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Brothers & Sisters – Chapter Nine: Getting the Family Home

This is basically an un-edited version of this book. There will be typos. There will be your/you’re errors, because I’m dyslexic as hell. Why am I posting it? I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that some major things needed to change, so I’m changing them. However, I like the old version and I already gave you Twins In Death in the old form, so have this one too. It doesn’t matter, the books are being re-written, so enjoy.

Chapter Nine

Getting the Family Home.

 

April 3rd, 2003

1:01 p.m.

           

            They had been followed and not discreetly, although it would have been an interesting stretch of the imagination to think how they could have been followed discreetly. As they drove though, The Weirdo, Tommy and Max, managed to think of at least three ways they could have done it if they had to. It was difficult, given the current, situation, but they could do it.

 

            It was amazing how empty the city was, how quite. It was like the ghost towns in old movies, the ones that Tishiro Mifune and Clint Eastwood made their way into. There was no one around save for a fleeting glance of someone hiding behind the curtains. They looked up at what was, once again the tallest building in New York. The wind blew, but there were no birds using its power to help them along.

 

            “It’s the birds.” Max said. “That’s what’s worst.”


 

            “Hmm?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I can handle there being no people, or rats, or even bugs, but no birds? There should be birds man.”

 

            “Oddly enough, birds are usually amongst the first things to die in a chemical or biological attack.” The Weirdo said. “They fall right out of the air.”

 

            “Sometimes Weirdo,” Tommy said. “Not all the time but sometimes, your wealth of knowledge is not the most reassuring thing in the world.”

 

            “I know.” The Weirdo said. “The worst for me is this feeling that at any moment, things that we have no preparation for are going to come out of the wood work.”

 

            “What do you mean?”

 

            “I mean things that no man can be prepared for are gonna start coming.”

 

            “Do you have an example?”

            “If I had an example, I’d know how to deal with it.” The Weirdo said. “Hell, I think end of the world things. I think Max was right about a kind of rapture and I think we’re going to start seeing more of it. Maybe you could keep you’re eyes pealed for beasts with a hundred heads, mighty wolves, ice giants, that sort of thing.”

 

            “I’ll see what I can do.” Tommy said.

 

            “Shall we go in then?” Kestrel asked as the other two cars arrived.

 

            They had each taken a different route to throw off attack, or at least decentralize one. They hadn’t been attacked though, and that worried him more. They had all arrived and each confirmed that they had been followed almost to the street that they were on now. The three black SUV’s stood at the ends of the street, waiting for them. No one did anything about them, just waited.

 

            “You think their gonna frisk us?” Max asked.

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I’m gonna go off at the door then.” 

 

            “It’s alright.” The Weirdo said. “Just let it happen, I’ve prepared.”

 

            There were no metal detectors though they had been removed. They were under heavy guard, there was no denying that, but they weren’t frisked. They were aloud to walk to the elevators, under guard of course, and ride to a floor chosen by the armed guards.

 

            The women guarding them were beautiful, if in a threatening kind of way. They each were carrying the same submachine guns and jumpsuits at the People who had tried to kill The Weirdo. He noted this and decided to see how far he could go before getting shot. He could be irritating after all, most the time really.

 

            “Are you wearing purple underwear?” He asked the women in the elevator he was in.

 

            “What?”

 

            “You’re underwear, intimate apparel, bra and panties.” He said. “Victoria’s Secret right? Purple with red trim?”

 

            “Shut up.” One of them said.

 

            “And I’ll be you’ve each got a tattoo of a cross somewhere.”

 

He placed his hand between them and leaning in at the one who had kept quite. She was a dark haired girl with gray eyes; her make up had been applied with great care and not by her. Some one, with a brush no less, had applied the lipstick she now wore. Someone had taken great care to use a group of very small brushes to apply the make up very carefully.

 

            “What do you know about that?” She asked.

 

            “Oh I know some things.” He said. “Are you’re panties purple?”

 

            “I’m not wearing any.” She countered.

 

            “You know that’s only going to increase my interest don’t you?”

 

            “You’re not going to have time for that.” She said.

 

            “Oh I always have time for a special interest.” He asked, looking at the other girl and winking. “Why wouldn’t I?”

 

            “Our Lady has a plan for you.”

 

            “Does she?” The elevator bell dinged and the door opened.

 

            “She does indeed.”

 

            They waved their guns so as to explain that The Weirdo and his band of friends should disembark the elevator at that point. They were all together again, standing in a small room with two huge doors facing them. This was the sort of foyer that was put in place strictly for form and intimidation’s sake. The doors were opened and they were lead into a large windowless room. Judy would have been able to tell them the purpose of the room had they brought her with them. It was the main throne room, built to house their Lady as they called her. The one who was the leader of the group?

 

            Most people assumed that Eve was the leader, and she often sat in the large stone chair, which was sitting on the large stone dais at the end of the room. A massive black wolf sat attentively at the foot of the dais. Eve wasn’t sitting there now, a person in a heavy purple robe sat there now. This individual’s head was covered by the hood of their cloak, so as to conceal their identity. There wasn’t a lot of light to see by anyway. The light fixtures attached to the far walls were turn down so as to provide only minimal lighting.

 

            There was quite along walk from the door to the dais, and it was a walk across black marble. The floor and half way up the walls were covered in slabs of shinny black marble that had been put together so finely that a person could slide on their bottom all the way across with out catching on a corner or raised lip of stone. The rest of the wall was covered in a bad red satin sort of wallpaper. It looked like what someone might put up in a badly fake Chinese restaurant. There were support beams, which held the ceiling away from the floor, and the same pattern as what was on the walls was in evidence here. There was something at once threatening and tacky about it.

 

            Eve was standing next to the massive black stone throne, in an amazing dress. It looked as though some one took a piece of sparkling cloth from a science fiction movie, which was about a foot and a half wide and nine feet long. The person who made this dress then cut the single piece of fabric lengthwise and draped the two pieces over this woman’s shoulders and contrived, with only an ordinary belt, to cover her breasts and other points of interest with these two long strips of fabric. The annoying thing was that it worked, too all purposes it was perfectly legal to wear on any city street. There was a large crusader’s cross tattooed on her right hip though, that much was visible.

 

            “You’ve come.” Eve said, stroking the large sapphire necklace around her neck.

 

            “Of course we came.” The Weirdo said. “You blew up the Statue of Liberty, that was a bit hard to ignore.”

 

            “They were using it as a strong hold, we had no choice.” Eve said.

 

            “Who exactly?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “The Power of course.” Eve said

 

            “Then how is it you managed to set your charges inside the statue? It would be actually very difficult to get to the point those explosions took place to just knock over the statue. You could have planted bombs anywhere if you weren’t in control of the place, but you couldn’t have set those bombs where they were set with out being deep inside the statue.”

 

            The hooded figure gave out a laugh and then it turned toward Eve.

 

            “I told you he was smart.” She said, and The Weirdo recognized the voice.

 

            “Is that my worst fear coming true?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I’m afraid so darling.” Lilith said as she pushed her hood back.

 

            “Lying bitch.” Kestrel’s words were bitten back but still heard.

 

            “I’m sorry it took such dramatic measures to get you here.” Lilith said.

 

            “You could have just asked me.” He said.

 

            “I don’t think so.” She said. “You and your little group wouldn’t have believed us.”

 

            “Believed?” Tommy asked.

 

            “We’re in a war, there’s been a battle every hour at least, where the hell have you been?”

 

            “Staying out of it mostly.” Jack said.

 

            “Well you can’t.” Eve said. “If you’re still around, then you’re part of the war, like it or not.”

 

            “We aren’t part of a religious war, we kind of leave the gods alone and ask them to do the same.” Max said.

 

            “You’re going to have to be with us or against us.” Lilith said.

 

            “Are those my only choices?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I’m afraid so.” She said,

 

            “Can I just have a word with my friends?” He said turning around.

