Urban Fantasy Speculative Gay

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

It’s been a hundred days; one tenth of my punishment.

Shrouded in the black of a storm cloud, in the damp, smothering scent of rain I kneel there with my eyes closed. Thunder rumbles. Electric pulses ruffle my soaking feathers, sting my skin. 

My hair is dripping, my wet tunic sticks to me as cold drops of rain trickle down my body. Every second of every day. Without light.

In this desperate darkness, all that’s lucid are my worst memories.

Fear flashing in the gold flecked green eyes.

‘Please, I am begging you!’

His trembling under my touch.

‘Don't hurt me…’

His voice and my heart, breaking.

I am punished because I couldn't go through with it. 

But I deserve the torture for considering it at all.

If I let myself surrender, it could've been like that other time; gold-brown eyes and a nervous smile, pleading in that sweet voice.

“You won’t do this to me, Michael..?”

But I had shut down my feelings. Watched him, but couldn’t see.

Bones cracked and flesh tore under my hands, his scream echoed between the clouds as he fell; a long way down from the heavens.

Why must the best ones fall?

The water, warming up on my hands, feels like blood.

It takes time for Raphael’s voice to reach me through the cloud where my mind is closed in on the wetness of my hands, and for me to realise what it means: the storm has passed.

It was supposed to last a thousand days.

I open my eyes to blinding whites, and stand, emerging from my prison. Squinting in the bright light, I can just make out a snowstorm of feathers swirling around me. The heart of the blizzard, Raphael, lands in front of me on top of the now harmless cloud I was locked inside until a moment ago. I suppose he will tell me the reason for my early release, but his expression is not what the bringers of good news wear. Is he moulting out of anxiety?

I shake my wings, sprinkling water over the book he clutches in his hands; Answered Prayers and Granted Wishes. The book of our miracles.

I raise my chin.

‘That is confidential.’

‘I know. I knocked it off the shelf and… I happened to see a wish.’ Words usually flow easily for him, but this time, he is struggling to find them. I catch one of his feathers mid-air, turning it between my fingers. What on Earth have you seen?

‘Listen, Michael. We’ve made a mistake.’

He takes a deep breath, his blue eyes fixed on me. 

‘Selaphiel shouldn’t have been exiled.’

I let the words linger between us and mix with the lost feathers.

‘What?’ I mouth as my breath catches in my throat, drowns my voice.

Don’t take them… Please.

‘He fell victim to ill-wishing,’ Raphael continues. ‘The last wish on earth granted by Selaphiel… was that he shall never find God again.’

My heart shakes like the heavy bronze of a ringing bell and I stretch a wing out to steady myself. I was ordered to rip his wings out. I almost did… And it was a mistake?

Raphael clears his throat.

‘It’s lucky you only stored away his wings as stardust, isn’t it? It would’ve been painfully permanent otherwise, if you broke them like–’

I snap my head up with a stare that makes him lift his hands and the hefty book in defence.

‘All I’m saying is, it can be undone,’ he says quickly. ‘We just need to find the person who made the wish, and Selaphiel. They can revert it, and you can give his wings back. Fix it all.’

How could you fix it all?

I run my fingers through my wet curls as I eye the book. On those pages, somewhere, there is the silent wish we made together, Selaphiel and I. The day I turned his wings to stardust and left him down on Earth. If I could only see whether my wish is to be granted, and what his was–

I shake my head.

‘I trust you can handle doing my jobs for a little while longer,’ I say dryly.

I cannot delay this journey—it’s already been too long.

I never before had to find a specific person on the planet, let alone one I do not know the name of. I only know when the star for his wish was taken down from the sky: the day before Selaphiel came home.

Lost in the concrete maze of a big city, I summon a single feather from his wing into my palm and blow it away.

Find him, I pray, and follow the feather, until turning one corner it becomes stardust again.

When the last golden spark disappears, the wind slaps something into my face. Blinded for a moment, I peel it off with a grimace and hold it in front of me. My heart skips a beat when I see his bright eyes and joyful smile on the poster. Then I see the words, too, the first one looming over his portrait: MISSING.

