An Angel's Mark

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Welcome to Ghana

The portal had opened up onto what the young angels could only assume was a football field. The first thing that hit them was the sweltering heat which was of course a stark contrast to the perfect humidity of Heaven. They noted the air on Earth to be thick with pollution and unwanted harmful chemicals. When Ramiel made this observation, Afriel quickly notified him of the fact that Ghana was considered to have some of the cleanest air on the globe. His face contorted into a expression that was a delicate balance between confusion and shock. How could humanity knowingly poison the life source that existed all around them? The cacophony of dry heaving from the others throughout both the answering and the posing of his question suggested that they whole-heartedly agreed. They were clearly unified in their horror at the fact that air of worse quality actually existed on Earth.

Afriel then lead Earth’s newest arrivals to a large van that was conveniently parked on the side of the road. He explained to the rather distracted procession behind him that they would be travelling to the heart of East Legon roughly 30 minutes away. Which is why the young angels expected the journey to be approximately 30 minutes long, everything in Heaven ran on perfect time so they didn’t even think to question it. They soon found out they were sorely mistaken, as they sat in the Accra traffic which heaved and roared in a long succession of stops and starts that allowed them to move forward just a few paces each time.

With all the time in the world to kill as they felt themselves being slowly cooked in the stuffy car, each young angel took in a different aspect of the newfound world around them.

For Micah it was the state of the nature all around them. It seemed to be crying out to him the closer they moved towards the city. On the outskirts the large trees seemed to be in good health with a more than acceptable population of tropical and colourful, flora and fauna popping up in each and every direction. However, the city was another environmental landscape completely. Streets and streets of vegetation had been sacrificed for the sake of housing and businesses. The occasional pieces of litter here and there also deeply concerned him.

“Are all human cities like this? What I mean is do they sacrifice so much of Earth’s natural beauty for the sake of industrialism?” Micah questioned. It was obvious he was asking Afriel as the other boys had never visited Earth before either. Seeing it for themselves was definitely a culture shock no matter how much they had read or studied about it.

“Micah, Africa is only now catching up with the rest of the world in terms of infrastructure. In some areas of the city of London you can go miles before seeing a single stretch of greenery.” Afriel replied whilst expertly swerving out of the way of yet another reckless driver.

“Oh Micah, I didn’t mean to make you upset my boy. It is just the way it is and humanity has a population that is continuously growing. They need more housing to provide space for all of the population to live” Afriel said kindly in response to the evident heartache in the angel’s gold eyes, full of sorrow for all the nature that was sacrificed before it even had a chance to thrive and prosper.

“Perhaps when this is all over I can take you to realm of the fey in the Amazon rainforest. I am sure they would love a visit from a being with the same appreciation for nature as they do.” This time his attempts to console the young angel were far more successful and his gold eyes shone in wonderment and excitement. That sounded like an excellent idea and he would have to hold the older angel to his word.

What concerned Nathaniel was the hunger stricken children that peered into the window whenever they stopped at the traffic lights (which was frequently) trying to view what they assumed to be rather financially fortunate passengers inside. The severity of malnutrition was altogether varied and many children were actually just trying to sell them items. In his attempt to ease the guilt and sadness at such a pitiful scene he too began to question their wizened companion.

“Do you have no money to give them? Is there nothing we can do for these poor children?” Nathaniel wearily questioned feeling worn out by all the despair that seemed to be seeping in through the windows as if transmitted by those outside.

“You may think of me as cruel but no there is nothing we can do” Afriel replied equally as wearily. He had expected to receive many questions once the young angels had seen for themselves how broken the world was. He had just wished they hadn’t been aimed at him so soon and in such unfortunate circumstances.

“But” Nathaniel cried in dismay before realising that Afriel had not actually finished speaking. He had only been allowing for a pause. The younger angel then quickly shut up waiting for his Elders argument before presenting his rebuttal. For he truly believed he would have one as this kind of suffering was absolutely intolerable.

“Nathaniel you know better than anyone the splendour Earth existed at the start of creation. It was through Eve and Adam’s decisions and those of the humans that followed them that the Earth came to be the way it is. However, this world is just the beginning it is that of the next life one with our Father Heaven that is truly significant. By providing each human with free will it is not always the case that their life will occur as it should either due to the mistakes of the others or through their own making. However, even with all this suffering, humans must go through this life before they can be rewarded in the next. It is through unending faith in Jesus coming to the cross for their sins that they will truly have it. Life is not fair but each human suffers their own toils and troubles but their faith in Jesus costs them nothing but gives them everything. When at one with God this life will become but a distant memory and one that they overcame in order to become part of something even greater. That is what you are fighting for.” Afriel proclaimed with absolute certainty.

Nathaniel nodded in understanding it seemed he had absolutely nothing to say in return but that didn’t make the suffering any less raw and shocking. Just like the others he had never seen malnutrition in person before and neither the pictures nor the descriptions had done the condition any justice. In the worst cases he saw skin encasing the bones of the body with next to nothing in between, in fact he was sure he had seen the outline of some of the children’s eye sockets.

This was a very different vision to the one Archon saw through his window. His eyes were naturally drawn to all the sellers on the streets with their brightly coloured stalls. Whether they sold fruit, fish or fried plantain the majority wore easy smiles as they conversed with one another and the customers around them. He was enchanted by the fact that so many of them: men, women and children alike had probably suffered hardships beyond his wildest imagination. In fact, they would probably suffer many more and must have got into the habit of living day to day yet their jubilant faces told a different story that contrasted the wear and tear of their calloused hands. They displayed the key to true happiness a conglomeration of purpose, love and hard work.

