Angel was used to doors shutting in his face, the slap of glass sliding doors, the definitive clunk of plastic automatic doors, even the thump of an old fashioned wooden door. On Earth, people live with shut doors and masked faces. Angel went barefaced for his missionary work. He was used to speaking to the masked faces of earth, every imperfection covered by plastic that betrayed no emotion unless the user ordered it. To have his face naked, as unfashionable as it felt, was part of first yearlong mission.
Angel wasn’t any more successful than any of the other missionaries, but speaking the word of God felt right to him. He signed on for another year, to preach the word of the third and final coming of the Christ, who would be all the prophets together, the Buddha, the Kristina, the Jesus, the Renee, the sacred prophets in one body.
The Church of the Final Prophets sent him off world, to preach to non-humans. Popular opinion in the church was that aliens had different Gods than humans, and that they lived under different holy law. Angel didn’t believe that. Angel knew they were all under the same God, and that a Messiah could come from any race. Perhaps the next Messiah would come from an alien race, and if that was so, he wanted to be ready when the prophet came.
Few humans ever came to the Singia home world; there wasn’t much there but muddy land and sea, and the terrible smell. The smell was a mix of sulphur, seaweed, rotten eggs and rotten fish. Angel hoped that he would get used to the smell, but what made it terrible was its inconsistency. Sometimes the smell would be strong, and sometimes it would fade only to come back in a nauseating breeze. Angel slept in the warm mud and ate from the silver packages the mission sent to him. He was wet all of the time. These were the sacrifices he had to make to spread the word.
The Singia did not have doors; they had holes that lead to their underwater hunting grounds. The Singia came in green, brown, and brownish green. They had fins, eyes on the sides of their body, and when not swimming they waddled comically on the surface. Short, but wide, they would turn one flank of their scaly bodies toward Angel and look at him through the line of eyes down their scaly sides. For all of these differences, the oddest thing about the Singia was that they listened to him
Angel sat cross-legged when he preached to them. He had never had an audience before, but the Singia came from all over their world to hear him speak. Angel explained to the Singia about saviors, about messiahs, about the spiritual history of humans. The Singia listened, night after night, as he told them about the Law, and God, and how even they could produce a savior. The Singia didn’t really speak, except for low moans underwater, and did not live in any homes or structures of any kind. To speak to their translators, Angel had to stick his head underwater and listen for the drawn out notes to shape themselves into words. They always encouraged him to tell them more about God and his prophets, and Angel felt as if he might convert the entire planet to the truth.
At the end of the year, he felt as if he had spoken to all of the five thousand Singia that inhabited the planet. He had an audience of hundreds daily, and young hatchlings were always being brought to see him and listen to his words. When the ship came to pick him up, he stuck his head in the murky water and hummed a goodbye in the Singia language.
The Singia translator moaned low notes back at Angel. The Singia thanked him for the lovely entertainment his people had provided, and said that if he, or any other Earthers would like to come back and tell the Singia more stories, the Singia would always be glad to listen.
“Storytellers are greatly prized here,” The creature sang ” and you are the greatest we have had in generations.”
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
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