More words on this weird little tale. Read from the start here.
They settled into a Waffle House, where Frieda watched Sebastian eat the tallest stack of pancakes she had ever seen. Followed by a plate of eggs, bacon and toast. Followed by a bowel of fruit, two bowls of oatmeal and a seemingly endless carafe of coffee.
“That’s amazing. How long has it been since you’ve eaten?’’
Sebastian tried to answer with this mouthful. Smiled. Chewed and swallowed. Took a long drink of coffee. Then a small burp.
“Long time,” he said at last. “I’ve never been this hungry before. Never really been hungry at all. We don’t eat where I come from. This is incredible. This sense of filling the body with tastes and energy.”
Frieda just nodded.
“I am sorry you were scared. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Frieda nodded again, watching Sebastian study the array of empty plates with obvious satisfaction.
“What are you?” she asked. Which was a related but very different question than Where are you from?
“I can tell you that, but its probably better that I tell you everything. That way you can understand.”
“Okay. Go ahead,” Frieda told him.
Sebastian motioned for the waitress to bring more coffee. He poured the last of the current carafe into his cup. Swallowed and savored. He opened his mouth to speak. Closed it. When he opened it again, his most incredible story spilled out.
Your people have many different names for what I am. Angel. Seraphim. Courier. All of these have a kind of truth in them. My people have a specific name for what I am, but this tongue cannot pronounce it. My kind were created, just like your kind, to serve. Though who or what we were made to Serve I cannot say. I have never seen Him. He does not show Himself to such as I, though my mother tells me I must be patient, that we each were made to serve Him and each will see Him in due time. This from my mother, who is millennia old. Any my father, two millennia and a half. And my grandparents, five millennia each if they are a year.
And I am still young. Only six hundred years in the way you measure time. I am just a child in the way my people account time. But I remember looking down at the age of Great Churches. I remember the Plagues, the Bonfires, the Age of Mighty Ships.
I have been watching with such interest and enthusiasm. I have made myself a scholar. I have made your people my study. And I have watched with such keen attention. Such interest. My family worried that I might eventually fall into disgrace. They were right to worry. It was inevitable, I think now. My fall was destined to happen. I had become infected with an ailment uncommon among my people. An incurable sickness that robs the immortal of their joy and their certainty. I had become curious.
I am what you might call an Inbetweener. I was created to travel between the worlds, your world and mine, carrying important messages and the occasional sacred relic back and forth. I had been between so many times before, each time delivering my message, depositing my relic in some secret place, and each time bringing back with me some trivial little token, some small trophy back from your world to mine. I made these objects my study. I kept my mind bent on them, obsessively poring over each in what few private moments I could steal for myself. I made these objects my textbook. They were my learning. And they made me desperate to know and understand the people who had made them.
And it was on such a trip that I made my fatal mistake. I fell in love with Lana.
I was coming down to retrieve a sacred relic. A minor statue the priest had left locked in the vestibule closet. It had served the people well, having been prayed over for a hundred years. It had brought good luck, peaceful lives and bountiful crops to those who held it. It was an insult we could not bear to have it gathering dust in some forgotten church closet. And so, I was coming to retrieve it. To carry it home where it could serve its true purpose and derive power from the presence of those beyond faith.
And that’s when I saw her, praying at the altar. So intent. So fervent.
I saw her and knew, right away, I had to be right beside her.