The Angel's Phone Booth

Feral angel girl sitting in the basement, far from her flock's nests, filthy light splintered by broken windows falling all around her.

It reminds her of her halo, in a way.

Letting it fill her senses feels the same as the Thing used to feel in her mind.

Years ago someone dragged a whole-ass payphone into the basement, just pulled it right out of the ground and tossed it down. It still sparks form time to time.

Angel doesn't know why, for all the time she spends looking at it, but it's convenient that it's already here.

Just need to wait until the sun goes away, until the last traces of clinging light fade.

She plays with her knives while she waits.

Angel girls always have knives. You know exactly why. Her collection is better than most, well cared for, carefully sharpened and sheathed.

She tosses them up into the air, spinning wildly, plucks them out just before they hit the ground.

Sees how close she can cut it.

Her record is less than a centimeter away from the ground, just before hard concrete blunted one of her treasures.

She knows she can do better.

She doesn't manage to before the last sunlight fades, and the sputtering death throes of the shattered Thing hanging above her head aren't bright enough to continue. Not like it used to be, before, back when–

She's very careful to select the right knife.

Finally she settles on her very first one, a kitchen knife she stole after she realized how being without protection would go.

She can't remember if she made that decision because of the other angels or something else, but that doesn't matter. It's been hers for decades.

She hardly feels its honed edge split her skin open, hardly feels the sharp ecstatic sting until blood has already begun to run down her back. It's hot and sticky and golden, glowing with all the dignity she can no longer afford to keep.

A plucked feather pressed against the cut is more than enough of a brush. She has to open two more cuts before she's done, her blood clotting and drying too soon despite the handfuls of anticoagulants she choked down before heading out here.

The telephone booth is wrapped in glowing arcs and lines, broken circles scrawled across the ground, full of half-remembered sigils and angry splotches.

She sits and watches it, waits to learn if she did this right.

After several achingly long minutes the broken phone rings, a peal of discordant bells that make her heart leap in her chest, that echo strangely through the basement, almost like–

She carefully slips inside the booth to answer it,

and learn how far she can fall.