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Author’s Preface
This story came to mind after staring at Luis Royo’s images of fallen angels.

“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
(Genesis 3:22)

“And Michael stood before the garden of Eden and he looked down at the land and he saw it was a bad land, for it was cold and evil winds blow upon it and great whales plague the seas. And he felt for the man, and he bestowed upon him the flaming sword, so he could be warm.
And the LORD God saw Michael before the garden of Eden and the flaming sword He did not see. And he asked him, and he stood silent. And the LORD God asked Michael’s wife, and she answers the man holds the flaming sword, so he shall not freeze.
And the LORD God sent His wrath upon Michael and sent him forth from the garden of Eden to the bad land he had given to the man. And He took his wings, so that he could never return to the garden. And He left him his youth and his memories so he would remember his penance, and despair.”

(Cherubims, The Forbidden Book of The Angels, 24:1)

“Why should I help you?” The brilliant young scientist asked.
“Because you owe me.” The man answered and took off his sunglasses, for the first time in their conversation.
Deep inside his eyes, the scientist saw terrible loss and horrible sorrow, and deeper still, in some way he couldn’t explain, he saw everything the man standing before him had done for his forefathers, and he was struck with silence.
“I will help you” was all he could say.

Pain. Agony. Pain and agony. That was his entire world right now.
Who would have thought that getting back that which was taken from him eons ago would be so painful. They explained that the surgery would require them to reroute his entire nervous system, so he could control his wings. They explained they wouldn’t touch his brain, just attach the nerve tips and allow his brain to make sense of all the new sensations it was getting. They explained that the nerve’s way of alerting the brain to their presence was to bombard it with sensations of pain, until it came to know them and could instruct them that the pain was no longer necessary.
But none of these explanations could prepare him to the excruciating wave of agony that washed over him as they fuzzed his new wings directly into his spine.

The mortals were, of course, wrong. The pain did not go away once he learned to control his wings. Every breath he took sent a new wave of pain through his body, painful enough to subdue any mortal man. But he was no mortal. All the pain in the world was nothing compared to the recognition that he had won back what was taken from him. And more importantly, he was going home.

Like a storm he burst through the gates of heaven, striking fear in the hearts of those who had long since forgotten him. The door to his home fell before him, as he returned to find his wife.
For the first time in ages, he looked into her eyes.
And there, for the first time, he saw what he was, and what he had turned himself into.
Without a word, he fell to the floor, and wept.