Chronicles of the

Children of Destiny

The Bradlocks

by

Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly

Copyright 6179 SC



STORIES:

Ye Olde Devil

Rachel's Lament

Aphrayel's Torment

Samael and Ariel

A Point of View

A Matter of Justice

One Fine Devil

Daughter of Eve

Torn Asunder

The Life and Times of Rebecca Bradlock

The Life and Times of Leopold Bradlock

Callodyn Bradlock and Daniel Daly discuss the life of Salieri

The Onaphim Samael - Ye Olde Devil’

Chapter One

 Samael – Satan - had come to Sherwood Forest to live in about nine hundred AD.  After travelling the nations for many centuries he found he liked the land of Britannia and decided to make it his home.  Since being banished from heaven and assuming human form in the early third century BCE the Devil had wandered the Earth.  He had met Kings and Queens – nobles and commoners – and had started to gain a greater appreciation for those who he once had called ‘Common Men’ from his heavenly domain.

 

And now he lived in Sherwood Forest in the year two-thousand and ten by the Christian calendar.

 

His home was rather simple – a small shack hidden amongst a thicket of trees.  As his Father, God, had not totally removed his spiritual powers, he had woven a protective spell around the shack to keep it from prying eyes.  It was a simple two-room shack.  A main room, in which he spent most of his days, and a back room in which he slept.

 

The main room housed three ancient bookcases.  Amongst them were literary treasures that he had collected over the many centuries of his exile on Earth.  He studied them often, especially the ‘Good Book’, and they were a source of comfort when few others could understand his dilemma.

 

Apart from the bookcases the room housed a small harpsichord – one which he had purchased in Germany a few centuries earlier.  He’d had it shipped to England and brought it to his small home.  He had been quite musical as an angel in the realm of infinity, often singing in the heavenly choir.  But he now felt greater value in composition, having been inspired by the great composers of the Classical age.  He had even seen Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart perform when he had still been a lad.

 

And next to the harpsichord was a large wooden box containing his compositions.  He’d composed thousands of pieces by now, but had only written down a small percentage of them.  The rest he’d committed to memory and was sure he could write them down at a later date if at all necessary.

 

This shack was his home.  He spent most of his days there, lost in thought.  Fortunately, after the year two-thousand passed, God had felt his impulsive son had atoned for a reasonable amount of his sin, and thus had allowed him visitors from the heavenly domain.

 

The first of these visitors had been his long-term adversary, the Logos the Protector of Israel and head of the ecclesia.  It was Logos who had led the heavenly host in defeating Satan’s rebellion against God, and it was Logos who so often challenged Satan in all that he did.

 

However, in the last few years since the Logos had been visiting Satan, Satan had grown quite fond of him.  He had reflected quite often that his old rebellious nature was now seemingly something of the past – now viewed on as a childish impulse of reckless youth.

 

The Logos had shared with Satan news from Heaven and they often discussed the various affairs of men.  In his last visit they reflected on the death of Pope Benedict XVI late last year and the inauguration of the new Italian Pope, Peter the Second.  Of particular note in some of the more outlandish Catholic websites was the ancient prophecy of St Malarchy who predicted that the current Pope, Peter the Roman, would be the last before the return of Christ.

 

Logos had revealed to Satan that his return was imminent, but of course, as always, nobody knew the day or hour.

 

Of particular relevance to Satan was the final prophecy in the New Testament – the Revelation.  His apparent fate did not seem that palatable to himself.  The Logos had maintained that the prophecy was part of Destiny – yet not immutable.  God could change his plans if the realities in the world changed significantly enough.  That was a ‘Life’ Principle so the Logos had said.  Logos had also said that while he, Satan, was essentially the subject of much of revelation, in another sense it also had nothing really to do with him personally.  Satan often queried exactly what the Logos meant by such ambiguity, however, as always, with little or no response.

 

Of course, due to Christianities disdain of Satan as the Lord of Evil, the Devil had never actually revealed his identity to any human beings.  Only the host of heaven knew who he actually was and, until recently, they had not had much to do with him.

 

Satan’s other main visitor from the heavenly realm was his old ally, Sandalphon.  Sandalphon had been his chief ally in the rebellion, somebody who Satan had trusted implicitly.  When he first visited him, just after The Logos’ first visit in two-thousand and one, Satan had been overjoyed.  At last, a familiar face.  Sandalphon discussed with him, like the Logos, the affairs of heaven – but from the perspective of one of the Lord’s of darkness.  Apparently Sandalphon had not changed greatly since Satan’s exile, and still fostered hopes of a future rebellion to take charge of heaven.  When he had shared this with Satan, Satan took the news, but didn’t really think much of it.  For him, the rebellion was over with.  It served no great purpose to challenge God’s established rule in the heavenly domain, something he now realized.  The Logos generally undertook his responsibility with skill and talent administering the affairs in the realm of infinity and, Satan now realized, did a fair job in keeping the populace happy.  In the rebellion Satan had been preoccupied with power – he had not really given much thought as to what he would do with that power should he prove victorious.  However, he had contemplated this issue in his exile on Earth and had realized that his dreams of power had been nothing but pride – nothing practical about them.

 

In fact, the Logos had recently told Satan that God had been searching Satan’s heart for signs of repentance and had concluded that Satan had indeed been making progress, and thus allowed him visitors for the first time.  This was something which pleased Satan greatly.  It also established within him a sense of God’s justice.  God would forgive if you repented of your evil ways.  He did not delight in evil but rejoiced in goodness.  When he was younger Satan had mocked at such an attitude, but now he thought far more highly of it.  He now looked up to God and did in fact respect his Father.

 

However, his exile was not yet over.  The Logos had said that God was still angry with him and had said that at least another thousand years was warranted as a minimum before he could return to his heavenly domain.  Having lived on earth now for over two-thousand years he felt that he could easily manage another thousand.  It would give him time to plan for his return on that great, glorious day.

 

Early that morning, after rising from sleep, Satan took to his harpsichord as usual.  Although he occasionally ate breakfast he didn’t in fact have to.  His Father had made him immortal on Earth.  He didn’t need to eat, and no earthly weapon could harm him.  Despite his exile, his Father still cared for him and looked after his needs.

 

He played on the harpsichord for about an hour, before stopping and taking a seat on his main couch.  After a few minutes of quiet contemplation a knock came to his front door.  ‘I wonder who that could be?’ he thought to himself.  ‘Perhaps the Logos or Sandalphon?’  He got to his feet and went to open the door.  There standing in front of him was a face he had not seen in over two millennia.  It was his one-time lover and best friend the female Onaphim Aphrayel.

 

She smiled at him, her face beaming.  ‘Greetings Lord Lucifer.’  Satan smiled at the title.  ‘Lucifer?  Come now, I am far from being a Babylonian prince.’  Aphrayel chuckled at her one-time lovers comment.  Lucifer of course was a figure in an ancient Jewish prophecy, in the first instance applied to a Babylonian Prince, but traditionally, by Christianity anyway, attributed to the Devil.  The Devil laughed at the title.  ‘My dear Aphrayel, what brings you to my earthly abode?’  ‘What, no kiss for your one-time lover?’ said Aphrayel.  Satan grinned at her.  ‘Well, I had thought about it, but felt that such time has passed between us that such a thing might not be that appropriate.  Perhaps humanities ways are rubbing off on me.’  ‘I suppose that must be it,’ said Aphrayel.

 

Well, are you going to invite me in, or must I stand here at the door into perpetuity.’  ‘Certainly.  Come in, come in,’ said Satan.  She entered the small room and he motioned for her to sit at one of the small side couches.  After she had sat, he sat down opposite her.  ‘Now tell me, why the visit?  Is there some news from the realm that I should be aware of?’ ‘Yes, I guess, in a way that is it’ replied Aphrayel.  ‘I will get straight to the point.  Father has reviewed your situation.  He has received from the Logos such glowing reports on your progress that he has decided to give you an opportunity to end your exile early.  That is, if you complete a certain task that he has set for you.’  Satan looked straight at her, overjoyed at the news.  ‘Yes. Yes of course.  I would do anything to return to the realm sooner than later.  What is the task?’

