Tides of Sorrow

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5.0 - PURPOSE

The town was now near swarming with locals and visitors alike enjoying the Goth Weekend. It was more uncommon to see people in normal everyday clothing than it was those in costume, at least that was the case along the narrow streets on the East side of town.

A variety of colourful and other somewhat disturbing costumed characters meandered the pavements and streets. It seemed the bi-annual event was indeed a magnet for those who enjoyed cosplay and the musical entertainment. Songs carried on the late autumn air, weaving their way through the streets with laughter, chatter and general gaiety abound. The atmosphere was electric.

Amid the throng, Samael and Cain strolled back and forth along Church Street and Bridge Street; the vampire reluctant to wander far from where Becky still remained - he could easily locate her “scent” in the vicinity.

During this mini excursion of the coastal town, Cain was given the angel’s account of the seraphs’ expulsion from the heavens and their subsequent existence on Earth. He listened without interruption as Samael poured out his story. Eventually, the angel looked at him questioningly. “So now you know,” he said, his tone sanguine. “Any comments?”

Cain’s lips twitched somewhere between a smirk and a sneer. “Only on what you tell me, which I doubt is the full story.”

Samael halted, feigning offence. He stood amid a stream of people whose path opened and circled around him, closing ranks once they had passed. “Do you accuse me of falsehood?”

Cain straightened, his posture imposing. “You claim a mere difference of opinion had you hurtling through the skies! There is more to your story than you care to reveal; I can taste corruption, it bleeds from your very flesh. And more is concealed behind your human mask, of that I am certain.”

A number of pedestrians stared at the two men bickering in the street. Samael’s eyes flickered a warning at his companion then turned to the inquisitive faces. “Acting, my dears,” he announced flamboyantly. “We are rehearsing for a play. We did not mean to alarm you.”

Some of the onlookers smiled tentatively then nodded before moving on. The angel turned burning eyes back to Cain. “Try a little reserve why don’t you? You are becoming reckless.”

Cain scoffed and stepped closer. Hairs on his skin prickled, the angel irritated him. Samael’s warning, however, indicated there was a boundary over which the angel would not step. This afforded Cain a little leeway in telling him exactly what he thought. “My sin was mortal and I still walk the ground on which I hailed from. Yours, however, had you ousted from a privileged position, rejected from the Seat of Glory itself. I declare you are more reckless than I.”

Samael’s form shimmered, his fury threatening to manifest. Cain grinned, his fangs just catching the autumn rays. “Try a little more reserve, why don’t you!” Something akin to a hiss sounded as he moved past the incensed angel.

Cain knew there was more to the story than Samael was letting on. His tale had been too crafted, too similar to that which had the graced the ancient scrolls and pages but it had remained meticulously obscure at the same time.

“What is it you question?” Samael demanded, quietly.

Cain remained alert, his eyes searching the crowds, his senses heightened for more angels. “Your purpose!”

"Purpose?”

The celestial grabbed Cain’s arm, pulling him round to face him. “You dare consider us without reason or enterprise? And what of these talking monkeys?” He swept a theatrical arm over the milling festival goers. “What purpose do they serve?”

Cain had indeed hit a nerve, he could read it in the angel’s eyes and feel the tremor of restraint in his hand as it still gripped his arm. This added weight to his belief the angel would not do anything to draw unnecessary attention. A new courage flooded Cain. He leaned in close, his breath dusting the angel’s auburn hair. “Your war is over - and you lost. Let it lie.”

Samael growled. “Listen to you, you ignorant fool! The war did not end when we were cast out. That was when it began. And as for the foolish humans worshipping Him, how do you account for their corruption, their cruelty, the mindless violence they commit every minute of the day?”

“There are those who need to be rooted out like weeds in a garden, that’s my purpose and that of the seraph who still serve Him. You have no purpose.”

Samael’s eyes burned like embers as he stepped back, releasing Cain’s arm. “You have walked this dusty globe for millennia doing your ‘duty’ as you see it, yet you have learned little. You are nothing more than a puppet dancing to the tune of a vengeful entity. You and I are the same in more ways than you know, Cain. We were all put here for his amusement only.”

Cain did not retort although beneath he wanted to tear the angel to shreds. Being compared to one who fell from God’s grace in Heaven to walk the Earth forever was more than just offensive, it was unnervingly close to a horrible truth.

After a moment Samael’s lips curved in a sneer, his eyes drifting beyond Cain’s shoulder. “Some of us have just learned to... have a little fun in the process.”

The air rippled, distorted, fluctuated. Cain turned, looking all around, his senses once more piqued, alarm rising. Time was slowing, stopping. This could not be!

It was like a reel of celluloid coming to its end; the image jagged, people caught in motion - laughing, talking, gesturing, grinding to a halt.

A little girl, just moments ago, had bumped into her mother and her small face crumpled with disappointment as her ice cream fell from its cone. It had splatted on the pavement, a crown of droplets from the creamy treat bouncing upwards before freezing in place. All were captured in a time-frame.

Gulls in mid-air hung as if suspended on invisible strings. A dog cocking its leg against a signpost was caught in midstream, it’s owner having tried to pull the animal along on its lead before he too was frozen.

Sounds died. In their place an eerie vacuum. Cain worked his jaw trying to eliminate the blockage in his ears.

Everyone and everything had quietened, slowed and stopped - frozen in time.

Except for Cain and Samael.

The Fallen had focused on something behind him. Slowly, Cain turned around to see what had captured his attention.

Three figures had emerged from the White Horse & Griffin and were also arrested in motion - Becky and her two friends.

Dread flooded Cain. For the first time in centuries, he felt fear although not for himself. His stomach churned, blood ran rampant through veins, pumped by his black heart. He knew he had to act - and fast; he had seriously under-estimated the celestial.

He turned back just in time to see a look of smug satisfaction ripple across the angel’s face.

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