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One Stroke to Midnight 3
by Julie Michaelson
01/02/12
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Let him
that
has understanding
count
the number
of the beast:
for it is
the number of a man:
....six hundred
and sixty-six.
[Revelation 13:18]
*******************
Time: During the Third
Year of the Tribulation.
Place: Someplace, USA
Characters: Elena, an
employee of the local
blood bank, and two
Lower-Quadrant angels,
on Assignment:
Sylvestor, and Briggund.
______________________

(In the last story,
Archangel Michael
was giving an assignment
to two angels, commanded by
the Lord, to go to Earth
and rescue Elena.)
_____________________
(A young, pretty woman
is alone in the middle
of an empty, dark, and
cold parking lot. It
is pouring rain, and
she is kneeling,
one high heeled shoe
fallen on the puddling tarmac,
and crying: huddled in
the chilling darkness.)
"Oh, GOD!
HELP ME!"

(Suddenly, another
puddle formed: a small
puddle of warm light
coming down from the
expanse of black, starless sky.
Elena, still sobbing, slowly
looks up: squinting her
lovely green eyes. She
lifts a hand to shade
her eyes: the light is
so very bright, and unexpected.
The light has now engulfed her,
immediately stopping
Elena's thin shoulders from
their chilled shivering.
Elena gasps:
two winged figures are standing
by her kneeling figure
in the warm puddle of
light:
one figure is shorter and plumper
than the other.)
"Who.......are YOU?"

(The taller figure,
topped with a shimmering halo over
a long mat of frizzy
blond curls, speaks.)
"We're your ANGELS!"

(The shorter, plumper
one speaks: he seems
timid, and scared,
and is trying to hide
behind his taller friend.
He also has one plump finger in his mouth,
and appearing to be chewing
on its fingernail.)
"Yeah!"

(Elena, still kneeling,
just gapes at the two
figures: open-mouthed.
Her green cloth coat
suddenly seems dry,
even though it is still
pouring cold rain,
all around the puddle
of warm cozy light
surrounding them.)

(The taller, frizzy-haired one speaks:
his wings are beige-colored,
and red-freckled:
both are matted, as
if they needed a good
brushing. In one hand,
Elena notices,
is an extra-large Snickers candy bar.)
"My name is BRIGGUND!"
(Briggund points a thumb,
not the one with
the candy bar,
over his bewinged back
toward his hovering friend.)
"This is SYLVESTOR!"

(Sylvestor,
still appearing quite nervous
and afraid, pokes his
round haloe'd head over
Briggund's big shoulders
and waves a small, plump hand.
Sylvestor's halo is small,
and lopsided; his left wing,
a little dirty-looking,
is lopsided too.)
"HI!"

"Hi."
(Elena, mouth still agape and unsmiling,
gives a small wave. She notices that
her slightly sprained foot is now dry
and warm...and,
not at all in pain,
or swelling......
in spite of the slip in
the flooded parking lot,
the ripped nylons,
the lost shoe,
and the puddles of cold rain
all around her.)

(Briggund looks up at the black sky
and frowns:
whispering something
over his bewinged shoulder. His friend,
the one named Sylvestor,
appears to whisper
something back, rather
woefully loud:
refusing to budge from
behind his hiding place.
Briggund shakes his head and sighs:
then turns back to Elena,
who is now squinting in puzzlement
at the two
strange figures.)
"Are you READY?
WE DON'T WANNA
STAY HERE TOO LONG!
SYLVESTOR IS AFRAID THAT DARTH-DEMON
WILL SHOW UP,
ANY MINUTE!"

(Elena just stares at
Briggund and Sylvestor, and swallows
hard. She doesn't respond.)

"BRIGGUND...?"
(Sylvestor pokes his
buddy on the shoulder,
and whispers loudly.)
"Are you........SURE......
we're speakin' in the
right LANGUAGE? Maybe, we got LOST,
and are in the wrong
COUNTRY? What'd you do with the
MAP?"

(Briggund whispers back:
even more loudly;
he seems frustrated,
like when somebody is driving
their car to a party,
and their best friend
is sitting in the passenger seat - who
suddenly remembers he left the directions
to the party - back on
his diningroom table.)
"What'd I DO WITH IT!
ME? YOU'RE the
one who DROPPED IT
AS WE WERE COMING INTO THE
3RD ATMOSPHERE!
DON'T YA REMEMBER?
WE HAD TO CALL UP TO MICHAEL...
...WHO HAD TO TALK
US THROUGH THE
REST 'A THE WAY!
HE'S GONNA YELL
AT US WHEN WE GET
BACK!"