My head spins, but I force myself to slow down and read all the print. He went “missing” the day he returned to us. I run my eyes over the last lines again: 

“If you have any information about Selaphiel, please contact me on…” Why? What do you want from him? “...or return him to this address…” Who are you to return him to? 


I scrunch the page in my hand. So handy, leaving that return address.

A black cat stares up at me as I step inside the flat. I suppose this is an unusual occurrence for them on the top floor, but what was I supposed to do, when my knocking was left unanswered and the windows open? I shake my wings and the feline paws at the loose feathers filling the air. This stress… It's all his fault.

The place is quiet apart from the faint noise of running water. Even on a gloomy grey day like today, the white walls and big windows provide plenty of light for the small, open space. One filled with plants, pictures, and cat things. Who names a black cat Crumpet?

First, I find one of Selaphiel cuddling a platypus. Then, him and a dark-haired human beaming at each other.

Could that be the person I’m looking for? That Noah? 

He doesn’t look malicious, not like someone who would want to harm Selaphiel like that. Most pictures are warm, happy and innocent. I’d rather he didn’t get close to humans, but despite that, when I see a selfie of them and an okapi, a smile tugs at my lips. Then, my eyes settle on a photo where there is no space left between theirs.

The glass front shatters before I realise I slammed my fist into it.

‘Damn it.’ I wince at my bleeding hand.

I’d rather he didn’t get close to anyone.

The water stops running when I pull the last shard from my hand, and wipe the blood in my tunic. I raise my eyes to the sound of approaching footsteps.

He doesn’t notice me at first. A towel is over his head, covering his whole face as he rubs it into his hair whilst he walks in, completely naked. I take my time to study him, the strong legs and the dark hairs, before I clear my throat. I need his face to confirm. His head jolts up and the towel comes down.


My voice is ice-water, pouring over him.

‘Guess again.’

He jumps back with a loud scream and wraps the towel around his waist, almost tripping over his own two legs. Looking at his face, his dark brown eyes and dark hair, wet and dripping water onto his broad chest, I compare him with the images on the wall. It’s him.

‘Nice to meet you.’ I say, though I couldn't imagine a single thing less pleasant. Him, before me? So what if he is a little handsome, for a human? Why did it have to be him? It’s only been a decade we’d been apart. Seriously, Selaphiel?!

He cusses at me and I raise an eyebrow.

You kissed Selaphiel with that mouth?

His face is burning red as he demands to know how I got into his flat whilst backing away from me.

I was expecting a warmer welcome, to be honest.

‘You left the window open.’ I offer a cold smile. ‘Has Selaphiel not told you about the wings?’

His eyes light up, with both hope and caution.

‘Do you know where he is?’


He looks me over and frowns.

‘Who are you?’


‘He never spoke of you.’

‘He never spoke of you either!’ I counter, sharper than intended.

His jaw hardens.

‘You are from that delusional cult…’

And you are that damned mortal who wished he could not return to us.

I narrow my eyes. Selaphiel held no secrets and yet this man still doesn't know. He'd never seen his wings. My lips twitch towards a smirk.

‘He went too easy on you.’ I huff.

Maybe, it was because of what he told me, how he found that people lost their sight for our wings, except when they were deadly afraid or dying. And then, they screamed in horror. He said when he wanted to help them, he ended up terrifying a dying human. He cried his eyes out in hiding and avoided situations like that after. But I’d like to think he could have shown his real self to this human, if he cared enough about him.

‘I’ll show you delusion.’ I walk towards him, backing him onto the wall. 

I should be good.

He is a weak human. He only doesn’t know that, because Selaphiel is gentle; and he was probably too stupid to notice the difference in their strengths.

‘Get awa–’

I see that image of them, smiling into a kiss as my hand wraps around his throat.

‘In a bit,’ I assure him. ‘For now, just watch.’

He is gritting his teeth, his hands gripping my wrist, my arm, short nails digging into my skin. I don’t care.

