“Sire, it is not for you to be involved. If you will please take your seat--”
“No, I will won’t sit.”
Anger is the only thing keeping me on my feet. The drug I was injected with still swims in my veins. But I can’t stop. I have questions and within those are even more questions. Without answers I feel like a rubber band stretched too much. I want to stand in front of a punching bag but instead I’m trapped in a small ass jet.
Joshua and Lexie quietly eye me from their seats. They don’t understand and I don’t expect them too. They never met her.
Heinrich taps his fingers impatiently against his temple. “There are many events occurring in this world, sire, and at times the world becomes too small and paths cross. You have your own route to take and must not loiter in another’s.”
“What does that even mean? Talk to me like a freaking person.”
“It means it is not your business.” He snaps, rising to his feet, “Concentrate on your fate and worry not of theirs.”
I watch him enter the cockpit and the door locks in the silence of the cabin. I throw myself into a chair, latching onto my piercing with vigor. I twist it until it hurts.
How do I forget her? It sounds so stupid. I haven’t technically met her. I never heard her voice or seen the color of her eyes. I only know her name because Alexander so fearfully cried over her.
Kyla. A simple name with such little weight behind it. But I know she’s important. I wiped away her tears and I felt the amazing warmth of her skin. If only I can see her Soul with the eyes I have now. They would no doubt reveal to me what I have known all along.
She’s a Pure Soul and she needs to be protected from the Darkness.
This is what caused me to become a Prophet. I want to protect her and others like her from Lucius, from the foul Voids in Sheol that are coming after her. I want to save humanity. But until then, I am helpless and there is no feeling worse than helplessness.
I snatch my backpack, clenching it if only for some comfort. Alexander is with her. She is safe with him. She has to be.
We have a long way to go before we land in Egypt. There, we will meet another Prophet and hopefully begin the rise of the armies. I’ve stared learning Arabic but the process is slow. I’ve never been good at other languages. Thinking back to my first year in college I attempted Spanish and failed miserably. But Arabic is the language I’ll be faced with the most. I need to meet these people on common ground. If I can’t connect with them, how will they ever see me as their savior? They have to believe me as they believed in Jesus Christ.
I wonder how he began his journeys. I mean, I know how humanity says he started. I was raised Catholic, we worship the Son of God as if he is God. There is nothing of his life that I don’t know. I want to know the Angels’ story. We call him Jesus, but the Angel’s refer to him as Lysander. Why doesn’t he come and save the world as he did before? Where is he now?
Then the question rises: Do I really want to know?
Many things in history aren’t as pleasant as I want them to be. I should have learned from the Bible that every evolution is bloody and terrible. Nothing comes from creation without annihilation. I deceived myself, if only for a short time, that life would be better now that truth was in my grasp. The truth, however, is only harder to take. There are terrible tragedies by the hands of Nature, of Fallen, of Angels, all in the name of God.
God who seems to want nothing more than love, is surrounded by only destruction, greed, hate, and appalling jealousy.
I thought that Heaven would be a place of harmony and worship. But as the generation continues to move forward the Hierarchy proves to be more dominant than any devotion for love.
It isn’t anyone’s fault, I notice. They’ve adapted to what they were given. But now I think, they are too set in their ways to realize they’re wrong.
The first twenty Angels to move into the providence of Heaven hated its confines. They viewed the white celestial walls as a prison. From above, they observed the humans below with pity, with yearning, and grief. But God desired them to stay and so they did.
For hundreds of years they continued to obey. Humans forgot that Angels even existed. It hurt them deeply and in turn, their affections for each other grew. They cared for one another’s happiness and desired for life in their home. In their world, life didn’t have to be so terrible and one by one they stepped from Heaven’s End, and started to actually live.
Then Lucius was born.
I haven’t been told much on the subject of God’s first Son but I know enough that he changed their perspectives drastically. Lucius made them aware of the encroaching Darkness and ignited fear into their placid hearts. He was a fantastic motivator from what I heard.
I should know more about the Darkness. It is my enemy and yet I don’t know its weakness. I don’t know how to destroy it. Why is it still around if it causes such a problem?
The way Heinrich avoids it only makes me more curious.
I look up around the cabin. Heinrich keeps human escorts. They are Seers with the capability of seeing Souls. They wear necklaces, all different and odd, but I can sense the power of them nonetheless. It hides them. Lexie and Joshua have similar talismans. I touch the cross hanging around my neck. I know it keeps me hidden from the Darkness. Heinrich calls them hallows. They block out Souls.
If we are fighting such dangerous people, why use humans? Why not Angels, or Fallen?
I want to meet a Fallen. I want to know what their Souls feel like. Will the Darkness be a part of them? Or will God?
The images of the Demons flash in my vision. The disgust I felt nearly hindered my breathing. How am I supposed to forget Kyla when such terrible creatures were so close to her?
Is she alright? That’s all I want to know.
“What do you want to know?”
