a mysterious being offers a man the chance to change the world for better or for worse;old
| On this day a millennia ago, a mysterious man dressed in black, appeared before me in the woods. I peered beneath the pointed hood of the cloak, which draped over the scrawny figure with the sinister shine of satin. There was no face under the hood, only darkness. It was black like ink, black like the pupil of my eye, black like a black hole that sucks in all light and never sets it free. Again, I scanned the cloak of the figure only to notice the fact that the figure had no feet. With the finest sense of stillness, he was levitating.
“What do you want from me?” I asked looking up at what would be his face.
“I should be asking you the same question,” a low, whispering voice said.
“What are you talking about,” I chuckled, “are you here to grant me three wishes?”
The figure didn’t reply for a moment and then he said, “I am here to give you a chance to contribute to your kind.”
"My kind", I smirked cynically, "Just what exactly do you mean by 'my kind'?"
The figure stopped for a moment. I could tell he was choosing his words carefully, so as to make his true feelings seem just and well deserved.
"Humans, by nature, are all inclined to a predetermined set of ideals," he began. "You are all selfish, for you do not want to want. You would rather see others go without. You are all rebels, for you fear to conform to one another and yet you all remain separated together. You are all victims, because heroes never make the front page of a newspaper. Victim's are mourned and heroes are forgotten, so true fame lies in failure and weakness."
"So you think the human race is weak and is doomed for all eternity", I questioned "and you want me to save them?"
"No," he said and slowly folded his bony hands together at his waistline, "I don't ask anything of you, but this is your chance to impose your will upon humanity. How you choose to do so is your choice alone."
“Really”, I asked earnestly, “Who is it that you work for?”
“I work for all. I am only a servant”, he said as he slowly levitated toward me.
" Wait..Wait a minute," I gently rubbed the back of my neck, "why me? Why would you make it a point to meet me out here instead of calling me or coming to my apartment?"
"I did not choose you," the figure pointed one boney finger at me, "you came looking for me."
"What are you talking about? I never even knew you existed before now," and suddenly it hit me, "...Are you the grim reaper?"
He chuckled an placed his hand on his chest as he said, "No, I do not reap," he put his hand down and his tone became serious once more as he said, "I serve."
“So…you’re here to serve me?” I asked, with a hint of confusion showing.
“Yes…” he replied, “but first…”
He was still coming toward me and I began to back up. Something was very wrong. I turned and ran, not paying much attention to whether or not I was going towards the city. I ran for what felt like forever before I noticed that none of the scenery had changed. I was stuck in an endless cycle of time. Suddenly, I stopped running. What was I running from? Was he still there? I looked behind me to see the figure just on the other side of where a rip in reality began. He was chuckling to himself.
"Maybe if I can find where the rip ends, I can get out of this mess," I said as I turned away from the figure and began walking as if in slow motion. "There must be a way to know.." I began to say just as my knee brushed against it. Suddenly, an array of ripples began from the impact point and then stopped. Without the ripples, I couldn't see where the interdimensional doorway began and ended. I extended my right hand with my palm parallel to the rip and slowly leaned forward. Another set of ripples escaped from under my hand, and as I pulled it back, a silver liquid dripped from my palm. The ripples seemed to go on forever in both directions as they shrank into this wall of silver illusion.
"It's like a Chinese finger trap," I thought, "you can get in, but you can't get out."
The figure came forward and suddenly we weren’t in the woods anymore. We were somewhere like the woods except everything was on fire. I thought I heard sounds of someone running, and as I turned to call for help, I was struck on the back of my head and I fell to my knees. It was then that I noticed the shackles on my wrists attached to chains so long that I could not see the ends. The chains began to pull with a driving force, holding my arms out like wings of a bird.
The figure stood before me, so close that I could feel the supernatural winds that gently blew ripples into the satin cloak. “Tell me what you want most for your kind”, he gently whispered as he placed his hand upon my head. I thought for a moment about global warming, the signs of overpopulation, and the greed of the international organizations that run this god-forsaken planet. “I want…No…I want…Ummmmm…” I struggled to make sure I was thinking clearly, though nothing seemed quite clear. Every time I began to think, I would start thinking about the fire and the chains; and when I thought about the chains, they pulled tighter in their separate directions. It wasn't long before the pain became unbearable. I screamed until my voice became abrasive. The interdimensional rip shivered for a moment after I stopped. Anyone within miles of here should have heard my shrieks of terror, but nobody came. In fact, the silver wall began to shiver again and an identical echo of my scream rang in the distance. The rip must have absorbed all of the sound and pushed it back through the other end of the rip. This meant that none of the sound escaped. Nobody would come for me. I looked up at the figure. He stood sentient, awaiting my decision.
"What do you want!?" I could feel my tears streaming over my sweaty cheeks, "What do you want from me?!"
"I want nothing. Tell me what you want", he almost sounded annoyed. I shut my eyes tight and tried to forget about the situation. I envisioned a huge waterfall and standing on a bridge just over it. I could almost feel the cool, clear mist hitting my face. Suddenly, it wasn't so hard to think anymore. While I was daydreaming, nothing could bother me. The heat didn't seem so hot; the figure didn't exist; the rip in time was as large as the earth itself, and therefore, had no effect. Here in my mind, I could think as clearly as possible.
