CONTENT WARNING: CRUDE INDECENT LANGUAGE
Bass was divine.
Humans and their mundane thoughts had so much…divinity they never even recognized. The combination of creativity, focus, and synergy required to make any music was astounding. It was a form of Heaven on Earth humans could actively experience, though they never fully understood it. Making great music was akin to magic. It was almost as close as making great coffee.
Like always, thinking of coffee brought Carmen to the forefront of my thoughts, even as the beat of the current song reverberated through my being. Feeling the building of a pulsing sizzle from an intense baseline slide down my spine was truly one of my favorite feelings– well top five.
I flashed briefly to memories of having Phoenix curled against me, playing with my finger as I moved Gnomegel in silly positions. Okay, top ten. Phoenix definitely held all the slots regarding my top five. Still, the feeling was exceptional, especially when speeding down the highway at close to a hundred miles an hour, with the windows up and the sound on blast.
Still, despite the music, she invaded my thoughts.
It had been different since Pearl’s shenanigans. Before the dream dance between Carmen and First Woman, I’d thought of Carmen often, but mostly in a clinical sense, as a job. What we’d had between us had taken place decades ago. The fragility of humanity and its limited life span meant she’d been long gone from this realm for years. There had simply been no real logical or emotional need to dwell on her.
Randomly, I’d gotten wind of the situation between her and Michael. Decades had passed without a word. Then the information had found its way into my lap right before Lycaon’s summons had reached me and changed my life. I shook my head as I thought about that summons. It felt like eons had passed since that moment. Since I’ve actually been around since Yahweh flipped the universal switch, I think that says a lot.
But, time is relative and the moment determines the need. So, for a while, the importance of that information and planned search faded in the face of more important things– Medea, Phoenix, and the threat hanging over our head. What proved surprising was that threat, and the well of craziness from which it ensued, aka Michael, had, ironically enough, forced me back on my original quest.
Yet, after that fucking dream…I licked my lips involuntarily as I shook the images away. Since then it was like Carmen was in my head. Flashes and thoughts of her brought me up short. A mixture of need and desire wrapped its way around my being. I found myself, almost clamoring to breathe, desperate to get to her. It was like this all-encompassing itch I couldn’t quite scratch. But the compulsion was not alone. With it came an almost instant rage. The feelings weren’t sweet and tidy, they weren’t swimming in longing. They were mired in a dark and flaming field of rage.
Truthfully, I‘ve walked this world for a long time. Emotions, like lust and love, and the entanglements they caused, weren’t new to me. Time was relative and ultimately rather insignificant. What gave me the greatest pause was the anger, the building rage. It was persistent and wouldn’t let go. Even then, speeding down the highway, music blaring, thoughts of Carmen had my hands gripping the steering wheel as if I would pull it clean off the steering column.
Being angry with Carmen made no sense. However, my anger with Michael was perfectly logical. He was a malicious being that existed to torment me. He’d taken away a true and delicate love. He’d tried to kill me numerous times. He’d purposefully spawned countless Nephilim children, after everything I’d been put through to rid the world of them. He’d also done something to alter Carmen’s intended lifespan. That laundry list was the beginning before we even addressed recent events, like threatening Medea and Phoenix. He deserved every shred of hate I held toward him.
Yeah, yeah, angels shouldn’t hate. If that’s what you think, you obviously haven’t been reading what I’ve been telling you about Angel Propaganda.
Hate for Michael aside. The question persisted, why did she enrage me every time she stalked my thoughts? I just didn’t know the answer. It seemed that was a current ever-developing theme lately. I always had more questions than answers. I flashed back to Raph and my time in her…care. Fucking Raph! Go there looking for one answer, leave completely confused about something else.
All I knew for sure was from the moment I dropped Sammy-Boy off to Michael this feeling of angst and anger had been building. I had no confirmation that Sir-Emo-Death had ever actually made it to Yahweh. I mean, to believe that, without question, would require me to trust Michael. I didn’t trust him, and there was the true crux of my problem, all of our problems.
I sped up, finding a gap in the traffic flow, before crossing between two cars, and taking the nearest exit. Glancing down at the map I’d printed out from Pearl’s info, I memorized the next few directions before quickly taking the following right.
The dossier Pearl had given me said the place was shielded. There would be no phasing in or out. If you made it in at all, very little magic would work within a 20-mile range around the 15-acre property. Michael had built a fucking angel and sup-resistant…bunker? Compound?
