By John Kaniecki
Even gods fall in love. I can testify to that personally. I wonder though, what of goddesses? I thought that thought every time I looked to heaven’s twinkling stars. I know that somewhere out there roams the Queen of Heaven and it breaks my heart. You see being a god, or a goddess for that matter, is not a life of leisure. It is fact the opposite is true. It is one of demanding service. There is scant time for pleasantries such as romance. But sometimes the wandering hobo finds a home.
I am the Elder of the Elders. That is the official title that I bare amongst my kinfolk. I scarcely doubt you could imagine the responsibility that is thrust upon me. Especially now that our society has opened itself up to the stars. Yes, the legions of life throughout the galaxy has come, even to our back water planet. Our domain is on the outer periphery of a distant arm of stars. We are in fact the last in line. But sometimes the last shall be first.
I will never forget how she came with all our glory. With a host of attendants. In fact there is no treasure denied her, except the most coveted jewel, freedom. I gave her that at least for some brief moments. Precious seconds that filled my life with a meaning I could never forget. I am sure that she too enjoyed our secluded moments. I have tangible evidence of that.
The Queen of Heaven is of course the highest authority of the Universe. All precepts, generals, lords, ruler, kings, emperors, whatever title they wear, bow their knee to her. Gods, such as myself are no exception. Her word is law and none of her commands can be rescinded. Most amazing I found was the gentleness this holder of absolute power was.
She came to my domain. The space ships gathered in such density that it blotted out the light of the stars. Our people trembled in terror at our first encounter. Children wailed in the streets and the women quaked with fear. Even the greatest of the warriors trembled with fear. But I learned to trust in what I am. Truly it was an encounter that confirmed all that I am.
Her diplomat came first. Upon his flanks were hundreds of soldiers. Brutes in fierce battle armor, armed with deadly weapons. He talked of his greatness in grand boasting words. Literally fire spewed from his mouth. Nothing less than a total surrender would suffice. Oh how the others groaned.
“Who are you?” I challenged this arrogant man fluently bold.
“I am the diplomat of the great Queen of Heaven,” he declared in boast.
“Well then,” I said, “If this Queen of Heaven is great, why would she send such a rude tongued one as you? Why you have not stopped boasting of your self. Is not greatness found in humility? Let others praise you not yourself.”
The diplomat was furious clenching his fists in rage.
“Send to me this Queen of Heaven,” I cried out, “I shall talk to her personally. It is the way of my people.”
“You dare call my Queen?” boomed the man.
“Are not my words clear, surely for someone who claims to have wisdom, you must understand the obvious.”
Seething in vitriol hatred this diplomat retreated. My people looked upon me with perplexing eyes. They did not keep their tongues still. I calmed them with a strong assurance. “We must trust in our ancient ways, it is all that we are.” My people turned to fasting and prayer. It was always our first refuge.
To say that she was beautiful would be like saying a Super Nova is warm. Or that water is wet. I was overwhelmed at her appearance. True to her title she wore all the adornment of royalty. Her head bore a tiara of platinum baring diamonds. Two pearls rested at the lobes of each ear. Her dress was silver spun with gold. Around her next a string of emeralds mixed with opals and rubies. Long black hair flowed silky over her shoulders. Her body was phenomenal. To me though, I could not decide if I admired more her gentle eyes or her soft smile.
At her side stood the rash diplomat. Behind him stood his legion of troops at attention. “Your majesty,” spoke the official, “this man requested to talk to you in person.”
“Is that true?” came a sound of sweetness.
“Yes,” I said calm and firm, “it is the custom of our people that we discuss matters amongst ourselves.”
“Well,” the Queen countered, “you are not my people.”
“But is not your desire to bring your people to my people. That would make your people my people and my people your people.”
The Queen of Heaven sat silent as I stared into her soft brown eyes. Her silence hung in the air. “What you are saying has truth to it, does it not?”
“Furthermore,” I continued, “it is our culture that we should attend to the needs of our visitors in our own fashion.”
“And I am your visitor.”
“So then, you shall be accompanying me as I explain to you our customs and ways.”
“Accompany you,” she said shyly. “To where?”
“There is a lake, a majestic lake full of beauty and wonder,” I declared. “Let us take a walk around it.”
“But I am not dressed for a walk.” The diplomat smile, “Jules,” called out the Queen of Heaven.
“Yes, my queen,” he called out triumphantly.
“Go fetch me some suitable clothes for a walk around a lake.”
The diplomat was without a doubt a professional at his position. But even so I saw a glimmer of surprise in his countenance. “At once, your majesty.”
“I shall return shortly,” declared the Queen of Heaven.
At dawn the next day I went out to meet the Queen of Heaven. Gone were the material trappings of her nobility. But in the clothes of a peasant this creature’s beauty was brilliant. I am not sure who was more attractive, the Queen or the rising morning star. Both in fact warmed my heart. The diplomat was at her side. Gone was the gang of goons. We were at a prearranged meeting site a plain. Beyond a short trail in the woods lay the lake I had mentioned.
