[FFML] [ORIG] Angel Dawn, Chapter Three

Henry Cobb henry.cobb at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 11:44:25 PDT 2009


[ORIG] Angel Dawn, Chapter Three
By Henry J. Cobb, all rights reserved.

I think that the characters and situations presented here are original, but
I owe a heavy debt to my influences.

Chapter Three: "Dawn ends Twilight"

It was daytime.  I was in a procession down a street in a large city.  I
was seated on a platform that was being carried by a dozen large men.  Two
more of them walked next to me and waved large fans at me.

The platform carriers carefully lowered it in front of another platform
where some of the students from my class and other persons were tied up.

A man in an uniform said, "We have captured the traitors."

"Excellent,"  The words came from my throat, but in Hakumei's voice,
"Execute them."

"No."

"Your Majesty?"

"No! I won't stand for this!"  I stood up and extended my flames.  The
imagined crowd died screaming and then I focused my power and burned down
Hakumei's dream.

I stood once again in the twilight valley of mists.  I was in my school
uniform, only there was a silver manacle on my left wrist.  A silver chain
extended from it to another of the same design on Hakumei's right wrist.

"Why did you have to do that?  You're Dawn, aren't you?  How did you do
that?  Where are we?"

"On the plain of dreams," I touched my manacle with my right hand and knew
its maker.  I looked at the top of the white tower, but could not see her
from this distance.  I worked at the manacle, but it was beyond my skill to
remove.

"What are those silver bubbles around here?"

"The dreams of other humans."

"You -- we can control people's dreams?  Alright, let's start poking
around,"  Hakumei tugged at the chain as she reached for one of the
bubbles.

"There is no we," If I couldn't enter the white tower I could either ask
the servants of the Archangel of Dreams to beg for her forgiveness or I
could take matters in my own hands.  But I could not continue like this.

"What do you mean?  You can't take off this chain can you?  And you can't
kill me because I'm already dead.  Let's take everything.  I know you can
do it."

"Earth is no place for dead souls.  They have two possible destinations,
and you have chosen yours," I turned and walked towards the black tower,
which was much closer than its complement.

"No!"  Hakumei stood her ground, but I pulled her off her feet.  She clawed
at the fuzzy ground, but found no purchase there.

She screamed words I had not heard before as I dragged her along.  From her
tone I concluded that I would never say them.

"No!  No!  Please,"  She clutched at the doorway of the black tower, but it
burned her hands and I yanked her down the stairway inside.

Her promises and pleads turned to quiet sobbing as I yanked her down
flight after flight of stairs.

At last I stood before the dreamgate to hell for the first time and beheld
Cerberus for myself.  He too was bound by a chain, but of gold.  He had
more than sufficient slack to reach me, but did not bother.  His job was
to prevent escape, not entrance.

I turned and looked at Hakumei.  She had curled into a ball to better
handle the shocks as she was yanked down the stairs.  I picked her soul up
and threw it towards the gateway.  She clutched at the silver chain, but
this dissolved as she passed through the portal.  She looked back at me with
desperate eyes and was gone.

I turned away from the gateway and saw Cerberus standing in front of me.

His left head sniffed at my right hand, then he walked back to his perch.

"They've bound you too, these powers that be?  I bet they didn't ask you
either."  I walked over and sat beside him.

He glanced at me with his right head, then it turned back to watch the
unending stream of the dammed souls into Hell.

I reached up and scratched behind his rightmost ear.

He made a low noise in his three throats, almost a sigh, then leaned down
enough that he could place his rightmost head in my lap, while the other
two kept watch.

I petted him for a while then sat back and kept watch with his other two
heads while his right head enjoyed a well deserved nap.

Hundreds of the unfortunate dead passed by.  Occasionally an escorting
demon would stop to look at us two, but they did not tarry.

The right head of Cerberus stirred as my form started to dissolve.

"I awaken, but I shall return someday.  I can not and must not retire you
from your task.  But I can offer you my company from time to time, if this
pleases you."

