Description: Story about the Angel of Death, Rated R
SPLChamps - September 23, 2005 01:24 AM (GMT)
OK, so I'm going on another hiatus from "The Code". It's remarkably hard to write a story that you started when you were 15. So I'm moving on to this in a vain attempt to seem like I can process more than one story at a time. It's called Thanatos, who was the Greek god of death, but it is nothing to do with anyone Greek. I just was wanting to use that name as a title because Greek gods have cool names. This is a story I first conceived a good 6 or 7 years ago when I was just a kid in my american Elementary school and it evolved in my mind. Some, well...I, might say that this is my Gangs of New York. But that would be pretentious of me. It all spawned from the first time I played Grim Fandango (I'm a little obssessed right now!) and I just thought that Death is such a great character and so ambiguous that he would be easy to write an original story for, so this is all being churned out as I think about it here. I've never committed it to page before so please enjoy.
SPLChamps - September 23, 2005 01:52 AM (GMT)
Mike Larkin was having a bad week. On the Sunday, he walked in on his wife and their next door neighbor. He had suspected, but this moment made him emotionless. Then on the Monday, he found out that not only had his father passed away during the night, but he was to be made redundant and replaced by a machine. It was not a good week by any means. The thunder clapped behind him in the distance. His first guess was that is was a good 5 miles south, and he'd be right. People seem to be a lot more into paying attention to things like that when they drive alone, it's how they try to stay awake. It didn't work. Mike had been driving for 3 straight hours in the pouring rain when he dozed off. It was fate, it had to be. He'd never fallen asleep at the wheel before. He wasn't an evil man nor was he a cruel man. He had sinned, but no more than the next man. He never intended for what was about to unfold. His car started to veer right into the next lane and, eventually, through the central divide. The traffic had been quiet all night, but it was fate this night. Destiny. Meant to be.
The Westerman family had seen better nights than this night. Once again, Sam had gotten drunk and started making a scene at the restaurant, so Lily left him and took Suzy with her. The rain made Suzy sleep in her child's seat soundly, the constant tapping was like a soothing rush in her ears that massaged her into slumber. She would be 1 next week and her mother couldn't wait for the party. However, all Lily wanted to do was get home and prepare for Sam stumbling into the house from whatever cab he got home at whatever time he chose. She looked in her rear-view mirror and noticed nothing.
"Wow, this is a doozie, don't you think?" Officer Wallace had been involved in his fair share of accidents on rainy nights, but they had never been this brutal. "I think the glass shattered inwards and tore the two arteries here and here. As for the little one, well, we only managed to get one half of her out. The other half is practically part of the car now. Makes your heart crumble and burn, doesn't it?" Wallace had two kids of his own and seeing what he saw that night made him look at the picture of his two sons more than usual. He would go home tonight and cry on their shoulders while they slept. He loved them more than life itself, especially since his wife had been murdered viciously by a common theif no more than 4 months before. He said a prayer to himself for the woman and, presumably, her daughter. "Cheif, we got another one!"
Lily Westerman turned around to look at her daughter sleeping at the traffic lights. She was so happy and proud. '3 tries and we finally got one' she said to herself. It was the first miscarriage that led to Sam's alcoholism and by the time Suzy was born, he was in a place no one could get him out of. Lily loved him, but resented how hard he took the loss of his child. To lose one after a few weeks of pregnancy is torture, but to lose one a few days before the due date is sheer hell. She understood this. But she had carried that child for 9 months and she got over it, so how could Sam not? She stared at her whole world in her back seat as the lights went green and she entered the freeway.
Mike briefly woke up when he saw the maroon SUV gunning at him through the powering rain. But rather than take control of the vehicle, he did something he never thought he would do. Quickly, he unclipped his seatbelt and jumped out just as the cars collided, shattering his pelvis and both legs from the shockwave of the impact and putting them beyond repair as the rolled across the asphalt and lay in the rain, struggling to breathe.
Lily adjusted her rear-view to get a look at her daughter. The freeway was empty and she could take her eyes off the road. After all, the streets were empty and it was a straight road, "Cruise Control Country" they called it. When she looked at the road she was blinded as a set of lights came right at her but swerved to her right as they came into view. It was the last thing she would ever see.
"Preliminary views, doctor?" Wallace was impatient. He needed to see his boys.
"I would say that the sedan driver fell asleep and woke up just at impact, fleeing out of the car. He must've used the steering wheel to throw himself and that caused the car to turn slightly, as you can see here. The shock of the collision must've broken a few bones as he came into contact with the door's shock absorbers and that nasty fall will probably render him legless, that is if he makes it through the night. The way the cars impacted caused a fault in the SUV's crumple zones to shatter the glass inwards and pierce the female driver. She lost control and the car flipped onto the sedan, which crushed the child. I hate to say it, but I've seen it in many variations before. Either a drunk driver or a sleeping driver. Possibly even both."
"He's waking up!" came the cry from Mike's resting spot. The cops shone the light in his eyes.
"Can you hear me, sir?" All Mike saw was the movement of their lips and the light envelope him. He then heard a voice.
