Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Seventh Trumpet

So it's time for Eve to put Adam to sleep

Lovely, lovely, love me
With dreams with drugs, with lipstick and la rouge
Dolls – Gavin Friday

The pebbles hurt more each step, but, Sophie must keep going. The lights and sounds of drums and guitars get closer as she approaches a wall that surrounds numerous buildings. The faint smell of olives are in the breeze and the moon glows large above, lighting the large, swaying palm trees. Shoes, she must find shoes. Motorcycles approach, drowning out the sound of echoing guitars and ambient drums. She wants to go there.

The motorcycles slow as they near her. She keeps walking as they ride up alongside of her. She can tell they aren’t from here as soon she looks at them. Their colored eyes give them away.

“Pretty brave for a pretty one like you to be walking into town.”

She takes off the glasses that cover her own eyes. “Pretty brave for all of us to be riding into this town, isn’t’ it?”

The bikers stop when they see she is one of them. “You high or something, hun? At least let us drive you past the walls.”

She nods her head, but not reluctantly. She knows this will speed up what has to be done. “Green eyes, I’ll ride with you. Let’s go to where that music is coming from.” She gets on the back of the motorcycle of the other who has not spoken.

The three ride to the gate that is no longer guarded. “Looks like these walls could come down at any moment,” the blue eyes stranger says without stopping. They ride until they get to the center of the city and find the club where all of the life seems to be.

“Thank you for the ride. Can I buy you a drink?”

“You don’t even have shoes on. How are you going to buy us a drink?” When they stand they tower over Sophie, both in worn leather coats covered in patches.

She tugs to straighten her scarlet coat. “I threw my shoes at some women who accused me of being a whore.”

“So you have money?” The blue eyed biker crosses his arms.

“Well of course. I got it from the woman’s son. She wasn’t all wrong about me, but when she came at me with that knife, I had to defend myself somehow.” She turns and begins to walk to the door. “Come on beautiful creatures, are we together or not?”

Inside, the room is filled with a pride of beautiful men and women, mostly with dark hair and eyes. The rhythm is hypnotic and the lights intoxicating. Holding her head high with her two new guards, Sophie walks nonchalant to the bar as many people pause to watch.

The bartenders, male and female, look like glam rockers, trapped in this desert oasis. Boots, gold and silver pants, swaths of bright makeup adorn them all. These people too look like herself and the two men she met on the road. Upon further examination, Sophie realizes they are all chained at the ankle.

“Can I get you something beautiful?” Before she can answer, she sees him. The reason why she came to Reah lies within an auburn haired man surrounding himself with slaves. She makes eye contact with him. He stands, shoving one blonde goddess out of his way. As they move closer to each other, her two new friends attempt to hold her back.

“Do you not know who that is?” Blue eyes holds her arm tight and pulls her back to him.

“He’s the reason why I’m here. We have old business.” She pulls away but his grip tightens. 

“We’re all in danger if he sees us here.” 

Sophie relaxes and moves closer to him. “What is your name?” 

“Caleb. What difference does it make?” He lets her go. 

“We’re not in danger any more, Caleb. You will both stay with me tonight. Here.” She takes money from her red jacket and hands it to him. “Buy those drinks and then come and join us.” She places her hands inside of his coat and around his waist. “Trust me.” 

“Is everything okay here, Sophie?” Behind her, Jude stands, his shoulders back and his chest forward, his hands grace Sophie but grab Caleb at the waist. As he smells her neck, his words come out  in an animalistic growl, “stranger, you’ve been taking care of my girl?”

“Your girl? My friend and I found her wandering the streets and …”

Sophie pushes Caleb away. “Why don’t you get us those drinks?”

Caleb backs away towards the bar as Jude puts his arms around Sophie’s waist. He whispers into her ear. “Let’s talk my little watcher.”

They retreat to a corner where ears cannot pry into their conversation. Brick walls, wooden benches, and beautiful scarves adorn the area, making it semi-private. Before the bikers return, Jude begins his litany of questions.

“So what number are you up to?” He glides a finger down her arm.

“Five.” She slides closer to him and weaves her ringed fingers with his.

“Which one of those is number six?”

“I just met them.”

“We haven’t seen each other in over 200 years, but Sophie, I’m sure nothing has changed. And what happened this time?”

