The Angels of Mark Collins~A Short Story~Part-2
Donna Collins called me that evening proclaiming me to be a miracle worker. Mark had miraculously recovered. I tried to sound surprised although I was still recovering from my own recently acquired malaise. Thankfully my wife had been out shopping when I returned from the hospital.
“That’s great Donna!”, I said trying to sound surprised.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways doesn’t He David?”, she said. Her joy and relief were palpable. If she only knew how truly mysterious this whole thing really was.
“That He does Donna, that He does.” It was an idiot’s answer because I felt like an idiot as soon as I said it.
“Suddenly, he just woke up…and he was hungry. Can you believe that?”
“Hungry?”, It seemed a weird way to wake up from a coma but, of course, the whole thing was weird on several levels. “Well no or, or yes I guess. I’m just thankful he’s okay.”
“Doctors say he’s fit as a fiddle. It’s a miracle! He’s coming home tomorrow! Can you believe that? Isn’t that great!”, she yelled into the phone sounding like a teenager at a rock concert.
“Wow, that’s great!”, I yelled back with a forced over enthusiasm. I was dreading the task ahead.
“He said he wants to see you soon so he can thank you personally!” Oh yeah that was just great alright.
“That’s great Donna, I look forward to it!”, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach which had already been through enough for one day.
“I’ll call you tomorrow! He’ll call you tomorrow! Yes, he’ll call you tomorrow!”, she yelled into the phone to the point that I had to hold it away from my ear.
“That’ll be fine.”, I said. I was losing my ability for false excitement.
“And David thank you so very much. You don’t know how much we both appreciate what you’ve done.”, she sounded like she was calming down a bit.
“Please Donna, don’t. I didn’t do anything, really. It was God’s work, I’m just His messenger.” OR NOT! For the love of God woman!
“Okay Reverend, we’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.”
I let out an unconscious yowl that sent my wife Jody sprinting up the steps
“What in the world?”, she yelled. “What in the world is wrong? Who was that on the phone? Oh no, don’t tell me it’s Mark Collins.”, she said clapping her hand over her mouth as tears began to well up in her eyes.
“No relax! Mark’s fine.”
“Thank God!”, she said and with that she started her characteristic flapping of the hands fanning her face. She’s very animated my wife.
“That was Donna. He woke up. He’s fine. He woke up hungry.”
“Hungry? Well that figures. He hasn’t eaten anything in about a week.”, she said with hands now on hips.
“She’s thanking me for coming to see him and says it’s a miracle and all and…”
“Don’t scoff.” she says pointing her finger.
“I’m not scoffing! It’s just that now he wants to thank me in person and…” I’ve got to give him a message from an angel or God and well you know it might be kind of difficult. ”…I don’t know it might be a little uncomfortable that’s all.”
“Now David”, she takes my hands, “you are a man of God you know. That’s the reason I married you.”, she kisses me. I do love this woman. “You’re His public relations man right?”
“Right.”, I kiss her forehead.
“You’ll know just the right thing to say.” and with that a hug.
“I certainly hope so honey.” God I hope she’s right.
“I know you and I know you’re not feeling well. I knew it as soon as I came home from the store.”, she feels my head then looks me in the eyes, “Am I right?”
“Well, I have been feeling a little run down.” Seeing angels explode into fiery balls will do that to you.
“You hardly touched your dinner.”
“Upset stomach is all.”, I said but knew it was probably due to all the crying, vomiting and emotional and spiritual trauma.
“I want you to drink a glass of orange juice and get into bed. The flu has been going around and I think you’re starting to get it. I want you to drink 2-glasses of orange juice a day mister. Orange juice has vitamin C and that’s what fights off the flu and we don’t want anything happening to you like what happened to Mark Collins.”, she says, hands on hips once again.
“I’m with you all the way honey.”, I said with a smile.
