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Meribah came out of her bedroom and into the den, where Marc sat on a chair looking at the letter. “What a gorgeous morning. I can’t imagine the sun looking any better than it does now, with its reflection on the lake.”

“You should have seen it at sunrise,” Marc said looking more closely at the letter. “It came up over the mountain with pink clouds surrounding it, and it had a reflection then too.”

“Too bad, it looked like such a nice day,” amended Meribah.

“How do you mean? Isn’t it the same sky you looked at a second ago?”

“You know the rhyme. Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”

“Oh, yes I’d almost forgotten that you’re the daughter of a sailor.” Marc glanced at the blue sky. “We’ll if you say so.”

“I can’t believe that someone who knows so much about nature, wouldn’t know the rhyme. Dad would stay home and spend time with me whenever the sky was pink or red in the morning.” Meribah laughed. “So what are you doing?”

“I don’t know. It’s just that something isn’t right here. And I’m just overlooking it. Maybe I’m just being silly,” he mumbled. “Silly… silly… silly. That’s it, I’ve got it.”

“What do you got?” asked Meribah.

“When we were talking to Mirash yesterday he had said something about ‘that silly Peter’ and the letter says ‘that those silly Sorom sent you on’.”

Joel came out of his bedroom. “What’s silly?”

“This, all of this. It isn’t a present from God. It’s Mirash and his group, they’re trying to get us to stop.”

The walls of the cabin disappeared, Meribah disappeared, and everything turned into clouds. Marc and Joel found themselves in an arena surrounded by angels, both Sorom and Sorem. They whispered grimly to one another when the two boys first appeared. The council angels looked back and forth not sure who would begin. Then Mirash, a rather loud and young angel, said, “Joel and Marc we have decided on the matter of Lucifer having infected you. Because you are both new and not fully trained, we have decided on re-education. You shall start school with the first available class of earth-angels.” Mirash smiled in assurance to the two angels. “You are free to return to your bungalow or wherever you desire to be in Paradise.”

“But, wait…” started Joel.

“Council dismissed,” shouted Mirash, and he and all the Sorom disappeared.

Joel and Marc left through the giant doors that they had entered thirty-eight days before. Peter was waiting for them outside the arena.

“Well,” said Peter, “what did they decide.”

“They said we were to be re-educated,” said Joel.

“Oh that is very gracious of them.”

“Bullshit, it’s not even kind. They’ve screwed with us and with time. We’re not suppose to be here.”

“How do you mean?” asked Peter.

“We’ve been gone for thirty-eight days. That’s what he means,” replied Joel.

“What do you mean days. Today is the Seventh Day, just as it’s always been.”

“You’re not following us, are you Peter?” Joel started walking back toward their bungalow. “Listen, we’re in Paradise right?” Peter nodded, while bells sounded throughout heaven. “Hear that, those bells that’s how you tell that time passes in Paradise. Well Paradise is only a city within a universe that is heaven. The Sorom had sent us out from this city. We had lost these wings, but now they’re back.”

“Joel are you okay? Sometimes telepathy can stir up a person’s thoughts. Perhaps a nap.”

“Peter, you’re not listening. This universe is filled with our brothers and sisters. It’s a universe of Dorom,” Marc snapped.

“Dorom, what in heaven are Dorom?” asked Peter.

“We are Dorom, the sleeping angels.” Marc patted Peter on the back. “You are a Dorom. First God made the Sorom, the first born. Then he made the Dorom, the born sleeping. And our children are the Soron, the blessed born.”

“Marc, you know that angels cannot have children in heaven.” Peter looked embarrassed.

“Wrong, they cannot have children in Paradise. In heaven they can have children. I’ve a daughter.”

“Anyway, in the rest of heaven. There’s a daytime and a nighttime. There’s a sun. There are animals. Marc has a wife and a child, and I…” Joel looked at his feet, “I have someone who’s very special to me.”

“I really wish I could believe you, but I’ve never heard of there being anything else,” said Peter. “And why would the Sorom put you there, and then pull you back? And then there’s the fact that you’ve only been gone a few bells.”

“So time is marked differently. Its slower here, and faster there. I don’t know. I’m just about ready to give up.” They had arrived at their bungalow, Marc opened the door. “Listen Peter, someday we’ll prove it to you. Right now, Joel and I have to think things through, and figure out how we’re going to get back.”

“What do we do?” asked Joel.

“Well if we could find the way out of Paradise, it would take us at least thirty days before we find them again.” Marc sat down in his cloud chair. “Mirash really got us this time didn’t he?”

