August 13, 2011
Sarah moved away from Tawny and, taking Roni’s hand, put him next to her friend. “Guard her,” she said.
Roni’s brow furrowed with worry, but he inched closer to Tawny and leaned against her. He glanced at the surrounding demons and snarled.
Ruffling his white hair, Sarah said, “Whatever happens to me, you guard Tawny, okay?”
Roni threw his head back and howled briefly, inconsolably, then leveled his azure gaze at Sarah again.
Sarah stepped toward the battling angels. “St. Michael defend us,” she said in a steady voice. Her eyes were locked on the glowing Archangel. “St. Michael defend us in battle. St. Michael defend us from the wicked and protect those we love.”
Michael froze with his sword in mid-arc. He looked over his shoulder at Sarah in surprise.
“St. Michael, protect those who fight for our preservation,” Sarah continued. “Hear my prayer, blessed guardian of the embattled. St. Michael save and defend Gabriel.”
A murmur of shock and consternation rippled through the half-circle of Archangels standing around Shine. The demons were more vocal about their displeasure.
“Don’t listen to her!” Moloch cried. “Kill him!”
“Spill his guts!” Belphagor screamed.
Az looked on, puzzled. “What the fuck, man?” he muttered to Tawny. “What the fuck is she doing?”
Tawny glanced sideways at Az, then did a double-take. His dark membranous wings stretched protectively up and around them both. She touched his shoulder once, tentatively, before Roni wedged himself more insistently between her and the demon. She tried to reach around the tall man to touch Asmodeus again, but Roni deftly kept himself between them.
Az looked at Tawny’s in surprise when she touched him. He reached out to her, but Roni snapped viciously at his fingers.
“Okay! Damn! Chill the fuck out,” Az hissed.
Michael stared at Sarah for a moment, then turned back to Gabriel and lifted his sword again.
“St. Michael, save us from the wicked and preserve those who would defend us,” Sarah prayed loudly.
The archangel swirled around again. “What are you doing?” he shouted at Sarah.
Gabriel scrambled out from under Michael’s sword and fumbled on the ground for his weapon. The sword vibrated with power under his touch and he grasped it with two hands.
“I’m saying the only prayer I ever knew,” Sarah told Michael.
Michael turned in time to parry Gabriel’s sword. He took a step back under the force of the blow.
“I told you that you’re not a fit guardian,” Gabriel spat. “In fact, as guardian angels go, you pretty much suck right now.”
“You tell him, Bro!” Az yelled.
“They are tricking you,” Moloch growled at Michael. “It’s only a distraction, a cheap ploy. Kill him, Warrior Angel! Kill the traitor!”
Covered with his own blood and swinging wildly, Gabriel advanced on Michael, driving the golden angel backward the way Michael had done to him earlier. Michael parried every blow, his face set in concentration.
“You said you saved her,” Gabriel continued as he swung repeatedly. “Is that why she was battered and raped and torn when she came to me? She would have died, but it was me who saved her. Me. Is that the measure of how you save those who pray to you? And what about the dog? What about the dog, Michael? Did you save him, too? Yes, I’m sure you did. He bears the scars of your brand of ‘salvation’.”
“I am not a guardian of dogs,” Michael shouted angrily.
Locked in fierce battle, the angels moved around the center of the crowd. The group of demons stirred eagerly, incited by Gabriel’s blood. The demon Rangda, smelling of incense and spice, leaped forward and grabbed at Moloch’s arm.
“Why are we waiting?” she screeched. “Let’s take the women now. I will have a piece of each.”
“We are constrained by agreement,” Moloch said, pushing her away.
Rangda’s long tongue hung from her mouth and slithered on the floor. “I will not wait!”
Without warning, Roni rushed the demon and they fell to the ground together.
“Roni!” Sarah cried.
Tawny turned to Az and grabbed him by the shoulders. “Help him!” she pleaded. “Please, help him!”
Az stared Tawny’s hazel eyes. “Ah, shit,” he whispered. “I am so fucking screwed.” He pressed his lips against hers quickly and briefly, then pushed her toward Sarah.
Gabriel could only glance in the direction of the demons as he and Michael engaged. He saw Az leap into dizzying fray of limbs and wings, and then step back holding Roni by the arm. Bloody and torn, Roni snapped at Az, trying to free himself and get back to the fight. Gabriel knew that the demons would tear the dog to pieces. In his man form, the dog was even more vulnerable. He heard Sarah wail Roni’s name.
