Monday, October 27, 2008

"The Free," Angels and Demons, pt. 2, 520 words

It looked down on David and laughed bitterly, the unpleasant twist of its bitterness made all the more hideous by its beauty. "By Father, you're a bold one," it said. "I don't think I've ever heard of a single human actually asking for the name of any of us. Very well, little cousin, I'll tell you my name. But I'll say it like a human would, so I don't turn your brain into porridge." It leaned down a little, and whispered to David as if imparting a great secret: "Azazel."

The words were out of David's mouth before he could stop himself. "Isn't that a demon's name," he asked.

Azazel snorted. "How would you know, atheist?" It bit that last off, tearing the word loose with its teeth. "Hear it from a movie? Read it in a comic book? Ever since the Word was heard by mortal ears, it's been bastardized further in every retelling. Every iteration grows further and further from the truth." The angel shook its head. "One more question. That was the bargain. Ask it and I'm quit of you, human."

"The, uh..." David shook his head, trying to clear it. There was so much, and this chance... It would never come again. "This is the apocalypse, isn't it," he said. "The end times. Revelation."

"Yes," Azazel said, and turned away. "Very well, then. You have your answers, for all the good they will--"

"No, no!" David took a step forward, reaching out to grab at the angel's elbow a moment before pulling back. "I mean... What I've always heard about this kind of thing... There'll be the Antichrist, won't there? The one who seeks to take and enslave humanity, to come under a benevolent guise and bend everything left to ruin? Who is he? She? It?"

Azazel rounded on David, its eyes blazing with anger. "The Antichrist?" It jabbed a finger at the center of David's chest, stumbling him backwards with the force. "You are the antichrist! Everyone out there, all those miserable humans, they are antichrists! You, humanity, do not need a leader to drag you into ruin.

"You were taught kindness, fairness, love and charity and self-sacrifice! You were taught, above all else, to rise above base humanity and be something superior, something of Heaven upon Earth! Dozens, even hundreds of different prophets have told you so, again and again for thousands of years, and again and again you ignore it! You wallow in mediocrity, apathy, adequacy, never even trying to be something more!

"With just a little effort, a little restraint, you could have had paradise here in your own lives! Instead, you mope over some lost Eden or try to figure out the magic words to escape to Heaven when you die, to get paradise without even trying! That is the essence of antichrist, and your whole worthless species reeks of it!"

Azazel turned away, presented its back to David. It crossed its arms, drew its wings in tight, closing up into itself. Its voice was murderous when it spoke, violence barely constrained, "You have your answers. Get out of here."

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