In the celestial garden, Enoch knelt with his eyes closed, basking in the Presence. How long his reverie lasted, he didn’t know. Did time even matter here? He felt suspended in the gracious, beating heart of Reality.
When the Voice spoke, Enoch jolted to his senses. He looked up but saw only white light. Nor had he heard the Voice with his ears. Clear and strong it had flowed into his thoughts. But it existed independent of him. In the wide-ranging realm of his mind, two bodies of thought walked side by side: his and the Other.
The Other repeated, “You’ve come with a request.”
Enoch’s spirit welled with hope, and his thoughts spilled out. “Holy Great One, you created all things and have power over all you made. I’m from the tribes of Mahalalel, descendent of Seth, son of Adam.”
The Other warmed and . . . chuckled? Did the Great One laugh? “I know you, Enoch,” said the Other. “We meet on the mountain, remember?”
“Not this close,” Enoch’s thoughts blurted. He cringed at his insolence and clapped a hand over his mouth, though he had not spoken aloud.
“Granted.” The Other sounded amused. “But I would know you anywhere, Enoch. Voice your request.”
“My tribe received your angels, my Lord, and we’re not ungrateful, for they’ve shown us great wonders and protected us on numerous occasions. But they’ve produced children who are –” Enoch hesitated to accuse the angels outright.
“– giants,” said the Other. “I know.”
“At first we welcomed their offspring, but these children grow unusually tall and strong. They’ve become unruly and destructive, and we felt it best to separate ourselves from them. I know that in all the earth, my complaint is a small thing.”
“It is no small thing,” said the Other. “It affects the entire world. Watchers left the heights, divided their attentions, and neglected their duties. Return to your people, Enoch. Gather the Watchers, and give them this message: ‘You chose to dwell within Time’s bounds, but since you are not Time’s creatures, this choice will bring you no peace. Yet you wished to live as humans, so you shall. You planted great destruction on the earth and will reap the consequences. You will witness the murder of your loved ones and lament the destruction of your children. I will give your honored positions to others who are trustworthy, and you shall nevermore ascend into the heavens.’”
Enoch bit his lip, and his thoughts raced. He had expected holy power to restrain the giants, to diminish them in strength if not stature. He had anticipated an edict to recall the Watchers, not an eternal decree prohibiting their ascent into the heavens. What would happen to them? What of Semjaza? Enoch loved his son-in-law, even though he had brought trouble.
Enoch felt the Other waiting, patient yet pulsing, aware of every thought. At last Enoch spoke aloud. “Surely you’ll not exile all Watchers. They’re not all guilty to the same extent. Semjaza was goaded by Azazel.”
“Semjaza was their leader,” the Other answered. “A leader should not be so easily influenced.”
“Semjaza loved my daughter,” Enoch ventured. “Surely love is no crime. I ask for mercy. At least for Semjaza.” He hastily added, “I’m sure there are others like him.”
The Presence thinned, and Enoch shivered at the sudden chill. “I’ll consider it,” the Other whispered in his ear. “For your sake, I’ll consider it.”
As the Presence lifted, the garden dimmed. Enoch pulled his cloak tight and rose. He took one last, longing look at the grove that reminded him of his youth. Then he turned to leave. Gabriel stood at the door, waiting for him. Enoch nodded, and they strode back across the courtyard toward the fiery entrance. Enoch was eager to see his family again, but he dreaded returning to the weight and age of his limbs.
- to be continued -
© Karyn Henley, 2011, all rights reserved, based on The Book of Enoch, 220 BCE – 100 CE, photo courtesy morguefile.com