To fight the battles

Emma’s eyes glowed. She flew up in the air and came down with overwhelming force, splitting the earth beneath her, which as it split in two, waved as an ocean waved, casting earth this way and that. Brian was tossed back and to the side into some bushes. He was dazed but managed to gather himself up as he crawled hands and knees to a palm tree.

Michael dodged in time, flying several feet into the air. His suit appeared to disintegrate, as did his human form. In their place were the appearance of a 20 foot demigod wearing full armor. His wingspan was as wide as his body was tall. He soared and then sped up as he descended towards Emma with a flaming sword in hand. He crashed into a pillar of ice summoned by Everest.

Four against two, this isn’t fair, thought Brian. But it was fair enough for these were the agreed upon terms of immortals over who he had no sway.

Ode, Everest, and Emma were a sister short. She was always late and it angered them all as they delt with the annoyingly persistent warrior who reminded them of a hero out of a an Arthurian legend. The valor was sickening. In the back of their minds they each pictured him on one knee, reverent as a glow from the sky engulfed him.

Then with a flash they were all scarred with burns and gasping. It turned out they weren’t imagining and the glow from the sky was fire and brimstone the arch angel Michael had summoned.

Brian clung to his palm tree all the while. A man then grabbed him from behind, a man who was also a monster. 

Another night in another bar

Having fully focused the powers of my hatred, I sing to you the story of Lucifer, who after perhaps billions of years sat upon the 3rd orb in its many forms. Then people walked about it and it was good.

Matteo, disenchanted with the creator, found a soul aligned in Lucifer. Even when they were apart, they walked with one another, back and forth, up and down through Europe for hundreds of years, the European counter to the sisters, shaped by the arch angel to be mightier though less artful than the sisters and therefore less important. His capacity for violence was unparalleled by men. He took to war for sport and joined many of them for pleasure, having no purpose or morals to guide him.

In the past years he had touched plants and within a day they’d wither. Grass would no longer grow if it felt Matteos feet step upon it.

At night, in a bar, a man bumped into him and he didn’t like the energy. He walked outside to follow the man, grabbed the man with a strong hand amid screams which people pretended not to hear. They dared not look. For the first time, many felt the presence of a monster and were paralyzed as their survival instincts failed. Cameras failed. Nature failed as Matteo’s prey lost consciousness then woke up tied to a chair, facing a smiling roughian holding a glowing red knife.

I sing to you the story of a mountain, of righteous men, of good magical creatures who did nothing but hear cries as a wolf devoured a lamb, which has happened for time immemorial.

Walking as he often does after mutilating strangers, Matteo contemplated how empty and eternal space was beyond the light of the universe, which only expanded to dilute itself till only darkness remained. He didn’t see how light could grow to ever overtake the void and how it could exist without contrast to give it character. He looked at his own shadow until it grew and spoke to him. It said welcome four women; house them; feed them; help them find a dullard, an American man in his thirties.

By Matteo walked a man singing bad rock music. Matteo hissed at him. This message was important and couldn’t be interrupted. Startled, the man lowered his voice and walked to a hotel with snacks in a bag. It was Brian holding the bag. As usual, many things had gone past him. It’s as though it were his superpower.

Flying wine glasses

Matteo hated having people over. The darkness in his face grew darker as the chattering women reclined on his furniture and ate his food. He had received instructions from Lucifer to let four women into his house and there they were, snacking away. He didn’t like it but he had to follow the boss’s orders.

His boyfriend Marco, on the other hand, was overjoyed, running this way and that, fetching a wine bottle for Everest. Ode ate cookies and laughed while telling lewd jokes.

Matteo was in the bathroom, but he peeked out to look at the women. Ode looked at him, lifted a butt cheek and let out an audible juicy fart.

At the other side of town, Brian was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Michael was above him hanging out on the roof like a stereotypical superhero.

Brian couldn’t sleep. The next few days would be a test for him. His eyes had adjusted to the dark and there was the soft glow of a television before him, playing 80s action films. As his consciousness faded, images on the TV changed. They showed fires inside a burning spaceship. The little people inside were quiet, stern, and unphased in their usual manner.

Asshole turned on a viewscreen, beholding the arch angel Raphael in front of him. The light of the viewscreen increased, extinguishing the flames around the ship. Then asshole turned a dial, making the floor beneath him vibrate. Not too far away another ship was sliced in two. The bodies inside it struggled only briefly as they were forced to float in space.

Kingdom, queendom, and the doms who don’t have to choose

Being at The Eagle was an empty exercise. Brian had little substance to contribute to conversations, other than talking about cars (but never owning one) and IPAs.

