Sunday, May 24, 2015

Six Days – Chapter Six - Joshua Yehoshua

I really think that my mind could be taking on too much in too short of a time, or perhaps it is condensing the information that it gets, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the whole conversation that Lou and I had had here before. My mind was fixated for the most part on how this was the place and about the time that I had realized who my beautiful friend truly was. Heaven forbid that I actually have enough room in my poor little brain to store several weeks of information into one week of living. Oh God this had only really been three days, as I look back on it with the clear eyes I have now. Perhaps what was starting to become the greatest strain was all of the parts that didn’t happen or I keep skipping over and of course trying to fill in what changed in the times that I seem to keep getting stuck in. This is one of those times. “That was a nice little trick that you played on your brother,” I said in a smug voice, like I finally knew something.

“I didn’t play any trick on him. He played a trick on you,” Lou said in a serious voice. “Once you accepted that he was going to lie to you, you pretty much gave him permission to lie to you at will,” and then took a seat beside me, “You can never trust anyone who will outright admit that they will lie to you, because then they know that you will find it charming,” he started laughing and it was strange listening to him try to speak between laughs, “where he really had you was when you bought the whole thing about protecting you from me,” and if it makes any of you reading this feel better I actually knew that was a lie, since Lou had told me the secret to not fearing him, and I don’t.

Defensively of course I piped right up, “What is so silly about that? I mean you do have a bit of a reputation,” and of course it didn’t curb his laughter at all, it seemed to amplify it a bit. The good news is he doesn’t make me feel stupid at all. I know my role in the whole universe, and technically he should feel dumber the more I learn. It made me smirk as I thought of that at the time.

He noted the smirk and then decided it was time to educate me some more, “Let me help you here,” and his laughter had completely stopped mind you, “I’m going to tell you the things that were true, and then you can add the other parts together. I have no reason to lie, but I think you need to learn a bit about what seems to be going on here, ok?” and as sick of all of these games as I was, I nodded, but very curtly. He started with a far more serious voice then I was used to from him, “The instant you jumped I felt it, and remembered where you were and what had happened, so I simply modified it a bit by coming to you as Jake before Jake came to you.”

I couldn’t help the need to feel smart so I interjected, “I figured that out because you didn’t get everything he had said right, or more importantly you got everything he said from a future Jake which meant that you must have allowed yourself to get pulled back with me,” and after I saw his reaction I added, “It was very clever.”

He considered me and said, “I did that on purpose, hoping that you would figure it out, but that is beside the point. Darius fell for it, which was startling to me as well, but it is a blessing in disguise that for some reason in this plain I can trick him if I am clever enough, and the timing is right.”

He stopped long enough for me to interject into what he was saying, “He forgets everything as it pertains to me every time I go back in time or forward in time, but his eye is still destroyed from a time that you didn’t actually fall into with the rest of us,” and Lou looked at me confused but nodded in his way of wishing me to continue on my train of thought before he added anything more. I did, “I don’t have a clue what any of that means though.”

Lou smiled, and it was a bit nicer than the serious looks or the laughter. Don’t ask me why but Lou only concerns me when he laughs, “I have some theories but they sound silly at this point,” and he looked at my look of usual confusion and then said, “the most compelling thing is I think his relatively young age in immortality terms effects him during the time shifts. By my standards he is an infant, He would be weeks old, and he probably resets,” and then he laughed again, “Your new friend’s ability to talk too much appears to be contagious, sorry,” he grinned, which as I said was better.

I felt smart again, “I had already reached that conclusion, but he’s figuring it out. It seems to scare him for some reason, and he always seems to think less of himself every time it happens?” and the last bit came out in the form of a question when I said it. I seriously wanted some help with my assumptions since I was no expert on immortals. Actually by human terms I was, but I still wasn’t in the class of Lou.

This was very confusing but he started talking backwards to get me into his train of thought, “Ok, I did take Mary, which you had seen before, even though it hasn’t happened yet,” I gasped as the realization that Walter is still alive as time is going right now, “and I did scream to the heavens that I quit because as far as I am concerned if I just keep Darius from hurting anyone then my time will expire, and I will disappear, and that was what scared Gabriel, because he doesn’t want an existence without Lucifer, just like the rest of them up there.”

“Wouldn’t that just leave Darius to run amuck throughout the world?” I had to ask even though for some strange reason I think I knew the answer. As a matter of fact I’m pretty sure I did at the time but I wanted the confirmation all the same.

“If I don’t exist anymore then I never existed and every littlest thing I ever did would simply never have existed as well,” he smiled, and my thoughts were confirmed but he continued all the same, “and this is where your new friend decided to lie to you. He knows full well what it means, and he is one of the sworn guardians of my existence along with any of my other brothers, and that is what makes me a little bitter,” and it showed more as he went along that he was bitter, “He had no right to tell you that I bound him to you. He is bound to you because of who you are, and what you mean at the moment to all of this,” he put his face in his hands and continued, “I’m the little guy around here you realize?”

I started piecing together what he had said so I needed a little confirmation, “I understand how he had lied to me about protecting me from you. It didn’t sink in at first, but it has something to do with the souls that you can take like Mary or Walter,” I tried to think about it for a moment but gave up and just asked him, “What do you mean by ‘I’m the little guy here’ anyway?”

He laughed again, “I’m like the corner market. I run the register; stock the shelves, pay the bills, open the door in the morning, and lock the door at night. I don’t have time to expand the deli, or install a new bakery,” his laugh started fading away, “and across the street is the huge mega market. It has several competent employees, and an owner that never has to get her hands dirty. All she has to do is keep lowering the prices until I go out of business.”

