“You a gay Angel?” Jason asked the stranger.
The stranger raised his eyebrows. “Why do you ask that?”
“Well I know you’re an Angel, cuz your wings. Mrs. Jenkins got a picture of Angels hung over her trailer door and they all got wings. Bucept their wings is white and yours is black. And I know you’re a gay cuz your muscles. Carl says only gays, queers, and fighters got muscles”
“Did Carl give you that?” The Angel touched the bruise below Jason’s eye.
“Ya.” Jason pulled away. “I asked for it. Mom said I asked for it. Cuz we don’t got money for a new bike, but Mom bought it with her own money and you’re only seven once, and he should mind his own business and he shouts at Mom and… I asked for it.”
“It will be alright now Jason. That is why I have come to take you away.”
Jason scrunched up his face and looked down at the dirt. “I know you say you’re gonna take me away, but what if I don’t wanna go?”
“You would rather stay here?” The Angel waved his hand at the piles of rusting junk and clumps of dusty yellow grass.
Jason leaned against the hot trailer, put his hands in his pockets, and kicked at the dirt. The grasshoppers screeched and the air shimmered in the heat.
“We do not have much time,” the Angel said, “the Rapture is upon us.”
“I know, Mrs. Jenkins told me all about Rapture, but why can’t Mom come.”
The Angel did not answer but stood up straight and held out his hand.
“Mom’s not that bad,” Jason said.
“She let Carl hit you.”
“Is it cuz she’s a harlot?”
“Where did you hear that?”
“Mrs. Jenkins said Mom’s a harlot and I’m a bustard.”
“A bastard,” the Angel corrected, “but that is not your fault, and Mrs. Jenkins is not being saved either.”
“Who’s being saved?”
“The pure in heart. The innocent like yourself.”
Jason dug his toe deeper into the dirt and smiled. “I’m not all that innocent. Me and Jorge killed a cat. Jorge shot it with his pellet gun and I smashed its head with a shovel. All kinds a brains come out.”
“Still, you felt remorse. You buried the cat by the creek and even cried over it.”
“Who told you I cried! I wouldn’t cry bout no dumb cat.”
“Jason. It is alright. Here,” The Angel reach out his hand again.
Jason kept his hands in his pockets.
A rush and a crack. Jason pushed away from the trailer. A ball of fire split across the sky. Jason stood, mouth open, as it tore into the trees beyond the creek.
“Jason!” his mother yelled from inside the trailer. “Jason what you doing out there?”
“Come Jason,” the Angel said.
Jason looked from the Angel’s hand, to the burning woods, to the trailer door.
His mother looked out. “Jason! ”
“Jason,” the Angel said quietly.