Angelic Host

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young pregnant woman becomes convinced through unconventional means that the child she carries is an angel in human flesh.

Submitted: April 12, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 12, 2013




Alexis stood in front of the full-length mirror and stroked her exposed stomach.  There it was again; that quicksilver movement. She poked the side of her stomach where she’d felt the brief shifting.  Bringing with it a sharp pain, the baby kicked hard and fast, catching her in the ribs. Sucking in a breath, Alexis gripped the edge of the sink, her knuckles white as she kept her gaze on her stomach. She was rewarded with what she’d been waiting for; the silhouette of the baby’s back clearly outlined in her flesh, the stubby wings apparent and outstretched before the child shifted and they disappeared again.

Releasing a breath that she didn’t even realize that she was holding, she laughed in a shaky way. She’d been experimenting for weeks now, poking the baby as she tried to make the phenomena she’d witnessed once before happen again and it finally had. Feeling elated, she subconsciously looked for Jeda, wanting someone else to share the moment with, before the crushing realization came again that she was alone in this.

Heat gathered around her eyes and her feelings changed almost instantly from sadness and loneliness to a fierce anger. Pulling a hair band from around her wrist, she threaded her fingers through her long hair, pulling it up as she began roughly wrestling it into a knot. She would have never let her best friend leave the family and go through something like this alone. She wouldn’t have doubted her, no matter how crazy the story sounded. No matter if she didn’t think it made sense.

Feeling the baby kick at the abrupt change in her mood, she closed her eyes, beginning a quick meditation in her mind designed to relax.  A brief moment later she opened her eyes, swiped away a few rogue tears and tugged her shirt back over her stomach. Turning the faucet on, she briskly washed her hands; being in the city always made her feel dirty, like there was a layer of unnatural filth on everything. She longed to be back in the forest, and back with the family. She missed the way firelight played over the features of those she loved best.

The sting of Jeda’s betrayal pricked at her again, but she forcibly shoved her hurt feelings down and left the subway bathroom, avoiding touching the handle of the door with her bare hands. Pulling the creased map of the city and all its streets from her back pocket, she studied it again. She had roughly seven more churches to stop at on this circuit. Pulling her sleeves over her fists, she tucked them under her arms as she headed down the road, allowing her thoughts to drift towards her mother as she walked, the autumn leaves skipping around her ankles.

The look in her mother, Felicity’s eyes as she left still hurt, but considering her mother’s feelings on the subject, she had an easier time accepting her disbelief. It had been a look of complete and utter disappointment mingled with disbelief.

Felicity had always preferred that Alexis call her Lisi instead of “mother,” saying that it put them on more equal terms. She had hammered into Alexis from a young age that she was free to choose what she believed, but that Lisi herself firmly believed that religion was a form of control, created by men; that it was a tool of the few to subjugate the masses and create a sheep-like mentality.

After years of her own research with a few family members on both sides of the issue, she came to the conclusion that she agreed with Lisi for the most part. Alexis had never taken the subject lightly. She figured that there couldn’t be anything more important than knowing whether or not she should be dedicating her life in service to a higher power. Logically, forever…infinity, they were a lot longer than life and if there was a chance that she would end up burning in a pit of fire she wanted to know how to avoid it. She had studied with a theoretical scientist who held multiple doctorates and was an atheist and another member of the family who held several degrees in world religions and oddly enough, professed to believe in all of them at once.

Glancing up, Alexis saw the next church on her list coming up. It was Our Lady of Mercy, a Catholic church. Smaller than many, it still bore the familiar ornate stonework along the outside, combined with beautifully detailed stained-glass windows, each one bearing a different religious scene. Readjusting the satchel slung diagonally across her shoulders, she probed her feelings as she looked the place over.  She didn’t feel anything. Hell, she didn’t even know that she would feel anything. Mentally apologizing for cursing, she walked up the stone steps.

Pulling open the heavy wooden door, she entered, relaxing at once. There were light strains of a classical piece that she recognized, but couldn’t identify coming from a nearby door that was slightly ajar. A hint of incense hung in the air like a memory, mingling with the scent of lemon oil. Taking a moment to look around, she smiled, liking the familiarity of the Catholic churches. They all had the same feel to them, of a place removed from the rush of time, a quiet, safe place. A sanctuary.