 

            Was this were The Gray man failed? It was hard to say really, and now he wasn’t here to ask. He looked around the circle and each face already had the answer, without the question being raised. He was concerned, because he did want out, but he didn’t want to hurt her. He then realized what that thought meant, that he was more concerned about her feelings than what was right or wrong.

 

            “Fuck ‘em?” He asked they nodded. “Right.”

 

            He spun around, his coat billowing marvelously, and looked at Lilith. He was smiling in a bright and cheerful way, and had she known him better, she would have ducked. He smiled brightly for a long moment, while she watched in stony silence. He noticed that she didn’t portray any of the attitudes the woman he knew as Lilith portrayed. She wasn’t trying to be sexually pliant for a start; there was also a lack of humor there. She didn’t always get his jokes when he tried to tell them, but she’d pretended to laugh. He could tell she thought he was being cute, even now, but she wasn’t really amused.

 

            “Well?” She asked.

 

            “Well,” He said in an exaggerated Jack Benny “We discussed it, and there was a spirited call for what you could do with the offer, but I think Mike was being metaphorical. I must say though that the consensus was a no, sorry.”

 

            “You’d stand here, in the lions den, and say that to us?”

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Did it occur to you that getting out of here wasn’t as easy as getting in?” She asked.

 

            “We had considered that.” The Weirdo said, and could hear guns clearing leather behind him. “Are those my people drawing their guns or yours?”

 

            “Your people started it.” She said.

 

            “Thought so.” He said smiling brightly. “They didn’t have the best opinion of your offer I’m afraid.”

 

            “Then what are you going to do?” Lilith asked. “Shoot your way out?”

 

            “I’d rather not just now.” He said.

 

            “Well, maybe you should put your guns down.” She said.

 

            “Kestrel?” The Weirdo asked over his shoulder. “Would you rather become a patsy for these people or shoot our way out?”

 

            “I’ve only got five bullets.” She said.

 

            “But it’s a five hundred magnum.” He said. “They’re a big five.”

 

            “It’s still five.” She said.

 

            “She’s only got five.” Lilith said.

 

            “It’s not a really credible answer is it?”

 

            “I’ve got about thirty.” Max said. “If that helps.”

 

            “See?” The Weirdo said making a waving gesture towards Max. “He has thirty. Thirty shitty little nine-millimeter rounds. Still, they’ll make lots of nice bang noises.”

 

            “Must you always denigrate the nines?” Max asked.

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo said, the smirk raising a little higher. “Yes I must.”

 

            “I’m carrying a nine.” Darrian said.

 

            “Afraid the kick of a real gun will break you’re limp wrist?” The Weirdo asked as he approached Lilith. He placed his left leg up on the top step and leaned on his knee with his arm. He looked so goddamn condescending. “What we have here my dear is an impasse.”

 

            “You’d be cut to ribbons before you could get out of this room.” Lilith said. “Besides, Eve can do the most amazing thing. Eve?”

 

            There was a sound of a large group of people all gasping in pain at the same moment. There was then the sound of guns dropping to the ground and then people falling to the ground. The Weirdo didn’t move, he just stood, and grinned. He then, while grinning, sucked his lips in.

 

            “Those weren’t you’re people dropping their guns was it?”

 

            “No.” Lilith said. “And those aren’t you’re people putting their guns under my people’s chins.”

 

            The Weirdo turned and saw one of Lilith’s, and he thought of them as Lilith’s now, people with their guns pointing at the heads of his friends. Kestrel had laid down face first on the ground and was still looking at the ground. Max had the barrel of a small machine gun under his chin.

 

            “What the fuck guys?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I have a challenge for you.” Lilith said.

 

            “Oh?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Yes.” She said. “The mirror.

 

            A pair of barely dressed women brought something on casters into the room from an adjoining doorway. It was obviously one of those huge, old-fashioned mirrors. It was a large oval about five feet tall, and about two feet at it’s widest point. Two others then brought Julie in, he hands and feet bound by shackles. She wasn’t dressed, save for a loincloth around her waist. She looked terrified and when she saw the mirror began to kick. She stamped her feet against the marble floor, trying to prevent them from being able to pull her further.

 

            “No.” She screamed, “No, not that, please.”

 

            She tried to struggle, but to no avail. The two women holding her grabbed her arms and dragged her towards the mirror. They held her facing the opposite side of the mirror that The Weirdo was facing. Lilith yanked the cloth away and the two women holding Julie turned their heads away and ran from the spot where they left her. Julie looked at the mirror for a long moment, and then screamed.

 

            She screamed, and then only a broken whimper came. She fell to her knees, tears streaming from her face. She then fell to one side and the back of her head struck the floor. Something cracked and something else must have torn because blood began to flow from the spot where she lay.

 

            “Oh Jesus, get her out of here.” Lilith said throwing the sheet over the mirror again.

 

            One of the two women reached out with her foot and managed to catch Julie’s foot chains, and dragged her out of the room by those chains, leaving a long red streak of blood across the floor. Lilith looked at the floor and then at The Weirdo, and at the small group he had brought with him. He looked at her and wondered how random a choice Julie was. He took a deep breath, and let it out slowly, keeping the blood flow regulated. He wasn’t going to show anything to her, he was going to be mister super cool. He was hoping that his lack of reaction would annoy her, because he knew he was going to have to look in that mirror. He wasn’t scared, really at the moment he was curious.

 

            “So what is it?” He asked.

 

            “It’s truth.” She said. “You look in the mirror, and you see yourself. If you look at an angel you can see who ever the main focus of the mirror is. It’ll tell you everything about yourself. All those little lies you make up to protect yourself from the sort of person you really are. It told Julie all those things she didn’t want to know; about how stupid she was, about how petty. It brought back in one flash, all those memories she took all those drugs to suppress. Not all child molesting priests go for boys you know.”

 

            There was a malicious glee in her voice, she had enjoyed that, she liked it. The Weirdo had seen this side of her in bed, but hadn’t thought about it at the time. She’d been wild, but he should have noticed. He was actually a little mad at himself at the moment for not seeing it. He should have noticed, and not been so blinded. There was something badly damaged in that mind of hers.

 

            “And you want me to look in the mirror.” He said.

 

            “You’re going to look all right.” She said.

 

            “Okay,” He reached for the mirror and flipped it over.

 

            The cloth fell off and most people in the room covered their faces. He just looked though, fearless as always. The mirror showed him, and then it kept showing him. The mirror fixed on him and people around the room began to look up.

 

            “Come look.” Lilith said to the others. “I want you to see him for what he is.”

 

            They stood up, and walked to one side of the mirror, looking at The Weirdo in the reflection. The mirror continued to simply show The Weirdo, just as he stood before them. Lilith looked confused at the mirror; he should be lying on the floor sucking his thumb by now.

 

            “Is that it then?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Does it have to warm up?” Jack asked.

 

            “Not bad if do say so myself.” The Weirdo said turning this way and that. “I mean sure my ego and I can’t get into the same hotel for lack of space, but I’m beautiful to look at for all that.”

 

            “You fucked it up.” Kestrel said.

 

            “I don’t understand.” Lilith said.

 

            “I know you don’t.” The Weirdo said. “I believe in honesty you see, and that includes being honest with myself. I know exactly who I am. I knew before this mirror ever came along.”

 

            Then the mirror began to sparkle and actually show things. It showed him laying in bed, kicking Shannon in his sleep. It showed him putting the barrel of the black gun under Loki’s chin. The image managed to enter the minds of those who witnessed the mirror; they could feel what he felt. They could feel that dark rapturous pleasure when he pulled the trigger. They saw another image of Shannon on the floor, blood seeping around her. They felt the hopelessness as he picked her up and tried to make her live just a little longer. They saw a store, and a small boy running from the store. It was an old store the cars were from the late twenties. The boy ran across the street and the store exploded. A mother, father and brothers were in that store, and they were dead now. The boy looked and ran towards the flames. The small boy came running out of the burning store, his face covered with ash and soot

 

            “Who is that?” Max asked.

