Ash sat up and looked around. The sun hurt his eyes. It was the first time he had ever really looked at it. He felt the rock under him. The roughness scratched at his naked body. He had never noticed how hard rock was before this. He stood up to stretch. Every muscle in his body was sore. He stretched trying to get the kinks out. His muscles had never hurt him like this. He felt a sharp pain in his back. He reached back to find out where he was hurt. He felt something wet. When he looked at his hand it was covered in blood. He looked back over his shoulders expecting to see two white wings behind him. They were gone. In their place were two bloody wounds. His memory raced back to him with a jolt. He had messed up. He had asked his questions and had been punished for them.

Before this he had been care free, soaring on the wind, watching over others and making them stay away from harm. He had been immortal and happy, for that was all he knew. Before this he had not known sorrow or pain. He could not feel or really see as humans do. He had wondered why humans had worn clothes. He now knew as he felt humility and he felt the wind blow against his cold body. Why had he asked? Why hadn't he kept his mouth shut? Curiosity was his only human trait. Now he had to suffer. He didn't understand.

Ash slowly walked down from the mountain on which he had been cast. He walked for an hour before his feet, bloody and torn, had collapsed on him. His eyes shut and for the first time in his existence he slept and dreamed. He dreamed about the life he had left, he dreamed about the people he once protected, he had nightmares about his question. Finally he awoke to voices.

"Poor boy he was found naked in the wilderness."

"I wonder what happened did you see his back? He's going to have a hell of a scar."

"He fucked up his feet too. The other rangers and I don't know how long he had been walking but his feet and hands are as tender as school girls."

"He's beautiful though. Look at his face."

"Now don't be getting any ideas Laura. I just brought you with me because you wanted see what I did for a day. I'm not going to have my little sis hitting on boys found naked in the woods.

"Don't treat me like a kid Briggs. I'm 20 years old I can take care of myself. Look he's waking up," Laura said excitedly.

The nurse walked over to him, "Hello, are you feeling better?"

Ash looked at her and sent her a message saying he was okay. She just kept staring back smiling at him. He tried again realizing that she wouldn't hear him. She was human and now so was he. He didn't know how to speak as human's did.

"I guess he doesn't speak English." The nurse looked at him, "What is your name?"

He just stared back and tried to use his vocal cords for the first time, "A-a-… A-shhhhh"

"So you can talk. Well Ash, do you have a last name, too?"

Ash thought for a minute when he remembered that humans had two or three names, "An-ge-l"

The nurse took a clipboard and wrote down his name. He looked at the others in the room. One was a park ranger but the other was a sweet young girl. She had long blond hair and bright green eyes. She was tall, thin, and very beautiful. He noticed her get uncomfortable at him staring, but she was staring too. Ash was handsome but he had never known that. He had rich chocolate brown hair and beautiful blue eyes; all angels had blue eyes. He finally looked away embarrassed. He was feeling an emotion he had could not describe. The emotion was wonderful and made his heart beat faster and his lips turn into a permanent smile. He felt adrenaline rush through his body and he felt like he was flying again. He realized that the man was talking to him so he, painfully, turned away from Laura.

"Son, my name is Briggs. I was the ranger who found you. What were you doing so far in the woods? You were naked of all things. Do you know what happened to your back?"

Ash just looked at him blankly. Words were hard to understand for him. He was just learning to use words. The ones he had protected before had spoken to him but he had always replied through their mind.

"I think he doesn't know how to speak Briggs."

Laura went to Ash and put her hand on his shoulder. She stared at him and knelt next to his bed.

"Can you talk?"

She said slowly so that he would have time to understand. He had felt the electricity run to his heart and was filled with amazement. Finally he took a breath and spoke.

"Yyy-es, ssss-looooo-w-ly"

Finally the nurse came back in the room and ushered them out.

"He needs his sleep. You can come back tomorrow."

They slowly left. Ash felt like he was being torn apart. His heart hurt as Laura left the room. He didn't even say goodbye. Ash fell asleep and dreamed again. Ash dreamed about emotions, about lust and love, about doubt and fear. Ash feared that she would not come back and he felt lust for her body but love for her soul. That night He came to Ash.

"Have you learned your lesson yet?"

"What is your purpose of putting me here?"

Ash demanded. Ash couldn't stand not knowing the reason.

"This is your punishment for your question."

"Is it so wrong to question what I need to know? You never answered my question. Why…"

"Silence, do not question me. I would have taken you back but you need to be punished until you learn your lesson."

Ash woke up again. It was dawn. His back throbbed and Ash could hardly control the pain he felt. He forced himself to stay silent when he wanted to cry out. Ash rolled over on his side. That lessened the pain, and he thought of more questions. Mainly he thought about why he wasn't allowed to question. He could not figure it out. After awhile, Laura appeared in the room. All the feelings of love rushed up to him.

"Hi Ash! What's up?"

He smiled at her and tried to answer. Most of his friends had not understood how humans talked but he did because he had talked with humans more than his friends had. Ash had listened to their problems and worries; their fears and wishes.

"Hhhhi!"

She put down her purse and rummaged through it.

"Do you know how to write?"

He smiled and laughed. He nodded emphatically. Of course he knew how to write. One of his jobs was to write out scrolls to give to humans. He helped different human writers before by giving them the push they needed and helping them write.

"Good I brought my notebook. I'll talk and you can just write your answers."