My heart was actually filled with pity for him as I said, “You can’t go out of business, because the store across the street won’t let you,” he nodded and grinned a little, “my jumping in and out of time is making it so that you never cross that imaginary line that destroys you isn’t it?”

“It appears so,” he said back to me in a voice that was breaking up, “and that is why he saved you, so that you can keep me enslaved here until I get Darius and then life goes on,” his expression changed like someone who would be trying to cover up their emotions. In his case it works absolute, and with that he said, “it was a moment of weakness that I saved your life from Mary, and in that instance I knew that I should have let her kill you, so in a way your new friend may have been protecting you from me, because I may not make that mistake again,” his face changed even quicker than it had become normal as he had a look of panic on it, “don’t get me wrong, because I know that your life in this body ends, and you will be going somewhere else. It’s a nice place actually. I used to like it a lot, but it appears that the circumstances that Mary had left you in would have taken you there with or without my help, so he interfered with that,” and he looked across the field waiting for Darius along with me and added, “ now he has bound himself to you so that he can keep you alive, blame me, and reap the rewards of my being trapped here, regardless of time.”

I was honestly upset about all I had just learned but as usual the insanity set in and I started laughing again while staring at the sky, “so I have, God, the angels and the devil dedicating all of their free time trying to keep me alive. I should think about trying bungee jumping and skydiving since I am guaranteed a safe trip,” my laughter after saying that took on a real measure of insanity too.

Lou said almost under his breath, “Trust me, it isn’t as much fun with all the certainty,” he then made sure that I understood the most dire of all of this, “you also have an angel of Satan that now thinks killing you is the key to everything. He also has a tendency to be unstoppable, even by the standards of God, the angels and the devil,” and what he said there came out deadly serious but at the same time with a bit of sarcasm in it. “There is also something that appears to be forcing you in and out of time, which absolutely none of us knows anything about, and that piece of parchment in your pocket that is smarter than all of us.”

That last statement was a bit of a shock to me to say the least, because a girl has to have her secrets after all. For a while there I thought it was the only secret I actually had from Lou, so it was doubly shocking. He didn’t take his gaze away from the field where we both knew his bane was going to appear sooner or later. I was a bit intimidated by how he and I both were on even footing when it came to the whole time issue, and how we both didn’t follow the conversations or paths that we had already been through. In this reality that I have been forced into, it is starting to take on a very weird continuity of its own.

I said to him in a matter of fact sort of way, “Why don’t you just wait over there, where you know he is going to show up in a few minutes?” and then continued to look around like I was going to see Darius hanging out in the bushes somewhere.

Lou let out a little sigh as he replied, “Because he has probably figured out what is going on by now and will have his own way of changing his outcomes like I had at the Diner,” he continued to stare out into the field and hadn’t looked at me since he had sat down, but added, “There are some really strange differences between Darius and the rest of us, because he is still absorbing information as he goes along,” and with a quick glance to the side like he hadn’t thought of Darius perhaps doing it to us he continued, “I think there is a possibility that a lot of the things that he can do against the rules of reality might in fact be because he doesn’t know he can’t do them. I also think that one of these jumps in time he is going to be more self aware, and if you get too used to him losing his memory of you it will end up killing you, so please don’t get too cocky.”

That made absolutely no sense to me at all when he had said it. I was still finding it hard to grasp the difference between omnipotence and, well omnipotence. You’re kind of raised in a world where you believe that God and all those around her just basically do what they want when they want, and they are just omnipotent. Of course I still haven’t gotten past my bias that the church lied to me about her gender either, even if I already thought of her as a woman every time I brought her up. It was a lot like those bumper stickers I see that are a word but disguised as shapes. Once you see it as the word it is you can’t ever see the shapes again without the word being there. This is my brain as we go along in the tale so that as I am writing it now I sometimes have a hard time looking “innocent” now that I am clearly “jaded” and all. I asked what would appear to be a very stupid question all things considered, “What in the name of all of these entities entitles one to do certain things and others to not do other things, and who is basically in charge after all?”

Lou shrugged, and that was amazingly honest and humbling. “The angels are all a very lawful people,” and seriously I just don’t get that whole lawful thing at this point still, “There was this game I had created back in the seventies called Dungeons and Dragons, it was supposed to be my gateway to the minds of the young, in one of my maniacal moments of awe inspiring world domination …”

I broke in like I had conclusive proof of one of the world’s greatest mysteries and I wanted to confirm it again, “Oh my God, you really did create Dungeons and Dragons, like all the whacko priests on television were always telling everyone?” and as it was leaving my mouth I could see the set-up that I asked a bit foolishly. I almost instantaneously wish I could have stopped my mouth so my brain could catch up.

With a chuckle he replied, “No I didn’t create Dungeons and Dragons. It was about to be a brilliantly ironic speech with some humor mixed in, until you screwed it all up,” his gaze continued out into the field now that he had given up on the thought that Darius would attack from the side or something. Now that I think of it I still can’t get why Darius ever got in Lou’s sight when hiding worked better. He started up again, “Why is it always things that attract total pimple faced losers, and other total Cretans who have nothing better to do than follow things like a cult, that get accredited to me? Can you see how offensive that actually is?” I smiled in acknowledgement, “I mean those Vampire erotica weirdoes are just trying to figure out ways to have sex, and the Satan worshippers hanging out in the woods, usually are just sick of being beaten up at school and think I can do something about it, like I don’t have better things to do than grant wishes to people who can’t get a date on their own. They should all blame God like I do.”

Tenuously I started the question, “Was there a point to all of this before I interrupted?” because in my mind there really must have been.

