As the sun set over the Mojave Desert, the

Sierra Nevada Mountains were roughly defined

against a dramatic sky of crimson and lavender blue.

The warm breeze undulated through the ponderosa

pines, sounding like the wise old whispers of the

Indians buried thousands of feet below in the

windblown sands. A vulture hovered high above the

foothills, an eerie screech foreboding as it circled the


Easing his midnight blue SUV around the

horseshoe bend in the sloping ridge, Charles thought

about his wife. Jill had died two years ago of cancer

and the following day was the anniversary of her

death. Frustrated, his eyes filled with tears. His

vision blurred and he swiped at his eyes with the

back of his hand. He was angry at the whole world

and at God.

His heart was breaking. What kind of a God

would take away the love of his life, his reason for

living? How was he supposed to go on living when

the best part of him was gone? More tears spilled

down his cheeks. He wanted Jill back. He needed

her and wanted her with him, where she belonged.

He envisioned her out in her rose garden,

clipping and pruning them to sheer perfection. How

she’d loved the yellow rose, and as much as he used

to love them, he didn’t any more. Baskets and

baskets of yellow roses had been crammed into the

funeral home, permeating the air with the funereal

smell of death.

She was so pretty. Her serene green eyes were

 the color of the sea. He pictured her digging her

hands in the rich fertile soil, looking so peaceful and

content. Bathed in sunlight, she had the face of an

angel. She had a mega-watt smile that totally

beguiled him. No matter how hot or humid it was,

she always looked fresh and lovely. She had a habit

of toying with a strand of her long blonde hair,

twirling it between her fingers until it waved. Under

the amber glow of the hot desert sun, it flickered like

wildfire. Lord, he missed that woman.

As Charles drove deeper into the foothills, the

terrain became noticeably rougher, more

uncultivated. The air hummed with just a hint of

danger. The pioneer spirit of the Wild West was still

palpable as burros and wild horses galloped amidst

the sloping landscape. How he missed those long

afternoon drives through the wilderness with Jill,

imagining what life must have been like in the days

of the Wild, Wild West.

More memories of Jill flashed through his mind,

filling him with a deep sense of foreboding sadness.

Tears streamed down his cheeks. The desolate road

weaving in and out of the canyon was flanked with

sagebrush and tumbleweed, and deep in the

underbrush, mountain lions and bobcats roamed

free. A coyote yipped in the distance, its howling

wail slicing through the thick humid air.

As the sun disappeared behind the Sierra

Nevada Mountains, the sky blended into a

menagerie of pale peach, rich magenta, and deep

indigo. Charles thought of all the sunsets he’d seen

with Jill. All those good times, better times. She

should be here to watch the sunset with him. Why

wasn’t she? Why did she have to die? He felt so

betrayed. Life wasn’t fair.

White hot fury bubbled up inside him until it

erupted like a quaking volcano. Pulling off to the

side of the road, he hopped out of his vehicle. He

 stared up at the heavens and shook his fist at God.

He wanted answers. He needed answers. Angry and

frustrated, he bellowed at the top of his lungs.

“Why did you take my Jill from me?” his voice

echoed across the canyon. “How could you take the

love of my life away? How could you? How could a

loving God do something so cruel? I love her! I want

her here with me! I want her back!”

The air carried with it the scent of a coming

storm. Thunder exploded in the distance. A desert

storm was closing in on the Mojave. The wind

rippled through the surrounding Joshua trees. The

mournful cry of a desert thrasher sliced through the

night. Charles was as restless as the approaching

storm. He looked down. The hillside gave way to

steep ravines, tumbling down over rugged cliffs to

the valley below. The only thing separating him from

a drop of several thousand feet was a mound of

crumbled rock. He took a step closer.

Just as he was about to jump, a flash of

lightning illuminated the sky. He thought he saw

Jill. Pellets of hard rain pounded on his back,

soaking him to the bone. He blinked several times,

but whatever he’d seen was gone. Thunder exploded

in the sky, the sound ricocheting through the

heavens. Over the rumbling, he heard Jill’s sweet

melodic voice. “No, Charles. Don’t jump. It’s not your



Buy Touched by an Angel

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This