"What you have done, tonight, is without reason and without excuse, Michael Joseph Larkin. And you shall be punished. In light of your recent past, I will bestow upon you a chance to regain your honor. Harvest the souls of the wicked and the evil, and I will grant you entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Until you have harvested enough, you shall be forced to walk this Earth as a spectre of your former self. You shall not taste nor feel anything. You shall not sleep nor age. You are a figment of yourself, Michael Joseph Larkin. But do my bidding, and you will earn your respect. Smite those who are beyond redemption."
SPLChamps - September 23, 2005 02:32 AM (GMT)
Mike awoke in a hospital bed, feeling both dizziness and aches in his head. He looked down at his legs and noticed the cast and his inability to move. He watched as nurses and orderlies walked by his room. He looked over at his side and saw a well-dressed gentleman looking at his watch, his hair combed perfectly and his goatee finely trimmed. He looked up and noticed Mike's stare.
"Good, you're awake, I was wondering when you'd finally come to."
"How long have you been waiting there?"
"When you've been waiting places as long as I have, what I've just been through is a microwave dinner in comparison."
"Who are you?"
"An ambiguous question which will result in an equally ambiguous answer. Short term, I am Gabe and I will be your guide. Long term, I am the Archangel Gabriel, Messenger of God and General to His Servants of Redemption. In a past life, I was Gabrelus Camilius Marius, a commander to the armies of Scipio Africanus during the Second Punic Wars."
"Oh, on the Earth calendar I believe the final battle was at Zama on October 19th, 202 BC. It was a Tuesday...or was it Thursday? You know what, after all this time I don't even care anymore."
"What the hell is going on?" Mike wondered how he was able to talk.
"Oh, right, yes, let me get down to brass tacks here. I was once like you. I once did horrible things that I never thought about but now pay for for all eternity. At Carthage, I was the first one to cast salt onto the ground and I was the first one to massacre a family. I was a monster. But I was given a choice by God when I died. He accused me of herecy and evil beyond retribution, but told me that due to my military strengths and general intelligence that I was eligible to save my soul from Hell. I became one of 3 Generals to the Servants of God. I command the Servants of Redemption, who are kind of like a tactical army. We figure out how to defeat our opponents like a game of chess and use a mixture of stealth and skill to carry it out. You may have heard of my peers, also. Raphael is another. He commands the Servants of Good Will, also known as the Saints. They spread peace and love to the places who have earned it through years of scorn and oppression. Raphael was once a medic for an Egyptian pharaoh but was mummified and given the chance to escape his eternity in Hell for herecy because he did not deserve it due to the kindness he had shown in life. Finally, there is Michael. Don't mess with Michael. He is the one true angel left. The sole survivor of the Old War, millenia before the universe was created. He was also God's first son. Recently we have had a harder time finding our opposition. The damned have a way of being crafty. Rapists go free and aren't able to be harvested straight from jail anymore. It's getting harder. That's why we are enlisting all the help we can get and are offering eternal bliss in return for some service."
"So if I help you kill some evil bastards then you'll let me go to Heaven...is that...what you're trying to say?"
"Swear to tell the truth and nothing but, it's not like I have the capacity to lie anyway."
Mike broke out in a fit of laughter. "So you...work for God and, what was it, 'harvest' the souls of the wicked."
"Oh boy, another sceptic, I loved dealing with you fuckers during the Rennaisance." Gabriel took Mike's hand and threw him against the wall, piercing his heart through the eyes with his stare. "Laugh all you want, heretic, but it is in protecting people like you that I manage to still be forever denied my place in Heaven. Unlike you, I wasn't given the choice of purgatory. So a little respect, please."
Mike stared in fear.
SPLChamps - September 23, 2005 10:38 PM (GMT)
Gabriel took his hands off of Mike and put on his perfectly starched wool coat.
"It's raining, get yourself some clothes."
Mike looked down at himself, decked in the suit he wore during the crash, except without the blood, road and sweat stains. He brushed himself off and had a look of utter confusion.
"Are perfect. Look at them. I remember I could barely walk when it happened to me out of sheer shock. Plus I got an arrow in it instantaneously. Dying in battle, they say it's honorable but, well, I felt like an idiot."
Mike thought about how much Gabriel talked about his past like he didn't care about it anymore.
"You're right, I don't care." Gabriel's lips hadn't moved. "It's cheaper to just enlist telepathic ability amongst the servants, rather than some stupid radio system."
"Wow...this is...deep. And quite the headmess."
"Shut up and swear. You kill for a living now, swearing is the least of your sins. It's like charging your room service to the company on a business trip, might as well get waist deep, shit head."
"Get some humor in you, for His sake! I realize you've just been told that you are fucked unless you kill, but come on, I don't even get the salvation you do."
"That's because you enjoy the death."
Gabriel stopped and thought. Then he and Mike left the hospital room. An orderly chased after them and Gabriel clicked his fingers. The orderly was in Mike's old bed in his cast, along with a cast over his head.
"That'll fool them for a while. Let's head to the hunting grounds, shall we?" Gabriel sparked a cigarette.
Gabriel and Mike walked towards a sparklingly clean white Lotus Elise. Mike looked at Gabriel as they walked.
"You clearly have something to say, rook, so say it before I lost interest."
"Wh...wh...no...stop. What the fuck is going on? How in the Hell am I supposed to 'harvest' these souls-"
"Not so loud, you'll scare the living shit out of the living, which is quite envious of you, seeing as you are now devoid of living shit yourself."