He finally looked at me, God it’s amazing how easily I forget how drop dead gorgeous he is until he looks at me and I swoon at him. I think most movie stars or famous models would find humor in the way their gaze would do that to a woman, but as time has gone on, I started noticing even through the misty glow of adoration, that Lou did not in the least. “I was going to point out that of all the things I supposedly had created to steal the hearts of the young, Dungeons and Dragons was rather well thought out. Most of the little, I guess you would call them ‘dorks’ that played that game religiously went on to structure the world as you know it now,” he looked back out into the field and I was able to regain my composure once he stopped holding my gaze. “I really liked that game and would sneak onto earth to get a good game going for a few weeks until I had to go back …”

I couldn’t help myself, “So God is out doing her thing and the devil is in Toledo playing Dungeons and Dragons, you couldn’t make this stuff up,” and I started laughing pretty heartily, until Lou said what he said next.

“I play Warcraft too,” he added as a bit of a surprise, which had me nearly peeing myself. Oh God if people only knew how funny the Devil was, “The point was that the one thing in that game that I really liked was the fact that whoever created it had human nature, and more over the nature of deity down to a very simplistic nature, but it was almost perfect,” and with that I stopped laughing because I could tell I was about to get some enlightenment. He started again by saying, “Every character had a ‘nature’ to them which as I said was pretty close to the truth in all reality, but they separated the two halves of human nature which most people overlook. Along side of the ability to be good, bad, or neutral, they also had the ability to be lawful, chaotic, or neutral, and this is a big step to understanding all nature.”

Great I was lost again and my vacant stare revealed this, so he took that to mean, “Explain this to me further, mere human here” and he did. “My nature might not actually be ‘evil’ as the books have me written out to be, but at best I am ‘neutral’ which would mean that I can watch the world go by and not really give a crap about it. Strict apathy is perhaps how you would explain most deity. Realistically God isn’t exactly perfect, but being a woman I would never tell her that,” his lips parted into a strange grin, like it usually does when he gets a dig in on God. “The other side of it all is how we actually behave in respects to our nature, versus our personality. All of the angels and God are ‘lawful’ in everything they do. We are not allowed any certainty of neutrality or chaos in any of that or else the world would be mired in things that make pathetic human politics and the simple earth cleaning natural disasters seem like a baby’s diaper that needs changing. It can be a nuisance but in the grand scheme of things it is nothing compared to simple entities that can make giant cracks in the world on a whim,” he smiled more broadly. “As the root of all evil in the world I can assure you that my lawful nature has kept me well within the ‘rules’ of how we play. Perhaps one day I would get sick of hanging out with murderers, rapists, and every other piece of filth that this planet has handed over to me in Hell, and simply obliterate you all in a comet. My lawful nature interferes with that.”

As a certain dawn of recognition came over me, I then piped up, “You think that Darius isn’t plagued with this problem that the rest of you have?” He looked at me again, and I contained my need to rip off all of my clothes and beg him for the kind of sex you see in the videos. I distinctly started noticing at this point in our ‘relationship’ that his charm and beauty was getting far worse and effecting me stronger and stronger, while at the same time my will to resist was getting stronger. I had a form of power in that sense that even as I was wrestling with it I could see how a woman would go insane this close to Lou. It didn’t seem to be getting stronger as fast though, but getting there all the same. Of course I didn’t actually notice any of this until I was free of his gaze and could think of something other than “rape me, I beg you rape me!”

He looked toward the opening at the end of the field where Darius had come along as he had before to start tempting him. He didn’t move or change his expression but started talking again, “That’s my bane Stacey. I created an angel when I shouldn’t have and I didn’t have the foresight to instill lawfulness into it,” he frowned, and it made my heart sink to see it. “I don’t know what goes through his infinitely evolving mind, and what scares me at this point is that he might become the first to be ‘omnipotanter’ than the rest of us if I don’t get to him and drag him back to hell,” and I could actually sense his straining with what came out next, “I don’t think he is limited to six days like the rest of us, and I am not sure why. It’s like why all of you aren’t limited to six days,” he gave it a little extra thought and then said, “God created this planet in six days because she couldn’t be here any longer than that. It was a far more amazing feat than you know because at that last second when she pulled out of your existence before she ceased to ever exist herself, there were plenty of things she had overlooked, but at the same time she is ‘The God’ because she did it, and the rest of us fear doing such things.”

It was an amazing rush of clarity, now that I truly understood six days in the concept of what it meant to an immortal. It finally made the book of Genesis seem a lot less dumb too. Oh please forgive how blunt I am but there are a lot of things in the bible that a young person finds dumb, and that was just too easily explained to begin with, now I think I understand. What do we as humans know anyway? That was a favorite question of mind before any of this started happening and now it just seemed to fit all the better. Lou took me by surprise as my mind was doing victory laps about being better informed than the Pope, “I do know this though. If I cease to exist like I had planned all along, when I pass the six days I can remain in real time, he will cease to exist, whether or not I created something that can live past six days in this time or not,” again he had his cute smirk, “then again perhaps you all will revert back to being immortal and walking naked through the garden of Eden. I don’t know for sure, that far back or if I would be replaced with a different evil, because God will never allow the credit for evil to revert back to her either.”

I was about to say something. I can’t remember what but I am sure it was going to be brilliant and solve all of the problems of the world in one fell swoop, but Lou stepped over me before I could say a word, “Then again, that is all moot because you my dear keep dragging me and my friend over there back and forth in time, but always within the boundaries of when I can remain here. More to the point, you Stacey are holding the entire cast angels hostage, and none of us can figure out how to stop that either …” and as usual the word “either” floated limply in the air as he vanished again, in that speed that was so fast that he simply leaves my sight all together. Darius was gone too, and for the most part it was exactly the way it had happened the last time, aside from a different conversation. I was exhausted. I was all of a sudden very lonely.