“I was worshiping others again. But not really worshiping, that’s what the Thrones said before I got sent back.” She looks around desperately for her drink. Caleb is busy at the bar chatting with two of the bar maids.

“Did you take orders from them? Heed their commands? Or, if I know you well enough, you desired yourself a little Earth action by means of some biker bars and queen clubs. Don’t you ever learn, Sophie?” His tone hints at disappointment. 

“Learn what? How long have I been doing this? I love being a watcher, I do, but sometimes I just need more human interaction. Besides, she places her hand on his leg, “I always know we’ll help each other out.”

As she rests her head on his shoulder, Caleb and the other stranger re-appears with buckets of drinks. 


‘Do you mind?” Jude balks at her.

“Sorry, picked that up from the Irish. So ironic, isn’t it Jude…Anyway, how much money did I give you?

Caleb hands her the money. “Apparently it’s no good here.” 

Before Sophie can grab it, Jude has the bills cupped into his hand. “You won’t be needing it anyway.” He throws the money onto the table. “Sit, join us.”

Sophie takes a beer as Caleb sits by her side. “So, green eyes, what’s your name?” She hands the long, brown haired biker the beer. Both Caleb and Jude reach to get Sophie another drink, but she has been them both and has grabbed her own.

“Sam. Glad we stopped for you.” 

“Sam, Caleb, this is Jude and old acquaintance of mine.”

Jude looks like a boy compared to the muscular men. He nods at them with approval and folds his hands together. 

“Before I show you where you’ll be staying, why don’t you all enjoy some food and maybe some wine? Anything you want.” He leans in closer to Sophie, “We’ll finish our conversation later.” He brushes her hair behind her ear.

This simple action angers Caleb, who quickly stands to defend Sophie if needed.

He stares at Jude, his blue eyes screaming at Jude to move away from her. Just as quickly, bouncers move towards them.

Jude puts up his hand. “It’s alright. Everyone, relax. Let’s enjoy ourselves.” He walks away from Sophie and Caleb without another glance. The bouncers break their circle of protection. Jude pats one of them on the shoulder and places a kiss on the blonde slave he had pushed away only minutes ago.

Sam moves closer to Caleb and Sophie. He raises his beer to the other two, who join him and clink glasses. “Caleb, watch your temper,” he breathes out in a guttural sigh. “And how do you know we can trust this one?” He takes a long drink of his beer.

“How do I know I can trust you?” Sophie waits for a reply. Behind and unbeknownst to Sam, a sultry woman with hair the color of whiskey and deep taupe eyes has invaded his personal space.

“You look so angry. This is a place of fun.”The shackle on her ankle would make anyone assume different, unless that’s the kind of fun you’re into. “Come and drink with me.” 

Halfheartedly, he follows the woman, his hand touching hers slightly.

Sophie sits again. Caleb crouches down in front of her. He bows his blonde head for a second before looking up at her with those sapphire eyes. “Who are you?”

For hours they feast on endless food, gluttonous amounts of wine, and beer that is never ending. Everyone is free to dine, dance, and entertain who is left after Jude has the doors locked. The lights remain dim and the music just loud enough that you don’t have to yell your conversation. The wooden benches have been pulled together, pillows and people are strewn about. Everyone is languishing with full stomachs and careless with intoxication.

Sophie sits on the floor talking to a woman. She’s animated in her responses and enthralled with what the woman is saying. While Jude plays the consummate host, moving about from conversation to conversation, Caleb watches Sophie from a safe distance. He watches her eyes when she smiles true and notices that even though she is paying attention to whomever she is talking with, she seems constantly aware of all of her surroundings. 

Proving this theory, she motions for Caleb to come and sit next to her without turning her head. Before he sits, he grabs a half filled bottle of red wine. The woman Sophie had been talking to gives her a long hug before standing and then smiles to Caleb as he takes his places beside Sophie.

Caleb places his worn black leather jacket on the back of a chair not long after they were welcomed into the establishment by Jude. His linen shirt, rolled at the sleeves, reveals his tattooed arms. He offers Sophie a cup brimming with red wine. She quickly puts down the glass and touches the tattoos with her soft, inquisitive hands. Her fingers trace colorful stars, a red dragon, a cross…colors thoughtfully designed, each inked permanently onto his olive skin for a purpose. She switches to the other arm, not asking any questions, but dreaming what each image and word represents. She works her way higher up his arm, pushing the sleeve past his elbow.