I spin my head to the right and find Met sitting beside me. He is fully interested in my thoughts with his chin propped up on his palm and his legs crossed turned inward toward me. Met’s in a new body but I can sense his Soul and need not look at his shell anymore.
“I told you not to read my mind.” I shove his elbow off my armrest and shift to the other one to gain some space between us.
Lexie throws herself into his arms kissing his cheek, “Eight two three, Metti, six eight five. Where have you been?”
“Four four five. I’m back now, tell me what’s been going on?”
I blink wide-eyed, “You understand her?”
He chuckles, “The numbers are simply ways to communicate emotion and the identity of one’s spirit. There is a lot to be said for feeling in this century.” He brushes her hair as if she’s a little doll tucked in his side. “I hear you had some excitement, my boy.”
I roll my eyes, brooding. Of course, Heinrich would tell on me. He keeps nothing to himself, not my studies, not who I talk too, and especially not when I run off. But I’m not interested in revealing my habits, I’m more interested in his own.
Met disappears all the time. He returns sporadically and always in a different human body. He acts like he owns the world and yet, he’s a crazy old bat that’s no worse than an lunatic in a mental ward. I know he’s pretty powerful and the fact that he can get on this plane while it’s moving proves he has abilities no other Angel is capable of but what’s his game? Why doesn’t he tell me who he is?
“Heinrich told you?”
“That Demons came searching for your head, yes.”
Met’s brows knit in curiosity, “Why would one of my Angels’ lie to me?”
Perhaps I shouldn’t have worded it as I did. “He didn’t understand what was happening.”
He pats Lexie on the shoulder and with a childish pout, she rises and sits across from us. “Then please, explain to me the situation.”
I quickly divulge everything to him from the Orphanage and Alexander pointing a gun at me to seeing the same man again in the Airport and how fearful he was for my life. But my thoughts are distracted as I stare at Met. The words repeat in my head and I don’t know how to interpret them. ’Why would one of my Angels lie to me?’
Who is Met? This entire time, I’ve been treating him like a senile old man that you can’t get rid of. I stare at his Soul, analyzing it, gazing at it deeper than I have, and I notice something I hadn’t from the beginning. Where Angels illuminate like a 30-watt bulb, Elders are a 60. Met shines instead like halogen bulb. His Light is so much clearer and fuller than any I’ve seen. Which leads right back to, who is Met?
“And you believe these Demons were after this girl?”
I nod vigorously
“Did you see her? Will you be able to identify her if I get you a picture?”
He slaps me on my knee, “Do not worry about this child, Sable. You must concentrate on the war. It is coming. I predict within the month.”
Panicked, I swallow. “So soon?”
He stretches his short legs out and sighs. “We are the skivers here. It is my fault mostly. I was given ample time but I refused for so long that there would be any cause to raise the armies. Now it seems my hesitation has trickled down into the populace.” A soft smile rises on his lips but it is sad and wistful. “As silly as it sounds, the races have been at peace for too long. They do not believe in this threat. Until it begins, I fear they will remain stagnant.”
“But that means…”
“The most casualties will hit us in the beginning. It will be the human race that will protect the world until the Angels and Fallen decide to come to our aid. I’ve done all I could. You all are our only hope, Sable.”
“Please don’t say that. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
He cackles, the creasing of his old face bunching together, “You don’t have to. It will come naturally.” Met reaches out his hairy fingers and instinctively I pull away. “Do you think I will hurt you?”
Though I allow his fingers to rest on his temples, I glare nonetheless, “How can I trust you when I don’t know who you are?”
“What is there you need to know? You see my Soul. Names, titles, the political refuge that surrounds us, is what deceives. Trust in Light, what you see, what you feel, because that is what’s important. Nothing else.”
Shortly thereafter I feel the pain retreat. It’s slow, like water receding from the shoreline. It’s distance before it’s gone completely. He removes his hand and beams. “Better?” My speechlessness meets his approval, “If that amazes you, just what till you realize what you can do, Sable. Rest now. I will talk to Heinrich about this girl.”
Will I have such powers? Do I have those powers now? Are they dormant in me, waiting for my consciousness to waken? What can I do? I am human: meek and full of constant sin. I’m not worthy of the title Prophet or being in the presence of these amazing creatures. Yet, here I am, blessed for unknown reasons.
Joshua shifts and sits up, shrugging out of his fur coat, leaving only the thin jersey on, exposing his frail arms. He glances at me, rubbing his face. “You’re awake.”
I smirk, “So are you.”
He removes the beanie over his bald scalp and rubs the skin, yawning. It’s hard to look at him sometimes. I feel pity and I know he doesn’t want such a feeling from me. He’s a strong guy. He doesn’t need anyone feeling sorry for him. Josh heads to the bathroom and Lexie’s eyes linger after him. She beseeches, “Two two three, Can’t you do anything?”
I scoff, “What do you want me to do?”
“You’re our leader.” She murmurs. “Do something.”