“And no one, is going to believe us. Heck, we’ve only been gone for a few bells. Can you send to Lily?”

“Nope. They must have thought of that too.” Marc plucked a feather from his right wing. “Are we stuck here? Have they caged these two birds?”

“Why bring us back?” asked Joel.

“Because here they can control us. Out there we were free. I think we were getting much too close for them.”

“There’s got to be someone we can trust.” Joel sat down next to Marc.

They sat quietly staring at each other.

Lily wiped the table, while Meribah finished the dishes. Petal was asleep in her bed. They had lit the lanterns hours before, and the wicks needed to be adjusted. The rain had finally stopped, and the wind had died.

“They’ve been gone a long time,” Meribah said.

“They’ve been gone before, and for longer. They’ll be back.” Lily looked at the door.

“Yeah but, at least those times you could talk to Marc. And we knew they were alright.”

“Thanks for the reassurance Meribah.” Lily sat down heavily at the table.

“I’m sorry. You know it’s just me being as insensitive and rash as usual. They’ll be okay.”

“I hope they come back soon.”

“We can’t get help from the Dorom here they’re all ignorant of what is going on,” Marc sighed.

“And what Sorom, would have enough guts to go against the Council?”

“Besides we don’t know any Sorom, but Mirash.”

“Oh yeah!” Joel jumped to his feet and went out the door with Marc following close behind him. “There’s one Sorom that we know and he’s brave enough.”

“Who?” shouted Marc chasing after him.

“Michael, Sword of God. That’s who!”

“So what do you plan to do now?” Marc looked up at Michael’s house. “Knock on the door, and ask to see Mike?”

“I don’t know but I’m not turning back.” Joel lifted the knocker and let if fall.

The door opened, and a short Sorem peeked from behind it. “Can I help you earth-angels?”

“Could you please tell Michael that two Dorom, Marc Labonté and Joel Howe, would like to see him?” As Joel expected the Sorem’s muscles tightened when she heard the word Dorom.

“Yes, please enter gentles.” She let them in, and left the room in search of her master.

“How long do you think we’ll wait?” asked Marc to Joel.

“Not long, Marc,” Michael said coming toward them. “Hello again Joel. You’ve certainly travelled fast to return to Paradise in so short a time.” Marc reached out his hand, but Michael pulled his away and showed his palms. “I’ve been working in my green-house, wouldn’t want to get the guests dirty. Please follow me.”

He led them to a library, equipped with thousands of books and scrolls. Michael waved for them to sit, while he washed his hands. They sat in two large and comfortable chairs made of mahogany and velvet.

“As you can see, I’ve always enjoyed human artifacts.” Michael pulled up a chair and sat facing them. “And I’ve got a copy of almost every decent thing written. Would you like to see my copy of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’?” Marc and Joel looked at each other to see who would answer. “Some other time maybe. Now what can I help you with.”

“Well,” said Joel, “we didn’t come back to Paradise. We were pulled back, and you’re the only one we can turn to.”

“Oh, I see. The old pull them back routine. So the council isn’t playing fair. If you want me to punish them, you’ll have to give names.”

“No, no nothing like that,” Marc said. “They’re only acting like this because they’re scared. All we want is to get back.”

“You’re a wise man, Marc.” Michael scratched behind his left ear. “I mean, seeing why your enemy acts the way he does, and forgiving him for it.” Michael smoothly stood up and turned from them. “But I won’t help you get back.”

“What, are you in on it too?” asked Joel.

“No. no,” Michael chuckled. “But what do you really want of me? Do you want me to show you how, or do you want me to assure you that what you think is right?” Michael led them to the doorway. “You see, I know that you both know how to get back. But like all Dorom, you’re unsure. You need science to answer things for you. Forget about physical things and laws, just do it.” He opened the door and patiently motioned them away. “Now go before I say too much.”

Marc and Joel sat on Michael’s lawn and held hands. They concentrated on what he had said. They let their emotions win over their reasoning. They let their mind’s eyes travel to the lake, and into the cabin, to where the three most important people to them waited. Once they had a perfect picture of where they were, they cut loose the anchors that held them to Paradise city, and they were gone.

When they returned Marc and Joel had lost their wings once more, and Joel had his leathers on. They had a hard time falling asleep, as they had woken only hours before, but they knew if they were to travel at sunrise they would have to be well rested. Marc tossed and turned all night while growling, “Damn jet lag!”