in a Heaven no grander than a forest, He sat upon a throne weaved of ivy and wild roses; it was there He first touched the Universe, and it was there He came to find the thriving rock He named earth— absent lives were flitting about in oceans deep and dark, and He sought to make company, entertainment, using His vast power to manipulate these beings' path. they grew until they resembled His intention, but before the first man thought of the savannah's cruelty or had any thought besides instinct, angels were birthed of the Lord's passing thoughts—

He would breathe and exhale
lights that cuddled like sweet birds,
tucked close for warmth in a simple
nest draped with their brothers' down
feathers and cotton brought up from earth;
amongst the soft glow of each new ideal
came a pop like an ember cracking— this one
was weakly lit and stuttered its first words
in a hoarse chirp humanity, love— before it came
to still with its slumbering companions.

in the evening, the lights pressed nearer, and the room was cast in cacophonous rainbows— disjointed hymns as they looked to earth and collected the visages of new creatures and refined the synapse murmur that had created them; they, bundled like christmas in an attic box, knew nothing of the chaos that surrounded—

lucifer was beautiful, in his skin
like a panther's fur, and his wings spread
in shadowed veins like ink allowed to splatter;
he was the favorite son, beloved and charismatic,
the brother all the rest strived to resemble; God
whispered of his image being the muse for the new
children, the bipedal apes that learned fire and magic
and named other animals as if they had a right. lucifer
was proud but grew jealous when God's adoring gazes
were no longer for him.

abdiel, one of the oldest angels, was sputtered in a cough that hacked free a vitriolic green light; in mere days, he grew to his shape, a hulking beast scaled in crocodilian armor. it was his duty to pace amongst his brothers and spit orders, to remind them of their place as lesser progeny, as a means to an end— and perhaps it was bitter work, perhaps the Earth spun faster and God lost control— perhaps He was only a catalyst, and He looked to the angels—

"it is not that I have grown sick
or tired or bored; it is that I have
other things to attend to, and I trust
you will ensure their safety, ensure their
paradise as I have not forsaken them or
you."

gabriel, His mouth, spoke these words in a trance while he watched over new lights; they chattered as always, too young and serene to know they were born to a life of toil, and he wept because he was selfish. he wept because he knew—

in months, the turmoil abounded and God's
absence was sorely felt; each realized angel
gossiped of Father's disappearance, of gabriel's
prophecy, and some believed in His return. others,
less sure, looked to earth and tore up souls like weeds,
sent forth pestilence and famine and war and death, too
envious to know better. still, there were some that knew worse,
that knew there was nothing more eternal than Hell's damnation—

the realm beneath their feet, gnashing teeth and sputtering heat that sent chills into any spine; it was the wasteland, a door meant to be closed, but lucifer sought to pry it open. he looked to michael and asked for help, as they had always been close, but michael awaited God like a righteous fool, and lucifer found other lovers—

raum followed first, then many others
of lesser names, but lucifer had his sight set
upon the one called abdiel; he curled close
to him and hissed into his ear, "you are fatigued,
little brother, exhausted and sore; you have been
loyal, and you have been pious, yet Father rewards
you with a loathsome position. the others, they hate
you and your job and your voice, and you were made to
be awful; would a fair Creator bestow this upon one so
devout?"

the light, the one who gasped two words and nestled, was not like the others: it did not grow, it did not sing, and it did not collect pictures of what it wanted to become— instead, it stared at the sun and moon and wondered why angels so beautiful were strung up so far away, but the light was muffled beneath the noise of all its siblings. they became coherent, became conscious of their brothers' spat, and some even grew to the figure that allowed them to leave the nest and join Heaven's war— but it, strange light of pallid yellow, remained little.

abdiel came to the nursery to think
because the young lights knew not of
conversation, and he could hear his talons
clicking on the hardened floor as he walked back
and forth, illuminated in what poured over from
the nest; he was not so nurturing and had never
looked after his new brothers, the children not yet
sentient, but he grew curious enough to peek, and
it was there the yellow light first saw him.

angel. big angel, pretty angel. are you sad? are you sad, angel? why are you sad? why will the sky angels not talk to me? why are you sad, pretty angel?

the other lights huddled in fear, as abdiel's
wings were dark and covered in feathers sharp
like razors; but the yellow light scurried forward,
perching on the edge of the nest and peering; abdiel
found it strange, irritating— he had come to think and
yet he found himself speaking, "little one, the sun is not
an angel, nor is the moon. they are celestial bodies that
assist the humans in their livelihood. now little light, it is—"

angel. big angel. pretty angel. sad angel. watch the sky angel sink into his nest and then the white angel will follow from hers, but they will not talk to me. big angel. sad angel. why are you sad, angel? why sad?

"little one—"

watch the sky angel set. sun set. sunset.
and the white angel rises from her nest, pretty
angel, pretty angel like you, pretty big angel, black
winged angel. are you sad, angel? why are you so sad?

the youth tumbled from the edge and fell upon abdiel's
great paw, and it was difficult to tell if something with no
eyes was staring, yet he could feel its admiration. perhaps he
was no longer in the mood to ponder, or perhaps it was pleasant
to look to where the sun was "nesting," but he listened to the
yellow light that, upon second glance, reminded him of the sun.

somewhere, there was the clatter of battle, and abdiel knew he had to choose a side, but he dreamed of never moving, of never putting the light back in the nest, of never letting it grow beyond this tender phase. he pushed his nose into its softness, and it cooed—

sad angel, why so sad angel? i love
the angel, big angel, pretty angel, sad angel
that watched the sun set. sunset. sun angel sets and
she rises, she rises like you, pretty angel, in black
because she is a good angel. your name, angel?

"little light," he began, but he could not taint it with his worry. he brought it back to the nest, delicately placing it amongst the others, and abdiel knew he could not leave Heaven. he could not chance the lights' corruption, this light's corruption, this little light. "i am abdiel, servant of God, and someday you will be a great angel; i can sense it within you."

abdiel. pretty angel. great angel, me. sad
angel, never... why sad, angel? never say why—
and pretty, pretty angel. angel, look at moon angel.

but abdiel did not look, instead directing the light's
gaze downward. "do not look to the sky, little light,
look to earth for it is glorious," and abdiel meant this
truly, and he knew it was his duty, and he knew it was
God's duty, and he was God's duty, and God's duty—

was a pale yellow light. big angel, pretty angel, what are those? love, love those. humanity, love—

abdiel did not fall.