“There is a very ancient saying among my people,” I began to converse.
“Please share me your wisdom,” the lady said.
“Two’s company, three’s a crowd.”
The Queen of Heaven laughed out loud like a giggling girl. “Why I believe I have heard that one once or twice before,” she said with a sly grin.
I joined in the laughter.
“Jules,” spoke the Queen of Heaven. “We do not want to insult our hosts now do we?”
“You are not supposing that I release you from my presence are you?” Jules was perturbed. He could not hide the disdain in his voice.
“I am not supposing anything, rather I am ordering you.”
“But what of your safety?” the diplomat objected.
“Ah I see subtly isn’t one of your strengths. Pay heed to what I have commanded.” Her voice spoke in one who knew full well who held the power. She was not loud but firm.
“Yes, your majesty,” said Jules bowing before he retreated in a hurry.
“Shall we begin, my lady,” I said offering her my arm.
“I shall be delighted,” she said putting her arm in mine.
Together we strolled down the path towards the lake.
“I suppose you have been to many wonderful places,” I surmised.
“Indeed I have,” she said, “but it is so rare that I can find the simplicity that you can only find in the beauty of nature.”
“We are a simple people,” I offered.
“I did not mean that,” she countered.
“It is true,” I said, “you see how things are undisturbed.”
“Yes,” the Queen said excitedly. “I viewed your villages and where you reside. Your civilization is one in perfect harmony with nature.”
“We believe not to be in harmony with nature but rather part of nature.”
“What an interesting concept,” she said thoughtfully.
We walked the remainder of the trail through the woods in silence. I paid close attention to her footsteps. The trail was full of roots and stones and I did not want her to fall and hurt herself. An injury would have been a loss of honor on my part and perhaps an insult to her kin. Finally we emerged from the woods. The Queen of Heaven gasped with awe.
“I have never seen something like this,” she squealed.
“Now you know the secret as to why I requested such an early time to meet.”
Before us lay Turtle Lake. The sun was only several degrees above the horizon. As such is reflected upon the blue waters turning them a golden color. The wind was blowing slightly causing ripples in the water. This caused the body of water to glimmer as a jewel glistening. All around the edge of the lake the green leaves provided the most lovely backdrop.
“I am impressed,” confessed the Queen of Heaven.
We began our journey around the lake still hand in hand. The path was curvy taking us in and out of the border of the lake.
“I hate to mix business with pleasure,” I began.
“Then do not,” said the Queen of Heaven sternly. “Can you begin to imagine the precious value I put towards peace of mind?”
I walked in silent contemplation. To me ruling a world was trouble enough and filled me with frustrations. I could scarce imagine the toll it was to rule the entire Universe. I could not even imagine the immensity of space. I began to be in awe of this women.
Sensing my uneasy quiet she probed my mind, “what kind of wild life live in these parts?”
“Birds of course,” I answered.
“Birds are everywhere around here I noticed,” she said, “and what else?”
“Well, in the woods around here there are mostly rabbits, raccoons, squirrels and some deer. Also an occasional wolf or two.”
“A wolf?” she spoke with surprise, “isn’t that dangerous?”
“No, not really,” I said softly, “they are small, perhaps a fox is a better description. At least to gauge the size.”
She chuckled as if she found my comment funny.
“In the waters, there are beaver, with fish and many, many kinds of turtles,” I said.
“How did you now turtles were my favorite?” she said to me with a sly look. I did not know if the Queen of Heaven was teasing me or if she was sincere. It was our custom to take people without questioning their word.
“I knew it not,” I declared, “but I am glad they amuse you.”
“Yes,” she said laughing, “amuse is the right word. Have you ever notice how the wobble when they walk.”
“Indeed, I have.”
“And do you know why I adore them so much?” there was a sadness in her tone.
“No,” I said.
“Because they are always home,” was her answer.
We walked around Turtle Lake and spoke not another word. Rather we solemnly observed the glory of the plants. White daises were in bloom and patches grew in various locations. I picked the queen a handful which she blushingly accepted.
We had almost completed our circuit around the lake when we came to a special spot. “Let us halt for a moment,” I said, “to take a rest.”
For the first time the Queen of Heaven took her arm out of mine. She sat down on a rock away from the lake. “I do indeed love surprises,” she said grinning.
“Ah, you are far too clever for your own good,” I said.
“You don’t get to become Queen of Heaven for no reason,” she declared.
My mind flooded with questions but I let them pass. Sometimes the best inquiry is the silent one. Diplomacy after all never worked in a straight line. Rather it was good to develop a natural relationship. I pulled out a piece of meat from my satchel.
“I had breakfast already,” said the lady in a teasing voice.
