Carl left the meeting with a mix of self-satisfaction and well-earned humility. The years hadn’t been kind but not so brutal as the time on the bottle. Light snow graced his face as he slunk, treading his lonely way home, back to his solitary existence outside the meetings and his sponsor.
The wind caressed his shoulder, and he turned to make sure it wasn’t the touch of a friend. The sidewalk was empty. Turning back again Carl froze with eyes now wide, exposed to Winter’s first biting winds. She was there, the angel from his story, her countenance ablaze and gossamer strands of hair wild in the breeze.
“Come with me,” she hissed. He followed, dumbfounded at her change. Long, silent trudging after her glowing form brought them to a battered graveyard on the edge of town. She didn’t look at him as she railed, “You knew these men! What of them? You think I saved you for your own rotten existence? You failed me, Carl. You failed them.”
With that, the devil took his leave, and Carl needed a drink.