Scoffing I snap to my feet and head to the cockpit again, ready to pound on it’s door but I hear their voices and notice that the door is wedged open just a crack. Interest pulls at me. I lean in, placing my ear against it.
“…very little.” I hear Heinrich whisper. “The Gatekeeper wanted only to leave our sight. She seemed very concerned for the wellbeing of that creature.”
“Find out what you can.”
“Yes, your grace. Now I wish to speak about Ariel.”
“Ariel will not be of any help to us.”
“What are you talking about? We need her!” There is a pause, an awkward silence that stretches for a length of time that has my heart thump wildly in fear but then Heinrich breaks it suddenly. “The Fallen movement, your grace. What can we expect from them?”
“Dion is impossible to meet with.” Met replies casually, as if nothing strange just happened, “He moves too often and sporadically. I can only assume he is doing what he must to prepare for war.”
“What makes you think he is not on Lucius’ side, your grace?”
“Dion is the leader of the Fallen now that Tymician is gone. I will hope he will follow in Tymician’s footsteps.”
“And what of Lady Jania, of Juotou? Has she spoken up yet?”
“Not to me. I am not one Fallen wish to speak to, Polly.” My brows knit in oddity. Did Met just call Heinrich, Polly? “She denies the Merci. She denies everyone. I do not think however, she will stay out of war. I tell you, when it starts, when they see it for themselves, they will come.”
“It will be too late! The humans will suffer great losses by then.”
“It is true but what will you have me do?”
There is silence after that and I am stiff, wondering if they know I’m listening at the door.
Heinrich tries again, “Show yourself and it will set off a spark. I know you have faith in Isis but I assure you, she is not who you think she is. I respect her well and good because she is an Erelim and yes, she is very powerful, your grace, but she is cruel. It has been two weeks and only a few hundred flock to her. There is a reason for this, your grace.”
“Isis will not fail me. There are very few that will understand a creature as complex as her. Her strength is incomparable. It is what we will need to get through this. I will not speak of this again.”
I suddenly knock on the door, feeling as if I’m about to get caught. They open it much to their disinclination. Heinrich rolls his eyes upon meeting my face. “I want to make a phone call.”
Heinrich replies instantly, “Out of the question.”
Met hands me the phone, “Here you go.”
I grin wickedly and close the door as Heinrich goes on a tangent about why it’s a completely terrible idea. I toss the phone to Josh who’s back from the bathroom. “Call your family.” His eyes light up in exhilaration, “Just don’t tell them where you are and keep it short.”
Lexie beams and plops down beside me. I lean against the window a little intimidated by her closeness. “You want to use the phone next?” I ask her. She shakes her head, her eyes drifting. “Do you have family?” Again, she shakes her head. “I don’t either.” I look across to Josh who’s excitingly going on, laughing and bubbly. An ache rises in my chest. I wonder what it would feel like to have a brother or sister. I never thought about it. I was fine with being alone.
Lexie rests her head against my shoulder, yanking my attention back to her, “Two Two one.” She sighs wearily.
“What does that mean?” I nudge her, pulling her black hair from her face. She keeps her eyes closed pretending to ignore me but I watch as she traces the numbers into the scars along her dark skin. I latch onto her hands, stalling her. She pops her head abruptly.
“You’re not cutting yourself anymore are you?”
A bright grin lightens her face. “Two one two, now? No, when Metti came to the hospital and gave me my Soul, the chaos cleared away. I understand now.”
“What do you understand?”
She points to her chest, “I’m not alone.”
Though the necklace inhibits me from sensing her Soul, I can still see it. Her Light is as Pure as mine but beneath the illumination, I find an attachment. It’s small and dark, similar to a sunspot on the outline of her Soul.
“What is it?”
Her legs swing with humor, “Not an ‘it’. A friend from another life, I suppose.”
Twisting my piercing, I watch as she plays with her necklace. “Something’s different about it. My parents gave me their Light. You can see it but it’s pretty much the same color and substance. Yours is…”
I guffaw, “Sure.”
“Metti says if Light can become evil, then the Darkness can become good.”
“A Void donated their power to you?”
She shakes her head, “No. Close though. It is what broke my mind. I’ve been sick for a very long time.” Lexie brings her knees up to her chest, hugging them close. “I thought I’d never see clearly again. Numbers dominate everything. Colors, voices, faces. Even when I closed my eyes, its how I thought and how I spoke. But when Metti walked into my room, there was only blinding light.”
“Met found you?”
“Yeah.” She turns her eyes upon me, “How was it when he found you?”
I shrug and turn away, pretending that the conversation is too personal. Perhaps it is. I don’t know what it means that I’m the only one God came too. Why was it so important for God to come to me and not to the others? Joshua and Lexie have had terrible lifetimes and a little boast from the Lord would have been a mercy but yet, he only came to me.
Am I so weak that he thought I needed him more? What does that say about the leader of the Prophets?