He glanced to his left and saw Shine still standing quietly between the archangels. Their eyes met and he saw the depth of fear in her. The sudden rage that swept through him made it hard to breathe.
Lifting his weapon and swinging with all of his power, Gabriel knocked past Michael’s upraised sword and landed a blow across the archangel’s armored chest. This time, the blow staggered Michael. The golden angel fell and a gasp went up from the company of angels around them.
Without a moment’s thought, Gabriel jumped over Michael’s prone form and ran to Shine. He scooped her up and rushed over to Sarah. “Stay together,” he told them.
Sarah stared at his wounds in dismay. “Gabe – “
He cut her off. “Just stay together, Sarah! Tawny, you too.”
Gabriel waded into the mass of snarling, writhing demons. With Az by his side, he found Roni fighting savagely under several Dark Ones and together they pulled the white man to safety.
He waved his sword at the demons. “So help me, I’ll gut the next one who moves,” he shouted.
Az and Gabriel, their backs turned defensively to each other, edged themselves and Roni over to join the women.
“I hope you realize how fucked I am,” Az muttered. “I’ve pissed everybody off now.”
Gabe nodded. “Join the club, my friend.”
The group formed a tight knot in the center of the crowd, the women and Roni protected by the upraised wings of the angel and the demon. Shine broke away from Sarah and pushed past Gabriel’s bloody wings to wrap her arms around his waist. “Gabriel,” she sobbed, “Gabriel! You’re dying, you’re bleeding to death.”
Michael got to his feet and, together with the rest of the archangels, advanced. The Dark ones, unable to attack the others in the presence of the fiery archangels, howled and gibbered and cursed on the periphery. Gabriel knew that if just one of the archangels backed away, nothing would hold Legion back except whatever fight he and Az could give them. He felt weak and dizzy as his blood pooled on the ground around his feet, but the sword still vibrated in his hand. He hoped Az would take the women and run if the fight ended the way he now believed it would.
“The child is correct, Brother,” Camael said. His face was twisted with sorrow. “You chose to live as a human and now you’re dying like a human.”
“What is wrong with you?” Michael shouted at him. “Why didn’t you smite me while you had the chance? Have you lost your courage? Have you lost your heart?”
Gabe nodded. “Yes, Michael,” he panted. “I’ve lost my heart. I lost it to these humans you’re so scornful of.” He smiled painfully. “And I would do nothing differently if given the chance to begin again.” He gestured at the archangels. “Come on, then. Let’s end this.”
Az walked with long strides toward Sarah’s abandoned car just as Gabe rattled the old Indian to a stop nearby. The demon stared at the battered sedan. There wasn’t a flat piece of metal left anywhere on it. “Christ on a cracker,” he muttered.
Sick with dismay, Gabriel jumped off the bike and went to the driver’s window. Roni was curled on the seat, but jumped to his feet when he saw Gabe, wagging his stump of a tail. Gabe opened the door and caressed the dog gently, trying to calm Roni’s mind.
Friend, friend! Love you, love you! Roni’s frantic mind greeted the angel.
Shhhhhhhhh. Calm, little one. Tell me.
Bad smell. Bad woman.
An image of Belphagor with her silver eyes and her scent of the dead flashed through the dog’s mind and Gabe felt a prickling of anger in his stomach. “Belle was here,” he said to Az.
“I knew she was in town, so I figured she was in on this.” Az circled the car, studying the damage. “I see her slimy hand prints everywhere. And if there’s something fucked up goin’ on, you know that bitch has a piece of it.”
Gabe turned back to Roni. “Where’s Shine?” he whispered.
Michael, Roni answered. His stump of a tale began to wag again, moving his hindquarters with it. Michael. Michael. Michael.
The angel took a step back. “No,” he muttered. “Not Michael.” He reached for the dog again, capturing Roni’s head in his hands and forcing the dog to meet his gaze.
Roni stopped wiggling and stared back at Gabe, showing the angel what the dog knew. Gabe saw Sarah – a younger Sarah with fewer tattoos, the dog fighting scars still livid and fresh across her arms and neck. She was crouched in a dark corner, confronted by a man. Her thoughts screamed out where Roni picked them up and now they played back for Gabriel: “St. Michael, defend us. St. Michael, be our defense against the wicked.”
