Porkpie Hat – A Plague of Angels

So there’s this man who finds himself middle-aged, middle class, middle-of-the-road, living in the middle of Middle America. He knows his place, his way, his precise location, because he has GPS and satellite signals, and echolocation.

He has route maps and instructions. He has a glowing box of dreams he keeps in the corner of his room. In the evening, the dreams swim around in there, like neon fish in an aquarium.

He’s not sure, anymore, whose dreams these are he keeps seeing. He thinks maybe they’re his. Maybe they’re his.

At night, though, when he falls asleep (as he inevitably must) the other dreams keep coming. Most often, he dreams of angels, both weird and terrible. They are freakish angels, angel freaks.

There is the one, whose head is blinding light, erupting in sparks like a birthday party sparkler. She follows him through the house, and he is terrified she will set the kitchen curtains on fire. There is the one whose skin is a mirror, and the one whose body is inside out, her flesh decorated with veins and organs.

There are angels with three mouths, and angels hanging from the ceiling. There are angels clear as glass, and one who is the night sky, jewelled with emptiness and constellations.

All of them are singing their weird and terrible song, and no matter how hard his dreaming self clamps his hands over his ears, the music finds its way inside his head and his blood.

He desperately wants them to stop visiting him, so he spends his spare hours searching the Internet for a cure. He sits in clinic waiting rooms and on church pews. He wanders, tired and confused, through the self-help aisles of Indigo and Chapters. He falls asleep with his iPod on, and the box of acceptable dreams turned way up loud. He drinks endless cups of coffee to buy himself more time in the real, waking world.

Still, the angels keep coming, night after night. They sit on the edge of his bed; get tangled in his drapes and in his sheets. They have burning hair and the heads of beasts. They have folded black wings and dresses made of honeybees. They hum and they sing and they call to him to join them. They are beautiful and deadly, radioactive, translucent.

And he thinks, there is only so much madness a middle-aged, middle-class man can handle. And he spends his days cursing his fate, and searching for a cure.

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