Seraphim and TheorembyABSTRUSE©
The scribe looked up from his desk meeting the eyes of the figure that stood before him. It was rare to see a 'watcher' in this section and he didn't know what to expect. He anticipated nothing less than a thug, rough around the edges and ready for trouble.
"Phanuel sent for me." Said the watcher.
The scribe was taken back by the gentle voice and the softness in the watcher's eyes. He smiled sweetly at the visitor and nodded in the direction of a large wooden door to his right. The watcher nodded back returning a slight smile of thanks.
The door was as intimidating as the entity that waited behind it; the visitor paused taking a deep breath before knocking. After all, it's not everyday you're summoned by an Archangel.
Phanuel was the Angel of Hope as well as Free Will; the one who had Satan in his power. What could he want with a lowly member of the Grigori?
The door opened slowly and the watcher stepped inside to a grand office. The walls were lined with shelves overflowing with parchments, files and all the data needed to study the lives of every mortal being past, present and future. Amazingly enough the watcher still could recognize and read the symbols of the Angelic alphabet There were also star charts, maps of the world from beginning to present and charts indicating the areas that would need the most attention.
Phanuel was hovering above taking down a leather bound book from one of the higher shelves. His magnificent wings reminded the watcher of how birds used the air currents to seem to float in one spot. The Archangel took notice of the figure in the doorway.
"Sandahl, come in please. You're right on time." Said Phanuel. In the blink of an eye he was standing before the watcher. He extended his hand in greeting and then gestured to a chair. "Please, sit down. You must be tired."
"Thank you sir. I didn't realize how long the trip was from Earth to this level of Heaven." Said Sandahl.
"I'm sure you're curious as to why I've summoned you here?" asked Phanuel. He sat behind his large desk and opened the book he had retrieved earlier. Scanning the pages he arrived at the section he wanted and pushed the open book towards the watcher. "This is your assignment."
"I don't understand sir, watchers normally don't get assignments. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but this is quite extraordinary you must admit." Said the watcher.
"This is one of those rare exceptions and was approved by the Most Holy One. You'll see after reading through her file that things have taken a turn for the worse." Said the Archangel.
Sandahl quickly skimmed through the pages looking over the life of a young woman.
"I don't understand? What makes this mortal so different from any other?" inquired Sandahl.
"Because this mortal is on the brink of one of the most important breakthroughs in the field of genetics. What she is to find will be the link that will unlock the secrets of the DNA code and give the world the information it needs to cure many of the most deadly of human diseases." Phanuel sat back and sighed deeply. "As you can see, she has given up all hope."
"Again sir, I don't mean to seem disrespectful but aren't you the Angel of Hope?" asked Sandahl.
"Yes I am, but this is one that I cannot interfere with, it needs to be handled by someone who understands the human mind. While we can only do so much, you as a Grigori have the ability to sense more and living on Earth you blend in with mankind more so than any angel." Said Phanuel. He then leaned forward and looked Sandahl square in the eye. "Sandahl, there is a complication you need to be aware of, the mortal time frame is very short. You have to complete this task no later than midnight on Christmas Eve."
The watcher thought for a moment converting angelic time into mortal time. No way could this be accomplished in only 10 days time. Sandahl had never come into contact with a human this way. Most rescues were handled by a phone call to the police or in a rare instance; a watcher would intervene physically then quickly disappear before it was known they were even present. No angel or demon could perform miracles and this seemed like what was in order.
"Sir, This task is impossible. It seems more of a job for the Son or...I'm just a watcher. In all my years on Earth I've had very few interactions with the humans, I'm not sure I can do this." Pleaded Sandahl.
Phanuel rose from his seat and came around to where Sandahl was seated. Propping himself up on the edge of the desk, his wings gently folded behind him, he spoke gravely to the hesitant creature. He needed to be reassuring so he upped the ante.
"My friend, I know that what is being asked of you is a tremendous mission indeed, but I assure you we have known you to be a good if not intense watcher. You are different from your counterparts. You're compassion for mankind has not gone unnoticed and for this the Most Holy One has granted you a special dispensation on completion of this mission." Encouraged Phanuel.