"But...you didn't answer my question."
Gabriel unlocked his car and stepped into the driver's seat, indicating to Michael to sit down. The car was immaculate, perfect interior and silver lining across every accessory. The black leather seats were like tufts of air. The car turned on with a kick of sheer power and Gabriel depressed th clutch, sticking it into 1st gear and speeding off.
"Aren't you going to check your blindspot-"
A loud crash was heard as Gabriel clicked his fingers and his car was pristine once more. Mike looked behind them at the wreck they had created in the station wagon next to them. Gabriel stepped onto the road and took off his sunglasses, staring behind and slowly walking towards the car. He looked like a stone.
Gabriel spoke to the bleeding passenger of the station wagon without looking at him, merely looking around.
"Look, before you leap. Do you believe in God?"
Before the man could answer, Gabriel picked him up.
"Mike, over here now." Mike walked over to Gabriel, in disbelief at how effortlessly he lifted the injured man. "This is Raymond, he is a paedophile. Look at his fingertips, they'll have touched more young ass than Pampers. Observe."
Michael stared on as Gabriel stared deeply into Raymond's eyes. Raymond kicked at Gabriel in the face and sent him to the ground. He then looked at Mike and punched him in the throat, running quickly.
"There he goes." Gabriel jumped up and pulled out a twisted knife, kissing it at the handle and flinging it, eyes closed at the man. It pierced right through to his eye. Gabriel walked over to the body and touched his hand to the cadaver's forehead and closed his eyes. The body, once again, shook.
"That is how you do it. Come on, let's go find some bigger game."
SPLChamps - September 26, 2005 03:53 AM (GMT)
Mike looked at Gabriel as he drove, seeming to keep his eyes closed as if he knew what was coming.
"What happened in the Old War? Who is Michael?"
"This story will not be believed, but if you truly want me to tell it I shall. Do you?"
First of all, don't believe all that you know of God, Heaven and Hell. It is not what you think of it. In the first known age, God as we know him was an Emperor. He commanded all in his kingdom with unquestioned loyalty. He became totally omnipotent to the point that insurrection was an inevitability. He decided to recreate his kingdom in an image he saw fit. He created the divine followers, or Angels, and along with his wife he ruled. The only survivor from the previous era was God's second-in-command, Lucifer. Lucifer was not as he is commonly perceived. He was far from cruel and evil and was not a tempting soul. He was of unquestionable loyalty to God and he did without thinking, neither about himself nor about others, only of God and His kingdom. It was believed among the Angels that when God's son, Michael, was born that Lucifer would become jealous. He didn't, however. He took a shining to Michael, some said even more-so than God had to him. He taught him to battle, to think and to command. He was Lucifer's double. They were like peas in a pod, truly. When a rebellion began in the City of Dec, Lucifer and Michael quelled it quickly at dawn. Lucifer controlled his troops in exemplary style. This ease of battle and strategic genius earned Lucifer the title of the "Morning Star", which was later the translated Latin meaning. It was unrevealed to God, however, that the rebels called for Lucifer to take the throne. Lucifer was a man of the people, having earned his place in the highest of societies through the previous era. They believed him to be more powerful than God. Lucifer disagreed, but the rebel belief spread throughout the kingdom and God had realised his mistake. He made himself out to be the main figure when he should've stood and waited in the background.
When the battles began, both Lucifer and Michael led their armies, both to similar success. However, in the Seven Cities of Sin Michael met a great deal of scrutiny for his failing tactics in battle. His troops became disillusioned by the supposed Second Lucifer. In order to win their respect, Michael did the unimaginable, he took on 100 rebels himself, escaping markless and devastating the rebels with deadly effect. It was here that Lucifer realised how powerful Michael was. During battle, however, Lucifer was slain by a rebel who stabbed him in the back. When God was informed of the news, he ordered every man in the entire army to pay his respects to God's second in command. Lucifer was cast into the afterlife, and put on trial by the dead. Because of his unquestioned loyalty to God, he was cast into the flames of death and there, he evolved into a more hating creature. He feared that God had abandoned him and so embraced his new home. He became Satan.
When Lucifer fell in battle, Michael was distraught, but took control of his old mentor's army. He commanded with precision and brilliance the likes of which had never been seen. His sieges of the Cities of Wrath and Pridus were sheer brilliance. Michael, however, felt remorse for slaying the people. God requested an audience with his son and it was then that He revealed his true plans. He told His son that the entire kingdom would be razed and replaced once more and that Michael would be the only one to join God into the new era, as Lucifer had done before. By this time, God's mortal wife had died many years before and was almost entirely cast out of memory, such was God's intensity when it came to the war. Michael was aghast at his father, uttering how it was defication of Lucifer's good name. God, however, would not listen to his son.
When Michael explained what was to happen to his soldiers, he remained emotionless. One lone angel stood up and hugged his commander, uttering the words "so it is written, so it shall be." Michael broke down at this moment and called for God. When his calls went unanswered, he realised that the time had come. He addressed all of his soldiers and confessed that he would gladly give up his place and die with his brothers than go into existence without them. They died with his name burned into their hearts and he went on with a piece of his forever gone.
