Charis followed her feet, one after another, through the icy tunnel. Dazed and a little numb, her mind and heart racing with thoughts and emotions. The team playfully bouncing around her on all sides. Each one spouting off their own ideas and plans all at the same time. Mishal was clamoring about how she was going to learn all she could about humans and put all that information into a genius compilation. “ A field guide to humanity I'll call it.” “It will be so informative they will have no choice but to induct it into the Enochian Library!” She always had impressive imaginings! “Boom! Boom!” shouted Puwt to Ruwb. Charis had no idea what they were talking about, nor at the moment did she need to know. Their loud and excited voices dulled to faint background noise. Earth, they'd accepted a mission to Earth! The big, beautiful, exciting Earth! The large, blue and green Earth! The unknown, foreign and strange Earth! The loud, scary, battle zone, Earth! Oh No! What if she had just signed on for more than she could handle? What if she fails, fails God, fails her team, fails the violet light? What did she know about Earth? Nothing, she knew nothing, she had never been there!
Until now, she had only defended the 3rd heaven from infiltrators! The fallen were always after one of two possible things. The first is the mysteries of God. The most precious of the knowledge and wisdom of the Creator. The dark forces seek to know anything they can about God's hidden plans and secrets, so they might unravel them. It's said that the dark prince has become obsessed with being wiser than the Father and thus offers a handsome reward to anyone that retrieves information for him. These incentives extend not only to the fallen but the righteous angels as well. Whether its a book , a scrap of scroll or even a single word from the Enochian library, he made impressive reward offers, which no one ever knew if they were true, since his strategies always failed. That is why the library is heavily guarded at all times. That is also why carrying a single message through the 2nd heaven is so perilous. The enemy will try to slow down progress or even detain you if they can. Even a single word from God carries with it powers that could change the course of the universe.
The second agenda of the enemy is more sinister than the first and rose a righteous indignation in Charis, just at the thought. The second strategy of the rebel was to gain recruits. Yes, they targeted talented, yet meek angels trying to contrive a way to manipulate them into changing sides. However, it had been a very long time since that had happened, as far as Charis knew because the enemy had taken the battle front to the Earth, targeting humans instead. A cold chill crept up Charis' spine..
… Then a warm sensation, starting in her hand, seeped up her arm. She looked down to see Laben's hand firmly gripping her's. When had this happened? She'd been so lost in her own thoughts she hadn't noticed. Her eyes rose to lock on his. “You were dimming out a little bit there”. He smiled deeply and was intently peering back at her. “You know you got this; right? The Lord couldn't have chosen anyone better for the task”. Charis quickly glanced down, a little embarrassed. “Yeah I just want to do a good work”. “And I know you will! We are all behind you”, came Laben's quick response. Hearing that from Laben really meant a lot to Charis, because unlike the rest of the team, Laben had been to Earth before. He rarely spoke of it and all that Charis knew of it, she had gathered from a conversation between some of the Prince Angels. She knew that Laben had been sent to the human named Daniel, whom the Lord was quite fond of, to answer his prayer for his nation. In route, he had been detained for days in the 2nd heaven and eventually, Micheal, himself, went to assist him. After that, Laben had requested he be put on a team and that's how he ended up in their motley crew. Interrupting this memory, Laben playfully yelled out, “What we need now is... a little music!”
Laben jerked Charis by the hand out into the wide cavern and started doing, what he called his groove thing. Instantly Charis felt the weight of all her worries roll off her shoulders. He's right; the Lord has confidence in her team, so should she! Just takes a little faith she thought, brushing her long hair back over her shoulder, with an air of confidence.
The team laughed and sang and danced and played their instruments late into the night! Exhausted from so much fun, they all huddled around the campfire. Charis felt it was the perfect time to make her speech. Rising to her feet, clearing her throat, and ruffling her feathers to get everyone's attention, she expressed her heart felt feelings for everyone! “I love each and everyone of you so much and I believe us to be the best team ever! Now let's go take care of this violet light with all the passion we can stir up between us!” Everyone started cheering, then hugged and headed off to bed for a good night of rest and sweet dreams.
Charis landed gently just inside the skyport of Chayah's upstairs bedroom. The plushy purple carpet muting her landing. Snuggled in bed in a sea of animals Chayah was sleeping soundly. Charis appraised her sister as one of the most loving angels she had ever met.