Gabe shook his head. When faced with danger, Sarah prayed to St. Michael and Michael responded. That’s why Roni knew the other archangel – knew the smell of him, knew the sight of him.
“Uh, hey, man,” Az said quietly from the other side of the car. “You’d better come look at this.”
On legs that felt rubbery with fear, Gabe went around the car to the passenger door. Gold dust shimmered everywhere – on the ground, on the door handle, even on the mangled passenger seat.
A whiff of attar of roses – the fragrance of the dead – reached Gabriel as ghastly titters floated through the air. He swirled and saw Belphagor standing a few yards away.
She smiled coquettishly, running a pale hand through her moonlight hair. “Hello, Gabriel,” she said. She waved at Az. “Hello, Asmodeus.”
Gabriel crossed the space between them in an instant, picking the demon up by the throat and smashing her against a BMW. The car alarm went off, wailing under the low ceiling of the parking structure, as a handful of scattered humans turned to look in surprise.
“Where are they, Belle?” Gabe hissed in her face. “So help me I will rip your lungs out through your windpipe if you don’t tell me where they are.”
“Whoa, buddy, whoa!” Az ran over and tried to pry Gabe’s steely grip from Belle’s throat. “Dude, if you want to find out where the kid is at, you need to back the fuck off.”
Gabe continued to squeeze Belle’s throat, staring at her in a blaze of anger.
A man across the aisle stopped in the act of unlocking his car and approached Gabriel. “Leave that woman alone,” he shouted.
Gabe turned a deadly look on him. “Stay away,” he hissed.
“Oh, shit, Dude,” Az said nervously. “This is getting out of control. You’d better let her go, man. Gabe – let her go.”
Giving her neck one final squeeze, Gabe shoved the demon against the BMW again and stepped away. Belle grasped her throat and looked at him with hatred.
Gabe pointed at her. “You’re going to take us to them.”
“That’s what I’m supposed to do,” Belle gasped. “That’s what I was about to do before you attacked me. Unprovoked. Not very angelic of you, was it, Hope of God?” She smoothed her long hair petulantly and grinned. ”Besides, you have greater trouble than me. Michael is waiting for you.”
Several men approached them. One stepped over to Belle and reached for her arm. “It’s okay, Ma’m,” he said. “We’ve got help coming.”
Belle swirled on him, flashing several hundred wickedly sharp teeth and her soulless silver eyes. “I need no help,” she snarled.
The man jumped back. “Jesus Christ!” he cried. “Jesus Christ!”
Belle cackled. “There is no Christ here.”
“Well, this whole scene is going to hell in a hand basket,” Az commented wryly. “I hope you both know that you’re totally blowing our cover.”
“Shut up,” Belle spat at him. “Friend of angels.”
Gabe went back to the sedan to get Roni, then flung the end of the leash and the duffel bag at Az. “I’ll deal with Michael,” he said, grabbing Belle just above the elbow. ”Let’s go.”
“Shit! Fuck! Damn!” Az cried as Roni snapped at him over and over again. “I ain’t taking this damned dog. He wants to chew me up and shit me out.”
Gabe turned to Roni and pointed. “Roni,” he said sharply. “Chill.”
“He’s deaf, ya moron,” Az protested.
Roni stared at Gabe; then, with one last snarl at Az, seemed to wait patiently at the end of his leash for further instruction.
Gabe scanned the small crowd of humans who were now keeping a safe distance from the scene. Several of them were holding up camera phones.
Az put his hand on Gabriel’s shoulder. “Forget it, man. We are totally fucked. We’re all over the freakin’ internet by now anyway.”
Gabe nodded and turned back to Belphagor. “Let’s go,” he repeated.
July 18, 2011
Shine pushed ineffectually against Roni’s chest with one hand while she redialed Gabe with the other. The call immediately went to voice mail. She dialed again and continued to push on the big dog. “Roni, move,” she whispered.
Just as she managed to get one of Roni’s paws off her ribcage, the big dog sat on her stomach. “Oof!” Shine grunted. “Roni, I totally can’t breathe.”
Roni stared at the passenger window over Shine’s head. A deep growl swelled up from his chest and he snarled.
