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Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Falling Star, Chapter 1, Part 2

By Christopher Leeson


CHAPTER 1, Part 2

“Base or not, the Father of Heaven can use you.  When has the Father not deigned to use even the most evil of beings to attain justice in the world?” Shekinah reminded the girl.  “Did he not permit the sinners of Samaria to be taken into captivity by the cruel Assyrians?   Now he seeks a warrior, and at the very least you are that.”

"He destroyed the Assyrians when he was done with them."

"Yes, but only because they refused to know him.  That doesn't have to be your fate." 

Jetrel glowered.  “Is he ordering me into battle?  Against whom?”
Shekinah touched her chin and met her companion’s stare.  “Who is it that would you least object to fighting?”

Who indeed? Jetrel wondered.  The hottest part of her rage was not directed at the Father, nor even at Metatron.  No, it was another being entirely.  

Jetrel raised jealous eyes toward Shekinah.  “Is this about Satan?  Why did the Father permit him and his rabble to rule the earth, while he chained us in confinement.  Why?”

“Today's enemies are tomorrow’s friends.  Father, I'm sure, did not want your Watchers to join the army of Hell.  Rejoice, misguided one.  You have something that the Morning Star himself is not fated to claim, the possibility of a blessing.”

“A blessing?”  Jetrel looked at herself and scowled.  “Blessings like this I could well do without.”

“Is that so?"

“Why deliver me at all if he doesn’t respect me?”

Shekinah looked incredulous.  “Deluded creature!  Any claim you ever had to respect has long been forfeited.  The respect you crave has to be re-earned from nil.  And harken to this:  should you manage to prove yourself, your allies in crime may be offered the same deliverance.  You are to be the test case.

The girl's jaw dropped.  “The same deliverance?  To become women?”

“One cannot say for certain.  Father tends to endless creativity in his chastisements.  But remember also, until the damned are irreversibly destroyed in the Lake of Fire, every punishment the Father imposes is intended to call his lost sheep home.”  

“Why, exactly, was I chosen for this mockery?”

Shekinah shook her head.  “Father may have ascertained that you, as unlikely as it appears, are the best of a very, very bad flock.”

Jetrel made fists.  “Have I earned his contempt because I was weak enough to ask...repentance?”

The angel blinked.  “Repentance?  You almost choke upon the word!  You may know how to fashion the hateful noun on your lips, but your thoughts run cold and your heart is as ice.  Words are not repentance in and of themselves; repentance is a pitiable cry for mercy from a sinner's aching heart.  Father has opened the door of escape for you; scorn it and there shall be no other.”

Girl felt like cursing, but held her emotion in like a soldier.  “What exactly does Father want from me?” 

“There is a mighty harvest of souls ongoing upon the earth.  Satan’s agents have so oppressed persons of every land, every walk of life.   They have no place left to turn, nowhere except back to the Father and the Son.  If the Rapture should be called to early, many who might have come home tomorrow will be lost.   

"But the hour is late; the Anti-Christ is lurking behind the scenes, driving his minions into frenzied feats of evil; the False Prophet struts proud in red and purple, multiplying his blasphemies every day.  But because circumstances have changed, Father is holding back the Day of Judgment.  Not for long, but for a while yet.  Accordingly, Satan has been ordered to stand down from immediate action, but he will not listen.”

“The Morning Star always was impatient,” sneered Jetrel.

Indeed, the Deceiver is spoiling for a fight.  A fight he shall haveMillions of angels have been dispatched to hold him at bay until the appointed hour.  Because of the fight to come, you are being offered a place the Army of Glory.”

Jezebel tossed her head.  “Has Heaven grown so depopulated that Father needs to call upon the disowned and ruined?”

“Not at all.  Though the Father no longer chooses to create angels from air and light, the choirs have been amply replenished with the slain saints from earth.  His offer, I should think, is more for your benefit than it is for his.  You understand nothing if you do not understand that he doesn't want even one sheep to be lost.

“I'm listening.”

Your future battles have been chosen.  For your aid, you will see a purple aura surrounding any human, Nephilim, fallen angel, or demon who actively serves Satan's ends.  This is war.  Deal with the enemy as you deem fit; Father's protecting hand has been lifted from every malefactor engaged in furthering the Deceiver’s deadly aims.”

“So, he wants the whole lot of them dead or alive?”  The girl halted.  From whence had come that human phrase?  It almost sounded familiar, but yet it didn't.”