(Sylvestor, still gnawing
on his right fingernail,
looks down on the parking lot-ground,
mumbling.)
"Oh.
That's right.
I FORGOT."

(Briggund whispers
back, in some very weird language*, and
begins unwrapping the
Snickers candy bar. He
speaks to Elena: reverting back to
Land-of-the-West-English.)
"Do ya WANT SOME?"

(Elena doesn't speak,
but shrugs: nodding her head.
Her red curls, completely dripping wet
just a few moments ago, are now
soft and dry. She holds a hand out.
Elena suddenly sees two employees from her
department, walking
from the building's glass doors,
outside to the parking lot,
but they don't appear to notice her.)

(Briggund clumsily tears off a big piece
of Snickers, and hands it to Elena; his fingers
feel just like hers: only
quite large, and slightly cooler.)

(Elena silently tears off a bit of the chocolate candy, using her small even teeth, and looks back towards
Sylvestor.)

(Briggund speaks up:
his angelic mouth full
of chocolatey-nuts.)
"MICHAEL has SYLVESTOR on a strict
DIET. Sylvestor and
I are taking fencing-class,
and MICHAEL said that Sylvestor has to loose
fifteen POUNDS.....before the
next fencing-MATCH."

"AW!
Come ON!"
(Sylvestor pokes Briggund in his left
wing. Briggund mumbles, in the same
weird language, and then
tears off another piece
of Snickers and hands
it over his shoulder to
his friend. Then, he
turns back to Elena;
Briggund seems a bit
nervous, too; he keeps
looking around the big
dark parking lot as if
he's afraid of something.....or someone.)
"NOW.....are you READY? We gotta
get GOIN'!"

(Sylvestor, still continuing to hide
behind his friend's
freckled-wings,
speaks up.)
"YEAH! DARTH and
his BUDDIES could
show up......any MINUTE!"

"Rea...dy?"
(Elena's voice, even to her ears, sounds tiny and cracked, and.....very,
very puzzled.)
"For......what?"

(Briggund and Sylvestor
turn to stare at one another,
quite worriedly. Sylvestor's wings
are much shorter and
are a mottled gray-color:
without the freckles.
His dark brown hair looks like
it hasn't been washed in some time -
as if he had recently been on a camping trip,
and was still on the long drive
home. The two angels
began whispering rapidly to each other,
in serious, worried tones,
using their own language:
the weird consonants
and syllables sounding like
a combination of
Hebrew, Arabic, and
Klingon........
....all coated in a lower-northwest-side
Philadelphia accent.
Then Briggund turned
back to his human-charge.)
"HAVEN'T you talked
to the LORD.......
YET?"

(Elena's voice is still
cracked and squeaky.)
"Uh........uh.
I mean.....I was just
making an exclamation,
just now. I wasn't really PRAYING.....
I haven't prayed since I was a little
KID."

(Briggund and Sylvestor stared at
one another, again:
unruly brows pulled
together in mystified
frowns. Briggund pulled out
another huge candy bar
out of his deep angelic-gown pocket:
this time it was a MARS bar.
He unwrapped it,
tore it into
three big pieces,
gave one to Slyvestor,
one to Elena, and put the
other one into his mouth.
His big freckled cheeks began
buldging, and moving
up and down.)

(Elena spoke up.)
"Who's MICHAEL?"

(Briggund went on chomping.)
"Oh.
Our SUPERVISOR.
He's real STRICT."

(Sylvestor sniffed the
MARS bar before
putting it into his mouth.
The whole air
around the three of
them, inside the bubble-shaped cloud
of warm light, smelled like one of those
tiny fudge shops on the Riverwalk
in San Antonio, Texas.)
"What are we gonna
DO, BRIG'? We can't LEAVE here.......
..YET......
without the Lord's PERMISSION!
Do ya think there were
some more instructions ....
..on the MAP?"

"WELL, HECK,
SYLVESTOR! HOW
would WE know? You
DROPPED the map....
REMEMBER? Do ya
remember where ya
DROPPED it?"
(Chomp.)
(Chomp.)

(Sylvestor's small plump shoulders moved
up, and then down. His
angel-gown was too long
for him, and he kept
tripping on the end of it:
the hem of the grayish
untidy garment
was coming undone, and
dipped into one of the
rain puddles in the parking lot,
but it didn't seem wet, at all.)
"I think it fell over
New JERSEY!"

