The Last Angel
"A Samuel Light Junior Story"
By John Pirillo
A fleeting star of light shot across the heavens. Then an explosion of light. Skies normal again.
"The Last Angel fell from the sky like a meteor."
"Where did it fall, Mom?"
"Very close by."
"As close as I."
Samuel snapped awake in his bed to the sound of the sparrows outside on the sprawling oak tree that stood outside, guarding the front of the home with its gnarly branches, coarse bark and flings of gold and brown leaves that would snow on the front porch and sometimes drift into his room when the window was open as now.
He propped himself up on his elbows and listened. Babies.
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
Mommies flitting their gray and dapper brown wings through rushes of leaves, branches and twigs to settle into their nests, dropping worms, lady bugs, flies and other assorted delicacies into the open beaks of their hungry children. It was a festival of life and it made him feel secure as he lay there, ruminating about the day ahead.
The noises lessened as the peepers quieted, satiated from their feed.
The sun peered across the windowsill, casting lines of gold and red on the back wall and his closet where the Knight of Knights lived. Something he hadn't seen in awhile, and was happy enough he hadn't. His life was crazy, mixed up in so many ways these days, and it wasn't getting any less.
He finally resisted the urge to go back to sleep. It had been a rough week at school, what with the baseball practice, and the kids who always seemed to have some kind of drama king or queen thing going on.
He remembered a night ago when he spoke with his Mom about it.
"Honey, everyone's adjusting to the miracle of life bursting into living color inside their bodies."
"Not what my science teacher says. He calls it hormone explosions and sometimes other things when he thinks I can't hear him."
She burst into laughter. "I imagine he does. You're not like the other kids, Sammie. You're normal. You're the way they all should be, but instead most are just gradations of normal."
"Why? Why am I so special?"
She smiled. "Someday you'll understand. Now, you just need to get to bed."
She had scooted him upstairs and he had slipped from his robe into his bed. She had tucked him in, even though he was too old for it now, and he had smiled at her.
"Don't ever leave me."
She gave him an odd look, and then smiled. "I would never do that, my little angel."
He gave her a quick hug and kiss, rolled over on his bed, and fell into a deep and peaceful sleep.
Samuel got up, stretched, and then closed his window. It was Saturday. His mom worked at a different place sometimes on Saturdays. "We need the extra money now that..."
She would always stop before saying his dad's name, and then change the topic.
He smiled. He read between the lines with her, as well as she did with him.
One day she had grabbed him by his shoulders. "That's not fair, Samuel, you read me like a book!"
"Even Steven!" He had told her.
She laughed. "Balances for sure." Then gave him a quick hug and went about her chores on that day.
Samuel looked out his window and noticed that new people were moving into the empty house across the way. He saw the truck back up into the drive; some men jump out, dressed in strange uniforms, and then began hauling crates from the back of the truck and bringing them inside.
"That's strange." He mused. "No one packs their stuff in crates!"
He grabbed his cell and flicked Jimbo's number.
"Oh hell, what do you want now?" Jimbo snarled and then hung up.
Samuel counted to ten, and then dialed again.
"Sammie, I hate your guts. Go to bed!"
The phone went dead again.
Samuel waited for twenty seconds this time, and then dialed yet again.
Samuel sat on the edge of his bed.
"You won't believe the kind of neighbors we got moving next door."
Jimbo and Samuel sat on the front porch of his home, sipping Pepsis and eating chips, while they watched the strange men unpack the truck.
Jimbo finished his chips, crumpled the back and then tossed it over his left shoulder, landing it expertly in a trash can there. "Got any more?"
"All that salt will make you fat." Samuel protested.
Jimbo swatted his stomach, which stuck out a bit. "Too late."
Samuel grinned, stepped back inside and brought out the rest of the pack of chips. He and Jimbo polished them off, watching the new people's stuff being moved in.
"Think they're nice?" Jimbo asked, finishing off the last bag.
Jimbo eyed Samuel. "Maybe we'll get a vampire moving in, or a zombie, or a werewolf!"
"No such things."
"Yeah, then what the hell were those things we had to knock off last Halloween?"
Samuel paused, refreshing his memory. "Mistakes."
Jimbo gave him a blank look.
Samuel explained. "Sometimes people cross over and they accumulate so much negativity that they change their shape. That's what you saw."
"I don't see dead people. You do."
"Sometimes." On Jimbo's look. "Well, most of the time." On Jimbo's look. "Okay. I see them all the time. So?"
"So how come I saw them then?"
Samuel shrugged. "Maybe somebody up there...? He nudged his glance upwards.
Jimbo slugged him on his arm. "No angel poking me in the gut to see things, Mister Light."
Then a huge limousine pulled up across the street. A very, very tall man got out. He was wearing all white, and a pair of very, very thick sunglasses so you couldn't see his eyes. He opened up the back and a couple got out, then several kids. They all wore pure white and sunglasses.
"Vampires!" Jimbo drawled. "I knew it!"
