The angel looked around him and saw nothing but snow and leafless trees. She pulled her wings around her to keep warm. The snow was up to her ankles. It was a good thing she had worn her angel boots. In the distance, she saw what she was looking for. The child she had come to rescue. Slowly her feet moved step by step through the snow. She would have hurried but the snow held her. The girl must be freezing in this winterscape.
It seemed like it was a long time before the angel reached the girl. It wasn’t. But, when you are trying to hurry to save a child, it can be. The girl was lying in the snow and turning blue. That was not good. She was starting to fall asleep.
The angel picked the child up and held her in her arms. She wrapped her wings around the two of them. The child was still breathing but just barely. And her heart rate was slow.
Harriet was the angel’s name. She had performed rescue missions before. This one seemed to be different. Earlier she received her orders, and they said ASAP. That meant this one was special. Usually Harriet moved fast but this time she had moved lickety-split.
Slowly the child was warming up. Her eyes opened, and she smiled. “Mommy,” she said.
Harriet let her go with the illusion. It was best. This meant the child was not afraid. If Harriet decided to destroy her illusion, the little girl might start struggling and that was not good. “Yes, child,” Harriet said. “We’ll be okay. You can go back to sleep.”
The child snuggled up next to Harriet’s breasts. “Mommy,” she said. “Your heart is not beating.”
“It is. It’s just not loud like yours.”
The snow was getting deeper. It was up to Harriet’s knees. She would have flown, but in this cold weather, the wings would have frozen. It would take Harriet weeks to thaw them out. So slowly she trudged through the snow toward the building in the distance.
The child’s body was warm against Harriet. The blue had disappeared from her cheeks.
Harriet was starting to feel the cold at her back. With the wings wrapped around the child, her back was not as protected as it would have been otherwise. In her mind’s eye, she saw the future. Actually she saw two futures. One she was taking off without the child and heading to a warm climate. As soon as the wings reached the heavens, they would keep their warmth.
In the other future, her feet slowly made it to the building, getting slower and slower with each step. She reached the house and managed to pry the door open. Then she pushed the child inside. A woman took the child, and Harriet’s body froze.
That night a comet crossed the sky, a star died, and the sky cried with the sadness of the loss of another angel. It would take ten thousand years for Harriet’s replacement to come into being.