It made sense if he were hiding from Yahweh. However, all accounts pointed to Them knowing what Their favorite was doing down here on earth. I supposed there was a difference between knowing someone was treacherous and having to abide and see that treachery every second. Yahweh did not abide things They did not like. They were the god of smiting. That truth was not Angel Propaganda in the least. Michael definitely would have built a compound to make sure to keep his deeds hidden.
Eventually, I arrived at the location on Pearl’s paperwork.
The entrance was…bordered. Bordered was the only word to describe the twelve-foot tall, brick, enclosure that ran the length of the property as far as the eye could see. There were wards I could feel. They were built with magic different from Yahweh’s faith-power. Having recently encountered whatever the fuck Raph was into, the magic was different from that as well.
This was neutral but defensive magic. It was possibly a one-shot spell. It made me incredibly uncomfortable just being near it, but it didn’t repel me. Momentarily, I contemplated backtracking away from the property. I thought I could clear the barrier then phase home to grab Medea. I wondered if she would’ve been able to identify it. Gripping the steering wheel tighter, I quickly let that thought die.
I was sure she was far too busy running off to answer any request or need Lazarus McWolf had when he felt like howling for her. My fists clenched and unclenched before I pushed thoughts of Medea and Lycaon from my mind. I exited the car amped up for completely different reasons than when I had driven up.
In the middle of the border was a shoulder-width gate, solid, with no latch or hinges. It appeared wrought iron, but probably was not. A look through the bars gave a view of a winding, tree-shrouded, road leading into sweeping darkness, even though it was midday with no cloud cover. To the left of the gate was a nondescript security pillar. It appeared to house one person who was currently stumbling out toward me.
Were they drunk or just uncoordinated?
Before I could ask and insert my foot in my mouth, they bellowed, “Please leave the premises.”
I did a brief sweep of the area while keeping him in my eye-line. Nope, no one else was around or approaching. So Mr. Uncoordinated was most definitely talking to me. Interesting non-greeting for a security guard.
“Hi. I’m looking for someone. Wondered if you could help.” I even smiled, a little…kind of.
He exhaled sharply, his body seemed to swell when he inhaled. Nope, no seeming about it, he’d actually swelled. He was now at least two feet taller than before. His body was also pulsing, like a star. It looked like every muscle in his body had suddenly been jacked and was vibrating to a singular beat.
Well, okay. I’d heard about a green version of this guy, I think. That guy definitely wasn’t working security for Michael though. A deep sigh cascaded through my being. What the fuck had I just walked into?
“Leave the premises, angel.”
That obviously wasn’t happening.
I pulled my blades from the ether and formed my armor…well I tried. Repeatedly. Nothing happened. I was at a loss, again.
First Raph, then Pearl, now this shit. All these loop-de loops were getting really old.
“Buddy, look, you’re being super roid aggressive for no reason.” I put my hands up, slightly defensively, mildly mocking. I wondered how he’d known I was an Angel.
I mean, my name traveled, yes. Angel Propaganda even gave it extra weight I wasn’t proud of. But, still, his knowledge seemed based on something other than my stellar reputation.
The raging roid rushed me. I was able to sidestep him, by about a millisecond, and only because I’d anticipated the reaction. Roid heads hated being called roid heads.
Almost like a bull, missing me infuriated him even more. There was a loud snuffing huff and the sound of feet scraping the ground, then he was charging me again.
This time I ducked, bringing my shoulder forward and channeling all my power into focused resolve. It, my power, tasted different. It even looked different. It was a faded purple, scarily thin but still there. Even in its weakened state, it allowed me to transform into a reverse battering ram.
Mr. lumbering personification of inhospitable behavior rushed into me and was propelled backward. A loud crunch reverberated through the area as he flipped backward, then slid inelegantly over the hood of my car thanks to the force of his own momentum.
Reap what you sow, muthafucka.
I grimaced as I looked at the truly hulk sized dent in my hood. This was no CGI event. That was going to be hell to fix. I fucking loved that car. I hadn’t even had sex in it yet. I barely drank or ate in it.
Moon and stars, I was pissed. I definitely wasn’t just going to drive away now.
He stood up, slowly, dazed and shaking his head. I launched myself across the road, my feet hitting metal as I angled my punch down, going for his jaw.
KO incoming, asshole…
Except, with a burst of energy my chest caved inward and I flew backward, smashing inelegantly into the security station. It crumbled around me, the world going dark. My pride bruised, confusion swirled as I excited consciousness to the words, “Well, hello, Gabby. Fancy meeting you here.”