Shine shut the phone and squirmed out from under the dog. She was under the dashboard at that point, fenced in by Roni’s body and kneeling in his urine. She reached out to touch his back. “Roni?”
The Dogo sprang forward in a flash. With his front paws on the seat he gnashed at the window in a flurry of teeth and saliva.
Screaming, Shine crawled past him until she was under the steering wheel. She raised her head cautiously and peeked out.
The group of people who had been watching the car were closed around it, peering in at her from every window. Shine screamed again. Their eyes gave them away: Orange or yellow, silver or completely black, they were not human eyes.
Shine climbed into the driver’s seat and laid on the horn with the heels of both hands. “Help me!” she cried, “Someone, help me!” She blasted the horn over and over again.
Someone will help, she told herself. Between Roni’s savage barking and the blasts of the horns, someone would come over to help her or at least they’d call the police.
“We’ll help you, Shanyáo,” a black-eyed woman outside the driver’s side window promised. Her smile made Shine’s blood run cold. “That’s why we’re here. We’re here to help you.”
Shine saw Roni pivot on his massive haunches and ducked out of the way as he darted across the car to attack the glass separating Shine from the woman. She knelt in the floorboard again and continued honking the horn.
The car began to bounce on its tired shocks and Shine pictured the group of Dark Ones outside, pushing on the hood and trunk. “Go away!” she screamed. “Go away, go away, go away!” She let go of the horn and tried calling Gabe again.
“Come with us, Shanyáo,” a man said sweetly. “We’ll take you to Gabe.”
Another voice broke in, gibbering and wet, “I’ll get you a pony, Shanyáo! You always wanted a pony.” The voice dissolved into a cackling laugh.
“We can take you to your parents,” someone else promised. “You can all be happy together like you were before the angel stole you. We want to help you, Shanyáo.”
“Your parents cry for you, Shanyáo. They’ve been searching for you.”
“We’ll take you to them, Shanyáo.”
Shine dropped the phone and clapped both hands over her ears. “Stop saying my name!” she screamed.
Roni jumped over the front seat and attacked the rear windows where more faces were pressed against the glass. His saliva was foamy and flecked with blood.
“That dog will kill you, Shanyáo,” the woman with the black eyes said. “Look at him. He’s gone mad. Get out of the car before he turns on you.”
“He’s got rabies, Shanyáo. He’ll tear your throat out.”
Shine slumped into a fetal position in the floorboard, weeping helplessly. “Gabe, Gabe, why don’t you come?” she sobbed. “Gabe! Gabe!”
“Gabe!” the group outside chanted, mocking her. “Gabe! Gabe! Gabe!”
“Gabe doesn’t care about you. He’s got the woman now. He doesn’t want you anymore.”
Shine pressed her hands more tightly against her ears. “’ Ye are of your father the devil,’”, she recited. “’He abides not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.’ You are all liars! Liars! Liars!”
The car rocked sickeningly. “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” The rhyme was caught up by the group and they sang it with the malicious glee of wild, malevolent children, banging in time on every surface of the car. “Liar, liar, pants on fire! Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
Roni dashed from front to back in a frenzy. Shine crawled as far away from him as possible, knowing that he could easy snap her arm off if she got between him and the monsters outside. With blood and foam all over his muzzle, he really did look rabid.
Finally, driven mad with frustration, Roni grabbed the back of the passenger seat in his mouth and tore half of the cushion away with one twist of his powerful jaws.
Shine screamed in terror. “Oh my god, help me!”
The silence was as instant as it was unexpected. The bouncing of the car slowed until it was completely still again, as if the Taurus had rocked itself to sleep. With fabric and padding and blood and saliva hanging from his mouth, Roni suddenly stopped and looked around in calm surprise.
From her position on the floor, Shine stared up at the windows. No more faces pressed against the glass. She climbed cautiously up from under the steering wheel and glanced around.
A few people – normal people – made their way to or from cars in the parking lot, oblivious to the little girl and the huge white dog staring out at them.
It was as if nothing had happened.
Roni bounced over the front seat again, this time whining happily and pawing at the window.
Shine stared at the man who walked over and leaned his face down to the level of the window. He was darkly golden, with long black curls of hair and kind, amber eyes. He smiled at her.
“Shine,” he said softly. “Open the door.”