God revealed what the new kingdom was to be to Michael. He explained the implications of morality and right and wrong, explaining that he would create choice and consequence, cause and effect. He would sit in the background and observe how his creations lived with only the bare necessities provided to them. Michael took his seat next to his father and began a period of mourning that continues to this day. When there are great harvests, Michael does them on his own. He is bitter and has sworn to get his brother, Lucifer, out of Hell and into Heaven, where he believes he belongs.
"Now do you see why I told you to avoid Michael? He has been through more than we could hope to comprehend. His pain is no longer measurable. Take comfort in the fact that you will never go through what he did."
Mike was silent for the rest of the journey, until they arrived at what seemed to be a street race.
"Ah, easy pickings. Shall we?" Gabriel smiled a smile of sheer elation.
Katana - September 29, 2005 04:02 PM (GMT)
SPLChamps - November 4, 2005 03:19 AM (GMT)
When Mike and Gabriel walked right in the way of the street race, all hell broke loose. Gangbangers and hoodlums were whipping out 'nines' quicker than a Republican at a gay wedding. Mike was nervous as he looked up at Gabriel, who was almost laughing.
"This is where the fun starts, young man." He looked at the racers. "Gentlemen, the bells have tolled for thee. Judgement has come to you on this fine night and I have come to the conclusion that, well, you just aren't fit enough for heaven. I'll let you stay in purgatory for a millenia or two, if you lay down the guns now."
"Yo, this fucker is nuts."
"Waste his ass foo'!"
"Hey man, crack this fucker in the skull man."
"Oh how you damn yourselves." Gabriel let off a laugh as one of the men advanced on him with a baseball bat, swinging with the might of a titan right at Gabriel's face. Without even looking up, he caught the bat and flung the man through the window of his own car.
"What the fuck is this man!?!"
"Let's get the fuck outta here!"
"Don't run. Please. Pretty please." Gabriel took out his desert eagle and dispatched two of the men with a flick of his wrist and a slip of his index finger. "Alright, Mike, prove your worth. Waste these rapists." Mike was astonished and disgusted, yet found himself picking up the bat and chasing after the men. "Let's see you fly, angel of death, let's see you fly."
Mike shot into the air with a leap and a bound, as if it were second nature, an inner-programming of his brain as normal as breathing or heart-beats. He chased the men down alleyways and across streets until they eventually took their stand. Mike stared them all down with the bat in his left hand. One of the men stood up to him.
"Hey, hombre, you wanna mess wit' one of us, you mess wit' all of us!"
"Yeah, gringo, get your cracker ass out of my shit a'fore I pop nine until you shit metal, fucker."
Mike's eyes stared into the man's soul, black as the River Stix. The man drew his gun and shot Mike down. Inside his body, the bullet evaporated into white nothingness and his wound sewed up as if nothing had happened.
The cracking of the baseball bat finished the man's sentence. Judgement had truley come to these thieves, rapists and murderers on this night. With every swing of the bat, Mike felt like an ancient warrior slaying demons with his sword of light. 7 men became 6, 6 became 5, 5 became 4 until there was one man left in a pool of his own blood, saying a Hail Mary. Mike uttered the first words he had spoken since the hospital.
"This is a message. Written in blood. Sealed by your own hatred and all your sins. They will weigh you down as you sink to the lowest level of Hell. Your body will burn, your soul will erupt and your eyes will melt in what will be the most painful experience of your life. I would ask God to be with you, but he sent you down there in the first place. Goodnight." The bat ended Mike's fears about the job and ignited his passion. He was ready to do God's bidding.
Katana - November 4, 2005 03:36 PM (GMT)
SPLChamps - November 10, 2005 02:37 AM (GMT)
Michael walked through the halls of the Sistine Chapel. Those who saw him cowered in fear. His eyes were empty and his face was blank. He could see and feel the believers around him. He got up to a small crucifix at the side of the chapel. He stared at the eyes of his "brother" and began to rant to himself.
"You. You wanted to save them. You told me repeatedly that they weren't beyond salvation. If you could only see yourself like this. If you could only see what I see. And you know what I see? Pathetic. A waste. A terrible piece of nobody who just got in my way. If they hadn't killed you, I would have. You were weak and I-"
Michael was stopped in his tracks by a noise outside of the chapel. A loud rumble was occurring. The parishioners stayed in their position of solemn prayer as Michael stepped out of the chapel. He saw the clouds open and his Father was sat in his chair, looking down on him.
"You can ask that of yourself, father."
Gabriel and Mike got back into the car after reaping the souls of their recent harvest. Gabriel quickly looked at Mike and frowned.
"It doesn't get any easier. Trust me. You'll be wishing it away over the rest of your life."
"So this is what doesn't make it into the job description, the whole emotional disdain of the job. The fact that this is my life until further notice."
"If, at any time this gets too much, just remember what you'd have to face if you had chosen the alternative. And always remember what Michael is going through."
"I want to meet him."
"I want to meet him, meet Michael. Let me meet him."
"You'll regret it."
There was a flash and they appeared in St. Mark's Square, in Vatican City. Michael was staring at both of them with a sword at his side.
"You are the new guy?"
"Well," Michael stared as he spoke, never blinking,"what do you think of the job?"
Michael's stare became intimidating.
