(Stand alone prelude of the Rose Path Tale, Mage’s Luck. Starts soon!)
Heavenly City, Docked Section
Sarihanel left her building without looking back.
Angels had not quite updated to mortal practices entirely since the new Metatron had taken over, but her section was trying a new thing called ‘hours’. The concept was pretty simple, if a little goofy. Time in linear chunks separated with labels. Off hours, and everything else included with the program.
She really didn’t have a huge problem with that part at least, except that that she had been late a half-a-dozen times since they had added the ‘personal life’ part of the concept into practice. The apartment she had built in her assigned lot was nice, and she liked spending off-hours there, but leaving it on time seemed to be a larger hassle than she expected.
“Tough city these days,” she told herself, wondering if there was time to get a latte before work. Not that she drank them, but on the days she was late, a strange desire to stop off, and get one appeared.
She checked her cell phone, then stopped to wonder when the H-E-Hockeysticks they had gotten cell phones. Her temper flared, at yet another ‘new’ thing popping into her life, but a coffee cart boomed into existence at the next corner before she could get properly angry.
Her phone, which had switched from a strange device that folded in half to a slim black one with a single large screen, told her she was too late to stem the craving. She stopped anyway, certain she was being overworked, despite the fact that they had just started the whole heavenly calling as a job thing.
“Vanilla latte, soy milk, extra foam?” she asked the angel, unsure what she was saying.
“I guess,” the Angel answered. His blue eyes shined with gold light for a moment, as God’s programming taught him to make the drink.
“Long day?” she asked, unsure why she wanted to make conversation with the golden haired man.
“I think I want to go home, and binge watch ‘90’s TV. I don’t even know what ‘X-files’ is,” he said a little sadly.
“You’re lucky, I took up knitting this week, and I’ve never been more stressed out over my cat’s hair.” She stopped, feeling an odd buzz, knowing her eyes were glowing now too. “Also the cat.”
“You got a cat?”
“Yeah,” she said. “It just appeared on my back step a few weeks ago. His name is Puffermittens.” She popped out her cell to show him a picture she had never taken.
“You’re lucky though it’s a cat.”
She shook her head. “No, it comes with some type of weird localized insanity. He ripped apart my spare wings this weekend, and I took pictures, and fed him tuna.”
“That does sound weird.”
“This whole thing is weird. I’m tired of change.”
“We’ll be updated soon. Then we’ll be able to get used to some of this,” he said, a glint of hope on the end of his tone. One hand held her cup, and she took it, taking a quick sip.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the new Metatron.” She waved as she walked away, and had a weird bump of emotion. He had not asked her out, or even seemed interested. It took a lot of restraint, not to just go jump into the abyss right then. Existed since the Angelic Dawn, and now she was bummed cute coffee guy wasn’t into gray wings, or whatever. She really could not say whether she was more bummed about the emotion, or having gotten emotions.
The rest of the walk was unpleasant. The coffee perked her up, but drinking, and walking was a hassle. A line of coffee dripped down her chin, and stained her simple black top.
She was in Prayers, Physical Department, Simple Requisitions, and Items. They had their own office now, since they started departments, instead of just ‘Orders’. It was a white brick building, with a large rolling metal door on the front; open to expose the gleaming, orange, and steel tables.
“Still having trouble adjusting?” Her co-worker, Irenail asked. He was as old as she was, but for some reason he had ended up with a body appearance of twice her age. And male, which he seemed to like, but the differences had caused some weird rifts between them lately. It was a Monday, and the others they worked with were off on ‘weekends’, so it was just the two of them.
“Not really,” Sarihanel said, unsure why admitting her problems was such a hassle now. “Just running late.”
“That’s great,” he said, focus on the files he was playing with. An orange 3D scan of a man was open on his workbench. It was a younger man, humanish. Eight or ten tattoos spread out on the man’s thin body. Twice that in scars, some of them large enough to look like they could have been the cause of death.
“Wait? We’re on Prayers still right?” she asked. “Why are we building a person?” Resurrections, and births were rarely answered in Prayers. It was not an actual rule, some people were returned, usually on the Son’s orders, but it had been a long time since then. It was usually oversaw by Seraph’s or better. Gray wings never got the big stuff.
“From who?” Sarihanel had never heard of their department getting special orders. Fifty-percent of what she did was making car keys that were gone forever, and put them in odd places to be found. The rest was more helping, and mild prayers. Little things. Maybe one or two big wishes a year. Three resurrections a century, and none yet, this one.
“Mouthpiece himself. Old prayer from 2010.” Ichor pumped in her ears, as her heart pounded. Rage, she knew this one from the videos, but knowing she was under the influence of the emotion seemed to have little impact on her actions, or ability to rationalize.
“What? His word doesn’t transcend Holy Law.”
The old man sighed, and glanced around. “Want to calm down a bit there?”
“What? We can’t just be bringing back corpses willy-nilly because some-.” She stopped to look at the she screen. No names on Prayers, just user ID codes. The first fourteen were the species type, she knew those offhand, but the rest of the three hundred, and eighty-one digit string would take a while for her to work out. “Leprechaun wants him back.” She settled with.
The man got up, moving close to her, and leaning down. He must not have gotten the hygene file, judging by his 80-proof breath as he whispered. “It’s a special order. You really want to get into it with the Metatron over a single body going dirtside?”
