“You must mean your grandmother,” Emily corrected Lu.
“Or maybe your great-grandmother,” Charlie added.
Lu shook his head. “No, it’s my grandmother’s grandmother. She’s over a hundred years old, and she lives with us. You two come over for supper and you can talk to her.”
“Why do we want to talk to her?” Emily asked. “What does she have to say about all this?”
Lu smiled and shook his head. “You’ll just have to come over to find out.”
The next day was Sunday, and Lu invited them over to his house for Sunday evening dinner, or “supper” as Lu referred to it. Charlie had known that Lu’s mother was from Vietnam, but his father was a Black man from the South. What Charlie didn’t know was that Lu’s house was large, colorful, and full of family. The house had Asian and Black people of all ages throughout each room. When Emily and Charlie sat down for supper, it was at a huge table with eighteen other people.
“So, do you always have this many people sit down at mealtime?” Charlie asked as a big bowl of mashed potatoes was passed his way.
“Actually, we have a few missing,” said Lu. “One of my sisters is in Houston this weekend.”
“Hey Crash, I saw you on YouTube,” said Ivory, one of Lu’s younger sisters, who was still in elementary school.
“Uh, thank you?” Charlie said hesitantly.
“Crash?” Emily asked, turning to Lu.
“Don’t ask,” Lu said.
Charlie looked around them. “Where is your great-great-grandmother? I don’t see anyone old enough to be her.”
Lu shook his head. “She likes to eat in the kitchen. When we get done here, we will meet her out on the back porch.”
The Watson home was on eight acres of land outside town. Lu led them out to the back porch, which extended out toward the pasture behind their house. A pond was dug out below them and Lu’s brothers and sisters were already getting ready to go swimming out there. Lu motioned for Charlie and Emily to take seats beside him on a long wooden bench.
Seated in a wicker rocking chair sat the oldest woman that Charlie had ever seen. The black woman looked like she was one huge wrinkle, but instead of being repulsed by it, Charlie liked it. The old woman looked as if her whole life had led her to this point, and she had embraced her age as an important part of who she was.
“Louis, honey, introduce me to your friends,” the old woman said to Lu.
“Grandma, this is Charlie and Emily. Guys, this is my grandma.”
The old woman held out her hand, and Charlie and Emily took turns shaking it.
“What brings you out here to visit an old woman?” Grandma Watson said. Lu and Emily looked at Charlie, who took a breath and then told her what had happened in the past few days.
“And you came to sees me because you wants to know what these things are,” she said, matter-of-factly.
“Well, yeah,” Charlie said. “Do you know what they are?”
The three of them paused, waiting for a response. Finally, she spoke again.
Charlie frowned. “But I didn’t see any wings or haloes or anything like that. And the dark one was more like a demon than an angel.”
Grandma Watson shook her head. “Son, where do you think demons come from? Don’t you know that all demons are is angels gone bad? Look here.” She reached over to a small table beside her rocking chair and raised a large Bible up to her lap. She opened it up and Charlie saw that it had been underlined and marked in several different colors many times. Other verses had been written in the margins of the page as well. She flipped through the pages as if she knew exactly where everything was.
“Here it is: Ephesians 6:12: ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’” She closed her Bible and looked at Charlie.
“We are at war with the Devil. We have always been at war with him, whether we knew it or not.” She reached out and put her hand on Charlie’s shoulder. “For some reason, the Good Lord decided to open your eyes to what was going on around us.”
Charlie stared at her, then shook his head again.
“But I didn’t see any wings. I didn’t see anything that looked like what an angel is supposed to look like.”
Grandma Watson clucked her tongue. “And just what is an angel supposed to look like? If you was to describe what you saw to someone else, would they see it the way you seed it? I think the men who writ the Bible did their best to describe what they was seeing, but we don’t want to see it just exactly the way they tells us.”
Charlie and Emily stared at her, and she shook her head.
“Look, these creatures. They’s fast. Right? Well, to someone in Bible times, what would be faster than an eagle or some other bird? So they gives it wings. That’s where people gets the idea that angels have wings. What do they need wings for?”
Charlie nodded slightly. “The things I saw were there, then they weren’t, as if…as if they just stepped through a door and disappeared.”
Grandma Watson nodded. “And maybe they did. The Good Lord has more ways in His Universe than we have ways to understand. If he wants his angels there in a heartbeat, they don’t need wings to get there.”
“Maybe it’s like a trans-dimensional portal,” said Lu. “Or a teleporter, like on Star Trek.”
“Who knows,” Grandma Watson said. “I surely don’t. I just knows they is real, and that they gets here as fast as we can call on them.” She turned back to Charlie. “When the white one—the one who saved you—when he came, did you say anything beforehand?”
Charlie frowned, then nodded. “I remembered what my mother used to say about guardian angels. I said, ‘Guardian Angel, help me.’”
Grandma Watson nodded. “And he did, didn’t he?”
Lu led Charlie and Emily to the door when it was time to go.
“Well, what do you think?”
Charlie nodded. “It has as much merit as any of our other theories. And we have somewhere to research it.”
Lu agreed. “I have already decided that I should be the one to research this angel, I mean, angle. I will start with all the references the Bible makes to angels, and try to look at them from a modern perspective.”
“Emily?” Charlie said to her, noticing how quiet she was.
“I’m still of the opinion that all of this is hallucination,” Emily said. “Although as I think about the events of that last night in the hospital, that sounds less likely. I love Grandma Watson, Lu, but I just have a hard time believing a book of stories written thousands of years ago. Sorry if I can’t just take the Bible at face value. I will continue looking at the science of this.”
Lu nodded. “S’okay. I figured that’s where you would be with all of this.
“So like you said earlier, you will study the science, Charlie will look for more evidence, and I will see what the Bible says about all of this. Is that okay with everyone?”
Charlie and Emily looked at each other and nodded.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Charlie said. “We have a true mystery on our hands.”