Tides of Sorrow

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2.8 - BIG RED BUTTON

Unlike the others, Apollyon had not left the East Pier. He didn’t particularly like mingling. Inclined to be a tad petulant, social skills were not his forte.

Death and destruction, on the other hand, was. He was, thankfully though, able to rein it in when amongst the humans such as he was now. He knew not to attract the wrong kind of attention to himself or indeed the other ethereal rejects. The thought of causing mischief at times, though, did have a certain appeal.

No, he had to conform to the rules as did they all. Their particular skill-sets were meant to be applied to the filthy, rotten, pathetic humans so they carried out the deeds. The prize, of course, was their suffering. Every cloud had a silver lining, he chuckled.

Chatter and laughter sounded behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see a group of festival-goers in full gothic regalia posing for photographs. He rolled his eyes and turned back to the sea.

Oh, the temptation! To create a sudden swell would be a bit ambitious considering the day was calm. He huffed.

“What is bothering you now?” a familiar voice asked.

He looked askance and saw Beelzebub approaching, his gait slow, deliberate.

“I’m bored,” he answered.

Beelzebub laughed. “Well, you should have joined Xaphan and Zepar. They said they were going to do a bit sight-seeing.”

Apollyon clucked his tongue. “And spoil his chances with the delectable Lady Cupid?” he said, in a mordant tone.

Beelzebub looked at his friend, a wry smile tugging the corners of his mouth. “Why, Apollyon, is that a touch of envy I hear?”

The crooked one turned, incredulous. “Seriously?”

Beelzebub laughed. “You and I both know he doesn’t have a hope.”

Apollyon nodded. “Uh huh. No-one does.”

“Hmm. Yes, like us her talents are best used on the ...” He looked behind them, making sure the group of snap-happy people could not hear. “...humans,” he concluded.

Apollyon grunted agreement. After a while, he spoke again, still grumpily. “I don’t see why we have to maintain this vigil of the novice all the time.”

The dark-skinned prince leaned against the lighthouse wall. “He’s hardly a novice, Apollyon, he just delivers death differently from yourself.”

“He’s messy!”

“He was this time certainly, but normally he’s immaculate. Something distracts him I think.”

“You are defending him?” The crooked angel of death shuffled round to face his friend.

“No, not at all. I am in agreement with you, this regular following him around is wearisome and unproductive.”

“Hmm. Well, it’s about time Samael admitted the truth. The boy is never going to fulfil the dream. He’s a waste of fresh air.”

The people along the pier were becoming riotous, swapping places and adopting the most ridiculous poses. “Unless he rips that lot’s throats out,” he sneered.

“Oh my, we are grumpy today aren’t we?”

“No wonder! A vampire that won’t breed? The others did!”

“Yes, but few have survived, most went insane and destroyed each other.”

“Insane is good! It gets the job done!”

“Samael wants an army, not just a few crazies. Their numbers were too small to make a difference anyway.”

“But that’s preferable to one ineffectual blood-sucker, surely! Wish I could just push a big red button and be done with it all. I am tiring of this war.”

Beelzebub had to agree. Nevertheless, standing at the lighthouse all day was not going to make it pass any quicker and he for one did not want to remain, especially with the cackling, shrieking cos-players behind them. They were starting to grate even his nerves.

“Come, let us take in the sights or at least walk along the front.”

“No. I prefer it here.”

“You just said you were bored.”

“I...lied!”

“No, you didn’t. I know you, old friend. You’re just... shy.” The prince suppressed a grin.

At that Apollyon spun, incensed. ”Shy? I think not!”

“Then you have no excuse,” Beelzebub retorted with a grin. “Come.” He started to lead away from the lighthouse.

As Beelzebub passed the group of photographic subjects, he glanced at his friend who was eyeing the cameraman. Trying to get the whole group in the shot, the man was inching back towards the railings. A sly grin on Apollyon’s face said it all.

“You wouldn’t!” Beelzebub muttered.

The corresponding yell and several gasps confirmed the awful truth. A chuckle fell from the crooked angel’s lips as the group ran to the railings in panic.

Beelzebub rolled his eyes. “Naughty Apollyon,” he said, stifling a laugh.

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