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Thursday, August 24, 2006

 

Angels in Miami

This article is over a decade old, and it's been mentioned in various other websites, but it deserves to be kept alive because it's extraordinary:

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/1997-06-05/feature.html

This is the story: homeless children in Miami, shunted from place to place in a dangerous, unstable world, evolved amongst themselves an elaborate, moral and surprisingly poetic religion. As could be expected from their life of scavenging on the edges, it's both cobbled together from bits of religion, urban legend, real life and folorn hope, and also extremely bleak. In this religion, the article explains:

On Christmas night a year ago, God fled Heaven to escape an audacious demon attack -- a celestial Tet Offensive. The demons smashed to dust his palace of beautiful blue-moon marble. TV news kept it secret, but homeless children in shelters across the country report being awakened from troubled sleep and alerted by dead relatives. No one knows why God has never reappeared, leaving his stunned angels to defend his earthly estate against assaults from Hell. "Demons found doors to our world," adds eight-year-old Miguel, who sits before Andre with the other children at the Salvation Army shelter. The demons' gateways from Hell include abandoned refrigerators, mirrors, Ghost Town (the nickname shelter children have for a cemetery somewhere in Dade County), and Jeep Cherokees with "black windows." The demons are nourished by dark human emotions: jealousy, hate, fear.

God is cast out of heaven, demons including the terrifying Bloody Mary stalk the earth. ("Some girls with no home feel claws scratching under the skin on their arms. Their hand looks like red fire. It's Bloody Mary dragging them in for slaves -- to be in gangs, be crackheads.") It's a perfect explanation of a miserable world: God is good, angels are good, but they're fighting a war in which they're pretty much outgunned . . . But the article is too good to summarise. Have a look.

Comments:
I first saw this, I had the cynical thought that someone's big brother (or the journalist) had just read a good horror novel and creeped out the kids with it, so I googled bloody.mary clive.barker. Seemed his kind of thing.

Well yes and no. Turns out Clive Barker has read the article himself, and written a script based on it... http://www.answers.com/topic/clive-barker
 
FWIW this was used as part of the theme to one of Mercedes Lackey's Urban Elves books Mad Maudlin

Much of the description of street child life in that book and its relatives is based on solid reasearch and, as well as being fun stories they are also very informative.
 
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