Charis fluttered to the top of the stairs then took the banister on all fours, leaping into her bed from the landing. “Charis you here?” floated down the stairs in sleepy tones from Chayah. “Yeah, Chayah I'm up, Come on down here”. As soon as she pronounced the last syllable Chayah was instantly teleported to her bedside. It was a darling sight, there stood Chayah covered horn to toe in a white and purple unicorn themed onesie, unicorn slippers, shrouded in a unicorn blanket, and firmly grasping a unicorn stuffed animal by the leg. With one wing Charis lifted up the covers, “Climb on in, just watch the horn”, Chayah let out a squeal of joy as she bounded in, gave a little knee buck, settling into a ball with her face pressed into Charis' chest. Charis tucked the covers and her wing around the little philly as she asked “ I expected you to come by the cave. Can you believe the team is headed to Earth?” “I know, I always knew you were going to do great things, Charis! I'm really not too surprised.” Chayah responded looking up smiling. “Yeah , that's what I keep hearing” Charis thought about how Chayah always seemed so sure that everything that happened was always meant to be. Charis admired her trust and peace in the will of the Father. “So where were you, though? I tried you on the Halo a million times?”, “Oh yeah, well I was, I was with Uriel. He needed help with something... it took longer than I thought. But I'll be there in the morning when the team receives their message, to wish you all a blessed journey. I had to turn my Halo off to pay attention to Uriel.” “Haha, yeah your probably right about that!” “Goodnight Charis” “Goodnight Chayah, I'm gonna miss you while I'm gone.” “ Aww, I'll be seeing you soon.”
Charis chuckled thinking of Uriel. He was quite possibly the hardest of the Prince angels to follow in conversation. His manner of speaking was always in riddles, mysteries, and half-thoughts at best, or so it seemed to Charis. She thought of the last conversation they'd had on the day of Chayah's orientation at the Unicorn encampment..
“Why hello Charis and Chayah! You two are here, very special, very special indeed. Always a pleasure, at least up until now, mostly always I hope.”
To himself, “Not hope, I know”
“Yes, Hello Uriel” Chayah cheerfully responded. Charis just nodded.
“I see many things in the souls of you pair. Many things.....” Then he just stared for what felt like eternity.
Charis grew impatient while Chayah simply returned the intent look.
“Yeah, well, we better continue looking around the place...” Charis tried to move on.
“Just one moment..” To himself, “or should I say?...hmm... yes I see....” Back to the girls, “Yes, I feel I should tell you, a three strand cord, love rules, just let go .”
They paused wondering if there was more, there wasn't. “Wow, good advise, good talk” Charis now with her hands on Chayah's shoulders trying to turn her to move forward Chayah still intently staring into Uriel's eyes.
“When the time comes Chayah you will know what you must do” To himself, “She will know, they both will know. Won't they? Of course they will”
“Yep, we will” Charis piped in quickly. “Good bye Uriel” Chayah finally spoke.
“Goodbye, I look forward to our next talk Charis.” Uriel commented, finally breaking his trance-like stare.
“Yes, me too.” Charis turned and the girls headed off.
“I'll remember you said so. Or will I ? Yes I will.” Uriel's voice fading from behind her.
Charis mused in her bed that night exactly what Uriel's words had meant and when they would speak again, as of yet they hadn't. Deep and peaceful breathing rose from under the covers, Chayah was already deeply dreaming. Love ya Sis and thank you Father for everyone in my life , were Charis' final thoughts that evening.
The sun has past through the 3rd portal some time ago. Surely its late enough now. She'd been waiting for what felt like eternity. The plan will work, it's got too. She'd been over it in her mind a thousand times. Guard change, around the back, through the side entrance, down the hall, up the stairs, open the drawer, get the key, unlock the gate, the last case, the last shelf, the last book, then straight out the way you came. Whew , you can do this she thought,you've got to. In and out, quick and easy. The back, the hall , the stairs, the drawer, the key, the book, the back, the hall , the stairs, the drawer, the key, the book... it had became a mantra to pass the uncomfortable wait.
Its time, slipping on the black backpack she straightened her hooded sweater and slid out into the cloak of night. Only the sound of her padded feet in the crisp air. Scurrying up to the back entrance , the knob was hard to turn, sticky, then 'Pop!', finally the latch gave way and a loud screech proceeded from the heavy iron hinges. Oil anyone, the sarcastic thought flashed through her head, she paused straining to hear even the slightest sound of detection of her presence. Sure that it was safe to proceed she pushed a rock into the jamb of door and slipped inside, coming out would be easier then getting in.
