Angels in Real Life

An Angel on EarthAre there angels in real life?

It’s easy to think of them almost like they belong to the realm of fiction. Even if we think they exist, we tend to keep them separate from reality and assume they don’t visit us here on Earth. But every once in a while there’s a story that makes us wonder.

One such story in my family has been told to me since I was a child, and it’s especially dear to me because it’s my story. My parents swear that it is true.

I have Cerebral Palsy, a blanket term for conditions caused by injury to parts of the brain that control physical movement and motor function. It is acquired before or during birth and can be caused by a variety of things. In my case, it was acquired when my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck in the womb and strangled me, cutting off the flow of oxygen to my brain and thus causing my brain cells to die.

And not just my brain cells. The story is that as a result of this event, I actually died myself. When I came into the world, I had no heart beat and wasn’t breathing. I was immediately ripped away from my mother as the doctors tried to resuscitate me. They say I was dead for eight minutes before they got me breathing again. However, there’s no way of knowing how long I was dead before I came out. The doctors told my parents I wouldn’t survive the night.

While my parents were at the hospital, they were approached by a woman at the elevators. She was not one of the hospital staff, and they had never seen her before. Yet, she had a strange omniscient knowledge of me. She said to them,

“These people are very worried about their daughter. And they should be.”

Then she said, “God’s hand is strongest when people pray in numbers. Come, let us pray now.”

Then she took their hands and prayed for my life.

I’ve asked my parents what they were thinking when they initially saw her. My mother says she knew she was an angel from the first moment. My father says he thought she was from the psych ward at first (lol!) but after the encounter he knew he’d been divinely touched.

For the longest time when they told the story my parents would say she then “disappeared,” and I thought they meant that she walked away out of sight, but in later years they clarified that no, they literally saw her vanish into thin air at this point.

Obviously I survived the night because you wouldn’t be reading this if I didn’t. Then the doctors said I wouldn’t survive another night, and then they said no more than a few days, but I survived, and survived, and survived. Then they said I might live, but I’d have very little cognitive ability and would require constant care for the rest of my life. But that didn’t happen either.

Even so, by the second day the hospital staff were already calling me a miracle baby. I was in incubation for 16 days before my mom was allowed to take me home.

My disability affects all four of my limbs and my speech. The loss of brain cells controlling movement causes the nerves to misfire, which causes twitching and restricts certain movements in my limbs and mouth, so I can’t physically make all the mouth movements to produce all the sounds that normal people can make, and this is what causes my impediment. It’s a purely physical disability, but it’s often mistaken for a mental one.

Over the course of my life, I’ve made miraculous improvement and now live close to a normal life. The fact that I have the disability has psychological and emotional consequences, but they are consequences of having the disability and not from the disability itself. But these are just extra challenges of the disability I have to overcome.

This is a story that pushes me to have faith even in the darkest points of my life. It brings up all manner of questions I may never know the answer to, like why was I saved when so many other babies are lost? And what’s with the dramatics, with the angel and all that? Even the exact words she said scream otherworldly. Isn’t God usually a little more subtle? I’m a fantasy writer after all, so it’s my job to think deeply about things like this. It brings me a bit of comfort to think that even though I received a disability that night which I view as a curse, in the same night I was also given a great blessing: a chance to live.

Do people have predefined destinies, or not? Is there a reason I was saved that night, or is it beyond reason? I remember as a kid I used to think about whether I would go to heaven when I died, and if I would be able to meet the angel that came to save me that day. It’s a crazy thing to think about, but it’s also kind of fun to wonder what she’d be like.

Let me know what you think, or if you’ve ever had a strange experience like this. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Until next time!

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Character Interview: Dante

I gulp nervously as I approach the mansion doors and knock, my knapsack slung over one shoulder and a notebook in the other hand.

The doors open a moment later and a lady servant greets me, “You’re the Author? Lord Dante is expecting you. Come in.”

The Author? Yes, I’m the Author. It sounds so powerful when it’s said that way though, it’s almost creepy. It reminds me of one of the later seasons of the television series Once Upon A Time.

I am led inside a dusty old mansion with creaky wooden floors. I follow the woman down a hallway and until she stops at a room with regal wooden double doors, knocking before she opens one of them to pop her head inside.

“The Author is here, my lord,” She informed him before allowing me inside.

Dante looks up from his paperwork, seemingly annoyed at the interruption, but he extends an invitation all the same, “Come in.”

Dante sits behind a desk, gesturing me to come in. His red eyes fix on me, almost seeming to glow in the dim light of the room, and I was surprised at how intimidating they were, like a sudden pressure had just filled up the room.

“Don’t give me that look!” I scold him as I move further into the room, “I created you, you know. And did you forget we had an interview scheduled?”