I imagine that the conversations that I was having in my head as I sat there alone were more complex than what I remember now. Most people don’t take too kindly to having their beliefs on divinity and the like corrected for them constantly, and worse than that having the feeling of divine omnipotence ripped out of you isn’t a picnic either. Now I get to add “too much enlightenment” to my list of things that are being questioned in my pathetic excuse for Christianity as it is. To recap what was already becoming a bad week, or weeks, or perhaps months for all I could truly remember, I had been alerted that God was a woman, Gabriel had no sense of humor, I could jump through time, and all of the minions of God didn’t understand it, oh and Satan was the most beautiful man I had ever seen, and preferred to be called Lou. The fact that he was a Dungeons and Dragons geek hardly even registered anymore. Now I know the significance of six days to an immortal, and more over how it pertained to the beginning of the book of Genesis. That’s a lot of education for three days, and I’m not sure if I was getting enough sleep between these jumps in and out of time.

I didn’t ask for any of this crap, and I sure as hell was sick of playing by a set of rules that my human brain couldn’t truly comprehend. The explanation that Lou gave me about “Lawful” natures and the such, made a certain twisted amount of sense to me, but I wouldn’t stake the fate of mankind on a set of rules that just “are” and the omnipotent beings that were supposed to just play by them out of their own sense of lawfulness. On the other hand, what could I do about it? My arms were sporting various bruises from all the times I had pinched myself and tried to get out of this nightmare that keeps going back to the beginning, and the middle and changing. Sometimes it was for the better I suppose, but for the most part it was mostly for the same. Part of me was wondering why Lou didn’t just draw on the infamous “fiends of hell” and all that crap that the hellfire and brimstone preachers had scared the crap out of me with as a child, but then again the more I talked to Lou the more it appeared that even in a supernatural way, sensibilities would dictate that most of those things were silly.

The concept of holding the angels hostage didn’t sit very well either. I’m sure that they are all unspeakably good and all of that but, I know that I would be pretty pissed off about these things myself. This didn’t mean that I didn’t know the difference between “Us” and “Them” and as a member of the “Us” team I can only speculate what goes on in the mind of the “Them” team after all. I was absently playing around with the piece of parchment that had been a strange and unexplained guide in all of this, but at this state of the game it just sat blank in my hand doing nothing spectacular whatsoever. I was feeling very lonely, and I really needed something to fill my mind because, like most philosophers I could feel the insanity starting to take control of my mind. I didn’t even know what was going on around me as my mind was simply starting to grow numb to the outside world, but I was starting to wonder how sleep fit into this whole ordeal. I had basically lived the equivalent of about 5 days at this point, despite all of the jumping in and out of time and ending up God knows where, and in that span of say 5 days, I have only slept one night. On that hand I had only eaten twice as well. Maybe I am hungry and exhausted, but I don’t feel it? Here I was going again on another grossly overstated philosophical debate with myself while Satan and his angel are probably out destroying the world. The parchment in my hands finally started feeling warm, and it couldn’t be a moment too soon.

Written clearly on the parchment, or should I say, writing itself in as I read it were the words, “You are eating and sleeping in normal time,” and the words disappeared to be replaced with, “You made a wonderful pasta primavera last night in the time that happened without you,” and then the words faded away. That’s good anyway, I love pasta primavera, so I hope I enjoyed it. Glad I found the time to make it for myself and all with the coming apocalypse and all, why simply open a can of something huh?

I sat there looking at the parchment and I wanted it to say more, but it didn’t. I stared at it a little longer and finally asked it, “Is that it?” and apparently it was since it simply sat blank after the words had dissolved away. I can’t understand the parchment in the least, yet I always seem to accept everything it says without reservation. As I sat there it was really the first time that crossed my mind, which was kind of funny even then. I was sitting and laughing to myself like anyone who is cracking up should do, and probably should have been paying attention.

I completely fell off the bench and almost rolled over onto my face. Quickly I rolled over and looked up to Jake who had only said, “Who are you talking to,” when he had come over, but it scared the living daylights out of me. He leaned over and picked up the scrap of parchment on the ground. I didn’t make a sound and I was happy I didn’t when he answered a question I had quite accidentally, “I suppose this says something about your nosey son again, but it looks blank,” and then he reached down and helped me to my feet.

We both sat down at almost the same time and I started thinking about the conversation we had when he had picked up the parchment and handed it to me, asking what it had said and my smart ass answer to it. I needed more time to think and I didn’t want to seem obvious since Jake might have tipped his hand to me in that instance and not even seen it himself, “I’m talking to God, it’s something that single parents do a lot,” and then I waited for his response to that one while my heart slowed back down again and I could remember where that last conversation was. I already knew but I was praying that somehow it had turned up elsewhere.

I lost all of the illusions that somehow this all turned up elsewhere when Jake made another huge mistake in what he said, and it was innocent enough, but I was completely ready for anything, “Does she answer you? I heard that was the first sign of insanity,” and then he started chuckling at his own joke.

The fact that he had called God a she didn’t go unnoticed but I was getting so good at subterfuge that I simply brushed it off and made a mental note to test that a few times before I start wondering where he got that from. The little bastard was dealing with his mom now. With that I said to him, “Is that something that she told you?” figuring it was best to make a joke out of it at first, while we were both laughing along.

