The Upside of Divine Intervention

By Daniela Abriola


I never cared for the story of God’s angels and Lucifer’s demons, though it wasn’t like it was told much in my house. Yet somehow, I – and everyone else in the world knew the tale. Angels and demons sent to earth to guide people along their destined path.

Many people longed to be able to see even a glimpse of divine intervention. It was rare but it had happened before. Every one-in-a-million was lucky enough to see their pocket-sized angel and demon that lived on their shoulder.

There were stories of people only having one. An angel or a demon. No one knows why that happened. Or why I was able to see the one that I was sent.

It was my sixteenth birthday when the first one appeared. A demon. He told me his name was Monziak. I thought it was a stupid name, but he hated ‘Pesky-little-bug-that-won’t-stop-telling-me-what-to-do’ even more than I hated Monziak. So – we settled for Monzi.

Monzi took some time to get used to – especially while we waited for my angel to finally show up. But days turn to months, and months turned to years.

My angel never showed. I was eighteen when I realised that Monzi was all I was getting.

It took more than a few weeks to come to terms with it. I didn’t understand why Monzi was the only one to show. I was a good person – I am a good person. So why didn’t my angel appear?

Monzi was loving it, however. Now that I was legally an adult, it was his time to shine.

‘Oh Emily, don’t you see? This is perfect! I know exactly where you need to go, what you need to do – who you’re meant to be!’ Monzi was ecstatic at the fact that his co-worker was nowhere to be found. ‘And all you have to do? Listen to me! Who knew how easy life could be?’

‘Oh, Monzi,’ I started, ‘if I could flick you off my shoulder and bury you in the dirt, I’d do it in a heartbeat.’

Monzi chuckled. ‘And you spent two years wondering why God never sent you an angel? Face it, Emily – you’re just as evil as I am.’

My blood turned cold. I hated that word. Evil.

I had been dealt a shit-hand ever since I was born. I wasn’t evil – but the people in my life sure were.

I stared at myself in the mirror and my reflection smiled back wickedly. It was my father’s smile and I hated it. More than I hated Monzi. It took everything I had in me to look at myself without flinching. My hair was from my mother – that was easier to look at now that it was no longer her long blonde hair – but rather, short and black.

The minute I got my hands on a pair of scissors and some box dye – I was finally me. Don’t get me wrong, staring at my parents’ green eyes was hard. They weren’t mine. Instead of hues of earthy greens – a sign of life and purity– they were danger. They said run and don’t come back.

Changing greens to blues and blues to browns took a lot of patience and a lot of contacts, but when I saw myself in the mirror – devoid of green eyes and blonde hair, I saw Emily Warner. Not Rachel Harrington.

I brought a cigarette to my lips, not once inhaling the rancid smoke. I let it burn down to the filter. I didn’t want to smoke; I wanted the awful smell of the burning cigarette that reminded me of my parents. If I breathed in slowly and just long enough, it was almost like I was back home. The smell was once a warning. Now, I took comfort in what was once a nauseating smell; it brought a wave of calmness–knowing that I was free from them. It was grounding. It was a reminder for just how far I had come; and I was never going back.

A clump of ash fell to the ground, landing bold on the pavement. I sighed and dropped the cigarette to the floor. I knew better than to light a cigarette in a gas station bathroom, but I couldn’t help myself. It wasn’t like anyone was here. It was no later than three in the morning. I’d be surprised to see anyone out at this time, besides the occasional truck driver.

‘What do you think they’re doing Monzi?’ I asked him.

Monzi’s reply was instant, the words cool as they came out of his mouth. ‘You don’t really care, do you?’

It was a rhetorical question. I knew that. Still, I continued, ‘I wish they were dead.’

‘They could be.’

I stilled at his words. It took a moment to process what he said. Monzi was right, they could be dead, but that wasn’t what he meant.

My hand grasped firmly around the strap of my bag, my thumb running up and down the seam until I felt settled.

‘That would make me as bad they are,’ I said.

Monzi shrugged and mumbled something along the lines of ‘maybe next time.’

As I walked out of the bathroom, I heard footsteps behind me. I didn’t think much of it – probably some guy waiting for the bathroom – but then the footsteps became faster. Closer.

My body was on high alert, my flight instinct almost ready to kick in. Monzi didn’t fail to tell me how I shouldn’t have stayed in the one spot for too long.

‘Emily, normally I’m not one for physical activity but… why aren’t you running?’

Monzi’s words took longer to register in my mind – only able to catch onto the word ‘running’.

I begged for my legs to pick up the pace, but they betrayed me. When an arm reached out from behind me and pulled me up against the wall, I hoped, and I prayed that Monzi could do more than hear me scream for help.

The man pressed me up against the wall, my body trapped by his own – his hands on the wall, next to my head.

‘Now, wha… what’s a pretty girl like you doing out here all by yourself?’ The man slurred his words as he spoke. His breath was hot against my face; he reeked of liquor and cheap cologne.

My heart fell to the floor. I opened my mouth to say something but couldn’t speak. I couldn’t respond, the words getting lost in my throat. The constant thumping of my heart soon fell into an unsteady rhythm that I couldn’t ignore. I was panicking and I didn’t know what to do.

‘That’s okay sweetheart, I’ll make you feel real good.’ Although the man was drunk, he spoke with such aggression that it was clear he knew exactly what he was doing.

He leaned in even closer. ‘You sure are pretty.’

His hand slowly slid down my side, resting heavily on my hip. His other hand reached down to my ass. His lips got dangerously close to mine and I don’t know if I had unconsciously done it or how I had done it, or perhaps Monzi was really looking out for me, but my hand that had lain limp by my side was now firmly grasping a pocket knife .

Monzi didn’t have to say much. As the words ‘Do it’ came out of his mouth, the cold steel came swiftly from behind my back and was buried in the man’s stomach right to the hilt. I looked at him, surprised by what I had done.

The man released his hold on me, but Monzi was still in my ear. ‘Are you sure he got what he deserved?’ he asked.

And then I twisted the knife, for good measure.

The man fell to the ground and I didn’t think twice as I ran away from him. The tears that were welling up in my eyes were now streaming down my face.

It was then that I realised that Monzi wasn’t evil. Monzi had guts. He did what he needed to do to protect me. Because I was good, but the world was not.



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