He raised his right head and nodded at me.

I sat up in my bed and stretched my arms over my head.  It was my room now
as the former occupant had left for good.

I went downstairs to shower and dress then took my seat at the dinning room
table.

Mr. Himoto pushed the newspaper over towards me, then returned to making
breakfast.  Ichiru's death was covered on page one.

I forced myself to read the article.

"Well?"  Mr. Himoto placed the tray in front of me.

I bowed my head in prayer then looked up at him,  "It will not happen
again.  Hakumei's spirit has been sent to its final destination."

"Oh," He sat down, "I should have known when you started acting just like
her.  I suppose I was too used to defending myself against her attacks to
notice.  From the way you said that can I assume that it wasn't a very nice
place?  Can you take my soul in place of hers?"

"By the order of God himself, each entity's  soul is their own.  There is
no corruption of blood in Heaven."

Breakfast and the ride to school were in silence.  At the school the other
students turned away and stopped talking as I approached.  I was being
shunned.  The feeling was so familiar.  It seemed that humans could act in
an angelic fashion on occasion.

In class I pondered Hakumei's words.  My appearance was unlike these other
humans.  My height was about average for the girls in my class, but my
curves were slightly more pronounced than any of their bodies.  All of the
other students and every human being I had encountered during this visit
had eyes and hair of much darker colors than mine, but I was sure that I
had seen humans with much lighter colors than mine during Father's lessons.

It matter little what these humans thought of me.  I would cull the demons
in their midst then be on my way.  It would be best if they didn't remember
me at all.  Wait, those lines don't intersect.  I raised my hand.

"Yes, Miss Himoto?"  Mr. Kuroyama pointed at me.

"There has been some mistake.  There is no solution for that series of
equations."

"What?"  He looked down into his notebook and compared it to what he had
written on the blackboard, "Oh!  Yes, sorry.  This should be four X
squared, not three."

As soon as I fell asleep that night I found myself in a vast forest of tall
pine trees.  My body felt different so I looked down at it.  I had been
regressed.  I looked a little more than a third my age and I was wearing a
simple garment of coarse fabric with a belt of unbleached rope around my
waist.  My hair was gathered at the back of my head and held by a knot of
smaller rope.  My hair was still red so I assumed that this was my body and
not the dream of a local human.  The setting and the changes to myself felt
imposed.  It must have been by one of my kin.  Even though my feet were
bare I did not feel cold so I assumed that I was being treated benignly.

I heard singing in the distance.  It was not Mother's song, but a human
singing.  I followed the sound through the forest and came to a clearing.
There was a garden in the clearing and with just one look I knew whose it
was.  I smiled for a moment then stopped.  I knew why she had summoned me.

I bowed my head and followed the path through the garden towards the
song.  As I approached I could make out the words to it.

"I built this garden for us," It was a man's voice that wasn't in Japanese,
but here in this special dream I could understand it clearly.

I turned the corner and saw an old woman digging into the soil with her
bare hands to plant seeds.  She wore a blue garment of tough fabric that
ran from straps over her shoulders down to her ankles.  This was over a
thin cotton shirt with short sleeves that had been dyed with many bands and
streaks of different colors.  She wore sandals and a wide brimmed hat of
straw.  Though her hair was white her blue eyes had the sparkle of eternal
youth to them.

I stood and waited for her to complete planting the row she was on.

She wiped her hands clean on a cloth that hung from one of her pockets then
pressed a button on a metal box to end the singing and turned to me, "Hello
Princess."

I knelt down and pressed my face to the ground, "Forgive me Auntie."

"Get up or you'll get your dress dirty."

I looked down at myself and saw that I now wore a pink dress of much finer
fabric.  I stood and saw that the straps to my sandals were of the same
material, "Thank you Auntie."

"Come, have a seat,"  She indicated a table that hadn't been there a minute
earlier.  It was of wicker that had been glazed white, with two chairs of
the same material.  A long wooden stick extended through the center of the
table to hold up an umbrella of fabric dyed in a similar fashion to her
shirt.  On the table were items of white porcelain.

