Fifteen years ago, in Los Angeles.
Warren leaned back in his chair and let out a deep sigh. Benjamin glanced over at him and raised an eyebrow.
“Tough day?” he asked.
Warren shook his head. “Nah, just a long one, waiting for the clock to tick the end. How about you?”
Benjamin chuckled. “Same old, same old. You know how it is case after case.” Benjamin said caressing his goatee.
They fell into an easy conversation about their work, but Warren couldn’t help but feel distracted. Lately, the cases he was working on seemed to be dragging on forever, and he found himself going through the motions without any real passion or drive. The once exciting and challenging job had turned into a monotonous routine, and he longed for something more stimulating.
As they finished up their shift, Benjamin clapped Warren on the back. “Cheer up, buddy. It’s Friday. Let’s go grab a beer.”
Warren smiled, grateful for the invitation. “Ahh, hell I wish I could.” He said with a sigh. “Promised the lady we would go out for dinner tonight.”
“Ehh,” Benjamin said. “I know the feeling.” He waved away and left.
The truth was that Warren preferred quiet nights with his wife Emily, watching movies or reading books together. It was the simplicity of their life that made him happy, and he was grateful to have found someone who felt the same way. As he thought about Emily, a smile crept onto his face, and he couldn’t wait to get home to her and spend the weekend together.
Warren finally finished all the grueling papyrology he had and counted down the minutes until he could finally leave and be back home. The hot sun was beating down on him as he walked out of the building and headed toward his car. As he was about to start his engine, a loud rumbling sound caught his attention.
He looked up to the sky, and what he saw made his heart skip a beat. The sky had turned a shade of gold, and a large hole had opened up in the clouds. He could see something moving inside it, but he couldn’t make out what it was. Suddenly, a blinding light burst forth from the hole, and Warren shielded his eyes with his hand.
He heard people screaming and panicking in the streets, cars honking and crashing into each other as everyone was mesmerized by the sight. Warren’s mind was racing as he tried to figure out what was happening. His mind went straight to aliens, could it be that we are finally not alone? But he had no idea, all he knew he rush home to Emily.
He quickly started his car and began to weave in and out of traffic, honking his horn and shouting at people to get out of his way. The roads were clogged with cars and people running in all directions, causing Warren to have to take several detours and back roads to avoid all the chaos. The ride that usually took him less than ten minutes was now nearing twenty and he was just now entering his suburbs. During the whole drive, he tried calling Emily but the cell reception was down.
Finally, he turned onto his street and froze at the sight before him. The street was clogged with cars and people who had stopped in their tracks and were gazing up at the sky. Warren followed their line of sight and saw something that made his heart skip a beat. He had seen plenty of strange things in his life, but nothing quite like this.
There, floating high above the city, were strange creatures. They had large wings and were surrounded by an aura of light that seemed to glow from within. Their skin was almost translucent as Warren squinted at them, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. It took him a moment to realize that the creatures reminded him of something, they looked like angels.
At first, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Angels? Here? But as he watched, the creatures moved, their wings beating slowly and gracefully, and he knew that what he was seeing was real. Fear and confusion swept through him, and he realized that he wasn’t the only one. The people around him were muttering in shock and disbelief, some of them already starting to run for cover.
Warren’s heart dropped as he saw the angels starting to descend from the sky, snatching people up and taking them away with them straight towards the rupture in the sky. He knew he had to get to Emily before they got to her. Without a second thought, he abandoned his car in the middle of the road and began to run. He zigzagged between cars, and jumped over hoods and trunks, all the while keeping his eyes on the bizarre sight in the sky.
The sound of screams and chaos surrounded him as he sprinted towards his home and his lungs burned with each breath he took. As he approached his house, he could see people milling about, some crying, others staring up at the sky in horror.
He reached his house and jumped over the fence, the front door of his home was wide open. He rushed inside calling his wife’s name at top of his lungs but no answer came.
“Emily?” he shouted, the sound of his own voice echoing through the empty rooms. “Emily, where are you?”
Warren’s heart sank as he rushed through the house, calling out his wife’s name with increasing desperation. He checked every room, every closet, every corner, but there was no sign of her. It was as if she had simply vanished into thin air.
Feeling a growing sense of panic, Warren rushed back out into his backyard and saw that his neighbors were outside, all looking up at the sky in awe and fear.
“Tom, Mariah,” He yelled frantically, barely catching his breath. “Have you seen Emily?”
“Oh, Warren,” Mariah said, shaking her head. “I’m so sorry. The angels… they already took her.” She said and gipped the cross she was wearing tighter.
Warren felt a wave of shock and despair wash over him, leaving him numb. He could not believe that his wife had been taken by the angels. He could not believe that Angels even existed. His wife was a devoted Christian, while he was Agnostic, at least that’s what people have told him he was, but he never really bothered with it.
“What are you on?” He asked frantically. “How do you know these creatures are Angels?”