Shine shook her head.
The man sighed patiently. “Shine, it’s time to come with me.”
Shine watched in shock as the passenger window rolled down on its own.
Roni leaned out of the car, covering the man’s face with kisses. The man chuckled softly and embraced the big dog’s head. “Yes, my friend,” he crooned to the dog, “I’m happy to see you again, too.” He turned back to Shine. “It’s over, Shine. It’s time to end this.” He held out his hand.
“I’m supposed to wait right here for Gabe,” she said.
The man nodded. “I know. But that isn’t what is going to happen. You’re going to come with me. Shine,” He paused for emphasis. “if you love Gabriel – as I love Gabriel – you will come with me. Then Gabriel will come to us.” He smiled again as she reached for the door handle.
Shine climbed out of the car and went around to join the man, staring up at him in awe. He seemed to glow with his own golden light.
Michael took her hand in his and gave it a gentle, reassuring squeeze.
July 8, 2011
“They don’t come in white,” one of them was saying about the motorcycle. “That has to be a custom paint job.”
“Yeah, but why white?” another one asked. “That’s so lame.”
Gabe squeezed past them. “Excuse me.” He threw his leg over the bike and was poised to kick down when he remembered that his bike was now a Ducati. He dug in his pocket for a minute, then keyed the ignition.
He walked the bike backward out of the parking space, resisting the impulse that urged him twist back the throttle and race out of the structure as quickly as possible. Glancing in the mirror, he saw two men burst through the entrance to the parking level and watch as he feathered the clutch toward the exit. One of them pointed at Gabe before they both pulled out cell phones and began making hurried calls.
Gabe had time to briefly wonder who the men were – he doubted if they were casual web video observers – before he was on the Strip and headed north. He hit the red light at Sands Avenue and realized with chagrin that Az couldn’t have set him up with a less discreet bike. An occasional pedestrian stared at the bright Ducati as Gabe impatiently waited for the light. By the time he reached Riviera, Gabriel knew he had to find someplace to change the bike over.
He felt the cell phone in his breast pocket vibrate as he maneuvered into the left lane.
Shine snapped her phone closed when the call went to voice mail. “He didn’t answer.”
Waiting at a red light, Sarah tapped the steering wheel impatiently. “Why didn’t you leave a message?”
“Don’t be daft. We don’t leave voice mails and we don’t send texts. Evidence – hellooooo.”
“Don’t call me daft, Sis.”
“Don’t call me ‘Sis’.”
Sarah sucked her lip ring into her mouth and ignored the jab. “I think I know where he is. I keep seeing The Black Pearl.”
Shine turned to glare at her. “Who?”
“The Black Pearl, a ship.” Sarah followed the cars ahead of her when the light changed. “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen any of the Pirates movies.”
“I don’t watch movies. I read.” Shine rested scornfully on the word.
“I can read too, you know. I also watch movies.”
“Look, don’t bitch at me, okay? I don’t bitch about how you and Gabe do things, do I?”
“No,” Shine muttered, “you just muck everything up.”
Sarah inched the car forward as the Strip traffic grew heavy. “I keep seeing the ship and that means ‘pirates’, and that means Treasure Island.” She glanced at Shine and in a softer tone said, “I told you, we’re going to have to work together. I see bad things ahead. If we don’t work together, we’re screwed.”
Shine dialed Gabe again. “Whatever,” she repeated. “We were fine before you came along.” After a moment she closed her phone again. “He’s still not answering.”
They stopped behind a group of cars at the next light. Sarah hit the steering wheel with the heels of her hands. “Damn it! This is taking forever.”
Roni suddenly sprang out of the back seat, barking frantically in his discordant way at the traffic ahead.
“Ouch,” Shine cried, trying to shove the big dog back. “What’s he doing? Get off of me, Roni!”
Sarah grabbed Roni’s collar and tried to pull him off of Shine. “Roni, you bad baby, settle down! He sees something. Shine, can you see anything up ahead on your side?”
Shine moved as far toward the center of the car as possible while Roni took over most of her seat. He butted his nose against the window and howled. “It’s like he’s gone mad, or something. He’s had his shots, right?”
“He hasn’t gone mad,” Sarah retorted. She craned her neck out the window, trying to peer past the cars ahead of her.
