As the footsteps reached the cell door, his eyes were taken aback by the extra light from the torches, and all he could see of the silhouettes was the second figure was not of a guard, but of another. As his eyes slowly came back into focus, the prisoner could begin to make out more detail. The second was well dressed, in white to be specific. Yes, he could see it clearly now, a bright white robe, cloaking a most handsome angel. Beautiful white wings arched out from behind the one in white. One of God’s angels, he was.
The prisoner dare not lift his eyes any further, for he could not bear to look an angel of God in the eyes. He had been one once upon a time. He was possibly the most beautiful angel in all of heaven. His white feathers at one time shown bright as the sun, with a span easily ten foot in length. He was one of the Lord’s finest, a true sight to be held by the land walkers. Now, his wings had been clipped. All that remained were about four feet of pitch black feathers, incapable of flight. His magnificent white robes replaced with dirty beggar’s rags. The prisoner couldn’t look any longer. He turned his head and buried it behind his arms.
“Do not fear me, for a bring a message from God.” The angel said, with a voice so soft and sweet it could bring joy to all but the blackest of hearts. “Josiah, he offers you a chance for redemption, if you’re willing.”
Redemption. He never thought he would ever hear that word. Josiah had been a prisoner for over 200 years, never seeing anything more than walls and guards which brought him food. He had been banished from heaven and locked away in a land walker’s dungeon. Buried in the darkest chamber, so human eyes would never get to look upon him again, he was to never again know what it was to be loved. Lustful arrogance and pride caused him to get his wings clipped. Betrayal cost him his freedom, and envy cost Josiah the one thing he treasured most; to be admired by all who saw him. All those years ago and now he was being given the chance to get to see the Lord’s light again. But could he do it? Was he strong enough after being weakened for so long? His voice trembled with fear. Harsh and weak, and yet still hidden beneath the roughness was a voice so sweet, it made the angel cry. “What can I do, my brother? What does father ask of me?”
“After all of these years, you haven’t figured it out?” The angel asked, concerned. “Perhaps you are not yet ready. No, you must be, for Father says you are. Look inside, Josiah, and you will find what you seek.” The angel motioned for the guard to release the prisoner. “Come, now. I will explain as we walk.”
Josiah struggled to find his feet. The first few centuries, he had paced around in an attempt to keep his strength up. After the passing of three man-kings’ times however, it seemed to no longer matter, and he found himself spending most of his time sitting. He would tuck himself into the far back corner of his cell, his head buried in his arms. He had wanted to pray so badly, but he knew God was not going to listen to him. He no longer had God’s ear, and for good reason. As the Angel led Josiah out of the dungeon, he talked about everything which had changed in the past two hundred years. Josiah wasn’t really paying attention. The only thing on his mind was the last time he had spoken to God.
Josiah was the angel of angels, and he knew it. He knew he was the most beautiful sight in heaven, save the Lord himself. He knew, or at least he believed, he was the envy of every angel, and why not? His voice made other angels weep, his wings shone as bright as the sun and when he walked upon the land, men bowed before him, for he was not just an angel of God, but had served God faithfully and helped banish Lucifer during the war for Heaven. Perhaps that is when it started, for even the strongest of angels had turned against God when Lucifer fought for control of Heaven. Josiah’s pride and arrogance had blinded him. God had seen what was becoming of Josiah, and tried to turn him away from the path Lucifer had taken. It was in that instant when God spoke, Josiah fell. He spoke back against God, told him Lucifer was right and how perhaps he fought for the wrong side. God was heartbroken again. Yet another fallen angel, but as the words left Josiah’s mouth, God saw something, a glimmer of hope, as faint as a slight tremble on Josiah’s lip. That is when God ordered Josiah’s wings cut, for he was to never again fly over the land. He then cast Josiah out of Heaven, but not as far as Lucifer. Instead, he was to be banished to the land of man. Knowing Josiah took great pride and joy in being the envy of man, god ordered he be locked away, never to be seen by any eyes, human or angel, again.
As Josiah and the angel reached the outside, Josiah stumbled. The sun was more intense than he had remembered, or maybe he just never bothered to look as he had always been more concerned with his own beauty. He had no beauty now. His wings were black as coal, his clothes in tatters, and a face dirty and deformed from centuries in a dungeon.
Josiah looked upon the angel once again. “I think I understand now,” he said. “Please, pray with me, brother, for it has been so long I fear to get it wrong.”
“Wrong?” the angel responded. “Josiah, prayer can never be wrong. Simply open your heart, let God back in, and speak with love.”
“I shall try, but what if he does not answer?”
“Josiah, he has not abandoned you. You should have opened up to him many years ago.” The angel was trying to reassure Josiah.
