The first time you saw the light you were three and your mother told stories about angels and falling stars. You watched from your bedroom window as you sat in her lap, listening as her words painted pictures older than the world. The light in the old house pulsed on and off in time with the climaxes and resolutions of each tale. It was beautiful.
But it didn’t stop that night or any other night after. The light kept you awake some nights, so you had your father move your bed and hand up dark curtains. On the nights that you chose to stay up and watch, you could feel a sadness that stretched as slowly as the light brightened. Your tiny bones ached and you couldn’t understand why.
The light had been there for as long as you had been alive, maybe longer, but no one knew what it was or where it came from. The adults told you it was magic, like they still expected you to believe in the tooth fairy. The kids your age told ghost stories, hoping to scare you. And your little brother insisted that it was aliens. You didn’t believe any of them, so you asked your mother if anyone had ever been into the house before.
“It is condemned,” she said in her broken Spanish accent as she scrubbed a few dishes clean.
“But has anyone tried to see what the light really is?” you asked. You pushed a chair up against the counter and climbed up, grabbed a towel and began drying a plate.
“No, mi hijita. We don’t go in.” She gave you a soft smile and started humming the lullaby she used to always sing to you.
You didn’t ask about the house anymore, but you kept watching the light every night. Until one night when it didn’t show. You thought that maybe the source just ran out, that whatever was making the light must be broken. But it didn’t come on the next night of the night after that.
You grabbed your jacket and boots and slipped out your window after the seventh night of just darkness. Snow crunched under your feet as you trudged toward the old house. It was creepier up close. scarier than you ever imagined it could be. You walked around it trying to find the source of the light, hoping that maybe you’d be able to fix it. You needed the light to come back.
There was nothing but overgrown bushes and broken bottles; you sighed and wondered if the source was inside. It had to be, you thought. It wasn’t out here. You stepped onto the broken porch and looked in the window. You couldn’t see anything. So you tried the door, pushing until it opened. The second you were inside the light lit up again. It was brighter than when your were in your room and you had to close your eyes.
A giggle echoed in the house once the light was gone.
“Hello?” You called out, trying to sound brave and failing horribly.
“Hello,” replied a man’s deep voice. “Hello. Hello. Hello.”
He repeated the word over and over like a baby who had just learned to talk. You followed the sound until you came to a room where the man sat in the center. He didn’t look up at you when you walked in. Instead he stared at a dirty fishbowl in front of him with its dead fish just floating at the top.
You watched him as he placed his hands against the glass and closed his eyes. His hands began to glow and then the light you’d grown up watching erupted from this man’s body and filled the entire house. You closed your eyes, but you could still see the man as clearly as if they had been open, and in the light were the shadows of huge, broken wings.
You gasped and the man’s head shot up. The light disappeared immediately.
“How did you do that?” you gawked.
The man narrowed his eyes and pulled his fishbowl to his chest as hid he were guarding it from you.
“You can’t have him,” the man said after a moment. He man curled himself around the fishbowl and bared his teeth at you.
You didn’t know what you were supposed to do. So you sat down on the floor and stared back, hoping you’d get the message across that you didn’t want the stupid fish. You just wanted to know how he made the light.
The two of you sat, doing nothing, for the longest time. The man gave up glaring at you after about twenty minutes and went back to paying attention to his fish. You didn’t move, but you listened as the man cooed and stuck his finger into the bowl to pet the fish.
“It’s okay, Dean,” he would say. “We’ll find Sam again. I won’t let Lucifer keep him.” Then he took the fish - Dean - out of the bowl and held it until it stopped flopping in the man’s hand. The man put the dead fish back and made the light again, bringing the fish to life.
He laughed and you watched in complete awe. You tried again to ask him how he did it, how it was even possible. But he ignored you and just repeated the process over and over until the sun came up.
You left shortly after sunrise. You didn’t ever go back. But when you were older and your children asked you about the light in the old house. You told them about the angel and his Dean and how they lived together forever. And every once in a while, when you listened hard with them, you could hear a laugh and a much too soft, “Hello. Hello. Hello.”