(Elena smiled, for the
first time all evening.
Then, she giggled.)
"That's......MILES.....
from here! A couple
THOUSAND....at LEAST.....!"

"SO?"
(Briggund and Sylvestor spoke, at the
same time. Sylvestor
spit out a piece of MARS-bar crumb.)
"THAT don't mean
nothin' to us!"

(Briggund nodded to
his friend; then he
turned to Elena.)
"YEAH! We can fly
there......lickedy-split!
Only.....somebody's gotta stay here,
with YOU....!"

(Elena frowned slightly,
and waved her hand at
the two confused angels.
She began to get up,
and started looking around
for her shoe. Had she gotten
into her car and then
fallen asleep, before starting the
ignition.......and was
just having a dream?)
"Oh....that's OKAY!
I'll be FINE.....!
Anyway......
I was headed toward
that building over there......"
(Elena pointed: frowning.)
"...the HR department....!
It's open now twenty-
four hours a day.....for
the tatooing."
(Elena sighed.)
"I gotta get it done
before I leave here,
tonight, or else I won't
be able to clock in,
at midnight tonight,
for work......."
(She shrugged her shoulders,
and sighed, again.)

(Two angel voices
gave a shout: neither
musical nor melodious.)
"NO!
NO!
NO!
YOU CAN'T!"

(Slyvestor, who was
now breaking out in an
angelic-sweat, repeated.)
"You CAN'T!"
(Then Sylvestor began to cry.)

(Briggund shouted.)
"BUCK UP,
SYLVESTOR!
BUCK UP!
DON'T YOU KNOW WE HAVE A BIG ASSIGNMENT HERE!
WE'RE IN TROUBLE,
ALREADY FOR HAVING DROPPED THAT STUPID MAP!
LOOK! ONE 'A US IS
GONNA HAVE TO STAY WITH
POOR ELENA!
SHE'S IN
REAL DANGER....of
being LOST,
FOREVER!"

(Slyvestor picked up
the most raggedly corner
of his gown, and
wiped his big round eyes.
Then, he blew his
bulbous-of-a-nose.
Then, he sniffed.)
"We can toss a COIN......I mean,
for who gets to go to look
for it.....and who stays
here,
with ELENA......?"
(Sniff.)
(Teary snort.)

"NO!
FORGET IT!
That's what ole'Darth-Demon
is just what he's LOOKING for!
To CATCH one 'a us....when
we're not TOGETHER!
...When we're not LOOKIN'!"

"Well, what should
we DO?"

"We'll .......just have to
TAKE Elena....WITH US!
THEN, we can still keep her SAFE......
and,
keep her from being TATTOOED...
and, find out what to
DO!"

(Elena was now sitting,
more comfortably,
cross-legged, on the
ground of the hard,
dirty parking lot.
Because she was in the
angel's bubble of light,
though, the ground right beneath her was
warm, clean, and dry.)
"I can't LEAVE TOWN.....guys! I
can't just leave ZORBA
all ......ALONE.....!
Ever since my MOM's
vanished...several YEARS.....
... ago......
...with the OTHERS........
....ZORBA has been
been terrified, as it IS!"

(Briggund frowned,
in serious thought. He
paced a little, back and
forth, in front of Elena:
his big chin resting
on his big freckled fist.
His angel-buddy tried to
keep up with him:
hiding behind Briggund's bigger wings.
The bubble-shaped cloud
of light followed the
angels, too.)
"WELL.....we'll just
have to take Zorba.... WITH us!"

(Sylvestor sniffled,
and shouted courageously, at the same time.
He couldn't wait to fly out of this
darking, menacing-looking parking lot...
...and, get back Home. He even looked forward to
being rebuked by Archangel Michael
in the Front Office of the Fencing-Practice Room.
Earth was a terrible,
frightening place, full
of evil, and demons;
WHY did the LORD ever
want to save THIS PLACE?)
"YEAH!"

(Briggund put a hand in
his left-hand pocket.
A big, plastic bag of
heavenly-colored M&Ms
were at the very bottom
of the deep gauzy pocket.
The M&Ms were in the shape
of little blue and white clouds.)
"Who's ZORBA?"

(Elena said in a small
voice.)
"My pot-bellied pig.
We better get home to
get her.....
she's in my bedroom,
probably taking a nap...
on my bed."
*******************
And,
the great
dragon
was cast
out,
that old
serpent,
called
the Devil,
and Satan,
which
deceived
the
whole world.
[Revelation 12:9]

*Lower-Quadrant
Angel-Speak.


Copyright 2012.

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