I had never had to stop and think of what I would want to change about myself, or the world. Suddenly, something occurred to me. I opened my eyes and looked up at the figure.
“After I tell you what I want, what will happen?” I asked, feeling a wave of heat hit my face and a drip of sweat run down my cheek.
“I’ll do as I’m told” the figure said sternly. He didn’t quite quench my curiosity.
“And after that what will happen to me?” I mumbled as I tried to look up at his face.
The figure stood silent for a few moments when finally he said “Judgment.”
I looked down at the ground. This meant nothing to me hearing him say it. However, after I thought about it, I remembered a religious card I had received in the mail. It read, “Join the Baptist Church of South Central. There will come a day when you have to meet your maker. Why not now?”
I had never taken this seriously before, but at that point I was. I really was going to meet my maker and be damned. I had never gone to church except for holidays, weddings, and sometimes funerals.
Once again, I closed my eyes tightly to escape my current condition, and I thought, "What do I want? What could I do to make life better?"
I was benevolent man and so I refused to ask for something for myself, but the figure was right; if I did do something to make life easier for my fellow men, they would take advantage of it. Finally, I figured out what it was I wanted. If I was to be denied passage to heaven, then so be it. I would not let my world be destroyed; discarded like an old toy and deserted because of its uselessness after all of its resources are depleted. I knew that I was not going to let that happen.
I knew exactly what it was I wanted to say. I didn’t know exactly what it meant or how he would respond, but it was in fact exactly what I wanted. I looked up at the figure and even though I could not see any expression, I could feel him growing impatient.
“Please”, I begged, trying to hold back my tears, “Please save my earth.”
The figure did not move for a moment, as though astonished. He then raised his hands and all of the fire stopped.
“It shall be done”, he said as two angel wings emerged from the black cloak and he held them out, like the chains had previously held out my arms.
I stared in disbelief that this dark, sinister figure was a messenger of God. What madness was this that an angel would have to shroud himself with hate? A piercing light glowed from the angel’s hands and exploded into a million beams of light that shot in every direction. It was instantaneous, like the flash of a camera, but a thousand times brighter. It hurt to keep my eyes open so I closed them, and just as I closed them, I felt myself lose consciousness.
I awoke to find myself still in the woods, but something was different. I took in the fine, clean air and smiled. It felt so good not be in the fire anymore. It made the world seem so much better.
I looked down and saw that I was completely
naked. I looked around for my clothes, but they were gone. Then, I looked around to see if the figure was near-by. Nobody was there that I could see. The pinecones hurt to walk on so I tiptoed to the other side of a tree and lying on the ground, not a few yards away was a woman. She was completely naked and unconscious. She was white, had long, auburn hair and large lips. Her body wasn't like that of a surgically enhanced supermodel. From her long, flowing hair to her shallow curves, down to the arch of her feet, her pale, porcelain skin almost seemed to glow; she was naturally beautiful.
I heard a noise from behind me and turned to see what it was. It was a man and a woman, also completely naked. The man was a little taller than I. He wasn't very muscular, but was slightly toned. He had very short brown hair and brown eyes. The woman was quite shapely with shoulder-length blonde hair. Her eyes were sky blue.
They seemed a bit confused as to what happened and why they were out in the middle of the woods, but they were not otherwise hurt. I showed them the unconscious woman and we decided it was best to try to get her to a doctor. I picked her up and we began walking towards the city. I decided it best not to tiptoe with someone in my arms, for fear of dropping her, so I bore the agony of a dozen tiny stab wounds into the bottom of my foot. I figured I would eventually get used to it. I stopped and remembered where the rip in time ended. Once again, I walked very slowly to avoid going through to the other side, if possible. I cautiously stepped past the boundary and the silver wall didn't stop me. I looked back to where the figure once stood, almost hoping to seem him once more, but nothing was there.
We found our way through the forest and back to where the city once was. I was baffled by the fact that such an entire city could just disappear. Though the city was no more, I could remember all of the buildings' names and locations in comparison to where we were. Now it was all just flat land with grass and a few trees. From off in the distance, I could see people coming towards us from all of the directions of a compass and we were the West point.
I noticed a pattern as the people drew nearer. From each direction, there came a man and a woman of a different ethnicity. From the North came a group of two men and two women of African descent. From the East came two couples that appeared to be of oriental descent. From the South came two couples of middle-eastern descent.
We came together in the center; all of us bearing no clothes, jewelry, or signs that we had ever lived at all. I gently put the woman on the ground to examine myself. Tattoos I had received in jail were no longer there, and my pierced ears had not so much as a scar from where the hole had been. I had no scars or bruises from fights. My body was completely perfect.
The people around me saw me searching my body and looked a little confused.
"My tattoos," I mumbled, "They're gone." Suddenly, everyone started looking over their bodies for impurities; none were found. It’s as though we had never existed before this day. I didn't recognize anybody and nobody seemed to recognize each other. It's as though we were all actually from different parts of the world and we all came together here, purely by instinct.
I sat down on the cold grass and finally realized what had happened. We were the only people here, because the angel made it so. In order to save the earth, all that had happened was washed away and we have another chance. We have been given a new beginning.