Sit down, son. We need to talk.

In a few minutes, you’ll be sixteen. Not a kid any more – in some places, you’d already have started work. So, maybe hand out a few more of those applications, right, at the weekend?

Alright, alright. That’s not what I wanted to talk about. Just thought I’d mention it.

Your mother and I have something to tell you. Something you need to know. Something that, in all honesty, we should have told you before. It just never seemed like the right moment, if you know what I mean.

Your mother… well, she’s an angel. Not metaphorically, although she is pretty great. Actually an angel – wings, halo, fiery sword. She has a mandate from the Almighty himself to destroy evil wherever she finds it. You know her trumpet, the one on the wall in the living room? That’s for sounding when the Seventh Seal is broken. That’s why we’ve never let you touch it.

What I’m trying to say here is that I’m a lucky man. Your mother stood guard at the gates of Eden, hurled fire on Gomorrah, held vigil at Calvary. She’s seen it all, and she’s chosen to spend twenty-nine years (thirty in a month, lad – get her a card or something) of eternity with me.

So far. She’s not going anywhere. That’s not what we’re talking about. Sorry – I should have thought. We aren’t getting divorced. It’s alright. Still very much in love, we are; bet most of your friends can’t say that about their parents.

No, the issue’s genetics. Your mother’s an angel, and so you might be too.

It all depends, really, on how much of an angel you are. If the human side is stronger, then nothing will happen. We’ll pretend this conversation never happened, and just go on as normal.

But if there’s more angel than human, we’ll have a bit of an issue. See, sixteen is when your heritage might kick in. Lots of changes in a small amount of time. I thought I’d try and prepare you for them, so it doesn’t come as a shock.
In a minute, we’ll know. Either nothing will happen, or you’ll shortly be wreathed in celestial fire.

You’ll hear the voice of the Most High, probably. He’ll show you all of the marvels and wonders of creation, no doubt. It will probably be so beautiful that you’ll weep tears of incredible purity. Your mother does that sometimes, when she contemplates the Throne or watches old romantic movies.

You’ll fill out a bit, of course. Wider shoulders, lots of muscles. Becoming an angel will work much better than Clearasil. You won’t want for female attention, that’s for sure. I bet Shirley would love to go to the dance with you then. Especially when you get the voice, and the harp. You’ll sing like an angel then, for obvious reasons.

You’ll be able to manifest a fiery sword. That’s something we need to talk about, really. Obviously, if the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob says it’s fine, then I’m not going to take it off you. But it is a giant flaming sword, one that could lay waste to the cities of men and the sinners therein. It’s not something I want you swinging around carelessly, or using inside the house at all. Okay with you, slugger? We can always go out to the park and practise.

On a similar topic, the wings. Like unto an eagle’s, I understand, and white as the innocence of the Lamb. Your mother says it will be fine, but she’s always been the more relaxed parent – I used to watch you like a hawk when you were on the swings. Probably, you will soar upwards with the grace and beauty of paradise reflected in your every movement. It’s just… start off slow, alright? Maybe practice hovering first, before you descend to hell itself and join in glorious battle against the World’s foe.

That’s another thing, actually. Sorry, there’s quite a lot to think about. You will almost certainly be called upon to join the heavenly host. With the Archangel Michael, you will cry defiance at the Father of Lies himself, and banish creatures of sin and shadow from existence. Stirring stuff – your mother goes while I’m at work, and triumphs over ultimate evil again and again. Sounds like a bit of a thrill, to be honest.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s not going to be easy. You’ll have to work hard. It’s a lot, really, to put on young shoulders. I’d rather that the Almighty waited a few years, maybe let you finish college first. But it won’t all be hard work – there are lots of benefits. The unending beauty of paradise, the knowledge of salvation and right in the world, really feeling like you’re making a difference. Immortality, incredible power, the works. Your mother’s always been very happy with her work.

So, like I say. We’ll know soon enough. I just want you to be ready for it. Whether you’re mortal or angel, your mother and I will still love you. I’ll still see you often – your mother’s been helping me avoid sin, so I’ll get to come see you in heaven eventually. It’s a good life, being an angel.

Don’t be nervous.

What time is it now?


I guess that’s it then. You’re mortal. All that fuss over nothing.

Happy Birthday, kiddo.


This story was written in response to this Reddit prompt:

It’s almost your 16th birthday, and your parents congratulate you. But they warn you that you may have inherited something from the family line that may appear the moment you turn 16. If you do inherit, you have to continue a long family tradition.

I found that I really liked the idea of building up an inheritance, making it sound awesome, and then removing it. Perhaps I am a terrible person. Still, it was enjoyable to write, trying to get the right blend ofslightly-awkward father/son conversation, and Old Testament prose.

This story is somewhat anti-climactic, and a Reddit user did complain – in response to that, I wrote this story, which acts as a loosely-connected sequel. Feel free to read it as a continuation, or as completely separate.

Comments and criticism are more than welcome.

More stories.


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