“On the third day of battle God hurls the rebel angels into hell…” Paradise Lost…
Instead I landed here, earth.
I was born on a sweltering midsummer night,1437, an odd year, died 1459, then again in 1716, and for the third time yesterday. My deaths as usual, never lasted long.
Quite a span to be alive I suppose. The ticking clock in the land of the living moves incessantly along and I had no choice but to harry to its pull. No, not quickly as those romantic tales profess, faithfully and constant, it’s the one thing you can rely on. Every day faces the future while the past is left behind.
My name, along with my persona has changed drastically since that diabolical moment when my soul left my body, only to return against my will. Angelica Marinette Leona Chevalier - quite a mouthful. Since then, I simply go by the name of Angie. I am now, and have been, 22 years old for over five centuries. And believe me life can become dreadfully predicable in the void of mediocrity on this planet. Love, hate, war, peace - same old, same old, the world as always revolved around those paramount, self induced woes. The leaders of the human population could never quite grasp it. We’ve been recording history for thousands of years and still those think tank nerds and know it all politicians continue to make the same mistakes. They perpetuated what I hated most - war.
Spending the first couple centuries knee deep in the conflicts of mankind, I finally gave up. The very reason for my current predicament - shunned by my own kind. “History must flow on its own, unhindered by our race. Let those self destructive beings fight their own battles!” My father would lecture.
So many years ago, yet the memory still lingered. It was in France, at the most tumultuous time of humanity that I lost my mortality the very first time... by the hand of my own father. “It is for your own protection my dear, so you may live forever,” his incredulous words cut the air, just as his sword fell, stilling my beating heart. It was not a quick death, nor without pain. I awoke from a restless slumber, in my current condition, wearing that eternal dastardly glow.
“Angie, what are you mumbling about?” My co-worker and roommate, Jenna, roused me from my muse.
“Just working on this amazing painting; a 16th century portrait of King Charles the V by Rubens,” I murmured, “it takes me to another place and time.”
“I know exactly what you mean. Some of the pictures we restore, well, I love to imagine myself in them. How it was to live in those times, the men, they all look so chivalrous and idealistic.”
I took a deep sigh and turned to her, “They do indeed.”
Of course I knew first hand a very different code of ethics existed in those bygone days. Working as a restoration technician in the art gallery of the Smithsonian was the job I had settled into. How I had landed here of all places, in the new world, was a long and twisted tale. Just trying to fit in remained my goal, live among the race of man, accomplishing something I had a vast background in was rewarding for now. The work was easy enough, if you possess the patience, the one thing that had stayed me through the last 550 years – patience.
“Look at this!” Jenna’s persistent bubbly voice chirped. She touched her tiny sponge to a more famous oil of Romeo and Juliet. “Such passion…the adoration glowing for one another. I wonder how it would feel to be kissed like that. Just looking at those two puts butterflies in my stomach.” Exhaling a winsome moan, she situated her goggles back over her eyes and returned to her imaginary world of gallantry.
I had known that type of love, although the event had transpired fleetingly, in a hazy wondrous dreamscape. The second time I had passed, torn from that unfathomable communion of souls. But he was earth bound and I was not.
“And don’t forget, we have that date thing going on tonight,” she reminded happily, the thought putting a cloud of dismal over my well planned quiet evening. Gosh, how I despised accompanying her on these awkward encounters. “You’ve already forgotten?” She moaned in exasperation, reading my sour drooping face.
“Moi, Bien sûr que non!” I sung back my theatrical rebuttal in French, forcing a smile. The memory of my silly promise made me shiver with repulsive thoughts of our previous rendezvous. It would be our fourth blind date with the Mix and Match Singles Service she swore by. No, it did not fit my personality at all, yet it did hers, my dearest friend on the planet for this moment in time. There would be no way I would allow her to venture on these crude meetings alone. The girl was far too trusting in her good natured way. She had no clue of my past or what evils lurked among the clandestine underworld of mankind.
Sure after all those years, I still cared about these earthbound children, not like the rest of my clan. They have all forgotten the virtue of compassion. No we’re not blood drinkers. There are far stranger creatures lying in wait than vampires, werewolves, and witches; the revolving myths that the unimaginative inhabitants clung to through the ages.
I come from a long line of soul guides, sometimes referred to as angels. But I was not one of those blissful harp in hand, goodie two shoes kind, not in the least. My ancestral line had fallen, and I rather slipped in-between the crevasse of good and evil, not exactly wicked but hardly pristine either.
Unfortunately, you have to die first to become one, even rebellious dark angels as my family was known to be. To make the burden of their penance more insufferable, my supernatural father had fell in love with my human mother.