 

Well,’ began Aphrayel.  ‘Father knows that you do indeed show affection to us angels these days.  But he is not yet satisfied that your heart is full of the love which he birthed you with.  Because of this he has set a test for you.  The task is this.  You will be made into completely human form – able to die.  And you will be given five years in this form.  Five years to show that your heart really does in fact love.  In this five years you must, to be able to return to the realm, find amongst the human beings one who calls you her true love.’  Satan looked at her.  ‘One who calls me my true love?  You mean I must marry a daughter of Eve?’  ‘No, not necessarily.  You will not have to marry her, but she must call you her true love - forsaking all others to love you alone.’ Satan thought this over.  It would be a challenge, certainly.  But such an opportunity it was.  He had to take it.  ‘Yes, yes, I agree.  It is certainly worth the challenge.  Anything to return to the realm.’  ‘Well, before you get too carried away, there is one last requirement.  You must tell her of your true identity.  You must tell her that you are in fact the old Devil, Satan himself.’  Satan stared at her, slightly taken aback at that statement.  ‘But, but.  If I tell her who I am, surely she will have nothing to do with me.  You know my reputation amongst the humans.  They think I am the Lord of Evil.  No, what you ask is surely too much.’ ‘I am afraid that is the condition’ replied Aphrayel.  ‘Father was quite adamant on that point.  Naturally, it is a difficult decision.  So, I will return to you in three weeks at which time you can tell me your decision.  If you decide to go ahead with it, you will be made completely human and will have 5 years in which to find your true love.’  ‘Yes, yes,’ said Satan.  ‘I will need that time to think it over.’  With that said Aphrayel got to her feet and walked over to the door.  ‘I will see myself out, but I will return in three weeks.  My love, I hope you make the right decision.’  ‘Yes, so do I,’ said Satan.  ‘So do I’.iH

 

Chapter Two

 

In the following three weeks Satan gave much thought to the task set him by his Father.  Was it really worth the effort of finding a true love, and that in human form?  Of course, God would likely forgive him in a thousand years anyway, so he could simply wait out his exile.  But that was still a long way off, and the opportunity to return to the realm sooner rather than later was extremely enticing.  In the end he decided it was a challenge worth accepting.  Being human would be challenging, certainly.  But to return to the realm so soon was worth any inconvenience.

 

When Aphrayel returned three weeks later he had made up his mind.  The knock came to the door and Satan opened it, expecting Aphrayel, who indeed it was.  ‘Well, lover.  Have you made up your mind?’  ‘Yes, yes I have,’ said Satan.  ‘I will go through with the agreement.’  ‘Very well,’ Aphrayel said.  ‘Follow me outside, and take off all your clothing.’  Satan undressed and followed her outside.  Aphrayel led the way to a small clearing a few yards away from Satan’s shack.  ‘Stand there,’ she said, pointing to the middle of the clearing.  Satan did as requested.  She raised her hands and looked towards heaven.  Soon she spoke out in the angelic tongue.  ‘Yelti, yelti. Hada Samactani.  Sata Saruv Samactani.’  Suddenly a great wave of light shone down from above, encompassing Satan all around.  He was lifted a few feet of the ground and suddenly he felt his body changing.  ‘What was happening?’ he thought to himself.  Before he got an answer the light suddenly diminished, and he was dropped to the ground.  Instantly he passed out.

 

He awoke some time later, his head a little dizzy.  He looked around to gain his perspective.  Aphrayel was nowhere to be seen and it seemed he had changed locations.  He could not see his shack anywhere.  In fact, he was not sure were he was.  Some place totally unknown.  And he was naked.  Getting to his feet, the wind suddenly blew on him.  He shivered, for the first time in his life.  ‘That was cold,’ he thought to himself.  He considered that for a moment.  ‘I guess that is one of the conditions of being totally human.  Well, I guess I have no time to waste.  But first I need some clothing.  I cannot go around totally naked, can I?’

 

He looked around, took note of the sun, and decided to head in one particular direction.  Eventually, he assumed, he would find some sign of human habitation.

 

After walking for a couple of hours, and feeling the cold, he eventually came to the edge of the forest.  Looking ahead he noticed some houses in the distance.  Perhaps there he could find some clothing.  He walked on.  Arriving at the houses, he first looked at the washing line.  Fortunately there were some Jeans and t-shirts drying on them.  He took them down and tried them on, looking around to make sure nobody noticed him.  They fitted, quite comfortably, although a little damp.  ‘They will do, he thought to himself.’  He was a little annoyed at the thought of having to steal clothing, but such was the necessity he found himself faced with.  Just then his stomach rumbled a little.  ‘I am hungry,’ he thought to himself.  Just then full realization of his human form came to him.  He would now have to find clothing, shelter and food just like any other human.  Such had been the way in which God had ordained human society on earth to function.  ‘Great’, he thought to himself.  Such were the joys of being totally mortal.

 

Looking around the place, he spotted an apple tree over near the fence.  ‘Apples’, he said to himself.  He liked apples.  They would suffice for a meal.  He made his way over to the tree and pulled down a branch, plucking off a couple of apples.  After eating one and starting to make his way through another he noticed that the edge of his hunger was dissipating.  ‘That is good’ he thought to himself.  Just then he heard a voice shout out.  ‘Hey you!  What do you think you are doing?’  He looked towards the voice and spotted a woman coming forth from the house.  ‘Better run,’ he thought to himself, and quickly made his way out the driveway of the house and down the road.

 

A half an hour later, having put the house far behind him, he thought on what he should do next.  ‘Firstly, I guess, I will have to get a place to live.  But how would he afford it?  He had no money, and didn’t have a human job.  I guess I can apply for the welfare cheque he thought to himself.  England now had a substantial welfare system to take care of people who found it difficult to find full time employment.  ‘A sensible idea’, Satan thought to himself.  But of course, he would need an identity of sorts.  Papers – a birth certificate at least.  Of course, he didn’t have one of those.  So he was in a dilemma.  ‘What will I do?’ he thought to himself.  After some contemplation, an idea came to him.  He could make up his own birth certificate.  Printing technology was quite advanced these days, so he should be able to forge his own.  He could visit one of the public libraries and use their photocopier and printers and make one up.  Of course, he would need a name.  ‘What shall I call myself?’ he wondered.  A few ideas came to mind. David was a good name – very messianic he thought.  But no, he wanted an original name.  Something he could call his own.  He went through various names and surnames until, finally, he came upon a combination he liked.  Firstly, an ancient Celtic first name, ‘Callodyn’.  Yes, he liked the sound of that.  And secondly, a traditional British surname, ‘Bradlock’.  Yes, that would do he thought to himself.  Of course he would need a middle name.  He thought perhaps one of his angelic friend’s names.  Suddenly the name ‘Shadray’ came to him.  Yes, that was a good one.  He decided to say it out loud, seeing if it sounded good.  ‘Callodyn Shadray Bradlock.’ Yes, he liked the sound of that.  That would be his name.

 

Now, to find a library,’ he thought to himself.  He looked ahead.  The road seemed to go on into the distance without any sign of life. ‘I guess I will just have to keep on walking, he said to himself.’  However, about 5 minutes later, a van pulled up alongside him.  ‘Do you need a lift, son?’ said an elderly gentleman.  ‘That would be fantastic,’ replied Satan.  He got into the van and closed the door.  ‘Were, may I ask, does this road head?  ‘Just to Beltingham,’ said the old man.  ‘About five minutes from here.’  The man looked at Satan’s feet.  ‘No shoes, son.  A bit foolish don’t you think?’  ‘Ah, yes,’ replied Satan.  ‘I was actually caught in a bit of a situation.  But hopefully I will remedy that shortly.  Does Beltingham have a public library?’ ‘Why, yes it does.  A small one,’ said the old man.  Just down on Tweed Street.  I can drop you off there if you like.’  ‘That would be excellent,’ replied Satan.  ‘Think nothing of it,’ said the old man, who started to drive off.

 

A short time later they approached a rather large village, almost a town.  Driving through the streets Satan looked at the various houses.  He had never heard of Beltingham before.  It was certainly not in Nottinghamshire, so he must have been taken to somewhere else in England.  ‘Excuse me,’ he asked the old man.  ‘But were abouts in England are we?’ ‘Don’t you know, son?  You must have really been off with the fairies.  Well, we are not in England at all – we are in northern Wales.’  ‘Northern Wales?’ Satan thought to himself.  That would explain why he had never heard of Beltingham before.  He had never been to Wales that often.  ‘Well, here is the library, son.’ Said the old man, pulling up in front of a rather small but modernish building.  Satan got out, and turned to the old man.  ‘Thank you, kind fellow.  You have done a wonderful deed today.’  ‘No worries, son,’ said the old man, and started off.

