Lash Broken Angel
Author:L.G. Castillo

24





Sitting on a bench in the courtyard, Naomi looked around in awe. Never in her wildest dreams did she think that Heaven would look like this. Even paintings of what people hoped Heaven would look like couldn’t compare to the lush landscape, the intoxicating smell of the flowers, and the vivid blue sky. It was as if they were in a tropical paradise, minus the mosquitoes. When she had a chance, she was dying to ask someone if they knew why mosquitoes even existed.

She’d hoped that she would awake in Heaven after she died. Most people did. She admitted there was a tiny bit of doubt that it would happen, until she met Lash, and that blew any doubts she had out of the water.

Naomi beamed as Lash covered her hand with his. As beautiful as Heaven was, she wouldn’t be nearly as happy as she was at that moment if he wasn’t by her side.

“We’ve been out here for ten minutes, Raphael,” Lash said. “I’m listening. Spill it.”

She studied Raphael as he paced in front of them, his golden hair glittering under the light. He looked like an older version of Jeremy. Even Lash looked a bit like Jeremy, except for the dark hair. She wondered if they were any familial ties to each other. Could angels be related?

“There is so much to tell you. I’m not quite sure where to start,” Raphael said.

Lash smirked. “Raphael at a loss for words. That’s a first.”

“Lash, be nice.” She warned. “Why don’t I ask some questions and you answer them. Maybe that will help.”

“Yes, that would be fine.” Raphael sat down in the seat across from them.

“Based on Lash’s surprise in finding me here, I assume this is not the typical place people go to after they die. Is that right?”

“Yes, that is correct. Most people go to another part of Heaven and are separate from the seraphim and archangels that live here.”

“Now don’t get me wrong. I love it that I’m here with Lash,” she squeezed his hand. “But, why am I here?”

Raphael smiled widely. “Because you, my dear, are the seventh angel.”

“Seriously?” Lash studied her. “Isn’t she, you know, small?”

She frowned at the ridiculous way he was looking at her. “I may be small, but now that I’m like you I can probably whip your butt anytime. Wait. What’s the seventh angel?”

“The archangels are protectors of all that is good. When we go to battle, we are the ones that take the lead. It’s akin to generals in a human army,” Raphael explained. “There are seven of us. There is Raguel and Uriel.”

“Uriel and Ragu—what?”

“Raguel is Rachel, and Uri is her partner,” Lash said.

“Oh, Rachel. I like her. She’s sweet. Who are the others?”

“Myself, Michael, Gabrielle, Jeremiel. I mean Jeremy.” Raphael continued. “And of course, you.”

“So are you saying I outrank Lash?” She turned to him and grinned.

“There must be some mistake. Uh, I mean,” he stammered when she threw him a glare. “I didn’t think a human could become an archangel.”

“There’s no mistake about it. Naomi, show him your wings.”

She looked confused as she stood. “Can’t you see them?”

“Spread them to their full length,” Raphael instructed.

“Oh, like this?”

Lash watched in shock as she expanded her wings and they grew twice the size as his own. They were almost the size of Gabrielle’s. He couldn’t take his eyes off her as her hair and feathers moved gently in the wind. She looked powerful—stunning. He never loved her more than he did at that moment.

“It’s true. You are the seventh angel. It suits you.”

She blushed and folded her wings to lay flat against her body. “I guess Welita was right. My mark is lucky.”

“Not luck,” Raphael said. “A mark of who you really are.”

“That is why I was assigned to look over her,” Lash said. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Raphael let out a rush of air. “I couldn’t. It was part of a test to see if you would have faith enough to do what you were told.”

Lash stiffened. “Jeremy knew.”

“Yes, but that was all he was told. He was told to bring her over. Lash, it was one of the most difficult things he had to do. He hated having to hurt you, not knowing what would happen after he struck you down.”

“I’m sure it was,” he mumbled.

“He cares for you greatly. Talk with him soon. I know you two can work it out.”

“Okay. Okay.” Lash leaned back and crossed his arms across his chest.

Naomi sat next to him with a worried look. “I thought he was your best friend. He was only doing his job.”

“I thought you didn’t trust him,” Lash said.

She sighed. “That was before all this.” She swept an arm over the courtyard. “He was very worried about you when he escorted me to the hall to wait for you.”