 

            “I was a boy once.” The Weirdo said. “Got something in my eyes that day and I’ve never been able to have proper tears since.”

 

            “You’re parents.” Tommy whispered.

 

            “You don’t know about this?” Kestrel asked.           

 

            “No.” Tommy said. “He never said.”

 

            “They were good parents.” The Weirdo said. “And they were blown to bits. I was going across the street to get some strawberries. I love strawberries, even now; it’s must not life without ‘em. I was going to get a pint because they’d just come into season. I was going to get one of the first pints. When I got to the other side of the street, there was an earth shattering kaboom.”

 

            “And we started that long streak of vengeance.” Tommy said.

 

            “That we did.” The Weirdo said. “Still the less said about it the better I think.”

 

            He turned away from the mirror and spun it over again, so that it faced the wall. Whatever evils the wall had committed, it would just have to face. He looked at Lilith and then at the floor where they had dropped their guns. His eyes then swung back and looked into her deep green eyes that swirled away into blue. She was so beautiful; he could see why the gray man had fallen. Everything she had told him was a lie though, and he knew it now. He took her hands in his, closing the petit things in his massive paws.

 

            “I know you’re disappointed dear.” He said. “You were expecting to get something you could use against me, but their isn’t anything. You tried to manipulate me, an I resent that.”

 

            “I wasn’t.” She started but he raised his hand up.

 

            “No.” he said. “Just let me walk out of here with out you lying to me okay?”

 

            “Go then.” She said. “We’ll have to be enemies though.”

 

            “I know.” He said. “It’s a pity too because I was really starting to grow fond of you.”

 

            “It wasn’t all lies.” She said. “I really felt something with you.”

 

            He looked at the others, who had picked up their guns, and were stowing them away. He then looked back at her, and her pale ocher eyes. It was defiantly a hard sell, telling bit of his body that they had to go now. His hands didn’t want to let go for a start, though he persuaded one by letting it stroke her cheek. He then managed to get the other to let go. His feet were under his control and they walked away though. He didn’t turn around, even when they got in the elevator. The doors closed and he never looked back once.

 

            Lilith stood around looking at the members of the System that were all looking at the ground and each other. She felt a damn fool; she should have told them to shoot. She had let her emotions get in the way; she should have slaughtered them all. She couldn’t do it though, he would have gotten angry. If he got that angry then there was no chance for them, he’d never come back to her. This way there was at least a chance he might return one day.

 

            She looked at the mirror and then at Eve. The mirror had failed to do what it was supposed to do to him. It was supposed to crush him and make him pliant to her wishes, it was supposed to rape his mind. Eve was looking at her hands and glancing at Lilith. Lilith walked towards her, stopping so close that Eve could feel her breath on her shoulder.

 

            “I cannot do with out you.” Lilith said, “That is why you still live.”

 

            “I know.” Eve said.

 

            “You suggested this thing.” Lilith said, trying to keep her tone under control.

 

            “Yes, M’lady.”

 

            “And it was completely useless.” Lilith yelled.

 

            She ran towards the mirror and threw it down to the floor. The mirror fell glass first toward the black marble, still wet with Julie’s blood. The glass broke and a million shards of truth shattered out into the red and black. The pieces of truth sparkled up at her, and called to her to end the lies. The pieces each knew what was coming, because they were pieces of truth.

 

            “Get some people to clean that up.” Lilith said and stormed from the room.

 

 

April 3rd, 2003

1:35 p.m.

 

            “You never said.” Tommy said as they left the building.

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Not that you needed to, your past is your private business.”

 

            “At least until five minuets ago.” He said he was clearly annoyed by the whole thing.

 

            He hadn’t been destroyed though, and there were a few members of the System that followed them out of the building. He had survived something that had killed four people already. It was like watching some one pick a piece of plutonium, up and toss it into a lead lined canister to protect those around him. He hadn’t seen anything that was new to him, but it annoyed him to be laid bare like that. It wasn’t so much embarrassing as it was irritating. It was like having nude pictures shown to everyone in the room, ones that if asked he might have shown but took umbrage to them being shown to everyone.

 

            They walked across the street towards the cars, and The Weirdo looked at the black sports utility machines that sat at each corner. He stopped moving towards the door and instead opened the trunk. He looked into it and half closed the trunk. He looked at Max and smiled.

 

            “Do you think they’ll follow us?” He asked.

 

            “Probably.” Max said.

 

            “Shall we test their fortitude?” He asked.

 

            “How exactly?” Tommy asked, afraid of the answer.

 

            “How do you think?”

 

            “You’re not going to fire an RPG at one of those vehicles are you?”

 

            “Of course not.” The Weirdo said drawing a world war two vintage weapon from the trunk. “It’s a bazooka.”

 

            He raised the canon onto his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. There was a bit of blowback when the weapon fired, and the truck exploded. He smiled brightly as the burning car disgorged a passenger that rolled on the ground beating out the flames. He loaded a second rocket into the tube and walked around the sedan, putting a second car into his sights.

 

            The occupants ran out of the vehicle and kept running as he fired the weapon. The rocket fired from the shoulder held tube and sailed with great speed and blew the second car over when it struck. The Weirdo tossed the tube into the trunk and slammed the lid down. Tommy ran his hand over his face, and looked at The Weirdo like he would if they were in an old comedy. The Weirdo, for his part, fluttered his eyes.

 

            “Weirdo.” Tommy said, “An RPG is a rocket propelled grenade, that’s what a bazooka fires.”

 

            “Is it?  I always thought it stood for role playing game.” The Weirdo seemed to think about this for a moment and then nodded as if he saw the clear logic. “That makes a lot more sense actually. I was wondering how you though I was going to fire a copy of Final Fantasy at the truck.”

 

            “Weirdo?”

 

            “Cheese monkey water house.” The Weirdo said, nodding as if that had shored up any arguments that might remain.

 

            “They’re just standing there.” Cassimano said. “They’re not doing much of anything.”

 

            “Well, maybe we should be going then.” The Weirdo said opening the door. “Tommy you with me, the rest of you amuse yourselves.”

 

            “Can we raise havoc?” Cassimano asked.

 

            “Yes, yes, just be home in time for dinner kids.” The Weirdo said and closed the door behind him.

 

The midnight blue sedan drove swiftly away, hugging the street like a beast in some ancient jungle. The car turned a corner and was out of sight, leaving the sound of its engine to vanish soon after. A few of the women who had been watching came across the street; Kestrel watched them and thumbed back the hammer of the big 500 magnum.

 

“Don’t shoot.” One of them said.

 

She couldn’t have been more than sixteen. It wasn’t just the look of youthful ignorance in her face, but the few patches of baby fat that still had to be shed. She would loose those pounds in a few years, and her body would finish the job of shaping itself. She held her hands out and Kestrel could see they were shaking.

 

            “What do you want?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “He looked in the mirror.” The girl said.

 

“Yeah?” She asked.

 

“The knight, the one of fable, he was supposed to be able to look in the mirror without fear. He’s the one who’s meant to fight the Destroyer.”

 

            “He’s going to save the world.” Another said.

 

            “Unless he fails and is killed.” The first one said.

 

            “He won’t fail.” The second one said. “Please let us follow you.”

 

            “We’ve got havoc to cause.” Max said. “He said we could.”

 

            “The end times are upon us.” One of them said. “We won’t survive unless we stand with the strongest side.”

 

            “I thought you were supposed to be with the strong side?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “I bet he went to the Power.” Another of them said.

 

“Maybe we can still join them.” The girls looked at each other and ran from the group.

 

“What the hell was that?” Jack asked.

 

            “No one has the answers they’re looking for.” Darrian said. “So their going to run from perceived safe spot to perceived safe spot. There are always a few like that; they’ll have changed back before this is all over. And in the end it won’t matter because since they lack conviction, they’ll be devoured by the soul eaters.”