 

Satan looked at the library.  Yes it was modern.  Hopefully, then, it will have what I am after.  He entered the building.  At the front desk was an elderly lady, who eyed him as he came in.  He walked up to her.  ‘Yes, can I help you,’ she said.  ‘Do you have a computer with the internet and a printer?’ he asked.  ‘Well yes, we do,’ said the lady.  It is around the corner, just over there,’ she said, pointing.  ‘Nobody is using it at the moment, so you can have one full hour if you like.  Just sign your surname on the sheet here.’  Satan looked at the sheet.  He took up the pen and was about to write, ‘Satan’, when he remembered his new name.  Carefully he wrote down the surname ‘Bradlock’.  He looked at the lady.  ‘Is that all?’  Yes, that is all.  I will tell you when your time is up.  ‘Thanks,’ he said, and started over to the computer.

 

Satan was now quite familiar with the Internet.  Although he didn’t actually have one connected in his shack, he often visited one of the public libraries in Nottingham and made use of it there.

 

He opened up the Internet, and connected to the ‘Google’ search engine – his favourite.  He typed in ‘Fake Birth Certificates United Kingdom’ and waited on the results.  The first link seemed favourable so he clicked on that.

 

About fifteen minutes later he had filled in the various details and needed to print off the birth certificate.  But he had no money to pay for the paper.  He decided to print off the certificate anyway.  Hopefully he could sweet talk the librarian into letting him have it for free.  As he pressed ‘Print’, the computer showed the print icon, so he left his desk and went over to where the librarian was.  ‘I have just printed off a sheet, maam.  But unfortunately I don’t have any money.  Can I possibly pay you later?’  The librarian looked at him sternly. ‘Well, it is not usual practice, but I guess that will be all right.’  She turned towards the printer on her desk, and pulled off Satan’s white sheet.  ‘Is this it?’ she said.  Satan took the sheet and looked it over.  ‘Yes, this is the one.  Again, thank you greatly, maam.  I won’t forget to pay you back.’  He walked back over to his computer, turned off the internet, and exited the library.

 

Now he had a birth certificate.  The next thing to do was to find a social security office.  He went back into the library and went up to the librarian.  ‘Excuse me, maam.  Does Beltingham have a social security office?’  ‘No, I am afraid not,’ replied the librarian.  The nearest one of those is in Crossden, about twenty miles south of here.’ ‘Thanks,’ said Satan, and again exited the library.  ‘Crossden, huh?  I guess I have a walk in front of me.  Maybe I will get lucky with a lift again?’  With that in mind, Satan started along the street, heading towards what appeared to be the main avenue at the end of the street.  He should be able to find directions from there.

 

Chapter Three

 

Having walked about five miles southwards, he was fortunate enough to again be picked up by a car.  This time a young man, around twenty years of age.  They travelled along, chatting about this and that.  When they reached Crossden, Satan exited the vehicle and thanked the man greatly.  He looked skywards.  The time of the day seemed to be well into the afternoon.  He may have to be quick if he were to see Social security before the day was up. 

 

After getting directions from a shop, he soon found the building.  He entered and made his way to the front desk.  A pretty young lady, who had a name badge reading Rachel greeted him.  ‘Yes sir, how can I help you today?’  Satan began his already thought out story.  ‘Well, miss.  I have come to apply for social security.  For the past year, since losing my job, I have lived on the streets.  I was totally broke, but I was too proud too ask for any help.  However, it has dawned on me that if people are willing to help me, I shouldn’t be too proud to accept it.  So I have come to apply for the Social Security allowance, if that is at all possible.  ‘A look of concern was on Rachel’s face.  ‘You poor fellow.  Living on the streets and all.  Of course we can help you.  Do you have any identification?’  Satan handed her his birth certificate.  ‘As you can see, my name is Callodyn Bradlock, and I am 37 years of age.  I was born in Kingston upon Hull, in Yorkshire, England.’  ‘Yes, I can see that.  Do you have any photographic ID?  That is what we usually need.’  ‘Unfortunately, no,’ replied Satan.  ‘I recently lost my wallet which contained my drivers licence and other details.  Fortunately I still had my birth certificate in a backpack I carry.’  ‘Well, that should be OK,’ said Rachel.  ‘Do you have anywhere to stay tonight?’  ‘Uh, no.  Not really,’ replied Satan.  I was planning another night on the streets as usual.  ‘Well, we can’t have that,’ said Rachel.  I will call the ‘Samaritans Hostel’.  They are just down the street a little.  I will arrange for you to stay with them until your money comes through.  Also, from what I can tell, this seems to be your first application for social security, so you are entitled to an upfront payment of one hundred pounds to get you through until your regular payment comes through.  Now tell me.  Do you want the jobseekers allowance, or the regular allowance?’  ‘What’s the difference?’ asked Satan.  ‘Well, if you look for work and fill in a job diary, you are entitled to an extra twenty pounds a fortnight.  However, if you don’t really want to look for  work, you can take the standard regular payment.’  Satan thought that over.  Did he really want to look for work?  His love life was the most important thing, so he decided against it.  ‘I’ll just take the regular payment, thanks.’  Certainly, replied Rachel.  ‘Now, do you have a bank account?’  ‘Uh, no,’ said Satan.  ‘I lost all my details, and I can’t really remember my bank account number.’  ‘Well, that is all right,’ said Rachel.  You can pick up your cheque from here and bank it at the bank until you get an account.  When you have one, just let us know.’  ‘Sure,’ said Satan.  ‘Out of curiosity, how much is the payment?’  ‘Regular payments are two-hundred and eighty-five pounds a fortnight.  It is quite generous these days.  Generally enough to support yourself on.  Especially in a small town like Crossden.  Out of curiosity, do you plan on staying here?’  Satan thought that over.  ‘I guess,’ he said.  ‘It seems like a nice town – kind of place that I could live in.’ ‘Yes, it is quite nice,’ said Rachel.  ‘I have lived here all my life, and like it a lot.  It really has a nice spirit to it.’  ‘Yes,’ replied Satan.  ‘I guess so.’

 

Twenty minutes later, after going through various technicalities, Satan was given a cheque for one hundred pounds, and given direction to the Samaritans.  Just as he was leaving, Rachel came over to him, carrying her handbag.  ‘Callodyn.  I have finished for the day.  If you like, I will show you the Samaritan hostel.’  ‘Uh, all right,’ said Satan.  Rachel showed him to the door, and started walking down the street.  A couple of minutes later they came to a double-story white-washed building, with a sign in black reading ‘The Samaritans.’ ‘This is it,’ said Rachel.  ‘They are expecting you.  I can come in with you if you like, and introduce you?’  ‘Uh, no. That will be fine, said Satan.  I should be all right now.  Thank you greatly for your help Rachel.’  ‘Think nothing of it,’ said Rachel, and smiled.  ‘You have quite an attractive smile,’ Satan thought to himself, as Rachel departed.  ‘What a lovely girl, he thought.’  He then turned towards the building, strode up the couple of steps, and entered.

 

Inside he found the front receptionist area.  Seated behind a desk was an elderly lady.  ‘Can I help you?’ she asked.  ‘Uh, yes.  I am Callodyn Bradlock.  From the Social Security office.  I was told you were expecting me?’ ‘Yes, Callodyn.  Come with me, and I will show you to your room.’  The lady picked up a key from a rack, and made her way towards the staircase.  Satan followed her.  Up on the next level they came to room twenty-two.  She unlocked the door and motioned for Satan to follow her inside.  The room was relatively basic.  A bed, a small side dresser with a mirror, and a table and chair, with a bowl of fruit sitting on it.  ‘The bathroom is just down the hall, luv.  We don’t actually have many people staying with us at the moment, so you should be right to use it at any time.  Dinner is at six pm, about twenty minutes from now.  It comes free to guests staying with us.  Social security has paid for your first two weeks with us, so you needn’t worry about money.  Well, do you have any questions?’  ‘Uh, no.  Not really.  Thanks for everything Maam.  I will be down at dinner at six.’ ‘Sure,’ she said.  ‘Well, I’ll be downstairs if you need me.  There is a towel in the dresser for you to take a shower with should you wish to.  I’ll be going now.’  With that said, the lady excused herself, handed Satan the key, and left.  Satan closed the door behind her, and took a seat on the bed.

 

Well, you old devil.  You have done all right for yourself.  A home, finance and food.  And all in a day.  If things continue to go this well I should be home in the realm within a week.’

