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November 2009

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charletnarouh in 21months

They are always easy to spot and I always know them instantly. My eyes scan the nearly empty street as I walk, waiting for that tug to pull me towards this homeless person, or that runaway child, or this broken hearted soul, but no, not yet. My feet keep moving forward, following some route unknown to me in this unfamiliar city.

Little good it does me to wonder what my appointed task will be, since I will know soon enough, but my mind is idle and I cannot help myself. The love I give to those I help is often expressed in something akin to mortal romance, but not always. The untainted, honest love of a child, the memories I receive from them, so simple and unfettered, are often some of my favorites. I have walked on this earth for many centuries and experienced the darkest side of humanity, their capacity for cruelty, the depth of their depravity. To one such as I, the purity of a child’s heart is something wondrous to experience and reaffirms in my mind that those higher powers, the creators, must surely still exist even though I haven’t had direct contact with any of the high immortals in over a century, a bitter loss I feel acutely.

Every time I am waiting for the push of that higher power to direct me to my next task, I wonder if, perhaps, the gods have disappeared altogether at last and what should happen if they did? Should I be set loose, to wander the earth with no guidance or direction? Should I whither and perish or simply wink out of existence? Questions I would like to have asked those beings whose faces and names I can barely recall now, so long has it been since I saw them, heard their true voices. As the perfect innocence of children affirms the high immortals must still exist, the horrendous atrocities committed against them that would break my heart if one beat within my chest must surely signal the weakening of their power. No mortal alive has any knowledge of my creators and their brethren except through echoes, shadows of them reflected in the various deities they name now and in the comparatively recent past.

As I mindlessly turn a corner, my feet slow and I know I am close. My feet stop and, as always, I experience a moment of panic, wondering if perhaps now, at this very moment, I have lost that tenuous connection with my creators. I stand there, frozen to the spot, waiting. And then, finally, my eyes find their mark and that unmistakable pull, more powerful even than the force which drove me out of my bed and to this precise time and place, grips me and I close my eyes in silent prayer of thanks that I have not yet been wholly abandoned. My eyes are locked on a human figure, some distance down the sidewalk, slowly approaching. Even before I can make out any distinguishing features, I am overwhelmed by the depth of this one’s grief and sorrow, bitterness and despair and it washes over me in great, rolling waves and tears spill down my cheeks of their own volition. If my connection to this mortal creature were not enough, I could read every emotion just by looking, even from so far away. My tears continue their unbidden torrent. Wearing defeat and anguish like a garment, my target moves inexorably closer.