“Dead or alive.  That says it well enough,” Shekinah responded.  

The fair-haired woman sniffed.  “I'm not expected to kill cleanly, am I?”

“The Father is fully aware of your bloodthirstiness and lack of pity.” 

Jetrel glanced away.  “How can I win even the smallest battle bound in this useless shape?”

“There is something that I have yet to explain.  You may, in fact, regain mucu power, but it comes to you at a price.”

“What price?”

“The coin of the realm shall be your overweening pride.  Pride has been the keystone supporting your mountous evil.  Without it, inequity might at last begin to fall away from you.”

The girl studied Shekinah's face and grimaced.  “What new torture are you alluding to?”

“Do you remember the cruel use you Watchers made of the Jezebel spirits?”

Jetrel, of course, remembered.  The Nephilim children of the fallen angels had taken over almost every city and every tribe.  The Flood had at last been sent to break their stranglehold upon the world.  They died in the many millions, but such rebellious spirits as theirs could not rest easy.  Disembodied, they sought to possess humans and resume evil and vice-ridden material lives.   

Rather than permit this, the Father had cast their kind into a hell dimension, one that was similar to the In-Between Place, only vastly more unpleasant.  Some of these demons commanded mighty power, but some were mere mites in comparison.  It served the Father's ends to give them reign to punish mortals who had become reprobates in sin.

Some of the females had become demons of desire, and these were allowed to whisper into the ears of foolish girls, urging them into misbehavior.  If a maid heeded their urgings and persisted in error, it was an invitation for such a spirit to enter into her body and impose its will.  One woman who became famously possessed, Queen Jezebel, almost brought down the kingdom of Judah with her seductive ways.  Ever since, men had called the demons of desire “Jezebel spirits.”

“Jezebel spirts?  Unimportant lice!” Jetrel exclaimed irritably.

“They are not so unimportant to one who is tormented by them.  It is time for you to know that the Father did not choose such a body for you randomly.  It belonged to a possessed seductress, one who was murdered in vengeance by a betrayed wife.  The demon remains with you and you may not find its company pleasant, but in the long run dealing with it and, hopefully, overcoming it may do you some good.”

Jetrel bridled.  “Has the Father grown so petty, so vile in his sense of humor?”

“Not in the least, but just like a tormented mortal may at last turn to the Father in desperation, so may you.   You are, however, allowed to rid yourself of such an unwanted taskmistress, if that is what you truly want.”

“And why shouldn't I want to?” Jetrel inquied suspiciously.

Your Jezebel spirit has been bespelled to act as a conduit for the dark, corrupting energies issuing from the demon world.  As long as you keep it, whenever lust is directed toward your person, its dark energy will be welcomed in by the spirit, and this, in turn, will empower you.  The more intense the lust you encounter, the more intense will be the power you gain.  If you allow to flow into you, you will become a formidable warrior.”

“And if I cast it out?”

“You will live out your life as a weak mortal.  Think.  Which course do you prefer?  What you face is a human dilemma.  Consider the man who believes that he must live poor unless he swindles.  Which choice do you suppose the Father might prefer him to make?”

Jetrel gnashed her teeth.  Everything about the situation seemed intolerable, but yet power was being offered.  It has been so long since she had exercised power.  In the right hands, power could solve almost any problem, even the problems caused by lewd men and petty demons.  “We shall see,” she finally said.  “Before I make any final decision, I would like to sample this power you speak of.  While I do so, I may indeed put an end to a few of Satan's slaves.  At the very least, it ought to be pleasant diversion.  So, what happens now?”

Sheikinah appeared satisfied.  “Come, Jezebel.  You have a mission waiting.”  The brunette angel regarded the doctor, who still remained stationary.  “We have to leave this place.  We test the Father’s patience if we interfere with Nature’s order for very long.”

The girl's eyes flashed.  “What did you just call me?”

“Jezebel.  That is your new name in Heaven.  On earth it is Jezebel Delilah Watcher.  It shall be as Jezebel that you shall either rise or fall.  Now, take my hand.  We cannot remain longer.”  The angel reached out to her companion.

Lacking a good choice, Jezebel did as instructed.  

Their antiseptic surroundings began to fade into a soft blur.  When the world refocused, their location was an entirely different one.


Darkness.  Angel-vision knew no darkness, but Jezebel's human eyes could only make out faint outlines, mostly of furniture.  Reflexively, she stepped toward the door and switched on the light.

This automatic action surprised her.  “How did I know where to find the light switch?” Jezebel muttered.

