Burnt to the Core

The crystal palace was filled with the presence of the Angelic Host – they would welcome the new Angelic Guardians, then send them to their mortal charges. The perfect faces shone with the light and love of the Almighty as they accepted their charges and the duties they would undertake. One face stood out; one face in thousands. He had golden-brown hair and amber eyes that seemed to look deep into the souls of men. He was perfectly defined, a strong jaw-line, a perfectly sculpted nose, full lips and well-muscled. But despair clouded his features. He was familiar, and he reached out –

BRRRIIIINGG! I jerked awake from my age-old dream. My head dropped into my hands as I reluctantly got out of bed. I wished I could dream on; who was that angel? Who was he reaching for? Why was he so upset? The minutes went quickly, and I grabbed an apple for breakfast before getting into my car to drive to work. Another long day of meetings...

I could not believe that my charge, Selene, had grown into this slender young woman with ice blue eyes and dark brown hair, high cheek-bones and angular face – she was beautiful enough to be one of the Angelic Host! I followed this beauty to her work through the air – I must remember not to reveal myself unnecessarily to her – I do not wish to invoke the wrath of Munkir and Nakir, Bringers of Angelic Justice...

The day finally ended and I was finally free of the stone prison called 'work'. I carefully packed a few files into my car and got in to drive home. The route was uneventful until I was almost home. As I took the off-ramp and turned into a main road, a speeding truck was drunkenly crossing lanes. I slammed on the brakes, and tried to swerve out of the way. I remember taking a deep breath of horror, then blackness as the truck slammed into the passenger side.

I just managed to pull Selene from the car as the truck crushed part of her car. Fortunately, people saw the accident and called an ambulance. I only hope that Selene would be alright, I did not govern Life and Death...

When I opened my eyes, I was confused. Why was I in the hospital? Then I remembered the crash. "Oh, how...?" I whispered hoarsely to myself.

"You were saved by your angel," a crystalline voice whispered in reply. I knew who it was without needing to see. "You're the angel I dreamt about,"

I was too shocked to reply immediately. She knew me? I walked to the foot of her bed, willing myself visible. "I am Valken,"

She closed her eyes, then opened them again. "Thank you,"

She fell into a deep sleep, and it would be several months before she would be well enough to leave. I will stay by her side for all eternity.

I was actually happy to go back to work again, and enter the Real World. Even more so when I saw the angel I dreamt of and who saved me leaning nonchalantly against the fence lining the beach one morning. Valken... I savoured the name mentally. We spoke for a while, then parted ways. I had to work.

Almost a year had gone by and we had become close friends and fell in love. Today as we walked on the beach Valken said, "Meet me here at sunset today, Selene. There is something I must tell you,"

I nodded, believing I knew what he would ask, and couldn't wait.

I knew Munkir and Nakir were after me, I sensed it. I would choose mortality today, at sunset. I only hoped I had enough time to do it...

Finally, I was at the cliffs by the beach. I could see them arrive. They would not stop to ask questions. After the Fall, any angel who revealed themselves to show their affection for a mortal was dealt with quickly, unless they forfeit immortality before the Bringers came. I spread my white-silver wings, a blazing sword in hand, and rose to meet them.

It was strange to think that I was in love with an angel; but somehow I knew this would end badly for one of us. Valken must have known this; that must be why he was never very open about us being together. As I walked on the rose-gold sand, the waves lapped at my feet. I looked up at the red horizon, where the water swallowed the bleeding sun. Right then I saw them: all three were angels, fighting two-against-one above the cliffs. In a state of horror, I realized that one was Valken. He was out-numbered. I raced the path up the cliffs, and prayed with all my heart that I would be in time...

I could not continue this fight; Munkir and Nakir had won. My wings were broken and blood-stained; I fell to my knees...

I saw them leave Valken, and he slowly, heavily pushed himself to his feet. He staggered to the cliff edge. "Valken..." I whispered past a lump in my throat. He looked over his shoulder at me, smiling painfully. "I must, Selene," he looked ahead again. "I chose mortality,"

He was still beautiful in this broken majesty. I lifted a single, crimson and white-silver feather from the ground, a single tear spilled down my cheek. When I looked up again, he was gone. Tears flowed down my face as I wept for Valken. It was dark, long past twilight already when I made my way down to the beach again.

When I reached the bottom, I saw a tall, muscled, handsome man lying just on the shore in the waves. As I drew nearer, I saw he had golden-brown hair. I knelt by his side. It was Valken. He opened his beautiful, deep amber eyes and smiled, burnt to the core, but not broken.

'Run to the water and find me there, burnt to the core but not broken'

Run to the Water by Live