The Care and Feeding of Angels
by Josh Vogt
Standing before the entrance to his private workshop, I scan the note left with my father’s will.
Beyond the shop and fortune, there is another legacy I bequeath to you.
The door swings open at my touch. Neon lights flicker on, illuminating—
Bloody clamps pin the wings to the rear wall. Shackles contort the arms and legs, while the stained tatters of a white robe do nothing to hide the emaciated figure. A rotting stink assails me, and I steel myself for a closer inspection.
I believe it held a minimal rank in the divine legions. How else could I, a mere jeweler, have captured and kept it all these years?
A rod and welded collar locks its head over an empty metal bucket.
Jesus wept, and so do the angels, my son.
The surrounding shelves sag with all manner of prod and blade and brand.
Torture is the most effective method—yet I learned rare acts of kindness can inspire bursts of productivity. For instance, after particularly severe sessions, tending a wound or providing sustenance often triggers further outpourings of grief.
Chains clink as its head raises enough for our gazes to lock.
“Help…me…” it begs in tones of broken chimes.
Crimson beads glint in the corners of its eyes. One trickles down and drops into my waiting palm. With my father’s old loupe, I inspect the ruby and murmur in surprise.
Its head bows anew, and tears cascade into the bucket.
The sound is of rain.