Walking to the door where the music came from, Alexis knocked lightly, a line from the Beatles’ song, Eleanor Rigby rising unbidden to her mind, “Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear…no one comes near.” She’d always loved that song, but the man who looked up from a laptop with a preoccupied expression wasn’t the elderly Father McKenzie that she pictured from the song. He was young, for one thing. Alexis would have been shocked to find that he was older than thirty. His features and the way he held himself bespoke of a very serious, studious sort of man.

His eyes took in her pregnant state and his face softened before flicking to her hand, noting the absence of a wedding ring. She admired his ability to keep his disapproval from showing, if indeed he felt it. Giving her a smile, the priest held his hand out to her in greeting. “Welcome to Our Lady of Mercy, my dear. I am Father Christopher Donnelly.” His handshake was firm and certain. Alexis liked that. She also liked his reaction when she answered him in flawless Latin, introducing herself. His eyes widened in surprise and then narrowed in appreciation, as though he were re-assessing her.

She supposed he probably was. She didn’t look anything like a Catholic prep-school educated girl who had lived a silver-spoon life. She looked like what she was; a young girl (well, young woman, she guessed) who had grown up on a former hippy commune turned green-living community. They were called “intentional communities,” now. Hers was egalitarian, meaning that every person and every job was viewed as equal. As a result, she radiated confidence instead of the self-doubt and loathing that most people her age pulled around them like a cloak.

For a moment, Alexis tried to imagine seeing herself through the priest’s eyes and laughed inwardly. No matter if many parts of her life were incredibly at odds with her lifestyle, her manner of dress certainly wasn’t. She had to admit that she dressed the part of a hippy; layered skirt, colorful top, an abundance of homemade jewelry.

Leaning forward, interest lighting his eyes, Father Donnelly asked Alexis what brought her to the church. Not one to beat around the bush, and keenly aware that she had many other churches to visit before the day ended, Alexis answered honestly. “I think I’m carrying an angel, Father.”

Father Donnelly blinked once and went very still. He opened his mouth as though to reply, and then shifted in his seat, his eyes moving to something on the wall behind her. A furrow appeared between his eyes and he absently stroked the fingers of his right hand across his eyebrows, smoothing them down in a nervous gesture.

Alexis toyed with a beaded tassel that hung from the belt of her skirt as she waited patiently for him to come up with an appropriate reply. Twisting the beads between her fingers, she added, “She tells me her name is Aleta, if that helps.”

Though he still had obviously not decided how to approach the situation, Father Donnelly chose this latest piece of information to respond to first. “She…tells you,” he said, a hint of disbelief coloring his words. “What do you mean by that?”

Alexis considered his question, the same memories flooding her mind every time a pastor or priest listened to her long enough to ask the question. Many of them had just thrown her out the moment she made her declaration. They believed that she was making a mockery of their beliefs.

Alexis shrugged. “She just makes things happen. I don’t know what to call it.”

So, she sat and she told the Father about how she and her best friendJeda loved to ink each other with henna tattoos. Alexis was particularly fond of Polynesian tribal tattoos and had printed out several pictures of them from web sites she’d found in the city. Jeda had been working for several nights in a row on a complicated pattern across Alexis’s back and arms.

Though she’d always regarded Jeda with a mixture of envy and admiration, Alexis loved Jeda like a sister. Well, she wasn’t sure if it was like a sister, since she’d never had one, but it was a deeper and surer love than she’d ever had for anyone. They shared a level of trust and pure honesty that Alexis knew was not common. She and Jeda would sit at the bonfire in the middle of the community when the nights were mild and sing as Jeda worked her tattoo designs along Alexis’s arms. Jeda’s flawless olive skin and natural jet-black hair were exotic and lovely to Alexis’s mind, as were her thin, graceful fingers that so cleverly drew the tattoos. She didn’t mention these things to Father Donnelly, but something about him made Alexis think that he maybe saw something of them anyways.

Shortly after Jeda had completed them, Alexis had been woken from a sound sleep with a feeling that quite honestly had completely weirded her out. It felt like there was something…moving along the skin of her arms and back. She knew she was awake. She even said out loud to her empty room, “I’m awake.” Whatever was moving didn’t even hesitate, or change in the slightest. If anything, it became more persistent and quick-moving. Alexis shuddered violently, chill bumps rising along her skin. Quickly shoving the sheet off of her, she pulled her hair up into a knot with the band always kept around one wrist, pulling her tank top over her head as she half-ran to the bathroom.

