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Despite the cold air rushing past my face, I could feel my cheeks burning. Everyone was staring at me. I was sure of it.

I wished constantly that I could be like the rest of them – that I could just glide effortlessly between the clouds, loop the loop and land perfectly without the tiniest bead of perspiration – but the fact was, I was pretty much the worst angel around.

I had to flap my wings madly just to stay aloft. It was so tiring that by the time I got anywhere I was flushed, sweaty, and not looking at all heavenly. And the very idea of playing a harp at the same time? Impossible. No wonder I never got to deliver divine messages.

All I wanted to do was go home and have a nice lie down, but I couldn’t do that; I had been called in by one of the Teachers. Important, the message said. I aimed for the rear entrance; not only was it easier to land unnoticed there, but the landing was softer. I still twisted my ankle as I came down. Seriously. I must be the only angel to ever twist an ankle on a cloud.

I hobbled into the Teacher’s office.

“Take a seat.”

I blinked. There was a bench there, with a cushion set on the top. It hadn’t been there last time.

“Your ankle must be hurting, yes? So take a seat.”

I’ve always hated the way the Teachers do that. They always know. They’re always prepared. Unlike me, constantly off guard and rushing to try and catch up.

“I have been reviewing your file.”

Great, I thought. Here it comes. You’re the worst angel ever, and we’re sending you to work in the other place.

“There is one thing I have always admired about you. No matter how difficult the task, no matter how far beyond you it may be, you always try.”

Wow. Talk about faint praise.

“But perhaps wings are not for you.”

There was a faint popping sound behind me and I lurched backwards, unbalanced. I hadn’t realised before just how heavy those wings were.

“I’m sending you down to Earth. I think that you will learn a lot there.”

My throat was suddenly very dry. “What am I supposed to do on Earth? I don’t know anything about being human!”

The Teacher smiled at me. “You’ll adapt.”

© Kari Fay