War In Heaven

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Metatron

Chapter 19

Metatron.

Two lists lay on the old oak of my desk. The blood red emblem of the Merci rests in the top corner signifying the document’s value. On the left is the list of Prophets I’ve had for the last few hours. Their names, descriptions, addresses, and a small detailed picture is all I know of the six humans that will save the human populace. I have not proceeded as the Merci has instructed. In correlation to this fact, they sent me a record of data to motivate my essential journeys, mandatory voyages to wake these humans and begin preparations for war.

The data is an account of Lucius’ army and the numbers are staggering.

I lean back in my chair and ignore its squeaking protest. The facts sit in front me and yet I do not rush out of this chair. Lucius has built a force large enough to bring down Earth and Heaven combined. Why do I loiter?

Tymician is gone.

Ariel is gone.

Dane is my last hope and he dallies on Earth refusing my call.

I have six Prophets that will help where forty failed when Lysander walked the Earth.

So is this doubt?

“Oh, Sandy.” I hide my eyes, “You would be so ashamed of me, brother.”

I fight the sting of tears and lean over to the bottom row of my desk. I struggle with the rotten wood, yanking on the loose gold latch. With a final tug, it gives way, pulling some splinters out with it. “Darn thing.”

I shuffle through old thick files, plopping them on the marble floor carelessly. In the far back, I locate a miniature square box and sit up jovial. It’s carved hideously. It is a child’s crafted toy but with tender maintenance, I’ve managed to keep it alive for eons. It is one of the many wonders of Heaven. Decay and rot take three times normal standards.

With fond delicacy, I open the lid. Full of painted pictures and little wooden horses and soldiers, I pick through it, as I always tend to do to find the one image that I yearn to see.

My fingers grasp the frayed edges. I lean back in my chair and stare at it.

Sandalphon and I sit together on our scabby knees. Our arms wrap each other’s bony shoulders and we grin at the illustrator. Identical in face, in weight, in height, we appear as mirror images that almost seem impossible to be real.

Twelve thousand years ago, on an enriched island endowed with God’s love, twins were exactly that, too intolerable to exist.

--

I place my ear against the cement. The ocean pounds continuously, a soothing drum that I long to witness for myself one day. I count its waves. I give each one a name. It helps ease the pain and sometimes I even imagine what it looks like, pretending that I’m outside these walls and far from this tomb.

I gaze over. Ten feet from me, my brother sleeps. He curls into a tight ball, tucking his knees into his chest. He’s cold. He gave me the whale skin last night and even though morning has come and gone, the sun does not enter this prison. It stays cold all day and only gets frostier at night.

I sit up, quietly, hoping not to jingle the chain around my ankle. I shuffle along the bumpy floor, cringing from each bruise and manage to get but three feet before the shackle tightens. I toss the skin wide and it rests over his legs with a hard slap.

He wakes instantly upon the unwelcome weight with a wild jolt, shoving his back to the nearest wall and heaves for air.

I hold up an apologetic hand, crusted with dirt and dried blood, “It’s me, Sandy.”

“Metti!” He chastises but snatches the thick hide nonetheless, wrapping it around him. “It’s freezing.” He rests his head against the wall calming his fast beating heart. “Any food yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Don’t think they forgot about us again?”

“Not two days in a row. They wouldn’t do that.”

He brushes unkempt and knotted brown hair from his face, pushing the wadded mass over his shoulder and closes his eyes. “We just have to wait, Metti. God’s coming for us. He’s going to save us.”

I lay down on my belly stretching out my hand. Sandy quickly does the same and our fingers intertwine. I look to him, meeting the bright green that reflects my own, “How can you still be so sure?”

Sandy rests his ear against the stone. “God did not create us to suffer, Metti.”

“He doesn’t seem to care. He plays so much with the Angels. I think sometimes.” I bury my face in my arm. “I think sometimes He loves them more than us.”

“That’s why our people are so angry now. Don’t think like the rest of Atlantis. He loves, simply to love. I know it. Believe in Him and He will show you the truth.”

I trace patterns on the ground, my nails full of black grime. “Do you know tomorrow is the day of our birth year? We will be twelve years old. We will be men.”

Sarcastic sniggers echo in the expanse of our chamber. “Men. We do not know how to swim, we cannot fish, we haven’t taken a life, and God knows we have not taken a woman. We are not men, Metti. We are boys, silly, trapped little boys.”

“They can’t keep us forever.”

“I think they can. And I think they will.” We roll onto our backs keeping our hands united as we stare at the ceiling. “It’s a shame we are the same, brother. Who knows what we could have become if we were different.”

