Essie McBane dropped the basket of eggs she’d collected from the hen house and stood stunned, staring at the bloody heap of feathers. “What in the world?”
Behind her, Marcus launched his usual protective barking.
“You hush now,” she ordered the terrier, leaning nearer to peer at the being crumpled on the ground a few feet away.
Already blood soaked the rocky ground. Little spatters trickled off the toes of her shoes mixing with the mess of broken egg shells, yolks and whites dripping from the basket.
“If it ain’t dead, Marcus, it’s going to bleed to death pretty quick.”
Yet she didn’t move. Neither did the body. Of course that fall would kill anything.
Horrified, she watched blood ooze from beneath one huge wing, pebbles and twigs tangled in the feathers. Strange, she didn’t smell the flat, irony scent of blood. The other wing hid most of the body except for a pair of long, naked legs and one muscled forearm with a jagged slash from wrist to elbow. A crusty wound the size of a quarter marred one of those fine calves.
It’s an angel!
Though she hadn’t seen the inside of a church in years, Essie McBane believed in angels. She just didn’t expect to have one thump down in the chicken yard.
Marcus barked, minced a step and retreated, whining. Pulse racing, Essie stared at the angel. A moan leaked from beneath the luminescent wing. The muscled legs twitched. She swallowed hard, biting her lip. The bloody wing stirred, the other unfurling to reveal more than naked legs.
Oh my, the boy isn’t wearing underwear.
His body was exquisite—broad chest, flat stomach, big equipment sculpted perfect. But then the sculptor had been the Creator himself.
Blood stained the hair at his temple, dying the chestnut curls muddy black. His eyes rolled open, and they were the color of a mountain sunset. Essie’s breath caught in her throat. Her heart clunked past a beat. She felt rude staring, but couldn’t, for the life of her, tear her gaze from those amazing eyes. Wings spread behind him, he struggled to a sitting position, ran his hand over the gash on his forehead. His fingers came away bloody.
She made some soft, senseless sound, and he focused on her, squinting as if he couldn’t quite see her.
“Are you okay?” Stupid question.
Flaring his wings, he levered to his feet. Dirt and blood stained his face. He was ghastly pale. Unable to move or to speak, Essie gaped at the most perfect being she’d ever seen. He looked like a warrior angel from the Bible, his armor resembling an ancient Roman soldier’s. Gore smeared the brown leather breastplate studded with gold. Feeble light escaped a cut across his stomach. The bluish-white glow curled like smoke in the autumn air and evaporated like mist.
A shiver crawled down her spine. Did angels bleed light?