Angel station

But Milo had survived. In fact, he had walked out of the wreck completely unscathed, clutching his stainless steel thermos full of lime Jell-O like a totemic amulet. If he was bound for doom, it apparently wasn't on a Peruvian backroad.

Because angels had spoken to him in the cloud. They had told him. They told him that he would live when the bus hit ground zero. He hadn't believed them. They told him that he had to unlock the secret they were giving him to store in his thermos. He hadn't believed them.

And they told him that his life's mission would begin the moment the bus crashed, and he would fulfill it, years later, after wandering like the proverbial son of Judah, somewhere back in the United States. He didn't believe that, either.

Then, in an exasperated last-ditch attempt to convince Milo that this was real, they had begun to tell him just where his mission would take him. But the angels had had to sign off when the bus had crashed, and didn't quite finish that part.

Milo regretted this. One of them had been quite voluptuous. And then, when he had looked around him, viewing the carnage and realizing that he was still alive, he finally had believed them,and was ready to listen. Too late, as usual.

Milo improvising a makeshift strap for his newly-heavy thermos with his belt, hoisted it over his shoulder, and started to walk. With a growing sense of unease, he carefully picked his way through the smoking remnants of the old bus and its late cargo, strewn for hundreds of yards down the valley floor...