Carlos' grandmother used to be a very religious woman. Every time Carlos and his sister visited her in Tucson, she made them pray before and after every meal, had them read the Bible for 'fun' and wouldn't let them go to bed unless they recited all Ten Commandments in order.
Don't be fooled into thinking Carlos hated his grandmother. Oh, he loved his grandmother very much. One of his favorite memories of her was being in her kitchen, sitting on the kitchen countertop, watching her make a fresh batch of tortillas. Though Carlos didn't understand, she would speak to him in Spanish as she rolled the dough into submission, dusting flour everywhere. Carlos remember squealing in laughter as she dusted him with flour, telling him he looked like a ghost.
But it was difficult to be with her at times when they would walk down the street and grandma would loudly condemn every girl whose skirt was fluttering slightly above the knee. Carlos knew the meaning of the word whore before the age of ten.
Carlos only imagined how she would react to his relationship with Cecil.
That being said, Carlos grew up with a very much stereotypical view of angels. Tall, beautiful, white angels, with golden locks, brown pale wings, halos, and a face that made them look like twelve year old boys. When Carlos eventually met one of Old Woman Josie's angel, it looked nothing like Saint Gabriel.
He saw it while walking home one early evening. Carlos' arms were filled with groceries, ingredients to make Cecil dinner later that night. The angel was standing by the side of a road, staring intensely down at a sewage drain.
Carlos knew it was one of Old Woman Josie's angels because he's seen them with her at the store. They hung around her like they were her children, occasionally helping her place objects in her shopping cart. Sometimes they would place a packet of candy in her cart and she would scold them, telling them they need to put it back.
Like the others, this angel was a tall, faceless black blob. Littered over its body were little blinking eyes of various colors. Its wings were white, but small and bony, and a thin crown of golden thorns sat on top of its head. It was making a small mewing noise, like a hurt animal, as it kept staring down at the sewage drain.
Now and forever curious, Carlos reajusted his grip on his gorceries and trotted over to the angel. "Hey," he said gently. "What's wrong?"
The angel pointed down at the drain. Carlos looked and noticed a set of keys attached to a Ninja Turtles keychain sitting in a small puddle of rain water. The angel must have dropped them. "Oh. Do you want me to get them? I have very thin arms."
The angel nodded.
Carlos set aside his groceries and bent down to his knees. He pulled up the sleeve of his lab coat, reached down in between the metal bars and tried to pick up the keys. After a few unsuccessful grabs, he managed to curl his finger around the Ninja Turtles chain and pulled them up out of the drain. "Here you go," said Carlos, shaking out the keys to dispel them of water.
The angel made a trilling noise, and reached out to take the keys. One of its fingers brushed against the inside of Carlos' palm and it was like a hot, thin needle pierced his skin. Carlos jerked his hand away and looked at his palm. A tiny droplet of blood sat right in the middle. He shivered.
The angel trilled again, clutching the keys to its chest. With a small flutter of its bony, featherless wings, it turned and shuffled away towards the direction of its home.
Carlos brushed away the blood. No more welled up. A year ago Carlos would have freaked out over this experience, cataloging every moment and writing everything down in the little notebook he carried on him. Today, he chalked it up as a 'Night Vale moment' and gave it no more thought.
Carlos bent down to retrieve his groceries. A couple of tomatoes had rolled out of the plastic bag. The moment he reached out to grab one, he heard hurried footsteps against the asphalt behind him.
He turned around just in time to see a metal pipe swing down towards his head.