Key Twenty-Three: Birth:
The beginning of the end started with a little baby.
Ami’s water broke around eight in the morning. She had just gotten out of bed at the time. The girl was brushing her teeth when she felt something running down her leg. Ami looked down.
“What the…?” she began to ask. Suddenly, a sharp pain cut into her abdomen. Ami sank down to her knees, gasping.
“Lavi!” she screamed. She sank down to the bathroom floor, toothbrush in hand. Footsteps ran to the bathroom door.
“Ami?” she heard outside. The girl lifted her head.
“Lavi!” Ami wailed. She clutched her stomach.
“What is it?” he asked.
“My water just broke!” she cried. The door flung open. Lavi saw her lying on the floor. A puddle sat beside her, soaking into her faded red rug. He gasped and stepped back.
“Okay! Uh… Hang on!” he said, looking around. “Old man! Help! The baby’s coming!” Doors opened the down the hall. Ami let off another scream.
Everyone ended up rushing to the hospital. Kwan rubbed on her granddaughter’s shoulders.
“It’s okay,” she whispered. “Keep breathing. Keep breathing.” Ami took in heavy breaths. All four of them with her parents climbed into the car.
“Get us to the hospital!” Kwan shouted.
“Yes, mother!” her son shouted. The car pulled out of the garage and pulled away.
Meanwhile, many eyes started to open. The whispers filled the air. Was this it? The dawn of a new era was coming! The dawn of a new era was coming! Crows landed on the power lines, watching. One by one, they gathered. They didn’t make a sound. Their dark eyes stayed on the car.
From inside, Bookman held charms in his hand. He tuned out Ami’s cries. They weren’t the only ones going to the hospital. Who was here? How many of them were there? Bookman nudged Lavi in the air. The younger angel turned his head.
“What?” he whispered.
“Be on your guard,” he whispered. “We’re being followed.” Lavi looked out the back window. He noticed all of the crows on the power line. A grim feeling came over the angel.
“How many are there?” he whispered.
“I do not know,” Bookman said. “But there’s going to be more coming.”
“What do we do?” Lavi asked.
“Keep calm,” the older angel said. “We have to keep watch until the baby isn’t born.”
“Right,” the younger angel said. The car went further down the road.
The family made it down to the hospital. More crows watched them from the outside. The parents ran up to the front desk. They talked to the receptionist about what was going on. Meanwhile, Lavi and Bookman noticed something off about the hospital. Why was everything so quiet? Where was everybody? The parents were talking to no one at the desk. Lavi looked so confused at first.
“Who are they talking to?” he whispered. Bookman shook his head.
“It’s an illusion,” he said.
“What?” Lavi asked.
“Look around you,” Bookman said. Lavi looked around. At first, the lobby looked full. People sat around waiting. The doctors and nurses hurried around back and forth. Sounds and smells floated everywhere. Life rushed around them.
But then, the image changed. The lobby became silent and cold. The people disappeared. Lavi couldn’t smell anything at all.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “What is going on? Why is this happening?”
“They’re already here,” Bookman said.
“What?!” Lavi said. Someone grabbed onto his wrist. The angel turned to see Ami staring at him. The fear in her eyes made him freeze.
“Ami?” he asked.
“Lavi,” she whimpered. “I don’t want to be here. I’m scared.” The angel grasped her hand.
“I won’t let anything happen to you,” he whispered. Bookman frowned when he heard that promise. He shook his head to himself. Ami’s parents hurried back over to the group.
“The doctor will be here in a few minutes,” her father said. The color drained from Ami’s face. Pain shot through her pain. Her grip tightened on Lavi’s hand.
“Shhh,” he whispered. “You’ll be okay. Stay by me.” Bookman looked around the empty lobby. He held his charm by his side.
They weren’t alone.
The message reached Heaven. It came across Komui’s desk. He wasn’t the only one either. A knock came on his office door.
“Enter!” Komui said. He looked up as the door opened. Another angel poked their head inside.
“Excuse me, can I come in?” they asked.
“Yes…” Komui said. At first, the angel didn’t say anything. They looked down at their hands and feet.
“Well?” Komui asked, eyebrow raised. The other angel lifted their head.
“The higher-ups want to see you,” they said at last. “It’s urgent.”
“Is that so?” he asked. He rose to his feet. Komui didn’t need to ask what this was about. He walked past the angel out of his office. They followed behind.
Back in the hospital, a doctor came into the lobby. Everyone looked up in time. Bookman held his charm by his side. On the surface, this man looked like a normal doctor.