"Tough? Try an entire existence of emptiness, lonliness and the feeling that you just aren't what your father wanted. So much so, that he had another son who was your polar opposite. My brother preached forgiveness, turning the other cheek. No more than 5000 years earlier, father wanted me to preach thehand of war to all who would listen, to completely annihilate anyone in his path. Hypocritical bastard."
His sword was drawn as he got closer to Mike and thrust the sword towards his neck, stopping just shy of his throat.
"I could have been happier. Now I will always be forced to live with the fact that my father imprisoned the only man I called brother. Tough is nothing, you son of a bitch, now grin and bear it before I eat your tongue."
Mike didn't cringe and squirm like the others. Michael was put off.
"I'm not afraid. Do it. A lifetime in hell will get my mind off of what I did to that family."
Michael's threat went unheard. He thrust the sword back into it's scabbard.
"I like him. Gabriel, take a walk. Reaping is needing done in the Americas."
Gabriel bowed his head and disappeared.
"Come, we have much to discuss." Michael put his arm around Mike as they walked away.
Katana - November 13, 2005 12:27 PM (GMT)
Seriously dude, this is a damn cool story.
SPLChamps - November 18, 2005 03:19 AM (GMT)
"What Gabriel has told you about me is true, I am a force to be reckoned with. And I know that one day my fallen brother will challenge my father, and ask for my help. I do not know what I will do that day, and this has vexed me since the creation of this existence...if it can be called such a thing."
"Do you need to take sides? God is the creator. Can He not battle Lucifer Himself?"
"You would think so. But all these years of peace and delegation of violence has left Him arrogant, dependent and weak. As much as I love Him, I hate what He has become. He is nothing like his former self. When I was younger, Lucifer told me tales of how he and my father would destroy entire armies together. My father. The great creator. Lord of Heaven and Earth. Ha. Don't make me laugh. He is a bureaucratic miscreant who has lost all the power to his generals. Gabriel and Raphael answer to me and I control Earth. A retarded restelac could run Heaven."
"Oh, right. Ancient creature before this existence. It was like a hippo only dumber and slower."
"Point taken." Mike was engrossed in Michael's frank nature and also his total disregard for his father's reputation. But then, what son has never questioned their father's abilities? That was when Mike realised that Michael's resentment was natural and that it had not stemmed from Lucifer's imprisonment, but from a much younger age. He was jealous.
"If you had been in the ancient times, from what I hear from Gabriel, you would've made quite the commander. Learn from me. Let me teach you the way my brother taught me. Let me guide you to the power one can only achieve through force and violence."
Mike looked at his superior. "General, I fight for you. But that path is one I would need a lot of time to consider."
"Very well. Do not worry. You really do have all the time in the world. Wait...what is that?"
A rumbling began from outside the city. Michael drew his sword and unsheathed a second, throwing it to Mike. They were in the air, heading to the outskirts and could not believe their eyes.
"You see that?" Michael had a smile.
"Yes...what is it?"
"It's a restelac, only this one is much bigger than the ancient ones."
"I don't understand," Mike attempted to grasp the situation, "I thought they were extinct."
"They are...well, were. Come on, it's time to live again."
They flew towards the beast.
God sat on his throne, content with what he was being told by one of his messengers. Then he looked down at the Earth and saw the restelac.
"The first sign," he sighed with little suprise, "it begins."
SPLChamps - November 18, 2005 03:21 AM (GMT)
Woops, forgot to log in initially. If someone could delete that post made by "Guest" that would be brilliant.
Katana - November 18, 2005 06:51 PM (GMT)
Ancient beasts and foreshadowing seems like a winning combo.
SPLChamps - November 20, 2005 01:24 AM (GMT)
Doesn't it just smack of a million other things.....I mean....originality...yes....I have no influences in this world at all......and no....I've never seen the TV show G vs. E on the USA Network, why do you ask....?
Katana - November 21, 2005 08:16 AM (GMT)
Well. since I haven't heard of that one I believe you. :-)
SPLChamps - March 31, 2006 04:03 AM (GMT)
Time to get this story up and running again. It's going to take a while, I'll chip away at it for a couple of weeks again.
The restelac let out a roar so mighty that it was muted. Michael flew up into the clouds and soared down onto the mighty beast. Mike was left stunned by the sheer size of the creature. It dominated the skyline and seemed larger than anything he had seen before. Michael threw him a sword whilst still on top of the mammoth being.
"It won't do much good, but it couldn't hurt." Michael was laughing a sadistic laugh as he plunged the sword into the beast's back. It snapped its tail and struck Michael on the back of the head. The tail, seemingly another limb, wrapped around the sword and flung it towards the Angel. Mike saw this and flew quickly towards the sword, nearing its way to Michael's back. He caught it in the air and passed it to his general, who had been flying towards the stone ground below. Michael laughed again.
"I'm sure he's enjoying judging your performance, young one. Here," he threw Mike the sword, "it's yours if you want it. The restelac. Destroy it. Prove Gabriel right."
Mike had a determination in his face. He faced the restelac while Michael called towards him.
"Don't let it trick you, they've been known to do that. When it shrinks to the size of a man, that's when you're in trouble." He laughed again.
Mike was unsure once again at the problem which faced him. He produced both swords and lept into the air, swinging them in a vain attempt to intimidate the beast. It's eyes looked at him menacingly and it's bulbous tongue slapped him in the chest. He flew towards the dome of a cathedral, but gained his composure and flew higher.
