Hell has an Angel. Heaven has a Demon. Humanity has a chance.
19 YEARS AGO… Waking up every Friday at Ariel’s Orphanage of the Protected meant good things were supposed to happen. Fridays were when the local charities would come by and drop off extra clothes and food. Sometimes they’d even drop off an outdated large screen TV or a video game console. Friday meant that the ice cream man would come by and the children would buzz to the sound of the song playing out of its speakers like flies to a rotting carcass. The local Boy Scouts would even come by and play. For nine year old Anika Valdez, it meant that Travis Mathews would come by and talk to all the children. In the middle of the garden the children had planted, Mr. Mathews would sit and take time to talk with each child he saw. Judging by his apparel, it was assumed he was someone of professional status. Perhaps a lawyer or a teacher. He was a kind man and never once seemed to remind them that he was an adult when he was with them. He would always take the time to answer their questions and play along with their childish tendancies. On occasion he would dance to their songs and tell stories about cuddly bears having adventures. The nuns at the orphanage admired his efforts and certainly had they not been nuns he would be a prime candidate for their more basic wants. As for Anika, he was someone she would want for a father. She was never outspoken or one to stand out. At times she seemed completely withdrawn. The sisters were concerned she might be hurting herself or that there was a mental issue but Anika was an incredibly smart and imaginative girl. Some of the sisters had assumed she was a genius and that fact alone made it hard for her to be reached. The nuns had come across many brilliant children in their day and they all had to work as a group to ensure that the child’s gift was being brought along at a pace that would challenge yet not lead the child into a dark place of sin. Her talents would commonly lead to punishment for challenging rules or defying authority simply because she could see when a superior was lying. The nuns joked that the children could ‘smell’ the lie but when Anika would catch wind of a lie she would give an understanding nod as if to say “I already know.” It was an interesing look. She would simply lift her chin and look up then look into the liar’s eyes. Being that confident in knowing something didn’t seem natural in the mind of the nuns. Surely some things had to be left to faith. The interesting part of Anika’s shyness wasn’t that she was quiet. She always seemed to be in a conversation or playing with someone or something that was or wasn’t there. *** One day Mr. Mathews was having a long conversation with one of the nuns. When several more of her colleagues to come over Mr. Mathews continued talking to the sisters They all nodded their heads.
- Q And A with AuthorHouse Author Arsi Mckhoi (authorhousepublishing.wordpress.com)