All manner of supernatural beings can stumble into our human reality. That is how David arrived, falling though cloud and sky. He crashed through the roof of an old, empty tool casting factory just off Cleveland Avenue and ended up in a crater-like hole in the basement, covered with ancient shop rags.

He had plenty of time to think about his course of action during the fall. Granted, a fall from Heaven takes seven Earth days so there was plenty of time to wonder if he was making a good choice.

After the first few minutes the thrill of falling was pretty much gone. The stomach dropping sensation, the wind, the speed, it all became commonplace after an hour.

By the end of hour three he wished he brought a book.

That was the biggest problem with manifesting oneself on the planet - travel time. Angels were, by design, ethereal creatures able to move from place to place instantly, able to leave their Heavenly bodies behind. He always enjoyed the versatility of instant transportation but it annoyed him that he could never actually touch anything or bring so much as a coriander seed back with him.

That was why he'd decided to make his trip. He literally wanted to get a feel for the place.

David filled out the paperwork, attended the counseling session and survival seminars, picked out a location and identity that would keep him out of too much trouble and took the leap.

Few angels decided on this course. Historically there had been - well, eighteen if one didn't count the third of them that followed Lucifer. There were eighteen who had remained loyal to The Father while living corporeally on Earth.

Going planet side was quite a risk. Of those eighteen only three were known to be alive.

Ten died in the Second World War during the massive struggle to stop Lucifer's villainous rise in Germany.

Another, Rothschild, chose the wrong side during the French Revolution and was beheaded while trying to quickly explain his situation in bad, broken french.

Greenmoore made the mistake of becoming a street performer at Faneuil Hall in 1893. During a particularly tricky sleight of hand maneuver he managed to deliver half of the wrong two dollar bill to one of his 'marks', a visiting sailor named Burnham Grillheed who shot him. It's also well known that the fallen angel, Kileigh, was working the area as a pickpocket at the time and there was speculation as to his involvement.

Talbot fell into the center of a street celebration in Libya during the early AD's and, to his great surprise, was clubbed to death by the panicked crowd.

Remy, trying to avoid Talbot's fate by choosing a more remote location, miscalculated the rotation of the earth, fell too far east of Guam and dropped neatly and completely to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. No one heard another word from him. There was speculation that he drowned, another that he was crushed by the immense pressure at that depth and another that he formed a grand religious order among the tube worms that survived in the volcanic chemical soup- God only knew.

Finally, Arista, who lived to the age ten thousand three hundred and sixty-five, recently fell into a deep funk.  Fed up with seeing the culmination of mankind's experience peak with internet porn, the mind-bogglingly stupid idea of bottled spring water and the rising current of reality programming, she wrote off humanity as an aberration and vanished. No one was quite sure what happened to her.

Of the living, Lynch had trotted off to South America to get away from a constantly changing humanity. David wanted to meet with him because he'd known him well. They were close friends before Lynch made the leap and David missed him terribly. The only thing he knew now of him was that he had found some kind of ancient ruin and was running from the Brazilian government with the spoils.

Ty was someplace in America that started with "A"... Austin, Albany, Atlanta, Annapolis, Augusta... one of those. David wasn't sure. Ty traveled a lot as a carpenter on a popular television show and managed to shake Heaven's contacts rather easily. While he didn't ally himself in any way with those other fellows, Ty didn't seem too interested in maintaining any close ties with his former co-workers but seemed to have a healthy appetite for dating supermodels.

David only knew the exact location of a single living angel, Fredrick DeCormyr.

Correspondence with Fredrick was short and brusque. He once made the mistake of calling Fredrick by his original name "Decormer" and received a sharp note back detailing the importance of naming, spelling and proper capitalization in the real world.

David felt a lot of pressure building for his trip and tried to let the impatient, detailed and insulting letters from Fredrick slide off his back. In the ten letters he received from him, the words "twit" and "fool" showed twenty seven times - counting "foolish twit" as one each, of course.

Undaunted, he pressed on and set up his scheduled appointment with the cantankerous neo-angel.

He spent the first falling day trying to decide where he would go first. There was considerable excitement as he sped downward toward the distant blue marble below and he wanted to see as much as possible.

On day two he made out a mental itinerary. Columbus was in a nice, central location so he would be close enough to see much of the eastern half of the US. He then planned to spread out, perhaps take a train on a cross-country trip to the west or get a ticket on a cruise ship to sail around for a few years. The possibilities were endless.

He tried singing songs to pass the time on the third day but the lack of air made it impossible to hear anything. So he tried a mental exercise to listen to something in his head. Unfortunately he got the chorus of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" stuck in an unbreakable loop and was forced to try "1,000 bottles of beer on the wall" to force it out. The "breakfast" curse returned almost every twenty minutes to a maddening degree and even resisted lyric changes.

After two days of fighting he decided to give Prince songs a try. He started with the album "Controversy", sailed into "1999" and "Purple Rain", made it through most of his "Paisley Park" labeled records: "Around the world in a day", "Parade", "Sign of the Times" and ended with "Diamonds and Pearls". Even as an angel David couldn't stand Prince's religious rise into kookery. He had to stop the whole Prince run anyway after forgetting the words to "Get Off".

