That same day, but nearly four thousand miles away east by northeast, an ashen gray caked little fist punched into view, emerging from the ground. The little fist disappeared back into the ground, and a bigger area in the ground that was about 1 foot by 1 foot or so started to move, cracks appeared in the blanketed pile of black and grey sooty ash; and then a few seconds later erupted skyward kicking motes of white and grey particles in every direction. A near white and light grey little head appeared, slowly, timidly, out of the ground surveying the environs and then disappeared back into the hole from which it emerged.
Eventually, a few minutes later this same figure breached itself out of this hole in the ground and spilled out amongst a pile of what could only be described as double-burnt ruins. The smallish figure shook itself, ash erupting in every direction to reveal grey and brown colored rags underneath that were badly wanting to be washed. This figure darted from burned out post, to burned out beam, stayed low and kept a low profile. It didn’t wander far and returned back to that black hole in the ground. This figure seemed to give a hand signal with the right hand but put its left hand to its mouth in a gesture representing to stay quiet. Then, with the right hand reached down and pulled another very white and gray soot covered being into the light. The second small figure crouched down nearby, as the first figure reached back into that hole, right arm extended again, and pulled a third, slighter figure back into the atmosphere of Hope that had the acrid smell of burnt dwellings and livestock.
Perilon, Wren, and Fenea surveyed the burned-out husk, and remnants of their town. The world around them had been forever altered. There was quite literally almost nothing left. There were still a few token fires seeking fuel to burn; but even the flames appeared as if starved. The air, and ground were still both warm from the fires that had obviously burned the town to the ground. In addition to the warmth, there was a smell unlike anything these kids had ever smelled before. It was a cross between something that smelled of both burned meat, and rot. Upon closer inspection of what used to be their town, they noticed that the storm had passed. The direction from which it came had an oddness that left an inky, smoking, imprint on the ground. It was as if something a little over a mile wide had been dragged across the prairie, their former fields, their town, trees, homes, etc; had all been scraped clean. This black trail followed the path of the storm that originated in the east and had obviously continued westward leaving nothing in its wake but death, destruction, and ultimately annihilation.
The tallest diminutive figure that belonged to Perilon looked from Wren to his left and then Fenea (his sister) to the right. They were all covered from head to foot in a super light grey colored fine ash. The three of them also had another thing in common – the tracks of tears had washed the ash from their faces in narrow streaks exposing hints of tanned skin beneath on their cheeks and faces. As they looked at each other - all of them instinctively knew what the other was thinking, their situation was dire indeed. It was probably thirst that broke them out of their reverie. Perilon shook himself again, trying to get more of the ash and dust off of his body. The others followed suit. Perilon’s parched voice spoke up as he simply said: “Follow me…”
Perilon paused by the hole from which they’d emerged before, crawled in, and re-emerged with the black cloak that was formerly contained in the bundle Uncle Bendt had given him to give to their Uncle David. Perilon carefully folded it, feeling almost as if the slightly shimmering silken cloth had contained an inner power that he didn’t understand. What he did know, is that he wanted to get it out of sight. He felt a bit ashamed that he’d opened during his panicked state & threw it over the three of them before they all passed out from exhaustion. However; on the other hand, he sort of felt it somehow had made a difference & perhaps even cloaked them. From what, he didn’t know, or even want to know. Once completed, Perilon motioned for Fenea and Wren to follow him. They left the location of where their town was and moved north along a country road that took them in the direction of both mountains, and more importantly, water. After about an hour, they came upon a bridge constructed out of river stone, but instead the three of them made a bee line to the sound of the blue waters below. Falling to their knees, along the sandy river bank below, the three of them used the cups of their hands to scoop cool water into their mouths. After sating their thirst, they crawled into the slow meandering waters to wash the smell of death from their clothes and bodies. Almost as if in unison, they crawled to the warm white stone laden banks cut with lush green grasses and passed out.
