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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...