Unfortunately this only killed a few hours, he still had two days to go. He tried every song he knew - avoiding even thinking the words "breakfast" or "Tiffany" for fear the dreaded round would return. He decided if he were ever to bend the ear of The Father again he would make a personal request to have the song stricken from space and time and the band reduced to feeder mice.

He started naming elements in order but forgot what came after Boron. He then attempted to bypass his failure by naming the noble gasses but confused himself when, for some reason, he thought that neon was a halogen... finally he gave up and just went back to "1,000 bottles of beer on the wall".

Day six gave him the kind of view of the Earth one would expect to see in a NASA documentary. The planet loomed larger and larger and was now to the point that it no longer appeared below him but beside him. David could feel the tendrils of gravity gently envelop him. The sensation was new and exciting. Below/beside him the rolling clouds boiled across massive blue oceans and mottled brown and green continents. David fell in love with the way the atmosphere appeared from this altitude - as if the globe were outlined with a wispy blue-white marker. This was what he dreamed in Heaven, to see this view with his own eyes -knowing of course he could never see it this way again without the benefit of a spaceship.

This thought inevitably lead him to day seven and the realization that, once he landed, he could never step foot in Heaven until the end of time- without dying, of course.

He didn't think he would miss Heaven. He spent the last few billion or more years in paradise and figured that, dingy and gritty as it was, earth would be a nice place to visit. After all, what was a few hundred thousand or million years in that time span? It might be nice to register time in the space of moments rather than millennia. His boredom had already shown up in seven days... that in itself struck him as a miracle as he thought about it.

He had spent a good three million years at a particularly nice brunch a while back and only became bored when Bizwell, one of the angels who had died in WWII, kept going on about how he kept trying to tell Lucifer not to ask for a promotion... "but nooooo, he wouldn't listen to me." Yawn... David couldn't remember the rest of what he said, only fragments of a bewildering conversation. He blocked out most of it until Bizwell took off, running after another angel, calling out "No, the last time you did that it took forever to get him to even buy peanuts!" Ok, David wasn't sure if that was exactly what he said but it was the closest thing he could figure. He gave up trying to decipher it and decided to leave the party and watch amphibians evolve for a while. When that bored him he invented lyme disease.

Falling to Earth had catastrophic effects on humans. If David were more human at the time he would have vaporized. Angels, in body, were able to withstand a multitude of stresses without a scratch - alright, they were invulnerable. The actual fall was easily survivable- unless one bounced, of course. One bounce too high could be enough to flatten even an angel after initial contact with the Earth.

Touching the actual surface of the Earth converted angelic flesh almost instantly to semi-human. DeCormyr called them "neo-angels" and warned David that, while he may live for thousands of years and was considerably tougher than humans - miracles and all, he was still vulnerable to catastrophic attacks. No angel had ever survived a well-placed bullet or guillotine - they were just expected to be smart enough to stay out of such situations.

Angels could get new bodies eventually upon death but that usually involved a lot of paperwork and explanation.

For example, if one were planetside during a supernova and lost his or her body, one could easily expect a fresh set of skins waiting at the front gates. However, if one were say, killed during a high speed police chase (unless one were the policeman, of course), one could expect a good ten billion years to pass before given another corporeal form.

David knew that he had little time to prepare once he hit the atmosphere. While unable to slow his decent he had to make sure that he was in the best position to climb out of whatever hole he created upon impact.

DeCormyr, in his letters, had advised against a cannonball or anything that might put him head down. David simply decided to lay flat on his stomach as well as possible as he fell. This allowed him to feel the full force of the wind against his arms, face and legs. The force of the wind on his face flapped the skin back on his cheeks and any attempt to open his mouth filled him with so much air that he was almost unable to exhale.

He didn't expect such a short time between entering the atmosphere and "point of no return" as DeCormyr called it. He felt as if he were just getting used to the feel of the air, the view above the thick clouds, the spectacular lay of Columbus below, the building rushing up towards him- in the excitement he forgot about his plans, his itinerary, his doubts, the time... in fact, the only thing going through his head during the final freefall were the words : "And I said... what about... breakfast at Tiffany's...and she said..."

The impact was enough distraction to get the song out of his head again. He was glad that he didn't bounce but was unhappy at the bitter tasting shop rags that covered him. It was peacefully quiet.  As he lay in the rubble he realized he could easily recall the entire score of Handel's Messiah with absolutely no effort -  that would have filled hours of boredom. Damn it!

He lay for a long time to get a feel for his new body. It honestly didn't feel that much different. There were a few stiff aches and pains but he was otherwise whole and unharmed. He pushed the pile aside and waved his hand before his face as the dust and grime assaulted his lungs.

He coughed for the first time in his existence and looked homeward in awe. The rags gave way to a dusty column of light entering from the smashed hole in the ceiling and three floors above. He looked up through the empty building at the clouds, now above him, and sighed. "...made it."


next:Gargoyles make lousy houseguests

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