War is coming. It’s not the war that everyone is expecting. It is not the clash of Good versus Evil portrayed in the Bible, it is both simpler and more complicated than that. Through Lazarus’ eyes I have seen Heaven and it is magnificent. Glorious and terrible, it is a hive where the hive is the queen. Everyone is subsumed for the common purpose. They stand together, they sing praise together and they will fight together.
I hate it already.
As Lazarus’ soul was dragged into Hell I also saw the nature of Hell. It is a direct contrast to Heaven, where Heaven is unity, Hell is about self. Individualism reigns supreme here. There is a common interest, but only that which is imposed by stronger beings or through the conflict with a common enemy. It is a chaotic jumble, more fun than Heaven certainly, but not what I want.
For the moment the war is a low key, almost a guerrilla war in nature. In this, the forces of Hell have the advantage as the battles are smaller and more individual in nature. Here they can use their individual strengths and talents to greater effect. When the final battle begins however, I see that is likely to change. Heaven’s might is vast and its armies are much better coordinated. In a stand up fight Hell will be hard pressed.
When the Apocalypse comes we will all have to choose a side, and that pisses me off.
Every soul that has ever been created has been sucked into this war. The same is true for every soul that will be born. They have two choices and I like neither of those choices. Don’t get me wrong, I care little for those billions of souls, but I care what choice I have. The choice is mine to make, but only having two unpalatable options is no choice at all.
A few short months ago I gave myself up for a final battle of my own, a glorious and bloody last stand the end result was my death. I had grown bored and looked forward to oblivion. To no longer exist that is what I desired, not this.
That had been denied me.
It doesn’t just piss me off, it offends me. What makes us what we are, is the blending of these two extremes, to join a side you lose that mix, you become one or the other. Fuck that.
There has to be another way, a third way. And by following this way I might get the true death I yearn for. Only the utter destruction of my soul will do.
There is also another aspect that appeals to me. I have quite enjoyed this little challenge, how much more a challenge will finding this third way be? It’s exciting just to think of it. This isn’t just a case of picking a side and making sure they win. I have to make sure they both win, or both lose.
How am I going to achieve this?
I have no idea, but with the consumption of Lazarus’ miracle I have bought myself time. I will need to learn much. More immediately I need to decide what to do about the Friar and his compatriots who are waiting for me. He will no doubt be very upset that I did not destroy the miracle, but I did do what he wanted in killing Lazarus.
I have two choices, the first try is to and escape. They will be expecting that. I am more powerful and immortal, but as Lazarus discovered, not invulnerable. I have not tested this new strength, I need time to investigate them. I also need time to form a plan. Being hunted across the world by the Vatican and its minions will hamper my movements.
A head on contest now will likely leave me wounded and trapped.
The second option is to offer myself to them. They won’t believe that I have converted, but they might believe something else.
My eyes snap open. I am still standing by the body of Lazarus, I can see that time is catching up with him. Already his corpse looks sunken and desiccated, if I touch it, I think it will collapse into dust. Strangely there is a sweet smell emanating from it, and filling the cool chapel.
The Friar looks furious, the other brothers are tense and I can sense them gathering their will. The soldiers are all carefully aiming their weapons at me. Everyone is tense, ready to act at the Friars order.
Deliberately I pull my awareness into the confines of my body. I’m not stupid, I take inspiration from Lazarus and coil defences around my mind. I calmly raise my hands, careful to make no sudden movements and sit back down into the chair.
Before the Friar can say a word, I speak first. An excited rush of words and it is a rush. I’m feeling a high greater than any drug I have ever tried. The first time is always the best and today has been a day of many firsts.
“That was fucking amazing!” I really am riding this wave, I feel great. I have a mission and I have power beyond anything I have ever imagined. The task I have set myself will ring throughout the ages, but I must be careful. The Friar and his people will not be with me on this, but I need them for a little while.
“Wow. If you need me to do that again, just fucking ask. Who’s got a smoke? I fucked him good and proper!” I look Friar Francis straight in the eye. “After that performance, surely I deserve a smoke? No tricks, I promise.” I try to put him at ease with a smile.
And I mean it, and he knows it. He might not be able to read me anymore, but he knows I mean what I say. And you know what? That shield of his doesn’t look that solid anymore. Now is not the time for that, but sometime soon.
Hammond approaches me, he holds a packet of cigarettes in one, giant hand. He is unafraid. Of them all, he shows no fear. He towers above me, hands me the packet and lights the cigarette. He is actually grinning, I can see right through him, only that huge rock that seems mightier than before is hidden in his mind. I grin back at him, exhaling the smoke over Lazarus’ body. Hammond, a bear of a man, probably too trusting for his own good.
“I’m all yours Friar.” I say. “Just let me know what you want and I’ll work with you. Just don’t me go to Mass, I’m not a believer. I probably never will be, but the job does have its perks. What do you say?”
He nods carefully, still not speaking.
“It’s allright” i tell him. “All I ask for now, is some better accommodations. I’m not going back to that cell, that’s all I ask. Deal?”
He’s still unsure, I can tell. Hammond claps me on the shoulder, he laughs “We’ll make a believer of you yet!”
The Friar nods again, “Deal.” He says, then turns round and tells the others to get prepared, we need to move out. To Hammond he say “He’s your responsibility, keep an eye on him.”
So we make preparations and I have some of my own to do. There’s a war coming, and I need to be ready.