"Now, he shrinks! It's about to get ugly! Time for you to pick on something a little more your size. Remember, as the size gets smaller, the brain size begins to fit and the reaction times increase. The restelac is a man's brain in a giant hippo's body, more or less. It's harder when it's smaller because it's smarter and can think quicker. Be on your guard." Michael flew away and left Mike to do his work.
The restelac had now shrunk to the size of a large man, over seven feet in height, and quickly formed the shape of a human. It let out a cry and shouted at Mike's direction in a language Mike had never heard yet found strangely familiar.
"So, you challenge my might. Well, challenge accepted, little one."
Mike's eyes opened up and he threw Michael's sword at the restelac's torso. Reacting as quickly as an angel, the gargantuan creature swiftly avoided the blade and caught it.
'Wonderful,' Mike thought, 'I've just armed a seven foot demon. Genius.' He moved into action and swung his blade in the air towards the beast. It countered with a quick deflection and proceeded to swing under Mike's sword. It stopped at his throat.
"That's one." It let out a bellowing laugh.
Mike was enraged and swung lower, this time almost connecting, before the restelac spun around him, grabbing his neck and throwing him into a nearby wall. It held Michael's sword to Mike's throat again and laughed once more.
"Two." It laughed again.
"Everything is so fucking funny to these old things. Time to see if he finds this funny." Mike lunged at the restelac with his sword but quickly flicked his wrist. The beast had been laughing as it avoided Mike, not realising how predictable the move was. The flick of Mike's wrist produced several staggered off-shoots from his sword, skewering the restelac. Mike quickly produced his gun, aimed square between the eyes of the restelac, and unloaded a powerful round. The creature was dropped to the ground, bleeding from the side. It let out a groan and picked itself up.
"Oh fuck no you don't." Mike had had enough. He flicked the sword again to produce a second sword and sliced both through the air. The beast's upper half twirled on the lower half and fell in a pool of its self. He clicked the swords back together, holstered the gun and watched as the creature dissolved into the ground. Gabriel shocked Mike with a touch to the shoulder, causing Mike to unleash another round in Gabriel's face.
"Shit, man, that sucks. I suppose I shouldn't have scared you, but these sunglasses are new. Bastard. Anyway, well done. It took me 3 years before I could handle a restelac. Troublesome bastards. Try fighting 'em in hell, it's full of the fuckers."
"What do you mean? Hell?"
"Well...yeah. I mean, it ain't heaven and gift shop, is it? There is a reason for the yin yang, buddy. And that restelac, I seen him before. Big hairy fucker from my time. I think I actually killed him on the battlefield."
"Well...the restelac. It's a demon. Hell's answer to an angel. Didn't you figure that out?"
"Wait...you've been to hell?"
"Well sure. Every few millenia, we travel down there. Population control. Important stuff. It's like sweeps month on TV. You get a bonus for every restelac you destroy. The soul goes to purgatory, gets redjudged and is placed on Earth to try again, as it were." Gabriel smiled at Mike's confused face. "Come on, kid, let's get a Taco Bell."
SPLChamps - July 9, 2006 02:52 AM (GMT)
As quickly as they had arrived to see Michael, Gabriel and Mike were gone. They were in Los Angeles, blazing through Downtown in a new sports car, white as a sheet and smooth as two sides of butter. Gabriel rolled down his window and stared out at the sprawling city that he was enveloped in.
"It'll happen, one day...the restelacs will try and overrun a place like this. We get luckier and luckier that they don't attack cities. Something's brewing...I don't know what...but something isn't right."
Mike felt confused and slightly irritated.
"Are there any other viscious demons or monsters or boogey men I should be worried about? Anything else that's going to swallow me whole and breathe fire down my asshole?"
"Oh yeah, of course. But, to be perfectly honest with you, knowing about them just adds to the fear. Anyway, we've got some work to do."
They stepped out of the car at the base of a massive building, stretching far up into the sky, as if it never stopped. Despite being his typical 5'11" inches from the ground, he felt the worst case of vertigo in his life.
Gabriel had him enter into the giant slab of concrete as they looked at the line for the elevator.
"No matter. We'll take the stairs."
Mike gave Gabriel a look of "What the fuck?" to which Gabriel simply replied:
"As far as you're debt is concerned, this'll be about five minutes."
They started up the stairs when Gabriel eventually took the role of Mike and shot him a look.
Gabriel couldn't believe Mike couldn't see his reaction.
Both men took off and shot up the atrium of the staircase, passing floor after floor after floor. They eventually came to a stop.
"This is us. Floor 99 1/2. Take a walk with me."
When Mike heard the number, he expected a Being John Malkovic-style door with a somewhat eerie quality. Instead, he saw offices. Endless, windowless offices.
"Where the hell are we?"
"Headquarters, Ground Zero, the Main Hall, the Death Star. Welcome to Heaven."
Mike needed a moment to think.
"For years they tell you heaven is in the clouds, with angels and harps and turtle-doves. Then they tell you heaven is simply the sum of your happiness. You're telling me heaven is an L.A. office block?"