 

He looked around the room.  It was a basic affair.  A nice picture of the countryside hung on the wall next to the table, and the room was wallpapered with a nice design.  ‘Perhaps I should take a shower?’ he thought to himself.  His feet were rather dirty, and sore, and a shower might do him some good.  He opened the dresser and found a stack of clean towels.  He took one out and felt its texture.  Smooth, but with substance.  It should do fine.  He exited the room, closed and locked the door behind him, and went looking for the bathroom.  He found it just down the hallway.  He entered, closed and locked the door behind him, and undressed.  He climbed into the bathtub which had the shower over it and turned the water on.  Soon cold water started spraying from the showerhead and he quickly jumped back at the sensation.  He turned up the hot water and adjusted it until he had the right temperature.  As an immortal, Satan had not needed to shower.  His body was partially spiritual in nature, never attracting dirt.  But as a human he now realized he would need to clean – and that likely regularly.

 

He entered the shower and felt the water rush down over him.  It was totally unlike any shower he had experienced previously.  The water cascaded over his skin, the warm water pulsating through his skin.  He found that he enjoyed the sensation tremendously and silently wondered what he had been missing all these years.  After a number of minutes standing there, washing himself, he felt it was time to exit.  He turned off the taps and got out of the tub.  He carefully dried himself off, and put on his clothing.

 

Exiting the bathroom he returned to his room and placed the towel at the feet of his bed.  Looking around he noticed a clock.  It read five-fifty-two pm.  Dinner would be upon him shortly.  Perhaps he should go down early and introduce himself to the other residents.  It was a quick way of getting himself known.

 

Coming down the stairwell, he thought on the task ahead of him.  Being unemployed would make it a little more difficult to find a true love, but unemployment was likely high in a country town like Crossden.  Hopefully he could find a local lady who would fall for him.  He thought of Rachel, the Social Security worker.  She was quite attractive, he felt, and would make a suitable candidate.  But she probably would have little time for someone in such a situation as he was.  But I am sure there will be someone, he thought to himself.

 

Coming into the dining room there were four other people seated at a long table.  He found a seat and looked around.  Opposite him was an elderly man, who looked a little down on his luck.  ‘Hello,’ Satan said.  ‘My name is Callodyn.  What, may I ask, is your name?’  The man looked at him.  ‘I be Rufus McFadden, son.  Nice to meet you.’ He offered his hand, and Satan took it and shook it.  ‘Well, how long have you been staying here?’ Satan asked.  ‘Oh, around three years or so,’ said Rufus.  ‘The food is good,’ and I stand little chance of finding another job at my age.  So I guess I will be here for awhile longer.’ ‘Yes, as long as the food is good, you should be all right.’ ‘I guess so,’ replied Rufus.  Satan looked at the three other people seated at the table.  One middle aged man of about fifty, one woman around thirty or so, and a young teen of about eighteen.  The young teen looked towards him.  ‘Hi Callodyn,’ she said.  ‘So where are you from?’ ‘Oh, lots of places,’ responded Satan. ‘And what, my dear, may I ask is your name?’  ‘Lucy,’ she responded.  ‘I have been living here for the past six months since turning 18 and running away from home.  My mother was a real bitch – I could never stand her – and she demanded half of my welfare cheque, can you believe that?  I told her to go to hell and decided I could make it on my own.  So I am here for now, but I plan on moving to London when I have enough saved.  I reckon I can make it as an actor there.  I was in many stage shows when I was younger.  Anyway, that’s my story.  What about you?’  ‘Oh,’ replied Satan.  ‘I lost my job about a year ago and have been living on the streets.  Just today I applied for Social Security, which I got, and they sent me here to stay.  That’s about it really.’  ‘Ok,’ said Lucy.  ‘Are you married?  Have a girlfriend?’  ‘No, nothing like that,’ replied Satan.  ‘I have been single all my life and only ever had a few girlfriends.  Nothing major ever really’  ‘That’s interesting,’ said Lucy.  ‘So you mustn’t have had much of a sex life then?’  Satan was a little shocked at the girl’s boldness.  He looked at the other people seated at the table, but they didn’t seem really that surprised.  ‘No, not much of a sex life, responded Satan.’  ‘I last had a hooker about two years ago.  Since then nothing much to say.’  Lucy smiled.  Well, I had a boyfriend in the town I came from – I lost my virginity to him.  But I have not had sex for about a year now.’  A saucy look came into her eyes.  ‘Tell me Callodyn, do you want to remedy that situation?’  Callodyn looked straight at her, suddenly quite aware what she was after from him.  ‘You’re a little young for me, don’t you think Lucy.’  ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ she said.  ‘How old are you – about thirty-five?  I’m now eighteen and of legal age.  It’s not that big a difference.  Callodyn smiled.  It was an interesting love game he found himself caught up in.  He was ready to refuse her when he suddenly noticed the bulge in his crotch.  That had never happened before.  As an angel he’d had sex, but the arousal of his member took much time and was left to the ministrations of his lovers.  It had never been aroused so quickly like this before.  Perhaps it was something about being human, he thought to himself.  He looked Lucy over.  Yes, she was quite attractive.  And relatively young.  Perhaps she would make a good lover.  ‘All right Lucy.  After dinner you can come up to my room and I will make you feel very welcome.’  Lucy smiled wickedly.  ‘Great’, she said.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

After dinner, and despite having had sex numerous times before, Satan felt quite nervous.  The lass was very attractive and, as she followed him up to his room, he suddenly felt quite turned on.  Perhaps this is what humans felt, he thought to himself.  They entered his room, closed and locked the door behind him, and sat down on his bed.  Lucy looked at him.  ‘Tell me, have you masturbated much in the past two years?’  Satan laughed a little to himself.  What a question, he thought.  ‘Well, occasionally,’ he said.  ‘I suppose like most men I still get the urges, and I haven’t been in a position to visit a lady for quite a while.’  ‘Well, you needn’t masturbate tonight.  I am still new at this thing, but I have a great appetite for it.  Shall we get undressed?’ ‘Uh, sure,’ replied Satan.  He started to undress and moments later both of them were stark naked.  He looked her over – she was very attractive.  Something in his body reacted strongly to her presence and his member hardened up and stood at attention.  ‘Do you think you can come twice? She asked.  ‘Oh, I guess so,’ Satan said.  ‘Why?’ ‘Well, I will treat you first,’ she said.  ‘Then you can satisfy me.’  That said, she came forward towards him and got down on her knees.  Taking his member in her hand she slowly started to pump it.  After a couple of minutes of this she looked up at him.  ‘Time for your treat,’ she said.  She opened her mouth and took his phallus onto her tongue.  She started sucking it, her saliva all over his member.  Satan looked down at her, totally exhilarated by the experience.  While he had received oral sex before from his various lovers, he had never felt like this.  The girl simply had him in heaven.  Soon, after much sucking, he couldn’t hold back.  His body shook a little, and he felt that familiar feeling of bliss in his loins.  Soon he erupted creamy come into her mouth.  She swallowed the lot and got to her feet, wiping her mouth.  ‘Mmm.  I love the taste of fresh come,’ she said.  ‘It has such a unique flavour to it.  Now it is your turn to treat me.’  She lied back on the bed and spread her legs.  Satan immediately knew what she was after.

 

About twenty minutes later, after they had fully satisfied each other, Lucy started to dress.  ‘Tell you what, lover.  We can make this a regular thing if you like?  I will be here for at least another six months, and I do fancy you.  We can entertain each other if you like?’  Satan looked at her, then thought on his situation.  While he had enjoyed the sex, he couldn’t let it interfere with his main objective.  He was here to find true love – not a nymphomaniac.  ‘Look, I am afraid this will have to be the only time we can do this,’ said Satan.  ‘You are still quite young, and I feel a bit like a cradle-snatcher.  Sorry but it will have to be the one and only time’  ‘Well, all right,’ said Lucy.  ‘Have it your way.  But if you are ever lonely one night, just knock on my door.  Number twenty-five down the hall.’ ‘I’ll remember,’ said Satan.

 

After she had left, Satan thought on what had happened.  The pleasure had been intense.  Far greater than he had ever experienced as an angel.  Perhaps that was why humans were so obsessed with the issue.  ‘One of God’s gifts for mankind,’ he thought to himself.

 

He looked at the clock.  It read ten past eight.  He was not yet very tired, and decided to read a little.  He had noticed that the dresser had a bible on it, provided by the Gideon’s.  He opened it up and started to read.

 

Three hours later, after having read through most of the book of Genesis, he was starting to feel sleepy.  He had come to the end of his first day as a human, and such an experience it had been.  What lies in store for tomorrow? He thought to himself.

 

The following day, after waking at around seven o’clock, he got dressed and went downstairs.  The dining room was empty.  Probably too early, he thought to himself.  Still, as he had noted the night before, there was a fridge in the dining room which contained cartons of milk, and the side table had some bowls and cereal.  Weet-a-bix he thought to himself.  It was a pretty basic meal, but it would do.

