have to be smartest, as we have to use all the abilities God gave us to get the poor out of the pit where they fell because of life hardships.
Such was Pancras’s case. He was a real poor one, one of those people who are aware of their lives’ truth, and therefore they do not dare put the blame on bad luck for their poverty: he did not want to study when he could, and he started working in what there was then. He was an excellent mason. But then bad times came, and he lost his job. Politicians blamed one another. But they all got huge salaries for doing nothing, whilst he had lost his and now had nothing to eat. His wife had left him, and was now with another man who loved her less than him, but fed her and the kids every day. For the kids were with their mom, and he had seen none of them since then. He had not felt responsible for it at first. It was later, when he understood that his vote was one within millions other votes which gave power to those mean people who had taken the country to bankruptcy, and got fabulous wages for that.
But he did not hate them. He did not have even hate. He searched in garbage containers every day in other neighborhoods, as he was ashamed of being recognized doing so. Sometimes he found some food, and then he could sleep with something in his belly. He had lost his home, that cottage he had bought in installments when he was earning €3,000 a month. Those were other times, evidently. Then he lost his jobs and could not meet the remaining payments. The bank got the cottage away from him and warned him that they’d confiscate his wages when he got a job, to get the rest of the loan back. He smiled at that thought. That would mean he’d be back to work. But no, there was no more work in building. He was already too old to change to another job. An old dog can learn no new tricks.
And then he found it. A bag full with money, which someone had thrown away to the garbage container. A mistake? Were they fake notes? He’d check. He took it home. He counted the money: sixty kilograms of paper money in €50 notes. Three million euros. They must be fake. He took one in his hand and went into a bank.“I’d like to change this note I found outside”.
The cashier looked at him, put the note into her checking machine, and realised the note was good. She gave him ten €5 notes.
Pancras could not believe it: he had €3,000,000 at home! Had he got a fairy godmother? Does Providence exist? Who would throw €3,000,000 away?
He went to a newsagents’ in his neighborhood to buy several cartons. He did not smoke, but he knew many people who did. He made many inside pockets into his coat, and filled them with cigarette packets. He went back to the poor quarter the garbage containers of which he knew so well.“Cigarettes?”, he asked a passer by.
The man looked at him in puzzlement. He agreed, even if the price was a big swollen. He smiled and paid.
Pancras repeated this business many times that day. And he saw that every two hours his fifty euros became seventy. When he already had regular customers, he spoke to other beggars whom he had met at the garbage containers, and reached an agreement with them: they were to give him half their earnings, and in return he would give them the merchandise. He bought it directly form the factory, so he got a special price because he bought the packets by the thousands. He kept no books on his business, but he had everything in his head. He soon had twenty beggars working for him. He told them it was important to keep their beggar looks, only that they no longer begged, but sold cigarettes.
A year later Pancras' business was spread over ten cities, and there were two hundred beggars working for him. He had earned over three million euros.
What should he do with his earnings? He had them at home. Now he had €5 million inside a mattress. He had invested a million in cigarettes, and had earned three. But he remembered he had a debt. He owed Providence something. That's why he caught the old sack and after he added the million he had invested, he took it on his shoulder and looked for the garbage container where he found it. He'd never forget it.
Very carefully, as if he was caressing it, in the middle of night, he took it away from his shoulder and let it drop onto the bottom of the container. Then he got some plastic bags someone had not bothered to get into the container, and put them on it.
Happy, he smiled and walked away from there. He no longer had anything not earned by himself. So his debt was cleared. And at the other end of the street me, The Angel of Hope, smiled back and waited for another Pancras to come and solve his earthly and celestial life.
Mazarrón, July 26th 2013
Amelie had never attended mass. Her parents had not introduced her into the Christian faith, or taken her to catechism. Thus it appealed to her, since she had started working in that office, three years ago, that people went out of mass at seven in the morning. They were mainly women, who went to get at peace with God right before they went to work.
One day Amelia decided to get up earlier and get into the chuch some time before seven in the morning. There were only two older women who were mumbling a prayer. She could not hear them, but she saw them move her lips. Little by little more women and a few men were coming till there were around one hundred people, according to her own count. It was not bad for a working day so early in the morning.
The priest was young and told them a short preach with which he thanked them for giving God one hour every day. In fact it was not one hour, but just over half. She thought it not right that such an important thing for those attending church was given away with by the priest so fast. When mass ended she even had some time to get into the sacristy to talk to the priest.
As soon as she got into the room, silently, she saw the priest take his chasuble off, and also the other officiating garment priests use. When he had already taken everything off, she saw the man go on taking his jumper off, and then his shirt. After he did, he turned round and said:
“Young lady, what can I do for you?”
She found it improper to be there, talking to a half-naked priest. He realised her distress and smiled as he got a new shirt and started to take it on and said at the same time:
“Fear nothing, young woman. I am a man, but God’s”.
