Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light? Or just another lost angel… City of Night…” —Jim Morrison
She had misjudged when they would take her wings; punishment for her questions, her doubts. For her the fall was real. Pain. She knew that was what they—humans—called it. But had never felt it until now. It was cold. It stabbed and tore.
* * *
Anthony Cordileone looked down. Not at the naked body supine on wet concrete, but into the young woman’s eyes. As he watched, the light within them—not knowing it for what it was, what it had meant—dwindled. Before it went out, he knelt beside her and murmured the first thing he felt, “You’re beautiful.”
She gasped as much from his words as the tearing pain. Her final thought wasn’t a response to The Fall. No one had ever seen her. No one had ever talked to her. “Ego Sum …” Not knowing about vanity and the insecurity it bred in humans, She had asked him, Am I? Needing confirmation she still existed.
Tony didn’t understand her, “Who are you?”
“Ego autem Vassago” Her vision flickered, but she could see he was confused. She sensed the roots of his ancestry, the core within almost gone but not entirely lost, and repeated, “Sono di Vassago.”
“Di Vassago?” he questioned, leaning closer.
She raised her head and had his language now, “Yes, I am of Vassago.”
“Diana Vassago?” He couldn’t tell if she nodded or if the response was just slipping into unconsciousness signaled when her chin touched her chest, and head rolled to the side.
“What did she say?” Joe asked.
Tony glanced up at him and then stood. “I think her name,” he looked down at the young woman and then up into the sky, the sleet splatting on his face and sluicing down his neck into his loose coat collar. He shivered, “How did she survive a fall like that?”
“Maybe God loves her,” Joe shrugged as he flipped through his notebook to a dry page. “So, what’s her name…” He looked at Tony who didn’t respond. “Hey, you said that…” he pointed with his pen at the woman at their feet, “she said her name. What is it?”
Tony didn’t believe in God, didn’t believe in much of anything—or anyone—anymore. “Vassago,” he stopped his partner before he could ask, “spell it like it sounds. First name, Diana… I think.”
The EMTs had arrived. Joe moved to the right sidestepping into a puddle whose edges were already icing. He shook his foot and saw them glance at Tony who had not moved and was singing under his breath yet loud enough for them to hear, “Are you a lucky lady in the city of light… Or just another lost angel… city of night?”
Both EMTs looked at Joe then back at Tony shaking their heads as they opened their multi-trauma response kits.
Joe stepped back over to Tony and asked him, “What was that… the singing?” He studied Tony and thought, this old fucker’s as strange as everyone said he was. He sighed, and I get stuck with him for my first partner. “You got a meaning for doing that?”
With the barest of a sideways look, Tony replied, “Jim Morrison.” Then turned to follow the gurney to the ambulance.
A child of the 90s Joe asked, “What does that mean?”
Tony did not stop to answer him.
—End of Excerpt—