New and on Earth.
Where was I? Ah yes, my first day on Earth. Excitement flowed through my entire being. Young, naive and full of enthusiasm, I was put there with nothing except advice. First came a strict warning – ‘fail this assignment and you face elimination.’ The stern admonition, ‘never harm a human’ was stressed repeatedly, along with ‘keep your true identity a secret.’ Then, more kindly, I was advised ‘don’t get involved with humans until you know them better. It will be safer for you and for the people you encounter’.
With that I was left alone, under equipped and under prepared for my mission.
Did I take notice of that advice? Well, I tried, but I was excited. Having heard so much about humans, I ached to be involved with them. In my mind, they were wonderful creatures. Not immortal, like us, but given just a short life on Earth with free will. And living among them, I would have free will too.
Humans were intelligent, adaptable, and ingenious. Above all they were noble, attractive, and created their own unique life on Earth. I entertained a romantic notion of helping them grow and develop, and achieving their hearts’ desires. Life among humans would be full of purpose and meaning. My heart overflowed with joy.
This puzzles you? Let me try to explain. Understand that we are created to be attuned to humans, to love and protect them, and given a burning desire to help them. Humans fascinate us endlessly. All those emotions, and more, burned within me.
A bit like some people with their dogs or cats. I laughed cynically.
Sorry, perhaps I’m being unkind. I feel your indignation at that last statement of mine. Yes, I admit I’ve grown cynical, but our natural state is to overlook the worst of human behavior and to have this idealized picture of them in our heads and hearts. The truth was far more complex, as I soon learned.
Sorry, I’m digressing again. I rather like having your presence in my head. It’s comforting to have someone to talk to. Thank you for listening, whoever you are.
So, my first day on Earth, I wandered into some small, rural settlement, in Europe somewhere, I believe. I was very hazy about geography in those days, still am, but anyway, it was a small and primitive settlement. People were working in the fields beyond.
Now you must remember I came with nothing, no money, food or water, and I possessed no human skills to negotiate with. Luckily, we Guardians don’t need food to the same extent humans do, but I was mindful of the fact I needed to blend in. I needed to look and act like everyone else.
Looking back, I realize now I was expected to fail in my mission. Never one to be interested in the politics of our kind, I had no idea there might be some hidden agenda.
Somewhere at the back of my mind, I remembered a controversy surrounding our group of Warrior Angels when we were granted permission to live among humans. Foolishly, I never thought beyond that, never realized we were envied to the extent we were, never realized how I was betrayed.
I wandered to a group of three scruffy looking men, chatting together on the outskirts of the settlement. I had learned the language they spoke, but, no doubt, I spoke with an accent strange to their ears.
As I approached, they stopped talking and looked at me suspiciously. “Can I find work around here?” I asked the nearest man.
“Work? Where are you from? Who are you with?” He looked me over and a deep frown creased his brow.
“Oh, I’m by myself. I’m a traveler, and I have been traveling for a while,” I said, trying to be casual and appear harmless, giving him a smile.
“Liar!” One of the group sneered at me, edging closer.
“No.” The third man, shook his head. “You’re no traveler. You’re too clean. Your clothes are new, and so are your boots.”
“What are you really, a spy?” The first man asked. The men surrounded me and slowly closed in. This was an unexpected reaction — so much suspicion. Earth was supposed to be some sort of paradise, not like this… I tried to placate them.
“No, please believe me. I mean you no harm. All I want is to work somewhere.” The three of them exchanged glances. I should have been more suspicious, but, as I explained, I had this romantic notion of the nobility of humans.
The first man gave me a tight smile. “Come with us,” he said. “We might be able to help you after all.” I went with them willingly, suspecting nothing.
We left the outskirts of the town and walked a short distance to a forest. The men walked into the forest, as if they were familiar with it, beckoning me to come with them. Becoming more puzzled as time went by, still I followed, until we came to a halt in a clearing. One man moved behind me two stayed in front.
“Why are we here?” I looked around the clearing, seeing nothing. The men were behaving oddly, grinning at me, their eyes glittering, as they moved in close. Something felt wrong. Of course, I wasn’t frightened. I was stronger and quicker than any of them, and I was immortal, which they didn’t know. The main concern I had, at that time, was trying not to alarm them.
One man pulled a knife and leered at me. “We want your clothes and your boots,” he said, and laughed.
“Why?” I asked, innocently. They had clothes of their own, although they were worn and dirty, I noticed.
“They’re good quality, better than ours and too good for you.” Another of the men snapped at me.
What could I do? I didn’t want to harm any of them, and I remembered the stern instructions given. With a sigh, unsure of how to act towards the men, I took my clothes and boots off and handed them over. Passing my clothes to one of the other two, the man waved the knife under my nose, grinning up at me.
The man with my clothes looked through my pockets and turned to his companions, clearly puzzled. “There’s nothing in his pockets. He’s got nothing. He must be with someone.”
The man brandished his knife in my face. “Tell us who you’re with. Where are they?”
I shook my head. “Sorry,” I said. “I’m alone. You have had your fun. Obviously, you have no work for me, so if you will return my clothes, I’ll take my leave.” At last I started to think sensibly and to realize I needed to stand up to them.
“He can only be a spy,” one of them whispered urgently, and his eyes darted from side to side. “We could be in trouble if his companions find out.”
“Yes, that’s right. Kill him. Kill the spy,” insisted another of the men under his breath.
The man holding the knife moved behind me. With lightning-quick movements, he reached one arm around my waist to hold me steady, and stabbed me in the heart with the other hand before I realized I was in any danger. In shock, bleeding profusely, I fell to the ground, gasping, barely conscious.
Greater than the shock of being stabbed was finding out how treacherous these humans were. What cold, hard hearts they must have, prepared, as they were, to take a life so readily. I was appalled at their animal savagery. Nothing had prepared me for this.
“Come on, let’s go. He’ll be dead soon with that wound, so he won’t be talking to anyone. At least we get some good quality new garments. I want the boots.” One of the men laughed as they shared my clothes between them and left without a backward glance.
Mortified, I crawled under a bush, preparing for the few days it would take to heal. Arriving with only the clothes on my back, by the end of the day I’d managed to lose them. Now I had nothing. My superiors would be ashamed of me, but no more than I was ashamed of myself.
On Earth with absolutely nothing, how could I bring value to humans? How could I carry out my mission? Cold, naked, in pain from my injuries, not to mention the pain of realizing my stupidity, I huddled in misery under the bush trying to sleep and heal as night came on. How inept, how stupid I was. The pain of my humiliation was far worse than the pain of my wounds. To make matters worse, snow started to fall.