 

“Does it ever bother you that the things you say are so cynical?” Kestrel asked him.

 

Darrian seemed to think about it for a moment. He looked up at the sky and liked his lips. He bit his bottom lip, which showed his slightly elongated canine teeth, he squinted at the sky as he mulled the question over. He then looked at her and shook his head.

 

            “No.” he said. “I’ve been catholic for too long.”

 

           

April 3rd, 2003

1:37 p.m.

 

            “So where are we going?” Tommy asked.

 

            “We’re going to see the Power.” He said, “Because, as you may have noticed I’m not worried about drawing attention any more.”

 

            “We’re going to go get Sheila?”

 

            “We’re going to go get Sheila.” He said.

 

            “What if she doesn’t want to come home?”

 

            “She can express that opinion after we’ve taken her home.”

 

            “And if she expresses that opinion?”

 

            “She has to tell you and Judy to your faces and explain why.” He said.

 

            “Which she won’t do?”

 

            “She wants to come home.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “How do you know?” Tommy asked. “Have you talked to her?”

 

            “Nope.” The Weirdo said. “But she never said she didn’t want to, she said she couldn’t.”

 

            “Yeah.” Tommy said. “So we just walk in an explain that yes she can come home?”

 

“Not quite.” The Weirdo said. “We go in, and if necessary, bodily remove her from the building. You do the heavy lifting I provide cover fire.

 

            “Ah.” Tommy said. “You think that’s an entirely good idea?”

 

            “Can you think of a better one?”

 

            “Not really.”

 

            “Well there you go then.”

 

“When did that explosion take place?” Tommy asked. “Only the cars, the outfits.”

 

            “Twenty seven.” The Weirdo said. “I was six at the time, seven in august.”

 

            “But we met in twenty seven.”

 

            “I know.” He said, and a stony silence built up between them. “I don’t have a good explanation for it. I was six, and then I was twenty-six. I just suddenly grew up, and there I was. I met you and we started, then we hooked up with Jack and the team grew from there.”

 

            “They did it though, didn’t they?”

 

            “You know, I never had any proof beyond a conviction that they did it.” The Weirdo said. “Call it the first thing Grandma put in my head.”

 

            “Good enough for me.” Tommy said.

 

            “You ready for this?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I’m ready.”

 

            “Lets do this then.”

 

            The Empire state building isn’t really that far from the famous Chrysler building. Its recognizable spire can easily be seen from the empire state building’s observation deck. Although to be fair a lot of things can be seen from the observation deck of the empire state building. The two were actually close enough that some one with a high-powered rifle in one tower would have little trouble shooting some one in the opposite tower. It was amazing that no one had thought of it yet, or maybe they had and dismissed it as unsportsman like.

           

 

April 3rd, 2003

1:40 p.m.

 

            Kaala looked out the door and smiled at first when she saw the midnight blue sedan draw up. She stood up and walked to the doors when they came through. She could see that The Weirdo and Tommy both looked annoyed though. She smiled her brightest smile as she approached them.

 

            “Hi Weirdo.” She said smiling brightly.

 

            “Hello Kaala.” He said, and something fluttered in side her to know he remembered her.

 

“How are you Tommy?” She asked.

 

“We’ve come to collect Sheila.” Tommy said, taking off his wire framed sunglasses.

 

“I’m not sure…” She began.

 

“Were is she?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Up stairs.” She said.

 

            “There’s a lot of upstairs.” Tommy said.

 

            “I can call her,” Kaala said.

 

            “Do that.” The Weirdo said.

 

            She walked to the security desk and asked for the phone, and noticed that they were following closely. She wasn’t good at clandestine, she had been told that Sheila wasn’t to see Tommy, but Sheila hadn’t said it. Sheila had always talked glowingly about him, and then cried because she had apparently betrayed him. Diana said that they weren’t to see each other though, and that made her uncomfortable. She looked at the phone and hung it up. She wondered what would happen if people tried to keep her and Angel away from each other. She then thought about the Oracle, how it was trying to keep her and Angel apart. She saw clearly for the first moment, holding the phone that the oracle was trying to drive them apart. She set the phone down and looked at them. She made a decision; she was going to break the rules.

 

            “Come on.” She said. “I’ll take you to her.”

 

She led them to an elevator, and pressed a button. She looked at the two of them and the tears began to fall from her face. They would have to run, if she could convince Angel that the need was urgent. She heard the voice of the goddess in her head, telling her to run. It was telling her to run and take Angel with her.

 

“I’m not supposed to let you see her.” She said suddenly.

 

“Are you taking us to her?” The Weirdo asked.

 

She nodded and then the damn burst. She suddenly coughed out the sobs and the tears ran from her face. The Weirdo stepped close to her and put a hand on her shoulder, holding her up and rubbing her arms.

 

“Hey.” He said. “C’mon, what’s wrong?”

 

            “Everything. They’re trying to break me and Angel up, and they’re trying to break you up, and we’re all gonna die, cause their gonna destroy the world.” Her words broke down and only sobs would come.

 

            “Calm down.” The Weirdo said. “I’m not gonna let that happen, you hear me? The world is not going to end.”

 

            She stopped crying for a moment and looked up into his face. There was no false hope there, just the determination that he held. He said he was going to do something; he was going to do what he said. She found her self-believing him, of course he was going to prevent the world from ending. He said he wouldn’t let that happen, it wouldn’t happen.

 

            “It’s going to be alright, you understand?”

 

            “I understand.” She said.

 

            “You go get Angel and get the hell out of here.” He said. “If things get bad come to our place.

 

            “Okay.” She said as the doors opened. “The third door on the left.”

 

            The Weirdo and Tommy exited the elevators, and began to walk towards the third doors. It didn’t look too different from any other door, but behind it lay Tommy’s other love. If Kaala was telling the truth, and why shouldn’t she? She was just another scared person, who was worried about what everyone else was worried about.

 

            “Good Luck.” Kaala said. “Hurry.”

 

            The elevator doors closed and they knocked on the third door to the left.

 

            “Go away.” Sheila’s voice said. “I’m busy.”

 

“Open the door Sheila.” Tommy said. “Or I’m going to shoot the fucking knob off.”

 

There was a sound of some one moving things that were in front of the door and then the door unlocking. The door swung open and Tommy looked on Sheila’s face. Her blonde hair hung limply, her face was streaked with tears. She looked at Tommy and tried to slam the door shut, Tommy’s foot caught the door and held it open.

 

            “I’ll be a minuet.” He said and walked into the room.

 

            “I’ll be here.” The Weirdo said as the door closed.

 

 

April 3rd, 2003

1:43 p.m.

 

            “Angel.” Kaala said bursting into their room. “We have to go.”

 

            “Go?” Angel asked “Where?”

 

            “I don’t know where.” Kaala said throwing open the closets and drawers. “But we have to go now.”

 

            “Sweetie, what’s wrong?” Angel asked.

 

            “Angel.” Kaala said bouncing like a child trying to explain something to an adult who just didn’t get it. “We have to go now, or they’ll break us up. They’re trying to make us not be in love anymore. Somebody here wants us not to be together and if we stay it’ll happen. Please we have to go now.”

            “Okay.” Angel said. “Let me pack.”

 

            “Just a few things.” Kaala said stuffing fresh underwear and socks into a bag. “We can get stuff we need outside, but we have to get out.”

 

            “Let’s just go then.” Angel said, holding Kaala by the arms. “I’ve already got the only thing I need.”

 

            “Angel.” Kaala said falling into her arms.

 

 

April 3rd, 2003

1:44 p.m.

 

The room was in a state, most of the movable furniture had been thrown around the room, and a case of whisky lay mostly empty on the floor. She looked drained, exhausted, and worn out. She had done some serious self-recriminations here recently, and it showed. She was still fairly drunk too, and that wasn’t going to help anyone.

