To Kill an Angel

A light breeze sweeps through the crisp, early morning air. The colorful blooms of the new flowers sway with the bright green leaves on the trees. The sunlight softly falls upon the weathered wood of a timeworn farmhouse. There is no noise other than the rhythmic rustle of the leaves, the sweet symphonies of the birds, and the quiet whisper of the wind. It is serene. All is peaceful.

Suddenly, breaking the silence is the rumble of tires coming down the long dirt road. An old red pickup truck pulls up to the farmhouse. It is turned off. The young man at the wheel hesitates before stepping out of the truck. He stands beside it, uncertainly, but only for an instant before he slowly walks up the creaking porch steps of the farmhouse. Everything is still.

His face is a picture of pain and misery. His eyes are filled with regret as he rests his palm upon the worn wood of the farmhouse door. He closes his eyes for a moment, as though to gather his courage to act, and then opens the door. He tentatively walks through the doorway. The house is empty, abandoned. Dust covers all the surfaces. Empty spaces line the walls where pictures used to be hung.

He goes through the house, room by room. His eyes, full of sorrow, stare off into space as though viewing images of the past. He comes upon a staircase, and rests his hand lightly upon the banister. He pauses at the bottom of the staircase for moment, as if he were afraid of what he would find if he continued on. Step by step, he climbs up the spiral staircase; his hand, still resting on the banister, stroking the aged wood.

The stairs end, abruptly, at the beginning of a hallway. Immediately, his eyes focus on the door at the opposite end of the hallway. He strides towards the door, drawn to it like a moth to a flame. He grabs the doorknob and turns it. The sound echoes like a gunshot in the silence. He flings open the door and stops suddenly, so suddenly.

It is the bedroom of a little girl. The paint peeling off the walls are shades of soft pinks and light blues. Sullied white lace drapes are pulled over the window. Delicate cobwebs hang from the ceiling. A chipped piece from a china doll lies in one corner. Spread across the floor is a reddish brown stain.

He falls to his knees, an anguished cry escaping his lips and bursting out into the silence. A crumpled, old photograph falls from his hand. His weeping fills the air and the soft morning light shines in through the window and settles upon the smile of a little girl.