After a while, Perilon woke to the sounds of sniffling, and muffled grief. He looked over at his sister, her chestnut locks pulled into a pony tail by a tightly wound black ribbon that exposed a face that was becoming more and more beautiful every month – if that could even be possible. The thought that his sister was going to attract every boy for a thousand-mile radius made Perilon extremely uneasy; but he’d have to put that anxiety on hold since there were more pressing matters at hand. Even seeing Fenea like this involuntarily began jerking tears from his eyes. He quickly moved towards his sister and enveloped her in those farm conditioned arms and hands of his. He pulled her close, and they both began to sob. After a few minutes of this, they heard another sob; and looked over at Wren. Who was laying on the ground, sniffling, arms up, hands covering his face and likely feeling alone in the world but trying to be brave. Perilon and Fenea both joined him on the grassy ground hugging each other for comfort. The sun was getting low on the horizon. While they should have been hungry, they weren’t. There was no appetite – at least not yet; and the immediate need was to provide emotional support and hope to one another where they could. While the stars snuck out, they eventually passed out again, in large part due to exhaustion, unfelt hunger, and not having anything left to give.
A new day dawned. the sun had been up for a few hours. The subdued sounds of sobbing oddly mingled with the sounds of the distant birds chirping early in the morning.
All of a sudden…
“Why are you children crying?” A male voice inquired.
The kids shot up, scared, witless.
Perilon immediately stood in front of his sibling and the slightly smaller Wren to shield them from where this unknown voice had originated. Perilon, and his sister Fenea, and Wren peered around the bulk of Perilon’s body and were struck speechless, if not a little scared. In front of them stood a near blindingly white robed figure of brunette man with no facial hair. His features were slightly difficult to discern due to the light white glow that seemed to practically emanate from his being.
The glowing white man was by himself, literally standing on the water of the brook flowing below, and around his feet. He was peering down at the bank and soft green grasses and ground cover below that the kids had fallen asleep on; and for the second time repeated. “Why are you children crying?”
Perilon, found his voice, but shakenly replied with: “Sir, you scared us” “Who….who are you?” As he made a bold attempt to wipe his cheeks dry. As well as not be overly startled by the fact that this man was practically walking on water.
“Me? Wow… no one, and no thing has asked me that in a very long time. Well… I am nobody.”
Perilon, encouraged by the fact that this person didn’t seem intent on killing them all right then and there on the spot decided to respond with “Sir, you must have a name?” “For my name is Perilon” and he moved to the side to introduce his sister and friend. “And this Sir, is my sister Fenea”
Fenea spoke “Good morning to you Sir” as she attempted a slight curtsy.
“And this is my great friend – Wren.”
The glowing white figure slowly walked to the bank and got a little closer to them. He pulled his right hand up to his angular chin & began pulling on his squared chin ever so slightly peering down at them as if pondering what to do next. He simply responded with “Indeed, you are.” “And, a pleasant morning to you all as well – I am sorry to have disturbed your rest.” “I only came because I sensed great sadness coming from this location.” “My name? …. Well… my name used to be Radulf. However; Ralph suits me just as well.”
There was a little bit of a pause, and then Fenea boldy spoke up “Sir, err.. I mean Ralph…. Are you an Angel?” “For you seem to be like those that I’ve read about in bedtime stories and little one’s tales.”
Ralph paused a second and spoke “Yes, little one, I am.”
Fenea, her voice cracking a little said “Sir Ralph, could you not have helped out with the strange storm that our parents and friends seem to have been lost or perished in?” “Our town is gone, we have nothing left to us. We can’t seem to find a soul.”
Ralph said “My dear Fenea, you have everything, and have lost nothing. Your parents and Wren’s are safe with Ona.”
Fenea didn’t quite understand the implications of what Ralph was saying, and understandably got excited, and animated by saying “They’re safe! Why that is wonderful! Sir Ralph! Thank you! Thank you so much, can you please take us to them!? They must have gotten to one of the shelters before the storm hit! I’m soooo happy I could burst! Mom and Dad must be worried sick about us.” “Sir…when can we go see them?” Fenea was talking very excitedly and rapidly at this point.
Perilon knew in his gut that the Angel Ralph was speaking metaphorically.
Wren, peering from Perilon, to Fenea, and back to Ralph, also caught on quickly and spoke for the first time that morning by saying. “Fenea”….. “Fenea!” trying to get her to attention and to stop.
Fenea was still talking animatedly and understandably excited to be reunited with their parents since she missed them so.
“Fenea!” Yelled Wren, “Stop!” “Listen to me! Ralph can’t take you to go see them right now.”
“And, why not!?” Fenea said angrily, shooting a sharp start back at Wren.
Wren, in his usual blunt but truthful way – “Because they’re all dead Fenea.” “They’re with Ona, …. In Heaven…that’s why Fenea.”
There was a long pause.
Fenea then grasped what the Angel Ralph was saying. Who at that time was again hovering a few inches as it were slightly above the bank.
