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Even as Henry left the building, he knew there was no way that he could ever return. The Black Angels knew no such thing as forgiveness, even though they preached that they were the one true way to heaven. As Henry stepped down the three stairs onto the busy street, he knew he was alone. Never again would he see his family. The Black Angels had swallowed them. To them, Henry may as well have been common street scum. The minute he left the door, they no longer knew him.

Henry knew that in some ways he had brought the exodus upon himself. But there was a growing conviction deep inside that he had been made a fool of. He knew that the council had not wanted him to be a part of them, and lately, Henry had been glad to separate. They had treated him fairly, although they knew he would never come to much worth in the Black Angels.

At first they had believed that he would be one of the greatest members that the cult had ever seen. They knew that he had possessed some kind of awesome power, that neither they nor their "god" could comprehend. They had nurtured him slowly, teaching him the ways of the Black Angels, they were the only way, only through them could salvation be granted. This had been imposed on the young boy throughout his young life, that he was one of the flock, and that everyone else in the world was wrong.

In his mid-teens he began to emerge from his group of peers. He no longer shared their conviction in their faith. The council merely assumed that it was just a part of the normal growing cycle, many of their other members had suffered through the process, and he would eventually prevail over the "evil" lurking within.

But Henry had his doubts, deep uncertainties that stretched across his soul. He did not know whether or not he was right or wrong in his "faith". In all truth, he could not have cared less. Henry knew that he was destined for disaster, but he was determined to stick with the system as long as he could, for his expulsion would cause his parents great shame if he were still a child. And so Henry grimly held on, suffering through the college of the Black Angels, laboring just so that he could spare his parents the shame of knowing that he was their failure, their child had denounced his life.

His manhood ceremony was like no other. There were crowds of people to cheer him on as he labored through the trials that he needed to succeed. In him there was great pain, he knew that he no longer wanted anything to do with these heathens, and made up his mind that as soon as he was approved as a council member, he would go.

The council had finally become aware that Henry's dream was far different from theirs. While they desired nothing but to uphold the laws of the community and to make it prosper, Henry wanted out. Finally, the council was willing to oblige.

They told him that he was no longer wanted, that no one cared if he lived or died, and that he was expelled from the Black Angels community. Henry gathered up his few meager possessions and left, with the council members scorning him as he opened the gate and stepped into civilization for the first time in his young life.

Henry walked slowly down the busy road, knowing that it would be hard to find work. Even though he held a college diploma, few organizations were likely to hire a former member of the Black Angels; for fear that that person would fervently try to convert the rest of the working staff. This, if successful, was devastating to the owner of the organization because he would lose all of his employees to a Black Angels camp.

He stopped slowly in front of a soup kitchen. Swallowing his pride, he entered through the low hanging door. The interior was dark and steamy, chock full of unemployed laymen. He found a place in line and waited. When finally his turn came, he was doled out a ration of soup and bread. He dutifully took it over to a small table in the corner of the room and ate ravenously. The incessant chatter of the soup kitchen suddenly fell quiet.

A hulking black shadow had materialized in the front entrance. The man's huge bulk dwarfed even the largest of the kitchen's proprietors. He slunk slowly over to the corner table where Henry sat.

"Are you da Black Angel? I'm gonna show you wot we do ta Black Angels!" he swung the brass covered fist furiously, catching Henry full in the nose. Blood spattered across the tables, blanketing a few other "customers". Henry didn't move. The hulk swung again, and again, decking Henry to the cold stone floor. All the while Henry made no move to fight back. He slowly crawled to his feet, barely having time to catch his breath as the next punch sprawled him across the floor. Shakily he stood up, quickly collapsing. Henry said nothing. He the stood up and walked out the door.

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The following comments are for "Black Angels"
by philliephan2k2

Very good
An effective story centered around feelings of alienation and rejection. The last sentence has a grammar problem; this is only worth mentioning because the last sentence is so important to this story that any flaws in clarity can rob it of effect. That is the greatest error that I can find, though. A great story that embraces effectiveness as the true heart of artistic literature. Fantastic.

( Posted by: The Recycled Avatar [Member] On: December 31, 2001 )

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