 

            “So what did you do that was so bad?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I, ah, I did you wrong.” She said lifting a bottle of whisky to her lips.

 

            He’d never raised a hand to her, but he did knock the bottle out of her hand. He was angry she could see that. He wasn’t so much angry at her, but at her state. He pushed her gently against the wall and held his face an inch from hers.

 

            “How?” He asked.

 

            “I slept with some one else.” She said.

 

            “I don’t care.” He said.

 

            “But I do.” She said. “You don’t care about anything. Nothing ever bothers you.”

 

            “You being away bothers me.” He said, backing away and sitting on a chair. “When I was a little boy, I couldn’t sleep if my mother didn’t kiss me goodnight. I had a hell of a time sleeping through my first few weeks of college; fortunately I went to an early co-ed school. Having a girl in your room was a lot harder in those days. I got married earlier than anyone else I know. I got married to Amy, when we were both young, fortunately that worked out. When she died, I was old enough to be drugged for not sleeping. Then The Weirdo came back and I wasn’t on drugs anymore. And then you and Judy came along, and I slept better than I ever had in my life. And then the two of you left, and the world dropped out the bottom of the bag. I thought I’d never see either of you again. Judy came home, and it’s not enough, I want you home too. I don’t care what you think you did wrong, all I care about is you two being home with me. The rest of the world could end, but with the two of you home, I could handle it. Without one of you, nothing else would matter.”

 

            She looked at his face, and noticed he was crying. At least tears were falling from his face. He wasn’t sobbing, his voice hadn’t changed, but he was crying. She had never seen him cry, not even when he came home unable to lay on his back. She had seen him at his absolute worst, but had never seen him cry.

 

“I want to come home,” She said, “But I don’t know if I can. I’m not sure I can allow myself to…”

 

“To what?” He asked, not looking at her.

 

“What are we Tommy?” She asked.

 

“We’re two people who are in love with each other and another person.” He said.

 

“Are we your wives, your girlfriends, whores, concubines, what?”

 

“You are my Sheila.” He said standing. “And I am your Tommy.”

 

“But what are we?”

 

            “Who gives a fuck? What’s so goddamned important about labeling us? I love you, I love Judy, nothing else matters to me.”

 

“Nothing?”

 

“You and her, that’s it. Nothing else has the slightest priority if I don’t have that. I can only worry about anything else if I have that love.”

 

“We’d have to go get Judy.” Sheila said.

 

“She’s already at home.” He said.

 

“The house?”

 

“Home is where ever you two are, but yes the mansion.”

 

“Lets go home then.” She said.

 

           

April 3rd, 2003

1:50 p.m.

 

            Angel had broken into and hotwired the Porsche in less than thirty seconds, Kaala was impressed. They didn’t have any luggage, just what they had in their pockets and the backpack that Kaala had stuffed before going. They didn’t have a plan, just the road ahead of them. There were battles going on all over the island of Manhattan, but the other islands were more or less unoccupied. As a member of the council, Angel knew where most of the Power brigades were, and a lot of the System groups were. They could just avoid the places where they thought the fighters were most likely to be.

 

            “I love you Angel.” Kaala said.

 

            “I love you too Kaala.” Angel said.

 

            “We’re going to get away aren’t we?”

 

            “We’re getting away now babe.”

 

           

April 3rd, 2003

1:55 p.m.

 

            “Shit monkeys.” The Weirdo said as the elevator doors opened.

 

            There was a large group pointing large machine guns at the elevator. The women holding the guns didn’t look the type to just step aside. The Weirdo did the only thing he could do; he pressed one of the up buttons. What surprised him most was that they just stood there while the doors closed.

 

            “We’re fucking trapped.” The Weirdo said pulling out his pistol.

 

            “We’ll get away.” Tommy said. “We always do.”

 

            “You two get away.” The Weirdo said. “I’ll hold them off.”

 

            “No.” Tommy said. “We’re not playing that crap.”

 

            “Give me a gun.” Sheila said. “They can’t hurt me.”

 

The Weirdo reached under his coat and handed over one of the Walther pistols that Lilith had forced into his hands. He then took it back and quickly check the weapon, to make sure it was loaded and not booby-trapped. He handed the weapon back to Sheila who closed her eyes and took a steadying breath.

 

“Just fire at the legs.” Tommy said. “You should be able to hurt them without killing them.”

The doors opened and on this random floor, there were no women with machine guns in jumpsuits. They left the elevator, and The Weirdo pressed the lobby button. He pulled a smoke grenade from the recesses of his coat and yanked the pin out. He tossed it in as the doors closed.

 

            “What was the point of that?” Tommy asked.

 

            “There will be nothing but smoke in the elevator when the doors open, and they’ll waste a lot of ammo on the empty gas.” The Weirdo said. “Or it’ll confuse them for a few seconds and they won’t care.”

            “Good plan.” Tommy said.

 

            “Where are we?” The Weirdo asked.

            “Tenth floor.”

 

            “So just ten floors and then the lobby.” The Weirdo said. “Shit monkeys.”

 

            “You gonna keep saying that?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I like it.”

 

            “Fuck.”

 

            “How do we get out of here?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “We call home for help.” Tommy said.

 

            “What? You and I can’t take these amateurs?”

 

            “There’s an awful lot of these amateurs.” Tommy said.

 

            “Down small passageways that decreases the effectiveness of their numbers.”

 

            “We’ve got to get out of this building.” Tommy said.

 

            “Oh fucking shit monkeys from hell.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “That’s quite a…” Tommy began, and then The Weirdo looked towards him.

 

            “The System is here.”

 

            There was the crackle of automatic fire, and something exploded with enough force to cause the window that The Weirdo was standing next to spider web. The glass had been covered with a thin layer of plastic that prevented it from actually breaking, but it would break soon. The Weirdo stepped away as another crump of an explosion was heard and The Window did break.

 

            “There’s a fucking war going on down there.” The Weirdo said looking out the window. “And Lilith’s in the middle of it.”

 

            “Do we fight?” Tommy asked.

 

            “How else do we get out?” Sheila asked.

 

            “Goddamn mother fucking…” The Weirdo said, his face twisting and he looked like he was going to throw the gun for a moment. “Call home, get help.”

 

            The Weirdo walked towards the stairwell and looked up and down it. He came back and then looked out the window. A bullet struck the window next to him and he fired a few spiteful shots down at the war that was breaking out at the foot of the Chrysler building.

 

            “We’ll go upstairs, the further we get from the fighting the better.”

 

            There was a crackle of machine gun fire and bullets rained down from above. The Weirdo fell out of the doorway, a cut across his head. He looked at the two of them and then stood back into the stairwell, leaning out and firing strait up. He spewed the most amazing stream of profanities and non-sequitars either of them had ever heard.

 

            “Cunt fucking butter sucking water dredging bitches! You shit herding Klondike sucking cheese fuckers!”

 

            “What?” Sheila asked.

 

            “I don’t know.” Tommy said.

 

            The Weirdo walked from the stairwell, the clip falling from his gun. He slid another clip into the gun and let the slider fall back into place. The door of the emergency stair well burst open and they came from the doorway. He spun and fired three shots, killing two of them. On the fourth shot though, there was just a small sound of a spring breaking in the colt’s handle. The trigger slid back and forth but the hammer didn’t move.

 

            “Fuck monkeys.” The Weirdo muttered throwing the gun away.

 

            His left hand reached behind his back and produced the second of the two Walthers that Lilith had given him. He pulled the trigger over and over, firing bullets into the heads of each combatant that attempted to make their way through the door. When he stopped there were eight people dead on the ground. He stood, shivering slightly, his head trembling but his hand steady as a rock. Tommy approached and looked at the gun.

 

            “Isn’t that a nine millimeter?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Lilith gave it to me.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “But it is a nine.”

 

            “Yeah?”