I spin around grasping our hands so firm I gain his swift attention. “Don’t do anything, Sandy, promise me. Do nothing, even if it hurts us, and spend your days with me.”

He chuckles, pulling his fingers out of my hand to rest on his caving chest. Every rib pokes from his skin and every bone reveals itself on his emaciated body. “You’re such a baby, Metti. We wait for God together.”

---

Sandy was the fighter. He believed in justice. He had faith but most of all, he did not doubt.

“I am a baby, aren’t I?” I cackle in spite of myself. “I can’t let go, even now. What would you do now, Sandy, if you were here?”

--

For our birth year, they gave us water. We gorged ourselves on it. Sandy was weary, watching the door with diligence sitting with his back to the wall and taking each sip with glowering eyes.

When we were sated and half-asleep, the door unlocked.

Our Mantis stands in the doorway covered by whale skin and bone. Intricate designs draw on his tan skin from giant squid ink depicting his station and his beliefs. A story unfolds over his arms down his chest and continues on the thick hairless muscle of each thigh. It is the story of God and the rise of the Atlantis.

It makes me proud to read it, to understand it. Our Mantis taught us the religion of our people and even against the controversial uprising; he educated us on the readings of the ink.

We get on our feet to honor him. It is a struggle, I find. Without eating for so many days, my body is weak and my knees have trouble locking.

“Metatron and Sandolphane. Today marks the twelfth rotation since your mother birthed you in our waters. Though she did not survive, she sacrificed her Light to give you life. We honor her.”

We bow our heads, “Honor and Love, to God alone.”

“To God alone.” He repeats. “Now I.” He glances to the side. I do not know what he sees but I hear the footsteps just as well as he does. For a moment, the harshness of his stance falters and he enters our prison and leans down, whispering so low I yearn to hear, “Believe in God. Do not falter. He will come and you will be who you are meant to be. Forgive me.” He steps away just as enslavers barrel through.

From here, it is only rough treatment and cries. I hear my own pleas. Sandy never gives into beatings. He clamps his lips tight and holds onto his pain. I wail and whimper. I doubt it makes a difference to the men pounding their fists into our ribs.

--

I reach into the box and fiddle with the tiny wooden figurines. Sandy and I created these things while all the Angels were busy building Heaven’s Gates. We dangled our feet off Heaven’s End whittling. As the youngest Angels to join God’s family there really wasn’t much for us to do but play and get in the way as everyone else built a new home in Heaven. It was God who taught us how to whittle. God loved to teach.

I can recall the first time I saw Him. He was an old man even then.

--

I wake to magic. There is light shining in my face. It’s annoying at first. I don’t know what it is and it barrels in my eyes with persistence. The heat is unbearable. As I analyze it, stretched out across the stone in a single stray of gold, my fingers, bloody and trembling trace the ground.

It’s the sun.

Beautiful in its bold brightness I lay there allowing its rays to touch me. Aside from my brother and stone, I’ve never allowed anyone to touch me so willingly. I’ve a new friend and it’s warm and blissful.

I sit up, keeping in the sun’s reach. Chains have me by the wrists and they dangle up to the ceiling.

I can scarcely breathe. My chest hurts so badly and I hold my rib with tenderness spotting an odd shape in the bones. One of them sits at an awkward angle.

I search for Sandy. Blood drips from numerous lashes along his back and legs. I doubt he sleeps but he doesn’t move and even as I call his name he keeps his gaze away from my own.

Ahead of us, our Mantis stands beside our Anax. No whalebone expands across the round structure of his belly and there isn’t any whale skin that can stretch over it either. Instead, only squid ink decorates upon his bulbous pectorals and down to his belly button. He sits in an impressed rock meant for his form, occasionally glancing at us, sneering his pierced lip and whispering to his servants, making them laugh.

Our Mantis and the numerous enslavers have been our only visitor during our imprisonment. From ink drawings, I knew our Anax. To see him in person sets fear in my heart. “Sandy.” I stretch my hand, desperate for his.

There are hundreds of others in this spacious chamber. They pour in from the open walls. They stand around the many pillars, peering at us as if we are some prized whale pulled from shore. There are children and women holding babies. So many interesting sights and so many things to understand.

But one thing is for certain, they all hold the same abhorrence on their faces.

“Sandy.” I hold my rib as I crawl, aching for his fingers. I don’t want to be alone anymore. I don’t want to face this crowd by myself.

The masses begin to shift and whisper. Their gaze swings down the hall. They pull tighter together, these people that are one and united, that I am not a part of. They look at something that I am unaware of.

I see His feet.

Dirty, unwashed feet, just like mine. But they are a man’s feet and mine are only a boy’s.

A stranger walks down the open hallway in an eccentric brown covering. It sways with each movement, a calming pace, cool and slow. Grime covers the fray edges and I notice it’s wet.

