Kevin sat motionless in the sea of empty tables in Kevin’s
Diner. He wouldn’t be opening today. The sound of silence
in the usually bustling dining room was so loud it was
After the Angels left, he had just wandered about the
abandoned tables and booths. He thought about going
home, but he didn’t know if he could face the house without
Maddy, if he could look at the gaping, jagged windows that
had swallowed her into the night. So he had decided to stay
in the restaurant, but it wasn’t much better. He still hadn’t
When dawn finally came, he rose from his seat and
shuffled back into the kitchen. There was no great hurry.
The cold kitchen smelled of stale grease and cleaning
solvent. He picked up the coffeepot to rinse it out, but it was
already clean. He checked the burners again to make sure
they were off. They were. He picked up the broom from the
corner and ran it over the floor. The bristles against the linoleum
made the only sound in the restaurant. He stopped
after a moment and put the broom back. Silent again. Absolute
stillness. His gaze drifted to the counter, where he was
surprised to see Maddy’s notepad. He must not have noticed
it in the dark last night. It was sitting haphazardly where
she had thrown it after her last shift. When had that even
been? He couldn’t remember. It seemed like ages ago.
He went to the notepad and picked it up. He flipped
through the pages. He looked at her scrawl, which he always
criticized her for. Even now he could barely read it. Did that
say with onions? Or no onions? It’s unreadable, he used to
scold her. I can’t cook the food if I can’t read your writing.
He would be okay with it now, he thought. He would be fine
with however she wrote the orders, if only she were here to
write them. He set the notepad back down and leaned
against the fryer, fighting the first tears he had felt in years.
The steel lock of the front door banged as someone
tried to open it, followed by a knock on the glass.
“We’re closed!” Kevin yelled from the kitchen. The
knock came again. Kevin looked up. He could see a silhouette
on the other side of the door framed by the colorless
glow of the morning.
“I said we’re closed!” he yelled again, anger edging his
More raps on the glass. Insistent.
With an annoyed sigh, Kevin rounded the corner of
the kitchen and walked to the front door. He unlocked the
door with a jingle and looked out.
Standing there was an intensely beautiful woman he
had never seen before. She seemed to be middle-aged but
was slender and impossibly striking. There was something
about her that was strangely familiar.
“I’m sorry, but we’re closed,” Kevin said in a suddenly
softer tone, almost startled by her beauty. The woman just
stood there, a dark Hermes scarf wrapped around her hair.
“Mr. Montgomery?” she asked.
“If you’re a reporter, I don’t have a comment,” he said.
“I’m not a reporter. I need to talk to you about your
niece, Maddy. And my son. It’s important.”
“Your son?” Kevin asked.
Kevin blinked at her. It was Kris Godspeed. He had
only ever heard about her, and maybe seen a few pictures
over the years. He had never met her. Now he knew why she
had seemed familiar to him. The likeness between her and
Jacks was almost uncanny.
“Come in,” he said reluctantly. She quickly stepped in
and Kevin locked the door again behind her.
Kris looked around the diner. She appeared somewhat
on edge, unsure of herself. She was clearly out of place. Kevin
motioned for her to take a seat at a nearby booth.
“Please,” he said.
They both sat.
“Would you like some coffee?” he offered.
“No. Thank you,” Kris said politely. “How is your
“My head? Oh.” He touched the gauze on his forehead.
He had completely forgotten. “I’ll live.”
He regarded her. Beneath the layer of hastily applied
makeup he could see the lines of fear and worry framing her
face. He wondered if she had slept.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She looked like she was considering her words, maybe
even reconsidering her decision to come and see him. For a
moment he thought she might even get up, apologize, and
ask to leave. Then finally, she spoke.
“No one knows I’m here,” she said, “But I had to come
“I don’t know where they are,” Kevin said
“I’m not asking. I know the Council Disciplinary
Agents have already been here, as has my husband.”
“I also know your general opinion about Angels, Mr.
Montgomery.” She paused, her eyes intent on him. “I came
here hoping you might listen to me not as an Angel, but as a
mother. Can we talk one parent to another?”
“Go on,” Kevin said after a moment.
“I don’t care about the law. I just don’t want them to
hurt my son. I don’t want Maddy to get hurt either. I want
to end this thing before it goes any further, before
something terrible happens. To either of them.”
“When I talked to Mark last night, he seemed determined
to follow the law to the letter, no matter what,” Kevin
said. “And no matter who.”
Kris nodded. “As an Archangel, that is his duty. But as
a father, he has a duty too, and he’s managed to do
something extraordinary. He has spoken to the Council.”
Kevin’s face showed surprise, but still remained
“There is a chance now, a chance for Jacks to walk
away from all this and be forgiven. A chance for Maddy to
come home, and for all of this to go away.”
“I don’t understand what you need me for then,” Kevin
said. Kris regarded him. He wondered suddenly if she understood
something about what happened that he did not.
“I know the way my son feels about your niece.” She
shook her head and looked at her hands on the table. “It’s
something Mark could never understand, and so that is why
I have come to you. I need you to get a message to her.”
When she looked up at him again, her eyes were wet.
“Only you can make this happen. Only you can save
my boy. So I’m coming to you, and”—she swallowed
hard—“I’m begging you. Please help me. For my son. For my
only son. Please help me save his life and bring him home.”
Her face dropped again and her shoulders shuddered
as she stifled her crying. Kevin considered her—considered
not the Angel, but the mother before him. He took a deep
breath and spoke.
“What’s the message?”