Saturday, December 22, 2012

The After Life, Mission: Unknown

I have to imagine how it would feel to be a soldier cut down in the prime of his life--because that's where my current WIP has taken me. I have to imagine the reaction of a 24-year-old, alpha male. From BDUs and fellow soldiers, dreams of young ladies and the next cold beer to white linen attire and an awful lot of singing and praying. :D :D I think there would be some resentment there... in spite of the fact that he's in heaven--the ultimate goal for a Christian. The idea of heaven leaves so many unknowns. As a writer, I'm fascinated by our human reactions, our human tendencies. Combine that with the afterlife... well, it's just plain fun. :D

Here's an excerpt from my current work in progress. It made me smile, because I could very well hear any number of soldiers respond in this manner.

Setup: Aarden, a guardian angel who lost his wings and has been recruited to start a new army consisting of Angels, Fallen ones, and immortals--three factions. Dominic, a human, a chosen one who will one day help lead an Army against the powers of Lucifer. His life on earth has ended and he has been brought to heaven.

***

Heaven broke loose with a mighty roar.

Powers, the sixth order of angels, stampeded the pathway to heaven. Their strength of spirit alone could fell an army of demons. They would have to fight a thousand armies today…

Aarden’s heart swelled. He was wingless now, but he would still fight for this soul. He waited for the passing as dark clouds closed in around the waiting celestial army. The beating of hell’s footfall drew nearer. Come on.

Impatience filled him when finally Dominic, in his tattered BDUs, came over the rise of clouds with a countenance of great displeasure. Dark eyes, that missed nothing, stepped into this new battle with ease. But it wasn’t the thrill of war that drove him. He was pissed, and if Aarden didn’t intercede, he would quickly lose that drive. After passing over, it didn’t take long for the soul to need and find rest. Even in difficult situations like this one.

“Dominic, here!” Aarden tossed him a sword.

He caught it by the hilt, finding a balance in his hands as a puzzled look came over him. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Aarden grinned. “You feel like fighting?” For your soul.

The first wave of demons threw in with blades swinging and fists thrashing.

Aarden’s heart pounded. By far, this was not like fighting a demon as an angel.

He maintained vigil at Dominic’s back. After a while, they were countering each other’s movements, each guarding the other, as they took down the enemy. Dominic would be a greatly missed team member. The thought alone sent a spirit of peace to those left on earth.

A shadow marred his peripheral vision. “Incoming, from the left.”

They turned in unison, swords raised.

“Lucifer.”

“This one is mine, Aarden of the Fallen Ones.”

Dominic sent Aarden a questioning look, his eyes immediately drawn to Aarden’s back.

“Like hell.” Aarden answered, swarthy and earthy, and just plain ticked off--another difference since he’d lost his wings. “Nothing he did before rates higher than giving his life to save his brothers.”

Dominic’s gaze wavered, his spirit was quickly flagging, but his mind stayed strong--a true warrior.

“I’m surprised you even bothered to be here,” Aarden spoke, taking a protective stance in front of Dominic. “You aren’t welcome here.”

Sounds of the battle behind them faded as angels felled demons and heaven claimed the victory. Lucifer swelled in size. His face mottled in anger. “You think one man will be enough to stop me and mine?”

Aarden gave a nod, not bothering to answer a question answered many times before.

Lucifer raised his hands in mock appraisal of the world around him. The winds blew, the dark clouds rolled in. Lightning flew from his finger tips and streaked across the pillowed atmosphere. The lightning stroked blue through the sky then turned to fierce red. With a flick of his wrist, a line of light blazed the sky.

Aarden lifted his sword in front of his ward’s heart, but the devil’s ray melted the blade and pierced Dominic’s skin. He clutched his chest and looked at Aarden with a what-the-hell expression. “Son of a--”

He fell to his knees.

Lucifer threw his head back and laughed. “Marked for eternity. This isn’t over, human. Even in death, I can take your soul.”

Aarden lifted his broken sword and swung at the devil, but there was no winning at this point as the enemy was already gone.

“Come on, Dominic. Time to face your maker.”

Dominic was shaking off the effects of the devil’s play. His weary soul sought a rest Aarden was too impatient to allow.

He grabbed the young man under the arm and dragged him. “Up we go.”

They arrived at the gates where Aarden was immediately reminded of his fallen status.

“We’ll take him from here.”

“And you’ll bring him back, as well.” Aarden declared, again annoyed by the helpless feeling, the uselessness of being in a place where he was not fully welcome anymore.  Now Dominic would be given his choice…remain within, or take a place amidst the newly formed guard of fallen and immortals.

He paced. He hummed. He thought of Rachel, waiting for him, and of being with her again when this was finally over. He prayed that Dominic would take a chance on him, on the chance that they could do more as immortals than as saints eternal.

Time does not exist in heaven, he kept telling himself, even as his new self wanted to check the time. Finally, the clouds broke open before him. Clothed in a white linen robe, Dominic walked toward him. His face a cloud of understated rage. Not surprised, Aarden couldn’t help but smile.

Dominic’s gaze took him in--he still wore jeans and a t-shirt--then scowled at his own attire. “I feel like an asshole.”



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