“Father”, she said, “it is the first time I come into a temple”.
“Aren’t you a Christian?”
“No, father. Not to my knowledge”.
“What’s your name?”
“Amelie. Your parents did not teach you into the Christian faith. Why did you come to my church, then?”
“Curiosity. You may have felt God’s call”.
That priest was remarkable to her. He might be a man of God, but he was attractive. She understood she should not be there: the priest had taken his shirt on, but had not done his buttons yet. He captured her hand and led her to a window with two seats. From there they could see the street, but nobody could see them from outside, or from inside, even if they came suddently into the sacristy.
“Look, daughter”, he said, “from here we can see the street and the sacristy at the same time, unseen”.
“What have we to hide?”
“You are attracted to me, as I am to you”.
Her breathing halted.
“But it doesn’t matter. Flesh is weak, but spirit is strong. Tell me, daughter, since then don’t you confess?”
“I never did, father”.
“Poor girl. The holy sacrament of confession is very good, because through it you can get free from your guilt here”.
“Father, I am guilty of nothing”.
The priest came closer to her and put his hand between her legs, opening them a bit.
“What do you feel now?”
“That you are not a priest”.
“True”, he laughed, setting his hand as far as a place which made her feel something else than attraction for this handsome priest.
Then the room seemed to turn round once and again, and when she came to her senses again, several hours later, she was very confused, though satisfied. She felt a peace she had not had for several years. She looked at her watch, but she still had twenty minutes to get to her office. But then…, everything had happened in…
“Five minutes”, said the priest. “Your pleaser lasted five minutes”.
“I thought it was hours”.
“So it was, but we tricked time”, he said.
Then she realised his skin was more reddish than earlier. She pressed his hair on the front part of his head and then she felt…
“Yes, horns, girl. You made love to a demon”.
Amelie got up and flew from the church while the demon laughed aloud. She did not stop till she came to her working place. She greeted Servando, the caretaker, and then right to her desk. She sat and felt her buttocks cold: she had left her knickers in the sacristy.
The next day she went back to church at the same time, but it was closed. Half an hour later the door was opened. An old man looked at her questioningly.
“Are you in for mass?”
“Get in, daughter”.
The old man said mass at half past seven, and at eight it was over.
“Where is the other father? When is he saying mass?”, she asked the old man.
“Who other father? There is no other priest than me, daughter”.
The old man told her it was he who had said holy mass every day for the last five years at half past seven every morning. No, that church had been trodden by no other minister since he was there. She must be mistaken. And she had seen that there were not a hundred, but less than ten people in church, never more. A hundred people attendance was unknown in that church since it came into existence.
That night Amelie dreamt of her young priest. But his horns were more visible. He made love to her in her bed, and when she caressed his back she found a bulge which grew from the end of his spine and which he moved at will, caressing all over her body as if it were a their hand ending in a soft mane of red hair. Finally Amelie had a demon of her own.
All her life she had borne a name totally unfit. Angel’s life had never been easy: an orphan since early childhood, she had lived with her uncle and aunt in the countryside, till she was kidnapped by bandits. Her relatives did not suffer too much, as they only reported her missing at East Dulwich police station and then forgot about her, apparently. Even if she was only ten, the last four years she had spent at her uncle’s without attracting much attention from him or his wife, she was very well burgeoned for her age and then the bandits wanted her to work for them as a whore, but she managed to escape from them. And yet, she did have to work in that trade, because she no longer wanted to go back to his uncle’s and hunger made her sell her body.
When she was eighteen she had already lived decades, and she had become a coarse, vicious girl, she had lost some teeth and life had been hard on her, and so she had learnt to be gentle to no one. And then she saw some bandits kidnapping a little girl, nearly as little as she was when that happened to her. So she jumped at them shouting as a mad woman. She pushed the gang leader and everybody in the street turned at her and her howling, including the child’s parents, who thought the child was still with them. A police whistle was heard while a gangster’s sharp knife cut Angel's aorta. And then the world turned off.
When Angel opened her eyes again, everybody had gone away. Instead there was only a young man with a sweet look who was smiling at her.
“Very well, Angel, you did fine”.
“Did they take her?”
“No, they had to run away”.
“Good. She will not go through what I went”.
“Well, I’m going. I have to look for something to eat”.
“Are you hungry?”
“No”, she said, sitting on the floor. “It is strange, because I ate nothing today”.
“Get up, Angel. You will never feel hungry again”.
“Never? Why not?”
“Here nobody is hungry”.
“Here?”, she repeated as she remembered that sharp pain by her heart. “Am I dead?”
“We could say so, or something similar”.
“Where am I?”
“Nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Your body is at the hospital, and they are struggling to save it”.
“Will I make it?”
“What is happening to me?”
“Nothing to worry about now, as you are with me”.
“And who are you?”
“My name is Raphael”.
