Meredith Windsor is an orphan. Her parents died when she was eleven. Having no relatives, Meredith went to live in an orphanage. One year after her parents died, Meredith received a gift from God: the ability to see and hear angels and demons. Meredith learns in this chapter that her case worker has died. The one who runs the orphanage, Mrs. Greyson, tells Meredith in an abrupt and impersonal manner. Meredith runs out into a field of wheat and thinks of how she received her gift.
The voices were full of light and gravity.
If purity had a sound, it would sound like their voices.
All sweet and all lovely and yet serious and wondering.
Meredith recalls the first time she heard her angels speaking and saw them with her own eyes. The story of Death is told. (I recommend to anybody who has not read my chapters to at least read this one, as it is the foundation for the rest.) Crystal is the name of Meredith’s angel.
I dared to glance up into his eyes. And then I couldn’t look away. His eyes were made of the substance of dreams unfinished, hopes unfulfilled, loves unrealized, greatness unmade, good things undone. And those things were heart-breakingly beautiful.
But those were not the things that made me stare. Not at all.
Meredith, who has been looking for Crystal (her angel), finally finds her. Crystal had been giving her report of Meredith to the Lord. Death comes to visit the orphanage personally. Meredith remembers when the first time that she actually saw him was. And the little girl he took.
Meredith is running toward the orphanage, knowing that Death is present and that he will take a victim. She hears the poem death recited the day that he took the little girl. Death is sitting on the same swing that he sat on the day that he took her. Meredith sits beside him on another swing and they converse. When Death leaves, Meredith finds out from Crystal that it is Mrs. Greyson, the proprietor of the orphanage, that has died.
Meredith:“The only thing to be sure of in life is Jesus, Savannah. That’s why I’m sure. Because He promised to never leave us nor forsake us. All you have to do is ask Him into your life.”
Meredith comforts and witnesses to a new girl at the orphanage named Savannah. A new character enters the story. Miss Lorna Greyson, the late Mrs. Greyson’s daughter. Meredith has a type of “showdown” with her.
Meredith has a beatific dream about the King of Kings…
“That’s right,” He sneered. “The Almighty’s permission.”
I shot up, the full force of my emotions finally boiling over. “Don’t you think just because you have permission this time that you can get the best of me! Don’t you dare assume my faith is so weak that an insignificant menace like you would ever shake it! I am a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Prince of the World may be on your side but I have Jesus Christ—the maker of the universe—on mine!”
An annoying demon named Poke appears. He comes around every so often to try to find a weakness in Meredith that has not been discovered yet. He can be invisible when he wants to be.
Savannah accepts Jesus as her Savior. Meredith prays with her.
Crystal:“Meredith…I want to tell you a story.”
Meredith:“A story…about what?”
Crystal:“About Nadia Sinclair. She’s the only one that has ever had the gift that you have. The only one to ever possess your unimaginations, as you call them.”
Crystal begins to tell Meredith about Nadia Sinclair, the only other human to have ever possessed the gift Meredith has. Before Crystal can tell Meredith the whole story, they are interrupted by a little girl seeking comfort from Meredith because of a bad dream. Meredith overhears Miss Greyson speaking on the phone. Meredith learns that Miss Greyson is engaged.
Meredith returns to bed and thinks of her one and only friend after her parents died: Naomi.
The next day, Meredith meets Miss Greyson’s fiancé in a most…unconventional way…
Just as he is opening the front door, Meredith falls. He catches her and introduces himself as Andrew.
Miss Greyson wants Meredith to have a session with Andrew, as he is a psychiatrist. Realizing that he is a godly man, Meredith asks him why he is going to marry Lorna Greyson when she is obviously unsaved.
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.”
Andrew tells Meredith that he will not marry Lorna. Meredith meets a new angel assigned to her named Rade. In the midst of the night, she leaves the orphanage, heading toward New York.
The shouts of demons, the whispers of angels, their outright fights and subtle battles filled up my mind along with the noise and smell of all the people pressing against me. Overwhelmed, I crouched into a ball and covered my ears with my hands.
I couldn’t deal with my version of reality right now!
