And the sad thing is I can't even pretend that its weird because I was weirder when I wrote it; I wrote this last night
“Do you see them? Do you see them? They are everywhere my friend! I see them!”
The man with the milky white eyes raved as he stumbled down the street.
“I can see them! They are coming for us. They are coming for you. For everyone. They are coming! But not for me. Oh no. Not for me. Because I can see them! I can see them! Why can’t you see them?”
The crowds parted around him, men and women both giving him a wide birth. People of every nationality lived here in this city. People of every kind. They filled the streets, jostling pushing, making their way in a world that didn’t care. The air was thick with pollution and the sound of the city, horns honking, tires screeching, whores calling.
One little boy didn’t move aside like the other people. His mother was distracted at a store window and did not notice her boy instead staring at this strange blind man who talked about seeing invisible people.
“Who are they mister?”
“Huh?” the man’s head swiveled, trying to pick out the noise of the one who spoke to him “Wassat?”
“I said who are they?”
“Jeffrey! What did I tell you about talking to strangers?” the boys mother walked up and grabbed his hand. She looked at the blind man who was reaching towards the sound of these people.
“Please” he almost whimpered “You have to see”
“Yes yes. Here” the mother said as she fished a coin from her pocket and pressed it into his hand “Now lets go Jeffrey”
The boy turned back to look at the man as his mother dragged him away. The man kept reaching forwards, and the coin fell from his hand. It bounced and rolled away, but he didn’t notice.
“You have to see them. Somebody has to. The angels. The devils. They are here. They won’t hurt you if you can see them. But everyone else is going to die. Please. Open your eyes and see”
Abaddon walked down the streets of Dark Earth. He knew that the city had a name but he did not care. It was full of sin.
Everywhere he looked. Skies so gray, towers so tall, all metal, all so very very cold. Men and women selling their bodies for pleasure and coin, women and men taking advantage of anything that they could, even the children participating in this doomed damning perversity.
He took another step and passed through the human in front of him. He knew that the man would shiver a moment later as his senses realized that something was not right here, but that was not matter to Abaddon. Only the blind man ahead was.
Speaking of the blind man…
He had looked back again. He stared straight at Abaddon with those milky white eyes that could not see anything but the demons and angels that had come his world. Abaddon wondered if the man would go insane or not. Or rather, more insane than he was. For he had no reason to think that they would spare his life just because he could see them. That was pure speculation, and silly at that. Why spare the one who could identify you?
Abaddon knew that Azrael would not approve of that line of thinking but it had been a long time since he worried about what his former friend thought or approved of.
He had seen enough here. One of his manes would see to following the blind man, keeping him worked into a state of terror. It would not do to let him calm down; he may become lucid enough to warn people.
Abaddon unfurled his great wings and took flight with a flap of the downy feathers. His powerful muscles lifted him high into the air with each beat of his glorious wings, and he sailed quickly into the sky.
He continued until the blue faded around him and the sky began to grow black. Above him the stars never had a chance to come out eclipsed by the brightness of the sun. Not that Abaddon was flying right towards the sun. That would be foolish.
Finally as he left the atmosphere he approached his destination. He flapped his wings once more and floated through the emptiness of space towards the Immortal Avenger, his flagship.
One of the bay doors opened and he landed inside, touching down and walking deeper into his flagship. He knew that some among his men preferred to fold themselves into a lesser form, a human form, cloaked in the shadows that they would wear when they landed on Dark Earth in force.
And that would be a glorious day. Then they would begin the rising, and tear this Dark Earth, this horrible reflection, this mirror, this pit of sin from existence. It would be as if it had never been.
He smiled at the thought.
Azrael stood at the point. The waters flowed around him, the ocean moving in and out. Here he was. This next Earth. The ‘Dark Earth’ as Abaddon called it. He sighed and stared up at the sky where he knew Abaddon’s ship would be circling.
Sometimes it was such a galling duty to be angel of death. Even when it was a self imposed duty.
But it was the least he could do to collect the neural impressions of these people, save what little of their minds he could in the vast dataspace of First Earth, or as Abaddon would say ‘Light Earth’. And every other Earth was slated for destruction. Every single one of them that did not conform to Abaddon’s ideas of ‘light’. Unfortunately the high council was on his side in this and so had gifted him the Immortal Avenger stalked with enough firepower to rend spacetime itself and a thousand manes.
He sighed as he looked back down at the waters. He was here in flesh, fully formed, unlike the visitors from the Immortal Avenger. At least, he reflected, Abaddon granted him the time to walk among these people before they died.
He got to know each world before they moved on. Before the Avenger rained death and destruction with its guns, and before he stood at the epicenter of the destruction, sealing each brain pattern into the database as they fell. Someday these people would be remembered. Maybe someday they would even live again. But that was not his job.
He turned away from the point and walked among the people, adopting the appearance of a regular person from this Earth. Blue pants, two legs two arms, white things with tails in his ears and a shirt with cut off arms. His current one had a kind of slogan on it.
As he walked along the beach he thought on his life.
Each time they arrived on a new world the people seemed to know about the already. On this one he had found himself and Abaddon represented in religious texts. By name and profession if not by image.
It never failed to amaze him how these people knew of their doom beforehand and yet did nothing about it. The very odd thing was that they even knew of their death. Their holy texts described days of fire and death raining from the sky.
That would come from Abaddon and the Avenger. Yet they also spoke of some being saved, of those people being taken into the very sky from which the death was raining from and being preserved.
That, that was Azrael’s gift.
How did these people always know?
But his time was running out, as it always seemed to be. Abaddon would be sending down his people in forth any moment now to begin to prepare the world before the final bombardment.
As always he would make his plea.