"Not telling you; showing you. Now, forget all your thoughts on what heaven is. Essentially, this is no different from offices throughout the world. You think new technology comes from humanity? Bullshit, this is where we work. As we evolve economically, technologically and socially, so does everything below us. But don't think this is where eternal bliss begins, oh no. These are just the gears and cogs. All that stuff is on a different plane. Remember, there's heaven, then there's the afterlife. Two serparate notions. Welcome to the beaurecracy."
"If this is heaven-"
"Then what is hell? Let me tell you. Hell is nothing. I've seen hell, and it is basically you, alone, with your thoughts. Basically. Things get complicated when you slowly begin to think you're going crazy."
"What do you mean?"
"You see...hell isn't fire and brimstone. Restelacs are demons, yes. But in hell, they serve a separate purpose altogether. They are silent propaganda, whispering thoughts into your head. For every person condemned to hell, their soul is split in two. Their physical being, the one you see in the mirror, is the one left to do all the thinking. Their inner demon is then tormented and twisted for age upon age, to the point where they are so damaged that they begin to blame your physical self."
"...what? That makes absolutely no sense."
"Think about it like this: there is the mind and there is the body. Which one is the self? People say one, people say t'other, people say both. The latter is the most truthful. While the body sits on a plane of nothing, the mind is taken over and melted and burned and absorbed and broken down and filtered and strained through horrible contortions instigated by one Lucifer. Your body and mind then meet for the first time after all this has happened...and they mind begins to punish the body. And that is when eternity begins for you."
"And how does a person get out of that hell?"
"Once you're there...you're there."
"But...I thought you had said you'd seen hell..."
"How did you get out?"
"Remember when I told you that you were lucky...because you had a chance to get into heaven? Well my mind is still down in hell. And my body is up here. As long as I do His bidding, I won't let the two meet, and I won't have to deal with the eternity."
"This just raises 2 questions for every one answered. Your description is-" Mike was instantly interrupter by a loud voice.
"Of a personal hell?"
"Well...yes." Mike was utterly confused.
The voice continued, "Gabriel speaks of his own inner torment at the life he lead. Hell is a different experience from person to person. For Gabriel, having to face the responsibility of the murdering and raping and pillaging and life of sheer debauchery he led is something he cannot bare. And it is what he suffered when he went to hell. But it differs. You, for example...did you think you dreamnt that car accident over and over and over again? That was hell. Your hell was reliving the final hours of your life. As for Lucifer...well...his hell is watching life on this Earth. His hell is seeing everything move on and forget about him. Do you think he enjoys being the center of religions? The fall guy of every single mistake a teenager makes in Alabama? Of course not. His hell...is poor perception of his true character. Spite settled in. And his power grew. And he forced his anger and hatred upon others."
Mike was gobsmacked as God sat down next to him. He looked simply like his mother. That was when he realised what heaven and hell really were.
"You aren't existence...you're beyond that...you're simply what I conceive you to be in my mind."
"Exactly. The most dangerous thing in the world is the human mind. And the most dangerous thing for the human mind is lonliness."
"But what about our existence in the physical plane? Where are we now?"
"Weren't you listening to Gabriel before?"
Mike was beyond confused. What he saw before him was an endless room of desks, phones, computer screens, televisions, radios, maps, printers, copiers, coffee makers, garbage cans, vending machines and every other corporate cliche in the book. Heaven? Hell? He needed a drink.
SPLChamps - July 9, 2006 03:15 AM (GMT)
Mike ran away from the building. Away from Gabriel. Away from his mother. Away from every single contorted and convoluted word he had just heard.
"Bullshit. BULLSHIT! What kind of crap is this? Heaven and hell in the mind...what...? Am I asleep? Wake UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!!!!"
He looked around. All he could see surrounding him was people. And they were staring right back at him. Every single dialated pupil inside every single eyelid was pointed right at him. As far as he could see.
"WHAT'S GOING ON!?!?! Where the fuck am I?"
Gabriel appeared next to him.
"You're right here. And you're right now."
"What? You can't use this cop-out horseshit. This philosophical rhetoric. Make sense and make sense right now."
The people began to speak in unison while staring right at him.
"The self is the answer. The answer is the self. To understand the machinations, one must face the self."
Mike looked at Gabriel, who had disappeared into the crowd, chanting along with the millions of people surrounding Mike. Buildings around him sunk into the ground. He was literally engulfed by people. He lay down and looked up at the sky, only to be closed in on.
"The self is the answer. The answer is the self. To understand the machinations, one must face the self."
Mike closed his eyes. The words repeated and repeated and repeated in his head. He began to chant along with the people.
"The self is the answer. The answer is the self. To understand the machinations, one must face the self."
He opened his eyes. The voices were gone. He looked up to see only the sun, clouds and buildings around him. He got up and rubbed his eyes and head.
"What just happened?"
He let out a slight laugh and began to walk...until he stopped two steps from his apparent grave. He looked around, again and again. Nobody. He was a bare speck on the ground with no companion to share his grief. A single, solitary indentation on the mile after mile of surface of his planet. He sat down again.
As soon as he sat down, eveything came back to life. Cars started moving. People appeared as if out of nowhere. Hot dog vendors continued their trade. Dogs barked. Birds whistled. Lights changed from green to yellow to red and all over in a sequence he had grown to know all to well. He started walking. He started talking.
"The self is the answer. The answer is the self. To understand the machinations, one must face the self...what does that even mean?"
"It means you are scared of what you are, what you were, and what you are meant to be."