The angel explained.  “Without its departed spirit, the deceased woman's brain remains with you, like a scroll to be read.  Her name was Jill Lara ArendelTo read her memories, simply concentrate.  They shall be like a library, informing you about everyday life on earth.”

Jezebel made a noise through her lips, a thing she instantly recognized as a human gesture.  Her mind revolted at the idea of falling into the patterns of one whom she regarded as a low beast.  The girl glared at the angel.  “I have no curiosity about anything rattling around in the meat-brain of some trivial mortal. I would sooner read the mind of a mare or ewe.”

“Would you?” Shekinah teased.  

Jezebel looked around the carelessly-kept room.  “Did I say ewe?  This chamber has both the look and smell of a pigsty.”

“Who would have supposed that the slayer of thousands would be so delicate?  Did the women whom you seduced also offend your eyes and nose?”

The blond frowned.  “Not the eyes.  Plain women I cared naught for; but beauty in a woman reminds me of Heaven.  Sometimes I have wondered if the Father didn't trust us, and so deliberately entrapped us with the daughters of men.  As for the issue of the human smell, I got used to it, though I don't remember how.”

“Your band grew accustomed to far more than that!” Sheikinah scornfully challenged.  “Not even the beasts of the farms, waters, woods, and skies were spared from the Watchers' lust.  Your children became the satyrs, harpies, centaurs, and thousands of other monsters.”

Jezebel refused to blush.  “We decided in the end that there was no meaningful difference between persons and beasts.”

Now it was Sheikinah’s turn to suppress anger.  She began acerbically:  "You may use this suiteIt contains many useful items, such as clothes.  Are you familiar with the concept of rent?  There is a fee for the right of occupancy in such a domicile; it is assessed by him who owns this building on the first day of each month.  That will be eighteen days from now.  You must provide him with the sum of $525, which is supposed to be quite a reasonable charge.  

“Also, you shall discover a sum of money hidden inside a candy canister that lies within a box under the bed; that will defray your initial expenses.  Fortunately, Miss. Arendel followed a gainful occupation.  If you decide to impersonate her, the income will prove sufficent to support a mortal's basic needs.   

"By the way, your resurrection at the morgue will be reported to local authority.  They will probably desire an interview, to find out what you know about what happened.  Be prepared to allay their suspicion with a well-wrought deceit; doing that should not be difficult for you.”

“Employment?  Why waste my time?  Why shouldn't the Father provide my support, like a king would a warrior in the field?”

“Is there no end to your conceit?  He surely feels that he is already doing enough for one who has earned nothing except the Lake of Fire.  Moreover, you need to fit in among the mortal kind, and maintaining some sort of employment as they do will be helpful.”

The angel noted Jezebel's dubious expression.  “You are not required to remain in this lodging, though keeping it for the present may be convenient.  Miss Arendel was actually absent from it a majority of the time.  Her professional engagements took her out on 'the road' as they say.”

What had she been? Jezebel wondered.  A whore?  Jezebel refused to search Jill Arendal's memories, not wanting to be additionally mortified.  “Why should I demean myself with labor?  Mankind traditionally gets what it wants by robbery.”

The angel shook her head.  “Take care.  If apprehended and cast into a dungeon, you shall be hard-pressed to regain your liberty.  Do not assume that Father shall rescue you from every unnecessary problem created by yourself. ”

“If I gain the type of power that you've spoken of, no prison of this realm could hold me.”

“True, but first there are things that you must do to gain that power,” Sheikinah cautioned.

The girl sent her informer a scoffing glance.

The angel continued:  “There are luggage carriers on these premises.  Humans who need to travel generally pack an array of useful items.  Additionally, Miss Arendel has an automobile outside, in space 6.”   Sheikinah produced a common handbag.  “I took the liberty of appropriating the woman's effects from the hospital.  The operating keys are herein contained.  As for how to drive a human vehicle, Jill Arendal's memories shall usefully assist you.”

Jezebel sighed.  “The Watchers taught the first humans how to make what they needed to offend and oppress one another.  We never supposed that they were smart enough to invent anything on their own.”  She paused, not wanting it to sound like she was complimenting the human race, not even grudgingly.  “But from what I've seen of automobiles,” she added, “I don't care for them.”

“They are an acquired taste, I grant.  But it is time for more important matters.  As I have said, we have a pressing mission for your accomplishment. ”

Pivoting, Shekinah went to the television set.  The picture came on in a flash.  “...and Nightman alerted the police that they should pick up the two jewel thieves that he had left tied up in the main storage room of the premises.”

