I backed a few steps away from them.
They still stood as taut as statues.
It was hopeless, they surrounded me
in a tight ring, thirteen of them. I couldn’t watch them all, one could sneak
up behind me and stab or strangle me easily.
They were closing in on me, wings of
different colours forming a horrific frame of feathers around me, scent of
blood and the sort of filthy smell like a shed full of birds was choking me, as
well as that stench of rotting flesh. I wanted to throw up.
In a sudden, reckless burst of
bravery, I walked over to the angel with the black wings, glittering and wet
like the feathers of a rook in the rain, and tried to get past her. I was still
trembling, and she was feeding off of the insecurity, I was sure of it.
She drew back her clawed hand and hit
me hard across the face, knocking me over.
Then I had an idea.
I lay very still, slowing my
breathing until it stopped. The angels looked down at me. I stared back with
glassy, unblinking eyes, not shaking, not trembling.
The angels stared for a long time,
but lost interest. I’d fooled them into thinking I was dead!
I waited until they turned to the
haystack, to claw at the dead angel, before edging towards the trap-door, to
try and get down from the attic.
Then one of the angels, the one with
the crimson wings, patches of feathers falling away to reveal enflamed, pink
weeping flesh, turned around. She gave a high, strangled screech, like the last
cry of a bird before it is strangled, and the other angels all turned to face
me, just as I opened the trap-door and escaped.