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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World Building in The Wicked Lands

Photo depicting the end timesThe inspiration for the world building in the Wicked Lands came largely from Revelation. Now I don’t like to talk too much about Christianity or my own beliefs because I don’t want to alienate people of different religions. I live in a very multicultural place and tons of my friends are from different religious backgrounds, and I totally respect that. All I ask is that others respect mine as well.

This might be odd to say before I cite passages, but I don’t actually take the bible too literally. It’s a nice guideline but it’s a very old book and modern society changes so rapidly. Still, it’s neat to be able to pull ideas from there and wonder what it would be like if it really turned out the way it says in Revelation. So I thought there might be some curious readers interested in knowing exactly what passages inspired my world, since the bible is so open to interpretation. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Why is everyone immortal?
It’s obvious the Saved are immortal, but why are Wickeds immortal as well? In Revelation, even wicked souls are to become unable to die during the end times, which last 1000 years. The Wicked Lands is set in this 1000 year period.

“And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Revelation 9:6).

“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” (Revelation 20:5).

Why do the Saved kill?
I could write a whole blog post on this question alone. But for now I’ll just say (and nobody has to agree with me) that I personally don’t believe in Hell, or at least I don’t believe people go there. There might be an Abyss holding demons but never people. I believe passages that insinuate the existence of Hell can be interpreted to mean other things, but I won’t go into the details here. Instead I believe you either are Saved and live forever or you are not Saved and you die, ceasing to exist (after the second death). In my opinion, it would be much crueler to punish people for eternity in a place like Hell. If I believed in Hell, then instead of killing, Violet would open the gates to Hell when she judged someone, but since I don’t she simply ends their life. Therefore in my mind: judge = kill.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23)

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (Corinthians 6:2)

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)

Why do the Saved kill demons?
Not just people, the Saved judge demons too.

“Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (Corinthians 6:3)

Why is the world split into good and evil?
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Revelation 20: 7-9)

This passage suggests the Saved are living in a Holy City in seclusion from the rest of the world. Since the Holy City is attacked by Earth’s armies, the Holy City must be on Earth also.

There’s still more to discuss but I’ll save it for another time. Hope you guys found this interesting. Feel free to comment, I’d love to hear other views on the subject or even the views of other religions. Until next time!

Cheers!
Melissa

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Stupid Cupid

Listen to the song Stupid Cupid (Disney’s The Princess Diaries version) here. Without further ado, please enjoy!


Baby Cupid

This little guy thinks Eric’s suffering is funny. He looks pretty pleased with himself, doesn’t he?

Eric sat at the bar and ordered another drink. It was already quarter past midnight. It looked like she wasn’t coming tonight. No, well, it wasn’t as though he were waiting for her or anything. Why would he be? She’d rejected him a dozen times already.

There were plenty of other fish in the sea. The Wicked Lands was full of lonely, hopeless souls all looking for someone to spend the night with and fill the void they felt in their hearts, even for a brief moment. And with his looks, there wasn’t a girl in this whole bar who wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to spend the night with him.

Yet, Stella’s image filled his mind. Her long brown hair and brown eyes, her beautiful black wings, and her cold attitude. Somehow he just couldn’t get enough. What was he, a lovesick puppy?

It was stupid and he knew it. It was time to give up and move on. He turned to look over his shoulder, scanning the bar for a new target. But his gaze was instantly drawn to the doors where a certain fallen angel brunette had just walked through the door, hiding her dark wings as she stepped inside. When he realized he was staring, he tore his gaze away and turned back to his drink as Stella approached the bar.

Stella appeared next to him and waited for the bartender. She said nothing to him.

He took a swig of his beer and swallowed before he glanced in her direction discreetly and said, “Good evening.”

“Evening,” She answered, but it sounded forced.

“Gonna let me buy you a drink tonight?” He just never learned, did he?

“Nope.”

He nodded, “Alright.”

“A gin and tonic for me, please,” Stella told the bartender as he approached.