 

With the meal finished, he thought on the day ahead of him.  He had a cheque for a hundred pounds in his pocket, which he would need to cash.  But the banks would not likely open until around nine o’clock, so he had nearly two hours to kill.  He decided he would take a walk around Crossden, familiarising himself with it.  If he was to find true love here, he had best get to know the town.

 

Exiting from the hostel, he made his way down the street, heading for what seemed to be the centre of town.  About twenty minutes later he had found the main shopping complex and located a couple of banks.  Looking around the shops he noticed a shoe store.  Logically, that would be the first place to stop after he had his money.  He couldn’t go around without shoes forever.  Finding a park bench, he sat down and waited.

 

He thought of his situation.  Being human was definitely an experience.  He’d had sex for the first time as a human the night before and had been pleasantly surprised at the experience.  Perhaps there would be other things that humanity offered him.

 

After a fair wait, and life starting to come and go throughout the complex, the bank in front of him opened up.  He entered and came to the front counter.  A pretty lady greeted him, bearing a name badge that read ‘Sally’.  Hi Sally, he said.  I have this cheque that I need clearing.  It is from the Social Security office.’   ‘That shouldn’t be a problem,’ replied Sally.  ‘We can clear that right away.’  She typed the details of the cheque into the computer and opened the teller drawer. ‘Are tens alright?’ she asked.  ‘Yes, that will be fine,’ replied Satan.  She counted off ten ten pound notes and handed them over to him.  He took the money and looked at her.  ‘Is that everything,’ he asked.  ‘Yes, that is all,’ she said.  ‘Have a nice day.’  ‘Thanks,’ he said, and exited the bank.

 

One hundred pounds should be enough to buy him some shoes and some other basic necessities he thought to himself.  Naturally, he would need some more clothing, and perhaps a suitcase to keep his clothes in.  Hopefully he would have enough.  ‘First things first,’ he thought to himself.  ‘Some socks, and then some shoes.  Probably some cheap sneakers.’  He entered the main department store of the complex and bought some size twelve socks.  After this he found an appropriate pair of sneakers in the shoe shop and bought them.  As he walked out of the store, he felt a lot better.  They fitted comfortably and took away the ache that had started to come from walking on his feet all the time.  ‘Now some clothing’, he thought to himself.  He walked around the shopping complex, until he noticed a Salvation Army store on the street facing the complex.  ‘Clothes there will definitely be more affordable’, he thought to himself, realising his limited funds.

 

He walked over and entered the store.  After about half an hour he walked out with two extra pairs of jeans, a couple of t-shirts and a nice skivvy.  It was summer at the moment, so he needn’t worry about warmer clothing until winter.  One other thing he would need would be some underpants.  He returned to the department store and bought three pair.  That should do until his regular payment came in.

 

Well, his basics were done with.  One thing he did remember to get was a toothbrush and some toothpaste.  He realised that being human he would need such things to keep himself presentable.  Whenever he had the opportunity he wanted to make a good impression on any possible female contacts.

 

He counted his money – he had forty two pounds left.  That should last him until his regular payment came in.  Of course, he would have to open up a bank account so that his regular payments could come in.  He decided to return to the bank he had cashed the cheque in and open one there.  He came to the bank, and entered.  Again Sally greeted him.  ‘Hello again,’ she said.  ‘I see you have got yourself together a bit.  Where there problems before?’  ‘You could say that,’ said Satan.  ‘Anyway, I would like to open a bank account.  I need somewhere for my social security payments to come into.’  ‘Sure,’ said Sally, and asked him for identification.  About twenty minutes later, after filling in various forms, she presented him with an interim ATM Card.  ‘This should do you until your regular card comes through.  It should be about a week and you can pick it up here.’ ‘Excellent,’ said Satan, and smiled at her.  ‘Your welcome,’ said Sally, smiling back at him.  ‘I wish you luck.’  ‘Thanks,’ said Satan.  He smiled at her and left the building.

 

He’d had to make an initial deposit of ten pounds to open the account – a requirement for that bank, which left him with thirty-two pounds.  That should hopefully last, he thought to himself.

 

What next?  Well, he had already started to think ahead.  Although Crossden was a relatively small town, it did have a nightclub on the main street were the in-crowd would probably hang each night.  He had found the nightclub earlier that morning when walking along the main street towards the shops.  It was called ‘Babylon Night Club’.  He laughed to himself.  ‘Perhaps he would become the ‘Prince of Babylon’ after a while – Lucifer indeed,’ he thought to himself.  Of course, that would be the best place to meet the local women.  Hopefully he would not have to wait too long until he found a suitable love interest.

 

He decided to return to the nightclub to check out its opening hours, which he had forgotten to do earlier.  Written in green letters painted onto the glass door were the opening hours.  7 till 7 – Friday to Sunday night.  Today was Tuesday – three days until Friday night.  That would give him time to familiarise himself with the town and prepare himself for the night.

 

Although he was unemployed, he felt it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.  Unemployment was probably quite high in the small northern Welsh town.  There was a minor recession going on at the moment, but people still mated nonetheless.  He was sure with his own experience with women that he could find one who would call him love.  It was only a matter of time.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

The rest of the day passed, and so did the following two.  He spent most of the time in his own room in the Samaritan Hostel reading the bible, on Thursday visiting the town library to use the internet.  He had thought about trying the online dating agencies that he’d heard about, but soon found out that they charged rather hefty expenses.  And he couldn’t quite afford that at the moment.

 

Friday morning his regular payment came through from Social Security.  Rachel had rung the hostel to inform him that the payment had come through.  He had actually visited her the day before giving her his bank details.  She had smiled warmly at him, asking after his welfare.  She appeared to be a bright, bubbly person, and Satan was finding himself drawn to her.

 

The payment was, as promised, two-hundred and eighty-five pounds.  As he didn’t have to pay for his lodging at the Samaritans for another week and a half, he had some spare spending money for the nightclub.  One hundred pounds should be enough, he thought to himself.  That should definitely take care of all drinks – both for himself and any potential girls who came his way.

 

At a quarter to seven on Friday night, Satan prepared himself.  He had bought a nice pair of formal trousers and a shirt from the department store in town.  He wanted to at least look as if he had ‘Some’ money.  He looked at himself in the mirror.  ‘Yes, you should do,’ he thought to himself.  He left the hostel and started walking towards the nightclub.  About fifteen minutes later he arrived.  As he was unused to the nightclub scene he didn’t realise that most people didn’t show up until at least eleven pm at that club.  He bought a club soda from the bar and the bartender told him that the dancing didn’t start until ten-thirty.  He would have to wait around, he thought to himself.  Taking his club soda, he walked over to a table by the side of the room and seated himself.  Club sodas were only two pound, so he could sip on them for a few hours.

 

About twenty minutes later an unaccompanied lady entered the club and walked over to the bar.  Satan looked her over.  She was dressed in a black mini-skirt and a red shirt.  At the moment he couldn’t see her face but, after she bought a drink, she turned around.  He was pleasantly surprised – it was Rachel from the Social Security office.  She spotted him and, to his surprise, made her way over to him.  ‘Hello Callodyn,’ she said.  ‘Do you mind if I sit here.  ‘No, not at all,’ replied Satan.  She smiled at him, took a sip on her drink, and looked around.  Satan was curious about her and spoke up.  ‘Out of curiosity, what are you doing here?  I assumed you would be married, or at least have a boyfriend or something.’  ‘No, no boyfriend.  And I’ve never been married.  Actually, there isn’t that many males in Crossden for me to pick from.  I mostly come here to socialise and dance with old friends – usually a bit later.  But I decided to come early tonight as I really had nothing to do.’  She looked at his clothes.  ‘My, you scrub up nicely,’ she said.  For the first time in his existence, Satan blushed.  ‘Uh, thanks he said.  I was able to afford these clothes with today’s payment.  And I felt like getting out from the hostel.  I found this place on Tuesday, so I thought I would drop in.  Actually, it is the very first time I have been to a nightclub.  I am not actually all that much of a socialite.  Especially, as you could guess, in the past year.’  Rachel smiled at him.  ‘Well, hopefully that will change.  Tell you what, if you are still here later on, you could dance with me if you like.’ Satan smiled.  ‘Yes, sure.  That would be great.’