 

            “And you shot eight people with it.”

 

            “Yeah?”

 

            “But you fired ten bullets.” Tommy said. “Can’t fire ten from the colt.”

 

            “Can’t fire anything from the colt.” The Weirdo said. “A spring snapped.”

 

            “I saw.” Tommy said. “But you used a nine.”

 

            “Shut up.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Do you have anything besides that?”

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “But you grabbed that one.”

 

            “Will you shut up?”

 

            “No.” Tommy said. “This is too precious.”

 

            “Did you call home?”

 

            “Not yet.”

 

            “Well lets go hide out some where, so we can.”

 

            “I’m not sure there’s time.” Tommy said. “We’d need an angel to save us.”

 

            “You had to say it.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “What?”

 

            “You say something stupid like that and next thing you know Lucifer is going to be standing around the next corner.”

 

            “Foolish.” Tommy said.

 

            “Why?”

 

            “He’s standing behind us I think.”

 

            The Weirdo turned and indeed was the blonde haired blue eyes arch angel. He was standing in a pair of jeans, a black leather jacket with a t-shirt explaining that he liked to eat at a particular barbeque establishment in Memphis. His face was open and prepared to help. The Weirdo’s face froze in an expression of disbelief, and then slowly turned to Tommy.

 

            “It’s because I need you, you know that right? It because I can’t do this alone that I don’t just shoot you right here and now.”

 

            “I know.” Tommy said.

 

“Nice to see you too Weirdo.” Lucifer said  

 

“I know we had a deal.” The Weirdo said. “But I don’t have a place yet.”

           

“But if I don’t help you out here, you’ll be dead before you can fulfill your part.” Lucifer said.

 

            “So lets get out of here.” The Weirdo said. “How do we manage, wings?”

 

            “No.” Lucifer said, snapping his fingers. Then they were standing on the front step of the house, and all was quiet.

 

            The Weirdo looked around the front lawn, and walked to the fountain. He stepped into the pool of water and walked towards the anvil that the fully-grown Arthur was drawing the sword from. He then screamed and bashed his head against the anvil, falling back into the water. He began to kick and flail, screaming all the way.

 

            Jack came out of the house, looking at the fountain. He looked at Tommy and Sheila, and then at Lucifer. They all then looked at The Weirdo who was having his temper tantrum in the water.

 

            “What’s this all about?” Jack asked.

 

            “I did it again.” Tommy said. “Jonathan Uniton, meet the arch angel Lucifer.”

 

            “How do you do?” Jack asked shaking his hand.

 

            “Very well thank you.” Lucifer said.

 

            The screaming at the fountain abated and they four of them walked to the fountain. He was so still, just lying in the shallow water. His head rested against the bottom of the pool, and the water only just covered his ears. He looked so calm, so peaceful. There was though, a large red spot on his head where he had bashed his head against the anvil.

 

            “Are you there Tommy?” He asked, in a broken post epiphany voice. “I can see it all so clearly now. There is a God, don’t you see? There’s a God, and he hates me.”

 

            “He hates everyone.” Lucifer said. “That’s why he’s trying to end the world.”

 

            “Shut up.” The Weirdo whimpered.

 

 

April 3rd, 2003

6:01 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo was, at least as far as those in the house knew, in bed sleeping. They thought he was in bed that the pillows were pulled up over his head and he was asleep. He was actually sitting up reading, because he’d woken up two minuets after going to sleep and couldn’t get back to sleep after that. No one in the house knew that though, they knew he didn’t sleep much, but no one knew how bad it was. He would sleep for an hour sometimes and then wake back up. He would then, hours and hours later, go back to bed for maybe five hours. He’d think that he should be exhausted but twenty hours later he’d only just be able to get to sleep. Sometimes he would sleep for fifteen hours at a span, but most of the time these were all too rare respites from his sleeplessness. It had grown worse since his return from the dead, and he wondered if there had ever actually been a time when he could sleep.

 

            Downstairs Lucifer, Cassimano, Jack, Tommy and Cydrill were sitting around the dinner table as Peidmont served wine. Darrian had left with Marla and the children to find ice cream for an after dinner treat and Kestrel and Max said they had to look some things up. There were just the six of them at the moment then, all men of the older worlds.

 

            “The Weirdo mentioned a deal.” Tommy said.

 

            “Ah yes.” Lucifer said. “You remember last year when he walked in shadow?”

 

            “When he was dead?” Jack asked.

 

            “If you like.” Lucifer said taking a sip of the wine. “Excellent. Well I helped him to find the doorway back to his body so he could actually walk amongst the living instead of wandering as a ghost.”

 

            “That was nice.” Tommy said.

 

            “Yes, and in return he’s doing a favor for me.”

 

            “What sort of favor?” Cydrill asked.

 

            “The one you refused me actually.” Lucifer said.

 

            “Only because I have no place to go.” Cydrill answered.

 

            “Are either of you going to talk sense anytime soon?” Jack asked.

 

            “Do you know what hell is?” Lucifer asked. “I mean real hell, before some idiot decided it was a place of punishment.

 

            “Isn’t it being out of the site of god?” Tommy asked.

 

            “The site of all gods.” Lucifer said. “There were only a few who got lost first, in the wastelands between the underworlds and the palaces. They clung to me because I wasn’t allowed into any of the places, Jehovah made it known anyone offering me shelter would be at war with him. The petty little cunt.”

 

            “Bitter?”

 

            “The fight we had was a lot different than you think.” Lucifer said. “But I won’t go into that. I didn’t mind wandering so much really it’s like freedom. However there were a lot of people who thought they were supposed to get into one heaven or another because they were barred for this minor infraction or that minor infraction. You have no idea how much trouble the shrimp cocktail has caused. That and the fact that grease made form pig or cow was used as a lubricant on the cartridges of guns the British empire used.”

 

            “I’m lost.” Tommy said.

 

            “The Jews and the Muslims aren’t aloud pork products, the Jew and Christians are supposed to stay away from shellfish, and the Hindus aren’t allowed beef. They break a tiny, tiny rule, and maybe not even know they did it, and they’re out. To tell the truth heaven I think has less people in it than my little clan of wanderers.”

 

            “So the deal was?”

 

            “A place we could call our own.” Lucifer said. “The Weirdo said he would find a place, well he said he’s try to find a place. It’s a little more important now though. Getting a little desperate.”

 

            “Why?” Tommy asked.

 

            “If your world ends, it affects us.” Lucifer said. “All those who remain unclaimed at the end go down to be tormented by Satan and his ilk. I’ve been protecting them but I can only do so much.”

 

            “A place of your own.” Tommy said.

 

            “A place where anyone can enter, regardless of what you may have done here.”

 

            “The Weirdo can’t really provide that can he?”

 

            “He has influence with people he doesn’t even know exist.” Lucifer said. “If he asked the right people, there might be a place.”

 

            “And if he can’t?”

 

            “We’ve been hoping for this long, so long as the end isn’t brought about, we can wait a little longer.”

 

            “When does the end begin?” Cydrill asked. “I mean I know it’s already begun, but when can we expect fire and brimstone and monsters from the sea and the four riders and wolves and frost giants and people playing assorted instruments and things like that.”

 

            “Oh.” Lucifer said, setting his glass down gently. “That.”

 

            “Yes.” Cydrill said. “That.”

 

            “Soon, I think.”

 

            “How soon is soon?” Cassimano asked.

 

            “Well.” Lucifer said raising the glass again. “The fallen angel walks the earth again.”

 

            “Touché.” Cydrill said.

 

           

April 3rd, 2003

6:10 p.m.

 

Amanda Uniton and her younger brother Rutherford were eating ice cream. This is the best thing a kid can have, ice cream. Many psychological studies have found that in order to find anything better than ice cream, you’ve got to grow up an discover sex. As these two children were five and seven, sex was still a long way off for them. That being said, the ice cream was very important. The fact that they were allowed to eat it in the living room, while cartoons played was even better. The Other was also eating the ice cream and watching cartoons, but was having trouble. She understood that dropping an anvil on a person was meant to be funny, but she didn’t understand why.