She handed him a pen and a pad of paper. He slowly sat up and took them from her.

"What happened to your back? Why were you in the woods naked and alone?"

He thought for a moment. He didn't know how to lie so he wrote down the truth.

I questioned Him and as punishment I lost my wings. I could not feel the cold or humility before so there was no need for clothes

As he handed her the pad of paper her eyes went wide.

"You have the most beautiful handwriting. It looks like calligraphy."

She read the letter and then looked at him strangely.

"You questioned who? You had wings? Before, before what?"

He took the paper and wrote.

I questioned Him, God. I had wings because I am an angel. My punishment was to become human. So I would learn about emotion and pain. I have learned many emotions and cannot see how you function with them. There is only one emotion that I learned and that is what I feel now... love.

She read the first sentence and looked up at him with her eyes wide.

"You're an angel? No fucking way! You're crazy you know that? You're fucking crazy!"

She read the rest as realization dawned on her. He loved her. She also realized that she loved him back.

"How can this be true? I don't believe in God, but for some reason I believe what you are saying," she sighed and started mumbling to herself, "Laura you're going nuts. He's crazy. He's not telling the truth. Maybe I'm crazy too. Fuck! What's going on?"

You are not crazy. You believe me because you love me just as I love you.

She looked down at the pad as he gave it to her. She shook head and tried to figure out what was going on. Ash let her think but a sudden burst of pain made him cry out.

"Are you okay? What's wrong? Should I get the nurse?"

He started crying. He had never dealt with pain before. Tears were a new concept for him and he suddenly stopped with amazement but pain raced through his back again. Laura left the room and got the nurse.

The nurse came and took care of him. As she left Laura followed.

"How is he doing?"

"Are you family?"

"No, but I'm one of the people who brought him in."

"Okay I'll tell you then. He's lost a lot of blood and he has a bad infection in his back as well as his feet. He has a low chance of surviving this. A doctor would know more but I overheard one of the doctors say that the wounds on his back were to the bone and it looked as if he had something torn from his back that was connected to the bone. They were joking and said that it looked as if he used to have wings that were torn off."

"Thanks."

Laura went in the room and sat down. If the doctors said it looked like he had, had wings. She knew that it was true deep down inside her. After that she visited everyday. They talked about her life and about what he had done in his. Everyday they grew to love each other more and more. After a couple of days Ash learned to speak instead of writing to Laura.

Every night He came to Ash asking him if he learned his lesson. Ash, in return, asked more and more questions. Ash asked: Why was there pain? Why did angels not feel emotions? Why did everything happen as it did? Why did it rain? Why was it hot? and other such questions. One day He had finally had enough.

"No more questions! Silence! You will never be allowed to be an angel again. You will live your life as a human and die as one."

Realization dawned on Ash. He knew why questions could not be asked.

"You are afraid aren't you? You have no control over the humans but their belief in you makes them think that you do."

"Silence!"

"I will not be silent. You are afraid that once they stop believing you won't be able to do anything. You will have no power. Already humans have stopped believing or they have other gods and goddess' that they believe in. They stopped believing because you let pain, hunger, and poverty rule everything"

"I said silence!"

"You have no real power what can you do?"

The dream ended and Ash finally learned the answer to his question. Ash knew he would be punished for this for He still had a little power. He even knew what his punishment would be.

"I will die soon, Laura."

"No you won't. The nurses say you are getting a lot better."

"That is true for now but I questioned Him. I found out many things, He is afraid humans will find out. I told Him the truth and He cannot handle it."

"So what is killing you going to do?"

"It will stop me from telling humans what I learned."

"Will you go to hell?"

"No I will go to the other gods and goddess'. There I will plea for protection. He is the only god who created a punishment for non-believers. He created hell in his desperate attempt to acquire followers."

Laura started crying and laid next to Ash.

"You can't die! What will I do without you?"

"My dear, don't cry. Our souls are connected. After your own death you will follow me and we will be together once again."

She cried and kissed him. She lay next to him for hours crying. Slowly, as the days passed, he became worse and worse. The nurse shook her head with pity every time she came into the room. Finally, the next week Ash told Laura it was his final day on Earth. They lay in the bed without saying anything, not needing to say anything. They fell asleep and Ash dreamed of hell. Ash knew He sent these dreams to scare him. They did scare Ash. Ash knew he wouldn't go there but he was still scared. Laura tried to convince herself she could live go one after Ash died. She was scared and Laura had nightmares about what her life was going to be like without Ash. She awoke from one of her dreams. In it Ash had been screaming in pain. She looked over and realized that he was screaming in real life. She called in the nurse. With the nurse came a couple of doctors. Ash was writhing in pain and screaming. Laura held on to Ash's hand as the doctors worked. Finally he looked at Laura and then screamed one final time. The doctors tried to resurrect him but nothing worked.

Laura kissed his lips, which were growing cold and left. She drove home thinking. She thought she would be able to handle his death but she realized that she couldn't. Her body was shaking with the force of the tears coming out of her eyes. She could barely open the door to her apartment. She walked in and sat down on the couch. She was cried out. She sat there and realized she hadn't even taken a picture of him. She remembered his voice and his smile. She wanted to sleep but couldn't let herself. She finally realized what she had to do. She got up and went to her room. She searched the dresser next to her bed. She smiled sadly as she took it out. She had made up her mind. She put the cold steel to her head and pulled the trigger. Her body collapsed to the ground.