"You know...you remind me of my father..." There was something heartbreaking in those eyes.
I dropped the spray-paint can and backed away. People used to being followed have this presence and it was there, hard and hot. Some eyes have a predatory vibe. Others have a sort of military focus that's just too laser-lined and weathered down to be human. Cops can be both.
"Hey, now. No need to be afraid." The stranger in the hood and the coat with the blue diamond patch was neither. The power was fluid. Easy. Like a wolf that wasn't hungry. The voice was soft, but so strong. Like mothers singing low in the dark, or how hermano used to read to me. "I only want to know - why did you make this?" He pointed to the rebel art bleeding above us.
A beauty, kneeling and serene. Burning, with golden tears. Armed, but without anger in her fingers. Something in it compelled the stranger to touch it, staining fingers fire-red. "Why this?"
I looked down and away. Some people don't know how to hide from strangers. It's not fair. It's ugly and uncomfortable. This nobody was hurting something bad, that much was obvious. They didn't know or care enough to be hard.
Me? I'd been hard for so long, I could only let my secrets out in code, in illegal colors. My work.
"She's my angel," I forced myself to answer. I squared off, ready. Like I was protecting her.
The stranger's eyes flicked back down at my words - ice blue and way too bright. I took a step back, but they caught me before I could stumble and smudge my own work.
"What is it?" I demanded. The stranger shrugged. Under the hood, all I could make out were those crazy neon eyes, the slick ends of dark, kinky curls, and the cherry end of an e-cigarette.
"She..." A faint chuckled interrupted. "Was my angel, too. But she looked different. Maybe its' because I'm not Catholic. Come on. I'll buy you a sandwich, introduce you to a friend." A brief pause. "Well, an acquaintance with gold and silver to burn. Our angel ought to last, and it's a sin-" A wince. "No, just a shame, that persecuted art isn't remembered. Those colors speak truth."
The darkness bled away as the Franks tower and a once-dim, once-dead city came back to life. The bright blue eyes closed. The soft smile, lit false-fire red, seemed to glow. "My father was an artist, you see. You remind me of him. Sad, stubborn eyes... Let's make sure that art survives."
I should have backed away. I should have run. But there's something about a body left so bare, even through those heavy clothes. "Y...yeah, sure. Yeah, okay, whatever. Just lemme add wings."
"Wings?" There was a long, sad sigh, a smothered laugh. "Angels don't have those kind of wings."
"What kind they got, then?" I asked, crossing my arms. Everybody's an amateur art critic.
The stranger just turned away from my work. Had a strong back, too, but the shoulders sagged.
"They've got you, Noel. And before you ask-" I'd almost backed into the paint. "You tagged it."
He pointed. Oh. The sandwich was good. Still, no reuben sure as hell is worth what came next.
Hell. Literally. And I'm not talking white-girl literal. Nah, shit got Revelations real, real quick.
Prompt: A celestial Anonymous asked me:
Not all millennial heroes will be human or even modern. We love to reinvent the classics. Isn't that right, Hiddles and Co.? Some of the greatest stories in literature are reboots, after all.
(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, feedback, questions, and always more!