‘Look at me,’ I hiss, and watch his eyes widen as his arms lose their strength and the reflection of my wings appear in his eyes.

The eyes of a dying human.

On his chest, a feather glows up, imprinted over his heart. An angel’s feather, left there for protection. Selaphiel’s. And this moron doesn’t even know it. I let go of him, watching him collapse onto the floor. The cat hisses.

Why him?

‘You are nothing to him,’ I say, stepping back. Whether it’s to make a jab at him or to reassure myself, I do not know.

For the first time in my life, I am told to fuck off. 

He doesn’t ask what I am. He gets back onto his feet.

‘What do you want from me? Where is Selaphiel?’

‘Why do you care?’

‘Because I love him!’

His words, shouting something I couldn’t even whisper, fill the space between us.

I want to tear him apart. Show him the pain his stupid love almost caused. If only he could be gone from this earth and turned to dust– But I need him alive to undo the damage he did. To take Selaphiel home.

‘You don’t know what love means,’ I growl. ‘I will take you to meet him, because I need to, but that will be the last time you ever lay eyes on him, do you understand?’

He straightens his back before spitting back his answer. 

‘I do not.’

I have no choice, either way. He’s got none either: with the stardust, with a feather of his wings, I have the means to find Selaphiel. And Noah holds the power to give back his sight, so I can return his wings. 

Set him free. 

Noah comes with me willingly, hoping that he would be the one to take him home. 

I dare you to try.

The feather we follow sparkles at the edges, and burns up into stardust. We are close. 

‘All you need to do is unwish that wish, alright?’ I explain for the third time, raising my voice to talk over the screams. 

Noah’s eyes dart stranger to stranger, searching the crowd of the theme park as we walk between the long queues to the circus tent and to the roller coaster ride.

‘I’m talking to you–’

But he isn't listening. His eyes are fixed on somebody behind me, and my knees give out for a split second when I turn to follow his gaze and I see him. 


In all skin tight clothes with sequins, contouring his body with diamond shine. His dark-blond hair I’ve only ever seen loose is now tied with a velvet ribbon, and shimmery makeup enhances the gold and green of his striking eyes.

The biggest difference?

It’s still the lack of his wings.

He stares back at us, his lips parted.

Noah darts to him before I can move a limb and pulls him into a hug, kisses him on the lips.

‘Know your place!’ I pull him off Selaphiel and it takes everything in me not to break all his bones.

Selaphiel takes a small breath, lightly touches his lips. What about me..?

‘Michael..? I told you not to watch me.’ 

‘Are you an actual stalker?!’ Noah exclaims and I twist his arm.


A soft voice stops me from hurting him more, measured and clear.

‘Let go.’

Selaphiel gives me a sweet smile when I obey.

‘What are you doing here? Both of you…’ He asks, his face flushed red as his eyes flicker between us.

Noah is first to start talking.

‘I was looking for you–’

‘There’s been a mistake!’ I cut him off. ‘This man here wished you’d never find God again. It wasn’t your fault, you can make him undo it and you’ll be free to come home. I can give back your wings.’ I say, my heart racing.

‘Noah, you did what?’ He raises his eyes at him, his voice tinged with pain. ‘We’ve wasted a beautiful star for that.’

‘I didn’t mean to!’ Noah says quickly.

I flirt with the thought of ripping his tongue out. 

‘I’m happy to unwish it, if you want me to, just… Come home.’

‘Yes, come home.’ I agree. ‘With me.’

He hesitates.


A man wearing a sparkly red fedora steps next to Selaphiel and puts his arm around his shoulders.

‘Are these two bothering you?’

There is something about him, tugging at a memory buried deep in my mind. On Selaphiel’s face there is a hint of a smile I cannot place.

I eye the stranger in shiny red shoes and sequined suit, his fingers drumming on Selaphiel’s shoulder. For a moment I have the urge to break them off one by one.

But something is off.

He smells like stardust. 

