Zach made a spectacular hole-in-one—right through the windmill, under the swinging gorilla and into the cup. How could life get any better? he thought to himself. And all with Amanda watching! The girls clapped and giggled and Travis doffed his Bears cap, saluting Zach.
Sally and Melissa Tate were sisters who lived beside Amanda and had become friends with the new girl over the summer. Melissa was a year younger than the others and rather shy. Sally, on the other hand, was never at a loss for words. She commandeered Travis as her own immediately, which pleased Zach no end. He felt a little guilty since he knew Melissa had a crush on him. Guilt aside, he smiled at and talked to her for Amanda’s benefit until he was brave enough to speak directly to Amanda. The evening went well and Zach went home in a glow of happy anticipation of life in the seventh grade.
The glow was forgotten as he stepped into his room to find Angari sitting on his bed. “Angari! How did you get here?” Zach stood in the doorway staring at the full-size Alari sitting on his bed.
“We discovered I was the only one who could come and go freely from our world to yours, Zach. We’ve been trying for years to get it right, but this is the only thing that worked.”
“Years? You were just here a couple of weeks ago. What’s with the years?”
“You’ve forgotten that time flows at a different pace in Windfallow. It has been almost twenty years since you were there.”
Zach dropped into the chair by his desk and stared at Angari. “You’re invisible to everyone but me, aren’t you?”
“Yes. How did you know?”
“Well, you’re not exactly dressed for earth, you know.”
“Oh, that’s right.” Angari looked down at his tights and tunic. His wings were folded along his side and legs and his bright yellow hair was a tousled mass of curls. “Guess it’s just as well they can’t see me, huh?”
“Yeah. Why don’t you look older, Angari, if it’s been twenty years?” Zach suddenly sat up straight. “What about Stilts? He was old when I was there. Is he still alive?”
“Not with us, Zach. He has been taken to the Eternal Plane. I think you will see him when you reach that place.”
“You mean Heaven?”
“Yes, I think that’s what you call it. We’ve been studying the Holy Bible you gave to Stilts.” Tears filled Angari’s eyes. “I am the only angel who has been allowed to read it and only a few of the elders. We are afraid the fallowfolk and the Alari as well would be terribly wounded even to read what your earth has done to the Maker’s Son.”
The tears fell down his cheeks. “How could you do that to Him?” Angari’s wings unfolded and he began to change into the incredible creature Zach had seen before. Then, his wings relaxed and he was plain old Angari again. “Forgive me, Zach, I know it was not you who did it.”
“But I’m just as capable of it, Angari,” Zach said sadly. “That’s the main difference between our world and yours.” He was silent for a moment, then asked, “Can you tell my why you’ve come back?”