Angel Evolution - David Estes


“Hurray for a child

That makes it through

If there's any way

Because the answer lies in you

They're laid to rest

Before they know just what to do

Their souls are lost

Because they could never find

What's this life for?”

Creed—“What’s This Life For?”

From the album My Own Prison (2007)

Chapter One

Her parched throat burned with an unquenchable fire. She tried to swallow, but each desperate gulp left her wanting; her mouth was dry, there was no moisture left to cool her angry esophagus. The dizzying effect of the dehydration was affecting her memory. She couldn’t remember where she was or how she got there, but knew that if she didn’t find water soon, Death would painfully claim her. As she tried to get her bearings, a steady fog drifted in and surrounded her in an icy shroud. Dropping to her knees in anguish, she prepared to succumb to the sleep that she had been desperately fighting.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a familiar slithering Evil. A snake, inky black with blood-red eyes, undulated towards her. Weakened by her thirst, she could only watch as the sharp-fanged reptile approached, without caution. She collapsed face-first onto the cold, hard ground. The snake reached her naked foot, and climbed over her heel and onto her slender ankle. Without hesitation, it moved up her bare leg, its rough scales buzzing along her exposed skin.

With her cheek pressed against the rocky earth, she saw what had to be a mirage: two Beings strode purposefully towards her through swirls of mist. Despite the exhaustion that clouded her vision, she could see that both Beings were exquisitely beautiful. The first had a subtle glow about its body that cut through the fog casually, as if the weather was clear. Its glow brightened as it approached. The second was cloaked in darkness, although it wore no head covering. Surprisingly, she felt safe.

The snake reached her waist, caressing her hips like a dance partner, but the visitors didn’t seem to notice.

One of them gently touched an animal-skin pouch to her cracked lips. As the lubricating water ran mercifully past her teeth, along her tongue and down her inflamed gullet, she wondered who these wondrous presences were and why they had saved her. Forgetting the snake, she insatiably gulped down the cool liquid. Seconds later she cringed, as the fire returned to her throat. The second Being slid another vessel into position, and she greedily opened her mouth to receive the life-giving water. She barely had time to choke out a scream before the sand filled her mouth.

Her last memory was the black snake: its red eyes staring into hers, its mouth gaping open to reveal fiercely sharp fangs dripping with blood as black as oil. Her final thoughts could be summed up in one word: fear.

Chapter Two

Two weeks later.

Despite the light drizzle, Taylor sat cross-legged on the lush lawn; she was patiently scouring the grass with her hands and eyes. Trying to find it. She wasn’t a superstitious person by nature, but something inside her very soul compelled her to keep looking. It had become a ritual for her. A painstaking search was required in any new place where she would be spending more than a week. Every few minutes, she shifted her towel a few feet over and continued her hunt.

After one such move, her grazing hands stopped abruptly and her eyes locked on her ring—the ring. While she wore many rings—eight between her two hands, to be exact—only one had the ability to distract her so completely. Like now. Not the dog bone or the horseshoe or the thorny rose or the black bat or the cross. Not even the skull or the death spikes. Those rings all felt ordinary compared to the last ring—the one she wore on her left ring finger. The four-leaf clover.

It wasn’t the clover itself that made the ring special. Or the four leaves, which traditionally implied luck for the bearer; rather, it was the giver of the ring that defined its value. It was the last gift her mother had ever given her, for her birthday.

“You’re a teenager now,” she had said. “You’re going to need all the luck you can get.” Taylor had laughed and given her mom a big hug.

Ever since her mother’s unexpected death, when Taylor was only thirteen, she had forced herself to keep looking. Searching. To her, finding a four-leaf clover in a place was a sign. A sign that she was meant to be there. A sign that her