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The Book of Names

by Cindy Calder 2 months ago in fantasy

The New Name

The Book of Names

Micah sat on a bench at the Battery, looking out on the ocean waves as they lapped against the seawall and fencing barricade that had stood for well over a century. The peaceful moss swayed in response to the whisper of an April wind rustling through the leaves of the massive oaks that lined the park. The weather was lovely this time of year in Charleston, as was the abundance of blooming azaleas, magnolias, and dogwoods. All of these things, when combined, lent a calmness that betrayed the anxiousness Micah had felt ever since he’d lost the little black notebook four days prior. He had never been without the book in his possession. It would not be long, however, before he’d have it back – before she arrived with it. His hands itched at the thought of holding the book again as he waited, pondering the recent turn of events that had led him to this point.

Four days ago, it had been another warm April day when he’d chosen to sit on this very same bench. As he’d done so, lost in thought as to what his future might hold, he’d caught sight of two women walking the high stone precipice in front of him. Of the two, he was instantly drawn to the woman with beautiful red hair. She was striking, even from a distance. Graceful in her movements, she reminded him of a ballet dancer. Quite animated as she spoke, she moved her hands and body to reflect the passion of her thoughts. His interest, seldom piqued, was thus as he watched her. Inexplicably, he felt the pull and knew instinctively that she was someone special. After several lapsed minutes, the two women hugged goodbye, with the redheaded one remaining to look out upon the ocean.

Continuing to watch her as he wondered exactly what drew him to her, Micah had absent-mindedly placed the little black notebook in his pocket – or so he’d thought. Even from where he sat, he could feel the beauty and the power her soul emitted. She was undoubtedly also passionate, strong, and intelligent. In all his travels, he had never paused long enough to acquaint himself with anyone who had truly snared his interest. But this woman, well she more than snared it – something about her beckoned to him. Entranced, he watched her for long minutes before he headed home to the small, rented carriage house apartment.

Once there, he had stretched upon his bed, and though he’d left the woman behind, the allure he’d felt for her still encompassed him. Relaxing, he had welcomed the serenity of his thoughts and fallen asleep a short while later. Awakening just prior to the twilight hour, he’d immediately realized something was amiss. Reaching into his pocket for the notebook, he’d found that it was not there. Fearing he’d left it on the bench at the Battery, he had rushed back to the park but had been unable to locate it despite his best attempts. It was then he’d realized that, while preoccupied with watching the woman, he had accidentally and completely missed his pocket.

Knowing the importance of the notebook, he had immediately posted an ad, offering a $20,000 reward for its recovery. He’d waited impatiently for three days before a woman had unexpectedly called, leaving a voice mail on his phone; she had the book and wanted to return it. She also insisted she did not want the reward – she only wanted to return the book to its rightful owner. As he listened to her soft voice, laced with a lilting Southern accent, he knew instinctively that the call was from the one who had captured his attention at the park. How interesting that it had been she who had found the book. He wanted to be surprised by this turn of events, but something told him not to be. This was most assuredly a fated intervention.

He had returned her call immediately, learning that she wanted to meet him at the Battery the following day at four o’clock in the afternoon. She told him that she was anxious to return the book and again stated that a reward wasn’t necessary, but if he insisted, she would gladly donate the money. As he spoke briefly with her over the phone, he instinctively knew the questions that filled her mind. There was no doubt - she had read the book. As to whether she’d question him about its contents, he did not know, but he had to be prepared to answer any questions she did pose.

And so, it was that day at last, and he’d soon have the book back. He sat, attempting to be patient as he waited. Looking at his watch, he realized it was nearly four o’clock. He had been at the park, seated on the same bench since two o’clock. He was both anxious to have the book back in his possession and to meet the woman whom he had seen from afar only days earlier. He could smell the salt of the ocean water and the fragrance of the blooming flowers as he heard the birds singing, only a faint trace of a breeze hanging in the warm air. His senses were on high alert as he waited for the book - and for her. There was no question any longer that she was special in ways yet to be revealed. He knew, however, that just how so would be disclosed to both of them all too soon.

He turned to watch her gradual approach. He’d told her that he’d be wearing a pale blue shirt and seated on the bench directly in front of the gazebo in the park’s center, and it was obvious that she had spotted him. She hesitantly smiled as she drew near, extending her hand warmly in greeting. As he stood and took the slim hand within his own, he was filled with a new, overwhelming awareness of the woman before him, even stronger than his initial impressions. He was sure now of what he suspected, and he also knew she was about to find out more than she had dared to ever imagine.

“Hello,” she said, her voice as soft as the April breeze. “I’m Amelia Grace.”