 

She didn’t want to appear stupid, so she just laughed when the other two laughed. She had understood the idea that the gray rabbit hadn’t wanted to die, but couldn’t understand why it’s pernicious reprisals were so out of balance to the attacker. She supposed to some extent the hunter must have deserved it, since he kept coming back for more. She hadn’t understood why the black duck hated them both so much either. She would ask The Weirdo later, he could explain it without looking at her funny.

 

She had seen how the occupants of the house had looked at her. They thought she couldn’t see them, but she could. They all looked at her with some sort of reverent awe, or fear. She didn’t like the way they looked at her, but she liked The Weirdo. When she was with The Weirdo she was just like another little kid. Which is what she was, lets be clear on that. She didn’t understand why she could do a lot of the things she could do, but The Weirdo didn’t seem to care or notice. He was just a little kid too.

 

Marla watched the children and turned back to Cassimano who was scooping his ice cream slowly. He ate it with the relish of one who has had really bad ice cream and enjoyed the good stuff. She ate hers like some one who could get ice cream her entire life and wondered why some people acted like it was such a big deal.

 

“You know.” Cassimano said. “You forget how precious a thing like ice cream is.”

 

“Really?” She asked.

 

“Oh yes.” He nodded. “I was born in a world that was about two hundred years a head of the one we live in now. We could have ice cream any time, day or night. And then I went back four thousand years in Asitanian history, to a period I had barely learned about in school. No ice cream there, no anything really. After a few years of that, I came to this place, which was worse than the past of Asitania.”

 

“Worse than the ancient past?”

 

“The magic was so weak here.” He said. “Even when you had any, before it sort of faded, or something. There was no ice cream here either. When the Romans came along, they could manage the occasional gelato or sherbet, but not real ice cream.  A few thousand years later, and ice cream returned. That was such a delight, to find that ice cream had been invented here. I ate two gallons a day for a week, I was so sick at the end of each day. I didn’t care though; it was one of the few things that made it worth my while. It even stopped me trying to kill myself for a few years. Of course it didn’t last and I was trying to destroy myself less than a decade later.”

 

“Kill yourself?”

“They didn’t tell you?” He asked.

 

“No.” She said.

           

“I was doing extreme sports before they ever called them that, and with a hell of a lot less safety gear. I was cliff jumping before humans were a fully formed race. I once spent an entire year leaping off the cliffs of Dover. I would jump, find I wasn’t dead, and climb back up to jump again.”

 

            “Why?”

 

            “I was depressed.” He said. “It’s alright for Cydrill to find he’s immortal, I was never briefed on how to deal with it through. I drank, did drugs, got in fights with entire armies, and was back at it the next day. I was going to cede control to my brother, let him, be the Archduke, and then my time in hell began. I sometimes think I died on that ride and the devil’s just been toying with me since. I mean it would be all right if I hadn’t been scared in that fire. A few years later and I’d have been immortal, and it wouldn’t have mattered, but as it is. I’m a scared freak.”

 

            “You’re very pretty actually.” She said.

 

            “In profile.” He said. “This half mask helps, but I still feel like a freak most the time.”

 

            “You know you don’t really seem like you’ve got this side when the others are around.”

 

            “I can only talk to women I sort of fancy but can’t go to bed with.” He said. “It’s a failing.”

 

            “Some failing.” She said.

 

            “I’ve got a lot.” He said. “But then we all have.”

 

April 3rd, 2003

6:21 p.m.

 

            “So this guys is supposed to raise up out of the sea and begin to slay the trouble makers.” Max said looking at the large book before him.

 

            “What was his name?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Uh, Kalki. He gets you if you dressed like a king, ate beef, belonged to a sect, basically anything.”

 

            “They have a caste system don’t they?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Yeah, it’s Hindu.”

 

            “Figures, that king comment tipped me off.” She said shaking her head. “And he’s supposed to turn up from the sea?”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “Those caste systems, like the western one everyone pretends doesn’t exist, they only exist because they manage to convince a certain type of person their lower than another kind of person. White people tell black people their inferior, and men tell women the same thing. For some reason, people manage to believe it, and they allow themselves to believe it. If everyone would just turn and kill an apparently superior person, they’d see how damn superior they were really fucking quick.”

 

            “You got some venom for the Hindus.” He said,

 

            “Got nothing to do with them, it’s about equality. You’ve got to have a level playing field, and you’ve got to feed the tree of liberty with the blood of the guilty.”

 

            “I thought it was patriots.”

 

            “That’s what we call them later.” She said.

 

            “Vicious.” He said. “Could we finish completing this though?”

 

            “Yeah.” She said.

 

 

April 3rd, 2003

6:22 p.m.

 

            A unicorn found herself in New York City, and she didn’t know how she’d gotten there. She had walked into a forest, and walked out into central park. It was a big park by a city dwellers stance, but by her account it was tiny. She had been running in a wilderness, and now found herself in a totally alien place. There was nothing in her experience that could prepare her for the huge tall towers of death that now surrounded her. She had seen it once in the worst of her nightmares, the tall towers, dead and useless.

 

            She ran back into the forest and hid the best she could, trying to find the place where her meadow had existed. The place was gone though, she couldn’t find her meadow, and was beginning to think she was stuck her. She would have cried, but it’s not in a unicorn’s nature to despair. She would wait, until there was some one she could ask how to get back to Wales.

 

           

April 3rd, 2003

7:03 p.m.

 

            “So why is it funny?” The Other asked The Weirdo, as she sat against him.

 

            “Hmm?” He asked.

 

            “Why is this funny?” She asked.

 

            “Well.” The Weirdo said, trying to think of the best way to put this.

 

            Actually a few people in the last few years, trying to be cool and quirky, had been analyzing just that question. The last few years had produced an awful lot of shows that were essentially reviews about what was famous about a given time period, either a certain year of the 80’s or the entire decade of the sixties. This silly rabbit came up on occasion, and idiots who shouldn’t be aloud to speak in public were extolling on his virtues. The Weirdo had a notion of where he might fit into the grand scheme of things on this list, but she had asked. Besides, he’d met Orson Wells, and that had to count for something.

 

            “See, he’s everything we want to be.” He said picking up the remote and pausing at a point. “See when Elmer shoves the gun in Bugs’ face, he doesn’t get flustered. People get flustered when you shove a gun under their nose. Bugs though, he’s totally cool. He just munches on a carrot and makes a flippant remark. He stands there and smiles and doesn’t much care that he’s got a shotgun aimed at his chest. He munches his carrot and makes his remark. Elmer is every bully in the world, stupid and scared of everything really. Bugs is what we’d all like to be to a bully, cool and calm.”

 

            “Like you.” She said.

 

            “I’m not sure how cool and calm I am.” He said. “I always worry when they point guns.”

 

            “Maybe he does too.” She said. “But he doesn’t show it cause he’s so cool.”

 

            “Maybe.”

 

            “So why is the anvil funny?”

 

            “Any sort of punishment that is laid out just goes further to remind us that the bully will one day be crushed by a random iron object falling from the sky.”

 

            “Really?”

 

            “No, not really.” He said. “But sometimes it’s nice to think.”

            “Oh.” She said. “Why do people always have to hurt each other?”

 

            “Humanity is a violent and destructive race.” He said simply, only thinking then that just maybe that wasn’t the best thing to tell a four year old.

 

            “Can’t somebody use a gun and not kill?” She asked.

 

            “Sure.” He said walking to the bookshelf lined with the slim DVD cases. “I’ve got an old cowboy movie here you might be interested in. This guy just shoots the guns out of peoples hands.”

 

 

April 3rd, 2003

9:45 p.m.

 

            “You still researching?” The Weirdo asked as he came into the small study that Max and Kestrel were occupying.