 

They chatted for the next few hours, mostly Rachel talking about her life.  Satan shared a little of his own – mostly the tale he had fabricated.  Rachel had been born in Crossden hospital, and had lived here all her life.  She had studied a degree in Finance at Cardiff University, but had returned home as she liked the small town life and didn’t really like the big city.  She lived at home with her mother Celia, while her Father had passed on.  She had a younger brother called Jeremy who lived on the south side of town, working as a mechanic.  She’d had a couple of boyfriends since she turned eighteen but now at twenty-six she was single and looking.  She was so desperate that she had recently tried one of the Welsh dating services.  Although the fees were rather high, something Satan could relate to, there were a fair array of men to choose from.  Unfortunately there was not really anybody in the local area, so she’d only been on one date, travelling to Cardiff, and that hadn’t really worked out.  ‘I’ll probably always be single,’ she had said to him.  Satan doubted that.  From what he had seen and gotten to know of Rachel, she was a lovely young lady.  She had a bubbly personality and a winning smile.  She was reasonably attractive and had a nice body.  He was, as he had said, surprised that she was still single.

 

At ten-thirty the music started.  There were about a dozen people in the club and some of the females took to the dance floor.  Rachel looked at Satan.  ‘Well, are we still on for that dance?’  ‘Sure,’ said Satan.  They got to their feet and walked over to the dance floor.  Satan had never tried the modern types of dances.  He was used to the sophisticated jigs of the angels, somewhat afraid to try the very sensual dances that humanity had developed in recent years.  However, he tried his best.  Rachel, he soon found out, was a very good dancer.  Talented, he felt.  She waved her arms in the air and grooved in time to the music.  They spent about an hour there dancing, before Satan said he was feeling a little tired.  ‘Sure, we can stop,’ said Rachel.  ‘Thanks’, said Satan.

 

They returned to their table.  ‘You dance very well,’ said Satan.  ‘You’re a natural, I think.’ Rachel blushed.  ‘Thanks, she said.  ‘I do like to dance.  It’s a way of letting go and expressing myself.’  ‘You certainly do that, said Satan.

 

They continued to chat for about another hour or so.  Eventually Rachel said that she had to go.  ‘I am a little tired,’ she said.  ‘I was up early this morning, and it is getting rather late.  So if you don’t mind I will let you be.’ Satan thought quickly.  ‘Umm.  Do you have a car, or are you walking home?’  ‘Walking, actually.  I only live about five minutes from here, and walking saves on petrol.  Very expensive these days, as you probably know.’  ‘Well, I could walk you home if you like.  I am pretty beat myself, so was thinking of leaving also.  But I would be quite happy to walk you back to your place.’  Rachel looked at him, uncertainty on her face.  ‘Well, alright, I guess.  I still don’t really know you that well, but you seem trustworthy to me.  Sure, you can walk me home.’  ‘Great,’ said Satan.  They stood and made there way out of the club.

 

Once outside Rachel pointed towards the north.  ‘I live in some flats just up the road a bit.  It’s a two bedroom flat that me and my mum share.  When dad died we sold the home, and moved closer to town.  It has proved quite handy.’

 

As they walked along, Satan thought about his situation.  After only a few days he had made a female friend.  Luck seemed to be on his side.  Naturally, he couldn’t know if Rachel would fall for him or not, but it was at least a start.

 

A few minutes later they came to her flat.  ‘This is it,’ she said.  ‘Number seven on the top floor.’  She looked up and noticed the light was still on.  ‘Mother seems to be up, so I could invite you in for a coffee if you like.’ ‘Sure,’ said Satan, happy to oblige.  They climbed the stairs and came to number seven.  Rachel knocked and shortly an elderly lady answered the door.  ‘Mum, this is a friend of mine called Callodyn.  He is new to town, and I thought he might like a cup of coffee.  I hope you don’t mind.’ ‘No, that is all right,’ responded Rachel’s Mother.  ‘Come in Callodyn.  My name is Celia.  Make yourself at home.  I will put the kettle on.’  Rachel’s mother led the way into the main living room, and headed towards the adjoining kitchenette.  Rachel motioned for Satan to sit.  ‘Coffee or tea,’ shouted Celia to Satan from the Kitchen.  ‘Coffee will be fine,’ responded Satan.  ‘I’ll have a coffee too,’ said Rachel.  A short while later Celia returned carrying a tray with three cups of steaming coffee on them.  She handed a mug to Satan who carefully took it.  He took a sip, smiled at its strong flavour, and put the mug down.  Celia looked across at him.  ‘So, Callodyn.  Your new to town.  Have you come here for a job or something.’  ‘Uh, no actually,’ replied Satan.  ‘Not quite’.  Rachel spoke up.  ‘Callodyn has had a hard time recently, mother.  He has just gone on the Social Security payment after living on the streets for a fair while.  He is staying at the Samaritan hostel for now.’  ‘Is that so,’ said Celia, a sympathetic look in her eyes.  ‘Yes, the Samaritan hostel.  That is just down from your office, isn’t it Rachel.’  ‘Yes mother, that’s the one.’ ‘And how are you finding that, Callodyn?’ Celia asked Satan.  ‘Oh, its fine,’ said Satan.  ‘After living on the streets it’s a welcome relief’.  I could imagine, said Celia.  She yawned.  ‘Well, I am quite tired now.  I was just waiting up for you Rachel, but now that you have company I think I will go to bed.’  ‘Sure’, said Rachel.  Celia got up and picked up the book she had been reading.  ‘Well, it was nice to meet you Callodyn.  I hope you find what you are looking for here in Crossden.’ ‘So do I,’ replied Satan.  Celia kissed Rachel and turned towards one of the doors leading into her bedroom. 

 

After she had gone, Rachel looked towards Satan.  ‘She’s a good mum.  Very caring’  ‘I’m sure she is,’ replied Satan.  They chatted for about another 20 minutes, Rachel showing him some photos of her when she was younger.  Eventually Satan felt that he had about stayed his welcome and decided to leave.  ‘Well, I must be going, he said.’ ‘Sure,’ replied Rachel.  ‘Well, maybe I will see you at the nightclub again next week.  It’s a small town so it will give you something to do.’  ‘Yes, I guess you will,’ replied Satan.  With that said, he got to his feet.  Rachel showed him to the door.  ‘Good night Callodyn.  It was very nice to get to know you.’ ‘You too,’ replied Satan.  He smiled at her and turned and made his way down the stairwell.

Chapter Six

 

Later that night, as Satan retired to his bedroom, he thought about Rachel.  She was indeed a nice girl and had expressed interest in meeting up with him again.  Although he had a full five years to complete his task, he now thought that he might have it done much sooner than that.  Time would only tell.

 

Over the next week Satan looked forward to Friday night.  In fact he anxiously anticipated the night, actually looking forward to spending more time with Rachel.  He had been giving her some thought during the week and reminisced about her bubbly, bright and endearing character.  She was really quite a nice girl and he found that he strongly desired to meet up with her again.

 

Eventually Friday night came.  He got dressed up in his shirt and pants again, and left the hostel at around seven pm.  Better to be a little later than last week he thought to himself.  When he arrived he looked around.  Rachel was not yet there.  Patience, he thought to himself.  She had said she would see him again next week, so he had to assume she meant it.

 

After a couple of hours and a few club sodas later, Rachel had still not arrived.  ‘I guess she is not coming,’ Satan reluctantly thought to himself.  He looked down at his club soda and mulled that over.  As he was thinking on the matter, a voice spoke to him.  ‘Hello Callodyn.  Glad you could make it.’  He looked up.  It was Rachel.  ‘Hi Rachel,’ he smiled.  ‘I had thought you weren’t coming.’  ‘Oh, no.  I was just busy at home, that’s all.’  She sat down.  ‘So, how has your week been?  Do anything interesting?’  ‘No, not really,’ replied Satan.  As you probably know, there is not much to do in Crossden.  I visited the library a couple of times.  Surfed the net and read some magazines.  But mostly it has been pretty quiet.  Such is the substance of the unemployed life, I guess.’  ‘Yes, I guess so,’ said Rachel.  ‘But you seem to be a pretty intelligent guy.  Have you thought about looking for work.  You told me you worked in a pub in Hull.  We have a couple of them here in Crossden.  Perhaps you could put your name in?’ Satan looked at her, thinking about that.  Rachel apparently seemed to show concern for his unemployment situation.  It was quite nice of her, he thought, to want to help him out.  Another positive character trait.  ‘Yes, I suppose I could do that.  But I don’t actually have a resume anymore.’ ‘Oh, that shouldn’t be a problem,’ replied Rachel.  If you give them my name as a referee I will be glad to give you a reference.’  Satan smiled.  ‘Thanks, he said.  I guess I could do that.  It would give me something to do with my time and I suppose be an extra income.’  ‘Yes it would,’ replied Rachel.