He smiled. He would always think of her as simply ‘Grace’ from this moment forward. He extended his hand and said, “Hello. My name is Micah.” He sensed the myriad of questions that flooded her mind as he felt her small, warm hand within his own. She firmly grasped the notebook with her other hand, clutching it to her chest.

Micah gave her an envelope and said, “Here is the $20,000. I must insist you accept it. The book is invaluable to me, and I am thankful more than you know for its return.”

She eyed him skeptically as she took the money, and then said, “I will gladly accept the money on behalf of the local homeless shelter. However, might I ask you a few questions about the book? Please. If you don’t mind, that is?”

Ah, yes, not at all a surprise. “Of course. What did you want to know?” he asked innocently, already inordinately aware that he was supposed to answer her questions with truth.

Amelia Grace hesitated, unsure where to start - she had an abundance of questions. The book was very strange, making absolutely no sense. Unsure of herself, she began, “There are so many names listed in this book, with dates that go as far back as the Renaissance. And each listing – each name - has a detailed chain of events with it. For example, Beethoven,” she continued as he listened intently, already keenly aware which words would issue forth from her mouth. She carefully opened the book and read, “’Saved from suicide, dedicating his life to his music, August 30, 1802.’ And with Michelangelo, ‘Agreed to complete the Sistine Chapel, initial misgivings reconciled, January 3, 1508’. And that’s just two of the well-known names,” she said. “Indeed, there are an abundance of names in this notebook. Whatever does it all mean?” she asked, her face reflecting her confusion.

“Please. Sit with me a moment,” Micah said, gesturing toward the bench, watching her intently. “May I call you Grace?”

She nodded. No one had ever called her ‘Grace’ with the exception of her Mother, who had been dead for many years. She was going to take this as a good omen. She was already aware that she liked this man even though she knew absolutely nothing about him. There was a depth of goodness that seemed to radiate from his beautiful, clear blue eyes. And why did she feel as though she’d known him always when she’d only just met him?

As they sat on the bench, Micah turned to her. “It’s a beautiful day, is it not, Grace? Perhaps a day of revelation.”

She nodded, an unexpected peace filling her with his words.

He continued. “You may donate the money as you desire, and I will still answer your questions. However, are you prepared to open your mind to the inconceivable? To something you don’t understand? Something unearthly?”

She eyed him dubiously, but then shivered as she shook her head affirmatively. ‘She already suspects what I am going to say,’ he thought.

“I am a Nephilim or an immortal being created by the love between an angel and a human. You might call me a fairy,” he smiled. “For centuries, I have traveled to those in need, offering intervention in their moments of desperation or indecision. Some were well-known individuals, such as Beethoven, and some were more obscure identities, such as Fredericka Wessell on page 257. If you read her inscription, it will say, ‘Changed her mind about killing the Nazi soldier who tortured her at Dachau; forgives him instead, September 22, 1948.’” Micah saw surprise in her eyes, but he also saw something more: an acceptance of something she had long suspected.

“A Nephilim?” she questioned, her voice soft. “A cross between an angel and a human…whose mission is to help others?”

“Yes,” Micah nodded, his vivid blue gaze all-knowing as he closely watched her. He glanced at the book she still held firmly within her grasp. “Please open the book,” he said quietly. “And turn to page 444. There’s a new entry.”

Amelia Grace stared at him for a long moment, her green eyes curious, before she opened the book, her slim fingers carefully turning the creased pages until she reached the last entry on page 444. There, on the yellowed page, in brown ink was inscribed, ‘Amelia Grace Hughes. Learns she is a Nephilim; joins Micah, intervening to help those in need, March 5, 2021.’

Her eyes full of wonder, she looked up to find Micah smiling, a light in his blue eyes. He was the most beautiful being she had ever encountered, and truth and goodness seemed to emanate from every part of him. And he was even more beautiful than she’d initially thought because of what he’d just told her.

Micah’s face suddenly grew serious as he looked at her. “I knew from the first moment I touched your hand that you are just like me – a Nephilim, who is destined for much more. From this moment forward, our worlds have changed, and we now coexist. Nothing remains as it was. You are my Yin, and I, your Yang. We complete one another in all we do.”

The depth of his words reassured her as he continued. “We are predestined to pursue many adventures together, Grace. And there is still much to do. Are you ready for such an undertaking?” Micah asked, extending his hand.

Accepting his extended hand and feeling the warmth, power, and serenity in it, at last she gave him the black notebook as she smiled and said, “Indeed. I think I have been ready for this moment all my life. When shall we begin?”

fantasy
Cindy Calder
Cindy Calder
Read next: Understanding the Collective Intelligence of Pro-opinion
Cindy Calder

I grew up in Charleston, SC, living there for several decades before relocating to the Atlanta, Georgia area. I have a BA in English from USC and have always loved traveling and the arts.

See all posts by Cindy Calder

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