The Arch-Angel Gabriel

A Transient Visitors Tiny Tale by David O’Boyle

Image of a car pile-up that the Arch-Angel Gabriel is intervening within to save the day.
Illustration by David O’Boyle

Gas leaked down the stack pipe of the overturned 18-wheeler like water draining from a drunken elephant’s trunk.

The slightest spark, the most minor ignition…


Goodnight world – for me and everything else buried beneath the scrunched jungle gym that was this many-car pile-up.

It all happened so fast.

A merge right.

Screeching brakes.

Burnt rubber, a crunch, and a collision. Unfamiliar sounds and smells in a world where most drivers were machines and those machines maintained impeccable driving records. Human error was therefore the likely root cause for the accident. Whenever these things happened an unruly traditionalist screaming about his right to drive wasn’t too far from the scene, if they weren’t already at ground zero.

Rays bounced down one level of debris to the next, as if a manhole cover was sliding off the surface of the pile-up. A mammoth sword, steeped in sunlight, with near-blinding metallic luster, fell from the sky and punctured through the first few layers of automobile like they were chunks of meat sliding onto a kabab.

More sun. Less cars between me and the surface. More stabbing. Then a giant face with a cheerful smile. Then two titanic arms that scooped me up into safety,

The Archangel Gabriel.

Yes, it must have been the Archangel Gabriel, sent by god to save me.

I turned over. My IV needle tugged out of place with enough pinch to force my eyes open. One of the two God officers at my bedside caught the runaway pole it was connected to. Their questions came quick. And as best I could. I answered them, making sure to express my gratitude for the efforts of the Archangel Gabriel.

The God officers, in wistful contemplation, informed me that my rescue would be the last of its kind. Moving forward, the Archangel Gabriel would do no more saving. Despite a successful rescue, he struggled to accomplish the mission. My life, they explained, was spared by seconds. It should have been spared by minutes.

“No harm no foul, good enough for me,” I said.

“There’s a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,” one of the God officers replied. “The Archangel Gabriel’s time has come.” 

“Without the Archangel Gabriel, how will people stay safe on the road?” I asked.

“The Archangel Rafael, the most advanced series of auto-accident drone on the market, is set to replace him. Every five miles of highway in the country will be patrolled by one.”

“We anticipate decades of dedicated service,” the other God officer said.

“Where will the Archangel Gabriel go?” I asked.

The God officer pointed to his chest where a gold badge portrayed the iconic image of a robot genuflecting to a person holding a flag. Engraved around the rim of the badge were the words, “Government Omniscient Department: Machines Advancing Mankind.”  

“Where they all go,” he replied. “To GOD.”


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