Turning her back to the mirror, she pulled the chain on the light bulb by feel and immediately felt the room begin to reel around her. Her tribal tattoos were…melting. That was the only word she could find in her mind for what she was seeing. They were melting, and reforming with a mind of their own. Someone was making small, breathy screams.  Oh, it was her. She bit down hard on her lip and took deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Whatever it was, it didn’t hurt, it was just…”Creepy as hell,” she said, to no one.

She felt better addressing the situation out loud, like she was starting to take control of…whatever it was. It looked like it was forming into some kind of new picture on her back. Something layered. Similar shapes were taking form one atop the other, the edges of each side curving into…”Wings,” she breathed, softly. Confirming her guess, the last few blobs of henna congealed into the rest that gathered into the wings on her back.

She had to admit that they were beautiful, even more detailed and delicate than Jeda’s work had been. They were folded in a resting position, and even from the awkward position of having to crane her neck to look at them, Alexis could see every line of every feather. They weren’t all the same, either. The shading was different for each one of the feathers, almost as though they would come to life at any moment, lifting her from the ground.

Shoving her feet into a pair of clogs, she immediately set out for Jeda’s room. She had no idea what time it was and didn’t care; she had to share this utter level of bizarre with someone else. As she entered the room, she turned on a small rice-paper lamp and plopped on the bed, beginning the process of attempting to wake Jeda, who fell asleep amidst her sketches. Alexis gathered them together and tossed them on the floor by the bed, alternately bouncing on the bed and shaking Jeda while chanting her name.

After finally convincing Jeda of the seriousness of needing her to wake up (she had to endure five minutes of verbal abuse that didn’t make much sense), she jerked up the hem of her tank top to the base of her neck and waited.

“Alexis?” Jeda said, in an icy, civil tone.

Confusion washed through Alexis. Jeda sounded more than a little pissed off. “Yeah?”

“Is this some kind of joke? You know I have to work in 2 hours, and I had barely been asleep for an hour and you…what? Come in here to show me the tattoos that I stayed up late to work on? What was it about this that couldn’t wait? You said it was important.”

Alexis twisted around on the bed to see Jeda’s face. She was serious. “You don’t see the wings.” Alexis made it more a statement than a question. Jeda’s jaw dropped.

Wings, Alexis? Are you serious?”

Jeda rubbed a palm over her face, her eyes puffy from lack of sleep. Continuing, she said, “You know what, don’t answer that. Please, let’s just talk about this tomorrow, okay? I really need to sleep. There are no wings, Lex. Nothing there but the same Polynesian tattoos that you’ve been going on about for weeks. Goodnight.” She threw herself down on the bed in a huff and then hesitated as Alexis stood up, flicking off the lamp on her way out.

“Lex? I’m sorry if I sounded bitchy, alright? You know I suck on no sleep.”

Alexis nodded, even though Jeda couldn’t see her. “I know,” she said to Jeda’s back. Walking back to her room she couldn’t help wondering if she was going insane. Then she wondered if that very thought made her sane. Her thoughts swirled around her head with wild abandon. She found what she thought she would when she got back to her room; the wings hadn’t changed one bit for her. But apparently she was the only one who could see them.


She wasn’t mad at Jeda, just disappointed that she didn’t have anyone to share this with. It wasn’t Jeda’s fault that she couldn’t see them. After realizing that she didn’t consider her sanity to be in question, Alexis became the tiniest bit excited.  Though she wouldn’t tell anyone this, Jeda included, she had firmly believed in magic when she was a little girl and would often sit bowls of milk out for the sprites at night. She thought if she believed hard enough, she’d be rewarded with seeing the faerie folk. There were all kinds of stories of them getting tangled up with humans. She still believed a tiny bit, but it had been relegated to a more adult part of her that treasured the idea but couldn’t quite make the leap to actual belief.

Father Donnelly had been listening to all of this with an intense, serious expression, but his lips quirked up at the edges at this part, no doubt amused by her admission. Sensing her hesitation to continue after talking for so long, the Father motioned that he was fine and for her to go on.