My throat closes and my mouth dries up as I force out the question I don’t want the answer for.

‘Who are you?’

‘Me?’ He smiles, lifting his face so his eyes meet mine: golden brown and of the stars. 

An angel without wings.

‘Have you forgotten about me already, after dumping me from the sky?’ He chuckles.

I labour to breathe. I can feel the weight of his severed wings in my hands, dragging me down, and the warmth of his blood, the stickiness of my hands. That pleading look… I wish I caved, then. His eyes are different now. There’s no trace of love. No trace of any goodwill.

I grab Selaphiel’s arm and gesture at his new friend.

‘Do you not know who this is?!’

‘I do.’ He pats my hand. ‘How could I forget the one who taught me how to make the stars shoot across the sky to make a wish come true? After I messed up so badly trying it by myself for the first time.’

My muscles tense. We don’t talk about that incident with the dinosaurs anymore.

‘And when I mixed up the animal parts and everybody was mad at me for making the platypus, he made the okapi and told me they were the best animals on earth. You used to think he was the best thing in heaven… Until he wasn’t anymore.’

I swallow hard.

‘That was… different.’

‘I understand. You did what you had to do.’

‘Let me just say that didn’t make it hurt any less.’ The warm brown eyes pierce mine and a hot flush creeps up my neck.

‘Selaphiel. Let’s go!’

‘I can’t right now.’

‘Would you care to explain–’ Noah starts, grabbing Selaphiel’s hand and I don’t care to slap it away, don’t wait for him to finish.

‘He is the devil. Satan. The worst.’ 

We are late.

His voice is a low, enticing whisper.

‘You know I like when you say my name.’ He bites his lip with a smirk. The hellfire temptation flickering in eyes burns the air in my lungs as I hold his gaze, unable to break this spell.

‘Lucifer.’ It slips off my tongue hoarse and heavy like in my darkest dreams.

He winks.

The best thing from Heaven.’ 

June 30, 2022 19:57

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J.C. Lovero
00:00 Jul 01, 2022

Ri Ri~ When I started reading this story and came across some familiar names, I am pretty sure I squealed when I realized we had entered the Selaphiel saga. And I am HERE for it. What an enjoyable piece. When I read the first paragraph with the imagery of feathers, I had this feeling you might have been taking us somewhere back to the angels. So glad to see another Selaphiel installment! I appreciate Michael's perspective in this story since he was not a major character in your other ones. It is interesting to understand more of his motiv...


Riel Rosehill
07:24 Jul 01, 2022

My dearest hermit! Love how a Selaphiel story is still welcome! Onto the next..! (Looks like I found my Everlandia to return to, haha) Thank you for your edits and suggestions on this one, helped me out a great deal! Here, have a Selaphiel-feather for your services ✨ You know what? I didn't expect Lucifer to appear here either - was NOT in the plan! 😂


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Zack Powell
22:31 Jun 30, 2022

OMG, I seriously cannot believe it's been twelve whole contests since we've seen a Selaphiel story. It honestly feels like we just got one maybe a month and a half ago at the most, but NOPE - three months ago was the last one. Welcome back, my precious angel boy. ❤️ I think you know what I'm gonna say, but I'll say it anyway: I need more. Three stories is definitely NOT enough for this universe. This is getting really intricate now, especially with the reveal at the end. Please, please, please legitimately consider writing a short story col...


Riel Rosehill
06:48 Jul 01, 2022

Hey Zack! So good to see you are happy to see my angels again! 🤩 After 12 weeks..! It is for the best I think, because until recently getting moody for my last story not shortlisting, I didn't want to touch the love triangle I created, not with a ten foot stick. (I had no clue how to write them out of that mess!) So the first draft of this story was not Michael POV, I had Raphael & Gabriel look for Selaphiel & meeting Noah, with Selaphiel and Noah reuniting at the end... but it didn't work, it was boring. Then I got booted from the rec li...