“What kind of body is it?” she asked after a moment. Irenail had a point, she had little chance of commanding even a Seraph’s attention. The best she could hope for was a quick denial of request from the Metatron’s office. Maybe his assistant, if she complained enough.
“Human,” he answered. “Well, mage, but nothing crazy. You want to do the slimy stuff?”
“Not like you can.” He really had no skill with more artistic aspects of the job, but he was good with the paperwork, and tech which she loathed.
“Can you do the dangly bits the right size?”
“I do fine on the dangly bits.”
“Just no more of those weird designs, you should see a therapist.”
“What’s a ‘therapist’?”
“It was in last nights update. Did you get your phone?”
“Yeah, didn’t do the update yet though.”
“Better get it during lunch break then.”
Sarihanel nodded listlessly, and then started with the feet. The lifeclay was easy to work with, although she had not used it a lot before. She used a printer for the bones, breaking, and then resealing a few of them. The angel had always taken a lot of pride in the quality of her restorations. She was low on tan color, which was predominant on the previous body. Even in places she was sure a proper gentleman would not have tanned. She had yellow, which seemed close to her. And a nice purple, she quite liked.
“Can I make him-.”
“No, just do a base coat if we’re out of tan. He can do it himself later.”
“What about the hair. I need the same colors to make brown.”
“Want to go to the craft store?”
“After lunch. Maybe.”
“Just do it… I dunno, ‘best you can.”
She ended up with a creamy color, so she scrubbed it into the scalp.
“You got blue right?”
“I can probably get it with what I have.”
He ended up with eyes like a clouded sky. She had plenty of ink for the tattoos, and recreating the rose one on his collarbone was kind of fun. His legs were great too, covered in odd symbols. A few quotes on his arms. An eagle on his chest. ‘Nice Forever’ written low on his hip, with a few hearts drawn around it. This one was the worst quality, and faded badly, so she touched it up some.
The dark ink on the alabaster skin was a bit off putting, but she did not want to have to trek to whatever a ‘craft store’ was.
“I think he’s done.”
“Clothes,” Irenail reminded her, then glanced over. “And danglies. Sicko damn.”
“Fine.” She fixed him up, just like in the model. There were plenty of other colors, but to keep things a bit consistent she made his black leather jacket a washed out gray, and his black jeans faded so far as to be nearly white.
“And a staff,” he said, his voice coated thick in reverence. “A good one.”
“A good staff? I think I covered that, and I’m starting to wonder what the weird fixation you have with ‘danglies’ is?” she said, trying to keep her tone light, as the worry caressed at the corners of her mind.
“A wizards staff. Something solid, and strong. Straight, none of that gnarled stuff. He likes it for a weapon in a fight.”
She fashioned it quickly, pouring power from stars directly into the amber jewel. They were low on that, and she wondered if the craft store stocked it, or if she would have to go on Amazon. The wood she already had, leftover from a magic tree house a few years ago. It had turned out beautiful, even if a sentient tree house was not the best thought out prayer to answer. She used a piece of it, just smoothing it down, and plopping the jewel into the top. She bound them with a blast of her own brand of angelic light, and held it up for inspection.
The whole time she tried not to think of what she was doing, just the motions to focus on. Heaven did not send people back to earth well armed.
“You done yet?”
“Sure,” she said, and tossed him the staff. He caught it deftly, without lglancing up from the monitor. Not even looking at it, he kept eyes focused on the screen.
“Put in the life force, and let’s send him back.”
She turned around, and looked at the body. The scars, the tattoos, even the leather coat screamed ‘Bad Man’ at her. While the life.exe was running she pulled up the work file. Not much better there. Troubled kid, died young in a gang fight. Well a fight between two rival groups of supernatural beings. Nothing especially heroic, or noteworthy in his file. Certainly nothing to warrant being sent back on just a Prayer. She glanced back at her friend, and coworker.
She saw the gleam in his eyes, and the video backwards through the clear screen. A kid, running around in circles, a little red water gun in his hands. It was not the content though, it was heaven they had all of existence streaming. It was the angle.
The video was taken by someone standing on the ground, and all of their videos were taken by winged beings.
“Oh my lord. Irenail, what did you do?”
“Is it done?” He stood eyes still on the screen. Not focused. Avoiding.
“Yes,” she answered. “What the hell are we doing here?” She looked at her hands still grayed with the clay. “I feel sick.” the angel leaned over, and vomited for the first time ever.
As she sat up, she saw the end of the staff, and white light exploded behind her eyes. The ground under her, was the next sensation, and then another explosion brought darkness.
Wet on her palm. Water, she knew. Gritty, when it stopped. Sand.
‘A beach,’ she realized. Sarihanel felt really bright for a moment, before a waved washed up, and covered her. Choking out filthy salt water she sat up, her wings getting sand in places she knew she would never get out.
They shrank with a pop, as she shakily pulled herself to her feet. Clear fluid, ichor, around the swollen knot on her forehead. A larger one on the back. She bent over, and vomited again, this time into the sea.
“Good day?” A bum asked, as he walked past.
“Where am I?” she asked. The man looked around, then laughed a bit.
“You’re in San Francisco. California,” he replied, with a shake of his shaggy head. “Thought I was strung-out.”
“Fudging Mondays.” She fell back into the sand, staring at the massive orange bridge above her.
Well stay tuned for another out Wednesday.