Fidel’s Guardian Reports Back

Elaniel strolled out of the portal in the plane-port to a smattering of enthusiastic applause. Grinning, he gave a wave to a few of the cherubs that always fluttered about, now diving down to clap at him with their pudgy little hands.

“Thank you!” he called out to them. “It’s been a fun tour, lasted longer than I expected!”

Still smiling, accepting the occasional handshake and backslap from some of the other angels, Elaniel headed up the stairs from the plane-port, up to the offices of the debriefing seraphim. As soon as Fidel had finally given up his last breath, he’d received the normal scroll, instructing him on where to head for his debriefing.

Elaniel didn’t feel nervous in the slightest. He’d done a great job, he told himself. All things considering, he ought to earn his next rank just for this one tour, on its own. Continue reading

A Reversed Contract…

“And now,” grinned the tall stranger sitting across from me in the diner, “just sign on the dotted line at the bottom.”

For just a moment, I hesitated. A little voice in the back of my head insisted that this was a bad idea. Even if he wasn’t the Actual Literal Devil, Satan Himself, the man sitting on the other side of the booth from me looked very imposing. Scary, that was a better word for him. Terrifying, that was even better.

And he wanted my soul. Was willing to give me, Gary Albert of Bumfuck, Wisconsin, a hundred thousand dollars for my soul. Right here and now – he’d already shown me the cash. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.2: The Celestial Court

Continued from Chapter 10.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

The woman in the shabby little office had thrown back the curtains, blinding me with the light that came shining in.  But when I lowered my hand from in front of my eyes, I was no longer sitting in a small little book-filled room.

Instead, I sat on the same rickety chair – but it was in the middle of a huge amphitheatre, spreading out in all directions, rising up almost too high in the sky for me to see the top.

And every seat in the amphitheatre was filled by angels. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.1: The Moral Debate

Continued from Chapter 10.0, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

“What?”  I didn’t understand what the woman sitting on the other side of the desk meant.

“The price,” she repeated patiently, looking at me.  “You asked what it would take to bring your friends back, to put a stop to the Apocalypse, to restore everything back to normal.  You said that you would be willing to do anything.

“And that, it seems, is exactly the price for you.”

I felt like my stomach was dropping away from me, like I was in the front seat of a roller coaster that had just plunged over the first big drop on the ride.  “I don’t understand.” Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.0: The Professor’s Office

Continued from Chapter 9.2, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

At first, I was certain that I’d somehow screwed things up.

I had imagined that, upon stepping through that door, I might find myself in some vast tribunal, some sort of huge celestial court where I’d have to argue my case to God himself, standing in a massive room and with a billion angels all staring down at me.  No pressure, of course.

But instead, I found myself standing in a small, rather shabby feeling office.  I felt like I’d landed back on earth, in one of the rear rooms in some community college department building.  This felt like the kind of space where an elderly English professor might spend his tenured twilight days, reading papers that no one else ever touched and writing responses that no one would ever get around to reading. Continue reading

A demon is summoned from Hell… by a teenage girl. Oops.

Unfortunately, I felt the pull of the summons take hold just as I reached for the pot of coffee.

“Damn, no, just give me a couple of minutes!” I snarled, my lips pulling back around my fangs. “I haven’t even had the first cup yet-”

But there was no denying the strength of those words. A fishhook rose up in my gut, setting itself among my intestines, and then *yanked,* dragging me… well, not back, exactly, but in a direction that didn’t really seem to exist. Imagine if you were a two-dimensional being, wandering around happily in your flat little world, and then someone tried to pick you up, off the page.

It’s a hell of a disorienting feeling, especially when you haven’t even had a single gulp of coffee. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 9.2: The Library

Continued from Chapter 9.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 9: Don’t lose hope.

The first difference that hit me, after I stepped through the door at the top of the stairs, was the silence.

Of course, this might have been the first thing that I noticed because, despite all my survival instincts screaming at me to keep my eyes open, those lids were firmly shut as I passed through.  I’m not sure why – maybe I thought that, if I didn’t look at any of the eldritch horrors on the other side, they wouldn’t be able to hurt me.

But after a couple seconds of listening to silence, I finally opened my eyes.

Books.  My first impression came as a single word.  Books, millions upon millions of books. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 9.1: The Climb (haven’t we done this before?)

Continued from Chapter 9.0, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 9: Don’t lose hope.

Although this really, really didn’t seem like the time for introspection, I couldn’t help but reflect, as I ran through what seemed to be Heaven’s equivalent of a loading dock, on how I ended up here.

Just a little while ago (days? weeks? months?), I’d been living a totally ordinary life, headed out to the mall to pick up another pair of jeans from Gap.  Next thing I knew, the Apocalypse hit, I’d been plunged into living like a hermit in a Starbucks, and I had no idea what, if anything, would exist in my future.

And then, first Alice stumbled into my life, and then Eremiel.  Somehow, even though I’d only known the two of them for a few days, I found myself intensely attached to them, barely able to consider the idea of living without either of them filling my life with irritation and adventure. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 9.0: Please stand clear of the portal. The portal is opening.

Continued from Chapter 8.4, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 9: Don’t lose hope.

The first thing I saw, after stepping through the portal at the top of Mount Megiddo, was a very surprised looking angel.  I barely even had time to notice that he appeared to be wearing a bright orange safety vest with reflective stripes over his white robe, and holding a pair of light-up orange cones, before I instinctively lashed out.

“Hey, what are you-” the angel began before I hit him with Eremiel’s sword.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – I wasn’t holding the sword firmly, and the blade didn’t cut forward.  Instead, however, I smacked the angel in the face with the flat of the blade, knocking him back and probably leaving a nasty welt on his face.

Gripping the sword with both hands, I spun around in a circle, desperately trying to get my bearings.  Judging from the fact that I’d just hit an angel, I dared to hope that I was in Heaven – but what I might encounter here, I didn’t know. Continue reading

Lucifer needs a favor.

When I walked into my office break room, I’d been hoping that there’d still be a half-full pot of coffee sitting in the machine, maybe a couple extra donuts left over from the day’s lunch meeting. If I got unlucky, I figured that I might see Doris sitting at the flimsy Formica table on one of her many “breaks”, poring over the newspaper as if it contained more of the gossip that she loved sharing around the office.

What I wasn’t expecting to see, however, was a man in an elegant suit of pure blackness, sitting with his feet propped up on the table and a cell phone in his hand.

“Um, can I help you?” I asked, feeling strangely uncertain. Normally, I didn’t need to even try in order to project an aura of composure and competence – it just came naturally to me, I suppose. But in this moment, all of that ability seemed to desert me.

The man looked up at me, and grinned. “Ah, Alex. Good to see you.” Continue reading