“Sir!” “Why didn’t you help them?!” She said emphatically as tears started streaming down those cheeks of hers again.
Perilon, being the eldest and slightly further along in his learnings knew that even seeing an Angel, let alone talking to one was not just merely a rare event, but nearly an impossible thing to ever experience in one’s life – for anyone or anything. He moved closer to Fenea, reached out & grasped his distraught sisters hand. Emotion had overridden her ability to reason and fully grasp what was going on. His touch seemed to calm Fenea down a little bit.
The angel Ralph, who at this point had an expression of sadness on his face stated.
“Everything will be ok young Fenea.” “If I had been permitted to and known that this was going to happen I could have likely stopped it; but, we Angels are not permitted to interfere in the affairs of the Fallen and devolved.” “There is more afoot here than meets the eye or has simply occurred in the last few days.” “We can only observe, report, and defend ourselves when attacked directly.” “In this time, in these days, we are expected to keep our distance.”
Wren, who had largely remained quiet, never spoke, but his stomach gave out a large growl attributed to a hunger pain that everyone presently heard. It was nearly comical had it not been for the children going without food for nearly a day, and, the super bad timing.
Ralph peered at Wren “That, I can help with!” Ralph made a sweeping gesture with his left arm and nodded behind them. The children looked behind and were simply blown away by the sight of what amounted to a banquet on a thick blanket laid out behind them that for all intents and purposes seemed to have been conjured out of thin air. Everything they liked for breakfast imaginable laid before their eyes. Varying crystal urns contained everything from fresh squeezed orange juice, other juices they didn’t recognize, to milk, and heavy cream. Perilon, who had developed a taste for coffee smelled the freshest brew coming from a warmed pot. The all too familiar and welcoming smell of bacon, eggs, and warmed croissants filled their noses. Fresh jams were laid out. Everything imaginable was in abundance; and could have fed a small village.
Perilon looked back at Ralph – stunned into silence; and said “Sir, may we? For we are famished and tired.”
“Children, two things first.”
“Anything!” Exclaimed Perilon, Wren, & Fenea in unison.
“One, may my friends join us?”
“Yes!” they responded.
“Great!” “And, we must wait to give thanks!”
Ralph then slightly nodded his head up & then down. The earth gave a slight shake, the sky seemed to crack open briefly for a second, and an oddly muted, nearly quiet, yet no less formidable sound of multiple thunder claps hit in quick succession. Each report signifying one of Ralphs Angel friends joining them for their scrumptious breakfast.
Thirty-two additional beings clad in impossibly white clothing joined in. Perfect, beautiful women and handsome men joined them. A few of them sported glimmering white wings of the finest long feathers. They seemed glad, mirthful, and genuinely thankful to be in the children’s company; literally as if they were the ones in awe of the children and not the other way around.
Ralph, who seemed to be loosely in charge, sat down. Everyone, including the children followed his example. Their mouths were salivating, yet they managed to refrain from reaching out towards the food. This was partly from fear, and what amounted to farm-manners as their semi-strict upbringings had taught them. Ralph spoke the following. “We give thanks to Ona for this meal, this abundance, and the blessing of meeting these young children on this day. May we continue to serve your will, do your bidding, and further your Grace – Amen.”
Ralph took the first bite, from a warm croissant-like bisquit, and at that, everyone, children and Angels fell to and dined in unison. After his third bite of food, Ralph looked at the children and simply said – “Tomorrow, we will take you to Utropia, to see your uncle.”
May 22nd, 2018
First (Web) Edition
Jhost (tm) Series, and The world called Hope is Copyright © 2017 and TM 2017 by Matt Ployhar. All content posted to page copyright ©2017-present, and intellectual property of Thoughtops.com/Matt Ployhar. All Rights Reserved. No use or reproduction of characters or artwork permitted. This story & book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Do not use, edit, re-upload, or redistribute any content in any way. Visitors may view content belonging to the author and nothing more. Any use in any way is strictly forbidden. All of these works are not public domain, never have been, and never will be. Do not use, re-upload, edit, etc. any text, image, or character. Artwork of Jhost uploaded to artist's portfolios share these rights and reservations.Any similarity between persons alive or dead is purely coincidental.
Online published in the United States of America
First Printing, 2018
Jhost™ is a primary character from my original fantasy fiction novel. Jhost is navigating his way in a world called Hope - he does not recollect. The story of Jhost has been around since 2003 and is only now being unveiled summer of 2017 to present; in an episodic release.