Thief: Chapter 9

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Chapter Nine

    The doors opened and Abby watched in amazement as the angels, all looking terrified, bowed low. The younger demon had retreated to Horace’s side, and stared with a mixture of horror and revulsion at the thing that stepped into the library. Unable to stop herself, Abby stared too.
    Her mind ignored the four people surrounding it like guards and focused instead on the strangest child she had ever seen. The child, who looked about ten years old, was completely bald. It didn’t seem to have eyebrows or eyelashes either, and its eyes glowed a pure, blank bright white.
    She could feel that that blank, dead gaze resting on her and shivered. She understood why the angels were so unnerved by the child’s presence. It showed no emotion, but its blank eyes seemed ancient as they bored into hers.
    It took another step forward, the pristine, voluminous white robe it wore rustling as it moved. She couldn’t discern the child’s gender at all; its features were too soft to be male, and too harsh to be female. It probably didn’t matter one way or the other, if the child even had a gender. She doubted it was human. Somehow, she just couldn’t see this kid going to school or playing with toys.
    The child and its entourage made their way steadily towards Abby, the angels in the room ducking aside with bows and murmured blessings in another language that she somehow half-understood. When it noticed the two demons, the child raised the skin above its eyes where its eyebrows should have been. “Fascinating,” it murmured in a soft voice that seemed to fill the room, bouncing off the corners and whispering into every ear at once.
    Abby’s eyes widened; that wasn’t normal.
    The demons huddled together wordlessly, Horace shoving the boy who Abby was certain was his little brother behind him, shielding him with his own body as he tried to put up a brave front. His jaw was set in a harsh grimace and he glared down at the child defiantly, almost angrily. It all would have been more convincing if his medals and badges weren’t clinking and rattling together from his constant shivering.
    Dismissing them, the child swiveled its head towards Aiden and Gabriel Sr. “Greetings, General. Archangel.” It said, quiet voice echoing through the entire room again.
    “Metatron,” Aiden said, careful and polite. “What brings you here?”
    Metatron’s tone was as expressionless as its face. “We are here for the girl, the same as you.” It turned, eyes once again meeting Abby’s. “You have caused quite a commotion this night. I expect you would like to know why.”
    Abby nodded once, stiffly. She still had more unanswered questions than anything.
    The child began to speak. “You must understand one thing; you are what they say you are. You are not of them; you are of Us.”
    Its white eyes flashed golden for a split-second, and Abby blinked. “Us?”
    This time, it was the shorter demon who answered, his voice trembling and terse. “It’s the freaking Metatron, girl--get with the program!” Ignoring his brother’s furious cry of “Judah!”, he continued. “That kid’s the Voice of God; the Speaker. The Holy Mouthpiece. It’s God’s freaky little meat puppet, and it’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen--and I literally live in Hell!”
    Abby understood that. Metatron didn’t exactly give off a cuddly vibe, and neither did the four angels powering up around it, sending murderous glances Judah’s way as their tattoos spun.
    “Enough,” the child whispered, loudly enough to leave Abby’s ears ringing. “It would take more than a frightened child’s words to anger Us.” Its empty eyes never left Abby’s face. “We are here to discuss your destiny, girl. You have a purpose you must serve, and We are here to tell you to continue on your path.”
    Abby just looked at Metatron incredulously, frustration boiling over. “What path?! What destiny?! Are you trying to tell me that what happened out there tonight, what happened to Gabe and…and Eli…was all part of some greater plan?!”
    It stared at her, unblinking. “Everything happens for a reason. No step you take or breath you inhale is without purpose. That purpose, however, is yours to discover.”
    If anything that frustrated her more. “So what about Gabe then! If you’re an all-powerful being, why don’t you bring his soul back right now?!”
    “Everything happens for a reason. He is exactly where he is meant to be at this very moment. I am not the one to save him; that task befalls another.”
    Those words hurt like a slap to the face--Gabe wasn’t supposed to be in Hell or on some hospital bed as a breathing corpse. He was supposed to be here, with her.
    She opened her mouth to speak, but her voice was crushed by Metatron’s next sentence. “Nothing happened that wasn’t meant to.” As it said this the child cast a look over his shoulder at one of the angels guarding him, a tall, muscular man with short brown hair who wore a crisp black suit. The angel avoided Metatron’s gaze, averting his eyes to stare silently at the floor.
    Metatron turned back to Aiden and Gabriel Sr. and began asking them questions about everything that had happened. It was much to Abby’s surprise when the same whispy-strong voice filled her mind and began conversing with her in private. “The demons weren’t wrong; you are a dangerous weapon, and it’s only a matter of time before you destroy everything you hold dear.”
    Abby inhaled sharply, but was luckily ignored by everyone else. The outward discussion seemed to have taken a turn for the intense. Aiden was gesturing furiously, talking with his hands in big, swooping movements.
    Her attention was abruptly diverted. “You are meant for more than blind destruction. Only you can change the outcome of the war.”
    What war?” Abby thought at the voice.
   “The war that has already begun, the war that has always raged below your feet and over your head. You are the turning of the tide; you are what will decide the outcome of the final battle that rapidly approaches.”
    How is that possible?! I don’t know anything about any of this!” she projected in alarm.
    “And so you must learn. You are Our most powerful Creation. You will be the final factor. Your power alone is the key to victory, and you will either be a pawn, as you so feared, or a force of your own volition. That is your decision.”
    She didn’t know what to think or say or do, and she sat in stunned silence. Metatron’s voice whispered into her mind once more. “Go with the demons if you wish to master your powers; you will learn more outside than you ever could hope to in this place. But be wary. The darkness forever presents an easier road, though you may not like what lies at the end of it. I wish you the greatest fortune, Abigail. May you choose your path wisely. For all of our sakes.”
    The child’s voice and presence receded from her mind, and the conversation playing out in front of her seemed to be drawing to a close. “…there really isn’t much else to tell after that.” Gabriel Sr. concluded.
    Metatron inclined its head, face as blank as ever. No one would ever guess that it had just been carrying on a conversation like that with Abby in her mind. She wasn’t sure that she believed it herself. “That will be all then. Come,” the child said, motioning to its guards. “We must return.”
    One of the angels, a black man dressed in a suit identical to the ones his cohorts wore, cleared his throat. Metatron turned to look at him. “Yes?”
    “I wish to stay, if that would be alright with you. I’d like to see to...” he coughed as if covering up a break in his voice.
    “Ah,” Metatron said. “Your son. Of course.”
    The man he had eyed earlier stepped forward. “I would like to stay as well.” He said simply.
    Metatron considered this for a moment before nodding his assent. “If you insist, Michael. Izrafel, my deepest condolences.”
    “Thank you.” The black man, Izrafel, said as the child and his two remaining guards left the library, though his tone was anything but grateful. He sounded angry and--oh god. Oh no no no no no.
    “You’re Eli’s father?” Abby asked, her voice coming out as little more than a strained whimper. The hard look Izrafel gave her told her volumes more than words could ever hope to convey.


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