She stood there, terrified—no, petrified—and in disbelief at what she saw. She felt betrayed, yet, strangely happy. She could not understand what was going on in her own head, let alone what was going on in front of her. As she stared down the barrel of what looked like a .357 magnum pistol, a wave of relief mixed with shock washed over her.
Connected to the gun was the darkish hand of her brother, who had served in the armed forces for a few years now. His hair stood out in shocks of orangish hair and his eyes were dark. The kindness she had seen in his eyes long ago when she adopted him as her brother was now gone, replaced with an insane menacing.
“Damon…What is going on?” was all she could think to say.
“Be quiet, sis. This is for your own good…and the good of everyone else.”
“I understand that, but why? What is going on in your head?”
“Christine…I don’t want to do this…I really don’t…I love you too much to do this, but it is for everyone else’s good…I’m sorry sis…”
“Why? What for?”
“Maybe one day you will know and understand. If you are going to shoot me, then do so now, before you think twice about it.”
She closed her eyes serenely, awaiting the quick, but intense, pain of being shot. She waited several moments, then peeked her eyes open. In front of her was her brother, Damon, staring at her with a puzzled expression on his face.
“Why are you hesitating?”
“I can’t figure it out…”
“I know, but right now don’t worry about it. Just do your duty. Promise me something before you do?”
“Don’t let yourself die, okay?”
“But why? You know what I told you. I told you that…”
“I know, brother,” she said as she interrupted him, “I know. But please don’t, okay? I want to be your guardian angel. I want you to keep living on with your life, because I know God wants that of you as well. He has a great plan for your life, one that you cannot imagine. However, to fulfill this plan, you must have training, and training means heartbreak at times to make you strong in areas of your life where you are weak. Do you understand what I am saying?”
“You will some day. Just promise me.”
“I…I can’t promise that, sis, and you know it.”
“Yes, you can. Just remember your other promise to me and it should be okay.”
“No buts, brother.”
“Thank you, brother. I love you.”
“I know you do, sis…” he said as he raised the gun, aiming between her beautiful hazel-green eyes, a tear streaming down his face, “I will miss you…”
“And I will watch over you…”
A shot rang out, blasting her ears for a quick moment. She felt the hot lead bullet pierce her fair skin, but only for a brief second. After that, all was dark. Her large, and somewhat pudgy body rocked backwards, her eyes went empty and glazed, her black hair—which had been pulled back into a pony tail and tied with a black ribbon—splayed out as she fell backwards onto the ground.
“Sis…” said Damon, tears streaming down his face. He walked up to her cooling body and cradled her head and shoulders in his arms, “Sis…I’m sorry…”
Just then, a still and small voice echoed in his head.
“Fear what? My sis is dead! At my own hand! How could you let this happen?!”
Suddenly he was filled with a rage and a sadness he had never felt before. He had just killed his own sister, and this voice was telling him to not be afraid. He felt no fear, just pain and sadness. They had been so close—more like inseparable twins than friends—and he had been forced to kill her, all for his “country”.
“Fear not. I am with you.”
“Go away! I don’t want you with me! I want my sis back!”
The voice seemed to change a little, from the soft, quiet voice of some all-powerful being, to an equally soft, and somewhat feminine voice.
“I am with you. Do not be afraid.”
“I am with you, do not be afraid.” The voice repeated, “Remember your promise…”
“I will, sis…” He could no longer talk. Tears had choked out any words he could say right now. He bent over her limp body and started sobbing, with deep, soul-rendering cries that could make even the hardest of men cry with him.
It was a bright and sunny day in New York City, New York. In spite of the thick smog, which made the sun a bit hazy, Damon enjoyed his long walks through the city. He looked up at the sky, and the corners of his dark mouth upturned a little bit in a small smile. A smile for him was a rare occasion indeed, considering what a troubled and sad childhood he had, yet he chose now to turn a frown into a little smile. He was clearly enjoying the bright, warm weather, as he was accustomed to when he lived in Iraq.
