Angel Hierarchy

Pure Angels - Direct descendants of the original angels God created - like Gabriel. Extremely powerful.

Mix Angels- An angel born from an earth-touched and a pure angel. Somewhat powerful. Frowned upon.

Earth - touched Angels - A soul that entered heaven after living its life on earth.

The first time I saw an angel with its wings spread wide, flying through the skies of heaven, I was in awe. The sun shone through the snow white feathers, momentarily blinding me - they wings moved steadily up and down, supporting the weight of the angel with ease, a beautiful angel beaming with happiness at her newly acquired appendages. Wings represented power and honor in heaven. Someday, I hoped, I too would gracefully soar across the skies of heaven with my wings, my chin held high with the magnificence of them. Someday, I promised myself. Someday.

Lesson one: Even the exams in heaven really suck

Arvy Myers stretched and yawned. The bright morning light shone upon her face and in her light blue eyes, as if obnoxiously yelling at her to get out of bed. Whether or not it actually was, Arvy complied, slipping off the edge of her bed, her feet landing softly on the warm wooden floor of her spacious bedroom.

"Arvy, are you up yet?" Her mother knocked loudly on her bedroom door.

"I'm up." Arvy assured her. "You shouldn't yell, we have to respect our neighbors."

Arvy's mother, Haley, was an earth-touched angel, and not just from anywhere on earth, but New York of all places. She was loud and full of attitude, which might have been what attracted Arvy's father Luke, a pure angel, to her twenty years ago. Of course, the relationship and Arvy had been frowned upon, and the result tore the family apart before they'd even had a proper chance to be a family. Luke received an ultimatum: his job on the top council, or life with Arvy and Haley. He did what he believed to be best: he took the job. Haley understood his choice; Arvy didn't. She'd only been a baby, and she didn't understand why her father wasn't around to raise her.

Yes, this indeed was heaven, and yes, it was supposed to be a peaceful place with no problems for earth touched spirits to reside for eternity after their death. For the most part, heaven fit this criteria. It just failed to be exactly perfect. Heaven enforced strict policies, policies meant to be for the good of all the angels. One rule clearly stated pure angels and earth touched angels could not produce offspring under any circumstances. It did happen quite often though, Arvy certainly wasn't the only mixed angel in heaven. Her best friend Tyler, who she called TyTy, had mixed blood as well. Certainly a recent lenience in this policy was a result of Luke's power as member of the top council. Mixed angels were gaining respect, but not everyone saw them as wonderful just yet.

"Don't tell me what to do, young lady. Do I have to remind you who the parent is around here?" Haley opened the door and threw a scarf at Arvy, who barely managed to catch it. "I washed it last night. It's your lucky scarf so I figured you'd want it."

Arvy smiled at her mom as she wrapped the bright indigo scarf around her neck, even though she was still in her pale white silk pajamas. This scarf had been with her through more angel exams than she could count.

"Hurry up or you're going to be late." Her mom stated with a look of nervousness before she left to allow Arvy time to get dressed.

Arvy stumbled over to her dresser, still half asleep, and slipped on a pale blue T-shirt with white skinny jeans. She glanced at herself in a golden framed mirror, the only colorful thing in her almost all white bedroom. Her face appeared anxious, reflecting her inner turmoil. Today meant a lot - it was her first step in acquiring her wings. Her mother knew how much she wanted wings. Earth-touched angels aren't allowed to have wings because the exam required a trip to earth, and if anybody recognized them, it would cause an uproar. Mixed angels only recently were allowed to take the exam, a result of Luke's persistence and persuading in the top council.

Her mother knocked on the door again with impatience. "Move your little butt, Arvy!"

Arvy smoothed out a wrinkle in her shirt before opening the door with a smile.

"Ready!" She declared.

Most schools refrained from having exams on a Saturday, but the H.A.L.O.W (Heavenly Angels License for Ownership of Wings) exam took a considerable amount of time, so this Saturday hundreds of young teenage angels poured into Starcrest Academy, a white grandiose building with five stone pillars carved with beautifully detailed ivy leaves adorning the large double door entrance.

"I'm nervous." Arvy admitted to Haley as they arrived in front of the institution. A few angels passed in front of her, bumping into her in the process. She remained planted firmly in her spot, ten feet away from the stairs leading to the school's entrance.

"You'll do fine." Haley assured her, ruffling her daughter's golden blonde hair. Arvy threw her mother an embarrassed look.

"I'm sixteen, would you please not do such things?"

Haley laughed. "You are such an angel, you know that? In my teenage years, if my mother had ruffled my hair, I would have cussed her out."

Arvy blushed. "You swore?"

Haley rolled her eyes. "I will certainly miss you," she said as she enveloped Arvy in an inescapable hug. Right, Arvy reminded herself, she wouldn't be walking home after the exam. She'd be going to earth to complete it.

The H.A.L.O.W exam consisted of two parts: the first was the written part, which took a good three hours. The second required the angels to go to earth to save their assigned soul. Failure of either part resulted in no wings. Angels could only take the exam five times with a one year gap between each attempt before they were no longer allowed to. Arvy was a first time H.A.L.O.W test taker, as was Tyler.

"Arvy?" Tyler now stood beside her, smiling at her to try and soothe her nerves; he knew she was anxious about the exam, she'd told him over and over and over and over again how much she wanted to pass it.

"TyTy!" Arvy grinned back, squirming her way out of her mother's bear hug.

"Ready for the exam?"

Arvy let out a sigh. "As ready as I'll ever be."

"Good luck you two," Haley chirped in with a warm tone. She gave her daughter one last squeeze before waving goodbye and disappearing in the increasing crowd.

"I like your mother," Tyler laughed.

"You can have her," Arvy joked.

Tyler threw her an upset glance. "You should appreciate her more, Arvy."

Arvy opened her mouth to defend herself, but she didn't know what to say. Tyler was right, even if it'd been a joke, she didn't mean it, and she shouldn't have said it.

"You're right." She smiled.

The classroom was full to the point of being a fire hazard when Tyler and Arvy squeezed into what was practically the last two empty seats. A few angels that arrived late would have to take the exam sitting in the aisles of the desks. All the classrooms of Starcrest academy spilled over with angels eager to earn their wings. The recent change in policy regarding the mixed angels' permission to take the exam was mostly the cause. That, and the fact Starcrest Academy happened to be the only school that had the test. One might believe with the close proximity of the test takers cheating would be inevitable, but it never occurred, the resulting punishment scared any angel tempted to cheat away from such thoughts. After all, if an angel cheated and a teacher noticed it, they could never earn wings. It did help most of the angels lived with a high set of moral codes that made them refrain from any act of a grievous nature.

Arvy's hands' shook as the test was placed in her hands.

"Alright, now that everyone has a test booklet," A gray bearded instructor announced with a deep bellowing voice, "I should announce that all of you have already been paired with your human. Upon finishing the test, you will be given a file containing that person's information and the criteria that must be met for your human's soul to be considered saved. Good luck to all of you, and you may begin."

The words of the exam seemed to blur together. Arvy had to stop a few times and refocus herself with a deep calming breath. Sometimes she found herself on autopilot, marking answers with fingers trembling ever so slightly. She studied for hours for this exam, most of these answers she knew by heart, but she still doubted herself with some, questioned what she knew for certain to be true. The possibility of earning her wings danced around her head in a teasing and disorienting manner, but she powered through. It wasn't until she turned in her exam and the instructor handed her the case file for her soul that the possibility of her earning wings vanished into thin air, replaced by a cold dread of things to come.

*Author's notes*

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