“What did he say?” He leaned forward.

“Only that he wanted to work things out with you when you were ready and that he misses you. He’s actually quite sweet.”

He grunted and fell back into his seat. She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “You’re cute when you’re jealous.”

“I’m not, jeal—” Lash started then turned back to Raphael. “So, back to the topic at hand, what assignments will she be working on?”

“She won’t work on any assignments yet. She will be too busy training.”

“Training?” She sat at attention.

“Yes, we will need you to assist when we go to battle against Lucifer.”

“Uh, I’m all for helping you guys out, but I don’t know anything about fighting.”

Lash snickered.

She whacked him playfully. “I mean about military fighting and all that stuff.”

“We will give you training. Gabrielle and I will help you,” Raphael said.

“Threats of an impending battle with Lucifer have been going on for decades,” Lash said. “Why now?”

Raphael looked down nervously.

“We’ve been able to divert Lucifer from taking over earth entirely. Admittedly, for the past few decades it has become increasingly more difficult.” Raphael paused and threw a glance at Lash. “Something happened a few years ago that placed Lucifer in a position where he will have more power in his hands than ever before.”

“What was that?” Naomi asked.

“He’s positioned himself with Jane Sutherland of the American Federation party. That is why Lucifer was after you. With you on our side, we have a better hope of bringing him and his army down.”

Naomi furrowed her brow. “I don’t understand. I mean I know she has a lot of money and power. She was able to con everyone into thinking that it was my father’s own fault that he got killed. But what does Lucifer want with her? I mean isn’t he powerful without her?”

“He needs her to gain world power. With each position she rises to, more power will fall into Lucifer’s hands. We must stop her and soon.”

“There you are.”

Rachel fluttered to them. “Oh, Naomi, your hair does look much prettier down.”

“I think so, too.” Lash tucked a loose stand behind her ear and caressed her cheek. “Thanks Rachel. For helping her—and me.”

“No problem,” she smiled at him then turned to Naomi. “You asked me to get you when the little one was near home.”

“I need to go,” Naomi said to Lash. “Bear’s almost home and I want to look in on her and Welita.”

“Sure, I’ll be with you in a moment,” Lash said. “There are a few more things I need to talk to Raphael about.”

“Oh, by the way, Rachel said I could stay in your room. I moved some things around to make space. I hope you don’t mind.” She grinned.

Lash kissed her. “Take all the space you need.”

***

When Naomi and Rachel were out of earshot, Lash turned to Raphael. “Thanks for not telling her that it was my fault for the Jane Sutherland situation.”

Raphael moved to sit next to him. “We all make mistakes. I have made them as well.”

“Not as bad as I have. I basically opened the door for the apocalypse.” He let the ramifications of what he’d done sink in. In addition to world destruction, he didn’t know how Naomi would take it if she knew that because of him, her father was dead.

“Do not take this all on yourself. Remember, people still have free-will, and I have faith in them”—he placed a hand on Lash’s shoulder—“as I have faith in you.”

He swallowed the lump that grew in his throat. He wanted to accept the words Raphael was telling him, but there was still something on the back of his mind that was bothering him. “Who’s Rebecca?”

Raphael paled and blinked rapidly. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“It’s not a difficult question. Who is Rebecca?”

Raphael let out a deep breath and a haunted look crossed his face. “She was my wife.”

Visions of the hazel-eyed woman and Raphael calling her Rebecca resurfaced again. The same woman’s voice that pleaded with Raphael in his vision was the same voice he had heard in Welita’s back yard. Welita’s guardian angel, named Rebecca, the one who looked after them all. The pieces slid into place, and he fell back onto the bench breathless. “She was my mother. Then that makes you—”

“Yes, she is your mother,” Raphael quickly interrupted. “And as you know”—he turned to Lash and looked him straight in the eye—“I’ve always been a father to you.”

“And Jeremy?”

“He is your brother.”

He looked away and let out a rush of air. “Then what Lucifer showed me was true. Jeremy was betrothed to Naomi.”

Raphael’s nostril’s flared. “Lucifer shows you only what benefits him.” He placed a hand over Lash’s. “Look at me and hear my word for I speak the truth. Naomi belongs with you. No one, not Lucifer, Jeremiel, nor even I can ever take her away from you.”