“I don’t talk to God all that often, but then again I am not a single parent,” he started and then with a bit of a humorous note he added, “at least I’ve kept it from you this long,” and realizing that that didn’t work, I figured it was better to just give up and ignore the anomaly, because my head hurt enough anyway. Jake was obviously in that strange jump in time that Lou doesn’t remember, and Jake remembers it. He also knows God is a woman so somehow somewhere he ended up in a place that would have put him in contact with someone that knew this. It never graced my mind that he probably would have blown off someone else calling God a woman better than myself and just reverted back to normal form of calling God a “he” but at the time I just wanted to get another day over with. Another day over with for the third time, oh God.

Of course my mind was wandering again anyway, since I had already seen my son turn into the king of hell on one occasion and didn’t want to just assume that he was who he appeared. I also had to deal with his ability to walk over the rational, like he had on the occasion in the kitchen with Mary, and the situation with the window, all three  times, so far actually. Perhaps I could give the devil credit for making me not trust my own son, and on its own devices, that would rather serve as a reminder of who he actually is, regardless of how cute he is. Jake was just sitting beside me staring off into space along with me. He handed me the parchment when he saw that it was starting to write. At first I was a bit upset that it would start writing in front of him, and I snatched it away kind of grumpy, and then it hit me. I put my arm around Jake as he sat there next to me.

It was probably the most subtle thing in the world, as he stiffened a bit on the way under my arm, but it was enough. Mother’s know everything about their children, the way they talk, the way they lie to you, the way they behave around others, and even the way they think. Probably the most important thing a parent knows about their child is the way they deal with affection. Even if it is a parent that wants to make their kids feel creepy in front of their friends, we all knew these things. Jake wasn’t the most affectionate boy in the world, but I have always been one of the luckier moms out there as he didn’t shy away from it either. That moment of hesitation that he gave me when I pulled him towards me, was enough for me to see that it wasn’t the Jake I know that would have at the very least fallen under my arm simply in his own way of getting it over with. For the love of God though, I was praying internally that whoever this was didn’t feel my heart beating faster at that very moment after I realized this.

Of course it didn’t matter as I was thinking about it. If this wasn’t Jake in my arms, then it was someone or something that had some sort of power that most likely would crush me like an insect if they wanted to. Perhaps the smartest course was to just let go and hope that whatever entity that was posing as my son this time was friendlier in nature, or I could do the stupid thing and see how far I could push whoever or whatever buttons. Of course I went with the stupid plan, because everything was starting to ring a note of “stupid” around me anyway. “So do you want to tell me who you are, and perhaps I will think about letting you go” I stated while clutching on to this incarnation of Jake even tighter.

The voice that came out of Jake was one that I didn’t recognize as it stated back at me, “Does it matter?” and then followed by a bit of a laugh the voice said, “You can’t hold me if I don’t want you to anyway,” and I believed him. I also didn’t care either way, since I wasn’t holding all or even most of the cards these days. I now had another witness to the most horrific of my jumps and the only one I knew of for sure had a tendency to change into others, and wants me dead.

Of course I was at an advantage as I knew something that whoever this was didn’t, and that also added another dimension to all of this. Whoever this was wasn’t Darius because I had marked him. I had no proof that he couldn’t fix his eye no matter who he changed into but when it comes to deity it is all about faith isn’t it? I knew that he couldn’t and that was probably a clue as to why he couldn’t but I also knew that all of the others involved that could do something like this wanted me alive. For whatever reason even Lou wanted me alive, and more over Lou would have never underestimated my intelligence. Whoever this is didn’t think much of my intelligence, and that should have been a clue, but it wasn’t. No as a matter of fact I drew a blank and realized that whoever this was I wasn’t letting go of them, “Then demonstrate.”

At that this Jake stood up and lifted me up with him as if I had no weight whatsoever. I didn’t let go though, and continued to grip him, playing it by ear as I went. His hands started towards my wrists in a measure that obviously was meant to release me, but I threw a wrinkle into it all by twisting my body hard to the left. He felt my weight that time, and stumbled sideways falling hard. The sound of his head hitting the bench was very loud, and it obviously would have killed a human being instantly. I was too concerned with my own safety and avoiding my own head hitting the bench to completely notice. He yelled out “Ouch damnit!” while I scrambled to straddle whoever this is in my son’s body. All he did was roll over to get off his side with me still straddling him. He looked up at me with Jake’s face still in place, and said, “That wasn’t very nice you know?”

“I’ve lost my ability to be nice these days,” I said staring down at him. “Identity theft is a crime, you know? I saw a television commercial about it,” and I had too but I remember reading somewhere on the internet that the guy who had his face and Social Security number on the side of a rolling billboard had his identity stolen anyway. This probably didn’t count, but I like my Spider Man wise ass persona.

Whoever this was either read my mind or saw the same commercial I did, “Well then I assume you are going to get that idiot with his social security number on the side of a truck to come and smack my pee pee, but in the mean time I would appreciate it if you would get off of me,” and there was nothing funny about what he said or the tone he used. It was purely a tactic of intimidation.

I went smart ass again, “I don’t think I am going to do that until you get out of my son’s form,” I never took my gaze off of his face, “it’s just rude you know?”

A smile crossed my son’s face, as it was worn by whoever this was, and then I started watching his skin bend and mold differently. Within ten or fifteen seconds he had transformed into a mirror image of me. I can imagine that the look on my actual face wasn’t amused in the least but the look on whoever this happened to have been using my face was quite amused indeed. “How’s this?” he said mockingly at me. I should probably call her a she since she was using my voice perfectly, and then added, “He has your facial shape so I saved a few seconds switching over to you.”