He looked to the sky and unfurled his wings. He knew that the people around him would stare and that rumours would spread. He knew that somehow the picture of the angel with his white feathered wings, his near featureless face and his robed body would appear on their communications system within moments of his departure. Maybe it would spur some of them to act.
He doubted it.
He flapped his wings and accelerated out into space. Soon he had arrived at the Avenger. He walked straight into Abaddon’s command chamber.
“I assume you are here to ask me to not do this”
“That is correct”
“You know that I am going to anyways”
“Because I know that there should be good left in you somewhere. If this Earth were truly evil through and through then I would have no compunctions and be the first into the fight, but they are not. There is goodness down there”
“But someday there will be only evil left”
“You don’t know that! The chance of evil, the promise of evil in the future is no reason to kill now! No reason to perpetuate yet more evil to stop it! Your system is flawed Abaddon!”
Abaddon turned away and his fingers began to fly across the console.
“We have this same argument each and every time. When will you give up?”
“I admire your determination, but not your cause. Besides, why do you complain? I let you save those you deem good. You should be happy”
“I am happy for that, and again, I thank you. But saving their brain pattern does not guarantee that they will ever live again”
“That is true. But they have their chance. Now, if you wish to save them, go”
Azrael bowed out and began the walk back to the bay doors. Abaddon did still have good in him or else he would not allow Azrael to save these few. The day that he no longer allowed that then their friendship would be truly over, and Azrael would leave.
He flew back down to this Earth and waited for the bombardment to begin.
Abaddon’s fingers played over the keys. He could feel the Immortal Avenger warming up, her guns banks coming online. As he always did he thought about Azrael’s words as he began the target acquisition process. Someday they may move him to something. But it seemed that today was not that day.
He flipped the switch to bring the ship fully into this dimension and began the firing sequence.
“All fighters, prepare to launch. Destroy anything that launches from the ground except for ours. You have your positions. Go”
He went back to his screen and continued the firing sequence. This ship truly was a miracle. It could be controlled by only one person. Him.
He smiled grimly as he began to rain death down on the Dark Earth below.
Azrael watched as the first of the blasts impacted. An entire city was leveled with one shot of the main guns. He went to work quickly, sifting through the millions of brain patterns, scanning memories, checking connections, ascertaining those who had done good, those who had done evil.
It was difficult work, cross checking the different brains for datapoints on the other brains. Only by building a comprehensive image of those dead from the brains of others and from their own brain could he identify if they were worthy of being saved or not.
Most he decided were. Only the worst he let die the final death. The rest he saved.
Again and again the process went, the Avenger firing on the planet in an ever increasing ring. It either already had or would soon enough be deploying its relay satellites so that it could destroy the planet in one expanding ring of death.
Azrael shook his head as he continued his work. He knew that the oceans would boil away, and then the planet would be sterilized. Never again would life grow on this planet. Such a waste.
He continued to gather the brain patterns and send them to the Avenger where they were beamed directly back to First Earth to be saved forever, studied as show pieces.
After a few moments more, once the symphony of destruction was truly underway he heard the flapping of wings.
He didn’t pause in his work; he knew it was Abaddon.
“Hello Azrael. I find it funny that both of us come down here”
“You to destroy and I to save”
“Well, yes, but funny just the same”
“This has been our ritual since the beginning has it not?”
“It has, it has. Why are you always so glum?”
“Because I am busy, and you are destroying a planet forever”
“Ah well, you know”
They stood in silence for the rest of the barrage. Finally it was over. Azrael felt the last human slip away into the final rest and sent the last of those to be saved into the core.
“That it then?” Abaddon looked around “These worlds are always so barren. They remind me of our purpose. To scour the evil from the galaxy. For this is what evil will leave behind if allowed to grow”
“Do you not find it odd that evil should leave behind the same thing as good?” Azrael turned, his work done and confronted Abaddon with as much sarcasm as he could muster.
“Ah, but we only do this to one planet, and we do it quickly. Evil will do it to many, and slowly. We save them from their pain”
Azrael looked up into the night sky and saw a slowly moving star pass overhead. A sense of foreboding shuddered through him.
“Abaddon, did you destroy the orbital platform?”
“Not yet, no. I figured we would do that as we left”
“Oh no. Have the guns target them now! Right now!”
“Why, what’s the rush?”
“Do it! Now! I’ll explain, just do it!”
Abaddon nodded and unfurled his wings.
“You don’t have a transmitter?”
“No, I never bring one down now”
“Then stay. Your going makes no difference now anyways”
“Why do you say that?”
Azrael pointed up into the sky. A smaller streak of light flew from the lazy one.
“What is that?”
“Its a weapon. These people put them in their orbitals so that if ever the world was attacked by those not of this world they would fire at whatever was up there. There was a twenty four hour delay after first detection of the vessel. If they did not get a message from their high command it would fire. The ship may be doomed”
Moments later a brilliant flash exploded in the sky.
The Avenger was gone.
“I don’t feel her anymore!” Abaddon cried, suddenly scared.
“Thats right. They had powerful weapons they called nuclear warheads aboard their orbitals. Your destruction of the cities meant that the codes were never sent”
“How do we get offworld now?”
Azrael folded his wings behind him and sat down in the dust “We don’t. The council will never know that we died here. Where the ship died. So now we wait on this world you burned until we both die”
Abaddon looked around and finally sat down beside Azrael.
“What did I do wrong?”
“You hated. You were too zealous. You destroyed when yo should have tried first to heal”
“I am the angel of destruction. What else could I have done?”
“I do not know my friend. But you have much time to think on it now. Maybe together we can find an answer”
The two friends sat in the dust of the burned out world as the sun rose overhead in the bleak grey sky. The buildings that had towered were now ash, and no vendors would ever cry out again. Their prophesied reckoning had come and left behind only two fallen angels.