Snow in April

I’d like to say that because of my line of work, I’ve seen just about all sides of life. Again, I’d like to say that but it wasn’t too long ago that I was proven very wrong.
Everyday was the same: body found, analyze body, find evidence, make facts. This particular day started the same as always. Local police got a call for a country club that some remains were found in a bunker on the golf course. My team and I drove out to the scene all prepared to do our jobs.
We got on site and the murmur was abundant. Words like “angel” and “God” sprinkled it like salt on a pretzel. Even though I grew up in a Catholic family, science has always been my “higher power.” So I wasn’t fully prepared for what was found. When the call was made, the remains were still mostly buried so the extent of it was unknown. The body looked like a burn victim, charred to the bone. Now here’s the coup de gras, it had what looked like a wing coming out of its back. The body was lying on its side in the fetal position, so it was apparent that if the wing was real, its pair was torn of long before death.
A few years back I worked on a case where this guy dug up a grave, cleaned the bones, covered the bones in an assortment of meat byproducts and burned it. This corpse was supposed to be him in a house fire. So the idea that this “angel” was a fake sat at the top of my list. My team shared my disbelief, but I still gave my pep talk before we moved in.
Because of the brittleness caused by the burning the wing dislodged itself as we moved the body. For a second, I reminisced about my younger gaming days when I heard the words “one winged angel” from the murmur. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one who thought this was a joke.
The drive back to the lab was a quiet one. Jackson was our religious connection, but he was the quietest. As my team unloaded the body, I once again reminded them to stay objective. Under the lights of the lab we started our analysis: 5’7”, approximately 18-25 years of age, relatively good health, and female. The wing was a variation of a bat wing with divots that could be attributed to feather. Initial analysis of the marrow told us that both the bone in the wing and the actual body were real.
We stayed up all night finding the cause of death. This is where it got strange. The bones showed no signs of trauma; the hardened cartilage that clung to the extra bone on the victim’s back told me the missing wing came from there. The charring and remaining flesh showed that the fire had no catalyst. Zack, our resident sci-fi nut, thought it was spontaneous combustion. So, here’s what we had: a female, approximately 18-25 years in age, one existing wing with signs of a pair, who spontaneously combusted and was buried in the fetal position in a golf course bunker. A total revelation.
When I got home the following afternoon, I was at my wits end. This case was a joke. Some sick freak mutilated some woman’s body just to make a message-whatever it may have been. It being midday, I had lost all the need for sleep but a cold beer sounded pretty good at that point. Bass, a slightly bitter but well rounded beer and just what I needed. That was until I turned around. I didn’t know the woman who was watching me from my kitchen doorway, but I knew the rose red bath robe she wore. It belonged to an ex-girlfriend; this woman wasn’t any of them. I’d remember. I always remember.
“That drink you’re holding, is it for stress relief?” The woman asked the question in a very serious manner. I’m sure that if I already wasn’t frozen in confusion, this question would have done it. “When you came in,” She continued despite the look I had to have been giving her, “you didn’t even notice me. The redness in your eyes means you’re tired and you walk like many other human males after a day of work.” She looked me over again, “Or in your case, a night of work.”
‘Human males?’ Who the hell was she?
“According to my research, the average male will now sit down in front of the television and watch something called ESPN.”
She walked towards me, “It would seem my arrival halted that act.” She took hold of my free hand and attempted to lead me out of the kitchen, “It is only courtesy that I help you return to your natural routine.”
“Okay,” I removed my hand from hers, “I’ve had enough. Who are you?”
She turned around, her deep blue eyes showed no sign of real understanding, “Good question. One’s identity is defined by others and since you are the first human I’ve met, you tell me.”
And I thought I was speechless before.
She sighed, or at least it sounded like it, “I see, I’ve failed to account for the effects of your drink.” She took my beer and tried some, “Ugh,” her face wrinkled in disgust, “Yep, the drink..”
I took back my beer, “It’s not for everyone.” I downed what was left and walked past her to the couch. “Since you won’t tell me who you are, can you at least tell me what you are doing in my apartment wearing an ex-girlfriend’s bath robe?”
She looked around for a few seconds before sitting next to me on the couch, “I woke up here and I liked the color.”
Now, I knew that I hadn’t slept with anyone, but I couldn’t stop rethinking my past few days, “Is there a reason you are avoiding my questions like my first girlfriend?”
The woman cocked her head and stared at me, “I answered them.”
My eye twitched, “Your reason for being here is because you woke up here.”
She seemed lost in thought, “Well, I didn’t choose to wake up here; so as far as I know, you are the reason.”
“I don’t even know you, so how can I be the reason?”
She shrugged, “I’m not the one who runs the show. If He sent me here, then you are part of the reason.”
I’m not awake enough for this, “’He?’”
She waved her hands around, “Him, the guy you people worship.”
Words couldn’t describe my unending frustration with her, “God. You were sent by God.”
She rolled her eyes, “You couldn’t tell that?”
I groaned. So she was hot, freakin’ smokin’, but what kind of complex could she have that made her think she was sent by God?
She must’ve been able to see my disbelief because she stood up and dropped the robe. If I wasn’t so tired and frustrated, her more than supermodel molded body would’ve had me harder than a piece of rebar.
“We are told that when we are in your realm, it’s not recommended that we show our markers. But with you, I think it’s necessary.” She turned around. On her back was etched a pair of wings.
“So, you have a tattoo.”
And so, the day got weirder. As if to punctuate my statement, the marks started to bulge and from them a pair of charcoal grey wings sprouted. Like the wings in those ancient pictures, they spread, feathers falling like snow.
“It doesn’t hurt if you’re wondering.” The wings folded up and disappeared behind the marks.
Upon realizing my jaw was on the floor, I promptly picked it up.
She turned back around and covered herself with the robe. “So,” she crossed her arms, “You ready to help?”