With everything I had I brought my fist down into my own face. I could feel the nose crumble under my knuckles and blood shot out from the sides, in a manner that would have made me sick to my stomach if I saw this on television. In the real world it all felt very necessary and realistic. It was pure instincts, but it was also a wonderful punch. I wanted to actually take some time to admire my handiwork because I had never punched anyone like that before. Seriously, I was just going off of what I had seen the guys on NYPD Blue reruns do, and I felt that I was a very good student at this stage of the game. The face had even flown over to the side, and there was actually a dribble of blood coming out of the corner of the mouth like she had bitten her tongue. Well, my tongue to be honest with you as in the mouth of whoever this is. This actually was a span of about two seconds before the voice boomed out, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” and then spit a stream of blood onto my shirt.

Within a tenth of a second I had brought my fist straight down again and landed it firm to the side of whoever this jaw belonged to, but looked like me getting the damaging blow. Yeah I was starting to get a little carnal here, but I wanted to see if I was as good with my left hand as I was with my right. Technically I wasn’t, and I broke a nail on that shot which pissed me off enough to send another right in with deadly accuracy, and another stream of blood flew from the side of my face as I split open the cheek of the fake me under my knees. My lip as portrayed by whoever this was under me was starting to bleed in another location and embedded in my right ring fingers knuckle was a chipped tooth. “You’re rather week for an immortal aren’t you? Hell I could take a punch a lot better than this, so what say you change into who you really are?”

The voice hissed, with a bit of a broken toothed lisp, “I could kill you by blinking my eyes!” and a look of absolute hatred crossed the face of, well, me on the ground beneath me. I didn’t hesitate to take another awkward swing from the side, and missed the jaw of whoever was under me landing against the side of her neck. It had to be painful because she screeched in pain as I did it, “I KILL YOU!”

Hey, go with what you know after all. I stuck with the right again bringing it down on an eye socket, because I self consciously didn’t want to ruin another nail. My left hand was holding the throat of the other me, and it was understandable why Darius kept doing it to me. It makes you feel more powerful, and I said, rather casually considering the circumstances, “I don’t think so, or you would have at least done something to stop bleeding by now. You would have at least done something to stop being broken into bits, or at the very least would have transformed into something less pathetic looking,” and of course I hit me again because it was the first time in all of this that I had some sort of power over anything that wasn’t human, or at the very least human and my child.

That familiar voice that always shows up when I am having fun came from over my shoulder, “I don’t think so either,” and even though I was pretty sure this wasn’t Lou beneath me already I still felt a little better that it definitely wasn’t Lou beneath me. “I have to agree that, what you are doing is pretty stupid though, because if that were Darius under you, then you would have been dead after the first strike.”

I didn’t bother to hit whoever it was under me again, but I said, “If it were Darius he would be missing an eye,” and then I grabbed the other me by the hair and turned the head awkwardly to show that both eyes were intact even if one was almost closed shut. “Aside from that fact I was having a hard time thinking under the circumstances. We both know that any other angel who tried this on me wouldn’t dare kill me,” and felt his hand clasp around my wrist before I could bring it down on this thing again. I then noticed that the other version of me was focused straight on Lou now and not on me. “Who the hell is this?” I asked him rather rudely but my manners had escaped me lately.

He lifted me off of whoever it was and said, “I don’t have a clue,” with no change in the tone of his voice. He started talking again, “Death is the least of your problems if one of my brothers was in that body. Not a single one of them would have to kill you to make you wish you would die, and despite the show Gabriel put on for you they are all every bit as ruthless and mean as I am, so please don’t do that again,“ then after he set me off to the side and back seated on the bench he said while placing his foot on the chest of whoever it was, “It’s not really a problem because I would assume that whoever it is on the ground will be perfectly happy to tell me before I decide to press down, correct?”

My mirror image laid there bleeding and horrified by this concept. I got my two bits in about the whole ordeal, I think you should crush whoever the hell that is while they get my face off of themselves!” and my face started dissolving the second I said that.

“I have a feeling that you won’t like it,” Lou said from behind me, “I figured out who it was the moment I placed my foot on him, and you are going to be really angry about it all.”

Of course I was already really angry about all of this. Whoever this happens to be is irrelevant I was thinking at the time. The voice under Lou’s foot changed to one that I actually recognized faintly, “You don’t know the half of it,” and he, she, whatever was staring me strait in the eyes as his form started changing. It was changing slowly and shockingly was starting to look like someone I did know, and definitely didn’t want to see. Now I know for a fact that it is a him, and his voice came out, “Hey Stacy how’s Jake doing?” and Lou was barely able to catch me with one of his free hands as I dove from the bench to get at him again.

I hung there spitting and clawing at my pathetic and supposedly dead husband who was lying on the ground under Lou’s foot. If there was one thing Jack was ever good for it was making absolutely everything worse. Every bit of damage I had done to myself or him looking like myself was completely gone, and I wanted to make more damage, while Lou held me back from doing so. Lou then said in very distasteful voice which on anyone else would signify illness, “This is the other anomaly I had been waiting to materialize in all of this,” and I stopped trying to wriggle free and stopped dead looking at Lou.

I yelled down at Jack in a spitting mad voice, “I thought you were fucking dead?” and I could care less about the strange noises Lou made when I said that word. For the life of me I had no idea what his issue was with swears. I turned to him since I found myself pissed off at both of them now, “Are you the King of Hell or what? How come the F word drives you crazy anyway?” and he pushed me down onto the bench making my butt hit rather hard. Until now I was proud that I didn’t have much padding on my rear but there have been a few times as of late I could have used it.