Nightman.  Jebezel had heard that name before, having eavesdropped on many a television and radio broadcast while in the In-Between Place.  Humans, such as the one called Nightman, those who possessed unique abilities, were held in fascination by mortals.  These oddly-gifted individuals were known as “ultras.”  Most ultras carried on like brigands, but some chose to defend their fellows in the manner of knights errant.  Their various talents reminded Jezebel of the Nephilim race.  

"These imperfect offspring of the rebelling Watchers had oftentimes inherited their sires' abilities at random, making each of them unique.  Like the ultras of this age, mankind had held them in awe and spoke of them as “mighty men of valor.”  It was well that most humans had shown respect, for a great many of the Nephilim had fed on human flesh, something which the Father had greatly objected to.

Shekinah had been punching buttons on a device that Jezebel somehow knew was called a “television remote.”  “Yes, here it is.  Watch carefully.”

Different sounds and images filled the screen.   Jezebel followed the action, expecting some scene of importance to appear.  But the program now playing was nothing other than a commonplace music video.


To Be Continued...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Falling Star Chapter 1 Part 1

 By Christopher Leeson


Chapter 1, Part 2 

Jetrel awoke to darkness and felt something covering his face.  He swept the thing away, with a hand that had the weight of lead.  But the darkness remained.  sitting up, he banged his head with a hollow, metallic ring.  Surprisingly, the collision hurt, and he had almost forgotten what pain felt like.   

What was this?  What had taken him from his former state?  Groping, he touched a smooth plane above him, and similar planes on both on both his left and right-hand side.

Jetrel struck at the metal walls  with clutched fists, but the effort hurt his hands and brought no results.  With each blow he cursed with frustration, but his voice echoed thin and reedy, instead of thunderous.

He rested back and his dazed mind struggled to think.  This prison was worse than his last.  How had be come to be here, and where was here?  Of a sudden, something mechanical clicked and light flowed in behind his head.  Shifting, Jetrel glimpsed a man in a white coat, but, just as quickly, the stranger dodged from view.  As the phantom’s footsteps scuffled away, Jetrel heard him shout:  “Get a doctor!”

The prisoner was bemused, but the open portal was offering him an avenue of escape.  

With effort, he dragged himself out of the coffin-sized shell, sliding on his back and buttocks.  When he made a wrong move, Jetrel felt himself drop.  His head struck something on the way down and everything went dark.


The returning light registered on his lids, causing Jetrel to open his eyes.  Figures were bustling around him.  “Doctor, she's conscious,” some female voice stated.  All was a blur, but someone touched his face.  Jetrel made quick to seize the impudent hand, but the resultant effort was fumbling, futile.

“Miss!  Can you hear me?”  

The female was speaking English.  He tried to dismiss her with a shout of  “Begone!” but only managed a breathless moan. 

“Easy,” a male speaker said.  “Are you in pain?”

Jetrel's vision cleared a little; the walls and ceiling, all white, were moving and their movement made him feel ill.  He blinked several times and and the spin of the architecture subsided.  With increased clarity, he could see a man looking at him, wearing a white, unfashionable costume.  The device hanging around his neck bespoke the trade of healing.  

Jetrel made an irritable grab at the healer, but  realized in chagrin that he still lacked the strength to move agilely.  

“Do you know where you are?” the doctor asked.

Interrogation!  The effrontery of the mite!  Furious, Jetrel glanced about the white room but saw nothing that was either interesting or informative.

“Maybe she's foreign,” offered in the female mortal.  Jetrel turned his glance her way.  Stout and plain, the assistant healer presented a very poor specimen of the daughters of man.  Jetrel glanced away; women lacking beauty never held his attention for long.

But had he heard her refer to him a “she”?  He had never before been mistaken for a female under the gaze of mankind.  Such an insult more than justified an expungement in blood!

“Call for orderlies, Nurse!” the healer exclaimed.  “We need to get the patient to the examination room!”  The one called “Nurse” muttered a reply before her footsteps clicked away.

The male intruder then addressed another bothersome inquiry his way, but the words broke off.  Like a withheld breath, the white room had gone silent.  Jetrel, squirming, attained a new position.  He could see that the white-clad man was standing there stiffly, like a manikin displaying clothing.

At that instant, Jetrel felt a touch to his neck.  Glancing back, he saw no one.  But at the same instant, his weakness passed away.  His first impulse was to feel his body, realizing belatedly that it felt distinctly strange.

