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The Guardians

Prologue

The first time it happened is as clear to her today as if it had happened just a moment ago.

Guardian Angel by Pietro da Cortona, 1656

Guardian Angel by Pietro da Cortona, 1656

She remembers running through the grass. It must have been early morning because the dew still clung to the blades. It felt like little angel kisses on her bare feet. As she was walking along the tree row, she startled a mother morning dove tending her chicks. She heard the rustling of the dove’s wings and turned her head.

She peered through the evergreen branches, eyes fixed on the dove. It peered back at her, though it hardly seemed to move. Then it slowly lifted its wings, as if to stretch them. Again, it stretched its wings and she thought it odd that this startled bird did not take flight. Then, with its ebony eye fixed on her face, the dove flapped its wings in a manner slow enough to reveal every movement as it lifted off from the nest.

She watched the bird as it moved up and off into the sky. But as her sight was filled with the blue expanse above, she became transfixed. She could not move if she tried. But she didn’t want to try. It seemed so peaceful, so easy – just to stop with time. But that was the thing. Time itself seemed to have stopped, but her consciousness continued.

Then the sensations began. The choking of the throat – the sinking in her stomach. And she felt all of time up catch up to her. Beginning with her own life, but then beyond. She didn’t just see it. She experienced every moment of humanity in an instant.

She felt herself falling and flying in the same expanse. The rapture and desperation of it all came upon her. She would not and could not describe what happened to her that day, at least not in language ever uttered. But she was certain what she felt was real. It was as real as the dove which fluttered onto a distant tree branch as time resumed its normal pace. When she came back into her skin, she felt reborn and that was when she began to realize what her destiny is, was, and always would be.

20 years later

Kara had tried to deny it for most of her life. But she couldn’t anymore. She knew it would be a difficult life, fighting intangible enemies. But it was the one to which she was called, no matter how much she dreaded it. So often she yearned to return to the sanctuary of the home of her childhood. But even on visits to her parents country home, she relished in the feeling of safety, but could still hear the call of duty.

But as loud as the call was, she still had to battle the demons each morning, holding her down in her bed, lulling her back into the comfort of sleep and dreams. It is so much easier to sleep and dream, than to face the day.

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