As she marched off into the kitchen to get my orange juice I realized how much I love the way she’s always loved and cared for me. Through all my aches, my pains, my trials and tribulations, she’s been right there with me every step of the way. Onward Christian Soldiers indeed. Now, in the wake of this unbelievable monumental event, I’d have to leave her in the dark, and it hurt. She says she knows me and she does or did, the way I was before but I also know her and although she is the love of my life, I know she would never be able to fathom the events I had witnessed at the hospital if I were to tell her. I now found myself in a league with a man I barely knew, if he was even a man at all. What kind of gifts did he have? Why did God take them away? What was this guy like Moses or something? I didn’t know. These questions and events were definitely not for the likes of my sweet Jody or me for that matter. God never gives you more than what you can handle so says Corinthians-1/ 10:13. Well I guess I’m handling it. The coming day would surely tell to what extent I could handle it. That night I drank my juice and slept like the dead.
I got up later than I wanted to Thursday morning. I must have been drained when I went to bed. As I got out of bed I tried to imagine the events of the previous afternoon just a dream, but then I was never any good at lying to myself. Jody was already at work but she had made coffee and left me a large glass of orange juice on the table in the kitchen. From the time I was in seminary I have made it a habit to pray before breakfast. I slugged down the orange juice, poured myself a cup of coffee and retreated into my little study off the living room where I always said my morning prayers. I usually prayed for guidance, read the Bible and prayed for those who had requests or those who I thought needed them. The room was cozy. Floor to ceiling walnut bookcases covered the wall behind my desk and they were packed to the brim. Every time I look at the bookcases I can still see Bob Kline installing them 12-years ago. He’s passed away now but man, what a craftsman. He was more of an artist than anything else but always referred to himself as “…just a carpenter like Joseph.” In front of the window there is a prayer bench that was given to me by Mike Hellum or Father Hellum as he was known over at St. Anne’s. He called it a “kneeler”. He used to say, “You’ve gotta kneel before you can heal. Right Dave?” and his famous, “I’m a Hellum a man.” He was one Hellum a man and the best friend I’d ever had. God I miss him so much. Cancer took him about 5-years ago and it broke my heart. I wouldn’t have had any reservations about telling him everything. I knelt down on Mike’s kneeler like I did every day and for the first time in my life I was absolutely sure that everything I said was being heard. When I opened my study door, as if on cue, my cell phone rang. It was Mark Collins.
“Mark, how are you?”, I said.
“I think the real question might be how are you doing?”
“I’m fine.”, It was all I could manage.
“You didn’t look too fine when you bolted out of that room yesterday.”
“I, I, don’t…”
“Listen because I don’t have a whole lot of time here. I’m home. Donna’s right downstairs and she’ll be up here any minute to check on me. We’ve got to meet, you and me and I mean alone, so we can talk.”
“I understand.”, I managed.
“Here’s how it’s going to go down. You show up here to check in on me and I mean like NOW. When you get here after a little chit chat I’m going to say the only thing in the world I really have a craving for is a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. You say you’d be glad to go get me one and I ask if I can ride along since I’m not allowed to drive till they do some more tests on me. You got it?”, he blurted.
“Yes. I think so.”, I said nervously.
“Repeat it back to me.”
“What do…”, I stammered.
“Repeat back to me what I just said!”, he commanded, agitated.
I repeated back the instructions.
“Great.”, he said in a completely different voice. Cheerful and calm this time. Donna must have come in. “Well that would be just fine. Goodbye Reverend.”, the phone clicked dead.
We played out the scenario like Mark had instructed. Donna was a little apprehensive about letting him go but he played it off like a pro. I suspected he was a practiced actor.
“Freaked your total mind out yesterday didn’t it?”, he said after we had pulled out of the driveway.
“You have no idea.”
“Actually I really don’t and I would say I’m sorry but to tell you the truth I’m happy about it.”, he said
“I’m happy I’m ecstatic! I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry I was short on the phone but I knew I didn’t have much time is all. Thank You, thank You God! You don’t know what this means to me.”
“You were awake yesterday? You saw what was happening?”, I asked him.