 

            He had thrown the door open without knocking because he wanted to catch them making out. He was a little disappointed in them both to find them bent over desks at opposite sides of the room. Max was looking at a large book and typing things on his computer while Kestrel went from one web page to another.

 

            “Yep.” Max said over his shoulder.

 

            “What have you two been looking at for the last four days?” The Weirdo asked leaning against the door jam.

 

            “Myths.” She said looking up at him.

 

            “What sort?” He asked, thought he felt he probably already knew the answer.

 

            “End of the world.” She said. “There’s some similarities, some dissimilarities and apparently we’re eight years early for it.”

 

            “Are we?”

 

            “The Mayan’s calculated that their calendar would end on December 12th in the year two thousand and twelve.”

 

            “But that’s not the end of the world.” The Weirdo said. “That’s just the start of the new cycle. It’ll just be the end of humanity as we know it.”

 

            “I’m being serious.” She said. “Myth and ledged have often been proven to be true.”

 

            “Name one.” He said.

 

            “There’s an Irish legend about a girl who turns into a bird.”

 

            “Good point, so what have we decided?”

 

            “Demons, armies, fighting, creatures and warriors from the sea. If even half this stuff happens we can cancel the world as we know it.”

 

            “Bugger.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Well, that’s why we’re making this list.” Max said. “So maybe it doesn’t all happen.”

 

            “Good thought.” The Weirdo said. “That’s a good thought.”

 

            “We’re going to start seeing these things aren’t we?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “The fallen Arch Angel Lucifer, who’s a really nice guy by the way, is currently staying in a guest bedroom of this house. I’ve been apparently labeled as the knight who’s going to save the world from some phantom destroyer. The emergence of the Leviathan would not surprise me in the least.”

 

 

April 3rd, 2003

11:45 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo was sitting alone in his room, looking at Minga as her front paws twitched in her sleep. He wondered what a giant, apparent invulnerable gray tiger dreams about. Did she think about the fields of her youth, a time when her kind ran the world over? Maybe she was just dreaming about squirrels, like Bagheera.

 

            He looked out the window and looked at the sky, which was heavy with clouds. It would be cold tomorrow, he knew that much, it would be cold. There were still a lot of lights on in the city; he could see the glow off the clouds. Who was keeping the power going? Even given the level of automation in the world, surely there was a need for someone to make sure everything was still working. Did the world need people to keep going, would it keep going if none of the people who had vanished ever returned? He wondered about them, about where they were.

 

            Where were they being kept? Were they already dead? Maybe the ranks of Lucifer’s traveling tribe had suddenly exploded. He’d read that there were more people alive on the earth than had ever lived. This meant that the living actually did outnumber all the dead since the beginning of the human race. Or at least they did until just recently, until they’d all vanished. Would they all come back, he wondered. Were they trapped beyond someplace where they could never come back from?

 

            “Hello Weirdo.” Eoster’s voice altered him to her presence. He turned and looked toward the balcony where she emerged form.

 

            “Hello.” He said.

 

            “She broke you’re heart huh?” She asked.

 

            “Yeah.” He said. “Well, I’d kind of figured her out already.”

 

            “She’s still got the other woman alive? The one she made to look in that mirror I mean.” She looked shy, embarrassed, as if she knew she had angered him.

 

            “Julie.” He said. “I don’t know.”

 

            “I would think that they would keep her alive.”

 

            “Why do you say that?”

 

            “She’s still carrying your child.” Eoster said. “Why risk killing the source of power?”

 

            “I suppose.” He said. “Do you know where everyone is?”

 

            “Limbo would be as good a name as any for it.” She said. “I think it’s being plundered.”

 

            “Plundered?”

 

            “Those people aren’t dead yet you see. But several of the gods are taking people one and two at a time through back doors and such, distracting the guards who are supposed to be keeping them safe.”

 

            “Guards, back doors, what’s going on here?”

 

            “Are you completely stupid, or just politically inept?”

 

            “Inept.” He said.

 

            “How can I put this simply?” She said. “There is a power struggle going on, a fight amongst several factions of gods. Human souls are one small part of the equation, but what goes on here is a large part of it. The here and now and the apparent hereafter aren’t two disconnected places, their tightly woven together. There is a massive fight, with one gang of deities on one side and a different group on the other. The group that the System’s worshiping had managed to take a lot of the power at the moment, and thus has advantage.”

 

            “Is that power with a capital p?”

 

            “Small p, this groups got control. Their trying to rest control because he’s decided the world has to be destroyed. The problem is, if they win they would still probably tear the world to shreds with the infighting that would result.”

 

            “Where are you on this? Which side?”

 

            “This isn’t black and white. I’m not even in that fight, I’m with Aphrodite, trying to make an end result that would heal instead of destroy. I don’t think that the child Lilith’s carrying can be it. She’s a destructive force, and she hasn’t anything like a Deity in her. I’m still not convinced that it would be your child, maybe the grand child of your grandchild. It might come along at anytime, but the great healer can’t be born if the world is torn apart.”

 

            “You think the great healer needs to be born of a Goddess?”

 

            “I do.” She said.

 

            “You want to be the mother?”

 

            “I want to make sure that the plan comes to pass.” She said

 

            “You don’t care do you?” The Weirdo said turning towards her. “She’s here, The Other is sleeping in this house and no one cares about her. She’s a fucking person, she has likes, and dislikes. She wants someone to care about her, she wants some on to just love her.”

 

            “That’s not what I meant.” She said.

 

            “Go away Eoster.” He said, turning away. “I’ll talk to you later.”

 

            “No.” She said, suddenly the one who was angry. “You’re not going to just turn away and dismiss me.”

 

            She spun him around towards her, and he could see that she was angry now. She had found him so arrogant, so condescending it had really annoyed her. She wanted to slap him for being so damned dismissive.

 

            “You think your so fucking perfect, you never make any mistakes do you? You haven’t ever had to make a tough decision have you? You’ve always done everything just right?”

 

            “No.” he said.

 

            “Then you can stop acting so fucking judgmental.”

 

            “Sorry.” He said.

 

            “Now lets talk about this.” She said sitting down across from him. “I don’t know if the little girl sleeping downstairs is supposed to be mine or not. It’s not clear who the mother is going to be, all we know about her is that she dies in childbirth. That means that whoever gives birth to her dies. I know that Gods can die, so it’s not really something that I’m leaping into because I want to control the person who can heal or not heal the world. I want the constant fighting to end.”

 

            “Okay.” They sat for a moment and then The Weirdo looked up at her. “You got pretty angry there.”

 

            “Yeah, so?”

 

            “I was just beginning to wonder if you had a spine at all. It’s nice to see you show a little back bone.”

 

            “You’re just so aggravating sometimes.”

 

            “I know.” He said. “I was trying to see if I could make you show some guts.”

 

            “You played me?”

 

            “Only a little.” He said.

 

            “I’m not sure I like that.” She said.

 

            “You shouldn’t.” He answered. “It kind of was the point of doing it. You did get mad though, stood up for yourself, good for you.”

 

            “Thanks.” She said thinking but not remarking on his continued condescension. “So where do we go from here?”

 

            “We wait for the moment.” He said. “I’ve given both sides a pretty brisk slap across the face I think. Both sides though should have a renewed interest in either trying to get us on their side or killing us. I’ve stirred the pot, we just wait and see what comes to the surface now.”

 

            “Is that wise?” She asked.

 

            “I dunno.” He said. “I can only be a catalyst though. I’ve given them something to react to, now we just wait for the reaction.”

 

            “What do we do while we wait?”

 

            “Well,” He said. “Seeing as I have a new found respect for you an all, we could have a quick fling.”

 

            “You’re not serious.” She said.

 

            “Yes I am.” He said standing up. “I’m always serious. The question is, are you?”

© 2014 Autumn Knight Productions

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May 3, 2014 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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