Robert walked through the crowd of people shuffling about the city, each intent on whatever little task had driven them from their buildings, oblivious to the humanity surrounding them. Bees. They’re just like bees. Little drones sent out by their queens. Robert disliked the analogy, but it was appropriate. They had lost their way, their sense of community. He loved humanity, but he despised what it had become. Self-serving and self-concerned, mankind had lost its spirit. Occasionally there were flashes where God’s work shone through, but it was becoming infrequent. “Perhaps a good flood would do them well.”
“Well it would certainly clean the place up a bit,” Adriel said. She floated just above the ground, invisible to all but Robert or any other Light touched. “However, as I recall things, the smell after the last one was pretty atrocious. A world full of carrion and only a handful of animals left to consume it? What a stench.”
“Yes, it was.” Robert did not look at her as he walked. It was bad enough that he appeared to be talking to himself; it would be another thing altogether if he appeared to be having a conversation with someone that wasn’t there.
“So what do we have on the schedule to today, Robert? Anything exciting?” Adriel’s voice had a choir like quality, so beautiful that each word spoken was like a gospel hymn.
“You mean you didn’t feel it?”
Robert looked at the Angel floating beside him for the briefest moment before staring straight ahead once more. “My apologies, I forget how much more sensitive this mortal shell makes me.”
“Yes, yes, you and your body are so sensitive. Lucky you. Now what did you feel?” Her voice took on an anxious quality. Little surprised the Angels anymore, and if she could take back even the hint of a rumor of excitement she would be ecstatic.
“Oh, I’m sure it is nothing that you would be interested in. Just a minor thing really.” Robert smiled, returning to silence.
Adriel floated along beside him, staring at Robert with as much intensity as she could muster, while he weaved his way through the mass of humanity that teamed about the streets. Patience had never been her strongest characteristic; a definite flaw in a being that had lived for millions of years.
“It is a beautiful day out today. I really am glad I chose to walk.” Robert smiled and breathed in deeply, ignoring the smell of sweating bodies, car exhaust and rotting garbage.
“Fine! I give up, just tell me already!”
“He touched the power last night.” Robert grinned ever so slightly. If something small would excite the Host then the little tidbit he had mentioned would set it on fire.
“That’s right. The prodigal son has returned.” Robert paused for a moment before speaking again. “Well, returned might be a bit too strong a word, but he has touched the power once more, and that is a step in the right direction.”
“Now? Why now? The timing is awful.” Adriel hung her head in contemplation as she floated along beside Robert. “Who’s in charge?”
“Neville, for the time being, at least down here.” Robert crushed the urge to look back over his shoulder at the building where his friend was hidden away. “We’ll keep it that way as long as we can. The last thing we need is some other commander sticking his nose in where it isn’t needed.”
“Yes, that would be inconvenient, wouldn’t it,” she said. “What will he do?”
“He will do as he was told, as will I.”
“ Yes, yes, your slavish devotion to orders is well known. The price you pay for being earth bound. Or is that a requirement for assuming mortal guise?” Her words were light and friendly in sound only. Even the highest members of the Host craved time on the mortal plain, but very few were granted the right.
“Either way, events are taking shape, and I am ready for it.”
“Do you know where he is?”
“No. Nor do I know what he looks like. No one has seen him since his fall, but I know he has used the power more than once this morning and each use is getting closer to downtown. Soon he will be here, and with every use of the power he will be easier to detect.” Robert didn’t mention that the last use of the power had been strong enough that Adriel herself could have detected him if he were in town.
“I see then. Well, happy hunting. I have some work of my own to do today, so as much as I would love to float around and chat, I had better get going.” The Angel drifted upward fast enough that Robert knew she was going to do more than perform some simple tasks. Well before he reached his first stop she would have word spread that the prophecy was coming true. He did not trust her, but she had her uses, and served his purposes. A time would come when her usefulness would run out, and something would have to be done about her.
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