The Tears of the Angel Israfil

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July Seventh, Nineteen-Twenty Seven.

For every seventh day, upon every seventh month, always at the seventh hour, the Reverend Father John Patamos would awake to the thundering sound of distant trumpets, and convulse with grief, such so that his tears would streak upon his face, leaving him alone, only to feel of infinitesimal worth upon the vastness of his Lord's Domain.

Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off from the straight path.

The words from Dante Alighieri had always remained in Patamo's life. He had begun a habit of repeating the verses, both to himself and his congregation when upon those moments that he had felt himself closer and closer to that dark wood. It had been stenciled both above his bed and the old wooden desk in his study. The words had never lost meaning to him, and he had repeated them again, and again to himself since he had heard the great horn awaken him from his sleep.

The Reverend had been sixty-seven, well-past halfway in his own life's journey.

And yet, he felt at ease with himself, and the journey his life had taken him on. He had no feelings of regret or malice, a man of God, confidant in both his faith, and the words he had chosen to represent it. Comfortable in his position as a radical, the son of American Quakers, who had led the cry for abolitionism in the southern states of America, who had welcomed society's sinners into his own hands, and held those with the wicked, not just the blessed. Patamo's journey had been one of both piety and forgiveness. And yet, he would ask himself, for only himself, not the congregation of Quakers he had grown with, or his beloved wife, why had he, and he alone be tortured by the sound of that ringing horn? Why only he alone, and why had he faced such grief for when it had bellowed into the night?

He could never answer to his congregation, nor even to those around him. Yet, when he lived within his secondary, clandestine life, were upon he would answer the councils, and conduct science into religion, and religion into science, he was able to both ask and receive an answer. He had been both a man of Science and a man of God. Patamos was aware of the contradiction, but like his love for his God, he had love too for his fellow men in the Theology Department. A man of Science and a man of God could co-exist, he had thought.

Patamos addressed the council on the seventeenth occasion of the blown horn. His eyes had been red from tears, ears inflamed from the metallic rumbling.

'… In short, the question I ask, is that if in all the matter in the universe were to remain silent to me, I know I would still hear the metallic cries of the horn. If all the animals in God's kingdom were to be swept away, the world would still be dimly recognizable, dimly still ours, just without beast nor burden, the horn shall ring. The horn shall ring across the lonely mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes. Our towns will still be seen. Those trees that would stand in empty, lonely rows would still yet have the sound of that damned horn across their leaves. Gentlemen, have you too been plagued by the sound of that same horn?

I think when everything is to end, everything that is to be still alive, at one point or another is to be gone, the horn will never stop blowing. I hear it every upon the seventh hour, upon every seventh day.

It has never left me. I do not think it will ever leave the Earth. It is not music. It is a darkened rumbling, as if from the core of Tartarus. I ask, the council two questions, be that, - Will the horn ever stop ringing, and if anyone else had heard the same dreadful sound? Please, if so, speak yourself…'

One man had raised his hand, removing his spectacles, showing both the Council and Patamos his bloodshot eyes, and inflamed ears.

Ihmad Ahmal Jafir was awakened every sixth hour, of every sixth day. He had felt the sensation of both of his legs planted firmly within the pits of Hell, and his head high above into the sun. He too, would cry and grieve convulse with grief, his tears never to stop if Allah had not comforted him.

Jafir had been a tall man of seventy-years, with an aura of understanding and patience. He had lost much in his life. Yet, like Patamos, he had begun and would end his life with understanding and humility. He had been one of the first Ihmads in his community, among the first in the nation, one who had endured hatred and malice, only upon his open declaration of his faith. He, like Patamos, was a man of unmoved piety. One who would never had abandoned his beliefs, even with the eternal sounds of the horn.

Both Jafir and Patamos, united by their shared experience with the horn, broke from the Theology Department, both a day after the tears and horn had rung again.

Jafir had not lived not long enough to see the creation of Patamo's secondary life's work, nor would he have heard the silence of the horn and relief from hell. A few days before his passing, a few days before the Department to open, Jarif addressed the members of the board, his eyes still filled with tears.

'… Israfil is the Angel of Music. The oldest of all such angels, of all such Archangels, whom he formed a great quartet with Mīkā'īl, Jibrā'īl, and Azrā'īl. Micheal, Gabriel, Azrael. He has four great wings, the most beautiful of all angels, the master of music. I am told that Israfil… "Stands with his feet and his head in the sun. He will blow the last trumpet. Six times daily he looks down into hell and is so convulsed with grief that his tears would inundate the earth if Allah did not stop their flow…" I believe, as does my friend Patamos, that Israfil is blowing his trumpet soon, so soon that his tears will flow soon, and that he shall place his lips atop the mouth of his great horn. I see a revelation of Israfil, so soon. I will not let myself live with the Earth flooded with his tears. We shall not let him cry for all of us. I will not let that happen, my friends…'

After Jafir had passed, Patamos begun the repetition of his old friend's words, having replaced the poet's with an Ihmad. Patamos died at the age of Seventy-Nine. He had joined his friend, at long last. The two of them never heard the horn, nor did the men of this Earth, for their work led forth to the creation of the Revelations Department.

Men who had listened again, and again to the horn, who had seen the bowls, the vials, the seals to be open. These men, blessed with the memory of both Patamos and Jafir, had managed the impossible, to calm the wounded heart of Israfil, to prevent the horn from blowing, and the tears to dry like an eternal flood. The Earth had remained dry on the Seventy Seventh.

The question that always remains, is if the men of the Revelations Department had stopped the real Israfil, if such a magnificent being existed, and if not, who did they stop? One thing is certain.

The Horn shall not sound again.

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