“By all means, touch yourself,” said a voice, utilizing a language that Jetrel had not heard since before the Deluge.  “To function in your new role, you will need to get intimately familiar with that wrap of flesh.”

Jetrel propped himself up on an elbow and again scanned the room.  There was no within it other than the frozen-in-place healer.  Behind the man, he noted, was a metallic cabinet which displayed three rows , each with five small doors of glossy gray metal.  One door hung open, a cot of some kind jutting out of it.  Intuitively, he guessed that his small prison cell been this very cabinet when he had first awakened.

Jetrel also took note that he was lying on a cot.  More and more aware that something was wrong, he touched his body once more.  His hands cupped warm, firm breasts.  He knew them for what they were, having enjoyably fondled many like them in the distant past.  But these breasts belonged to no milkmaid or shepherdess; they seemed to be growths from his own flesh -- flesh that be realized was very strange.  Sitting up in haste, Jetrel espied a mirror on the wall.  He swung his legs off the cot, but they proved too short to reach the tiles.  With a slight push, he dropped the few inches to the floor.   

The jarring contact made his light covering, a faint blue sheet, fall away and pile about his ankles. He trod over it, but his first steps were inexplicably difficult.  Whatever the nature of his perplexing infirmity, it was profound.  The weight of this strange flesh was shifting awkwardly with each stride, robbing his movements of their accustomed grace.

Even so insignificant an effort had exhausted Jetrel by the time he reached the mirror; he let himself fall forward, catching at the wall for support.  But this put his face up against the glass, and he suddenly found himself staring into a pair of blinking eyes.  It seemed like a youthful woman was gazing at his face through a window.   

“It is not an uncomely face, Jetrel,” someone said in that ancient language.  “Your entire body, in fact, would tempt an angel.  Such beauty can be put to good use in the tasks soon to be placed ahead of you.”

Jetrel, in trying to turn, lost his – her – footing and fell back against the mirror.  It felt cool to her flesh.   While she struggled to regain her bearings, the speaker materialized from thin air and she knew on sight that it was no mortal.

“W-who are you?” Jetrel stammered.

“You have lost your spirit vision, brother?  Well, I suppose that was inevitable.  I am Metatron.”

The blond girl blinked.  She knew and hated that name.  Metatron was the mightiest of all the angels, one dearer to the heart of Father than ever had been Michael or Gabriel.  She recalled seeing when he had been only a graybeard human.  Only later had the Father elevated the earth-born wretch above his natural dignity to the heavenly choirs.  Since that time, the Father had ceased to create new angels in the old way; instead, he would elevate whatever despicable mortal soul that he happened to hold in favor.   

“Don't call me brother, you abomination!”

“Abomination?” declared archangel.  “You did not consider it politic to insult me when your kind was importuning me to intercede on your legion's behalf with the Father.”

Jetrel raised her chin.  "You failed, so we owed you nothing.  Is it the Father whon I have to thank for this ludicrous, perishable shell?”

Metatron, with slight annoyance, replied carelessly.   “Be grateful.  Have you not been imploring the Father's mercy over these many centuries?  Tonight, though you deserve it not, you have finally received that mercy.”

Jetrel looked down and touched herself again.  "Do you call this mercy?"

Merriment brightened Metatron's features.  "Father calls it mercy; I call it amusing."
“Why are you here?” Jetrel snarled.

The archangel shook his head.  “I bring you good tidings, fallen one.  Father bides me to inform you that, should you return to obedience, your heart's desire might at last come within your grasp.”

Jetrel scowled.  “Why now?  I have shouted out to the universe that I would renew my allegiance.  Why should offering that which he wants most earn me this degradation?”

Metatron crossed his arms and frowned.  “The Father has never extended to the rebel angels the promise of forgiveness.  Once he he declares his will, he never recants is words.  But he dos not have to recant to offer to you what you most desire.  Mortals, unlike angels, may attain forgiveness.  Should you accept a mortal life, you may, with effort, earn grace.  Or  do you prefer to wallow in the proud truculence of your rebellion?”

Jetrel winced.  “A mortal life!  I never imagined he could hate me so much!”

The archangel sighed and, even in her distress, Jetrel scorned this as a human reflex.  Metatron still evinced traces of his lowly origin.  “You should be grateful, Jetrel," he said.  "Of all of your miscreant kind, none other than yourself has ever been offered redemption at any price.    The way has been laid open for you to become an angel at some future time, in the way that mortals-born have done.  It is a new age.  Throw away your outworn conceits or else abandon all hope of escaping the Lake of Fire.”