 

Again, they chatted on until ten thirty, Satan getting to know here even better.  She told him about her father, who had been one of the few British soldiers to die in the recent Iraqi conflict.  She had fond memories of him, a glint in her eye as she reminisced.  Her life, so it seemed, revolved around her family.  Her brother, Jeremy, was twenty-five, a year younger than her.  He lived with his wife, Samantha, and they were expecting their first child in a few months.  From what she said, Rachel was certainly looking forward to being an Aunt.  She had a Grandmother who was still alive, who lived in Beltingham, north of Crossden.  She worked in the library there which stunned Satan.  She must have been the librarian who he had met.  He had thought about sharing that with Rachel, but felt better of it, preferring to keep his recent journeys to himself.

 

When ten thirty came around, they again took to the dance floor, and danced this time for about two hours.  Satan found that he didn’t actually mind this modern dancing, and was starting to get used to it.  At around twenty to one they stopped and returned to their seats.

 

That was great,’ said Rachel.  ‘You seem to be getting the swing of it, Callodyn.’  ‘I suppose,’ Satan replied. ‘It is rather tiring though.’  ‘A young man like yourself should be able to handle that, though,’ said Rachel.  ‘Yes, I guess so,’ said Satan, amused that she had no idea how old he really was.

 

Later on, as the night passed, they eventually decided to leave.  Satan once again asked her if he could walk her home, to which Rachel acquiesced.  At the door to her flat Rachel said that it would be best if he didn’t come in, as her mother had gone to bed.  ‘Quite all right,’ said Satan, understanding the girl’s reservations.  Rachel looked straight at him.  ‘But, you can kiss me if you like.’  Satan stood there stunned.  He had not counted on such a situation coming to the fore so soon.  He hesitated a moment, in which Rachel frowned a little.  ‘Well, do you want to or not?’ she asked.  ‘Yes, certainly,’ said Satan.  He leaned forward and gave her a quick kiss on the lips.  He felt it would be inappropriate to open his mouth, as they were still, relatively speaking, getting to know each other.  She took the kiss and closed her eyes.  A moment later she opened her eyes and looked straight at him.  ‘That was nice,’ she said.  ‘Very,’ replied Satan.  ‘Well, will you be at the club again next week?’ he asked.  ‘For sure, said Rachel.  I will see you there.’  She smiled and turned to her door, opened it and went inside.  Satan stood there a few moments before making his way down the stairwell.

 

As he got home, his mind was full of thoughts, all of them about Rachel.  That kiss had been wonderful, he thought to himself.  Rachel was such a fun-loving girl, and full of life, that Satan could honestly say he was completely and utterly attracted to her.  Physically, mentally and spiritually attracted.  She seemed the perfect mate.  His thoughts were, in fact, so positive about her, that he had not really thought that much about his agenda with her in the first place.  He had seemingly forgotten that it was her who had to fall in love with him, and not the other way around.

 

All that week Satan thought about Rachel.  He even walked past the Social Security office one day to see if he could see her.  He spied her, busily at work, but didn’t go in.  He could wait until Friday night.

 

When Friday night came around, he tried on a new shirt he had bought.  He had paid the Samaritans for the two weeks ahead, a total of one hundred and fifty pounds, which left him with about one hundred and sixty pounds that he had not spent.  Subconsciously he seemed to be saving whatever he could spare.

 

He arrived at the club at seven thirty.  Rachel, he thought, would probably not be there until later.  But he was pleasantly surprised to find her seated at their usual table.  He walked over and smiled at her.  ‘Hello Callodyn,’ she said.  ‘Hello Rachel,’ he responded and sat down.

 

Later that night, walking her home as usual, Satan was rather nervous.  He was looking forward to possibly kissing her again.  When they came to her door, Rachel looked at him.  ‘Would you like to come in?’ she asked.  Satan looked at her, a little shocked at what he perceived to be forwardness from someone who at first had seemed so reserved.  ‘Sure, all right.  I would love to.’  They entered the flat, and Rachel went to the kitchenette to prepare some Coffee.  They chatted about half an hour before Satan felt that perhaps he should be going.  Rachel looked at him, her eyes gleaming.  ‘Sure,’ she said.  ‘You can go if you want to.  But you could, if you want to that is, stay the night.’  Satan looked at her.  ‘Umm, on the couch you mean?  Well, alright.  If you don’t mind.’  ‘Rachel came over to him, and gave him a short kiss.  ‘I wasn’t thinking about the couch, Callodyn’  Satan was shocked.  Was Rachel really suggesting what he thought she was suggesting.  However, he soon came to the realization from the look in her eyes that she indeed was.  ‘Yes,’ he said.  ‘I think I can stay the night.’  She smiled and motioned for him to follow her.  She walked over to one of the doors and opened it.  It was her bedroom, of course, and it had a rather elegant double bed in it.  ‘Well, are you coming?’ she said.  ‘Of course,’ replied Satan, and followed her into her room.

 

She closed the door and looked at him.  ‘We will have to be quiet.  I’m a grown girl now, and my mum respects that, but courtesy is still important.’  With that said, she smiled, looked at him nervously, and started to unbutton her shirt.  At first he just stood there, stunned at what was going on in front of him.  But, after she motioned for him to undress also, he started taking off his clothes.  Soon they were both in their underwear.  Rachel got on the bed, and spoke.  ‘Callodyn, I haven’t been with a man intimately in four years.  So you will forgive me if I’m not up to scratch.’ ‘Don’t worry about it,’ said Satan, who smiled at her.  Tenderly he stroked her hair.  ‘Rachel, I really don’t know how to say this, but I think I am falling in love with you.’  Rachel looked at him then looked down.  After a moment she looked back up.  ‘Yes Callodyn.  I think, perhaps, I am starting to feel the same about you.’ Satan smiled and moved his lips forward.  They kissed, this time with mouths open, exploring each others hidden delights.

 

Later that night, after having made quite passionate love, Rachel had fallen asleep and Satan just lay on the bed, looking up at the ceiling.  Rachel had been an intense lover, he thought to himself.  The passion with which she had kissed him had been overwhelming.  When he had entered her it felt totally blissful.  To make love to someone he now loved, and in human form, was an experience totally unlike anything he had ever gone through before.  If this was love, he thought to himself, he wanted it to never end.

 

Chapter Seven

 

In the next few weeks life simply got better and better for Satan.  He, at Rachel’s request, applied for work at the Crossden Pubs, and was successful in getting two weekend shifts at the ‘Red Boar’.  Although he didn’t really have any experience in pouring drinks, he quickly learned that as long as you could pour a beer, not too much else was expected.  His second night on the job, Rachel came and visited him.  They chatted for ages, and he showed her around the pub, showing her the back rooms, and the cellar were the lager was stored.

 

Naturally, they spent most Friday nights at the club, but soon started having lunches at the small café across from her work place.

 

One weekend she took him to visit her brother Jeremy.  Jeremy was now a born-again Christian, attending the local Assemblies of God Pentecostal church.  Satan had a great deal of knowledge on the subject and the two of them talked for hours.  Jeremy even invited Satan to church, something which Satan agreed to.  In his many years on earth he had heard many a sermon on the various virtues of Christian living.  The Pentecostals were, of course, the most fired-up of the new post-reformation Christian movements, claiming to have the genuine early church experience of the Holy Spirit – especially with the evidence of speaking in tongues.  Rachel, he found out, was a modernistic church of England goer, but had a positive attitude towards her brothers religion, unlike many other of the old church types in her church.  The service was an interesting affair.  Many people indeed spoke in tongues, with one interpretation given.  The tongue itself was not in any language that Satan had ever heard – in earth or in heaven – but it seemed to satisfy the congregation.

 

After the service ended, the pastor came up to Satan.  Well my friend, how did you find the sermon.  Did it challenge you?  May I ask, have you ever given your life to the Lord Jesus?  No, I am not really of the Christian persuasion,’ responded Satan.  ‘More of the Old Testament perspective on things.’ ‘So you’re Jewish then, are you? Asked the pastor.  ‘No, not Jewish, exactly’ replied Satan.  ‘But I guess I share the same God as the Jews.’  ‘Well, that is a positive,’ replied the Pastor.  ‘Belief in God is the foundation of all godly living.  I’m glad to see you’ve got a start.’  ‘Yes, I suppose so,’ replied Satan.  ‘Well, if you can, you should see if you can come again next week,’ said the Pastor.  ‘We are preaching on the Devil.’  ‘Fascinating,’ replied Satan, slightly amused.  ‘I will see if I can attend’.

