Five coffins sat before the altar of St. Dismas Church, only four of them with bodies. Alex felt there should be a sixth – one for Todd – and knew back home a second funeral with an empty coffin would be held. She felt out-of-place here among these strangers as if she were intruding on their grief. When the processional had ended, and the priest had begun the prayers, she slipped away. Those she left behind little knew that this would be one of the last Brotherhood funerals over which the church would preside. Changes were coming, changes that would shake their world and shape the lives of millions.
Outside, the one called Angel moved to stand behind her. Together they watched the sunset over the city.
“It’s time,” he whispered. “Are you ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
Wings. The man had wings. Alex had never even flown on an airplane, let alone in the arms of some superhero. As they took to the air, and the lights of New York City came into view like a thousand shining stars, she had mixed emotions. The panoramic view took her breath away while the distance to the ground threatened to replace it with the contents of her stomach. She cowered back into his arms. He smelled of pumpkin spices and sandalwood incense. If she closed her eyes, letting the wind of their passage blow back her hair, she could imagine herself home on a Fall day, playing in the leaves her grandfather had just raked. She had jumped into his freshly raked piles every year up until she had left home. It was a tradition with them, a rite of passage that marked the end of summer. This man reminded her of all these special moments in her life.
The flight to her hometown took two hours. What, no inflight meal or movie, she teased as he set her down at her grandparent’s door.
“I’ll wait out here,” Angel set her down as lightly as a feather.
Alex nodded. Opening the door with her key, she called, “Grandma! Grandpa! I’m home.”
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