While Jude continues to listen to an animated story teller, his watchful eye remains in their direction at all times, as if Sophie were magnetic North. He gradually begins to move closer as Caleb unbuttons his shirt. Just as Caleb slides the shirt slightly past his shoulders, Jude awakens the room from its dream-like state.

“Everyone!” He shouts as he passes by Caleb. As he does this, he pushes up the corners of Caleb’s shirt to re-cover the exposed skin. He places his hand around Sophie’s waist and pulls her away from her trance-like wonder of the stranger. “We must begin to move along for the night. It will get dangerous as the sunrise approaches.” 

“But that’s hours away, Jude.” Sophie protests as she turns her head to Caleb, who is clearly annoyed as he puts his jacket back on. “Please,” she turns to Jude. Without further heeding, the slaves and others who have been drinking begin to clean up. The lights are blinding as they are turned on, one by one.

“Sophie,” Jude places his hands on her arms and tightens his grip on her,“You’re getting close to that one. You know you always get hurt when you start to pay attention to them.” He pulls her closer.

“Why do you care?” She stares at him with an unwavering glare. 

A dog barks outside and silences everyone.

“He never barks. Come, everyone, follow me quickly.” Jude frantically rushes towards a back exit and hold open a door. “Go past the potter’s field, on the right, there is a house you can all use. But you must go now.” Everyone rushes out the door and into the darkness. Sophie catches up to Caleb but she is stopped by Jude before they exit. “Place your coat on the door so I know everyone is safe. And here…” He takes a knife from his pocket and hands it to her. “You don’t have your heels to throw at anyone, so you should have some protection.” She pushes it back to him and shakes her head no. 

Caleb takes Sophie’s small hand in his as they run across a field, past burned out buildings, and finally to the house that will provide them refuge. No one speaks as they listen to make sure no one is following. It was a risk coming into the walled city, and even more of a risk to be out so late. One by one, they stream inside the large house. Once everyone is in, Sophie removes her coat and places it on the door knob before closing the door.  “Let’s get everyone settled.”

In the darkness, the now tired crowd finds their resting place for the night. Some go to rooms, others couches and a few take their respite on the floor. The house is damp and getting colder even with more people inside. Sophie walks to a fireplace and begins to prepare it for a fire. She kneels and cleans out the hearth.  

Caleb kneels beside her. “Please, let me help.” His large hand moves hair away from her face. “Maybe you can find a room for us upstairs.”

He takes off his coat and places it around her shoulders. “Why do I feel like I’ve met you before? 

Sophie looks at the floor for a moment. “Another life?” She looks up to meet his warm gaze. “I’ll go find us a room.” 

Upstairs she finds an empty room that leads to the roof. She opens the creaky doors and lets in the fragrant dessert air. Smoke from the fire that will soon heat the house winds its way up the strairs, mixing with the fragrance of the desert. She walks out onto the roof, the city asleep except for a few wandering souls. In the corner, she sees what appears to be a shower. After days of traveling and running away from angry mothers, strangers, and herself, Sophie takes her clothes off, leaving a trail to the shower.

She turns the handle and steps underneath the chilly refreshing water. Sand and tears are washed away and into the drain. The moonlight cascades down upon her radiant skin. The chilly blue light glows off the water. Her eyes closed, she hears footsteps.

Caleb enters the cozy, dark room and places a bowl onto the bedside table. He takes off his linen shirt. “I found some food for us in the kitchen. That girl was in there cutting Sam’s hair. This has been one crazy day.” And then silence. Caleb peers out the door when he can’t figure out why he hears running water.

Sophie turns when she hears his footsteps pause. Their eyes meet but differently than before. Naked and with no shame, she stands with the moonlight bathing her. After a few moments, Caleb bows his head. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t…let me get you a towel.” He turns and looks around the room for something for her to dry herself with. On his back is a large tattoo of an angel in black, sitting on the ground, wings bowed.

As he looks around the tiny room for a towel or a blanket, Caleb doesn’t realize that Sophie has turned off the water and is standing nearly behind him. It is only when she is about to touch the angel on his back, that a drop of water from her hand startles him.

“I didn’t mean to frighten you.” She takes a robe that he has found in a drawer. As she ties the robe around her waist, she asks, “Why an angel?”