I went to mu chair but was uncertain of how I was to get into it without
knocking it over in my reduced size.  She reached down and lifted me up
into it, with my legs dangling over the edge.

Then she placed her hat over her metal box and took the other seat, "I'm
not the one you transgressed against,"  She poured tea from a pot into my
cup and slid a saucer of cookies over to where my shortened arms could
reach.

"Dreams must hate me,"  I looked at the cookies, then down to the table.

"We angels cannot allow ourselves the luxury of such personal emotions.
But I sense a certain disappointment.  Did she assign you something?"

"She placed a human soul in my charge and I sent it to Hell."

"Oh Dear, there's no taking that back.  It was a very wicked soul I trust?"

"She was a child whose life was lost just before she could become an
adult.  She was selfish and greedy, but shocked when her actions lead to
the death of another human."

"And what did you do at that moment of her realization?"

"I took her to Hell.  I judged that she was too dangerous to be left
wandering the Earth where she could bring more harm to others."

"Judgment, as my brother would say, is somewhat above our pay grade.  Are
there any other responsibilities of The Father that you'd care to take on?"

"No Auntie.  I'm sorry Auntie."

"Let me consider this for a moment and in the meanwhile do try the cookies.
I baked them myself."

I picked up and bit into one.  It was sweet and chewy.  I took a sip of the
tea and then another bite of the cookie.  I looked up and saw that my aunt
was frowning.  I put the cookie down.

"What's the matter dear, don't you like my cookie?"

"It's very good, but you're upset."

"Not with you.  Apparently I'm not allowed to do anything for you."

"I will return home as soon as I awake."

"You are not allowed to return either.  I'm to send you back to Earth
immediately without further assistance.  So here's my recipe for the
oatmeal cookies," She touched her thumb to my forehead and I closed my eyes
as I saw in a flash all the steps needed to make the cookies, "Now
Princess, what is the definition of a demon?"

"A demon is a fallen angel," I opened my eyes and saw I was lying in my bed
again.  I sat up and looked in the mirror and saw that I was still my
correct age, the dream had changed nothing.  Well there was one change.

I went downstairs to the kitchen and searched through the cabinets until I
found all the tools and ingredients I needed.

Mr. Himoto walked into the kitchen and watched as I pulled out the baking
tray, "Isn't that hot?"

"No, the metal is nowhere close to melting,"  But I took his warning and
placed it on top of the stove so that it could cool without harming the
non-metal parts in the kitchen.  I picked up one of the cookies and bit
into it.  It was almost the same as the cookie from my dream.

"You can cook?"

"Not as well as my Aunt.  This is her gift."

"Your Aunt?"

"The one who introduced the concept of agriculture to Mankind."

"Oh."

"Want to try a cookie?"

"I'll let them cool down first.  In the meantime I'd best start breakfast."

"Let me handle that from now on.  I don't know why my Aunt gave me this
gift so I'd best use it until I figure out the reason."

That afternoon we went shopping and my hands were drawn to certain
ingredients.

As we approached the lines at the front of the store Mr. Himoto asked, "So
you've decided to be vegetarian?"

"Aren't the diary items animal products?"

"Well not vegan then."

I read through my textbooks as I prepared the evening meal.  Auntie's gift
seemed to work better if I didn't concentrate on it.

The dishes were unlike any I had seen before so I made sure to sample each
before calling out to Mr. Himoto, "Dinner's ready."

"Be there in a moment,"  He replied from his room as he put away his
paperwork.  It seemed to have something to do with the functioning of the
school.

He stopped for a moment in the doorway then took his seat and looked at the
dinner table.

"This is the salad, and this sauce and dumplings goes with the pasta,"  I
pointed out the items.

"Well I thank God, your aunt and you for them then."

Halfway through the meal I went and got the final item out of the oven,
"It's dessert."

"If you say so."

After the meal was finished I asked him, "Good?"

