Chamuel winged his way through the shining streets, always loving how the light played off of the beautiful, pristinely white surfaces. Even after a thousand millennia of dwelling in the City of Light, he never felt his sense of amazement lessen as he gazed down at the Almighty’s greatest city.
His enjoyment of the view was cut short, however, as he heard the voice, slightly tinny, in his ear. “Chamuel, please, tell me you’re almost here.”
“Yes, yes,” he replied, speaking over the Angel Band, directing his thoughts out specifically just towards Eremiel. “Touching down now.”
Casting one last glance back at the beautiful city behind him, Chamuel soared over the Gate of Heaven, ornately crafted out of pure, shimmering mother-of-pearl, standing ten cubits tall-
-and closed. Hmm. That was odd.
Making sure to enjoy his last few seconds of flight, aloft on the gentle touch of the air, Chamuel flew over the gate, winging down and making a perfect landing on the soft, springy clouds around the entrance. He spotted Eremiel standing next to the gate’s keeper, Peter, wearing a worried expression under his immense grey beard.
“What’s going on?” Chamuel asked, stepping over to his fellow angel and the gatekeeper.
Eremiel glanced back at him, still frowning. “It’s the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven,” he said at first, but paused.
“Yes, those entrusted to Simon Peter, the first pope, raised to sainthood by the Lamb of God himself,” Chamuel prompted. “What about them?”
Somehow, Eremiel managed to look miserable – a tough expression for angels. “He’s lost them.”
Chamuel blinked. “He’s what?”
“I swear, I had them right here,” Peter chimed in, patting at his white robes. “I know they’re around somewhere, but I’ve looked everywhere, and they’re just, well, missing!”
Chamuel looked back at Eremiel, wondering if this was some sort of joke, but the other angel appeared totally serious. He next risked a glance over his shoulder at the line of souls waiting to enter Heaven, constantly growing longer. A few of the wispy men and women at the front of the line looked quite impatient.
“Why’d you drag me into this?” Chamuel asked, but the answer occurred to him as he spoke the words, and he answered at the same time as Eremiel. “Because I’m the Angel of Lost Items.”
“Well, yes,” Eremiel nodded, twisting a corner of his own Heavenly robe. “I figured that you were the best one to call.”
For a moment, Chamuel seriously considered taking off again, leaving Eremiel and Saint Peter to fend for themselves. After all, he was an archangel, even if he was only of the third rank, and he deserved more respect than this! It seemed like every week, other angels or saints of just plain everyday people in Heaven called on him, not for his great ability to provide comfort, peace, and soft, peaceful love, but because they couldn’t remember where they last left their halo, or their holy book.
“You owe me for this,” Chamuel hissed, leaning in towards Eremiel so that Saint Peter couldn’t hear them. “You owe me big time, you got it? What is it you have power over, again?”
“Um, the abyss and Hades, watching over imprisoned souls,” Eremiel replied, still doing his best to look thankful and dependent upon Chamuel’s kindness and generosity.
“Hades,” Chamuel repeated, musing. “People lose much stuff down there?”
Eremiel shook his head, looking a bit confused. “Er, wouldn’t think so. They mostly just wander around, moan, rattle their chains. Maybe they’ve lost the keys to them? Not much for conversation, those imprisoned souls.”
“Sounds perfect,” Chamuel said, his voice going distant for a second as he imagined a week’s vacation in a different plane, one where he wouldn’t be constantly bombarded by prayers for “my Holy Book, I only set it down for a moment, but I just turned my back and it’s gone…”.
With one last sigh, Chamuel turned to Saint Peter. “They’re in your book,” he called out.
The gray-haired saint straightened up. “My book?”
Chamuel gestured towards the podium at the front of the Gate of Heaven. “You must have used them as a bookmark. They slipped down so you can’t see them.”
Peter hurried forward, and exclaimed again in surprise as he found the lost keys. “Ah, so there they are! Silly me. Forget my own robes, next, I swear.”
“It was nothing!” Chamuel called out. “Really, no need to thank me!”
He spread his wings, but stabbed out a finger at Eremiel before taking off. “And remember that favor – I intend to collect,” he hissed, and then took off with a massive flap before the lower ranked angel could reply.
Once aloft again, however, some of Chamuel’s black mood lifted. He could already hear the other prayers devoted to him, but he was starting to really like the idea of a vacation in Hades. And after earning his promotion to Archangel, even if only in the Third Choir, didn’t he deserve a bit of time off?