Tides of Sorrow

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2.4 - FIRE IN THE SKY

He laughed at some of the expressions. Faces filled with wonder watched keenly as he manipulated tiny flames on his hands. Little sparks of red and yellow darted between his fingers, sometimes vanishing altogether. Breathy gasps fell from his audience. Then to a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’, one big flame suddenly appeared, coursing around the back of his hand before being snuffed out in his palm.

Children squealed their delight. Parents, with fingers clasping shoulders or arms, held onto their curious offspring ensuring their inquisitiveness did not result in them being burned.

The Mad Hatter continued to enthral his audience. Although he had no actual affection for them, his somewhat dented vanity was tweaked when he saw them gather round. And, well, it made a change from roasting them.

The temptation to perform more spectacular feats was always bubbling under the surface. But, it was kept in check by little Zepar. It seemed once more she’d read his thoughts and with a quiet, “Enough,” she did pull him away.

She kept him grounded, so-to-speak unless his particular skills were required or he was in his own domain; that being his tortured brain.

He needed a leash did Xaphan, and Zepar, the sweet (and oft feisty) little cupid of the group seemed to have taken such responsibility upon herself during the past millennia. Had she not, he believed many more of their kin would have fried on the calamitous plummet from above.

The near annihilation of his brethren had been the result from an outpouring of rage and grief.

He and his fellow angels had been deemed unfit to serve beside the One whom they had all adored, worshipped and served for as long as they could remember. The cost of not abiding by His rule was banishment. God’s elite, the ‘yes men’ of the Almighty, stood by as their kin were cast from Heaven.

He’d caught sight of their faces as his body had plundered backwards through the sky. The images were emblazoned on his mind; their sanctimonious, pious expressions as thousands upon thousands fell to the mortal world.

In that instant, Xaphan had been so enraged by the duplicity of God, that his power reached cataclysmic proportions. The fall was not what killed so many of his kind. It was he himself who cast the final blow. A reaction for which he still felt enormously aggrieved.

Like a fiery whip, his flames tore through the sky, devouring many, many hundreds of the Fallen, their bodies turning to ash and spreading out within the turbulent atmosphere.

Zepar had felt his anguish and at great personal risk, she’d wrapped her wings around him, comforting him, consoling him.

She had suffered greatly through such an act of divine selflessness. Her flesh was seared, wings badly burnt, but still, she’d clung to him until he’d calmed.

Of those cast out, few had survived and even less were now ‘known about’ within the pages of the mortals’ Book of Treachery. And ironically they were all considered mere myth.

Artists and historians impressions were equally so far removed from the truth, they were pitiful.

The human race, of course, with the use of gigantic telescopes housed in domed observatories, had convinced themselves that the streak across the sky was just large clusters of stars, gas and dust bound together by gravity.

But, Xaphan knew better, as did the General and his fellow angels for the trail weaving across the black expanse was created by none other than angelic fire and the cremated remains of celestial beings. Whenever they looked to the night sky, they saw their brethren.

The talking monkeys, in their definitive wisdom, however, referred to it as ...the Milky Way.

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