Angel Be GoodBy: Kathy Carmichael
I'd like to convey my deep sense of gratitude to Teresa Kanago, who held my hand while I wrote this story; my son, Andrew, who came up with a solution to a tough plot problem; Ross Bennett, computer geek god, who, in memory of Chloe, performed all things techno to make this book a reality; and to Sharyn Cerniglia, who generously donated her editorial services in memory of her beloved Golden Retriever, Cassie.
I'm extremely thankful for having wonderful people like you in my life. Thank you.
Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
~ A Commendatory Prayer, Rossiter Worthington Raymond
"I told you I'm not supposed to be dead," said Daphne as she ruffled the itchy white feathers now adorning her back. It wasn't enough that they took her life prematurely, they had to torture her with bulky wings, a gown made of gauze so thin she'd catch her death, and too-tight golden slippers.
"I'm afraid the Angelic Council made a slight miscalculation," said Leonard soothingly.
"So, what is the Angelic Council going to do about it?" Although she was thoroughly angry, she held her punches. Leonard wasn't anything like her previous conception of an angel.
Leonard was tall, only slightly bent, and gaunt enough to be blown away by the slightest gust of wind. His face was creased, aged, yet his bright blue eyes shone with childlike benevolence and love. Even if he weren't an angel, she'd never be able to be truly furious with someone like him. Perhaps that was why the Angelic Council had sent him? He'd said it wasn't his usual heavenly job.
"Yeah. I want to go back. I had plans, plans to fall in love, marry and have kids. And thanks to this miscalculation, I'm not going to have a full complete life? I don't think so. Unless there's a fellow for me up here in heaven?"
"Oh my, oh my, oh my." Leonard was in an absolute dither. Although Daphne had never actually used the word before, she recognized it when someone did it. Leonard dithered. "We can't have that."
"I was afraid it'd be out of the question." She was losing all patience. "Look, Leonard, the Council made a mistake. Tell them to fix it. I'm entitled to be sent back."
"I'll see what I can do." Leonard smiled and patted her arm. "Never worry. You're in heaven. Everyone is happy here. Once your angelic status is finalized, I'm sure you'll find everything most satisfactory."
"Leonard, I know you mean well, but I'm not happy and I won't be happy unless I get my life back. I'm not ready to be an angel. I told you, I want a full and complete life. I want to experience romantic love. Just because I stepped between a lieutenant and the shrapnel he deserved, I can see no reason to punish me for it, all because the Council didn't expect it. I want my life!"
"Becalm yourself, Daphne. How was the Council to know you'd interfere and risk your life for that lieutenant?"
It was everything Daphne could do not to yank the poor messenger by his heavenly robes. "Because that's the kind of woman I am and you'd think heaven would know that. What kind of heaven is this if the angels don't know the mortals they're supposed to be helping?"
Leonard's eyes dropped with remorse. "I'll consult the Council."
"Please, do that. And, Leonard?" Daphne fluttered her lashes, remembering belatedly that honey draws the most flies. "While you're at it, I know if you put your wonderful mind to it, you'd be able to procure me some cream for this rash. These da . . . er, dratted feathers are killing me."
"I'll do my humble best."
"Thank you." He seemed inclined to stick around. She waved her arms. "Scram!"
In less time than it took her to completely survey the pearly gates, Leonard returned with a beaming smile on his aged face.
"Good news, child."
She breathed a sigh of relief. She'd almost panicked wondering what the Post's hardest-hitting ace reporter could find to keep herself busy up here in all these clouds. "They're sending me back?"
"Oh, yes. You don't know how fortunate you are. There have only been two previous cases I can recollect . . . and with each of them," he lowered his voice to a whisper, "there were extenuating circumstances."