Sandahl was beginning to become uncomfortable. It was bad enough to be discovered, but to be brought before the Hierarchy was above suspicion. The first Grigori, the original watchers were sent to guide humans but eventually became quite involved with mankind. They took on wives and had children, they taught man the ways of magical properties of herbs, how to read the stars and use divination. Soon they were considered corrupted and eventually summoned back to Heaven. God then sent the great flood not just to cleanse the Earth of mankind's sins, but also to cleanse it of the offspring of the union between the Grigori and humans. Their children the Nephilim, vanished from the Earth.
Some of the Grigori had managed to remain hidden, taking on the guise of humans and continuing their job of watching over mankind. Remaining mostly solitaire they hid in the forests and the mountains until mankind developed and spread. They found they were able to hide within the bigger cities where it seems they are needed the most. If a watcher was identified by another angel they were immediately taken back to Heaven spending their days in the imprisonment of the 5th Heaven if they were good, or the 3rd Heaven if they were evil. The Grigori, despite their pleas to Enoch, were to remain imprisoned for 70 generations. At least that's the way Sandahl heard it to be, finding bits of information in libraries throughout the world, listening in to conversations and piecing together what seemed to be the truth.
"How can I be sure that this dispensation you speak of is not imprisonment or banishment from Earth? My kind were hunted down and judged by the Heavens themselves." Replied Sandahl.
"Relax my friend, it is not that way. We know of Grigori still on Earth and of the unions between angels and human. We have been watching the watchers for centuries. Even imperfection in Heaven is perfection. It has been said, to err is human, but to forgive divine and let me tell you, between us my friend, we have forgiven ourselves many times over for the treatment of our Brethren." Phanuel placed his hand on the angel's shoulder. "The Most Holy One has granted me permission to give you the gift of free will. Upon completion of this mission you will be granted the choice of staying on Earth as a watcher or returning to Heaven as an Angel of the 12th choir and become a guardian angel."
"Hang on. I'm to be given a choice in my destiny?" asked Sandahl.
"Yes, but the mission must be successful." Said Phanuel.
"And if I fail?" asked Sandahl.
"Then mankind will succumb to plagues of an apocalyptic proportion. Eventually life on Earth as it is now known will be no more."
Phanuel rose from the desk and bid Sandahl to follow him. They stood before a great window where all of the Heavens could be seen in their glory. Sandahl had never seen the Heavens, being created on Earth as a child of an angel and a human woman. It was an incredible sight to behold.
Phanuel thought that this small sampling of Heaven would make the offer seem much desirable. He wasn't tempting Sandahl, just showing a watcher what the life of an angel could be like. The choice would still ultimately be Sandahl's
Placing his hands on the watcher's shoulders Phanuel again looked into the watcher's eyes. "I have complete faith in you, my child. I know that I have chosen well and that you will succeed. I have no doubt in your abilities what so ever."
"I will do my best Phanuel, not only to serve Heaven but to do the job I was created for without hesitation." Promised Sandahl.
Phanuel smiled and in this gesture Sandahl could feel the power and warmth of God's love.
"Blessings to you my friend. Until we meet again on the appointed hour. I shall see you no more." Said Phanuel and with a quick wink added. "God's speed."
December 15th. 10:46 p.m.
"Miss? Miss? Can you hear me?"
The man's voice seemed far away, like a dream voice calling to her. It wasn't a voice she knew.
"Jesus Christ, looks like a slaughter here. Start an IV, she's going to need blood too."
Her eyes were forced open and she saw a flash of light, first in the right eye, then the left. The black closed in on her and she lost consciousness.
"Blood pressure is low, pulse...weak...she's still breathing on her own."
When she opened her eyes again the room was very bright. It hurt her eyes.
"Petra? Honey, can you hear me? Wake up now."
Who was this woman she wondered? It's too bright she thought, too bright. "I must have died. I've passed over."
Her eyes opened to see the shape of a woman hovering over her and a nametag that read "Angel".
"Petra, do you know where you are honey?" asked the Angel.
" "I'm in Heaven."
It was morning when Petra finally woke. She was still groggy from the medication. Her arms felt like lead and her mouth was dry. She weakly turned her head and saw a doorway. Outside she could see the Nurse's station. She knew where she was now.