Dante releases an agitated breath and leans back in his chair, his full attention on me now as he fakes a perfect smile, “’Course not. Have a seat.”

“Well,” I start, but all I can do is nod, “Good then.”

I do as he says and take a seat in one of the two leather-covered chairs in front of Dante’s desk. My eyes slide over the documents scattered on the desk in front of him. Underneath a desk lamp sitting on the corner is a copy of The Wicked Lands.

“So you have some questions for me?” Dante’s voice pulls my attention back to him as he gets straight to the point, “Let’s get this over with.”

“Don’t be in such a rush,” I tell him as I look down at my notepad, deciding to start with an easy one, “Hmm, okay. When’s your birthday?”

He crosses his arms in his leathery high-back office chair as he answers easily, “October 30th.”

“The day before Halloween. And you’re a Scorpio,” I point out, thinking for a moment as I shuffle in my seat, “What were you doing before our story began?”

Dante leans forward, placing his arms on his desk as he answers, “I was a hired hand. Having given up and resigned myself to the desolation of the Wicked Lands, I simply wanted to make enough money to live as well as I could. I took odd jobs from any lord who wanted to hire me, sometimes working as a spy or scouting out other territories.”

“Alright,” I nodded, glancing back over my notes for another question, “Okay, harder one now. What’s it like being the only demon in the Wicked Lands that doesn’t need to possess someone?”

“Annoying,” He says with a growl, quickly as though he’s considered the concept before, his eyes narrowing, “Everywhere I go, I get stared at all the time, as though they never saw a demon before. I can’t go anywhere without drawing attention to myself. Guess I’ve got you to thank for that.”

I couldn’t help but feel a little bit guilty hearing that. Being disabled, I knew the feeling all too well.

Cringing under his intense gaze, I apologize nervously, “Oops, sorry. It was necessary for the plot, though.”

Dante glances at the ceiling as he pulls away from his desk and leans back in his chair, “Ah, well. Let them stare. What do I care?”

“Are you sure they’re staring at you because you’re a demon?” I suggest, wondering what Dante will think as I shrug offhandedly, “Maybe they’re just, y’know, staring at you.”

“Why would they?” He doesn’t seem to understand the remark, and I have to laugh internally.

How can he not know how pretty he is? I can’t resist the urge to comment, “Your demonic appearance makes you a little self-conscious, doesn’t it?”

“I’m not self-conscious!” He refutes a little too quickly, but then he relaxes again, attempting to recover with, “It’s just a pain in the ass to stand out all the time.”

“Don’t you appreciate the attention from all the lovely ladies out there?” I ask him, leading into my next question, “What kind of women do you like? Any particular qualities that attract you?”

“Eh? Me?” He seems a little taken off guard by the question, but thinks for a moment, “Kindness. Compassion. A sense of justice. Everything I wish I could be but can’t as long as I’m a demon and a lord. So basically nobody in the Wicked Lands, which is just my luck.”

It’s kind of funny hearing that kind of response from someone who looks like he does, and I can’t help but laugh a little before prompting him with a follow-up question, “Any particular physical characteristics you find attractive?”

“I find most women have their own physical charm. There are so many attractive traits. I always find something I like about a woman I meet,” He put his hands together, and his eyes glazing over attractively for just a moment before they snap back to me and he finishes, “But if I had to say, I guess I like full, red lips. And pretty eyes. Does that satisfy you?”

I narrow my eyes slyly before I nod, “For now. Okay, last one. How far are you really willing to go to get what you want?”

As soon as the innocent question leaves my lips, the atmosphere seems to grow heavier. Dante stands up, all casualness gone as he takes on the intensity he is so known for. He strolls around his desk, letting his fingers dance on it as he moves. The entire room seems to bend to his will.

“In order to fulfill my ambition, I’ll do whatever it takes. Even if I have to break a few rules, or a few hearts,” The atmosphere thickens as Dante circles me with a menacing look in his glittering ruby eyes, “I won’t let anything stand in my way. Not even you.”

“But, but, but-” I begin to protest.

“Not buts,” He stops me, demanding, “Write it.”

“But if you got what you wanted so easily, there’d be no story!” I cry, my eyes watering up anime-style, “Well at least tell your readers what that ambition is! Or if it’s good or bad.”

Dante points to the copy of The Wicked Lands still lying on his desk, addressing all you readers out there with a wicked smile, “If you want to know, you’ll just have to read.”

So there you have it, folks. If you want to know more about Dante, make sure to grab your copy of The Wicked Lands, currently free when you sign up for my newsletter! Support Dante and The Wicked Lands by sharing this interview if you liked it. If you have any more questions for Dante, leave a comment below and he just might pay you a visit and give an answer, which could later be added to the interview!

Until next time,
Cheers!

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