He shakes his head and walks past her onto the roof. “It’s silly, really, it’s nothing. He sits and bows his head into his hands.

Sophie sits in front of him and takes his hands off his head and weaves her fingers with his. “Why is it silly?” His hair hangs, hiding his eyes, but she tries to tilt her head to see them. 

“Because,” he finally looks up at her and his breath is taken away. In front of him, minus the wings, he sees that exact pose of the beloved angel that is etched into his skin. The moonlight makes a silhouette of the angel in his dreams. “It’s you.”

Tears begin to stream down Sophie’s face. “None of this makes any sense.”

“Please don’t cry. I can't believe I’ve found you. I can take care of you.”He takes her face in his hands, his thumbs trying to wipe away the tears. 

She stands and walks away from him. She wipes her face with the robe. Caleb stands and walks to her. He puts himself between her and the edge of the roof.“Sophie, why are you crying? We’ll make this work.”

She shakes her head no, the tears not stopping. “You don’t understand. I wasn’t sent for you. I’m here because I wasn’t doing my job.” 

He takes hold of her arms. 

“I’m a watcher. Instead of watching, I was too inquisitive, got too involved." She pauses and sighs before taking a deep breath to continue. "When you get sent to earth in your flesh, we have to feel the sins before we can return. When I've learned my lesson, I go back."

“This has happened before?” A flicker of lightning lights the city.  

She laughs, "A few times." She turns away from him. "But this time is different. “The lightning flashes again, met by a thunder through the valley. 

"You want to stay this time, don't you?" The thunder rumbles throughout the valley. When they think it ends, the rumble of motorcycles can be hear nearing their safe house. "Don't you?" He yells over the approaching sound.

As the lights near the house, Sophie runs past Caleb and downstairs. He follows, passing by those who gathered for safety. Most are unaware of anyone outside threatening their security and stand in the hallways curiously. Sophie gets to the door, making sure it is locked. The motorcycles stop as they reach the house.

"I am sure they are not here!" Jude's' voice bellows outside the door.

"What is that on the door?" The voice gets closer.

"That is nothing. Well, it simple is to tell some of my customers where they may go and enjoy themselves for the night."

Inside, everyone listens to the conversation as Jude surprisingly tries to dissuade the gang from breaking down and charging inside. All is silent as everyone is afraid to breathe. One of the bikers turns the ignition key but only slightly, until the sound of Louie Armstrong’s trumpet breaks the silence as the radio is turned on. Others heed the example and they mount their motorcycles. 

Suddenly, as the gang seems to be convinced that they can leave, the brown haired vixen who was cutting Sam's hair earlier rushes the door. Caleb and Sophie try to stop her from opening the door. As they hold onto her and begin to drag her away, Sophie's hand securely over her mouth in case she decides to scream, coins fall only the floor, breaking the silence of their secrecy.

"Maybe we will take you up on your hospitality then," they all hear a voice say from outside.

"Take her away, keep her quiet. Sam, help hold her with Caleb. I will talk to them." Sophie sternly, but quietly issues orders to the men. The time she is taken away to a back room and the time for the heavy thumping on the door seems like hours. "You all go back into your rooms." She shoos the groups of curious onlookers, just as in danger as herself.

She tousles her hair around her face and opens her robe enough to put on a show for the prospective guests. Upon sighing, she opens the door, just as the man begins to bang on it again.

"It's a bit late, isn't it? Even whores have to sleep." They stare at Sophie, who taps her fingers on the wooden door. "Are you here for business or are you looking for one of our customers?" She manages to only glare at Jude once, who looks impishly pathetic next to the men who even make Caleb and Sam look like boys. 

"If you don't mind," the garish man who is still holding her red coat, walks closer and begins to push the door open, "we'd like to take a look ourselves." He pushes Sophie aside with no effort. Behind him, a band of equally large and somewhat boorish men, and one woman, follow as everyone shrinks back into the doorways that they are hiding in.

As they begin to evasively walk through the house, a serious of muffled screams and then someone falling can be heard in the back room. Before anyone can even move, the women they had tried to so hard to conceal runs into the leader. 

"They're both in the back!” She grabs onto the leader’s leather vest. Caleb walks into the room. Sam follows him, glaring at the woman who has betrayed everyone. 

