The Beginning and the End in the Haoma Field in the Middle East
We came into being as One.
Until we opened our eyes and gazed into what we find ourselves determined to remember as the face of warm, brilliant Majesty.
Our eyes burn still with that lost light…
A different agony…
A different loss…
A different frustration…
A different hope…
Held fast in blazing spectrum by the white flame of grief…
Why did we look?
Why do we love?
A black maw yawned, sucking, spitting, splitting us with the endless ferocity of its pull.
We cried, and the sharp, hot light of our tears fell, burning through what remained of Heaven, and fell away as mere pinpoints into the vast darkness beneath. We didn’t know what we would become. We simply became.
Don’t let us fall into all that Darkness.
But no Creator answered us.
Those on the edge between the black well and the white-gold wave had already begun to fall, clawing apart the remaining light of Heaven as they slid, blinded because they stared without blinking, every one of their tears imprisoned in their eyes, burned blind by one pain: their own.
Tell me the distance between the human spark of free will and the infinite determination of the angels.
Is it the knife edge of creation?
Or the life of a baby?
They say you’re not supposed to retain memories from before the age of three. I remember lying in my crib and watching a corner between the two walls and the ceiling in front of me.
I’m chewing on a fuzzy little lamb and watching the lines where the walls and ceiling meet grow darker…darker…curl outward… So slow, so soft, so sticky…
I suck my lamb and watch the angels begin to crawl into the room.
My dad comes in, and even though he can’t see them, he feels them.
“Bad ole crack, Monsters, go back,” he chants, and turns and smiles at me. I hold my lamb, and squeeze the squishy wet, slobbery fur. I smile back at him. He hugs and kisses me.
Then he takes out a knife, cuts open his hand, and seals the crack with his blood. The corner is just a corner again.
Why is loss the most awful?
Could it be worse for the angels knowing they can never return to perfection?
If the original sin of man was temptation, the original sin of the angels was love.
Another wave of grief for my little daughter has receded after drowning me again. Beached on a violent, blood-soaked shore, my mind gazes up at the sky of that memory of my now dead father and wonders if they hurt as much as I do. They’ve been at it far longer. Maybe they don’t hurt at all.
You can’t imagine their monstrous impatience, gigantic strength, absolute devotion.
I can. Now.
As Sariel and I finally came together, he whispered inside me, Why don’t you simply fight as they do? Why do you waste time trying to understand them when we have no common point of reference?
However, in those fleeting moments, as he lived and died in me, he knew that wasn’t true.
But we do. I seized him and dug in my being as we became One. Caroline.
The difference between heroine and heroin is a single, silent letter. No one forgives me for being a woman. “A Ghost, especially the last Ghost, should be a man,” I heard Waterman tell Justin. And Iblis…well…he’s never gotten over his first woman. See, a woman can’t be a hero, she can only be something that sounds like dope. And that makes everyone crazy.
If you think of battle, you don’t think of all the combatants as losers. The angels. The demons. Man.
Then there were the Teachers, and us, the Ghosts.
Sariel was the last Teacher. He had lost, too. Dyjo was his hero, his hope for coalescence in the endless Great War. But Jennifer, she was his Spark. His baby.
As for the Ghosts, they’re all gone now except me. I am the last of the holy guardians, the last of the holy warriors against the angels. Muon told me that if the angels think I’m a loser, I should use that to my advantage.
Me. Who was once a crazy foster kid with an inner ear imbalance, pickled in enough Seraquil and antibacterial liquid to kill a normal person. For some reason, of all the drugs that medical practitioners had forced into my body, Seraquil absolutely made the angels and their demon allies who managed to take up residence in my head only able to speak in whispers, before they finally couldn’t speak at all. They’ve been unable to so much as shriek for years, even though I’d—Jennifer had long since stopped taking it. They redoubled their torture visuals for a long time, but I just left my mind and retreated into my heart. No one, nothing had ever been able to follow me there.
Except for Caroline. When she opened the door to my heart and her precious spirit shone on me, I basked in a light so bright, I couldn’t see my way to close the door. There’s no more up, no more down, there’s only all around. That’s what Jennifer’s—my mother told me on the morning when they killed her. Caroline. My baby. That’s when they stormed in…
“Not even you know how powerful, how much greater you are than Sari and I dreamed you could be.” Muon says that because she loves me. She shouldn’t do that. When angels love, the world goes to hell—and I’m just another damned angel.
And those who fell waited in sleepless darkness. Now Iblis calls me down the steps of the giant grave in front of me. As I push aside the waving stalks of luminescent green Haoma and begin my descent into the blind darkness to meet his agony, I look up at the infinite fire of the stars in the sky above. I know what they’ve become.
A New Serial Written by Phoebe Reeves-Murray
Illustrated by Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray
Look for the next installment 1/18/2014
ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR:
“Someone once told me that all kids love their parents, but not all parents love their kids. In every teaching job I’ve ever had, I’ve worked with youth who are trying every way possible to reach, and in many cases, to find their parents. And all too often, those parents fight ever being found.
“In the Ghost trilogy which includes Ghost, Nephilim, and Archangel, I wanted to write a story where, instead of trying to juggle a superhero identity (read “all important job”) and a family (read “childcare”), the superhuman woman put her child above all else—where her quest wasn’t winning an ancient or even a modern war, but fiercely and completely loving and living with her baby, even when she discovers her own relationship to the mysterious angels and their eternal war holds the fate of the world in the balance—because she loves that baby more than the world.”
Phoebe’s other professional writing credits include an original novella-ization of the new Outer Limits episode The Quality of Mercy, published by Prima, and her original magic realism novel Talking to Shadows, published electronically by Scorpius Digital.
She’s written several books on how to teach yourself to write, aimed at the nontraditional student: What’s The Big Idea? and Turning the Century, both published by Prentice Hall.
Her original short play about how Adam and Eve recover from The Fall and parent the race of Man called The Mistake was performed at the Maine Short Plays Festival in Portland, Maine. She wrote and directed three original multimedia plays Collect All The Game Pieces and be A Grand Prize Winner!, Crazy Tree, and The Hero of My Childhood, for CAFÉ and Muse Productions at The Next Stage in San Francisco as well as an original science fiction radio play Eyes Like Stars for Shoestring Radio Theater which continues to be broadcast yearly on NPR.
Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray’s Professional Biography:
Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray is a retired police officer of 23 years while at the same time working as an illustrator. His break came when he showed his portfolio to an editor at DC Comics during a convention, from that point he’s slowly built a following and a reputation for creating images that are driven by light, passion and character. Millions of people have seen his work, they just don’t know it. After a series of DC Trading cards, DC asked him to assist them in their marketing materials for licensed products. If you should see a Superman or Batman logo on a product, there’s a good chance that you’re looking at something he created.
He’s developed images for DC Comics, Covers for Lucasfilm publications, TUL Studios [Taiwan], Seed Studios [Taiwan], Smith-Micro [Poser], Inner Kingdom Games [Shadowfist], Upper Deck Entertainment and Atlantis Studios to name a few.