I stand to get a better look, my chains tightening, the guards jerking them to keep me in place. I strain my neck to look over the crowd and that is when I see for the first time His crystal eyes as He turns to look at me.

And He smiles.

Even though I am bleeding and starved and I can hardly breathe with a broken rib poking at my lung, He smiles at me as if I am His son and He is my father and this is our first day out in the world together.

Tears rush to my eyes and I return His grin, laughing.

Sandy’s chains clink as he struggles to rise. He is silent in his hurt but he manages to get to his knees. “I told you He would come.”

We both watch as the newcomer stands in the center. All eyes that were once upon us in revulsion, now stare upon Him in wonder. How can I tell Him how much I adore Him for this moment alone? Would He understand?

Our Anex steeples his sausage fingers over his belly uninterested. He glowers, looking over God’s white long hair and thick bushy beard with detestation. “My Mantis predicted your arrival. I imagined you would be a bit…cleaner.”

I find no hate in my heart for the man that kept me imprisoned since birth. How could I hate with God standing in front of me?

“You’re name.” God begins. “It is Atlas.”

My brother chuckles delighted to see our Anax squirm.

God turns his gorgeous blue eyes toward us.

I try to straighten myself, to appear resilient, valiant, hanging there, dripping blood. I haven’t eaten in three days but I didn’t want God to worry for me. I may be only twelve and perhaps I should have had some muscle by now, if I had ever been free but it is the day of my birth. Today is supposed to be the day I become a man.

“What is their wrongdoing?” He wonders, flicking His gaze between my brother and me.

“What evil is inside that splits them apart? Answer me that?”

“Evil?”

“Two of the same being. Foul creations.”

God doesn’t understand. “They are my creation. You are my creation. You are all equal to me.”

Atlas’ face boils red with contempt, the fat of his jaw jiggles. “Do not compare me to such filth. I am Anex of our people. They are crab eaters. No wonder such vile things came out.”

“Crab eaters? I don’t understand. I’ve eaten crab.”

I pity Him in this moment and I love Him far more for accepting me.

God cannot see a division of class, of breed, of color, of race, when to Him we are the same.

He sees only Light and Light is blinding.

“I thought you were supposed to know everything?” Atlas mocks.

My brother tabs on my chain and I notice what I should have before. Enslavers weave through the crowds, hidden and silent. Spears hang low at their feet in preparation of future violence.

“Run!” I scream, yanking so brutally on my restraints it digs into my wrists and start a fresh line of blood. Enslavers spring upon us, swinging wild fists and kicking us to the ground. It’s impossible to figure out what’s happening until they toss me to the floor.

Sandy rubs my cheek, “Get up, brother.” He whispers. “Hurry.”

It’s too terrible to move but I worry for God and I obey his plea.

I spit blood and a tooth goes with it. I hold my numb arm into my chest, refusing to look at it to find it broken or worse. I follow Sandy’s green eyes and he helps me onto my knees. We are closer to our Anex now.

God is beside us. “Why are you doing this?”

There isn’t much emotion I notice. I can see His face clearly. He has thick cheeks beneath the white hair and a fat nose to go with it. He is interested in theory but not involved emotionally.

Raising on his stubby thighs and throwing his weight, our Anex walks toward the crowd and away from us, directing his speech. “Your creations are tired. We suffer while you do nothing. Sickness and hunger decimate the people yet you ignore our cries for help.” The crowd roars in agreement, “We worship and pray and in return get nothing. We sacrifice our precious whales, and you steal the lives of our guardians. We fast for many moons, some to the point of death and you take our life mates. We whip the sins from our bodies and still you allow our children to die. When will you start giving back?”

“I did not ask for anything.”

“Well we are asking for something. Rid us of our weaknesses. Make us like you. Give us immortality.”

God’s blue eyes lighten and he smiles wide. “Then rejoice, for I have already given you such a gift.”

Our Anex finds no humor in God’s misunderstanding. “We shall see.”

The enslavers snatch Sandy from my hands.

My heart pounds in my ears. His eyes catch mine and he quickly shouts. “God loves you. He fights for you. Trust in Him.”

---

I stack all the pictures back the way I found them and gather the small figurines, gently placing them on the cushion of the ancient papyrus. I shut the lid, resting my old, weary fingers on its casing. “’Trust in Him.’” I repeat in a breathless whisper.

I have never questioned anything He’s ever done. But choosing to die, how can I trust this decision to be the best for mankind?

What good can come out of God’s death?

---

God’s smile ebbs.

Sandy and I fight the enslavers but it only causes us more injury and it disrupts little. They force my brother to his knees before a block of stone and standing beside him is a giant man, holding a blunt wedge.