Jack looked like he was about to say something, but Lou’s voice came out first from just in front of me even though he was staring at prince charming laying there on the ground but beginning to sit up, now that I was under control, “He is dead,” after a pause where Jack smirked directly at Lou he went on, “He’s very dead actually because I saw him in hell personally, when the event that brought me here occurred,” and with that he sat down on the bench next to me. I was contemplating whether or not I was going to dive back on top of Jack and start striking him when Lou looked at me like I better not dare. He speaking again, but his voice was different in a way, sort of like the way he talked about my unusual ability to jump in and out of time, “His soul is what you see in front of you, and I don’t understand how he simply walked out of Hell.”

Jack started getting to his feet and mockingly brushed himself off. He shot Lou another disinterested glance and then said, “I got mad skills,” and then he looked at me. His look was appraising to say the least. There was a bit of an astonishment in it as he said, “I know things that you both don’t, and I came back to help,” he then put his hand up in a gesture to hold Lou back and then added, “and no, I’m not telling either of you what I know, so you are going to have to get over it,” which made me glance at Lou. His look was purely that of murder. The look of pure evil, and there was in that look of extreme anger, the devil as we would all seem to know him despite the amazing beauty. His body shot up, hands darted out and grabbed Jack by the front of his shirt, and he got nose to nose with him. “You can’t send me back to Hell unless you take me there personally and you know what happens then jackass,” and I was dumbfounded by the amazing bravado Jack used when he talked to the Devil.

Lou slammed Jack against the ground so fast that I didn’t actually see it, I heard a noise a second after I saw the two of them appear on the ground and that noise was both the dull thud of Jack’s body and the grunt of pain coming out of Jack. Lou was still nose to nose with Jack just down on one knee and bent over now above him, and he said very calmly considering how pissed off he was, “One great things about your ex Jack,” and he put a lot of emphasis on the word “Jack” as if he wanted him to know that I was going to play a part in his misery one way or another, “is that we could spend eternity right here, reliving this day over and over again. I can cause you pain, then Stacy can cause you pain, then we both get to cause you some pain. I get to torment you here in a much better environment than the one you walked out of,” and then Lou backed off.

Jack’s face went into a huge broad grin, which was oddly far scarier than the look of sheer infuriation that had passed across Lou’s face. He said nothing and simply started to shimmer and mold his own appearance to mimic the very creature that was holding him. Lou was standing there holding the identical duplicate of him and oddly started changing his expression to something that could be called panic, but far different than the normal panic of mortals. The amazing nerve of Jack as he reached out and patted Lou on the face, as he said, “Lesson one, oh darkest of Lords, is do NOT touch a soul outside the body in this reality, unless you want to give them the power to mimic you,” and the rage in Lou at that point had finally boiled over as he went to throw Jack against the wall of the school. Jack hit the wall and then flipped Lou the bird, and that threw Lou completely over the edge.

The problem with his decision to throttle Jack, was that Jack apparently had another trick up his sleeve, and that trick took Lou by surprise every bit as badly as any of this had. I watched Lou crash through the wall to the school as Jack had stepped completely through Lou as he lunged towards Jack, and as I said went through that wall. He then turned around to look through the hole in the wall saying, “Your lack of omnipotence is showing my good friend,” and then he turned around and started walking towards me, “You feeling particularly brave again?”

I should have held my tongue under the circumstances but I was still too new to all this in my own rights. I said, “I should have known that you were the only person in the world that would care about your memorial. I just didn’t think you would come back from the grave just to make sure someone went,” and Jack seemed to find that amusing enough because he started laughing. At least I hoped he was laughing at what I said and not because he was getting a diabolical thought that he was going to try out on me.

In his own defense, Lou does appear to learn quickly enough as he didn’t attempt to do anything else to Jack. He simply stepped out of the hole in the brick wall he had launched himself through and then walked over to keep Jack within arms distance. Jack didn’t seem to care as he glanced at Lou who started talking in a calm voice, which you could tell at the time took a little effort, “So you can mimic the people that touch you, I don’t think personally that that is any big gift, I can mimic anyone on the planet without even having to be in the same time zone as them,” and there was a bit of that, “my penis is bigger than yours” in his voice, which gave me the giggles. They both stared at me and I stopped at once, but you have to admit the only advantage of being a spinster is the ability to laugh at everything a man does.

Jack then transformed again, slowly at first and then quickly into the shape of me. I can see what Lou’s problem is with this because I immediately started feeling violated like I had before, and the towering temper in myself was starting to boil. Lou obviously sensed this as he held out his arm in front of me to stop me from making any brave movements. Jack said in a perfect imitation of my own voice, I would assume, but like a tape recorded version of your own voice it sounded different to me, “Let’s get the ground rules in place before we continue,” and he licked his lips that mimicked my own, “I figured Stacy owed me a few whacks so I let her touch me, but neither of you can touch me if I don’t want you to. It’s hilarious to watch you try, but it is counterproductive,” and then he got this seriously hideous grin with my mouth which made me ill to look at. As if he was enjoying this way too much. “Secondly, I don’t just mimic a form like you do; I completely take the form of who I have the ability to mimic. It takes some getting used to. For example the minute I take Stacy’s form I start thinking of the sickest sexual stuff with you and the need to vomit takes precedent,” and then he looked at me, “I might have stay home more often if you had tried any of this stuff with me,” and looking back at Lou he said, “I never would have married her if I knew she would never get any better in bed, so you ...” and he never finished as Lou’s fist collapsed his skull, literally. It completely exploded in front of me and I never saw Lou move so I just figured even though it made me jump.