Get me out of here, Everest thought.

She didn’t ask for the eerie powers of a witch and would have enjoyed streaming Japanese reality television in her little futuristic hut in Benin instead. She had good wifi there. She didn’t understand the purpose of this unholy mission.

She still felt a little cool being sent on a mission as though she were a fictional secret agent. She had met real secret agents who weren’t as interesting as the fictional ones.

She would just watch Brian disappear and come back, reeking of cigarettes and bad conversation. Her sisters would drop by the bar to give her moral support. In the end, Brian grew too intolerable of a personality and the sisters decided to see him in 2 year shifts. Holding him off from the cave for 8 years would have to be enough. After that, Azazel would have to resort to some other means of keeping Brian away.

Why was Brian in Kentucky? Go away, Brian, everyone thought. The aliens continued to call him, whether Brian knew it or not. Asshole would be in his scary dreams, beckoning him. He’d be standing in the middle of other nearly scary aliens. Asshole would reach out with one of his creepy long fingers and touch him on the forehead. Then Brian would wake up in a cold sweat before blasting Papa Roach on his bluetooth speakers.

Was Brian the guy the almighty had chosen to defend the mountain? Surely, this must have been a slap in the face to all the extraordinary beings who stood to challenge him. Perhaps that was the point.

Blue flame

Four people always together, in a way it almost ensured being around one of them was a bit too much. They kept each other company, sitting on comfortable chairs and chatting about life’s little occurrences. When they spent years in America as agents of the wayward branch, the sisters knew Brian had a gift but not of a good kind. He always failed upward.

He sat on fences and talked about sports. People wondered what he did for a living, if there was any purpose to Brian’s life. Why was Brian in Kentucky?, they would ask themselves. Go back, Brian, go back, they would think. He got a cool bartender job, once, at a place called The Eagle. One of the sisters walked into the bar and ordered a stout.

Stouts always got Brian too full. He talked a lot about IPAs in a way that annoyed people and made them walk away. The sister wouldn’t walk away. She would just sit there and stare. Her name was Everest. She often wore blue. She liked to play Mariah Carey on the jukebox. She got belligerent after her 3rd beer and was not above throwing things.

Everybody knows them

I’m about to write again about the beings with which you’re all familiar, striking fear into people in the night. The conflict and the fall was not isolated to a planet. Other beings were influenced and warred with one another. The alien who Brian called asshole distinguished itself during war. It left no survivors. There are many kinds of grey, some good, some evil, and some indifferent. Asshole was of the good kind who were ruthless, who won unrepentantly. It was still in its own way frightening. Its face was hideous and its eyes unintentionally menacing. How can the best grey also be the most scary? Its fingers were extra long and creepy. When it walked, it trotted along dangling them. Other greys were scared of it. But it owned its scariness, it was proud of it and was fine with chasing you around the room while you screamed.

It was ancient, many hundreds of years old. The greys had no queens but this grey carried itself with the most majesty, making beings of various worlds bow before it, but not because this grey was God but closest to God, a walking mountain among beings. And it was ugly, so ugly it was beautiful.

Brian ran from the greys’ instructions and did not go straight to the caves where they wanted him. He ran for years. He was scared of the things though he knew they controlled him.

The sisters tried to get to him. They shape shifted into women that he liked that would distract him for a couple of years at a time, but it didn’t work. They flew back to Benin. They liked it there. The greys told them they liked it there. Brian liked being all husky and man like, doing boring man shit like sitting on fences and talking about cars, sun on his face, his life purposeless, a modern day exploration of Nu Metal, but not the fun kind that you’re secretly into. What a douche. He had to turn things around. He couldn’t be a lame much longer. He decided to venture forth to the cave, to no longer be mediocre.

He was going to go back to the world of spaceships and giants, of angels, and gods. He aspired to having great tailoring. He decided to switch up his playlist. The aliens called him. They said, stop being lame, Brian. Engage in your divine purpose.

The locals in Christian County thought he was a weirdo, a city guy with funny ideas. He probably was, but he didn’t care. Onward to the cave.

As he climbed to get in, he considered how life would be if he continued to be vanilla. I mean vanilla as in plain, not the flavor of vanilla which is quite good. As he walked deeper into the cave, a grey walked from behind and joined him, then another joined him and another, till one grabbed him and told him to go into the next cavern. It didn’t say it with its mouth but its eyes and Brian could see them from behind.

When Michael arrived and Brian saw him, he felt relieved. There were no real choices in life, not if you were worthy of having choices and in that case your choice was only to be great, to make your mark across the galaxies. You would not settle on being in your little backward planet. You decided to get back at any cost to escape the alternative which was to be normal. Brian knew this.

