Author’s Note: Here we go, the beginning of Volume 2. I hope you’ll stick with me as we move ahead in the story!
Volume 2 – Chapter 1
Light filtered through the canopy, bouncing off of the faces of round leaves and casting slanted shadows on the uneven forest floor. Following a path more ancient than many of this world’s most prominent civilizations, two angels strolled through, taking care to keep straight and avoid veering into the thick underbrush.
As they advanced, feet crunching on long-fallen leaves, the angel following behind raised his head, dark hair shifting in the breeze, and shielded his eyes from the unevenly distributed rays of light.
“I’ll admit, I find it hard to concentrate here,” he said, blinking. “The sun comes in at such an odd angle, it is nearly impossible to avoid its glare obstructing your vision. Maybe in the future we should choose a more agreeable location to spend our evenings.”
His companion looked up into his squinted eyes, and gave him a slightly apologetic smile. “I know, I know, it can be a little jarring, but still, I don’t think we should choose another place. The light makes everything look so much more vibrant and colorful. I don’t want to give up on that just yet.”
He didn’t respond, instead choosing to shift his gaze ahead, holding up a hand absent-mindedly to block out stray beams of soft sunlight. They walked together in silence for some time, admiring the beauty of nature–as always–before the silence became too much for her to bear.
“Anyway, Sariel, don’t you think it would be a little difficult to find a new meeting place, after all this time?” she asked, gauging his expression for any hint as to what he was thinking. He didn’t budge.
“Perhaps,” he said, after some time time, “although I believe if we were to truly apply ourselves in the attempt we could accomplish it without much difficulty.”
“Ah, but that would be no fun,” Remiel said, leaning forward to examine a translucent red insect scuttling along the edge of a fern. “This place holds so many memories, after all.”
“Memories remain, no matter where you are.”
“Hmph.” She blew softly on the creature in front of her, sending it spiralling into the air on thin wings. She followed it upwards with bright eyes, experiencing an outstanding amount of wonder in the reality of flight for one who had access to it herself. “Aside from that, how have things been lately?”
Sariel, eyes switching between the slightly overgrown path and the low-hanging branches of the trees surrounding them, let out a long breath.
“Busy, to say the least,” he said, allowing a beetle to crawl from his shoulder to his finger before transferring it to a low-hanging leaf. “As of late, it seems the number of souls which need aid in reaching the afterlife grows each day, while our numbers rarely increase. It’s becoming more and more difficult to oversee it all as time goes on.”
Remiel didn’t respond, instead focusing her attention into climbing over a fallen tree. Sariel, following her lead and lowering himself gently onto the path once again, decided to fill the silence.
“And as for you? How has your time been put to use lately?”
“Oh…” Remiel paused, attempting to recall the events of the past few weeks. “Well, I guess nothing’s been happening, really. Unlike with you, He doesn’t seem to have a set purpose to me, so I spend most of my time in general inactivity.”
“Ah, well,” Sariel began, clasping his hands together behind his back, “I am sure that He will reveal to you your true potential in due time. Have there been no resurrections lately?”
She stepped forward and kneeled in front of a small pink flower that rose no more than three inches from the densely-covered ground, on top of which an orange butterfly sat, its wings bobbing upwards and downwards in a steady rhythm.
Sariel stood behind her silently as she examined the creature, her eyes tracing its patterns, following the brown swirls upwards until they merged into the dark border of its wings. Eventually, she stood, closing her fist and glancing at the angel beside her.
“Hey, Sariel,” she said. “Has it ever felt to you that there is no reason for your existence? That your entire life was purely an afterthought?”
He looked taken aback, his eyes widening and his mouth opening slightly, but his response came out as cool as ever, his resolve as hard as stone.
Remiel smiled. “That’s what I thought. You’ve known what you were meant to do since the beginning, so there’s no reason for you to doubt your place, huh?”
“I suppose not,” Sariel replied, turning his dark eyes towards the ground. Then, so silent it was almost difficult to hear, he began “Remiel…”
Her ears perked up as she attempted to hear what he had to say, but he wasn’t allowed to finish, the soft sound of his voice being cut off by the loud fluttering of wings above their heads.
The two angels glanced up quickly, wondering what type of creature had created the noise. Scanning the treetops, it wasn’t difficult for Remiel to pick up the source of the sound–the pitch black crow stood out against the green foliage like a single storm cloud over a blue sky.
“I’m guessing that’s for you?” Remiel said, not taking her eyes off of the bird, which had begun to preen its feathers, rearranging the shadowy plumage with an equally dark beak, seemingly content to wait as long as necessary for their conversation to come to an end.
“I’m afraid so,” Sariel said. “It seems to be time for me to return to my responsibilities.”
He turned, ready to apologize to Remiel for having to leave on such short notice, but she interrupted him before he had the chance.
“It’s alright, Sariel. Go back to your dead people,” she said, waving her hands in front of her dismissively and turning her head to the side. “They need you more than I do right now, don’t they?”
Sariel nodded, and turned to make his way out of the forest. The crow vanished as he made his way forward, disappearing into the sky above the treetops with an almost imperceptible rustle of leaves. However, just as he was about to disappear within the foliage, Remiel called out to her friend.
“By the way, it’s been a long time since you last heard me trumpet, hasn’t it? Maybe next time we meet up, I should bring it with me and show you how good I’ve gotten!”
He turned around, and although it was faint, Remiel caught sight of a small smile on his face.
“I’d like that,” he said, holding his hand up in farewell. She reciprocated the gesture, and although she expected him to make his leave there, he stepped slightly forward and looked her in the eye, his voice echoing through the forest. “Oh, and Remiel. I won’t pretend to speak for our Father, or pretend that I have any knowledge of His plans for us, but I do want to tell you one thing.”
He paused for a moment, the forest buzzing softly in place of his voice. When he spoke again, the words seemed to hold even more power than usual, shooting into Remiel’s thoughts like an electric shock.
“I do not believe that any of us are an afterthought. You are here for a reason, you just need to find it “
With that, he vanished, his figure dissolving in a dark mist and leaving Remiel to stand alone on the darkening path. She stayed that way for some time, listening to the buzz of insects, the swaying and swishing of the branches of the trees above her head as they moved along with the wind. The sun worked its way across the sky slowly, elongating the shadows on the forest floor, a shifting mosaic that swayed in time with the leaves.
And still, Remiel stood, lost in her thoughts, going over ideas in her head that only moments before she never would have begun to entertain.
Eventually, however, as the wind died down and the buzz of life in the forest lowered to a murmur, Remiel began to move once again, travelling further forward down the path she and Sariel had walked together and into the shade of a large, twisting old tree.
Sitting down at its base, she thought back to her conversation with her friend once more, his final words to her ringing in her ears.
“I’ve just got to find it, huh?”
Closing her eyes, Remiel tilted her head back, and allowed the soft light of sunset , breaking through the canopy against all odds, to reach her, one last time.