He knew it for about a moment or two before it happened. He had time to look around, and found everything normal. He could even feel the pressure of Doris' panty covered butt against his thigh.
But right then Glen Tucker knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was about to die. It was a certainty in his mind, and he could feel a strangeness creep over him.
He had time to reach out and put his hand on Doris' hip before the blackness covered him and closed all about him.
There was a strangeness to it, certainly, but also there was a kind of 'I've been there before' similarity that invaded his mind, as the blackness closed in.
And then it did!
The lovely sensation of his hand on Doris' hip faded, and was gone. All of his awakening mind slipped away from him, and if anything it was obvious that he was losing himself, going off into whatever darkness or murkiness surrounded him at that precise moment.
He tried to reassess. Not dead, maybe, but he knew that it was certainly death that was in his mind the moment before and he also knew that his, what could be called 'normal' life had at least been suspended.
But he was somewhere different, somewhere strange yet so familiar. He certainly couldn't think of ever having had it happen to him before but there was yet a nagging sense that he was treading an old path. There was no certainty though, and only this nagging thought in the darkness.
He felt himself slump into whatever it was that was surrounding him. He thought that he had no choice but do that. There was no comfort in that for him right then but he knew that it was what he had to do, and so, he was resigned to it, letting it caress him, surround him, take him over and make him, in its own way, what it wanted.
But the darkness, the murkiness didn't last. It began to give way to a kind of light that he knew had a purpose and had maybe a kind of story or a task for him. He also realized that he wanted to give himself over to that purpose.
He waited, trying to feel his way into this newness and was just not sure about it.
But the light was increasing. He became more and more aware of it. He wasn't sure if he was part of the murkiness or part of the light that was coming or just the plaything, maybe, toy or agent of it. Those thoughts crossed his mind suddenly, and it was then that he realized that he was thinking, pretty much and feeling all this.
The message surged in his mind that if he were indeed thinking and feeling this, then he couldn't really be dead, although maybe this was a kind of transition world or existence to whatever was to come.
Whatever was happening, confusion reigned just then. But his sense that the light around him was increasing took hold and became the dominant part of what was just then going on.
Then a noise began to make itself known. It impressed itself upon his mind and his senses at first. Then he could actually hear what was happening, going on.
He thought, at first, that he was imagining things but the rumble of, he thought it had to be voices, increased. The light was getting more intense and the voices from far away were coming nearer and he could hear them more and more clearly:
"Sta'aniel! Sta'aniel! STA'ANIEL! STA'ANIEL! STA'ANIEL, STA'ANIEL!" they, these voices were saying, chanting, almost singing.
And it was as though his consciousness was moving among those voices and the voices continued to increase in intensity but never lost a total sweetness to their sound.
He was surrounded by the sound of that strange word, 'Sta'aniel'. It was everywhere and it produced in him a kind of a joy that came suddenly and couldn't or wouldn't be denied.
Finally, he stopped, or at least his continued consciousness stopped and he realized that he'd come to what seemed to be the center of the light, and now the chanting, singing voices were all around and their fervent and joyous shouting of the strange word, 'Sta'aniel' was all around him.
And they stopped as suddenly as they'd previously begun, and there was only silence but it was silence that was steeped in the light.
The voice that came to him then came from the light that seemed to be everywhere but was concentrated where he was.
The voice was calm, and it came to him, penetrating his thinking and his intelligence and his very essence, making him a part of that voice.
The voice said calmly, and he heard it with his inner being, not only with his hearing: "Sta'aniel! Greetings, Sta'aniel!"
He realized that the voice was talking to him, meant him and he expressed, at least to himself, his doubt about this.
But the essence from the light knew his thoughts as soon as they were real to him.
"It's what you are called among us, and when you go forth for us! You are 'Sta'aniel'.
"I?" he asked, with the ripple of his mind.
"Yes, Sta'aniel!" the voice said back.
He had no quick thought then because the purpose of the voice was taking him over and he had neither the power or the wish to push it away and not be captured by it.
"It is from the most ancient of tongues!" the voice said to his mind. "It means 'God is my worship'! It's who you are for us and among us, 'Sta'aniel' heaven's warrior."
The reality struck him, though these thoughts brought to him by the voice were completely shocking for a long moment. It was then that he understood what was being said: "He was indeed 'Sta'aniel' a warrior, heaven's warrior angel.
And before he could react, object or harbor any kind of such thought, the words blossomed inside of him and were pushed by his intelligence toward the voice: "I am your servant!"
"Yes," the voice thundered back to him, "Our Sta'aniel!"
And then the chorus of voices was back with their dizzying repetition of the word, and the name, amid such obvious feelings of joy that it simply took hold of him, and he was right then no longer merely Glen Tucker. He was 'Sta'aniel' heaven's warrior, though at first he didn't know what that even meant.
But the voice was ready for him and continued to tutor him in the meanings and necessities.
"Speak to me please, wonderful one!" his mind murmured and went quiet to wait for the voice to instruct.
"Favorite of the Great EL, we welcome you back among us; we greet you in EL's foremost name."
He was silent and received the greeting as an adulation, received it with a joy that was as total as anything that he'd ever suspected.
The voice went on now with the lesson, and as soon as that happened, 'Sta'aniel' was no longer in any doubt about who he was or why he was here. The knowledge flooded into him from the intention of the voice, from the garden of light that surrounded him, and he was filled with the knowledge of his kind power that lingered in him, emanating from the light and from the Great EL.
"Thank you, wondrous one!" he said, having received the infusion of knowledge.
It was as though, in that moment, that second, he was back, back to himself and his purpose. And, when he realized this the chorus of singing, chanting voices was back and singing his name on all sides.
He felt that greeting, filled with adulation, joy and pride sweep over him and he held out his arms in an intended embrace for all of the singers, chanters who were part of this throng, and in a moment of unity he felt the embraces returned, and he glowed with the light himself.
Then he went silent, for he knew that the voice would now instruct, give him messages from the Great EL.
"Sta'aniel," the voice inhabited his mind and senses, "children of the lie, children of the great, great liar are being raised and must be rooted out. You will do this."
"Your servant," his mind murmured back to the voice from the surrounding light.
"You will know them; they cannot hide from you. You will see them infused with darkness, dark power. But it is the power of lies and will not stand up to the purity of your might. In your presence, by your very glance their power will fade and they will return to emptiness before you."
"Your servant," his mind responded, as was apparently appropriate.
"Seek them out, our Sta'aniel; seek them out and empty them, neutralize them. They cannot hide from you and will not be able to oppose you."
"Your servant," was the message of his mind again.
"The great lie from which they come, by which they were spawned cringes before the power that the Great EL sends out. It will be fine."
There was a pregnant second and then the voice expanded and filled everything, every space, and every time. The loudness of the voice itself was like a loving embrace that enfolded him at that moment and proclaimed the joy of that place and time:
"YOU ARE THE GREAT EL'S HERO STA'ANIEL!"
And the chanting was back; the singers were back and the anthem of their singing swelled to a kind of crescendo.
And suddenly he was back. There was a party, and he was invited. It was, he realized, his own time and his own place, and he also knew now that he had another existence but that other existence was kind of 'on hold' for this time, when he was Sta'aniel.
When he finished shaving, he did his hair, slightly curly and a rich dark black. He went to dress then, selecting a suit from a closet of clothes that were there and ready for him. He chose a grey suit and blue shirt with a soft, slightly colored tie.
He was pleased. He realized that as the warrior of the Great EL, he was both taller and more robust than he remembered himself to be.
.... There is more of this story ...