Zack Powell
16:21 Jul 01, 2022

LOL, I know what you mean about the moodiness. Oh, the struggles of being a competitive Cathy AND a last minute Lacey. I'm glad you went the messier route though - who doesn't love reading about drama? (That being said, now I'm interested in Raphael and Gabriel. 👀) Can't wait to see what the next installment looks like. The title you have now is lovely, but I won't lie: 'Unholy Trinity' is absolutely brilliant. 🤣 I don't know why but the first time I read the dinosaurs line metaphorically (like as a euphemism for something old and in the p...


Riel Rosehill
16:46 Jul 01, 2022

Oh, should I change back the title?! Under 12 hours, you really are pushing it. I know you can do it as well, but if you dare lace(y) together another shortlister/winner..! I wanna see a real hot mess, give us a chance! (I say this like I think I have one, LOL - I really don't 🤣) Side note: today I came up with some twisty ideas and outlined the next 2-3 Selaphiel stories in my head - the amount of drama in this one was too inspiring. Maybe it won't be 3 months or a whole week before the next one after all (insert evil laughter)


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Graham Kinross
14:16 Oct 05, 2022

Perfect explanation for the platypus. It has to be a cosmic prank.


Riel Rosehill
20:20 Oct 05, 2022

Haha I do love a platypus - so random and adorable, and yet I made poor thing a cosmic accident here..! x"D


Graham Kinross
22:09 Oct 05, 2022

A happy cosmic accident. I don’t think they would mind. They only exist to confuse people who categorise things like mammals. I saw a standup comedian making a joke about it once, ‘god was tired, beaver body, duck bill, lays eggs, sweats milk, whatever.’


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Amanda Lieser
01:30 Sep 04, 2022

Hi Riel! I was delighted when I realized we were playing with some familiar characters and even more excited when I realized this was a piece from Michael’s perspective. I loved the way you incorporated the reactions of the angels to the actions taken by one because it helped solidify the community that Selaphiel came from. It also helped us understand the stakes just a bit more. As per usual, your imagery was incredible in this piece. More specifically, I loved the addition of the angel fearhers. Those were so beautiful in my mind. Nice j...


Riel Rosehill
11:19 Sep 06, 2022

Hi Amanda! Always so lovely to see a comment from you. :) I'm happy you enjoyed the return of the old cast, they will be back again at some point in the future, haha. And thanks for the recommendation. I watched a review on it, but I must confess I steer away from YA, just not what I read anymore, but maybe sixteen years ago I would have been up for it!


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Story Time
18:46 Jul 05, 2022

I thought the imagery in this was just spectacular. I love the way you bring back certain visuals again and again. Just a luscious, wonderful read for a rainy post-holiday (at least where I am). Bravo.


Riel Rosehill
19:36 Jul 05, 2022

Hi Kevin! Thank you for taking your time to read and comment - much-much appreciated, especially from such a great writer as yourself! I'm happy you enjoyed my story. :D


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Sharon Hancock
01:47 Jul 05, 2022

Oh this is fantastic! Reminds me so much of Supernatural which is one of my favorite shows, Castiel being my favorite character. I love the characters in this piece. Lucifer and his sparkle are amazing. “My muscles tense. We don’t talk about that incident with the dinosaurs anymore.” 😂love this line and the idea of the angels practicing fulfilling wishes and getting it wrong. I’ve always wondered about the platypus…and giraffes are awfully weird, too. 😂 The struggle to find Selaphiel is palpable and you’ve given such strong feelings to Mic...


Riel Rosehill
10:43 Jul 05, 2022

Ooh watched some Supernatural (aaages ago, 6 years or so) and very much enoyed it - Castiel was great! (I never got to the end of it though, it's a lengthy series). It wasn't an inspiration for this but I found it quite addctive, so if that style rubbed off on my short story series, it's all for the better! :D I'm so happy to see the bits you enjoyed in this story - especially the comment about Lucifer, because he only appeared for a few lines here. As always, thank you so much for reading and leaving your thoughts. :)


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15:46 Jul 04, 2022

Count me among those begging for more. No pressure, of course. Would you ever consider expanding into novel form? Or at least a large collection of many shorts (I can see it like THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES but with angels)?