I swallowed hard in an attempt to talk as rationally as I possibly could at this point. It was difficult enough, since I hated this man for a good long time, but with that overwhelming jealousy that infests your system as you are staring at someone who violated your soul as Jack was doing it was all that much more difficult. Throw in the fact that I was about to talk to my body with only the bottom part of my head and you get the point, “What are you doing here Jack?” I never wanted to kill him as badly as I did now, and the fact that someone had beaten me to it pissed me off a bit too. I was hoping that somehow Lou would figure out a way that I could re-kill him and then just let me do it.

He glanced back at me, but while he did it he slowly, then quickly changed back into his own form. His own mouth was back when he said to me, “I told you that I know things, and because of that I had to come back,” he licked his lips and then added, “I add an extra dimension to it all. You can flip time around, Lou here, well let’s just cut to the chase, is Satan and all, and I have the information, and a certain level of means at my disposal to help you deal with your friend here’s idiocy,” and that seemed to do it, because Lou lunged toward Jack, then through Jack, and then on the ground again with a thump. “The definition of insanity after all is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results,” Jack said down to Lou as he lay on his belly beating the ground.

“Ok genius, how about sharing the things you know with us?” Lou retorted before he had even turned over to look at Jack. There was something rather endearing in the silly way he behaved when he was out of his element.

He stared at Lou again when Lou made it to his feet. It was an odd game he was playing, “I happen to know why Stacy jumps in and out of time,” and Lou stopped his pursuit of standing upright and remained seated on the ground looking up. Jack smiled and then said, “That doesn’t mean I am going to tell you, but I figured out how to exploit it when I dragged her to another time possibility, and I also figured out how her jumps in time are triggered while I did it,” and then he looked at me. “If your friend here cared to tell you then he would, so I hope you both don’t start getting on me about that.”

I didn’t let him continue his stupid lecture, “Then what fucking good are you?” I blurted out and then instinctively looked down to see Lou wince where he was sitting on the ground. “I mean if you know things, but you can’t tell us, then what good are you to us, and why do you even have to bother us?” and before he could say another word, I threw out something to remove the power from him, “Yes I jump every time Darius kills me, and that isn’t all that big of a secret,” and his face froze, because he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was. “Let’s get one thing straight here Jack, and you will understand what I say as pure crystal,” and his face looked confused, “I have always been smarter than you, and I am not going to have you come back from the dead to continue to disrespect me,” and with a bit of venom I said, “and I sucked in bed because you sucked as a lover. You can talk about how bad I am but every woman that ever slept with you talks about how pathetic you were and how small your manhood was!”

As bad as what I had just said was, it got worse when Lou nodding on the ground said, “Yeah. They all do,” and that changed the expression on Jacks face, but not for very long. Jack was able to get his smirk back, quick enough which probably would have scared me if I wasn’t already pretty sure that I was losing my mind more and more with every wrinkle that came up. Lou had gotten up during this exchange and walked to my side so that he could look Jack in the face. He still had the emotional look of someone that is angry, but I thought at the time that it had more to do with anger at him when he said, “Ok, I’ll play your game, but can you give us some sort of insight into what direction the things you know go?”

That wicked smile that simply terrified me every time I saw it came across Jacks face again, as he said, “Oh I would be happy to show you exactly where my knowledge goes, but again I think it will ruin your whole day, and that’s saying something isn’t it?” The menacing look on his face started shimmering and elongating, slowly and then much faster as his entire body started to swell. Jack was growing to a form of immensity that I had only seen once before in my life, and quite recently, but it hadn’t come to me until it was too late, as usual.

Standing before us was the hulking form of Darius, and my terror started rising, and forcing me to cower back. I watched with great realization in my heart of what a disadvantage Lou was at simply in plain size alone, as the two of them were both within arm’s reach of me. Darius being as big in corporeal form as any man he literally cast a shadow over me which filled my entire body with icicles. Worse than that the surprise was not just mine, but Lou had no time to react to Darius as he reached out and grabbed him by the throat lifting him a good two feet off the ground. Lou’s kicking legs and wheeling arms, despite being those of a deity were completely useless. The roaring voice yelled right into Lou’s terrified face, “Your object lesson Lucifer,” and then with hardly any effort he hurled Lou into a tree about four hundred feet away at least, snapping the tree as if it were a toothpick, and we both watched the tree fall on top of him even though it was so far away it almost looked cartoonish.

I was far too terrified to move, and I didn’t know whether I was looking at my ex-husband in the form of Darius, or Darius reclaiming his natural form, but still my feet were rooted to the ground far better than that tree he had felled with what was a moment ago, my guardian’s limp body. I knew whoever this incarnation was it had both eyes, and I planned to make a mental not of that should I live through this. It was the roaring voice that told me the answer, “Now when I kill you Stacy we can get past that hideous six days rule once and for all can’t we?” and I didn’t even have time to wonder why Jack cared about the six days or, even if this was the real Darius or not. That seemed rather silly since I had finally admitted that Darius couldn’t kill me if he wanted the six days to pass. Jack had a good point but Lou knocked Jack over before he could grab me. The speed of both of them was slowed enough that I could see their streaks if not their forms.

My flight reaction went into full effect and it was frantic. I was so completely out of control that I really had no control over my own legs as I felt them start to stumble under me. Desperately I tried to regain the balance of my weak legs as they were giving out on me, but in the end I was incapable of control over my own body when I went crashing to the ground. My arms had barely softened the blow as I laid there with my face staring at the hard tile floor. Mary’s voice was the first one that I heard as she came over to grab my arm forcing me to shutter over and convulse in terror with my back against the breakfast bar cowering between stools of the diner that I had watched explode twice today, or was it yesterday and today? Her voice was soft and concerned, “Are you alright dear?” and I didn’t have an answer to that considering I had just died again.