He nodded, feeling overwhelmed by what he was hearing. He had a mother he’d never met. He had lived a life with Naomi and he didn’t even know it. And Raphael and Jeremy were still a part of his life. Why? “Why couldn’t I remember it? Does Jeremy?”

“Neither of you can. You two were not meant to remember.”

“Why?”

“It is my punishment.”

“Your punishment?”

Raphael sighed. “As I said before, I too have made mistakes. When it comes to loving someone, you and I are the same. Rebecca was human, just as Naomi was, when I fell in love with her. I trusted in the wrong person, and for that I had to pay the price. I lost her and, to some extent, I lost you and Jeremiel.”

“You don’t see her? But, she’s a guardian angel.”

“No, I am forbidden. It is my punishment for my past wrong doing. Rebecca stays on earth.”

The pain on his face was plain to see. And in that moment, he saw Raphael in a different light. He could never live that long without seeing Naomi, knowing where she was and not looking in on her. He didn’t think it was possible to have even more respect for him than he did before.

“Lash!” Rachel ran across the courtyard to them. “Naomi wants you to see something. Hurry!”

“Go ahead.” Raphael smiled sadly. “Don’t ever keep a woman waiting.”

He joined Naomi at a wooden bridge that looked over what appeared to be a stream. The water was like glass. With their powers, they were able to look down to earth and narrow down the exact location of their assignments. This was the place where archangels came to check in on the seraphim and guardian angels. He wondered how many times Raphael had been tempted to look for Rebecca especially after he knew she was with Welita. There was no way he could have ever kept himself away from Naomi.

“Look.” Naomi pointed to a familiar furry brown dog. “She’s almost there.”

Bear trotted down the street where Welita lived. She spotted an old shoe lying on the side of the road and sniffed it. She then looked around as if she was checking to see if anyone was nearby, and then, she hopped on top of it.

“What is she doing?” He leaned forward to get a better look.

“Oh, my God. How embarrassing.” Naomi groaned. “Bear, get off the shoe.”

Bear stopped and barked.

“She can hear me?” Naomi turned to him, astonished.

Lash chuckled. “Sometimes they can.” He leaned over the railing and yelled, “Go home, Bear.”

Bear took off down the street barking. When she neared the small white house, Welita walked outside. Bear bounced around until Welita picked her up. She licked her face and wiggled with happiness. A silver chain glittered in the sun and Welita released it from Bear’s collar.

Welita dangled the crucifix necklace from her fingers and the sunlight danced off the tiny diamonds, sending a shimmer of blue and white. “Naomi sent you back to me.” She looked into the sky, tears spilling down her face. “Mijita, I told you love would guide you home.”

Naomi leaned over the stone railing. Tear droplets splashed onto the stream making a ripple across the water. “I love you, Welita. I’ll always be here watching over you. I promise.”

Lash placed an arm around her and pulled her close to him. “You miss home?”

“I miss Welita and Chuy.” She tilted her head up. “But you’re my home.”

“Always,” he said.

“My broken angel,” she whispered as his lips pressed down on hers.





Thanks for reading Lash, Book 1 of the Broken Angel Trilogy.

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Acknowledgments

There are so many people who supported me when I took on this adventure of writing my first original fiction.

To the Twilight fandom readers and writers, and my Tuesday WC peeps, especially Michela Walters, thank you for stoking my creativity’s fire. It had been dormant for a while—it’s blazing now.

To Regina Wamba, thank you for making the most awesome book cover.

To my editor, Emerald Lemmons, thanks for taking my project on at the last minute.

To Kristie, Jade, and Nicole, thank you for the wonderful feedback and for helping Lash come alive on paper.

To my family, who is always supportive in whatever I take on, your love is what keeps me strong.

Finally, to my husband, my biggest supporter and my personal angel—I couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks dpgroup forum.



About the Author

L.G. Castillo wrote her first story when she was ten and has been writing ever since. She took a break from writing fiction and poetry to focus on obtaining her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She is now a licensed psychologist and currently works as a professor at a Texas university. Although she has published her psychological research in several professional journals and books, Lash is her first published novel. It was written during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo 2012).