“Ning Ami?” he asked.
“Yes!” the girl yelped. She cried out in pain. The doctor held out his hand.
“Come with us,” he said.
“Come on,” Ami’s mother whispered to her. “Keep breathing.” They walked over to the doctor. Meanwhile, Kwan pulled out her phone and dialed a number that she had kept private. She slipped outside. Lavi got up to follow Ami and her mother but Bookman stopped him. The younger angel turned his head.
“What are you doing?” he asked. Bookman shook his head.
“This is where it ends for you,” he whispered.
“But…” Lavi whispered.
“Silence,” Bookman hissed. The younger angel closed his mouth. His mentor cleared his throat.
“You don’t want to be here for this,” he said. He pulled out his phone.
“What are you doing?” Lavi asked.
“Come with me,” Bookman said.
“Panda?” Lavi asked. The old angel took him by the arm and led him away. Lavi turned in time to see Ami being led away on a gurney. His heart sank as she disappeared through the doors. Bookman pulled him away through the hospital doors.
Komui walked into the conference room. Nine shadowy beings surrounded the long table. They all turned when they heard the footsteps walk into the room.
“You wanted to see me?” he asked.
“Take a seat,” one of the shadows hissed. Komui sat down at the end of the table.
“What did you want to see me about?” he asked.
“How long have you known about the child?” the head shadow asked.
“About two months,” Komui said. “We have been keeping track in that time period.”
“And you didn’t bother to report it?”
“No, I did not.”
“Why is that?”
Komui sat back in his chair. “We are still dealing with the war.”
“That is no excuse.”
“Yes,” Komui said. “But there is so much we have on our plates. There’s the war. We’re still missing many angels. Plus, the living world is still falling apart. I didn’t have time to tell you about a baby.”
“How are you going to fix this?” the main shadow asked.
“Bookman has given me the call,” Komui said. “We plan to kill the child.”
“So why haven’t you done it yet?” another shadow asked.
“I need your permission to do so,” he said. “I am also going to need back-up. Can you grant me that?” The shadows mumbled to each other at the table. Komui sat waiting. The shadows turned back to him.
“Fine,” the main one said. “We will give you the back-up to kill the nephilim child.” Komui rose to his feet.
“Thank you,” he said. “I will get going now.”
“You may go now,” the main shadow said.
“Thank you,” Komui said again. He bowed and headed out of the room.
Kwan stood outside with her phone to her ear.
“Yes, it’s me,” she said. “The child is about to be born. You can come and pick them up when you are ready. We are at…” The old lady turned and looked up at the building.
“I think it’s called St. John,” she said. “Can you come out today?” She listened for a few minutes. The old lady nodded at one point.
“Okay,” she said. “I will meet you in the lobby. Thank you. Goodbye.” Kwan hung up her phone. She looked up at the hospital. The old lady had been here before but why didn’t it feel right? She shook her head and walked back into the building.
Bookman pulled Lavi outside.
“Let go me!” the younger angel shouted. “Slow down!” The angels came to a stop.
“Go back to Heaven,” Bookman said.
“What?” Lavi asked. The older angel had his back to him.
“You aren’t going to want to see what’s coming next,” he said. Lavi looked confused at first.
“Old man… what are you talking about?” he asked.
“There’s no way that child should exist,” Bookman said. “It’s better to kill it before things get worse.” The color drained from Lavi’s face.
“No!” he shouted. The angel whipped his head around. He had a cold fire in his eyes. Lavi’s heart raced as he backed up.
“Please don’t kill him,” he pleaded. “He’s only a baby. It’s not his fault that he’s the way he is.” Bookman gritted his teeth.
“Don’t get attached to this child!” he snapped. “He means nothing to you!”
“He’s my son!” Lavi shouted.
“No, he’s not!” the older angel yelled.
“I will not let you kill him!” his student yelled. “I will protect my son no matter what!” Bookman forced his hand against Lavi’s chest. Suddenly, the angel started to float away.
“Hey!” he shouted. “What the-?!” Lavi vanished into thin air. Bookman lowered his hand.
“This is for your own good,” he said. The older angel pulled out his phone and dialed Heaven.
“We’re here,” he said. “Come and kill the target.” Bookman hung up and lowered his phone. He looked up and noticed that the sky had gotten darker.
“So it begins,” he said.
By 18:29, Ami gave birth to a son. She wouldn’t even get to hold him. She wasn’t even going to know about the war going on over her baby.
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