He didn’t know what was wrong with him as he decided to try again, “Hey, do you-”

But just then the bartender set down the gin and tonic in front of her as she passed him a bill before grabbing it and walking away.

“Alright then,” He said again, talking only to himself now.

Yep, it was definitely time to give up. He looked over his shoulder and watched Stella make her way to her usual group of friends, who were sitting at a table in the corner at the back. He heard a couple of them welcome her rather merrily, clearly a little loaded. Stella had her back to him, but he still heard the sudden cheer in her voice as she greeted them back, calling them drunk idiots. He couldn’t help but notice the pleasant tone of her voice when she laughed, a sound he never heard when she was talking to him. Eric picked up the bottle in his hand, threw his head back, and gulped down the last sip of his beer. Then he slammed the bottle down on the bar counter.

“Another beer?” The bartender offered him, and Eric didn’t miss the subtle hint of sympathy in his voice.

“Ah,” Eric ignored it, satisfied as he felt the cold liquid slide down his throat before he nodded, “Yeah.”

Another beer appeared in front of him a couple minutes later. He sat at the bar a while, drowning his frustrations. When he was nearing the bottom of this bottle, his eyes found the clock hanging above the bar and he started thinking it was probably time to head home soon. He turned to look over his shoulder again, his eyes scanning over the bar. Subconsciously they landed again on Stella. To his surprise, her eyes met his when he did, but as soon as she saw him looking at her, she glanced away.

Eric was frustrated as he felt his heart skip a beat. He hated that tiny glimmer of hope he suddenly felt. How many times had this happened? Just when he was convinced he should give up on her, she’d go and do one little thing that gave him just enough hope to keep holding on. Stella’s table was mostly empty now. One by one the group had dwindled as members left. After glancing away from him, Stella got up to leave too.

He knew he had little time so he moved quickly. Just before she reached the door, he caught Stella’s arm, spinning her around to face him.

“Let go of me!” She snapped at him with the same cold tone as always.

“Wait,” He pleaded, fumbling over his words in the heat of the moment, “Just now, weren’t you…?”

“Listen, Eric. You’re drunk,” She told him, “You should go home and sleep it off, okay?”

He shook his head, “No, but-”

“Go home, Eric,” Stella repeated.

With that, she pulled her arm from Eric’s grip and left. Eric stood watching after her for a moment before he returned to his drink at the bar. If she didn’t like him, why was she staring at him? If she did like him, why did she act like she did? He just didn’t get it.

He finished his drink and then he too left the bar. Once on the street, he revealed his wings and was about to take off when he spotted Stella again. She looked around suspiciously before she slipped into an alleyway across the street.

Naturally, he followed her. What could she possibly be doing? Didn’t she know it was dangerous out here at night? When he rounded the corner, Stella was nowhere to be found. The sound of grunting and banging drew his attention instead. He followed it deeper into the alleyway. He crept up to another corner where the grunts had gotten louder and peered around to see it. There he saw a flurry of white and black wings. Two fallen angels were beating on a third angel, one with white wings. What was a pure angel doing out here in the Wicked Lands? A final blow rendered the pure angel unconscious as he fell forward against the pavement. The two fallens picked him up, spreading their wings as they prepared to take off. But what could they have possibly wanted with a pure angel?

He suddenly got a bad feeling and promptly decided it was time to go. As he spun around to go back the way he came he found himself face to face with Stella.

“Stella! You scared the living daylights outta me,” He gasped, taking a breath of relief, “It’s not safe, let’s get out of here.”

But Stella was eerily calm, taking a step towards him, “You should’ve gone home like I told you to, Eric.”

The bad feeling in his gut intensified as he stuttered, “E-excuse me?”

She took another step towards him as he took one back, “You’ve seen too much.”

His back met something behind him. In a split second he registered that someone was there, but before he could react, a black bag was forced over his head, blocking out his vision. A sharp hit to the base of the back of his head took all consciousness from him.


Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, please share it on social media using the buttons below. Until next time!

Cheers,
Melissa

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