Riel Rosehill
16:21 Jul 04, 2022

Oooh, thanks! I'm working on more :D I think it's moving towards a nice little collection of feathery short stories! I don't know how I could probably make it a novel with all the different POVs and the stories non-chonological order (which, I think is essential for what I'm planning for later!), but I suppose it would kind of read like one, with a story lines all working together... Each short story a chapter. We'll see if I have enough material and where it goes!


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Aeris Walker
03:43 Jul 03, 2022

Right there at the top with your dragon story, I love the fantasy and drama and world building going on here with fallen angels. A lofty subject matter with endless potential for creativity. These were some of your best lines in my opinion; they are concise, and move the plot along effectively and imaginatively: “On his chest, a feather glows up, imprinted over his heart. An angel’s feather, left there for protection. Selaphiel’s. And this moron doesn’t even know it. I let go of him, watching him collapse onto the floor. The cat hisses.” A...


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07:27 Jul 01, 2022

Love the finished product, Riel. :) And I see you've made it to 20 submissions - congrats!!


Riel Rosehill
18:00 Jul 01, 2022

Thank you! And many thanks for the beta read, always super helpful! :)


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Michał Przywara
01:46 Jul 01, 2022

Very enjoyable! As others have pointed out, the drama here is getting bigger and more cosmic. I like the twist at the end, but of course, if we're talking about angels stripped of their wings, it would be weird not to mention the most famous one of all. And it's a neat twist because it was already an interesting triangle, and now there's yet another player. There's some great lines in this piece. "For the first time in my life, I am told to fuck off." LOL! "His words, shouting something I couldn’t even whisper, fill the space between us...


Riel Rosehill
19:33 Jul 01, 2022

Hi Michał! I finally embraced the drama - and there will be more to come, because these characters have moved in and made a huge mess inside my head. I've got some plans for them now! :D I love that you picked up on my dinosaur line, that was my favourite thing to throw in there. Thanks for this lovely comment, I'm happy you enjoyed this story :)


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22:01 Jun 30, 2022

Riel, this is gorgeous Your writing is true poetry The images that you paint are just so exquisite. I felt I could see everything. There was so much emotion here, and it took me through so many feelings. So well done ❤️


Riel Rosehill
22:08 Jun 30, 2022

Aww you are too kind! Reading everyone else's work (including your stellar stories!) I often feel like my prose are sooo (too) simple..! Thank you so much for the compliment! <3


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Jay McKenzie
21:44 Jun 30, 2022

Soooooo good! It's such a satisfying read and yes, it has left me thirsting for more. The dinosaur line is adorable - made me smile. You combine the mystical elements so beautifully with the 'real world' moments. Great job.


Riel Rosehill
21:55 Jun 30, 2022

Thank you so much - for your priceless tips, too! I was on the fence about whether I can through in a dinosaur joke in a dramatic moment, but I just couldn't resist xD Looks like I might be moving towards a Selaphiel short story collection, as this is the third and whilst writing this, I was inspired for the fourth... I didn't foresee this, when I wrote the first one, I thought I was done with them! I blame the snowballing of this universe entirely on Zack & K. for their inspiring comments on the first one LOL. I'm having so much fun writi...


Jay McKenzie
00:00 Jul 01, 2022

They are great characters, and there's so much scope for them. Looking forward to the fourth!


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Claire Lindsey
20:16 Jun 30, 2022

You attention to detail in your prose makes this piece really shine. I love the ending— it packs quite a punch! “Hellfire temptation” is such a great line Nice work!


Riel Rosehill
20:18 Jun 30, 2022

Thanks Claire, and thank you so much for your suggestions! They helped me polish this up for submission a day early! :D


Claire Lindsey
21:49 Jun 30, 2022

Woohoo! Anytime, Riel. I love beta-reading


Riel Rosehill
21:56 Jun 30, 2022

Me too, feel free to DM me if you ever need a beta :D


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