Emissary Of Light
by Jengrrl

Master Caleb told me that the light was God's and that He had graced me with it.

He told me this upon my first visit to the Church of the Divine, which I went to only after the gentle insistence of my best friend, Willow. I was fourteen and had just run away from home. My adoptive parents, a psychiatrist and a homemaker, loved me in their way but could never answer any of my questions. They thought that if they called me theirs, I would be. But they never kissed me, and were strangely preoccupied with their dogs more than they were with me, so I left. I went - where I knew they would never look - two cities down (and a world away) to a town called El Sereno. The city was not a city at all, but an offshoot of Los Angeles, a separate community shadowed by the skyscrapers of that megalopolis. Willow told me that the name was Spanish for serenity, for calm, but I never understood why that was its name. There was always something happening, something in motion - children playing, cars honking, women talking, radios blaring, guns firing? it was endless. When I asked where the serenity in El Sereno could be found, Willow began speaking to me of her church.

The church itself was established in an old shopping strip -- not far from where I lived with Willow and her older sister Cordelia -- in the space once occupied by a lawnmower repair and a gun shop, retrofitted only to unify the space and to accommodate a simple altar. The walls were white and blank, the seats were fold-out chairs put away after meeting. On the altar stood a large candle, perpetually lit and marked with the plaque, "The brightness of the Divine." The first evening I was ever there a woman, blind since the age of five, regained her sight. Everyone rejoiced and Master Caleb praised the Divine. Tall and thin, clean-shaven, and with a stillness of body that disconcerted, Master Caleb was like no clergyman I'd ever met. There was no austerity in his demeanor, no furrow on his brow. Young and with handsome, he seemed to have a smile for everyone. After service, Willow introduced me to him. He told me about the light and, with great seriousness, said to me, "Buffy, do not waste your gift."

I didn't know what he was talking about. I didn't know what he meant by light, or gift. Sometimes I think I still don't.

From that day on, with the guidance of Willow and Master Caleb, I began walking the Path of Light. It was what they called their religious study, which they said was the only way to living a fulfilled life. I may not have understood a lot they were saying, but I knew that I wanted what they offered. When I turned fifteen and began having the Dreams, I took it as an omen that what they were saying was not only true, but good.

In my first dream, which I recounted to Master Caleb, I had a vision that all the gods existed together at once, from Brahma, to Jesus, to Zeus. All existed together. I asked him what it meant. "It is the light," he said. "You see the truth."

"They all exist together?"

"Together and as one," he replied.

"Why don't others know?" I asked, near frantic.

"They walk in darkness."

It was the best answer I could get from him, but I knew he meant it was our job to bring people the light, to liberate them from the black hole in which they lived and died. Together, Willow and I - Cordelia did not believe in the light and though we tried to convince her of the truth she shook her head and told us we were bound for Hell - walked the streets of El Sereno, trying to illuminate all we could. "Gringita," a woman said to me when I knocked on her door, "que no ves?" I did not understand her; I needed Willow to point out the sign which read, "This is a Catholic home."

In broken Spanish, I pressed on, nodding feverishly, "Si, Jesucristo, el tambien." Yes, Jesus Christ too. He's there. But Willow pulled me away, telling me some, like Cordelia, would never find the path.

In my second dream, I met my parents. My real parents, who had both died the very day I was born, my mother giving birth to me through a miraculous c-section. They were kind, and gentle, and told me all of this, which I had never known, through my dream. Master Caleb confirmed what I believed, that this was another sign from the Divine, another aspect of the light.

During all of this, and up to my seventeenth year, Willow and Master Caleb supported me, both financially and morally. I did not attend the public school, but continued my studies with Master Caleb, who really was more learned - in what was most important -- than anyone I had ever met.

I was sixteen, nearing seventeen, when a new person joined our congregation. Her name was Faith and she too was a runaway, though her parents had been poor and mean rather than rich and apathetic. Master Caleb had found her on the streets, where she was alone, dirty, and hungry. She was not an eager student, but she seemed appreciative of all we gave her. I tried to befriend her but she was withdrawn, preferring solitude to my company. When I spoke to Master Caleb on the subject, he advised I be patient. She needed time.

It didn't take very long. One evening, after meeting, I caught Faith shoving her belongings (which we had given her) in a duffel bag, as if she were leaving. When she saw I had caught her, she stopped and blushed, unable to meet my gaze.

"What are you doing?"

"I have to go," she whispered, zipping up the duffel, pulling its strap over her shoulder.

"What about the light?" Her behavior wasn't what I expected it should be. Why would she want to leave such a place, after everything she'd learned?

When she said, "What light?" Faith seemed genuinely perplexed. But then she remembered and smiled. "Oh, that. I'm sorry, I just really don't buy that shit."

The news was distressing. Why was it so difficult to liberate those in the dark? "How can you not, after everything you've heard and seen?

"I haven't seen anything," she declared firmly.

"But I had a dream about you." It was true. My third, and final, dream had been about Faith.

While she'd seemed ready to take off, my comment stopped her short. "Oh, yeah?" Curious now, she waited for more.

"In my dream, I could travel through time. The light carried me wherever, whenever, I wanted. Into the past, the future, it didn't matter. The Divine saw it fit that I have all the power I needed to bring those in the darkness to the light."

"How'd you do?"

I was pleased she was asking questions. "Very well," I replied. "Extremely well, in fact. When I traveled back, it was to the days of cowboys and Indians. It wasn't as dark there as it is here, but I knew everyone I met had to see the light, feel it. When I traveled forward, it was to the darkest of places, darker even, than Los Angeles. I don't know where it was, but they all saw the light, too."

"That's great," Faith said, shifting feet, and I had the sense she was humoring me. "Where do I come in?"

I smiled, letting her know I was getting to it. "You I met in the present. Well, nearly the present, maybe a bit into the future. The future is now, though, I think. This conversation."

That was definitely surprise on her face. "You had a dream about this conversation?"

"My dreams are prophetic," I replied by way of assent. "They're a product of the light."

"You can see the future?" she asked, and in her tone was real disbelief.

"I've seen the past and the present. This last dream showed me the future." I shook my head. "Which is now."

Faith asked, "So, B., what is the light?" I wondered if she was really, truly, interested now.

"Only some of us can know the light. Others have to be shown."

She shrugged. "Show me."

And I did.

I started having problems with Master Caleb after that. He said there were better ways of showing the light, less messy ways. I disagreed. Handing out candy just wasn't the same. People just didn't see the light the way they felt it. My way was better. It was one thing to lead people to the light, but to have them see it... Willow agreed. It was time to leave Master Caleb behind. I was the prophet; I was graced by the Divine's light.

We traveled south, because I liked the sound of La Paz.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style