Stories

Second Time Around

I was dreaming about fish when the phone rang. Before I was fully awake it stopped, but by then the message light was blinking and I had to check it.

On the voice mail was a message from a man; I couldn’t identify his voice, but it somehow sounded familiar. “There’s a car waiting outside the house. Get inside. You don’t want to ignore this.”

Just then my wife rolled over. “Everything okay, Andy?”

“I’m not sure, dear. I just got a strange message about a car waiting outside.”

“Well, is there one?”

I went and looked out the window. Sure enough, it was there. “Yes.”

“Well, better do as it says. You know what they say.”

“No, what do they say?”

“That if you don’t, the next phase involves men with guns.” She flopped down on the pillow, silently claiming my half of the bed as well as hers as she nodded off again.

I quickly got dressed and went out. The car was sitting empty with the driver’s side door open and the engine running. I climbed in and looked around.

The GPS unit on the dash was turned on and a marker was set for the Olive Garden restaurant on Flower Hill. There was also a yellow sticky on part of the screen where someone had hastily scrawled “Pick up your brother.”

You’d think if somebody were going to threaten me, they’d at least have the decency to show up. But weirdly enough, this didn’t feel threatening. I closed the door and drove to Pete’s house.

He was waiting for me in his driveway; he addressed me before I came to a full stop. “Andy? Is this some kind of joke?”

“I was going to ask you the same thing. I got a phone message to get into a car, and when I did there was a note to pick you up and take you to the Olive Garden.”

“Isn’t it closed at this hour?”

“Yeah. Anyway, get in. You know what they say about strange messages.”

“Uh-huh. Guns.”

We drove to the highest point in town, the silence broken only by the mechanical voice of the GPS telling us how to get to a place I’d been a hundred times.

There were other cars in the parking lot when we arrived, and ten guys standing around looking at each other blankly. We joined them to make an even dozen.

Pete called out, “Does anybody know what’s going on here?”

As if to answer him, we were suddenly surrounded by bright light. All twelve of us gaped upwards as the clouds opened to reveal a host of angels. At their center was a man – a man with scars on his hands and feet, slowly descending to earth.