It was when she raised her hand to her head to brush away a stray hair that she noticed the bandages on her wrists. She closed her eyes and tried to remember. It came to her in fragments.
She had come home, threw her keys on the coffee table and went right into the bathroom. Her roommate wasn't home yet. She reached into the medicine cabinet for some aspirin and noticed the blade. It had been a long time since she had cut herself. She picked up the blade and closed the medicine cabinet. Her reflection took her by surprise.
How did she not notice the dark circles under her eyes? Too many long hours in the lab that was it. Too many hours staring into a microscope trying to find the damn link, she was not getting any closer. She was tired of looking at DNA strands, mutating cells and trying to figure out the how's and why's.
People die every damn day why should she think that what she was doing would make a difference? She wasn't any closer than she was three years ago. Let someone else do this; let them struggle with it all. She placed the edge of the blade against her skin and gave one good quick slash. There was no pain just a slight sting and then the warmth of the blood beading and then oozing out from her cut.
She stared at the crimson droplets as they collected and smoothly slid down her arm leaving a red tinged stain before spattering to the tile floor. It was surreal to her; she saw blood everyday, blood filled with cells that were determined to destroy a body. Cells that killed off antibodies so infection could spread faster; Cells that would divide over and over until they multiplied into small colonies of diseases for which there was no cure. There was a world inside each droplet; a world she was familiar with but knew so little about, a whole other life. Each little cellular world confined to a slide and scrutinized to see how they socialize with antigens and viruses, the little wars that broke out with antibodies that would eventually turn on the body and the loss of so many T-cell soldiers.
When you break it down into so many smaller parts you no longer see the big picture until it gets close to you. When it becomes personal is when you become more absorbed in it, you postulate and formulate. Life is broken down to equations and fragments of theories that become a large mosaic. Each part tessellated and shaped to try and fit only to be torn apart and refitted repeatedly. Patterns formed like the scars on her arms and legs from the repeat cuts that she made over the years.
December 17th. Late morning
The stocky nurse gave a quick knock on the door and opened the room. Petra shuffled in behind her clutching the plastic bag the hospital gave her to hold her belongings.
"That's your bed there. Your roommate should be back from therapy soon. I think you two will get along." Said the nurse.
Petra stood off to the side surveying the room. The plainly made bed looked uninviting next to the single nightstand. Off to the side was situated a small closet and a three-drawer chest, everything was off white. She felt like if she stood still she would blend into her surroundings.
"Wake-up is a seven with meds and breakfast. Lunch at 11:30. Afternoons are your group sessions and doctor's visits. Dinner is at 5:00 and the rest of the time is yours until bed check at 9:00." The nurse had opened the blinds in the room letting in the filtered light of a perfectly gloomy day. "If you need anything the nurse's station is down the hall. Well, don't just stand there, put your things away until your other things are brought here."
Petra stepped over to the bed and dropped her bag down. "Can I smoke in here?"
"Smoking is done in the rec room only. There's no smoking in the bathrooms or hallways." The nurse looked at Petra and gave a slight smile. "It's always hard the first day, but once you're here a while you develop a routine."
"I don't plan on being here that long." Said Petra fishing through her bag for her cigarettes and a lighter. "Can I make a phone call?"
"Yes. There are pay phones across from the nurse's station." The nurse sighed and walked out the door.
Petra went through the pockets of the pants she was wearing the day they brought her in looking for change.
"Hey, we haven't even met yet." Said a voice behind her.
Petra jumped back from the girl who sauntered into the room. She stared at the girl's scarred arms out in full view from the t-shirt she was wearing. Petra only wore long sleeves and pants.
The girl walked over and put out here hand to Petra. "You can shake my hand, I don't bite." Laughed the girl. "Angel. Angel Sandahl. Welcome to the Cutting room."
Petra smiled slightly and shook the girls hand. "Petra Braga. So, are we a club of two members?"
"Only in this room." She pointed to Petra's bandages. "I see you're still fresh."
Petra pulled her hand away and crossed her arms over her chest. "Yea, I guess you can say that."
"Hey you don't have to be embarrassed around me, I'm the last person who will judge you. I let you judge yourself." She said.