He had lived in Iraq since he was born, and only six months before had moved to the United States, just two months after the war broke out between the United States and Iraq, and about six months before he shot the one person from the United States that he could honestly say was close enough to call family. The president of the United States was a fool in his mind, fighting his country which was politically defenseless, and calling it a war on terror. It was true, but to him it was the president that was the terrorist.
Because his father had already been in the Iraqi army, he got to join at a younger age than usual, joining when he was fifteen years of age. That was two years ago. When the war broke out, he was given the mission to be a spy for the Iraqi’s, and to live in the United States as a citizen. His mission was to go to the capitol and gather information, working as a CIA agent. Some chose to deny the existence of the CIA, though everyone knew they existed. He gave no hesitation to his mission. He was glad to be a spy, hopefully so they could win the war against such a silly and petty country.
A lovely young woman, about the age of twenty, was walking down the streets of New York City, her hazel-green eyes cast on the ground. Her mind was clouded with thoughts of her new mission—to spy on the Iraqis. She didn’t like it at all. She hated war, and fighting, but had been recruited and had no other choice. She did her best in her training, as she had done all her life with everything else, yet always felt sad and empty when she was forced to think about her work.
Her jet black hair, which was pulled back into a pony-tail tied up with a black ribbon, flipped back and forth behind her, tickling the back of her neck. She knew the city like the back of her hand, so she did not need to look around for signs leading to the local Café. She took a quick turn, pushing open a tall glass door, savoring the savory-sweet scent of freshly roasted, ground, and brewed coffee. She had always loved coffee, and this little café was her favorite. She knew the employees by name, and they knew hers.
“Hello, Christine! Having the same thing today?” asked Ariel, a tall, dark, and handsome young man that worked at the café.
“Always, Ariel, and thank you.”
“You looked troubled. Is something wrong?” he said as he started to prepare her special coffee that she ordered every time she came—a flavored mocha with two extra shots of coffee. She looked up at him, looking into his beautiful dark eyes, as if to read his mind, wondering how he knew. Then it dawned on her that she had been too obvious. She knew she needed to learn how to hide it if she was troubled, but had not done so yet.
“No, nothing wrong. Just thinking, I guess.” She said as she pulled out a five dollar bill, to pay for the coffee. As she was doing so, a young man with dark skin—not necessarily black, but darker than a deep tan—and shocks of orange hair sticking out in what appeared to be an afro, without all the curls and friz. There was a small smile on his face, and his dark eyes provoked intrigue in her. He seemed very serious, as though the smile he wore was forced, but something about him also seemed like he was kind—when he needed to be.
She was not the kind to say hello to strangers, but this stranger interested her some how. She could not help herself.
He looked at her for a brief moment, and his smile disappeared.
“Hello.” He responded quietly. Just then, Ariel interrupted as he handed her the coffee she had ordered.
“That will be four fifty please.”
She handed him the five dollar bill and sipped her coffee as she waited for her change. She was handed two quarters in return, which she promptly dropped in a near-full jar of change, labeled “Children’s hospital fund”. It had always been her habit, and pleasure, to donate what change she had to a local charity, especially for children. She took a seat at the bar, and sipped her coffee, wondering who that stranger was.
Damon had always been a fan of coffee, and it wasn’t just the bright day and warm weather that had made him smile. Mostly it was the thought of savoring his favorite coffee from his favorite coffee shop that made him smile. He turned right around a corner, and into the little coffee shop. The savory sweet scent of freshly roasted, ground, and brewed coffee beans always made him think of home, and he enjoyed being there. Standing at the counter was a young woman, about the age of twenty he surmised. Her hair was jet black, and pulled into a pony-tail tied with a black ribbon. She wore a black sweater with a strange symbol on the back, and upper left corner. She wore comfortable blue jeans, and tan hiking boots. It was not her looks that intrigued him, though, it was the air about her. He had not gotten a good look at her face, but the way she held herself was that of confidence. As she turned around and he saw her face, he looked into her hazel-green eyes. What he found intrigued him even more. He saw kindness, compassion, and love. Behind all that, he saw a deep sadness that he had never seen before in any American’s eyes. His observations were only confirmed when she spoke to him.