Samuel shook his head. "They got shadows."
Jimbo looked at the pavement and sure enough they did. "Maybe they're Jewish."
Samuel barked with laughter.
The new neighbors noticed them for the first time seated on the front porch, watching them. None of them waved.
"Nope." Samuel said.
"How do you know that?"
Samuel turned to his right where Al was seated on the porch railing, playing with a butterfly, which kept trying to land on his finger, but kept passing through. Al looked up and shook his head.
"Let's just say a little birdie told me."
Jimbo scowled. "Old Man Genius again?"
"He doesn't like being called that." Samuel scalded Jimbo.
"Tough." Jimbo groused.
The new neighbors went inside their home. The delivery truck was shut up and the delivery men went inside too.
"Now that is strange." Samuel said.
"Vampires." Samuel finished.
Samuel and Jimbo met again the next morning. The time when vampires usually sleep long and deep. The delivery truck was still there. Samuel had tried to bring it up with his Mom, but she was tired and cranky. She had worked hard and forgot her lunch. So instead, she went to bed.
Jimbo stayed overnight in the sleeping bag Samuel kept for him. They talked for hours about all the strange things they'd seen so far...ghosts, aliens, monsters, and vanishing teens. You name it. Indiana Jones had nothing on them.
"I don't like this. Too quiet." Jimbo said as they slipped across the street and went across the yard, heading to the back.
Samuel shushed him and they stopped before an open cellar door. There were fresh footprints descending into it.
Jimbo gave Samuel that "I told you so," look.
Samuel shrugged. He pulled out his pocket flash and stepped down the stairs, one step at a time. Jimbo followed. When they reached the bottom, he swept the light across the black void, revealing a washing machine, a dryer, a water heater, a sink and about ten pairs of old shoes.
"I recognize those." Jimbo drawled. "Old Hank's."
"Yeah." He must have forgotten them when he moved.
"No vamps." Jimbo said with disappointment coloring his voice.
Samuel pointed the light at a door in the back, from under which a faint green glow emitted. He stepped in that direction. Jimbo stopped him. "What if they're alien vampires?"
"Then I guess we'll just have to deal with it."
Samuel went to the opposite door and tried the knob. It swung open so loudly, its hinges creaking and groaning, he was sure the neighbors upstairs would hear. They both froze, afraid to move further, but nothing happened. Then they went inside.
The floor was a soft radiant green. Ahead of them was a cylinder about six feet high and six feet long. It appeared to be anchored into the floor. Two windows looked out from its near side, each glowing soft green like the floor.
"Aliens!" Jimbo said with awe
Samuel went to the cylinder and looked inside. The hair on the back of his neck stood up straight and began tingling horribly.
Inside were the two adults, the two children and the two drivers, all sleeping on cots like they had died there, arms folded across their chests. At the same time the door into the basement made a creaking sound.
Both boys sprinted for the stairs, spooked by the sound, barely making it through the door, before it slammed shut, then before their eyes began to seal itself and vanish into the structure of the home.
They both stood back, afraid of what they were seeing, no understanding of all what was happening, and then the home began to shake and tremble. They ran for the front, just as the truck backed out of the drive, with no one in its front, and drove off.
They back to look at the home and it was shaking so fast now, it was almost in visible, then a loud sucking sound popped and they were both grabbed by something that felt like a gigantic hand and pulled towards the home. Before they could reach it, the home vanished with a loud crunching sound, and they feel onto a plot of dirt and gravel. Nothing was left of the home or its substructure.
They picked themselves up and ran back to Samuel's home and phoned the police.
When the police arrived, they explained what they had seen. The policeman smiled and shook his head. "Samuel, you're such a jokester."
The Policeman turned and pointed to the home that was now back in its usual spot.
The Policeman flipped his notebook shut, and then clamped a hand on Samuel's shoulder. "I knew your dad. He was quite a prankster too. But he was a good man. A very, very good man."
The Policeman's eyes grew soft and moist for a moment, then he chucked Samuel under the chin gently and went back to his car, climbed in, turned off the overhead flickering red and green lights, and drove off.
Jimbo stared at the home across the street a long time. "Aliens."
Samuel said nothing. His mind was on what he had been told. Someone knew his father. Something special. He wiped at his eyes, which were wetting. Jimbo saw him. "Aw come on, partner, it can't hurt that much to be wrong!"
Samuel burst into laughter and went inside. "Mom left some cake for us this morning."
Jimbo rubbed his stomach. "Cake, here we come!"
The front door slammed shut.
Across the street the very, very tall man stepped outside, and stood a long time staring at Samuel's home, then went back inside.
The Last Angel hovered over Samuel's Mom, his eyes wide with love and compassion. She was sleeping, but when he moved closer, she stirred and opened her eyes.
"Who are you?"
"The Last Angel."
"An angel. A real angel?"
It smiled at her, its face warm with kindness and sincerity. "But you will name me otherwise."
"What will I call you?"