"Saint Michael"

“Saint Michael” - Shorts Challenge, by Rebecca Mlinek

April 2, 2024
Mary Grace Gallagher

We are not alone. At least, that is what the rich imaginations of the three sisters in Rebecca Mlinek’s short, “Saint Michael,” start to believe one night as they recount stories of strange encounters under starry skies.

Inspired by a podcast in which a religious studies professor asked listeners to consider the possibility that many “alien encounters” that have been documented have much in common with Biblical accounts of encounters with angels, such as the story of “Saint Michael.”

Mlinek, 47, who teaches creative writing at a magnet high school in Towson, modeled her three protagonists on three archetypical furies: Reason, Faith and Chaos. She says her story is naturally female-centric.

“These girls are hanging out, not talking about romance or boys; but talking about life,” Mlinek said.

Mlinek has lots of experience with female-centric storylines, having raised six daughters. She likes to joke that she “grew her own crew,” and plans to put them to work. Her oldest daughter works as a cinematographer in New York City; her fourth daughter, an actor in her first year at the Juilliard School, will play Faith in “Saint Michael.”

She said she has been writing for awhile, but “got tired of waiting for permission for things” and started forging her own path. Now, with a podcast audio drama on the airwaves and a short film starting to win recognition on the festival circuit, she is establishing herself as a writer who directs rather than a director who writes.

“I like the idea that we don’t have a frame of reference for whatever it is that’s out there,” she said.