“Hello, there.” She had said to him. Her voice was soft and quiet.
“Hello.” He had responded quietly to her. His smile disappeared, but only because he was not used to having people see him smile.
As she took her coffee, and dropped her change into the jar marked “Children’s hospital fund”, he walked up to the cashier, who he knew only vaguely.
“What can I get you?”
“A large coffee please.”
“Alrighty, coming right up!” said the cashier with a smile. He turned to make Damon’s coffee.
Still intrigued by the stranger with the black ribbon in her hair, he sat next to her, trying to decide what to say. He had a lot of questions, mostly about her kindness. Since moving to the United States, he had never seen any one as kind as she seemed to be. Then again, almost nothing is what it seems, and he had to be sure. He extended a darkened hand, as if to offer a hand shake.
“I’m Damon. Who are you?”
She looked at his hand briefly, before taking his hand and shaking it warmly.
“Hello, Damon. I am Christine. Uh, I think your coffee is ready.”
He turned to look at the cashier, who was standing next to the cash register with a large cup of coffee next to him. He stood up and pulled out a five dollar bill to pay for his coffee, handing it to the cashier.
“Thank you, sir.” He said as he took the bill and counted out his change, “Alright, your change is two-fifty. Enjoy the coffee.”
“I will, thank you.” He looked at his change, and thought for a moment. It was not like him to be kind to others, but he now felt strangely compelled to do one kind act. He dropped the change into the jar, much to the chagrin of the cashier, and the mild surprise of Christine. He took his coffee and once again sat next to her. He didn’t usually believe in the supernatural, though he often had hunches about people that proved to be true. His hunch about her was that she was not only kind and compassionate, but also dependable and trustworthy—a combination he did not think possible in an American girl.
“You seem kind. Are you?” he said bluntly. She did a double take, surprised that anyone would ask something like that upon their first conversation.
“I don’t know. That’s up to you.”
“That’s not what I asked.”
“In all honesty, I don’t really know. I like to think that I am, but just like everyone in this world, I am mean at times. As I said, whether or not I am kind is up to you.”
“I have a lot of questions.”
“Why are you kind? Why are you honest? You seem kind and dependable. Are you?”
“Maybe we should determine that for ourselves. To me, you seem strong, quiet, not quite used to being kind to others or trusting people, like something bad happened. Is this true? And why does it surprise you that I would seem kind?”
“You asked first. It’s only fair.”
“Good point. Perhaps we should get to know each other. Maybe even be friends some day.”
“Sounds good. Well, we know each other’s names, so how about age?”
“Twenty. You look African-american. Are you?”
“No. Much like the rest of the country, I am a mix of many cultures. Still in high school?”
“You must be smart then.”
“Don’t know about that.”
“Well, it is nice to meet you anyway, Damon.” She said as she checked the watch on her left wrist, “I am sorry to cut this short, but I have to go to work now.” She pulled out a napkin and a pen, and wrote something on it, before folding it in half and handing it to him. “You seem like an interesting person. If you want to talk, this is my e-mail address. Oh, and don’t forget to smile. You have a nice smile.” She said as she flashed a small smile of her own, then turned and left the café.
He stared at the napkin for a moment, wondering just what had gotten into him to talk to a stranger he could normally not trust. He unfolded the napkin and looked at the neatly written letters printed on the napkin. Should he e-mail her? Probably not, but he would anyway. If he was going to complete his mission, he was going to need the trust of many people, no matter who they were. Who knows? Maybe she would be some kind of government official he could get information from. Of course, this was not his normal way of thinking, but his normal way of thinking began to change ever since he caught sight of her.