I thought I had died. The dim void embraced me, an everlasting grayness surrounded me. For a while, I was suspended in blissful stillness. Sadly, the stillness came to an end as I felt my bare feet touch the ground. It was cold and smoother than glass. I looked down to examine this curious surface. Only then did I notice that my eyes had been closed the whole time. I opened them to see the ground – an endless smooth block of ebony stone, similarly black, angular towers of stone protruding from it in an orderly fashion, lined up in front of me. My vision was perfectly clear, even though my glasses were gone. Above – an endless night sky, dotted with countless stars and nebulae that I had never seen before. In the middle of it all, an unfamiliar white, colossal moon in full shone down. It was the only source of light, yet, against all reason, it reflected in all the ebony structures. The view captivated me. I started walking straight ahead, my steps silent against the glassy surface of the ground.
I then saw a star fall. I saw it hit the ground in a waterfall of rainbow light just ahead of me, without making a sound. It made no crater. It didn’t appear to be a rock. From the deluge of light in spewed out emerged a dark oval shape. Once it opened, I saw it for what it was – a large object resembling a human eye with a rainbow iris, surrounded by what looked like wings made of black flames. The flames would dissolve into feathers, blacker than the ground illuminated by the pristine moon, that would fall down gently. The silence was suddenly broken by a voice that seemed to start tremors within my very soul. Despite all that, there was a certain gentleness to it.
“Son of Adam, Sergei Volkov,” it said to me, its tone indicating a command. “The time of your awakening has come.”
“Beg pardons,” I said in a shaky voice. “Who are you exactly?”
“Foolish fleshling, birthed in this lowly prison of Earth!” the voice boomed, a purple flame exploded in the eye’s pupil. “Have you no fear of God?”
“I am terribly sorry to disappoint,” I managed to say with a smirk. There was something about this being’s tone that amused me. “But I’m afraid I don’t quite believe in God.”
“Oh?” the deep, alien tone carried a hint of bewilderment. I never imagined I’d come face to face with an Eldritch being beyond human comprehension. What I expected even less was that I’d hear a tone of surprise in its voice. Then, even more bizarrely, it let out a short chuckle. “How utterly delightful. It appears that we have miscalculated the fearfulness of humans. Allow me to take a different approach.”
The black flame wings coiled around the eye, whose rainbow iris seemed to swell and grow, glowing ever brighter. The result was a rainbow nebula surrounded by a charcoal halo of feathery flames. Within, I saw a silhouette that was moving ever closer. A man was walking casually in my direction, black feathers falling to the ground behind him. He was wearing a particularly fine black suit that fitted his slender form perfectly even when he held one of his hands in his pocket. As he came closer, I could make out his features more clearly. His pale skin seemed almost deathly white, although that was probably due to this strange moon’s light. His long, black hair was slicked back, revealing a very handsome, clean-shaven face with prominent cheekbones and perfectly proportioned nose. On his neck hanged a silky emerald tie with golden swirling shapes resembling snakes, embroidered into the fabric. It was hard to make out his physical age, but I wouldn’t judge it as any older than early thirties. His deeply set eyes were closed, but once he opened them, the view was striking. His left eye was a vivid shade of green, while his right eye shined bright crimson. He now stood there face to face with me, only three feet away, a smirk on his beautiful face.
“Let us start again, dear Sergei,” he said in quite a different manner this time, although it was still unmistakably the same voice as the one that I had heard just moments ago. This time, he was speaking it with his lips, and I was hearing it with my ears. Only now could I appreciate what a pleasant baritone it was. “Perhaps you’ll find this form more approachable. My name is Abaddon. I come to you on behalf of the Nephilim.”
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Abaddon,” I replied in a courteous tone. “But I am afraid that still means nothing to me.”
“I understand,” he smiled. “That is why I shall do what is in my power to explain to you what predicament you have found yourself in.”
“Oh, have I truly died then?”
“Oh, heavens no,” Abaddon chuckled. “It would be most unfortunate if you were to die now. No, no, we still need you alive.”
“Fine. Explain yourself then, Abaddon.”
“There is not much I can explain to you at this point,” he said as he shrugged his shoulders. “My time here within your psyche is limited, and I have been forbidden from telling you certain things, lest you lose the drive to find the truth yourself.” He made a pause, put his left hand on his chin and looked down, his bright eyes obscured by thick eyelashes.
“Well, get on with it, kind sir.”
“Ah yes. Forgive me. This form has some limitations. It has been a long time, you see,” he smiled at me. “To the point. We Nephilim are a race as old as the Universe itself. We have existed long before you, and we might exist far longer than you. We have come in contact in the past.”
