Asylum of Angels

Like many of the better run asylums–and they had, after all, the sort of unlimited budget that only omnipotence can achieve–this one was neat and clean and unspeakably dreary.

Unlike many facilities, it was white. The walls were white, the ceiling was white, the coarse cotton blankets were white. There were cool white sheets tucked into the iron-framed beds, and the windows were thrown open so that the breeze billowed lethargically through sheer white curtains.

White was feasible, in this case, because angels do not defecate, and their sweat smells like myrrh and camphor, and so clean-up wasn’t a major concern. They changed the linens twice a week. The janitor swept up fallen feathers every evening with a push broom, and the few deviants who insisted on throwing their ambrosia at the walls were kept in wards with drains set into the floor.

The angels sat in their beds. Most of them sat up during the day, in order to stretch their wings out, and a few of the more troublesome ones were handcuffed to the foot of the bed to keep them from neurotically plucking out all their pinfeathers. (Pennaphagia was a serious problem, made more so because angelic digestive tracts are only good for breaking down the pure sugars of ambrosia and are thus about as advanced as a hummingbird’s.) But for the most part, they sat in silent, catatonic ranks, white nightgowns against white sheets, framed by architectural sweeps of white wing, faces narrow and flawless in despair, beings who hadn’t so much fallen from grace as stumbled somewhere where grace had a hard time following.

It surprised some people that angels would go mad, but when you thought about, it made sense. Four point five billion years, with nothing to do but watch continents crash together and dinosaurs fuck. Angels have never been any good at card games, and the music of the spheres loops if you listen long enough.

In the end, it wasn’t so much a surprise that angels would go mad as that there were so many sane ones left.

(I have no idea where that came from…)

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