Quickly she skip stepped down the hall to the stairs. She couldn't help but stare up at the ceiling which glowed majestically in the light of night , a thousand twinkling lights , a myriad of stars blanketed the roof. The entire story of all time, of every life, is said to be encoded into those patterns. Beautiful! No, she must keep going! She set to take the steps however with every step up it seemed her foot slipped off one and back to the step below, Geez, did they ever get tired of waxing these steps, someone could really get hurt on this slippery obstacle course! Finally! The top... Pressed against the wall she circumvented the room to until she was behind the desk. The desk drawer flew open with surprising ease and banged loudly against its built-in stoppers, the entire contents tangled into a mess of items at the front of the drawer. Argh, she scuffled through the contents recklessly once, then twice; papers, ink, quills, stamps, no key! No key! It's not here , shocked and confused she just stood there a moment, fighting the impulse to just flee she tried to think. At a loss she resigned to just give up , turning to bolt back down the stairs one step into her flight , a glint! The light reflected directly into her eye, the key! Hanging on a hook a single beam of moonlight illuminating the object she so desired! Yes!
Two steps and she was there, an elegant pirouette and she was attempting to slide the key into the cast iron gate. After several shaky trial runs the key finally aligned to the lock and slid in. The gate scissored open in a loud crash, no matter she would simply leave it as it was , key and all , no need to cover her tracks she would be gone before anyone would be around to discover it. Last case, last shelf, last book … She squatted at the last case and slid her fingers frantically over every binding on the last shelf until they rested on the final book. She tugged with her fingers then hardly with both hands , What! What is keeping this book in here!?! The shelf was packed tight, at last, the book sprung free with the pressure of the other books propelling it into her chest knocking her onto her bottom under a cascade of books with the book falling open into her lap, the large handwritten letters beaming up at her. This is it!! An alarming feeling of how sacred the writing was struck her senses for moment she quickly gathered herself and the book. Shoving the book into her backpack she focused on making an extremely swift exit!
At a full run she escaped the private room , the office and was rounding the corner down the stairs, whoops! A misstep and she was on her back, the book in her backpack acting like a sled she flurried down the entire flight of stairs, commencing the unplanned maneuver at the bottom of the stairs, Well that was certainly fast! She took the hall in fewer steps than she thought possible and burst out the back door, the hinges letting out a sound similar to a crying cat and swinging back so forcefully the door shot the rock out of the jamb and pinged loudly off the window in the next door building which instantaneously shattered. Not good! She grimaced at the latest turn of events, “Hey You! Hey Stop!” the guards full voice rang through the air as he surged toward her, She burst forward away from him with a speed that surprised even herself , with the sound of her own feet pounding in her head she glanced behind to see the guard had stopped, no time to wonder why as she disappeared into the night....
Beep! Beep! Beep! Violet Vanderbilt's alarm sounded at precisely 6 o'clock am, like it did every morning. One arm shot out from the covers and gently pressed the alarm button to off. Violet awoke with an alarming thought on her mind as well as the alarming sound in her ear ... another dream! Soaked in sweat, she sat up and swung her legs off the side of the bed. Her toes felt good pressed against the cold floor. The dream now just a fleeting jumble of places, faces, feathers and fright that could not, would not, align itself with logical reasoning, sporadically, dancing through her mind's eye. Violet's mom, Carrie, was one of those faces. She had just simply vanished about two years earlier. The local consensus was she had left Violet and her dad, that the cheese had slid off her cracker; her train had jumped the tracks. Violet's mom had become known as 'Crazy Carrie' who often spouted off rants about other realms and mysterious beings. The locals seemed relieved not be subject to her wild imaginings, anymore. However, Violet missed her mom more than she ever let on to anyone. The last thing Violet could remember her mom saying to her was that she was loved and that she was never alone and that they were always watching over them. Running her fingers through her hair, Violet held one image from the dream in her thoughts, a golden piece of paper, parchment maybe, writing, words? … who knows ...the importance of it seemed to fade as her conscious mind became more alert.
