Eliah's deep aquamarine eyes were unreadable as she brushed her small fingers over my cheek. "You seem distracted as of late, e'shar," she murmured as we perched high above the endless sea in one of the many grottos that riddled the cliffs. An impish grin played at the corners of her lips. "And as your beloved twin, I demand an explanation. You haven't spoken much at all since your return. Was life in Russia truly that difficult?"

I struggled to keep my face, body, and mind calm as I gave a heavy sigh. "Yes and no. I wasn't absent for long, but...Russia, Italy, the Americas, Ireland...not to mention the frequent trips to India and Israel...it gets tiring, seeing humanity repeat cruelty after cruelty, and be so completely limited by human physicality and loss of self-recollection. I have no way to stop them then, no way to help or warn or..." Slumping back against the wall, I snuggled up against Eliah's shoulder, allowing her to wrap her arms and wings about me and press her forehead to my cheek in sisterly comfort.

Eventually I became aware of an urgent tugging sensation at the corners of my mind. Disentangling myself from the warmth of my twin's arms, I stood, idly running my fingers over the greenish-blue feathers of her wings that so resembled my own. "My presence is required elsewhere, e'shar," I breathed in trepidation. Was my troubled mood really so grave, it called to the attentions of the Almighty? If so, then I knew I had no choice but to face whatever was in store as a reminder of my duty and attitude. A wave of love washed over me, assuring me otherwise, but still I wondered as to the purpose of the abrupt summons. "Father has called for me."

My beautiful sister jerked to attention and began to clamber to her feet. "Right now? Then I'll come with you."

"No, Elly, only I was requested. I'll return soon. Please, Eliah...I need to do this alone." I backed to the opening of the cave and threw her a weak smile. "It'll only take a few minutes, I promise." A soft, feline purr rumbled from Eliah's throat, following me as I stepped off the ledge and launched myself into free fall. I knew I would find her curled up as a graceful, winged ocelot when I returned.

Almost to the sand below, I snapped my wings open and soared up on a warm breeze. I could have simply appeared in the City of Light, but I needed a journey to clear my head and prepare my heart. Close to the Throne the cherubim might be, a summons was a personal and intense event nevertheless. Soon, the City shone in my sight, a glimmering mass of gold, silver, opal, and pearl.

The newer arrivals stared up at me in open admiration as I wrenched myself vertical, beat my wings twice in reverse, and touched my feet down delicately onto the shining golden streets.

The stones were smooth and cool beneath my feet as I began my walk to the fierce, blazing Light at the end of all roads. Golden scroll work curled and twisted high on the gleaming Hall of Records, and I blinked at the familiar spires of the Great Hall. Power rolled over me in tangible waves, shimmering off the mother-of-pearl floors as I stepped inside and fell to my knees.

"You wished to see me, Father?" I queried, gazing lovingly at the radiant Light towering over me, my eyes nearly watering with unshed tears of emotion.

"Yes, beloved daughter, I did." The semblance of a soft, warm hand caressed my cheek. "It has only been four short years, but it is time for you to return once more."

My chin trembled briefly as I contemplated yet another lifetime among His latest creations, the last-born children. Yet there was no regret, no fear, no disgust or trepidation; only longing to complete my appointed task and return post haste. "Yes, Father," I replied softly, bowing my head in acquiescence.

"This life will have trials, it will have suffering, it will have many misunderstandings. But it will also have its joys, its moments of peace, and those who will love, understand, and aid you."

"Will I...will I forget again?" I asked, already knowing the answer. I clenched my jaw in determination. If this was my duty by His command, then I would abide by the decisions made in this room.

The infinite, loving figure tipped my chin up, and my eyes met orbs of unbearable brilliance. An all too familiar sense of weakness and forgetfulness crept over me as I felt my sense of self waning. "It is time, little one."

"But I promised-"

"Shhh. Eliah will not be far behind you, and your beloved Remiel- among others- await you." The soft hand passed over my hair, gently ruffling the downy feathers of my upper wings. "And remember, little daughter Sachael...never forget Me."

"I won't, Father," I swore in a whisper, a hot tear sliding down my face and dropping off my chin. I watched it plunge to the shining floor as my sight and hearing dimmed into nothingness, and a great heaviness stole over me.

I crossed my tiny, half-formed limbs over my chest and sank back into the dense, sheltering, liquid warmth that surrounded me. Sachael, I thought desperately to myself. That is my name, and I will remember myself some day. I held tight to that promise as the last of my angelic self faded into dim, half-forgotten dreams.

I sat at a small computer screen, idly chewing what seemed to be strawberry Twizzlers. Tears streamed down my face as I stared hazily at a single word on the screen: Sachael. "I...I forgot..." I whispered, aware of my present mother's presence hovering nearby on the couch.


I swallowed and dashed away the tears, smiling up at the woman bending over me as I hastily changed the screen back to a research page on Henry the Eighth. "It's nothing, Mom. Just some stuff in my contacts, that's all."

No, I thought in joyous victory. It's everything. I finally remembered. I know myself.

Once again, I was finally, completely, and irrevocably whole. I was me again.