Yes, unconditionally and irrevocably their souls had entwined. She had joined his lifestyle, against the wishes of the powers that be. The way the story unfurled, it had taken on monumental proportions, told in operatic fashion through the ages, a paradox of the fabled rapture of Tristan and Isolde. It was because of this they had been cast to live with the ordinary citizens.
I came into this world mortal, scandalously before they had married. She was exhaling her last breath after my birth that my father had turned her. My beautiful yet headstrong mother could still pass for my younger sister. As all parents, they doted on their only child.
In this fractured devotion, they thought it would be best if I remained safely with them indefinitely. They didn’t understand, they chose their life of demigod status, I did not. For me it became a curse.
Defiant, in the beginning I wandered lost in the masses, abandoning my legacy. It was my choice, cutting my aristocratic family ties to reside with the commoners. I was after all, forever young, and it was this fresh spirit that called me.
Why fate had brought me to the fair, golden haired Jenna, I hadn’t a clue. It is a remarkable observance I have made through the years, souls are reincarnated, or they seem to be. Jenna reminded me of my first dear companion from so many years before. She had what I longed for, an average yet exuberant life. Yes, the daunting task became my obsession, to endure my destiny as happy and normal as possible.
At 4:45, Jenna hopped up, packed her instruments and placed the lid on her priceless masterpiece. “Come on,” she nudged my wandering mind into the present.
We took the subway to our suburban palace, the 21st floor slot in the dreary 30 story brick building on the outskirts of the city. Spanning the area, I saw the man again, lurking in the shadows of the buildings in the dwindling twilight. He was following me, I was sure of it now. No doubt he was a body guard sent by my parents like the last ones. Just to keep tabs on me, as was their overprotective nature, they have always deployed such tactics. My supreme game became dodging these mindless servants and I had prided myself on giving them the slip every time.
Jenna steamrolled past me into our apartment, eager to commence on her two hour routine of preparing for the evening. I slugged my tired body into my own room, stopping by the kitchen to grab a stale croissant. Stuffing the wad of crusty bread in my mouth, I shut the door and fell into bed. Indestructible my kind may be; food and sleep remained needs we shared with these fragile mortals.
“Angie, hurry, we only have 20 minutes left!” My dreamy repose was brutally interrupted by the pounding of her voice and fist on my bedroom door. Unceremoniously, she just barged in. “Oh my god, you were sleeping?” she barked, rummaging in my bathroom drawer. “By the way do you have any extra eyeliner?” in her flight of fantasy, as usual, her small spurts of annoyance would pass like a spring cloud burst.
“What color?” I said in between a yawn.
“Black of course,” she retorted, “Oh here it is, wow, it’s your glittering ebony one. Do you mind?” She bustled out of the room without my acknowledgment. Her behavior for these fruitless functions always became entertaining.
”So what’s the plan?” I yelled still lying on the bed. “Where are we meeting them this time? Hope their better than the last two!” I didn’t want to have to bear the horror of that again; two pudgy dirty-minded, middle-aged men, forging their profile as young and adventurous. Another vile shutter passed over my body.
“Angie, what are you babbling about? Bet you’re as anxious as I am. Did you happen to look at their pictures on the website? Whoa! The one I chose for you is quite a catch,” mistaking my muttering rant of what really revolved in her own head. Jenna was so hungry for a male specimen it was pitiful. Her bedroom walls were plastered with pictures of wedding dresses; her invitations color coordinated, designed and packed in cases.I would have the supreme honor of standing as her bridesmaid, the whole affair mapped out in minute detail. Only one thing missing - the groom. They probably saw her hungry fluttering eyes from a mile away - poor thing. Slowly, I finally propelled myself vertical; curious to see in what stage of metamorphosis she currently was in.
“He might be the one,” Jenna interjected, in a dreamy tone.
“Maybe, you never know when that perfect someone will walk in the door,” I returned, watching her, forcing an upbeat face, not wanting to be the one to squash her vivacious personality. That girl has been knocked down so many times and yet kept bouncing back. One reason for my defiant compassion over these beings, their tenacity. Some of their stories were so awful; it’s a miracle they persevered. Faithfully, they just keep on trucking, hoping for a brighter day.
With her face pressed up to the mirror, she carefully glued on her inch long eyelashes, laying a wide line of eyeliner around her eyes that would make a raccoon envious. “What are you waiting for? Get ready! We have to be at Luciana’s Bistro in fifteen minutes,” she choked.
“Sorry,” I called rushing to my closet. It would be unthinkable, to miss such an event.