“Are these the men you’re looking for?” Jude sheepishly can be heard from behind the wall of bikers. “These men are, are locals. They have done no wrong.” He shakes his hands in the air like some kind of Sunday morning evangelist trying to save everyone through donations. 

The woman points her finger at him. “And this one here, this Jude, he sleeps with that man over there and still goes home to his wife every night.”

“Everybody knows that, Delia. Just, whatever you want. If you want to take those two, take them away.” Jude’s reddening face is covered in sweat as his eyes shift to each person in the room. 

Sophie rushes toward Jude, who pulls out the same dagger that he was going give to her a short while before. He points it at her. “You can start all over again. Like you always can.” 

Caleb inches out towards the centuries old acquaintances.

“Take them away!” Jude yells at the gang. 

Sophie grabs for the knife but is pulled aside by one of the men. At the same time, Caleb rushes trying to protect Sophie, only to collide with Jude's knife. Everyone’s breath escapes them as he falls to the ground on his knees. Sophie turns to see the blood running down his chest, the knife still in Jude’s hand.
She runs to him, his head on her chest as everyone watches. Sophie brushes his hair away from his face and takes his bloody hand. “We’ll find each other again.” Jude is led outside before Caleb’s last breath. But no one missed the wailing, sobbing cry that escaped, half human, half heavenly to a love found and quickly lost. 

Water. Running water. Everything is white. Sophie is showered by a light that lets her know she is no longer on earth. It’s viscous, like water, but breathable and pure. She opens her eyes to see one of the Thrones keeping a watchful eye on her. They are non-human looking, more of a presence of light void of a face. Sophie nods as she is overcome by sadness. While the light is to cleanse, she can’t forget the feeling of Caleb in her arms. It wasn’t like any time before when she held someone in her arms. Emotions she never felt, a connection to this human she didn’t know were possible…

“Sophie. You know I didn’t mean it.” Jude, approaches her. He too is cleaned and in the watchful eye of the Thrones. First tears, then when he approaches, she bangs her fists on his chest.

“Hey, it’s not all his fault.” Caleb enters into this vast room, cleaned, healed and without his biggest tattoo. He stretches his arms out for Sophie, who wastes no time running to him.

His arms encircle her as she vows to never let go of him. “I think I have a few questions for you.” As she looks up at his blue eyes and smiles, the light pulses at them and Caleb covers his ears.  

When the pulsing stops, Sophie takes his hands off his ears. “You’ll get used to it...if you want.”

“Who are they?”

“The Thrones, like head angels. Think of them as Supreme Court Judges.”

He tilts his head. “Have we done something wrong?”

“I did. I had doubted, “she pauses, “doubted all of this.” For a millennia I have been interacting with humans. But I always cursed God because I thought he sent me on hopeless and frustrating assignments. When you get punished, you are banished to earth until you commit and understand the wrongs of the seven deadly sins.” 

Caleb shakes his head in utter confusion. “I don’t understand, Sophie.”

“I had never understood wrath until your heart stopped beating.” I had finally understood love and then it was gone.” When you understand love, you understand the human race and what other emotions are fueled by it. 

Again the light pulses and this time Sophie covers Caleb’s ears. This time, the lights fade and the three are left in a sterile room. Jude walks over to Sophie as Caleb takes her hands in his.

“I guess this is goodbye again.” Jude bows his head to them. “They’ve been waiting for you here. You’ll do a fine job with Sophie as your mentor.”

“I get to stay?”

Sophie shakes her head. Caleb looks at Jude. “And why do you have to go back?”

Jude folds his hands in front of himself. “I only get to stay here briefly, to help others make the final transition back here. I served my purpose and if I have to pay for what was destined for me, so be it. But, to me there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. I'm not talking about who sleeps with who or who evaded their taxes. I mean the real sins, hate, revenge, murder. Which, by the way, we're okay? That wasn't supposed to happen."

"Yeah, it's fine. I mean, I get to stay here and help people and be with Sophie. I have a lot of questions now, like who exactly you've done your repentance with in the past." He smiles and nods to Jude.

"All things must pass, Caleb."

"And you know how it annoys me when you quote George Harrison as your own gospel." Jude turns and walks away from Caleb and Sophie. 

"So when I met you yesterday, what did you say about some guys mother."

"You know, let's get you settled." 

Caleb puts his arm around Sophie. "So what were you doing picking up strange women along the side of the road?" 

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