“Please observe,” I said as I tossed the meat into the water. There was a slight splash and then silence as the ripples of the water faded away. The meat sat in the water. From the distance a dark shadow of a blob was seen. It grew closer revealing it to be a giant turtle. It’s head was the size of a man’s fist. It’s shell had an ornate pattern of red, turquoise, blue and lavender.
“He’s beautiful,” pronounced the lady.
The turtle swiftly gulped down the piece of meat and retreated back into the depths from whence he came.
“He’s shy too,” I added.
“Remarkable how a creature of such beauty and power can be so timid,” spoke the Queen of Heaven. To this day I do not know if those words were a confession.
A good elder knows when to act and when not to act. I took myself out of the negotiations with the Empire of the Universe. I had fullest confidence in my brothers. I knew that they were well versed in the ways of our people. Above all they were a shrewd and wise lot. Perhaps we were ignorant as to the ways of those outside our planet. But this after all was our private domain. I believed that I had impressed the Queen of Heaven in a most favorable way. I did what I felt was most important on my part and that was to fast and pray.
The negotiation took a very long time as far I was concerned. I stayed far away from the details but the rumors of what was happening even reached my distant ears. The Empire desired to put a space port on our planet. This meant that there would be off worlders on our planet. That in itself caused me turmoil. But I accepted it. The Wheel of Life was always in spin and change was a natural occurrence. It was something that would occur whether I accepted it or not. So I surrendered but clung to my hopes that we could continue in our ideal society. Perhaps we would be spared those who had the persona. Like Jules the overbearing diplomat. At least I had hope.
When the negotiations were finished I was asked to review them. I went into council with those that who had represented us. I was informed that the Empire had granted every single request and demand that we made. A spaceport would indeed be built upon our planet. That was our only concession. But every detail was to be determined by us. That included the location, design consultation and the regulation of the travel and commerce. Legal jurisdiction of the spaceport fell into our hands with the Empire acting in assistance. On paper it looked like the perfect agreement.
There was a ceremony for a signing. My heart was raised to the highest heights in anticipation of seeing the Queen of Heaven once more. Unfortunately she sent a representative in her place. The official begged pardon from me for the absence of her majesty. Duty called, I was told. I of course understood. My heart too was broken. We had a ceremony and smoked the peace pipe. In the end we signed the treaty. The conclusion of the matter was most satisfactory. At least for the moment.
Still there was in us the apprehension of foreigners. Would they obey the terms of the agreement? We knew in our distant past that our peoples were of various kinds and cultures. Once our tranquil domain and full of ruckus and unruly upstarts. Vain individuals who respected only what they could attain in a material sense. In our long struggle for righteousness we purged such harmful philosophies from amongst us. Yet we still continued to keep our history. It was a reminder to us. A mark on the trail instructing us to beware, do not go that way.
We selected the location and with the help of architects, designed a most glorious building. Rather a city is more accurate. It was so impressive that we are currently exploring applying the technology to the rest of our world. However there are those who rightfully object. That we would be taking a step away from the purity of nature. The Wheel of Life does indeed turn but we must use discernment to make sure it rolls the right way. If that is possible on our part.
Turtle Lake was once my favorite place in the world. In fact it was my practice to walk around the serene pool every morning. It was my exercise. For my body my heart would beat strong and my legs be stretched. To my mind I would keenly sense the presence of my brothers and sisters or the animals. Mostly in my spirit I had a connection with those waters. Now I frequent the lake but once a year. It is on the anniversary of my journey there with the Queen of Heaven. Do you wonder why I have forsaken my precious lake? It is the turtles they have what I no longer possess.
I am still the Elder of the Elders. I cannot resign from the position and I have no desire to do so. I just handle my duties in a different manner. I have moved to a new location. I now reside in a hill that overlooks the spaceport. In a well furbished cave to be exact. The location is ideal for me as I can attend to any difficulty at the spaceport personally. Some of these aliens can be rude and offensive if not outright criminal. Still we maintain our philosophy of seeking the best for all. We are ones that believe in sacrifice of selves.
I spend most of my nights awake. I stare up to the stars. Spaceships do not visit our planet frequently but they are coming more often. Many come here seeking the peace that our world provides. In fact some strangers have become family with full rights of kinship. But I am not searching the heavens for them. Rather every time I see the twinkling of a space ship my heart leaps. My mind asks the same question, “Is the Queen of Heaven on board?”
There is a haunting in my soul. A deep chill that torments me. I am but the god of the Earth. She is the Queen of Heaven. My domain is but a drop in her endless ocean. The hardest question I ask myself is a cruel savage one. “Does she even remember me?”
John is a writer living in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife Sylvia. He has two poetry books, Murmurings of a Mad Man, published by eLectio Publishing, Poet to the Poor, Poems of Hope For The Bottom One Percent, published by Dreaming Big Publications and a book of science fiction short stories entitled Words of the Future, published by Witty Bard.