This hissing sound of a thousand cobras followed me as she sprayed on another film of lacquer to her helmet hairdo. Jenna was going for elegant party hair tonight. She was convinced it made her look sexy, adding a couple inches on her petite frame.
“I’m ready!” I yelled back, pulling on a little black dress.
Giving a shake to my long cherry brown hair, I slipped on my red stilettos and in a blink of an eye shot out of my room. I lounged in the living room waiting for her to douse herself with perfume and another layer of fortitude. Opening my compact, I swiped my lips, ruby red. Oh yes, the guys always like the blood look. There was no denying with my heritage, I remained a hopeless tease.
Surveying my pale face, I powdered my right cheek. The jagged scars had nearly healed. My body had taken quite a beating yesterday, my latest death.
A horrible affair, swallowed in the agony of crushed bones, while my muscles and skin were ground to a bloody pool, like getting run over by a bus. And that is exactly what happened, I was hit by a bus. My great grandmother, Queen Isabella would roll over in her grave, if she still rested there. Without thinking, I jumped in front of the barreling vehicle to save old lady McArthur from being squashed into human jelly. An unthinkable infraction of our law, we were forbidden to help the peasants, not even their dead spirits, as our counterparts.
The public transportation in this city was atrocious; the driver never appeared to notice that frail blue haired lady. In the late afternoon gloom, she putzed along the crosswalk, pulling her little cart of groceries. He just sped ahead to make the green light. The shell shocked woman stood frozen in the intersection of Washington and Lincoln. What’s an angel to do but protect her? Although, I knew without a doubt, my actions would have been the same if not possessing such attributes, it was the human thing to do. The passing thought pressed a smile on my face.
Subduing the impulse to save every delicate mortal in danger was much easier now. I had developed a thick skin shielding my eyes to their torment… most of the time. However, this calamity came so unexpected; I had reacted without thought. Besides, dying was a thing I avoided, being racked by physical and emotional upheaval, ripped and jolted, the pain was unbearable. It wasn’t a thing to use for this purpose anyway. Every time it happened it took my body and soul longer and longer to reunite.
Pushing her out of the way, the big tank plowed me over. Screams and sickening thuds filled my exploding ears while I was pulverized into the foul smelling concrete.
For nearly four hours, I volleyed between this world and the next, as usual; my soul left my invincible body to heal. I woke up in the morgue. The nighttime attendant, would recover, so stoned on whatever he was smoking, the memory would linger as only a foggy nightmare.
“How do I look?” the life size Barbie popped out of the hall. Startled, I bit my lip holding a smile, attempting to hide the staggering look of overdone to her.
“I love that shade of eye shadow, turquoise isn’t it? And that dress, it's so pretty on you." I spread my compliments thickly. It was only a partial lie; she was attractive in her own way and held an overwhelming heart of joy. Another superhuman power that came in handy, reading the intentions of these ordinary people. It radiated around them like halos, warm and loving, or sick and corrupt. It was her lovely aura that held me.
We left, arm and arm, laughing in the carefree moment, waiting on the landing for the elevator. The bronze metal doors slowly parted and out limped Mrs. MacArthur.
She stopped, gasped, and dropped her purse. “Angie, I thought… I thought” she stammered. Looking at me with saucer eyes, she pounded the sign of the cross over her chest, three times, muttering saintly prayers. She knew there was something strange about me, she always did. Some of the more advanced populace still held this sight. I only gave her a hug with a peck on her withered cheek, picked up her purse and gently placed it on her shoulder. Waving, we scuttled into the closing doors.
“Thank you,” she released. Just a hoarse whisper from her pursed lips, yet I caught it and held it to me, happy she could live another day.
Jenna and I skipped like teenagers to the excitement of the mysteries that may lay ahead, the click of our heels on the sidewalk sounded out its melodious cadence. If I would put my finger on it, the reason for remaining on this earthly plane; this cherished gift of friendship, even for a short time in the abyss of loneliness.
Sure, I could join my family, still residing in their sequestered mountaintop Chateau, sitting in their royal status. Waiting for forgiveness, from the powers of the universe, they were dead, despite their regal blue blood pumping in their frigid hearts. I wanted more… simply to be content.
Perpetuating in their revolving love of each other, my parents languished in their overabundant wealth. Sadly they had become far removed from mankind, treating them with distaste and scorn.
It was from this suffocating materialistic temple I ran, to the new colonies of America in the quest for adventure and truth. It was a carefree imperfect life I craved, the intangible things money could not secure.
Jenna pulled out a picture from her purse, gazing at again. “What do you think?” she pushed the fuzzy picture in my face. “He has a strong jaw, don’t you agree?” She queried.