Petra didn't say anything in return; there was nothing for her to say. She watched as Angel went over to her nightstand and pulled out her cigarettes. She noticed she was thin but muscular; her jet-black hair was in contrast to her light blue eyes. Her blue jeans were well faded and she wore black work boots. It was her smile that offset a tough street look; her smile was warm and almost infectious.
"I see you have your smokes too, shall we?" asked Angel.
"Huh? Um...yea." Replied Petra and followed the girl out of the room.
As they walked down the hallway Angel greeted some of the other residents telling Petra what each one was there for and for how long. They walked into the recreational room and took a table near the window. The room was probably the cheeriest place in the ward. The sky blue walls were dotted with sponged on clouds, there were tables and chairs on one side and couches and a few recliners on the other side. In the center was the one and only television, which was showing "It's a Wonderful Life" on a loop.
"I hate that movie." Said Petra as she blew a puff of smoke over her head.
"Why? Not a Jimmy Stewart fan?" asked Sandahl.
"No, not a big fairy tale fan." Said Petra.
"What you don't believe in angels?" said Angel feigning shock as she clutched her chest.
"I don't believe in bullshit." Said Petra.
"Aren't we the cynical one?" asked Angel.
"I just don't believe in that trivial anagogic propaganda. Angels and Demons? Cut me a break." Petra rolled her eyes.
"I'm rooming with a heretic, eh? One of those 'If I can't see it, it's not real' types." Said Angel.
"I'm left brained...and I don't want to get into a big conversation about theological folklore." Said Petra stubbing out her cigarette. "I'm going to go lie down for a while."
Sandahl watched as Petra walked back to their room. She had no idea how she was going to pull this off. Her mind quickly scanned over the files on Petra, she would need to find a link, something compatible to make her drop her guard and let Sandahl inside her head.
Petra threw herself down on the bed and covered her eyes with her arm. How did she end up here? It wasn't long before she drifted off into a brief sleep and began to dream.
She found herself in front of her microscope looking in on a fresh slide of blood. As she focused the lens she felt herself starting to get smaller and smaller. Her sleeping mind was trying to be logical, this wasn't possible she told herself as she started to fall landing with a splash.
She tried to get herself upright as the cells bumped up against her pushing her every which way. The moving erythrocytes, leucocytes and platelets produced small waves in the plasma. Suddenly she felt herself being lifted up by her arms.
"Come with us please." Said a voice.
"What? Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm surprised Dr. Braga that you can't recognize us." Said another voice.
"We knew you would help us." Said the first voice.
Petra was unable to focus on who had a hold of her as she was quickly dragged along to a cluster of healthy cells.
"We're here. Take this." A small sword was thrust into her hand and she was finally able to see her captors. They looked like what she would imagine a demon to look like. Horrified she watched as they began to hack away at the healthy cells that now took the form of men, women and children. It dawned on her; she was an antigen whose job it was to kill healthy cells.
"NO! I won't do this." She screamed.
The larger of the two cells stopped in mid-strike and looked at her
"Do you really think you can find a cure? Look around; do you see any T-cells here? They've mutated and joined us." It laughed. "You can't save anyone just like you couldn't save your sister."
The second demon cell drew its sword from the back of a young man and turned to her smiling.
"It's in your genes Dr. Braga, you'll pass it on to your children and grandchildren. You can't win." It said and then resumed the slaughter.
Petra fell to her knees covering her face with her hands. "No" she thought, "this can't be happening."
"Don't give up Petra." Said a small voice. When she looked up her sister Bianca was standing in front of her.
"Bianca? It can't be...you're dead." Said Petra.
"Petra, stop trying to analyze everything. Not everything needs to be questioned. You need to have hope." Said the specter.
"How can I have hope when every time I get close the viral strains become more aggressive before I can even find out what they are all about? Hope is a luxury I don't have right now, I have fact and theory, concrete things not some vague impression." Said Petra.
"Petra you judge yourself too harshly. Stop thinking with your head and think with your heart. Life is bigger than what you see through a lens. It's bigger than anything you can imagine. Look around Petra are you really willing to give it all up before you even try to understand what it's all about? You've lost your spirit." Said the apparition.