“There’s really not much more to say, Father,” she told him. “I started seeing Aleta’s name everywhere.” Once while getting lunch, she had sat down with a small mountain of peas on her tray. By the time she sat down, they had rearranged themselves into the name. Once it formed from the sparks rising from the bonfire, and appeared written in the fog of the mirror when she emerged from the shower.

She gave in and went to the community library and began poring through the books on both religion and meaning behind names. She was rather unsurprised to find that Aleta was a feminine name and meant “little winged one.”  The last of her resistance gave way at that find. She had a baby girl. She was already a mom, even if her baby wasn’t in her arms yet. She had to believe what her baby girl was trying to communicate to her; that she was special in some way that Alexis couldn’t explain. But she would find out. It was just a matter of finding someone who knew what was going on and could help her.

So she left, and was honest with the family on why. She told Jeda the night before, and thought that her friend had taken the news well and had been even supportive in a vague way. She thought that until she had woken with Jeda, Lisi, and several other members of the family that she was close to crowded around her bed in an “intervention,” begging her to see a doctor. Although they didn’t all say so, the look in their eyes was one of pity. Jeda bluntly told her that she needed to have her head checked.

Alexis had been angry before, but had never understood the term, “white-hot anger.” She did now. She felt like her blood was on fire. Sitting up in bed, she drug on the clothes that she’d laid out the night before, her movements stiff and jerky as her family continued to pepper her with questions of what she thought she was doing. Grabbing the bag she had packed, she walked out without a word.

She chuckled a little now. She had called and checked in a number of times since that night several weeks ago and was now within a few weeks of her scheduled delivery. The doctors at the free clinic said she was doing beautifully and encouraged her to keep up the walking that she was doing each day around the city.

Leaning back on the couch in the priest’s office, Alexis realized she’d been talking for longer than she intended. She smiled ruefully at Father Donnelly. “Sorry I took up so much of your time, Father, but that’s the gist of things. I just have to find whatever it is Aleta wants me to. I don’t suppose you have all the answers?”

Father Donnelly laughed. It was a deep, genuine, rich laugh that Alexis liked very much. It was a good laugh to belong in a place like this. “You have no idea how many times I’ve wished for that. Though I think having all those answers might come with more heartache than I’d like, too.”

Alexis nodded in resignation. Struggling to stand from the couch, she took the arm the Father offered and straightened her clothing. “Time to move on to the next one on the list,” she said, grinning at the priest. “Thank you for listening, Father.”

Alexis frowned. The priest was moving his mouth, but no words were coming out. That was just a weird thing to do. Maybe he was trying to get back at her for the angel story. He had a really off sense of humor. She was about to tell him so, but light brighter than any Alexis had ever seen began bursting out of every nook and cranny around her. It was streaming from between the wood planks of the floor, around the individual panes of glass in the windows, and was the brightest from the open door leading outside.

Alexis took a step towards the door in a state of shocked wonder and didn’t remember anything else.



“Call it, doctor.”

Doctor Andrews sighed as he stepped back from the operating table where he had been in the midst of performing CPR on the patient.

Glancing up on the wall, his eyes found the hateful clock that he dreaded having to see. It had been a feature in more than one of his nightmares. “Time of death, nineteen oh seven.”

Pulling his mask down, the doctor stripped his gloves off and threw them into the bin by the door in a fit of fury. The girl was what, 20? They had managed to save the child, which was some consolation, but telling the mother and friend of hers that the girl had been suffering from a stage 4 brain tumor that was further complicated by her pregnancy wasn’t a part of his job that he was looking forward to.

If she’d only come in earlier, it could likely have been excised with no further complications. This could have been avoided.

He scrubbed his face before grabbing the chart to remind himself of the patient’s name before he went in search of the family. Right, Alexis.



Father Christopher Donnelly snapped his morning paper open, indulging in the one cup of coffee per day that he allowed himself. He scanned the headlines for a moment before his eyes landed on one that caused his heart to stop for a moment, and then skip a beat before finally settling.

A young prodigy doctor thought that she had discovered a cure for cancer. It was still years away from approval for testing on humans, but it was showing marked success at shrinking tumors in mice.

Though it had been just over 20 years, Father Donnelly still remembered the young girl who had come to tell him that she was carrying an angel.

The newspaper listed the doctor’s name as Aleta.


The end


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