Jetrel looked away.  At the End Time, all that was evil in the universe -- sinning humans, fallen angels, demons, and even Satin himself, would be burnt to nothingness in the dreaded Lake.  And the Father despised more than any other the angles that had risen against his will.

“If this is grace," she said, "I may prefer the Lake of Fire.”

“The choice is yours.  Free will led to your fall, free will is an open gate to destruction.  If it is that which you desire, take heart, for the End of Days loom nigh."

Jetrel straightened with defiance.  “Does Father wish to provoke me?  Is his real desire to make me refuse such a false offer?  My this be his famous sense of humor showing itself again? ”

“The fall of so many of his children brings him to tears, not laughter, angry one.  Why do you pretend to loath woman flesh, when you befouled yourself with a profane lust for it?  When you took one step down, evil had you and you could not stop.  When you and your brothers not demeaned when you rutted with low beasts, giving rise to centaurs, satyrs, and countless other abominable spawnings?"

Jetrel glared, but chose to be proudly silent.

Why do you spurn your present face?  Weren't you be-spelled by the beauty of mankind's daughters?  As a favorite of Azazel, did you not play your crafts to enhance their capacity to inflame lust and desire by means of paint and finery?  Not content with innocent and earnest affection, you schooled the blameless in the thousand arts of harlotry. 

"How many concubines did you keep in silks and bangles, and how many evil offspring did you sire by their tender bodies?”

Jetrel looked away, but with high dudgeon, not shame.  Metatron pressed.  “Thousands of each, I assume.  Father knows your ways, fallen one, and also your ardor for sin.  Should be put you back into the world subject to all the old temptations?  If you are mortified, all the better.  Humiliation is a purgative for overweening pride.  If you never attain humility, any appeal for mercy shall be foredoomed.”

Jetrel shook her head of copious blond hair.  “What I find most mortifying is to be lectured by a wretch wearing a heavenly body that none of his kind deserves, while a true son of the Father is supposed to be cheerful to wear this perishable that dies a little more with each ticking moment."

“You weary me with your cholera, Jetrel.  If this shape so offends you, it can be changed."

“I care not what you look like.  I will despise you for eternity."

“The only way that you will attain eternity, Jetrel, is to put away your long rebellion and serve Father well."

Even as he spoke, the image of Metatron began to shimmer.  In a brief moment, a maiden stood in his place, wrapped radiantly in a heavenly robe of white.  

“In this form, I am called Shekinah,” the angel informed her companion.  “I can wear it without shame.  In these strange days, many of the heavenly host find it useful to assume such shapes when among mortals.  It began after the Flood, when righteousness became more common upon the earth.  Female saints who were elevated to the angel choirs preferred to keep a maidenly shape.   Many of these novice malakhim preferred to go to the earth and work directly with mankind.  In time, mortals came to expect angels to be female.”

The girl regarded Shekinah dubiously; the shape she has donned was beautiful, but Jetrel refused to allow the desire she naturally felt to stir.  Angelic shapes were mutable, but when she had dwelt in Heaven, the hosts had worn with pride something close to the image of the creator.  

Woman had been spawned later than Man and the Father had endowed her with a shape conceived to make her more pleasing to the eyes of a husband.  He had crafted a work of art, alluring even to an angel, but such a shape was not one that the elder messengers cared to imitate. 

 “Even in this guise, your proximity suits me not at all," Jetrel declared.

Shekinah looked askance.  "Astonishing.  You have been without a human, angel, or demon to speak to for so long, and still you cannot wait to isolate yourself again.  You are a hard one, Jetrel."

"And so I hope to remain."

“I never knew you before your fall, Jetrel, but no one has ever said you were inferior to your brothers in Paradise.    What contempt you deserve comes not from that physiology you now wear, but from the treachery and evil deeds you were responsible for.

"Despite all, you were never made to be a coward, and in these End Times you will need courage.  You were also a victorious warrior, and hard, bruising fighting lies ahead of you.  But it is well known that your former nobleness has turned to ashes; Father fully expect you to act from the most selfish and base of motives.”

Jetrel threw up her arms.  “Is this the same Father I knew?  Before this, the Lord of Heaven would scarcely consider saving one whom he holds to be utterly base!

The archangel shrugged. 


To Be Continued...