Under the façade of fellow traveler, I have paid my entrance to the Sistine Chapel. I refused the tours for I have been here many times before.
Today seems no different than others. There are hordes of visitors moving through the chapel in a sluggish procession.
In contrast to me, there are many first time visitors that are overwhelmed as they are confronted by such a collection. Their eyes are rounded with excitement and awe, as they ogle at the incredible frescoes that adorn the ceiling and walls.
I take great pleasure in watching their reactions as they devour every visible niche. I feel the anxious pulse of some, who think they can sneak a photograph when no one is looking. I hear the low voices of the tour guides whisper in several languages.
Then I turn my focus to my favorite fresco; Michelangelo's 'The Creation of Adam.' What a depiction? I can appreciate Michelangelo's ability to create such a rendition based on the Roman Catholic Church's interpretation of human origin.
The finger of God pointing at Adam certainly captured the essence of power. The essence of creation, but there is a big piece missing. I think this is why I like this fresco so much. It is a simple version of the truth.
I then turn my gaze to the complicated nightmare depicted on the wall behind the altar, 'The Last Judgment.' It is clear to me that in this fresco there was more than the artist's hand. It is my opinion that Michelangelo may have been influenced to depict this process in the matter that he did, not by the church, but by something beyond human. Chaos has been captured here in its true essence. It may have whispered a few suggestions to the artist for I clearly see a battle raging within the man who painted this work.
I always have a hard time walking away from this wall, but I tear myself away from it. Before I do, I try to see if I can recognize my father's face amongst the angels. I am always disappointed.
I continue on to St Petersburg Basilica, which for me is the highlight of my visit to the Vatican. A fifteen-minute brisk walk get's me there.
I follow the pilgrims, who are here to pay homage to their faith. Immediately, I am greeted by the scent of flowers and incense.
As I make my way through the chapel, I have become quite emotional for this is one of a few places were I can experience true spiritual energy. It is within this type of holy place were the human spirit emits a radiant energy that forms a type of power grid that is nurturing and allows me to feel as close to human as I will ever be.
I walk past imagery that is intended to justify the existence of my father's kind, and take a seat at the back of The Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
I look around at all the people quietly praying and I am immediately humbled by their faith. It is the one thing that keeps this mystery alive with its obscure origin that serves to feed hope.
Certainly there have been many accounts from martyred saints and other unfortunate souls, deemed to be heretics, which claimed the privilege of being in the presence of angels only to be executed. It is such a pity then, when something so good inspires such evil. Proof continues to be a required element that is yet to be established outside these doors.
I am always in awe of the non-believers who hold conviction that God and his angels are the oldest conspiracy. Their theory is more factual and offers proof that life has evolved from a series of scientific concurrences. Perhaps it is as simple and complex as evolution, dear atheist. I know better.
Regardless what the world is trending in theological or philosophical interpretations, I live in this obscurity. My existence is tainted for I simply do not fit in the world of the mortals, nor am I allowed to venture into my father's realm, but I carry his essence inside of me.
I am here now surrounded by hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, yet I am in complete solitude. I hear their prayers and feel their gratitude. I too am grateful that I have been allowed to exist, even though it has been granted at a cost. My immortality can be snuffed by a gentle breeze. My living essence is inconsequential or at least that is how I feel about it.
I have come forth in this world with the purpose to relinquish or deliver those that are like me. We are the product of the fallen, but unlike my circumstance these nasty demons run violently onto the paths of righteous men to cause havoc. I am a hunter of those devils, and collect their heads before they collect mine.
This is the only reason why I have been allowed to exist, even though I still carry the burden and shame of my father.
Unlike his fallen brothers, my father repented and tried to protect humans from losing their souls over temptation and trickery. In doing so, he had no choice but to break more rules. He never gained the re-entry he sought after and was banished forever, like a common demon. Righteousness knows no other boundary other than good or evil. Well, at least, now they recognize it.
I was fortunate to know my father. He was a mentor and taught me how to stay hidden and when to venture into this world. In his honor, I continue to battle the forces unleashed by the angels in order to create a self-thriving planet.
I look around me and acknowledge that without evil there would be no Vatican city, nor would there be a holy pope to help absolve sin, nor would there be any faith in religion. The world and its history would never have existed, for in everything there are two natures. Evil is one of them, and what a formidable power it is.
The angels did not know how to control this valuable ingredient, evil. They underestimated the full capability of what they were spreading in order to create the world. They were successful in accomplishing their creation deemed paradise; however, their weakness did not allow them to consider that you can never turn your back on evil.
Yes, by all accounts angels are vain. By the time they realized their fault, they had unknowingly freed a vicious opponent. One they would have to guard against, limit, and restrain forever.
I am distracted by the smallest of voices. A child sitting two seats away from me prays, "and forgive us, dear lord, our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Please lead us not into temptation, but delivery us from evil. Amen!" She ended her prayer by doing the sign of the cross with her tiny hand. I was taken by the beautiful aura this child was emitting. Her energy touched me gently and I could feel her innocence. I smiled and nodded at her in approval. "Always remember your prayers." I said. My voice startled her. She got up and backed away from me turning towards her parents, who stood in the aisle listening to one of the tour guides.
I look towards the entrance and could see a group of school children being lead in a straight line. One of them, a dark haired boy of about seven, notices me and continued to stare until he is asked to focus on his companions.
Children are my strength. Their energy is pure and I can also feel their watchers or guardian angels protecting them, as my father was once entrusted to do. Although I cannot see them, I can feel them urging me to conquer the unconquerable. It will be a privilege not to let them down.
I am a double agent, so I allow my dark energy to protect my purest intentions. I allow myself to be recruited by heathens, but it is only to champion the cause my father sought after; to undo what evil has done even if it only helps a few innocent lives along the way.
In this holy place I am regenerated and I pledge to the memory of my father, I will find evil and banish it before it banishes me.
I am what I am, a Halfling, per the bible a Nephilim. My father and beloved mother named me, Saimon. Sometimes I am filled with sadness and some rage, for I look human. The human side of me would like to just settle down to have children of my own who will carry on the good fight, but it is forbidden to do so. I am a hopeless romantic, and have encountered many love opportunities that have intrigued my heart. Yet I have not allowed myself to surrender to passion for in doing so, I could jeopardize more than myself. Until now, I fly solo. I've never given my adversaries any heirs for them to use against me, and this keeps me strong and levelheaded. I am committed to the cause, but remain hopeful that perhaps one day I may be rewarded for my good intentions. I hope I may find a partner in this eternal life. A Halfling can always dream, right?
It is late in the day, and I notice the papal guards, who are now preparing for closing. They move in pairs toward the exit to ensure that no faithful stays behind. I look at my watch and realize that once again, the measurement of time has escaped my awareness. I sigh and look around to find that indeed the crowd has thinned out.
Typically I set the alarm on my wristwatch to help me keep the pace of time, but I chose not to have some annoying alarm sounding off in this place of worship. What can I say? It is a burden to keep sixteen hours of conscious living, twenty minutes on meals pretending to consume food, one to two hours at parks or other observation venues, travel time depending on the desired destination, and of course eight hours of sleep without the actual sleep. I look human, and must act as they do. I can easily draw suspicion to myself, so I use my trusty wristwatch to help me lead a human life.
As I line up behind a tour group, I see one of the guards observe me strangely. I can feel his suspicion, which means tomorrow I will not return. In fact, I make the conscious decision not to return for a long while and it saddens me. I look at the guard as I pass in front of him and say, "Buonasera!"
Written by Rachel Penabella