"Very, and very much unlike anything I've tried before."

"I was afraid of that."

"What?"

"We need to keep this secret.  I don't think my aunt has authorized me to
release her recipes.  I still don't see what her plan is."

"That's a pity.  With this kind of skill you could be a world famous chef
and publish dozens of best selling cookbooks.  But I suppose you'll just
have to settle for making your future husband a very lucky man."

"I'm not human.  I just wear a human body while I'm here."

"Oh.  Right, sorry about that."

That night as I drifted off to sleep I considered Mr. Himoto's words.
Would it be such a terrible fate to live for a few decades or centuries as
a mortal until Father forgave my outcast state?  I could learn to fit in
better with these humans.  I could find a man who could either live with my
true nature or choose not to ask about it.  No, I had a mission, even if I
came up with it myself.  I would do Father's will, even if He rejected me.

It was a moonless night.  I roamed over a desolate wilderness.  The only
light came from the stars and myself.  I had taken the form of a column of
fire, without fuel or smoke.  I recognized the reference from a story I had
been told of events that had occurred several thousand years before, but I
was alone and guided no one in my dream.  Having no points of reference I
wandered in random directions.  It felt good to have one night free from
the concerns of those troublesome, hapless, fascinating mortals.

I saw a dark figure in the far darkness and traveled towards it.  It was a
tree, but unlike the one behind my, er Mr. Himoto's house, it had no leaves
on its bare branches.  It was dead.  Was this a warning?  I did not
understand the parable so I turned away from it.  Despite my cylindrical
symmetry, I seemed to have a well defined orientation.

"Hello."

I turned back towards the tree.  The voice seemed somehow familiar, "Who is
it?"

"Why are you here?"

"This is my dream.  You are the intruder," I focused my visual sense and
beheld a gray moth that almost blended into the trunk of the dead tree.  It
had a camouflage pattern in silver of one eye on each folded wing.  Looking
closer I saw that these large eyes were optical illusions formed of smaller
eye patterns that were themselves composed of still smaller patterns and so
on.  I drifted back half a radii in confusion.

"Angels have dreams of their own?"

"It's a habit I acquired with my body, along with pulse, respiration,
digestion and so on."

"It's a most interesting body.  Where did you find it?"

"It is a gift of God Himself."

"Oh?  I tried to contact you before, but you had a second soul in there.
Did you eliminate a human girl and take her body for yourself?  God helps
those who help themselves after all"

"That was a ghost who had at one point a body of her own."

"So now that you've disposed of the ghost your mission is over and you can
rise back to heaven?"

"That isn't my mission."

"Then I ask again.  Why are you here?  What brings an angel to Earth?"

"I seek a demon."

"Seek as in not found yet?  What kind of demon is it?  What does it look
like?"

"I don't know.  It has formidable cloaking abilities."

"Then why don't you go back and report to your master that you have been
unable to find it so you can be assigned a mission more suited to your
abilities?  I can sense that these are quite formidable in their own way."

"I am pledged to no master."

"So you walked out of heaven?  Wouldn't that make you a fallen angel?  And
yet I can sense that you are still an angel.  Your little story fails to
add up.  And here I thought that angels couldn't lie."

"Angels can lie, even in heaven, but I don't."

"Now that hit a nerve."

"Who are you?"

"That would be telling," The moth stretched its wings, "Be seeing you."

Suddenly I recognized the voice.  It was the same one that had been
carried on those strange breezes in the gym, "Demon!"  I lashed out with my
flame, but it fluttered out of my dream.  However the ashes I had reduced
the tree to spelled out a pattern.

"Yes!"  I sat up in my bed.

"Dawn?"  Mr. Himoto knocked at my door.

I glanced down and saw I was dressed in my night clothes so said, "Come
in."

"What is the matter?"  He opened the door and looked at me.

"The demon attacked me in my sleep, but I drove it off."

"Will you need some sort of protection?"

"No, I am on guard for it, but now I know its name."

"Oh?"

