Jan. 29th, 2014

[identity profile] al-shairan.livejournal.com
I hear the Rapture's coming;
They say He'll be here soon.
Right now there's demons crawling all around my room.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
(Rev. 2:4-5)

Before dawn

The death of their child draws Management's attention, as I had hoped. For even in their ancient, strange heart they have room for affection, and for rage. In their fury they let their attention fall from the river, and I could see clearly my opponents. Mere humans, most of them!

I sent out what followers I have, in this place. Men, and beasts, and god-things; crawling and walking, they went out with my power in their mouths and hands, so that they breathed blood and flame. I intended them as distraction, mainly, to stop the goddess's work being done. If they were delayed long enough in their magics, the tear in the world would be too far gone to be mended. So the sky rained not just with Nanshe, but with fire and with plague, and I saw men strangle their neighbours on the banks of the Pontarlier. Gaueko came out to me, and I thanked him, and said I would take him with me when I fall for the very last time; but my immediate business could be done by me alone. He would be welcome to wait. I think a part of me is glad that though I may burn myself out of existence alone, he may follow me into the dark.

Meanwhile, Management came for me.

I knew that they would challenge me; but it seems my pride had not let me realise how very much of a challenge they are. We moved between worlds and times as we struggled, and there was a strange fierce pleasure in it, the difficulty of it. Have I ever been so pressed? Not since I wrestled with my brother and he flung me down. It took a century, our struggle, in the places between moments, and in the end I had them by the throat (figuratively, for they have never had throats) and could have cast them beyond this world for always...

And I saw Tezcatlipoca die. My Night Wind. Not dying as a god, but as a boy, as stupid simple Micah, falling crumpled to his knees, and although I know the end is coming for us all I still cried out, a high keening sound that broke the windows of the abbey one by one.

Management had me under them, then, their fist curled into the heart of me, the spark of creation in the palm of their not-hand, ready to be blinked out

My dear, he told you he would betray you, they said, all laughter...and I realised they had deceived me. It was a cheap ruse, a false vision. And so Tez has betrayed me again, though not by his action, no. It is my feelings for him that have betrayed me, and if I have ever been a fool in my thousand thousand years on this earth it is overshadowed by this moment.

"That seems to be stretching a technicality," I say coolly, and their laughter is broken glass and bells. I am thinking of how to free myself, for surely I can; I am al-Shairan, إبليس, Iblis, He who Brings Despair; I have thrown over civilisations. I was most Beloved, and now I am most Feared.

But I feel that the tide of the battle has turned, and the moment has been lost. There will not be another moment aligned like this for centuries, perhaps millennia, and all these weary years I have waited have been for nothing.

"Do it, then," I say, with the weight of my despair behind me. "You have won. Crush me and be done." Part of me is relieved, that I can be done, even if I have failed. For I have always known in my secret heart, have I not, that I would fail? That I am Despair, and I can have no success, not in the end.

Kill you? Blot you out? Our dear friend, whatever makes you think we are merciful?

It takes a long time, what they are doing, and it is very terrible. But I am used to pain, and if they want to torture me before they kill me, I can endure.

And then I realise what it is they have done to me. I feel nothing beyond the boundaries of my own flesh; I can hear nothing but with my ears, and my sight is clear and small. I feel the press of flesh around me like a prison.

We bless you, they say, still laughing, with long life, and a natural death.

I scream, then, until my throat is torn, and I have scratched my face open with my nails. But it is not a scream that breaks glass, and my skin does not heal when I will it. I am just this. Only this. Man.
[identity profile] kent-whitman.livejournal.com
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next." Gilda Radner

Mayor's residence, after
Mid afternoon

The house is quiet now, thank god. The last several day have gone by almost in a blur with all the people coming to mayor, of all the things that needed to be attended to, arrangements to be made... and add a God of War showing up and bellowing about why no one invited him to the apocalypse, well, it's been no less than a zoo.

Of course, the quiet that has now settled over the house serves as a reminder that it is bereft of a very vital life that once raced down the halls, laughing and causing mischief. One that we laid to rest at dawn this morning in a far corner of the cemetery at the Abbey. One that, if it is to be believed; will be back with us in some form in nine months. After the small service this morning, Wanda came home to get some much needed rest while I went with Tony... Ares. He said he knew the perfect place for us to relocate to. I told him I did not wish to risk moving my pregnant wife to god knows where without some more information. So, he showed me. It made me dizzy, the way he managed to take us from one place to the next in a manner of moments, but then I was able to see...

I think Wanda and I will be very happy there; in that little house on the edge of dunes.

I let myself in, and find Wanda lying down. One hand is on her abdomen, and in the other is clutched a very well loved purple bunny. She looks very lost in thought. I cross the room and sit beside her on the bed. I can tell by her eyes she had ben crying, but my wife manages to give me a smile in spite of the sorrow.

"Can you hear her... them? Is it like before?" I ask as I lay my hand over hers.


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