"Missing" from Fallen Host
"Missing" from Apocalypse Array (in .PDF format)
Mornignstar, The Adversary
I walked along the cracked cement of the trail, letting the park noises drift along around me. Somewhere nearby children played on rocks, relaxing business folk read the paper over cups of mass-produced coffee, and young lovers intertwined their fingers between them on park benches. Everyone was in such a fucking good mood. Still, it was good to be back.
I had to hand it to Page: he'd made suckers out of some shrewd men with that little bomb. I'd just come from a rare bookseller who'd practically handed me his first-edition volume on the Islamic faces of Satan, on the basis that I looked like "such a nice young man."
I smiled to my self. A nice smile, barely showing my wolfish teeth.
In spite of my small victory over the bookseller, something tugged my mood down toward the paved earth. Jibril's face came to mind, riding in the chariot of fire above the Saudi Hyatt. And his voice.
"Well, brother, seems we'll have to wait."
I felt my hand close into a fist. The book tucked under my arm bent with a crackle, its cover half disintegrated from age.
Of course God wouldn't get rid of me outright. No, that would be too painless. He would cry wolf about the end of the world until I didn't suspect it anymore. Then cut me down. I always knew I was His favorite toy.
I eased my arm to keep from destroying my new purchase. A piece of the book's leather spine was coming apart. I paused to inspect it.
"Hey, mister!" cried a voice below me.
I looked down. There sat a rosy-cheeked cherub of a boy, probably five years old. He tapped my patent leather shoes as if to push them out of the way, and I scowled, stepping back.
Beneath my toe had been an anthill growing from between the cement cracks. A few insects reemerged from the rubble as I watched, crawling away on errands or the like. The boy stared at them intently, took a magnifying glass from the ground beside him, and aimed it at one of the ants rebuilding the entrance to the hill. Thin smoke rose from the insect's body, and after a moment under the rainbow focus of the lens it stopped moving and turned to char.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Playing with the ants," he said, not bothering to look up from the smoking body of his next victim.
"Huh." Man was created in God's image, and Boy, obviously, was no different. I sat down across from him, laid my book on the cement beside me, and watched as he sent one ant after another to a fiery death. "Why do you do that?" I said.
It looked like it might be. "Can I try?" I said.
He handed me the magnifying glass.
* * * * *
Disclaimer: These stories are based on characters and situations created and owned by Lyda Morehouse, published in Archangel Protocol, Fallen Host, and Messiah Node by Roc (a division of Penguin Putnam).
No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.