The Big Apple.
I sat on the porch outside of the orphanage, that one place with all its names whirling around in my head.
I don’t know why but I knew that was where I was supposed to go.
“Crystal, why do I have to go now?”
Crystal sat beside me, eyes gentle, her voice full of compassion when she spoke. “You know why.”
I bowed my head. “But I like it here. And what will happen to Ava and the other little girls if I go?”
“God will provide, as He always does.” Crystal gave a tiny shake of her head before looking up at the sky. “It’s time, Meredith. Surely you know this.”
The screen door slammed behind me. “Well, well, well. If it isn’t Miss High and Mighty herself. See any new demons lately, Meredith?”
“Go away, Carrie.” I muttered. “I haven’t done anything to you. I never have.”
Carrie’s demon was small next to my angel.
But he still was annoying with all the influence he had over Carrie.
“I was wondering, Meredith…why has our dear Miss Greyson been in such a bad mood today? Or perhaps not bad so much as…anxious?”
I had been vaguely wondering the same thing. I suspected it had to do with Andrew. He had been spending time with the little girls that day and had all but ignored poor Miss Greyson.
I couldn’t help but feel guilty about it.
But the itch to leave the orphanage overwhelmed the guilt.
I knew I couldn’t stay here much longer without being completely miserable.
God’s will for me was shifting me to another place.
New York, apparently.
“You think it’s my fault Miss Greyson is in a strange mood?” I asked Carrie.
She shrugged. “You are almost always the root of the trouble around here.”
I felt like laughing that comment to scorn. I was the root of the trouble?
“Well, Carrie, thank you for that observation. I’ll make sure not to be too much trouble to you for the rest of my stay here.”
I stood up and brushed off the back of my skirt. I looked at Carrie, wondering, as I had so many times before, why she chose to be bitter and selfish.
“Goodbye, Carrie.” I said. And I meant it.
As I left her there on the porch, I prayed that she would find peace in her life. That Jesus would save her from the world, from herself. I entered the house, heading for my Bible and my journal.
This was my last day here. And one last time I wanted to sit by the lake, commune with God.
Forget about angels and demons for a little while.
As I walked down the hall toward my bedroom, I felt another presence besides Crystal’s join me.
A faint rush of wind filled my ears. The sound of thunder and rushing waters filled up my head. Or rather, not those sounds separately or even together. But something like them. I turned halfway around to see who had joined us when something stretched taunt across my ankles.
I yelped as I fell forward and fell into an ungraceful heap on the floor. I sat up with a groan and glared at the piece of yarn that I had tripped over.
Probably Leigh and Sam’s idea. They loved pranks like that.
I focused my attention on the newcomer.
He was huge.
Quite possibly one of the biggest angels I had ever seen.
He gazed down at me, eyes full of the glory of the One he had just left. Crystal’s eyes were like that all the time. But they were only saturated in it right after she had left His presence.
Like his were.
“I heard you would need reinforcements soon.” The angel said.
Crystal nodded. “Yes. I’m glad you’re here.”
Still on the floor, I pondered the catastrophes my near future might hold.
Would I get hurt? Would somebody around me get hurt. Would I die?
If so how? By a disease? Being hit by a semi? Would someone plunge a dagger through my heart? Would I catch a cold and it would turn into a deathly pneumonia? Would a band of demons team overwhelm me and somehow kill me in the process? Would I be caught in a fire and die by oxygen deprivation? How about--
“Meredith, you are not going to die anytime soon. If so, He would have told me.” Crystal seemed a little exasperated by my thoughts.
I forgot that she could read them sometimes.
“You wouldn’t tell me when I would die anyway.” I countered.
She shook her head, the color of her eyes turning a bittersweet color I saw only when she was speaking or thinking of Nadia. Of the girl she had loved so dearly before something terrible had happened to her.
“I made that mistake once, Meredith. I won’t do it again.” Crystal whispered, voice fathomless.
A door at the end of the hallway opened and closed.
“You really do need to finish that story.” I said solemnly.
“Meredith! What are you doing on the floor?” I jumped a little at Andrew’s voice.
Honestly, it was as if I spoke two separate languages sometimes. English was just so…plain compared to how and what the language of angels sounded like.
He looked around, brow furrowed. “Who are you—never mind. Here, let me help you up.”
He held out his hand. I stared at it. His fingers were long and tapered. Capable and ready to help. I put my hand into his and he pulled me up.
“Th—thank you.” I stammered, releasing his hand quickly.
He really was handsome this Andrew Clearwater.
“You’re welcome. How did you fall, anyway?”
