A Night at the Tavern

“You’re late, Lawson! Where the hell have you been? I oughtta take my anger out on your hide, turn you into a lampshade!”

I glared back at my boss, not intimidated by his rocky face or diamond teeth. “Come on, Feldspar, I’m only a minute late,” I snapped back at him. “Listen, you spend the first five minutes of the shift huffing concrete dust anyway, so all I’m missing out on is a case of black lung.”

The troll growled at me, but he knew better than to try and win an argument against me, and instead turned back to the rest of the servers. Continue reading

Advertisements

[AGttA] Chapter 5.1: Demon Smiting, In Theory And Practice

Continued from Chapter 5.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 5: Learn as much as possible.

“Eremiel, huh?” I asked, as we ambled back to our home base, the angel plodding along in between us.  

He nodded as he walked along.  Even though I didn’t see any wounds or marks on his wings from when we’d dropped the cables on him, he didn’t seem motivated to fly above us.  I wondered if it was bad manners to ask, but eventually my curiosity overcame my reticence and I asked him.

The angel just shrugged.  “I don’t particularly feel like flying,” he replied, and I decided to leave it at that. Continue reading

It Locks from the Outside

It locks from the outside.

The rental agent mentioned that about the basement, hadn’t he? I hadn’t been listening, thinking about how getting away from it all would help me get back to my roots, let me finally finish the novel I’d been delaying. I just wanted to get the keys and head up to the cabin.

But I’d heard the scratching noise, coming from under the floorboards – an animal, trapped in the basement? I ducked into the darkness, intending to just glance around.

But the light switch didn’t work – and as I turned, I heard the door close behind me.

And click.

My phone was upstairs, and I didn’t have a flashlight, I thought as I felt around, searching for an axe, something, anything that could get me out through that door. Inside my head, I felt panic growing, pushing conscious thoughts further and further away.

I’d chosen to be alone, to retreat from society so that I wouldn’t be bothered.

The basement door locks for the outside – and now I’m trapped…

The Homunculus Store

I stared around the shop, still feeling that rush of amazement. I’d been here a hundred times – no, a thousand times – before, but it still amazed me, still left me breathless.

“Hey Tim, what’s this one?”

I turned, looking over at Alma. My older sister stared up at the stained glass window, and I stifled my little groan of irritation.

“That’s Etruvian Man,” I told her, certain that I’d named the figure in the window to her on previous visits. “And it’s Hedron while we’re here, remember? This is a Game shop, so we use the Game names.” Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 5.0: An Angel in the Hand

Continued from Chapter 5.0, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 5: Learn as much as possible.

“Oh my god,” I said for at least the fourth time, staring down at the angel trapped in our messy collection of weighted cables and wires.  “Oh my god.  It worked.”

“Of course it worked,” Alice replied, although the expression on her face looked just as shocked as I felt.  “I told you it would work, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t believe you.”  We started picking our way cautiously down towards where the angel still struggled and grunted, working carefully to keep mostly hidden back behind the rocks.  

In my hands, I hefted the baseball bat that I’d brought along as a weapon.  I doubted that it would really do much to an angelic messenger of God, but it still felt comforting in my grip, and I hefted it in front of me like a sword.  On the other side of the narrowed pathway, Alice held a shotgun that she’d retrieved from a sporting goods store, and that she carried with a sense of disturbing familiarity.

Two humans against an angel.  I wondered how far we were from even odds.

Probably pretty far away. Continue reading

The Walking Desk

I stumbled up the steps to my apartment, groaning at the aching in my head. I should have drank more water last night, I told myself for the fifteenth time. This hangover is killing me.

When I opened the door to my apartment, however, I paused for a second at the rhythmic sound drifting out from inside; it reminded me of a belt sander, or perhaps a saw wheel. What was going on? Was Joe, my roommate, working on some sort of project?

I stepped inside – and found my living room transformed. Continue reading

Chamuel, Archangel of Lost Items

Chamuel winged his way through the shining streets, always loving how the light played off of the beautiful, pristinely white surfaces. Even after a thousand millennia of dwelling in the City of Light, he never felt his sense of amazement lessen as he gazed down at the Almighty’s greatest city.

His enjoyment of the view was cut short, however, as he heard the voice, slightly tinny, in his ear. “Chamuel, please, tell me you’re almost here.”

“Yes, yes,” he replied, speaking over the Angel Band, directing his thoughts out specifically just towards Eremiel. “Touching down now.”

Casting one last glance back at the beautiful city behind him, Chamuel soared over the Gate of Heaven, ornately crafted out of pure, shimmering mother-of-pearl, standing ten cubits tall-

-and closed. Hmm. That was odd. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 4.2: Eremiel’s Feud with Rocks

Continued from Chapter 4.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 4: Keep clear and open communications.

Eremiel grumbled to himself as he drifted along, following the same path that he’d traced out for the last two months.  The grumbling was odd, particularly because Eremiel hadn’t noticed how odd his grumbling truly was.

Angels don’t grumble.  What is there for them to grumble about?  They are the beloved of God, the chosen messengers who carry his Word far and wide, to all reaches of the Heavens and the Earth.  They get to sit and attend with their creator, the most Divine One.

In short, they have the kind of job that would make a recruiter bite a pencil in half.

There’s no reason for an angel to grumble.  Besides, even if one of them did entertain thoughts that cast doubt on the incredible kindness and munificence of his employer, he had only to remember what happened to the last angel to raise a few quarrelsome points, and he’d quickly change his tune.

And yet, despite all of this, Eremiel grumbled to himself as he floated onward.

At the moment, he was growling about a small rock. Continue reading

Finish What He Started

“You’re kidding me.”

I stared across the little living room at the sour-faced, shriveled old man sitting on the couch, my uncle’s will held in his claw-like little hands. I heard his words bouncing around in my head, but they still didn’t make sense.

“I assure you, Miss Tate, I’m not joking,” the lawyer repeated stiffly, regarding me with a combination of annoyance and patient disgust. “As I said, the will stipulates that you will be left five million dollars, if you finish what your uncle started.”

“But Uncle Ryan…” I trailed off, trying to make sense of it all. “Where did he even get five million dollars from? He worked up until he died! My parents told me that he could barely afford to keep his house, that he’d have lost it if it wasn’t for my helping him with the rent!” Continue reading

Clockwork

I made my way through the press of bodies towards the back of the tavern, my heart pounding. None of the men milling about spared a second look for me, but I still shrank away from their incurious looks.

There. Set into the back wall of the building, a bare wooden door – and a huge, hulking bouncer leaning against it, his arms crossed.

I moved closer, my heart pounding in my throat. He had to have strains of ogre in his ancestry. No human possessed arms so big, such gray skin. His hand could easily close on my head, and likely pop it like a grape. I nearly turned and fled, my courage all but exhausted, but forced myself closer.

He looked down at me, his heavy brow furrowing. “Yuh?”

“Hextech,” I choked out through dry lips. “I need to see him.” Continue reading