No candy for anyone

First a pair of heels hit the floor, then another one, and another one. Luggage dragged behind of an expensive kind. Naples was the agreed-to location, a neutral place, which wasn’t far from Benin, but far enough.

They had a fixer arranged for them, a guy who had burned another guy’s eyes out with a hot knife. He lived with his boyfriend who didn’t do much but stream TV and eat popcorn.

Angels were weird about rules. They had arranged the location, the weapons allowed, and the people involved. It couldn’t escape the sisters’ notice they were like puppets. They knew part of being a puppet was that you didn’t have a choice in what happened next. They packed their bags and did as they were told.

Without Azazel, they would have been normal people. They couldn’t imagine anything worse than being normal. They were temporarily beautiful and out in the world. They were at the airport, walking into a strange land so gracefully it was as though they were flying.

Brian was also at the airport, wondering why he couldn’t get one of the ships to drop him off. He walked past the sisters who didn’t notice him either. He dragged luggage around with him. Some of it was his, but most of it belonged to Michael, who had countless wardrobe changes. Michael was so dramatic. His suit fit him pretty well, though. Brian wondered why he never enjoyed the perks of angel tailoring.

Come Brian, Michael said.

Brian, doing little to hide his displeasure, followed him. He felt helpless, at that point, having wasted at least a decade with someone he thought he knew. Maybe following the otherworldly beings was better than what awaited him in the earthly world.

He could have died, at that point.

St. Michael the victor enters the cave

The first half hour of the cave site meeting was quiet. There were just a bunch of big heads staring at each other. Then wind started to blow into the cave and surrounding stalactites lit up as the sound of steps drew closer.

Brian hung onto his cap as wind blew and he shielded his eyes from Michael, who entered the cave in full armor. A giant sword, the length of Brian’s body, was sheathed at Michael’s waist. Asshole made a comment about Michael being dramatic.

The universe knew Michael as a legend. Brian heard childhood stories about him that Enoch would tell if the boy was on his best behavior.

The almighty didn’t dirty its hands expelling the fallen from the mountain. Instead, it made its most loyal arch angel the perfect warrior in an instant.

As war began at the mountain, first through words, then through physical conflict between a third of the angels versus the majority, Michael first convinced a portion of the opposition to give up its fight against the almighty simply through persuasion, making it so two thirds of angels stood with the almighty. Then he removed the remaining third by making the surrounding elements vomit them out of the mountain. You see, if the god winds are channeled in the just right direction, they expel the fallen, for the fallen fall because of their distance from the almighty, which is just as much physical as it is mental.

Michael’s mission was to shape shift into a human and accompany Brian to Italy. There they would have a final confrontation with the sisters.

It had not been Brian’s first encounter with the sisters. Brian was now a 30 year old man who had arrived at the cave site meeting 11 years late, which was right when the big heads and Michael expected him.

Brian can’t

Brian couldn’t believe asshole made him hike all that way only to drop himself off at the cave for the same meeting.

Your character is your name and this alien earned its name.

The mountain

The wind that touches the almighty carries abundance for whoever else the wind intercepts at a distance. It appears sometimes as a flame. It doesn’t tell you to have reverence through its words but by its presence.

For this reason the mountain is the capital, solely through its proximity to God. When a message comes from the mountain, the plants around the recipient grow and cracks on the wall disappear.

When a message last came to Earth from the mountain, it glowed from a view screen in a cave through which Raphael spoke to a big head.

Boys are too arrogant, said the arch angel.

He still shows promise, said the big head.

Why must you always make things so difficult, said Raphael.

Perhaps the big head was an asshole after all, Raphael thought. There was no telling what the ugly creatures thought. Angels were masters of reading facial expressions. They were so good at it that they were mistaken for telepathic, but they were not telepathic. Only the big heads were telepathic. This was how arch angels were kept humble, by having everything but the one thing.

The boy was to arrive at the cave any minute and the big head just stared, communicating with Raphael who couldn’t return the favor devoid of movement without technological augmentation. It just stared from Kentucky waiting for the boy to arrive. It sensed the echo behind it and turned off the view screen.

The boy was to serve as Raphael’s emissary and tie up Azazel for a thousand years. Then he was to round up the rest of the fallen and bind them to the earth. The almighty would then bare its face across the planet and judge them with its presence.

In that way the mountain was to grow to cover up the whole earth so that that earth would be the mountain by virtue of its proximity.

Azazel was to be tied up first, but why Azazel?