Mysterious Ways – listen to a podcast version at 600 Second Saga or read the story now.
Souls think being an angel is easy – all music of the spheres and celestial light. Well, it’s freaking hard work. When you get an assignment, no one tells you why – it’s all “God moves in mysterious ways.”
“You are to appear as a human female, partly cloaked.”
I got the usual indulgent smile. Infuriating. Like I’m still a fledgling.
“Make sure your breasts show.”
Sigh. There’s no point arguing.
I’ll have to look up how many breasts are required for a human.
“On Mars. Details are in your assignment file.”
I accessed the database.
“Mars? A rocky planet around a piffley little star in the Milky Way?”
“The boss has a weakness for that star system.”
“But why Mars? It’s cold as hell. You want a physical manifestation? There’s no air.”
“Improvise. You only need to appear for a photo op – for a space probe called Curiosity, sent by humans on the third planet, Earth.”
I swung by Earth to find out what “female” meant – a database gets you just so far and I like to add my personal touch. It wasn’t hard to figure out – animals only have two sexes there!
I discovered these humans aren’t very good at interplanetary exploration. Half their attempts to land on Mars fail spectacularly. But they keep trying and I admire their chutzpah. Curiosity’s crazy drop from a sky crane was brilliant.
It took awhile to find the silly, inconsequential probe, even on a tiny rock like Mars. It’s searching for conditions that might have once supported life. Humans’ probes can’t find life directly yet, unless an elephant galumphs by.
I found a lot of neat critters on Earth and elephants are my favorite. I thought about manifesting as an elephant – the supervisor said to improvise. But maybe I improvise too much. Maybe that’s why I’m assigned to this barren rock now.
I settled on an appropriate ledge and waited for Curiosity’s camera to rotate in my direction. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed unfair to interrupt the humans’ exploration with something that looks impossible. It’ll be eons before they understand.
The details are up to me…
I manifested as rock, angled to the Sun so long shadows became my hair and a coating of dust glistened as breasts.
It’s awfully hard to stand still and look enigmatic in the burning cold, even as a rock. Sometimes I think the boss has forgotten what it’s like to be corporeal.
I’m proud of what I did, though pride is frowned on. I guess I’m not ready for the next level yet.
I transmogrified back to myself, took a detour to blow dust off the rover’s solar panels, and wished the poor little thing good luck.
What are humans going to make of my pareidolidal Dark Lady? Whatever it is, I bet they’ll keep learning, keep exploring. I feel good about that.
I filed my report as I traveled and the supervisor was waiting for me.
“What was this rock-lady-thing you did?”
“I’ll never understand how you got into Heaven.”
“God moves in mysterious ways.”
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