Violet dressed in her jogging suit, a pair of worn out sweats and turtleneck, with a vest over top; laced up her running shoes as was her usual routine. Being as quiet as possible, she tip-toed down stairs and into the kitchen. The early morning sun was still warming up the place and was casting enough light to reveal the kitchen was in a total state of chaos. Dad must have been working late last night, Violet thought. Ever since Violet's mom disappeared, her father had thrown himself into his work. She reached out to grab the coffee pot. Startled by her dad's voice, “No! Do not drink that! It's not coffee!” Suddenly Violet's dad, the once illustrious physicist, Dr. Perry Vanderbilt, clumsily clanged through the basement door next to the flight of stairs going up to the second level. Violet thought to herself, well his mind may be slipping but he has the ears of a bat to hear the coffee pot from down there. “Vi , I may have unraveled a mystery of the universe! The secret to life itself !” the wild eyed Dr. Perry announced. “And its in our coffee pot?” Violet quipped as she peered in at the blackish goo that surely was going to be impossible to remove from the pot. “Well, yes , yes it is, it is in our pot that is for brewing the substance coffee. This could very well be the elixir of life, the key to immortality!” A single bubble managed to force its way out of the black tar and putter out into the atmosphere thankful to have found it's freedom. “I see” Violet muttered leaning her head away from the pot wondering if she should be holding her breath. “I'm sorry about the pot. My Bunsen burner decided it did not want to go on this world changing expedition and gave up on me last night. I will retrieve a new one today”. “Better grab a coffee pot as well” Violet added as she turned the pot over and marveled at how the substance seemed completely unaffected by gravity. “Careful! I must run some tests on this immediately Vi”. Dr. Perry grabbed the pot and headed back down the stairs. “Have a great run”, he hollered up from his murky, odd smelling, make-shift basement lab. “Will do Dad, love ya”. Amused at her father, Violet gently shook her head. Oh wait! Her mp3 player, Whew, disaster averted. That could have seriously thrown off the rhythm of her day!
After retrieving her music player, she slipped out the door from the kitchen into the backyard. Oh how she loved the early morning. A light fog covered the ground, the grass and the leaves with droplets of dew. In the far corner there was a small break in the bushes that perimetered the yard and let way to the trail through the forest behind the houses of her neighborhood. Violet had been running the trail for years now. It started the morning of her mother's disappearance. Vi had been sure her mom had just gotten turned around out in the forest and that she'd see her standing just around the next turn. Although that was never the case, it seemed Violet could still feel her out here, some times, and it comforted her. The forest was her and her mom's place. They would walk and talk as they explored every plant and animal that crossed their path. Violet's mom would explain to her how God had created every living thing so perfectly and that was the proof, for her, He was real. Nothing so perfect could happen by accident. The Vanderbilt's never talked of God anymore. Once when Violet brought up the subject, her father exclaimed that God did not exist, that science could explain everything, that God confused her mom and ruined her life and sanity. Violet never brought up the subject again.
Violet cranked up her MP3 player and let the music drown out her heavy thoughts this morning. Music felt like her life line, a way to sort through feelings that didn't have names to them. Kind of a way of praying that didn't require words. Off she ran.
Later that evening, Violet found herself just wrapping up the kitchen cleaning. She'd spent the better part of the day scrubbing everything down. She was just going to sweep the floor, then head off to her room to have dinner alone. Dr. Perry was sound asleep on the couch and the black cauldron of magic goop was deposited into the trash. I guess it wasn't the substance containing the mystery of immortality after all. As Violet swept around the oven, a small piece of gold chain stretched out from under the adjustable oven foot. She prodded at it with the broom. It didn't sweep free. Now down on her hands and knees, Violet tugged at the chain. It was very snugly wound and caught on something Violet couldn’t quite see. Finally, after some effort and dappling in the stickiness, the chain slid free. There in Violets hand was a sleek gold chain with a diamond angel pendent on it. With a sudden remembrance, Violet saw her mom's face from her dream flash before her. In the dream she had been wearing this necklace, although Violet had never seen her wear it or even have it in real life. How could this be? “What ya doing down there?” Violet's dad asked from the other side of the kitchen island. Startled Violet quickly clamped her hand over the necklace and shoved it into her pocket. “Nothing Dad... umm just thought I saw; umm heard something”. “ Heard something? Like a rat !! ?!!”, Dr. Perry's eyes bulged. He did not like rats. “I swear I'm getting an exterminator out here first thing tomorrow morning!” Violet's dad was soon hunkered down with his headlamp on peering under the oven , then the couch, then everywhere else. “I will find this rat! The nasty thing will not contaminate my experiments!” he sounded absolute. “Yeah well, good luck with that,..I'm...I'm going to bed. See ya in the morning” Violet sputtered as she hustled up the stairs.
Safely behind her closed door, Violet fell onto her bed and pulled the necklace from her pocket. She held it up in the air above her and watched it spin, clockwise then counter-clockwise. She pondered the necklace, the dream, the …. last two years. With a sign Violet gripped the necklace's tiny angel in her hand, pressed it to her heart and for the first time in a long time she prayed... "Father, Who is in Heaven, if you're there... really there... " , yeah because the all powerful ruler of the universe has time to listen to a confused teen … who …who... , "if you're there, send me an angel to help me. I don't know who I am or where I fit". Violet slowly opened her eyes and felt , well, ... a feeling of peace as she drifted off to sleep and for just a moment she thought she could hear the faint sound of singing.