"Its name is Zephyr."

"I haven't heard of anybody with that name."

"Well of course not.  It's a demon, so it would lie about its name, but
this is its true name."

"So could you use that name in some sort of ritual to summon it?"

"Nothing that it would be forced to respond to."

"So how exactly does this help you?"

"If I isolate the demon I'll be able to identify it now."

"Do you know where to start?"

"It's appeared twice at the school."

"Oh?  Why didn't you tell me about this before?  And you know what it looks
like?"

"I mean that it used its powers there, but I hadn't realized it before.  I
don't know what it looks like."

"It?  Does it have a gender?"

"Most higher angels and demons have a gender preference.  When I was
possessed by Hakumei she used her right handedness, even though I am left
handed.  In the same way I have been uncomfortable when I have assumed a
male identity.  So the demon would most likely prefer to be either male or
female, I just don't know which."

"Well we can check at school later.  But it's good that you're up this
early, even though it's a Saturday.  We need to go to the Brazilian embassy
in Tokyo."

"Why?"

"Apparently your ID will be a little more official than I had planned.
Don't wear your school clothes,"  He seemed to think about this for a
moment then continued, "But wear something nice.  Here,"  He opened my
closet and selected some items,  "This skirt, blouse and jacket will do."

"Should I wear underwear?"

"Yes, as normal.  Just these instead of your school uniform.  And take
Hakumei's purse."

We drove downtown and got on a train.  The train seemed to already be full
when it arrived at our station, but we got on anyway.  People were pressed
against us.  I felt a hand on my backside and sensed the man's need to
maintain a firm grip.

I turned sideways to grab his hand with both of mine, "Here you go,"  I
lifted it up to the strap I had been holding onto and wedged my body
between Mr. Himoto and the wall of the train.

As other bodies brushed by I received brief flashes of their natures and
current concerns, but all seemed to be human.

After a few stops the crowd thinned out and Mr. Himoto found adjacent
seats for us.

I looked out the windows at the passing countryside and villages.  We
stopped at several cities before coming to a huge city.  We stopped for
lunch and then got on another train and walked a few blocks to a large
building covered with mirror-like windows in red frames.  We walked up the
steps and Mr. Himoto showed something from his wallet to the lady at the
desk.

"Yes, ambassador Marchi is expecting you now."

We stepped into a large room.  There was a foreign man sitting behind the
desk and a Japanese man standing in front of it.  They both watched us
enter then the man behind the desk asked, "Mr. Himoto and the angel I
presume?"

Mr. Himoto glanced at the Japanese man.

"Do not worry about Mr. Tanaka.  He is from the Japanese Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, special action department.  He can be trusted in these
matters.  Show me this angel."

"Dawn," Mr. Himoto motioned me forwards and I stopped in front of the desk.

The ambassador unbuttoned his collar and removed a gold chain from neck
that had been hidden under his shirt.  The symbol of my brother, also in
gold, hung from it.  He placed the chain on his desk in front of me, "Read
this."

I picked it up and dropped it.

"What is the matter?  Does it burn you?"

"Nothing burns me.  But this, it was covered in blood."

"Continue please."

I picked up the symbol with my left hand again, "The man who had held this,
he had a great pain.  There was a hole in his chest," I motioned to the
spot on my own chest with my right hand, "He was trying to speak, but he
couldn't.  His lungs were full of blood.  He was trying so desperately to
beg Father's forgiveness."

"That's enough."

I dropped it onto the desk and took a step back.

"It's well that his last thoughts were of God.  He was a good boy," The
ambassador picked up the chain and looked at the symbol for a moment and
then he placed the chain back around his neck, hid it under his shirt and
redid his collar, "Did you see him in heaven?"

"I don't know.  There were so many."

"Please forgive this old man's doubts," He turned to Mr. Tanaka, "Brazil
recognizes Dawn as our own.  You will have no problems from this side.
Very few know the complete story and all who are in any way involved would
rather happily die under torture rather than betray her."