God looks to our Anex, “Five hundred years ago, I taught your ancestors many things—

Atlas takes over, “I know that story already. You came out from hiding and taught us how to speak! Atlantis once was a village of mud brick and sticks. Now it is a town of stone and bone. God blessed us with His love! It is why I bring you here now. We are superior from the rest of this world. We are not like the stupid fodder that roams through their own waste. We deserve to join your Angels. We deserve immortality.”

“I cannot give you what you already have.”

Our Anex seems disappointed. “I’m beginning to wonder if you have any power at all.”

I suck in my breath and I blink.

Sandy’s body slumps and I watch the blood trickle down the block of stone, as if it is searching for me, reaching out.

“Answer me, God, how do you feel about his death?” They point to my brother. I’m sure they don’t even know his name.

“Sandalphon,” Through the shock and tears, I smile. I will love God forever for knowing his name, “lives.”

“No! He’s dead. Does it anger you?”

“Anger me?” He questions it as if the inquiry itself is odd.

“My children’s death angers me. They could not live out their lives and suffered while they lived. My people dying anger me. Anger, God! Do you not know what being angry means?”

“I know what it means.” God nodded, contemplating. “I don’t know what it feels like.”

“Well, it’s time you learn rage, God. Maybe then, you’ll understand how it feels to be human.”

I panic as the enslavers encircle me. My hands slap the ground, slap the puddle of blood in search of Sandy’s hand.

A blast of wind as sharp and tangible as a giant arm springs forth from the entryway. It’s cold and piercing, shoving the masses out the open staircases, causing hysteria and mass confusion. They fall over each other, scrambling to get out of the cumbersome storm. I clench to Sandy’s heavy body, burying my head into his hip.

When the screams and cries fade, I peek out through the long tendrils of my hair.

Atlas sits on his backside, fearful and gaping at the new arrival.

Climbing the steps, dignified, unbothered by brutal winds from only seconds ago, a woman rises. With skin the color of coconut shells and hair perfectly straight and smooth running down her shoulder, she smiles her beautiful cream lips.

Pale pink tentacles cover her breasts and slither down between her legs, wrapping around the thickness of her thighs. Her long fingers pet the membrane of its skin and the tips encircling her neck flicker in contentment.

The extravagant woman shifts her sea-green eyes off me and she lands them upon God.

“Eve.” He greets. “Forgive them. They know not what they do.”

“Oh they know.” It is a bitter smile, “I warned you and I pleaded. They are envious creatures, Adam. They do not deserve us. But you cannot be contented, can you? Am I not enough?”

“Do not punish them for my mistakes.”

“I punish them for mine.” She swings on Atlas. All gentleness ceases and the temperature in the air falls. I notice the gold line of the sun slowly retracts and the sky begins to darken. “Let it be known now and forever. Your sins will be punished. Your envy and your greed know no bounds. If it’s immortality you so desire, than I grant you it.” Lightning strikes and thunder follows, “Enjoy your longevity, trapped forever in the darkest corners of the Earth where you may never harm Adam again.”

“Eve, stop this.”

She twists on him, “I let you have your fun. Our pact is unbinding. These humans seek to destroy you and I will not allow it. I will terminate what should have never been designed.”

Atlas scrambles along the floor the moment she’s distracted. He ensnares me in his chubby hand, holding a spear against my throat. “Let me go or I’ll kill him.”

She steps up to us and briefly looks me over. “What is one more sinful Soul?”

The ground begins to shake.

----

I lift my eyes when the door opens. My assistance steps in, keeping a bowed head as he does so, apologizing for interrupting. He probably was knocking and I didn’t hear any of it in my thoughts. I wave him in burying the box back where it belongs. “Have you heard from Dane Monte?”

Fulton glances at his clipboard as if his mind does not already hold the information I ask. “No, your majesty. I’m certain several messages have reached him.”

I chuckle, “And I’m certain he is ignoring them.” I lean back in my chair, my wings fussing at the pressure stretching out on their own accord, upset with my carelessness. “Dane Monte is one of a kind.”

He smiles, interested, “I’ve never met him. But I’ve heard rumors there is none like him.”

I motion to the chair, “Come, I will tell you a grand story of Dane Monte taking on Eve at the Battle of Geth.”

“Eve, your Majesty?”

I knit my brows, “Ah..Nature, I mean. So many names in my memory. I get them muddled. Sit sit.”

“Do you have the time? I certainly do not want to encumber you.”

I glance at the two Merci documents lying in front of me. The red emblem is more or less a beacon shouting. I stack them together and lay them aside, “Of course, now sit and let me begin.”

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