Josiah bowed his head, folded his hands over his heart, and began to pray. “Lord, please hear me. I wish to walk among the angels again. I wish to be beautiful again, and I wish to be loved by all around me once more.” Josiah sat for several minutes, but God never replied.
The angel, listening to Josiah’s prayer, simply shook his head. “Two hundred years of punishment for your arrogance, and yet it would seem you did not learn a thing. Very well, perhaps living among man for a time will soften you up some.” And with that being said, the angel passed his hands over Josiah, hiding his black wings from the view of mankind. “Be warned, you are mortal now, and will die. If you hope to get into heaven, you had best take care of yourself.”
Josiah fell to his knees in tears as the angel flew away, back towards heaven. There he stayed for some time. After many hours, Josiah stood up and proceeded to walk. He didn’t know where he was going, but since the angel had left him along a road, he figured what better way than to follow where he was already headed.
Josiah walked well into the night, until the sun began to appear overhead the next morning. Again he prayed for his wings, and again was left alone. For three more days this occurred. He would walk until the rising sun and pray for his wings.
On the fourth day, Josiah was in middle of his prayer when he heard a faint voice. At first he thought it was the Lord, but quickly dismissed it. As he focused on the sound, he could hear someone yelling off in the distance. He hurried his pace down the road. As he rounded a bend, Josiah saw a child. It was a small girl, 14 years old perhaps. She was on a horse galloping wildly through the woods. The horse began bucking and kicking, sending the small girl flying back into the air. She landed hard upon the ground, knocking her unconscious. Josiah could see the horse was about to trample the poor girl, and with a great leap, Josiah’s black wings reappeared at full size, allowing him to swoop down in front of the horse. Josiah began speaking softly to the horse, which calmed the wild creature. But as he put his hands to the horse’s head, the girl came too. She left out a frightful scream as she could see a black-winged creature standing over her and was frightened. When she did, Josiah turned towards her and the horse reared up. It knocked Josiah down and it began stomping wildly, before finally running off into the woods.
Josiah, in a huddled mass, was broken, bleeding, and dying. He crawled over to the poor girl, who hadn’t faired any better. She was unconscious again, and on the brink of death. Josiah closed his eyes and began to pray.
“Lord, please save this poor child. I beg of you. If ever a time to hear me, please hear me now.” Josiah was unable to say anything more. He was too weak.
As he lay there with his life slowly leaving him, he could feel a slight breeze. Then a warm light began to fill the valley. It felt very familiar. He had almost forgotten it completely. The girl opened her eyes and rolled over. She could see Josiah laying in the dirt, covered in blood, his wings no longer visible. She walked over to Josiah and knelt beside him. She began to weep at the site. She knew he managed to save her life somehow, and she was grateful.
She spoke as soft as an angel herself. “Lord, please save this poor angel of yours. He has suffered in helping me, and is in need of you right now.”
With that, a stranger walked up to her. “Little girl, why do you care so much for this man? Can’t you see he is no angel, but merely a beggar who probably wanted to rob you and steal the horse for himself?”
“Oh, no sir!” She said. “This angel saved my life! I know what I saw! He was the most beautiful angel I had ever seen!”
“Oh? And had you seen many angels?” he asked.
“Well, no. But I know I saw an angel. In my fright, I caused this! I have hurt an angel!” The poor girl was terrified. “Please, help this man!”
The stranger took a good look at Josiah. “Very well.” He said. And with that, a bright flash of light filled the valley. When the girl could see again, she was amazed to see the stranger had turned into the most beautiful angel she had ever laid eyes on. The angel bowed his head and began speaking to God.
“Father, Josiah has suffered much. He will not live in this form any longer. Please, take this angel, restore him so he may live once more and serve you, oh Lord.”
A wind began circling Josiah. It picked him up from the ground, swirling leaves, sticks and dust so thick it could not be seen through. In a bright flash, the whirlwind stopped, and Josiah was left standing, renewed to his former beauty, his wings shining brightly in the sun. He looked around and could see the young girl standing nearby.
“You’re beautiful! You’re the most perfect thing I have ever laid eyes on!” The little girl exclaimed, her eyes just beaming with fascination.
Josiah spoke softly, “No, I am simply one of many. We are all God’s children and are all beautiful in his eyes.” His words brought tears to the girl’s eyes.
The angel looked upon Josiah, “Josiah, if you’re ready, you can come home now.”
Josiah spread his wings, lifted his hands towards the sky, and flew to the Heavens, where he was welcomed once again.
Sorry it was such a long read. I meant to make it shorter, but once I started typing, the words just kept falling onto the screen. Anyway, I hope you liked it.