Whilst Sablo was attracted to the music that travelled along the airways. There were a few Western radio stations in some of the cars around them but local radio could be heard on the streets. As angels they were fluent in all dialects spoken on Earth with their understanding and speech of these dialects having been perfected at the Celestial College. The stations perfectly represented the countries vibrant culture and the pride the people had for their nation. He soon found himself humming along to the tunes on the radios of passers-by. They finally turned of the main road and after a few twists and turns approached what seemed to be a large blue house with a matching blue gate.

After bringing the car to a stop Afriel blared the horn three times leaving the same pause between each blast and within seconds a clanging metal sound could be heard. The Nephilim would soon learn to associate such a noise with the opening of the gate. This was done by what they assumed to be a native Ghanaian man with a slight smile on his face. He stood on the outside of the gate motioning that it was safe for Afriel to now bring the car into the drive way. This action allowed them to take a better look at their newest acquaintance. He seemed more than friendly enough which was saying something because his 6 ft 4 stocky frame did him no favours in that department. He was massive in every sense of the word and Sablo imagined running into him would not be much different from the impact felt when doing the same thing to a brick wall.

“Welcome Home” Afriel proclaimed as he turned off the engine encouraging them all to get out of the car. They immediately did so and following his character description as the social butterfly of the group Sablo marched purposefully over to the unidentified man who was now closing the gate. The others followed if not a bit more hesitantly.

“I am Sablo it is very nice to meet you. What is your name kind sir?” Sablo proclaimed eagerly offering his hand. Since angels never felt the need to shake hands this would be his first official handshake and it was on Earth to make matters even more interesting. Perhaps he was letting his excitement seep out a little too quickly.

“I am Kwame and I will be helping you with transportation, cooking, cleaning, washing and most importantly security” The Ghanaian man said as he introduced himself whilst accepting the angel’s hand. He looked rather taken aback by the manner in which he had been approached. Not many people made a habit of approaching him due to his tall and built frame, they usually waited for him to approach them first. He supposed it was a nice change.

Daniel then introduced himself followed by Ramiel and then within a few minutes they had each carried out all their introductions. There was however a giant elephant in the room and the seven Nephilim shared worried looks each knowing exactly what the other was thinking. They were angels who required no food and could use their wings to take them anywhere they needed to go. They were trained in Demon Warfare for goodness sake and their clothes had never got dirty. Kwame’s assistance wasn’t necessary in any of the areas he had described as his primary functions. Not knowing how to politely let him know this they turned to Ramiel, as he could deliver the message in the most moderate manner careful to avoid hurting their new friends feelings. Just as he was about to speak Afriel came hurtling past them.

He picked Kwame up with an effortless ease and it made for quite a sight with Afriel being a few inches shorter than his companion.

“Kwame my boy it has been a long time and I have missed you greatly. Look how strong man you have become” Afriel noted in a fatherly tone. His words also suggested a past the two had shared that the other seven angels were yet to hear about. The fact that Afriel referred to the ginormous man in front of them as a boy also suggested that a lot of time had passed since they had last met. Perhaps one day the older angel would find the time to share his life story with them.

Afriel turned his attention to the seven young angels and saw all the burrows equally furrowed in confusion. He believed he knew what the cause of this confusion could be.

“Right young angels let us start with some ground rules but first follow me into the house you will find the temperature much more suitable in there until your bodies acclimatise to this new temperature. Air conditioning is a wonderful human creation.” Afriel quickly stated not even waiting for a reply as he ambled into their new accommodation.

They quickly noticed that the house was a bungalow and Afriel stated that was commonplace in homes across Ghana. He showed each of them their rooms which were identical to the ones at the Celestial College each a colour that now matched the irises of their eyes. When exiting the last room Afriel explained how they could not reveal their wings at all whilst on Earth since the existence of angels was not at all a universally accepted concept. They each flushed red with embarrassment at not having thought of that issue themselves. He did however state that if need be they could reveal their true identities to their wards later in the year as long as they were in the confines of their new home. However, in order to keep their identities safe they would also need the security Kwame could provide in case of intruders into the house. As taking them on themselves could lead to their accidental exposure.

The next concept he explained to them left them absolutely flabbergasted, not discovery of the five nations flabbergasted but flabbergasted none the less. Only in Heaven did clothes always remain clean on Earth they got dirty and in Ghana they would get especially dirty because the Nephilim would sweat so much. Afriel then lead them to what they soon found to be the dining room where eight places were perfectly laid out with an absolute feast sat on the table. Though they didn’t consume food the young angels had to admit the food looked very enticing.

Afriel sat down and began to dive into the delicious array of dishes as the other angel’s jaws dropped.

“Please come and join me. Just because we don’t need to eat doesn’t mean we can’t. If you are going to blend in at school people are going to have to see you consume food. Kwame has prepared a splendid selection for you of both traditional Ghanaian dishes and more common Western food. You will need to try everything and decide what you prefer. The one downside is that you will also have to use the bathroom in order to relieve yourself of any food or drink you consume. However, our anatomy is very similar to that of an ordinary humans so that too should be no problem.” Afriel said before eating another mouthful of jollof rice, his personal favourite.

The other angels shared knowing looks as they sat down,it seemed they would need Kwame for each and every function he had described. Whilst enjoying the jollof rice, waakye, gari, fish, fufu, ground nut soup and more they each thanked Kwame through eager mouthfuls for his fantastic cooking skills. Speaking of the broad butler/ body guard / launderer / chef once he was sure they were comfortable he simply left, in order to patrol the compound both inside and out for any weak spots in security and or intruders. They did offer him a seat but he simply shook his head in refusal before exiting the room. Afriel explained that he was a man of rather few words when he felt them to be unnecessary and he liked to eat whilst he cooked. He could then use the time whilst they were eating to strengthen security and do all his necessary checks without causing them much disturbance.

It seemed they still had much to learn before starting their first day of school and meeting their wards in person.

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