"Please don't die for my sake."

"We'll try not to.  These are for you," He opened a drawer in his desk and
named the items as he placed them in front of me, "Your birth certificate,
your passport, your bible and your diary, including the last pen used to
write in it."

I picked up the bible.  Most of the symbols on the front were English
letters, but there was something off, "What is this symbol?"

"You don't know Portuguese?"

Mr. Himoto stepped forwards, "She can read languages from people."

"Very well, I am a native speaker."

"Portuguese has masculine and feminine forms?"

"Oh?  Yes, that could be a problem,"  The ambassador punched a button on a
box on his desk,  "Send in my daughter please."

We waited a few minutes then the door opened and a woman stepped in, "Yes
Father?"

"This is the angel I told you about Ana."

"Really?"

"Yes, she was able to read Adao's last thoughts.  She needs to be able to
speak Portuguese like a woman.  Can you help?"

"Anything.  What do I have to do?"

"Think of this Portuguese," I stepped up to her.  She was taller than me
and she wore shoes that lifted her heels up.  I grabbed her with my right
hand and bent her over backwards so I could place my mouth over hers.  She
struggled for a moment as I slid my tongue past her lips and her breathing
quickened through her nose.  She shuddered and threw her arms around me to
steady herself as I brushed her cheek then moved my left hand down to her
throat.

Her tongue moved against mine as I closed my eyes and drank deeply of the
new language.  It helped that Ana also knew Japanese so I took a few
minutes to connect the concepts between Japanese and Portuguese.

She went limp so I opened my eyes to see that she had closed hers.  Her
breathing was gentler now and a blush had spread across her cheeks.  I
disentangled myself from her and seated her in a chair by the wall.  Then
I stood and faced the three men.

They were looking away from me.  Had I broken some taboo?

I heard Ana stir so I turned back to her and tried this new language, "Are
you well?  Did I injure you?"

"No, it was wonderful, I --"  Ana blushed again and looked down at her
feet.

"So you speak Portuguese now?"

I turned back to the ambassador, "Yes sir.  Let me see,"  I picked up the
bible again and opened to a random page.  It was clearly written in words,
but trying to pronounce the words as English letters did not match to my
new language, especially with the strange symbols.  I touched the letters,
but they had been placed there by a machine, blind to their meaning.

I picked up the final item, this diary and opened it.  Again there were
words, but these had been written by hand.  I traced the letters and read
them aloud, "Sister Eva had great news for me today.  I have an uncle in
Japan and I'm being sent to live with him.  I packed my few things, said
goodbye to the sisters and took the bus to Brasília,"  I looked up at the
ambassador and continued in the same tongue, "I have sisters in Brazil?"

"You were raised in an orphanage.  It was the best we could do, to connect
you with the Himoto family at this time without raising questions as to why
you had not been mentioned until recently.  Do not worry, the nuns are very
loyal to the church.  Speaking of which, the Holy Father wishes you well
and wonders if you will come visit."

"I will not return to heaven until my mission is complete."

"I meant the Pope, not your Father."

"Oh, where is he?"

"In the Vatican, in Italy.  He can arrange a trip to Japan if you wish, but
I understand that you are keeping a low profile on this visit?"

"Yes she is," Mr. Himoto put the items in my purse, "We thank you for your
assistance."

I followed him out of the building then asked him, "Are you upset about
something?"

"We had hoped to keep the Catholics out of this.  My fault, not yours, for
trying to use my family connections to fill in your identity."

The trains in the city were crowded, but these thinned out that evening as
we made our way back.

While preparing dinner I read the diary that had been written for me.  From
time to time I would place my hand on a page and gain a faint sense of the
girl who had written it.  I continued to read while we ate then finished it
in bed and drifted off.

I was sitting on an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room and somebody was
brushing my hair.

"Oh Dawn," It was Ana, sitting behind me, "Please forgive me.  I want to do
such wicked, sinful things," She moved the brush away and leaned down to
lick at my earlobe, then pulled back again, "I thought I liked boys.  I've
even been on a few dates.  But now, I..."