Mike turned to see Michael, face obscured by shadow, wings closed behind him, sword in hand.
"It means...your realisations are not yet understood and not yet realised. Take a moment. Take several. If you take too many, you'll miss the chance."
Mike stepped forward and came face to face with Michael.
"Do it," he continued, "do what you think is right to make the words in your head better."
Mike took the sword from Michael's hand and held it, staring at its complexity and craftsmanship.
"Somebody worked on this for a better part of their life. They poured heart and soul into the melting and hardening of elements to create an image they had previously seen only in their heads. It was an obssession for days, weeks, years even. It ended relationships. It severed feelings. And when it was all over...all they had to show for it was a glorified piece of metal. Steel, forged or not, is just steel. No matter how much dressing and sugar-coating...it's always the same. It doesn't change. And a sword's purpose never changes."
As Michael finished speaking, Mike looked into his eyes. He plunged the sword deep into Michael's stomach. The archangel disintegrated into a million and more pieces of dust and blew into the wind.
Applause came from behind him. A single solitary clap.
"Well done. Well done indeed. But the real test is not yet come to pass."
SPLChamps - August 19, 2006 02:23 AM (GMT)
"I fear what you have seen today has affected the job you must do for me. You see now why he cast me away. You have freed me from my prison and now my spirit runs through you. It's simple. Very very simple. Mike, you are now the only thing that can possibly turn this forsaken half-world into something respectable. Challenge him, and I will fill you with the power needed to destroy him."
The fluttering pieces of Mike's consciousness began to wear down, but he remained stiff and fought the presence.
"Now now, human, don't fight me and I won't destroy your mind. You have fire in your eyes, I would hate to have to extinguish it. Succumb to me, and you will achieve the necessary power."
Mike stared into oblivion. The power that overcame him shocked him to the ground. He got up and was surrounded by mirrors. Slowly, the image in the mirrors changed. His eyes bled, his fingernails grew, his teeth sharpened and his muscles grew. But when he looked at his hands, nothing had changed.
"You see, the power does not show on the outside. Aesthetics are paramount when you are as stealthy as myself. He is perceptive, I'll give him that."
The puzzle, which had previously been in ruins, came together.
"In death, you cut apart the sign. But by simply playing the tune of death, you have magically brought it into the light. Kind of like Zelda, only less elves and more wings. And where Zelda has fairies, this existence has false prophets who believe themselves to be in 'real pain'."
"Why did you choose me?"
"You're the only one since Gabriel who can handle this power. Do not ask why your mind was made with such strength, it is an unknown fact. Your power is the Secretariat of this world. Now, more-so than ever. Because right now, nobody knows where it is. You're off the map."
"My demon. The restelac. You thought you had defeated it. I confronted you and led you into it's psychic daze. Within moments, you were sucked under. The rest was a simple spell, a simple piece of Comal or Pascal or Visual Basic within your mind. I manipulated your belief into thinking you had defeated the restelac. But then your mind fought back. And that explains our little Vanilla Sky moment. Some outside interference couldn't stop my most magnificent creation. Your mind may try to fight back, but it will not succeed. At all. It will bow down."
"Where is he, Gabriel?"
"He is underneath. He has transcended. I tried to gain entry, but Michael shut me away. I left him a message though. He won't forget it."
"Let us hope he does not. The power he has could destroy everything."
Mike re-entered the old plane of existence, right in front of the chapel where he believed he had left days before. The restelac appeared in front of him, giving him his final orders.
"Do what he commands. Do not fail, or your fate will be worse than all."
Mike appeared in front of a crucifix inside a small church in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. The locals were wary of him, but he knelt, closed his eyes, and spoke in an ancient tongue unspoken on this plane for millenia.
"Avoiding me only confirms your guilt, Father. Face me."
He left the church, only to be confronted by Gabriel.
"I should've seen it when I first came into contact with you. You had something different, that was for sure. That's why I spent to long with you. I usually abandon new recruits immediately after they get The Word. You were different. You needed care, attention. Now I see why."
Mike stood in Clint Eastwood-inspired silence.
"So it's true, is it? He entered your mind. Michael let him take you. I tried to explain it to you in your mind. The self is the answer, Mike, the self is the answer. You are not him, you are you. Face yourself, don't face me. You destroyed your own immunity through your unending devotion to knowing the whole truth. Things must remain unaswered. Faith is not logic, it is the exact opposite. It is blind devotion through illogical belief. Belief, Mike. Just believe something more."
Mike looked at the setting sun, and back at Gabriel.
"Get out of my mind, before I churn you into butter."
They slowly sauntered up to each other. Mike was as silent as a dead mute, Gabriel was whispering to him. The same phrase could not get out of his head.
"If I am the answer, then surely I would understand."
Mike began to falter, while face to face with Gabriel.
Within the recesses of his mind, Gabriel was laying siege to what Lucifer had planted. An intrinsic castle of thought and fear trapped Mike's true self. Gabriel's spirit seemed to scream to Mike.
"I can only fight the outside. You are inside. You are the inside. Cave it in. You are the self."
Mike opened his eyes and stared at Gabriel, who's eyes had glazed over in his state. He grabbed Gabriel's throat and threw him into the roof of the church.
"You stay out of there before I tear the bloody flesh from your bones!!"