“I saw the whole thing but I wasn’t exactly what you’d call awake or conscious or…Let’s just say I saw the whole thing. What did you think of her?”
“The angel?”, I guess it was a stupid question.
“Her name is Emm. Is she awesome or what?”, he asked again.
“I suppose she is but I didn’t get a real good look at her. I was so scared. I remember the eyes…”, I said remembering how frightening they were.
“Well at least you know there’s a God now, right? Ha, ha. At least you know that. You’re happy about that anyway, right?”, he said laughing.
“Well yes. Yes I am.”, I said and I was. I really was! I realized I was very happy.
“Well let’s get a cup of coffee and let’s be happy. Let’s celebrate your new found faith and my new found confidante.”, he said.
I remembered the message.
“Emm wasn’t the only angel I saw yesterday.”, I blurted.
His mood quickly changed from joyful to alarmed.
“There was another one in my car after I ran out.”, I explained. “It appeared to be a little child and he asked me to give you a message.”
“Wait a minute. What? What message?”, he seemed upset and concerned.
“He told me to tell you that your gifts had been reinstated.”, I told him.
“What?”, he appeared shocked.
“He told me to tell you your gifts were returned without restrictions this time.”, I said.
We sat there for a few minutes, silent. A car passed us and the irritated driver shot us the finger. Mark appeared not to notice instead he was staring at his hands.
“What does it mean Mark? What are your gifts?”, I said as I pushed the 4-way flashers.
“You know David,” he said still looking at his hands, “uh, let’s just say, you’ll find out soon enough about my so called gifts. I really don’t know you well enough yet and I don’t want to freak your mind out any more than it’s already been freaked. You’ve had a rude awakening. Okay?”
“Okay.”, I replied.
He quickly regained his composure and I clicked off the 4-ways and resumed driving.
“Imagine how the world would react if an alien space ship were to land in front of the white house.”
“These things were aliens?”
“Depends on your definition of alien. They are not of this world that’s for sure. They are from another dimension, heaven if you want.”, he said.
“If they’re not angels then what are they?”, I asked bewildered.
“Personally, I’ve always thought of them as angels but the word angel is a subjective term. You didn’t see any wings on them did you? No halos?”
“No. They looked human.”
“One important thing to remember is this; they are not human and that was no little child you saw in your car. His name is Von and he’s looked like that since I first saw him when I was 5-years old.”
“You’ve seen these angels since you were 5-years old?”, I asked in amazement.
“They’ve been with me all my life. You wouldn’t believe what I have seen over the years. The only thing I can’t figure is how you fit into all of this but, my friend, you’re in it now. You know what?”
“What?”, I asked.
“I’m damned glad to have you.”, he said smiling. “I’ve been the Lone Ranger out here. I guess that makes you Tonto.”
We drove the short distance to the coffee shop and went through the drive-thru. As we sat in the parking lot drinking our coffee Mark revealed to me how he had grown up with the angels and how Emm had saved his life twice. He figured she might even be his guardian angel. He told me how Von had shown him how to use his gifts when he was a child but still wouldn’t elaborate on what they were or why or when they were taken away.
“You’ve got one hell of an education coming Dave. I can call you Dave can’t I?”, he asked.
I assured him it was fine.
“You know all that stuff they taught you in the seminary?, he asked.
“Well let me put it into math terms. The stuff you learned in the seminary was counting on your fingers. This, this is quantum physics Dave. This is infinitely more complex than anything you or any other human has the intellect to imagine and that includes me.”
What I really wanted to know was why. Why had the angels revealed themselves to me? Why now?
“Why is something we don’t get down here Dave. I guess that info. is on a need to know basis and we’re not in the loop so to speak. Personally I don’t want to know. I know too much already. The only thing we, or till now I deal with is the what and the when and that’s all.”
“The what and the when about what Mark?”, I asked confused.
A collection of short stories from four authors and friends, specializing in different genres and styles, who have come together to form the Wednesday Night Writing Group.