Flash Fiction by Morgan Dante
Updated: Jan 23, 2021
“What’s he doing?” Jophiel asked, brushing their cornsilk hair out of their eyes.
Gabriel crossed her arms and sighed. “Benchpressing Mars and Venus to suppress his emotions.”
The two of them floated in the ether and watched as Michael lifted the two planets without so much as a bar connecting them. He left Earth alone.
“What emotions are those, exactly?” asked Jophiel.
Gabriel set her hands behind her back. “It’s difficult to tell. I simply know him.” She’d have to talk to him. She was the reasonable one, after all.
Later, in Heaven, Gabriel found Michael alone behind the palace of roses and fire. He lowered himself almost to the ground with his knees spread and his fists out and clenched. Michael referred to this position as “squatting.”
Michael straightened himself and grunted. His muscles were still tense. Without so much as a glance at her, he looked straight head, brow low.
Gabriel frowned, drawing her saffron cloak close to herself. “What are you doing, exactly?”
“What does it look like?” He resumed the position again and held it, muscles bulging.
“Flatulating,” Gabriel replied.
He huffed. “I’m getting ready for the big day.”
Gabriel had never understood how illogical her fellow angels could be. She was by no means cold, but she’d tried to stop Lucifer from rebelling; she tried to stop Raphael from leaving; she tried to . . . well, there was no stopping Michael.
In the end, Gabriel couldn’t stop any of them. So here they were, half of what they used to be.
“You’ve trained enough,” she said.
“We all know who will win. It’ll be like a dragon fighting a sandfly.”
“I should bench press Mercury,” Michael said, dead serious. “No, too small.”
“Try not to throw anything out of alignment.”
“I won’t. I’ll keep everything perfectly aligned for you, Gabe.” Michael had never mastered sardonicism like Lucifer, and Gabriel had never been able to get to Michael like Lucifer; they would kiss and create white protostars. And Raphael always went to Lucifer to feel protected.
Gabriel wasn’t as close to Lucifer as the others, but in Heaven, it was impossible not to be connected with someone else’s soul. She’d been able to read everyone, and yet, she hadn’t read Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub, Leviathan, Belial or any of the others. There were discontent and arguments, but even she, as knowledgeable as she tried to be, had been useless.
God had to have known, and They kept the pain and grief to come from her. It wasn’t the first time. She’d been the one to tell Christ, Yeshua, he was to die and how, that his own dearest companion would lead him to a slow and bloody death.
He’d fallen to his knees and wept, and before Gethesmane, they’d sat under an olive tree. It was like the ones Yeshua had run around alongside his four brothers and two sisters. The ones he prayed under and cut to make into houses. He cut them just like the contubernium soldiers sliced down a tree to craft his cross.
She had set a hand on his shoulder and let him feel the Divine before morning broke. Raphael would’ve been better at comfort, but they were gone.
They will give you rest, Gabriel told him.
Where are They now? Yeshua asked her, a challenge.
She looked back at the palace. They’re right there, always. “Do you miss them?”
Bemused, Michael looked up. “What?”
“Do you miss them?”
Lightning flashed in his eyes, the air taut. “That’s a stupid question. One is a traitor, and another abandoned us like they were the only ones affected by what happened. Of course I don’t. We can’t let there be any weak links in the war against sin.”
“I don’t just mean them.” Gabriel looked back at the palace, where roses of scarlet, blush-pink, and k’vadrkgr stared and glittered behind columns of flames. “Everyone.”
Michael scoffed and straightened. “I’m going to train elsewhere.”
Never able to stop anyone before, Gabriel let him go.
A native of North Georgia, Morgan Dante (they/them) is a published poet and author. Their short story “Deer in December” was published in TL;DR Press’ Halloween 2018 Horror collection, NOPE. They've also published their poems “Turkey Hunting,” “Patty,” “Samantha,” and “Daughters of the Sun.” Their debut novel, Dove Keeper, came out in October 2018. They are a regular contributor to Marías at Sampaguitas.