“And what is this, after life? Is this...”, she doubted before going on, “… heaven?”
“Heaven is wherever you have always been, Angel, even if you never saw it”-
“The Hell is where I was, Raphael. I came to this world to suffer”.
“No. You went to the world to learn. To enjoy. Tell me, did you ever try to work honestly?”
“Yes. But they deceived me”.
“Uh huh. So you resigned”.
“You know I did”.
“I know only what you tell me”.
“How do you know I am not lying at you?”
“I know you are not. If you are, you will harm only yourself. I like you already, so you needn’t lie at me. And nothing you tell me will make me dislike you”.
“You gave your life for somebody unknown to you. That makes you deserve your name”.
“Am I an angel because of that?”
“No. You are an angel because you have always been so”.
“And what I am going to do now? Is this the end? Am I going to dissolve into space?”
“Is that what you want?”
“No. I want to live on”.
“Why? Was everything so fine to you?”
“No. I want to start living. Being happy”.
“Look inside you, Angel. In the deepest of you life. And tell me you were not happy”.
Angel looked inside herself. She closed her eyes and thought. Yes, she felt great. But she realised it was not the first time in her life she felt like that: there had been many lost moments in her life when she had felt well, in peace with herself. Even while she was working, while she was lying with her legs spread open whilst one of those who paid her discharged inside her. Even while she was suffering one of those abortions she had to have done not to bring another unhappy one into this world. Four abortions before 18… But her life had not been so unhappy as she had thought. She had had peaceful moments like this one now. It used to happen to her when she was about to fall asleep, at any time in the day. And when she was waking up. It was as if she was in another world. It was not her, she felt she was somebody else.
“You were a fucking whore”, she heard a nasty voice beside her. She turned sideways and no longer saw the nice young man, but another individual with an unpleasant look, a lecherous, evil look, who was looking at her in dislike.
“Who are you?”
“That doesn’t matter. I am here to take you to Hell”.
“Why the Hell?”
“Because you were a fucking whore all of your life. You never did anything good”.
“So why don’t you drag me in brute force to hell, demon?”, said she very angry.
“I’m in the process”.
“Ok, take me”, she said mockingly, joining her wrists in the way criminals do when the police arrest them to be handcuffed.
But the guy stood still, very serious, as if he did not know what to say.
“I pity you, demon”, said she smiling. “You are not taking me because you cannot. You lied in everything. You may not even be a demon. You came to escort me, didn’t you?”
“If you say so...”, he started. This had never happened to him. People usually fall into their own self-destruction, their little self-esteem, and with low eyes they always let him lead them. But this young girl defied him.
“Look, demon, go. I want to keep talking to Raphael. Raphael! Where are you? I want to you come back”.
“Here I am”, said he from the other side. “I did not leave you. You only ceased to see me, but I have always been with you”.
“Were you with me my whole life?”
“And your whole death, too”.
“Death…, have I died already?”
“Yes. At the minute Yuliel came”.
“Yes, the one you took for a demon”.
“Is he not?”
“No. He is another angel, like you”.
“Why does he look like a demon?”
“He doesn’t. You saw him like that. He did not smile at you, and that’s why you inferred he’s bad. And you were mean to him”.
“Where is he?”
“To your left. That you can’t see him does not mean he is not by you”.
“Was he with me my whole life?”
“Yes, and more people, too. Many of us have accompanied you always”.
“And why did you never tell me? I was alone for a long time, often. I cried a lot”.
“I know: we saw that. We told you nothing because you never invited us to bre with you”.
“Am I going to Hell?”
“No. You were already there”.
“Won’t I be in hell any more?”
“It depends on you. Your life will be Hell or Heaven, or something different: it will be what you wish”.
“But I have a life no more. I am dead”.
“No. Your body died. But you are something more than a body”.
“What must I do now? Shall I stay here?”
“What do I do?”
“What do you want to do?”
“Whatever you wish”, said the young man vanishing.
Angel looked around her, and saw no one. Just a light gray, cobblestoned street, where noboby walked. There was a lamp behind her, on the pavement.“Yuliel...”, she called shyly.
And Yuliel disappeared, too. He was not so ugly or nasty, that boy. Or was it a girl? She was not sure.
At the end of the street she saw a square. She came near, and on one end she saw a terraced bar. In the open she saw a man sitting at a table. He was absorbed, writing on a little notebook. She came and stopped by him.
“Good morning”, she greeted.
“Oh, hello. Good morning. What can you bring me?”, he asked, absentminded. She was amused, that he should take her for a waitresses.
“What do you need, sir?”
“Phew! That’s a question…, a new life. Can you bring that to me?”
For five minutes they were talking in a casual way, till more customers came to that bar, and they took her for the waitress, too. That was wrong, so she excused herself to go and bring him his black beer and went into the bar, vanishing into the shade of the entrance door.
[Soon to be read here]
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