Meredith travels to New York safely. However, once off the train and surrounded by people, her senses are overwhelmed and she nearly collapses. She is saved by a mysterious and beautiful stranger. Meredith meets a young boy named Edison and his mother, Mrs. Cornelia Silverton. They take Meredith home with them to give her a place to sleep for the night. Meredith sees the man who saves her on the ride to Mrs. Silverton and Edison’s house. Edison calls him Finn…
I lay in the bed that the kind woman and her son had given me that night. I stared up at the dark, trying to find the ceiling.
So his name was Finn.
How did Mrs. Silverton and Edison know his name?
And who was Adam?
Meredith feels demons of depression coming. Pastor Silverton arrives home with a girl named Iana who has these demons haunting her. Meredith does not allow Iana to come in, but instead initiates a spiritual battle on the Silverton’s front lawn. The next morning, Iana tells Meredith that she has come to Christ. Meredith meets Edison’s brother, Adam. Adam seems familiar to her…
Finn:“What if I were to tell you I’m the same sort of insane as you?”
I couldn’t answer him.
Because I wasn’t sure if I knew what he was saying or not.
Meredith has a dream about a meadow, a voice, and nearly falling off of a cliff. She awakes to find that she has nearly jumped out the window of her room. Pastor Silverton stopped her, however, waking her up in the process.
Meredith goes to town with Mrs. Silverton, Iana, and Edison. She walks into a jewelry store and finds a remarkable ring set with a stone called a sunset opal. Finn meets her there and they converse. Walking out of the store, a car crashes nearby and Finn protects Meredith.
I ducked my head, hiding my reddening cheeks, searching for something suitable to say. “You surely must have eaten many bitter things to be so averse to something like syrup.”
“Well, I don’t dislike every sweet thing.”
I looked up, met his eyes once more. I tried to search for the meaning of what he had said in the cadence of the words, the color of his eyes.
A strange yet lovely sort of warmth overcame me as I stared at him, though my cheeks didn’t redden this time.
And it was a feeling I had never experienced before.
Meredith eats lunch with Mrs. Silverton, Edison, Iana, and Finn. Finn offers to give both Meredith and Iana a tour of New York. Meredith accepts. Iana is sick that night so she is unable to go on the tour the next day.
Meredith meets Rass at the Bethesda Fountain. His hate and loathing for Aurelius Finn is nearly a tangible thing.
Crystal:“…Then…one day…King Jesus came to me.”
Meredith:“Jesus came to you?” I whispered in wonder.
Crystal smiled and studied my face. “He did. He said, “I have an important mission for you, Crystal. If you are willing to accept it, this mission will help to heal your heart.”
“What did you say?”
Crystal’s smile was beatific. “I said yes, of course.”
Rass and Finn have a conversation that confuses Meredith. Rass’s black, unearthly eyes haunt her. After Rass leaves, Adam—Edison’s brother—meets up with them. Privately, he tells Meredith that sometimes Finn stares at the Bethesda Fountain with sorrow on his face.
Crystal tells Meredith the rest of Nadia’s story. Nadia, who once had Meredith’s gift, drifted away from God and ended up abusing her gift so profusely that it was taken away from her.
My words came to a standstill at the sound of my name on his lips.
“Is it…better to try to get one beautiful, wonderful thing in your lifetime…or to try to get a thousand, lesser wonderful things?”
Adam and Finn come to dinner at the Silverton’s house. Finn asks Meredith some provoking questions. When everybody save the men have gone to bed, Meredith finds she has forgotten something in Pastor Silverton’s office. When she goes to retrieve it, she overhears Finn and the pastor speaking…about her. Just as she turns to leave, Finn walks out and discovers her. He requests a private audience with Meredith from Pastor Silverton. The pastor is reluctant, but grants it. Finn questions Meredith. The answers she gives him seem to establish something in his mind. But Meredith is somewhat bewildered by them.
Three days later, unable to sleep, Meredith goes out onto the Silverton’s back porch. There, Rass attacks her, tempting her and testing her. Finn saves her from Rass and his demons. “You are true. You are faithful.” Finn tells Meredith. Meredith shyly asks for Finn to tell his story to her—whatever it is.
Finn replies,“Yes. But my story is complex and rather…” He searched his mind for a word. “Unbelievable.”
“I’ll believe you.” Meredith says.