I waited a moment longer, then turned towards her, "You wrote the diary,
didn't you?"

"Yes," She was looking down at her crossed legs and her hands were
clutching at the smooth sheet.  She had placed the brush to the side.

I reached over and grabbed her hands with mine, "Can you do me a favor?"

"Anything!"  She looked at me with burning eyes.

I released my right hand so I could grab the edge of the bed and turn so I
was sitting with my legs over the edge.  She mirrored my motion.

I saw that we were both wearing only panties and thin shirts.  I shifted
our garments back to what we had been wearing the previous day, "Please
show me Brazil,"  I shifted the scene so that we were sitting on the branch
of a massive tree, deep in a steamy jungle, "This is it, right?"

"I don't know.  This looks like the northwest Amazon, but it could be
Brazil or a neighboring country.  I've lived most of my life in the
capital."

"Show me."

"Okay," She closed her eyes and the scene shifted around us.  When she
opened them again we were sitting on a park bench.

We walked around the city for a while then stopped in a restaurant where
the people knew her.  After our meal we walked down a street with many
stores and Ana would stop to talk about the items on display in the
windows.

Then we were caught in a sudden downpour and took shelter under an awning.
I felt a little cold so pressed myself against her.  She leaned down, threw
her arms around me and kissed me.

I awoke.  I recognized the gesture from Hakumei's embrace of the boy she
had called Lover, but the significance of it escaped me.

That morning Mr. Himoto entered the kitchen to the sound of my laughter.

"Oh, sorry," I looked up at him as I continued to prepare breakfast, "It's
just this Bible.  It has stories about my family, but it's so mixed up.
It's hard to imagine them doing the things it says here."

"Will you revise it?"

"Uh,"  I considered the issue for a moment, "No.  I'd best not.  If Father
wishes for me to spread His word then He will tell me what to say.  Until
then I will keep my peace and keep to my mission."

"There is a meeting of people today who might be able to help you with that
mission, but you have to promise not to laugh."

After breakfast we drove to a building in town and inside I saw a few dozen
people, including the man who had taken my fingerprints.  Everybody turned
and looked at me as I entered, but they all kept their seats, except for a
man, woman and small child.

"Please," The man nudged the child forwards.  She was so gaunt that only by
her dress could I judge that she must be a girl, but her black knit cap
seemed out of place with her bright dress.

"Excuse my manners miss," She took off her cap, "I've been in the hospital
so long, but now they say it doesn't matter."

I reached out to touch her bald head out of curiosity, "Your hair it fell
out.  It's because they gave you chemicals?  Why would they--  You have an
illness.  Your body is at war with itself and you are losing,"  I knelt
down to put my arms around her,  "Such great pain, but you've faced it with
such courage,"  I wept.

"Can you save her?"

I looked up at the man, who must be her father, and considered his
question.  So many angels had studied healing spells that I had thought
there would always be one available.  But her illness was so far advanced
that it would take the work of an expert.  My brother could do it.  He
could even raise the dead.  He liked me, didn't he?  Wouldn't he hear the
call of even an outcast like me for a cause like this?

I remembered the time I had asked my brother when he would return to Earth.

"Not soon I hope."

"What?"

"For when I do it will be a desperate time and much, perhaps all, will be
lost."

"Then why would you do it?"

"What Father asks of me, I will do.  For I know He does not ask lightly and
that His burdens are much greater than mine."

"No, I cannot," I grabbed the little girl by the shoulders and pushed her
just far enough away that I could look her in the eyes, "I cannot save your
life little one, but I have good news for you.  Heaven exists.  Your time
is short, but use it well.  Take these few days to say your goodbyes so
that you can step into that light without regret.  If you don't turn away
from Father then He will not turn away from you.  Can you do that for me?"
I released my grip.

She nodded and turned away to hug her parents.

Her father took her cap from her hand and put it back over her head.

Next: Candle chases moth.


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