January 9th, 2009
Miro lounged in the hammock despite the sky threatening rain.
His family had given up on curving his eccentricities a long time ago.
He stared at the sky, his lids growing heavy.
No. He couldn’t fall asleep. Not now, at least. Yet it was so inviting. Already he could see the long, thready grass blowing in the wind, the sky in permanent dawn…
Miro shut his eyes. When he opened them, he was standing at the edge of the redwood forest.
He looked around. Nobody in sight.
“H-hey!” Miro called out. “Michael? Uriel? Whichever one of you feels like messing with me today–I’m not breaking any rules! I’m by myself!”
“Well, I’m definitely by myself.” He muttered. “May as well explore,” Miro sighed, looking around.
The forest was dense–impossibly dense. He felt a strange sense of foreboding. If he wandered in too deep there was a chance he would never wake again.
He laughed. That’s a stupid thought! Uriel would have warned them about that kind of thing, right?
Another glance at the forest and Miro shivered. Maybe not. He turned on his heel and marched out into the open.
The air was fresh and pure. Miro inhaled, feeling his lungs expand against his rib cage. He stretched and continued walking. It was such a vacant landscape, ultimately. In fact, it felt a little lonely.
“Sharing these lands with others is forbidden,” said a deep voice.
Miro whirled around. Michael stood a few steps away, his spear clutched in his large hands.
“The rules of the Realm might seem complicated, but they’re quite logical. Once you understand them you’d agree that they are necessary.”
Miro stared up at the man. He was still the towering figure Miro half-remembered him being.
“So why are you here?” Michael asked.
Miro frowned. “What do you mean? I fell asleep and found myself here. I didn’t even wanna end up here!”
Michael studied him with his amber eyes. They were critical and merciless.
“You speak the truth,” Michael said after a moment. “Why?”
“Why be honest?”
“No. Why do you not wish to be here? Rarely do humans reject this kind of offering. You are inquisitive yet you don’t want to be here?” Michael’s wings twitched.
Miro ran a hand through his hair. He could say why, but it felt wrong to speak the words. Especially to a stranger.
Again, Michael’s wings twitched.
“Hey–hey you’re not reading my mind, are you?” Miro clutched his head as if that would somehow keep the prying eyes away.
“No,” Michael said after a moment. “I do not pry into the minds of others, if that is what you think I am doing. That is not how I work. Uriel does that, but no. For me, your thoughts are already laid bare in front of me. All your guilt, shame, and disgust are for me to see whether you like it or not.”
Miro’s face went red. “H-hey, that’s not okay!”
Michael rose an eyebrow. “Whoever said it was fair? My job is what it is. I do not decide the rules–I merely enforce them.” He lifted his spear and stuck it in the ground. “If you break the rules I am the one who banishes you. If you break them too severely, it is me who Severs you.”
Miro’s eyes widened. That word was with a capital–he just somehow knew. “Sever?”
Michael nodded. “Yes. If you break the most vital rules, it’s my job to, in your world, kill you.”
“Yeah! Okay, see? See that? Yeah that’s kinda why I don’t wanna mess with this world. Too many stupid rules and we can’t even know half of them, yet if we break them we could get killed. Or get some weird psychic excommunication stuff. Though, I don’t really know what’s bad about that. This place is freaky.” Miro folded his arms and glared at the sky, looking away from Michael.
“Do you wish to be disconnected from here?”
“No,” Miro said in a rush.
“Because…” Miro looked up. Michael was looking at him, yet with how harsh his gaze was, there was no judgment. Nor was there curiosity, but at least there was no judgment. “Because all my other friends can do it. If I step away it’d be like abandoning them. And, uh, well, getting left out,” he added hastily. Lying was a surefire way to piss Michael off–that much Miro could piece together.
“I see.” Michael placed his spear-free hand behind his back. He began to pace. What an odd thing for something like him to do, Miro couldn’t help but think. “You wish to stay out of the desire to belong, but also to protect?”
“Uh–” Miro blinked. “Whoa. Yeah, actually.”
“What do you wish to protect them from? That is why I am here, you know.”
Miro shook his head. “No, they’re in danger from other things.”
“But not the things here. And even if they were, there is no way you could keep them safe as it is forbidden for you to interact here.”
“What if we just wander over?”
Michael glared. “Then you best hope it does not happen on my watch.”
“You mean we aren’t safe from accidents?”
Michael picked up his spear. “Again,” he said. “I do not make the rules.”
Miro sighed. “Okay, fine. I like the idea of the chance of being able to, okay? You happy?”
“You say this despite knowing I could very well excommunicate you?”
Miro folded his arms. “I don’t like lying.”
“Yet you still do it.”
Miro didn’t look away.
Michael studied him. “Very well.” His wings twitched yet again. “But you still think your friends are in danger in the Realm?”
Miro licked his drying lips.
“You still don’t want to admit it, do you?” Michael sounded disappointed.
Miro looked down, ashamed. “I’m overstepping my bounds again. I always do.”
“Not in regards to this. Speak, Miro.”
Miro looked right into those amber eyes. “I want to keep my friends safe from themselves.”
Michael’s lips twitched. A smile?
“Very well,” said the thing.