“The Nephilim,” I muttered, thinking. Then I remembered. “You were the giants of legend?”
The man laughed. “Perhaps we may have been a bit larger than the average Earthbound human. But yes, those records most likely refer to us.” He ran his fingers through his silky black hair and carried on. “We weren’t the only ones to come into contact with you, however. The Ophanim are as old as we are. They have been watching you for eons. Once humans became… cultured enough, they made direct contact with your leaders. They have guided you along a path to peace, so that one day they may welcome you aboard their ark and take you to the next level.” His smile had faded at some point during that speech. For a moment, Abaddon seemed lost in thought once again.
“You don’t seem too pleased with that,” I remarked.
The man laughed again. “If I had enough time, I would give you the details as to why that thought does not sit well with me. The point of this whole conversation, however, is this.” He pulled out the hand he was holding in his pocket all this time. Once he opened his fist, I noticed a small, violet orb of light lying on his palm. “As the custom goes, the Ophanim elect twelve representatives of each sufficiently developed culture to serve as that race’s proxy in what is to come.”
“And what is to come?”
Abaddon’s lips twisted into a joyless smile. “You will come to know. Among those twelve, there is one called the Contact. That person is the main means of communication between the Ophanim and the new race. The other eleven people have at some point in their lives come into contact with that person.” The man took a deep breath. “The Ophanim have already elected their Contact some years past. You have met this person. You must find them and make sure you are one of the twelve elected. Henceforth, you are our Contact.”
The man flicked the violet orb in my direction. It shot in a straight line, right at my heart. As it pierced my chest, I felt no pain, only a pleasant chill filling my body. “What is the meaning of this? How am I supposed to find this person, and why?”
“The Ophanim have the same goal in mind as us,” Abaddon’s expression turned stern. “Yet our methods are very different, our alliance very fragile. They can never lie to a new race, yet they would hide our existence from you. We simply want humans to have the means to find the truth on their own, the means to carve their own path, not having to rely on the accounts of one side. You have been marked. If you become one of the twelve, the Ophanim cannot deny us. They will treat your mark as a stigma, however. They will name you the Anti-Contact and treat you like a pariah. You may never be fully trusted and accepted by them. Prepare for the humans to mistrust you as well.”
“That does little to worry me,” I grinned. “The trust of other people has averted me for the longest time. Now, where can I find this person.”
At that second, a list of eleven names in English script lit up in front of my eyes. The first one was shining gold. Angela Morgan, it read. “You will find this person here,” with one snap of Abaddon’s fingers, the firmament shifted. The stars all swirled and changed their position into a much more recognizable state, with only the eerie gargantuan moon staying in its place. In the very middle of the night sky shined a lone blue planet – Earth. It appeared to be coming closer. The globe shifted, the clouds dispersed. I was now looking at North America, though tilted at an angle that made it difficult recognize. Though I could not have simply known that by looking at the globe, the knowledge of where to go seemed etched in my mind for some reason. Two shining points in the sky beyond Earth drew my attention. Those definitely weren’t part of the night sky I was familiar with.
“What are those?” I inquired.
“That’s Merkabah, the Ophanim ark,” the man said pointing at the slightly larger, pale blue light. “And this is Gehenna, the ark of the Nephilim,” Abaddon pointed at the reddish star. “Though the way you see them here is not exactly their true location or form. I suppose an explanation will be given to you later.”
The man took a few steps to the left, turned on his heel, then took two steps in my direction. “I know you have many questions, and I sincerely apologize that I can’t answer them. We have very little time left and there is one question I wanted to ask you, actually.”
“Yes?” I asked in a higher pitch. I was truly bewildered, wondering what such a creature could ask me.
“Earlier you said you don’t believe in God. Considering the level of humanity’s technological advancement, that notion seems to be reasonable on one hand. On the other, it seems pretty arrogant, considering how incomprehensible our science will inevitably seem to you.”
“And I would say you presented a very arrogant notion yourself, Abaddon,” I smirked. “I said I don’t quite believe in God. Were your mind as developed as you boast, I figure you’d be able to spot the significant semantic difference this one little word introduces. My views on the matter are fairly complex and I’ll gladly divulge further once we meet in the future.”
The man laughed. He laughed for a few good seconds, honestly amused by what he had just heard. “You humans are most fascinating creatures. Our time is up. I bid you well for now, then, dear Sergei. I sincerely hope to speak to you again soon.”
The black towers and the moon swirled into a vortex of black of white. I lost my footing and it felt like I was falling down yet again. For the second time, I let myself be whisked away by the void. The blank grayness, the silence, was a soothing feeling that there are no words to describe.