They say there’s a time past the peak of the moon and the zenith of the wind when the angels close their eyes. It’s not a long moment—barely a second—not even. Just a pause, the start of a breath, the space between one word and the next. The barest brush of gold lashes on glittering cheeks. But who could begrudge them the closed lid? That instant, that puff of exhalation, is their single, solitary blink of the whole day.
For the rest of Earth’s weary cycle, through daybreak, dawn, dusk, and the glassy cold stare of the night sky, they must stand alert. They are those who hold vigil for the Earth. Upon their feathered shoulders lie the burdens of eternity and the heaviest weights of all—stewardships for men’s souls.
In all their seraphic splendor they stand, guarding the pits of hell with magnificent wings unfurled. And never do they quake and stumble. Never does the weariness reach them, save only for an instant—
That unhallowed time when the moon begins to fall and the wind begins to fade. And then a shudder will run down the line of the angels, from the tips of their robes to the last feather of their wings, for the horrors that they’ve seen. For when all the world looks away, the angels must watch on.
But the weight of the collected agonies of seven billion human beings is too much to bear without relief. And so the shudder starts—noticeable only if one were an angel standing in that line of the heavenly hosts and, even then, only if one were watching for it.
When the last ripple passes from the last angel’s robe, the angels stare down with golden orbs for eyes.
And as one, they blink.
It really isn’t long—the time between deciding to move your hand and when your hand moves, the slip of space where forgotten things go, the sound of a baby’s first heartbeat. And then their eyes are open again, watching, renewed—holding the evil at bay. Yes, it really isn’t long at all.
But’s it’s long enough.
In that tiny fraction of a second, dark things emerge and make their play—dark, ancient things, born almost in the eternities and older than the angels.
Every day they get only that single millisecond of angel blindness. But what is another day to wait when you are eons old? And when a millisecond a day is multiplied by uncountable millennia, it can add up to a great amount of time indeed.
And what are angels to you then but gilded statues set as a token gesture?
No, it is not the angels the dark things are afraid of. But they do fear Someone.
And so they creep and hide, skulking under stones and slipping into the dark crevices of the earth, eking out their disturbing existence away from the light of the sun. And never do they emerge.
But, occasionally, some prize will tempt them above their fears. And out they slink in that millisecond of divine blindness.A nearly all-powerful force of darkness can get much done in a millisecond.