Late Night Visitor
I had settled in my armchair that sat in the corner of the parlour, intent on spending the evening buried in a book. I glanced to the window as lighting flickered across the night sky and felt grateful that I had a roof over my head on such a night.
My home is an old Victorian mansion set on the edge of town in a small neighbourhood that was clearly meant only for the upper-class. This property had been in my family for generations and when my grandparents had passed away, I couldn't bear to see the house be sold to some strangers. So naturally enough, I took up residence here.
The manor was too big for one person, especially a young woman such as myself, but I oddly felt comfortable in its vastness. Here was a place where I felt safe and secure.
It was quiet in the house that evening; the rain lashing the bay window of the parlour, the wind moaning, the thunder and the clock on the mantel ticking away were the only sounds heard when there was an obnoxious banging on the front door.
I paused, looking up from my book in annoyance. When the banging commenced again I stood and stormed into the front hallway, feeling quite angry at the disturbance.
I turned on the hallway light and peeked out one of the narrow windows that framed the door. There was a figure standing on my front porch. It was hunched over as if in pain and was too tall and brawny to be female. Why was this man standing there and what did he want?
A logical person would have called the police with the complaint there's a suspicious person at my door, but no, that is not what I did. I opened the door instead.
Light from the hallway pooled out onto the porch and illuminated the stranger's face.
His dark hair was matted to his head from the rain and the tattered trench coat he wore was soaked, dripping water onto the wooden surface of my porch. His youthful face with its high cheekbones, straight nose and piercing green eyes, was pale as if he were sick. Overall, he stood about a foot taller than me but his demeanor was non-threatening.
That doesn't mean anything, I told myself.
"Can I help you?" I asked.
Rather timidly he spoke; "Please madam, I have no place to go on this night. Could you spare your time to aid a weary traveler?"
"You really have nowhere else to go?"
The stranger shook his head. He reached into his pocket and produced a few coins. "There's not much here but it's all I can offer in exchange."
I bit the inside of my cheek, weighing my options. What was I to do? Let this stranger in despite the fact that every cell in my body was telling me otherwise? How did I know he was trustworthy? But there was a part of me that was nagging at me to have some pity on the stranger.
I held my hand up. "I don't want your money. You're free to stay for the night." I stood to the side so he could walk in.
The stranger began to hack and cough terribly so I took his coat and socks and hung it in the basement above the laundry room sink. His shoes I left in the hallway on the shoe mat. I had no spare clothes to give him but the stranger didn't seem to mind.
The stranger had obviously caught a terrible cold and was teetering on his own two feet. Feeling it was my duty to nurse the poor soul back to health I gave him one of the spare bedrooms of the manor to spend the night in.
"This is really too kind of you." He commented.
"It's nothing." I waved my hand in dismissal. I then realized I hadn't asked the stranger for his name and blushed at my rudeness. "I'm terribly sorry," I said. "I forgot to introduce myself; my name is Margaret."
The man gave me a nod of acknowledgement. "I'm Rahmiel."
That's an odd name. I thought.
I gave Rahmiel some medicine and a bowl of soup to eat (I really didn't know what else to give him).
I sat by his bedside and spoke with him for many hours. Oddly enough, it didn't feel awkward.
"You're living on the streets I take it?" I asked.
Rahmiel nodded. "Foreclosure forced me out onto the streets."
"So what have you been doing this entire time?"
"Wandering from place to place. Where else can the homeless go?" Rahmiel sighed. "It's not like people are very compassionate towards beggars and the poor."
"I know, it's awful." Said I, shaking my head sadly.
"The problem is--" Another coughing fit interrupted whatever Rahmiel was going to say.
"You should rest." I said. I took the now-empty bowl from his hands and bid my guest goodnight, and closed the door behind me.
That night when I went to bed, I locked my bedroom door for good measure. I didn't know if century-old wood could withstand an intruder but it make me feel a little safer in my own house. I then grabbed a letter opener and put it under my pillow in case I needed something to defend myself.
With that in mind, I drifted off to sleep.
Upon waking up the following morning, I heard footsteps in the front hallway. I immediately sprang out of bed and down the stairs. Rahmiel had his coat and shoes on and was heading out the door.
"Leaving so soon?" I asked.
"I thought it would be high-time for me to leave," Rahmiel explained. "Besides, with a host that sleeps with a letter opener under her pillow, I guessed my stay wasn't very welcome." He said this with an amused glitter in his eyes.
I was at a loss for words. "How did you know that?!" I shrieked.
Rahmiel laughed. "I have a confession to make Margaret, and I don't know how you're going to take it."
Right before my eyes, I watched in awe as a pair of beautiful feathered wings appeared on his back and an aura shone around his frame. He no longer looked sickly and frail but healthy and beautiful and his clothes were no longer rags. I fell to my knees and felt fear strike my heart.
"Do not be afraid! I am Rahmiel, the Angel of Empathy," His voice echoed and his eyes glowed with intense fire, as if they were the very eyes of God. "I was sent here by the Lord to find if human compassion still exists. You Margaret London are one of the dozens of souls I have encountered in my travels that possess compassion, love, and understanding in their hearts." He smiled warmly as he helped me to my feet.
"You took me in, a total stranger,despite your doubts. And you did this because you took pity on me and decided to help me," Rahmiel gave my hands a small squeeze. It felt as if electricity was coursing through my veins but I felt no pain. "Now dear child I can go back to Heaven and tell Him that humanity still possesses compassion. I needn't search for more people like you; my mission is done."
Rahmiel kissed my forehead and let go of my hands. A blinding light filled filled my hallway then quickly faded away. Rahmiel had vanished.
My legs felt weak and my entire body shook for whatever reasons, I didn't know. It took me several minutes to fully process what had just happened.
An angel. I had an encounter with a real angel of God and he had spoken to me. I clasped my hands together and felt grateful to be blessed with such a visit.
An angel! My mind shouted. A real angel!
I suppose if I ever reveal what had occurred right now, no one would believe me. But I really don't care.
I know what I saw and I know that Rahmiel, the Angel of Empathy had visited me one dark and stormy night.