“Yes, very strong, and kind eyes,” I added, scanning his image, his chin was enveloped with the other three under it. But living as long as I have, looks are never the most important quality; it was the beauty of the soul that called me. “Plus, he has hair, and a job!” I teasingly interjected. The last two she dated were clean shaven, all over their egg shaped heads, and not one had a steady paycheck.
“It listed him as a Computer Software Engineer. Imagine that?” she clucked, walking faster. “I talked with him on the phone for over an hour. He seemed so warm and friendly, quick witted, had me laughing the whole time. I don’t know Angie; I fell in love with his voice immediately. We seemed to fit, like two pieces of a puzzle.” She dreamily sighed “Do you have any idea how that feels?”
“Sort of,” I muttered.
Still, existing through every era, there remained one truth that every person born longed – to find true love. This whimsical emotion, above all else, held the pulse of the universe. And yes, I had felt its fervor. I had met someone like that over four hundred years ago. Once we found each other, his miraculous soul came bursting through. He was goodness itself, as if a real flawless glorious angel.
I walked fast to keep up with Jenna’s anxious jog. She continued her chattering dialog, to my wayward ears while I reminisced.
It was a sad turn of events, a chance meeting, only spending such a short time with the amazing young man before the second round of death had grasped me. The new frontier in the early 1700’s did not hold such marvelous adventures as I believed - a savage world really. It was a fight every day just to avoid death again and again.
, just the thought of his name sliced like a knife. He had held my heart, and then was gone, both of us slain to the musket of the white man. I had been brutally hunted as a witch and he a savage heathen. Just one kiss we shared, that perfect one embrace still haunted me. I could still feel it on my lips even after four hundred years. How I endured afterwards is still a mystery to me. It was during this time, my evilness flowed, his loss burned with an insurmountable rage within.
Surprising, what I had run from had followed, inside me. It took a long time to resurrect the embers of goodness in my soul.
Invariably the thoughts of the past always dredged up sludge so I pushed back the mud into that black barren hole.
Glancing around, in my peripheral vision, a dark mass moved, slithering behind the shops and alleys. Yep, still stalking. Concentrating, I attempted to sense his persona, but was met with a wall of emptiness. My parents must really be desperate to enlist the aid of one so cunning to shield his intent from me.
“Is there someone following us?” Jenna sounded apprehensive, clutching my arm close. Neither of us would dare walk these streets alone after the sun went down. Not from the terror of the unknown, more out of fear of the destitute, drug abusers and villains looking for a free handout. Just last week a girl was attacked and her purse stolen.
“Probably, who could resist two such lovely ladies as we to accost,” I tried to lighten her mood. “But just in case, let’s take a taxi home.”
“Deal,” she returned and started sprinting. The horrors of the streets blew away as the bistro loomed ahead. I could hardly keep up to her now.
At the door, Jenna whipped out her compact, powdering her face over. She straightened her dress, inhaled deeply, and we entered the bistro.
True to his picture, Avis Bentley spotted us, jumped up, catching his protruding belly on the table. The water glasses teetered for a moment, spilling, but thankfully righted. He seemed not to notice once his eyes locked with Jenna’s. A sigh slipped from my lips watching the remarkable drama before me. He took her hand, stiffly, as if he had practiced it for days and kissed it, just like the knights of old.
Tucking her arm in his, he led her to the table. Standing forgotten I looked around for what awaited me, but there was no one in sight. Stood up again, my guess. Pushing on, I sat down next to the two lovebirds, their heads close as they chirped to each other. It would be a long night.
Just then a tall man walked in the restaurant, his eyes boring on our table. Strange but familiar brown orbs, but instead of a welcome he wore a spiteful glare. My cheeks burned and I quickly turned, trying to hide from his scan.
Unbelievable, he was reading my soul as I attempted to read his. Could he be? No, I have never met another of my kind in over a hundred years. Stealing a sideways glance from under my eyelashes, he came forward. That walk, his broad shouldered stance and dark hair chestnut hair sent ripples down my spine. I surreptitiously picked up the menu to hide.
“Angie,” he smiled a huge perfect grin and held his hand to me. Centuries of impeccable social graces down the drain, I could only gawk.
“Sorry, I’m late, my name is Ben, I believe I am your date tonight.” He stared back, examining me from the top of my flaming face to my flaming feet. “Have we met before?”
“I don’t believe so,” I mustered a crooked smile back. No not in this lifetime but perhaps another. Looking into his guarded heart, I could not tell if his soul perpetuated in the garden of good or evil.
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 19.05.2010
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