“There’s a motorcycle up there,” Shine said.
“It was in the traffic coming the other direction. It just turned left into Circus Circus.”
“Was it Gabe?”
Shine shook her head. “No. It was a guy on a white bike, wearing a white helmet.” She looked at Sarah. “Your crazy dog must have thought it was Gabe. Can you get him in the back, please? He’s crushing me!”
“I don’t think I should try,” Sarah said as traffic began to move again. “You know me – I muck everything up.”
“That’s not funny,” Shine spat.
“It wasn’t funny when you said it either.”
Shine stared at the older girl for a moment, then turned to try and reclaim some car seat from Roni. “Fine, then. Roni and I can share a seat. He likes me.”
“So do I, Sis.” She held up her hand to stop Shine’s response. “And yeah, I know, I know: Don’t call you sis.” She turned to Shine and tried to smile.
Shine was staring straight ahead, her eyes huge. “Watch out!”
Sarah slammed on the brakes as a woman darted in front of the Taurus and pounded on the hood. “Stop!” the woman shouted frantically. “Stop, stop!”
Roni was silent, but his lips peeled back from his teeth in an alarming fashion. Shine put her arms around his shoulders and glanced at Sarah. “Don’t,” she whispered. “Don’t stop.”
Before Sarah could react, the woman ran around to her window and leaned in, bringing with her a sickeningly strong scent of roses. She pushed her long, blond hair aside and looked at Sarah with eyes so light they seemed almost silver.
Sarah tried to roll the window up, but the woman put out a hand to stop her. “Wait, just wait,” she hissed. “You’re looking for Gabriel, right?”
Sarah and Shine exchanged startled glances.
“Maybe,” Sarah said cautiously. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“Sarah.” Shine’s voice was low and shaky.
The woman ignored Shine. Her eyes were locked on Sarah. “I know where he is. I can take you to him.”
“Sarah,” Shine repeated, more urgently.
“Head up to Treasure Island. I’ll find you in the parking garage.” With that the woman turned and darted back cross the lanes of traffic to the sidewalk.
Sarah sat frozen behind the wheel. She seemed stunned. A car behind them began honking and she eased the car forward. “What in the hell was that about?” she cried.
“Don’t go, Sarah,” Shine said. “Don’t do what that woman said.”
Sarah shook her head. “She knows Gabriel! Shine, she knows where he’s at. I already knew he was at Treasure Island, so maybe she can help us – “
“You can’t trust her,” Shine interrupted.
“Do you know her?”
“No, it’s not that.”
“What is it, then?” Sarah asked impatiently. “If that chick can lead us to Gabe, then – “
“It’s Roni,” Shine said.
“Roni?” Sarah glanced over at the dog and gasped sharply.
Roni was pressed up against the passenger door as firmly as he could manage. The huge dog was visibly trembling.
“Roni?” Sarah repeated. “Shine, what’s wrong with him?”
Shine pointed down at the seat where a puddle of urine was wetting her pants. “He peed. That woman scared him.” She looked at Sarah in dismay and added, “Sarah, she scared me, too.”
June 17, 2011
The archangel Gabriel quickly finds out that he’s losing his way in a very human world of anger, violence and lust. Will the human woman, Sarah, be his salvation? Or his downfall?
Heaven’s Shine Chapter 12
June 3, 2011
The shit has hit the fan and the only thing our Archangel can do is retreat – to VEGAS, baby!
Heaven’s Shine, Chapter 8
May 27, 2011
I’m sorry that my blog seems to be all about the same subject these days, but I’m all about publishing Heaven’s Shine while I’m still on this side of the grass.
Chapter Six finds Gabriel confronting the consequences of taking battered Sarah and her dog into his life. Drugged-out punks, an abused woman and her dog, a special child and a deliciously opportunistic demon – I love this chapter!
May 23, 2011
Sarah follows Shine and the Archangel Gabriel back to their by-the-week apartment. Unable to turn them away, Gabe lets the young mystic and her dog into his rooms and into his life. Let’s hope it’s a decision he won’t regret.
May 20, 2011
The Archangel Michael pays a visit to the shabby rented rooms where Gabriel lives with his human child, Shine, and brings Gabe a message the disobedient angel doesn’t want to hear. The ante has just gone up considerably in Chapter 4 of “Heaven’s Shine”.