“It’s all over the news,” Tom said while holding their daughter Faith. “One of the Angels came forward and said it. He said we would not be afraid, the salvation has come to the true believers.” Tom said and rose his head towards the sky.
Warren’s mind reeled with disbelief. Angels? Taking people? It sounded like something out of a fantasy novel, not something that could happen in real life. But the evidence was all around him – the ruptured sky, the beings with wings descending from the heavens, and now his missing wife.
He collapsed onto the grass in his backyard, feeling numb and helpless. He had no idea what to do next, or even what was happening. All he knew was that his life had been turned upside down in a matter of minutes, and he had no idea how to cope with it.
Warren was startled by the wooshing sound that came above him. One of the creatures swooped from the sky and grabbed Mariah. He watched in horror as another Angel descended from the sky, its wings flapping gracefully as they approached Tom who put Faith down to the ground and welcomed his savior with open arms. The couple looked both in awe and fear as Angels lifted them up into the air, cradling them in their arms, their skin mixing with the creatures becoming translucent and starting to glow as they rose higher into the sky. Warren could hear Mariah screaming to Faith to welcome her Angel as she was being lifted up, while Tom’s face was filled with pure blissfulness.
Warren tried to stand up and reach for them, but his legs felt weak and wobbly, and he stumbled back to the ground. He watched in disbelief as the angels ascended back towards the hole in the sky, carrying his neighbors away with them.
Faith was left all alone in Tom and Mariah’s backyard, crying out for her mommy and daddy. Her small voice carried through the air, ringing in Warren’s ears and tugging at his heartstrings. He snapped out of his shock as he saw Faith standing there helpless and alone in the midst of all this chaos. He ran and jumped the fence separating their backyards and rushed towards her.
But before he could reach her another angel descended from the sky. This one was larger than the others, with massive wings that spanned several feet in either direction. The angel swooped down towards Faith, and Warren froze in terror, unsure of what to do. His gut told him to help the girl somehow, but who was he to stand between her and the Angels. Before he could react the Angel was above her.
The angel reached out for Faith, and the little girl did the same, her small hand trembling as it extended toward the being. As their fingers touched, a jolt of electricity seemed to course through the air, and the angel recoiled with a screech of pain. Warren watched in disbelief as the angel clutched his arm, looking at a black, smoking scar where the girl had touched him. The little girl stared up at the retreating angel, her eyes wide with fear and confusion. Without a word, the angel took off once again, disappearing into the sky with a burst of light.
Warren rushed towards Faith, scooping her up into his arms. He could feel her small body trembling with fear, and he held her tightly, trying to reassure her that everything would be okay. But deep down he knew something was off about these creatures and he felt he needed to hide Faith from them, as he was sure they would return for her.
Warren’s heart was pounding in his chest as tried to think of a plan to hide Faith from the angels. He quickly picked her up and ran inside his house, down the stairs to his basement.
Warren kneeled down to be at eye-level with Faith, who was still visibly shaken from the events that just transpired. He spoke to her in a soft voice, trying to reassure her.
“Faith, I need you to be very quiet down here in the basement. The big creatures are still outside, and we don’t want them to find us. Can you do that for me?”
Faith nodded silently, her eyes wide with fear.
“Good. I’m going to go back upstairs and make sure everything is safe. Once I’m sure it’s okay, I’ll come back for you, okay?”
Warren waited for Faith to nod before he stood up and started to climb the stairs. As he ascended, he felt a sense of dread wash over him. He had no idea what was going on or what was going to happen next. All he knew was that he needed to protect Faith at all costs.
Warren cautiously made his way back upstairs, trying to stay out of sight of any returning angels. As he peered through the blinds in the living room, he could see more of the large angels descending from the sky, including the one that had been scarred by Faith’s touch. They circled the neighborhood once again, their wings creating a deafening noise as they scanned the area.
Warren’s heart raced as he watched them, unsure of what their intentions were. Suddenly, the Angels dispersed in every direction, flying off to different parts of the city. As they left Warren walked outside and noticed that everyone now had a strange mark on their forehead – a blackened symbol that he couldn’t quite make out. He touched his own forehead and felt the different texture of the skin where the mark was. Confused he looked at the carrier side mirror and saw that he himself had the same strange symbol.
Minutes later all of the Angels flew towards the sky and into the rupture. After the last angel flew in the hole in the sky started to slowly close the bright light it emitted dimming slowly with each second.
Warren felt a deep sense of unease as he thought about the events that have just unfolded. His wife was gone, taken by these beings that he had never believed existed. His neighbors too, and those who remained had this bizarre mark on their heads. He had to find answers, he had to figure out what was happening, and he had to keep Faith safe.
He quickly made his way back to the basement, where Faith was waiting anxiously. He explained to her that the angels had left and that it was safe to come out, but they needed to be careful. He promised her that he would protect her no matter what and that she would be safe.