“Some of the girls just pulled a prank.” I said with a little shrug.
He nodded, met my eyes for a moment, hesitated, then brushed past me.
I stepped in the other direction, wanting to get to my room.
He sighed. “Meredith.”
I turned around, my brows lifting a little, wondering what he wanted.
He turned halfway around. His teeth were clenched together. The muscles of his face were tight.
He seemed as if he were in pain. He stared at my feet, shifted to a place at my waist, before finally meeting my gaze.
Tears stood in his eyes.
“God help me.” He said. “You’re right.”
My heart whelmed up with sorrow for him. “You really love her.” I said, my voice small.
He looked away, balled his fists up. “I love her like I want heaven.”
A tear fell down his cheek. “Thing is Meredith…I don’t love her enough to give up Jesus. And I know…if I married her that is what I would have to do eventually.” He looked into my eyes, took a breath, let it out. “So…thank you for giving me the bitter truth. I needed it.” He smiled a bit.
I nodded, returning it.
He turned around and strode away, steps measured and steady.
I stared after him, somehow reassured and disquieted all at once.
I turned, darted for my room searching unthinkingly for the things I came for.
Andrew loved Lorna Greyson the way I had always dreamed I would be loved.
I prayed that one day I would have a love like he held for her.
And I prayed that God would give Andrew Clearwater the desire of his heart.
At midnight I stood at the open window, staring out into the night—lit by a brilliantly white moon.
If ever a night was meant for stealth, it was this one.
If ever God told the moon to light the pathway, it was now.
My heart settled into peace, it’s beating thumping out a steady rhythm that had not been there before.
This was right.
But even now I felt wisps of my soul resisting to God’s inevitable will.
Before my cowardice could catch up with my thoughts, I had silently slung my backpack across my shoulders and left the room, closing the door quickly and quietly so that it would not squeak as it was prone on doing.
I felt a hand clasp my shoulder. It was warm and comforting. Words that nobody else had they been near could have heard filtered through my soul.
Through the very fiber of my body.
“Stay, Meredith. This is all you know outside of your parents.”
I stopped and stood still in the hallway. A whisper of wind pushed my hair against my face.
Wind that I may have mistaken for the breath of a--
I inhaled, filling my lungs with the oxygen they needed. I balled my fists, my nails cutting into the flesh of my palms.
I raised one of my fists and banged it against the wall. “It’s not enough anymore.” I whispered to the fallen angel behind me. “Nor is it God’s will.”
Then I took off sprinting.
Down the hallway, to the left.
Unlocked the door.
Closed it behind me.
And let out the air I had breathed inside of the orphanage.
I ran down the stairs, down the long gravel driveway right to the very end.
At the place wear the driveway met the asphalt of the road I paused, closed my eyes.
“Is this right?” I asked aloud.
And, without the slightest shadow to shroud it I heard the answer resonate throughout my entire body.
This was it, then.
The end of my life here at the orphanage.
Today was the very day that marked four and a half years since my parent’s passing.
I smiled in anticipation.
God had a plan for me.
All I had to do was trust Him.
Like I had since my parents had died.
I stepped onto the asphalt of the road.
Wherever I went, however I got there, God was with me.
He would protect me.
He was the only Father I had now.
I turned to the right and began my journey, one foot in front of the other.
“Come on, Crystal.” I said. “Maybe you could tell me more about Nadia now.”
I noticed the new angel that had been sent to protect me.
“Oh, yes. You’re with us now, aren’t you? What are you called?”
He gave me a queer look. As if he were trying to figure me out but had not been able to do so yet.
“Rade.” He finally said. “I am called Rade.”
“I am glad for your protection.” I offered.
He seemed a little confused. “It is what I have always done.”
“Then you must be good at it.”
He looked at me, seemed to think for a moment, before answering, “I am. Especially in helping to fight demons of resistance and deception.”
My braid swung over my shoulder with the force of which I had unexpectedly stopped. I looked up at him, wonder flowing into my heart. “Then does that mean that you—”
His eyes began to burn with something other than the gold of glory. “You humans make your own choices.” He said simply. “But I’m here to help you fight if you want to resist.”
I smiled at him.
His eyes returned the smile, though his mouth did not move from the solemn line at which he seemed to always keep it.
I resumed my walking.
I knew where I was going, though I had no idea what I was going to do once I got there.
For now…that was enough.
It was short and sweet this week, wasn't it? Hope you enjoyed it. Remember to subscribe! I definitely need more followers for my blog. Next week's chapter is going to get interesting. Have you ever known an insane person? I do believe Meredith is going to get to meet one soon...