 

The following week Satan did not attend the service.  He didn’t really fancy anymore degradation of his name.  Rachel asked him if he would like to attend the Church of England service instead.  She attended church once every month, occasionally missing.  She had told him in conversation that she did really believe in God, and the Bible to a degree, but was not really a fundamentalist.  She was open to different perspectives, so she said.  This didn’t surprise Satan.  For her to have slept with him so soon after meeting him obviously meant she was not that taken with the Christian virtue of chastity.  That was just the prevailing culture of the time in which the Scriptures were written, Rachel had said, showing Satan that she at least had a view on the issue.  For Satan, who had intimate knowledge with the composition of the Scriptures, her position seemed a reasonable one.

 

The Church of England had made great progress in the last few years in redefining their central doctrines.  So much so that even the resurrection, which even Satan did not really fully understand, was allowed to be questioned by members of the priesthood and laity alike.  Of course, homosexual priests were now quite common.  The church of Englands’ old adversaries, the Catholics, still refused to ordain homosexual priests, faithfully holding to the ancient teachings of the New Testament and their holy catechisms.

 

So Satan agreed to attend church with Rachel.

 

The service was the traditional mass – high church style.  The sermon itself was on the subject of forgiveness.  The priest stressed that, just as we had been forgiven by God, we should likewise forgive others.  Satan saw the wisdom in the sermon.

 

Later that night, when the two of them were in bed together, Rachel asked him a question.  ‘Callodyn. If we were ever to, you know, possibly get married, do you think it could be in the Church of England.  It is the church I grew up with and the one I feel most comfortable with.  I know you are not a Christian, but it isn’t  that problematic, is it?’  ‘Married?’ said Satan, a little shocked.  ‘I had not really thought that far into the future.  I mean, that’s a big step isn’t it.  Marriage and all.  Are you sure your ready for such a thing?’  ‘Oh, I didn’t mean we should actually get married,’ said Rachel.  ‘I was just speculating that if such a thing ever became a reality, we could make it in the Church of England.’  Satan looked at her.  ‘Well, yes. If you like.  The Church of England is a fine choice.  I generally agree with much of what they go on about.  Yes, it won’t be a problem.’  Rachel smiled, and hugged him.  ‘You know, Callodyn, you are my one true love.  I would forsake all others to be with you.’  Satan looked at her, her eyes shining.  ‘Dearest Rachel, I feel the same about you.’

 

One week later, Satan started to think about his life as human.  He had gone from searching for a woman to love him, to actually falling in love himself.  And now he had the potential for living out a life with his love.  He was thinking this over late one night, when he heard a knock on his hostel door.  Rising from his bed, he went over to the door, and opened it.  Standing there was his one-time lover, the female Onaphim Aphrayel.  She smiled at him, and entered the room.  After briefly looking the room over, she turned towards Satan.  ‘Well, Satan, it would seem as if you have had success.  We have been watching you from heaven and are aware that the woman Rachel has expressed her deepest love for you, preparing to forsake all others to be with you.’  ‘Yes,' said Satan, 'that is the case.’  ‘You have done well,’ replied Aphrayel.  ‘Yet, I am sure you remember the terms of the agreement.  For you to return to the realm, you must reveal to her your true identity.  You must tell her you are Satan, the Devil.’  Satan looked at Aphrayel, and then looked away.  Soon he returned his gaze towards the Seraphim.  ‘Look, I don’t know if I can really do that.  I – I love Rachel.  Deeply.  So much so that I am thinking about asking her to be my wife.  I couldn’t run the risk of letting her know my true identity.  She would leave me for certain.’  ‘That is unfortunate,’ replied Aphrayel.  Yet the terms are irrevocable.  For you to return to the realm, you must tell the woman your true identity.  You must let her know you are Satan himself.’  ‘Yes, I know, I know,’ said Satan.  ‘I guess there is nothing else for it.  I will just have to tell her who I am.’  ‘Yes, you will, replied Aphrayel.  Fortunately, time is on your side.  You still have well over four years to share this news with her.  Should you be successful, you will be returned to the realm immediately.’ With those words spoken, Aphrayel smiled at Satan, excused herself, and left the room.

 

A number of weeks later, Satan felt the time was right to tell Rachel who he really was.  If she could accept his true identity, and still love him, he would be able to return to the realm straight away.  But was it worth the risk of losing her, he thought to himself.  He loved her deeply, and didn’t really want to run the risk of losing her in any way.  But the thought of returning to the realm was also a compelling pull on his life.  I will have to see what love really is made of, he thought to himself.

 

After they had been out to see a movie, and were walking along the main street of Crossden, Satan took her aside.  ‘Rachel,’ he said.  ‘There is something I need to share with you.  Something of grave importance.’  Rachel looked straight at him.  ‘Whatever could it be, dearest Callodyn?’ Callodyn looked straight into her eyes, and then realized just how much he loved her so.  Suddenly it became clear what he should say.  ‘Rachel, my dearest.  Will you’ - he paused looking for the courage – ‘will you marry me?’ ‘Rachel looked straight at him, then a smile of pure joy came over her face.  Oh.  Oh Callodyn. Of course Callodyn.  Oh definitely.  I love you so and would be honoured to be your wife.’  Callodyn smiled and hugged her.  He hadn’t told her who he was but knew that he couldn’t.  He loved her too much.

 

Three months later, they wed.  St Bartholomew’s Church of England hosted the service, with a large turnout.  The reception was held at the ‘Babylon’ night club, with most of Rachel’s close friends and family in attendance.

 

Later that night, when the partying was nearly over, Callodyn spied a familiar face at the back of the club.  It was Aphrayel.  He walked over to her and queried her presence.  ‘What are you doing here Aphrayel.  I don’t remember inviting you?’ ‘It has come to our attention that you have not shared your true identity with the woman Rachel, and married her anyway.  Because of this, the situation has changed.’  ‘What do you mean, the situation has changed?’  ‘Father has decided that unless you share your true identity with the woman Rachel, she will be taken from you to the grave - and that within one week from now.’  Satan looked at her, the anger apparent on his face.  ‘But you said I had five years to tell her.  You are changing the terms – that is terrible.  It can’t be right!’  ‘Those terms were incumbent upon you sharing your true identity with the woman ‘Before’ any marriage took place.  Father has deemed that such a marriage, between an angel and a human, is only lawful if both partners are completely aware of the identity of the other.  Thus, as you failed to tell Rachel who you were, she will be taken from you within one week – unless of course you share with her your true identity.’  Satan looked at her, the anger on his face apparent, then spat at the ground.  ‘Very well, I will tell her who I am.  But heaven be damned if she leaves me.’ With that said, Satan turned away from the female Onaphim, and returned to the party.

 

Two days later, Satan felt the time had come.  He and Rachel were on their honeymoon, staying in a small hotel on the Welsh coast.  After having made love that morning, the two of them were relaxing on the large king-size bed.  Satan dreaded what he had to say to her, but knew that there was no escaping it.  God had deemed it so.  He looked at her, smiling at his love.  ‘Rachel,’ he said softly.  There is something I need to share with you.’ Rachel looked at him.  ‘Yes, my love.  What is it?’ Satan steeled himself.  ‘Rachel,’ he began.  ‘It is about my name.  My name is not really Callodyn Bradlock.  Rather, it is a much older name.  A name with an identity associated with it.’  Rachel gave him a puzzled look.  ‘Whatever could you mean Callodyn?  What do you mean, your real name?’  Satan looked straight at her.  ‘I am not Callodyn Bradlock at all.  That is not my real name.  I am, in truth, Satan the Devil.  I am the ancient adversary.’  Rachel looked at him for a moment, a puzzled look on her face, and then laughed.  ‘Oh, Callodyn.  You do have such a strange sense of humour.’  Satan took hold of her, and gave her a direct look.  ‘I am telling you the truth.  I am Satan, the Devil.  The old adversary.’  Rachel looked at him, and could tell he was being serious.  ‘Ok.  If you are Satan, the Devil, then prove it.  Prove to me that you are actually the Devil.’ Satan looked at her then said, ‘Very well, I shall.’ He looked at her again, and thought about the situation.  Now that he had told her, and she had responded with unbelief, he was not sure what he actually could do next to prove himself.  If she simply didn’t believe him, what could he actually do.  All of a sudden, a light shone down into the room, coming from an unknown source.  And a voice accompanied the light.  ‘The terms are fulfilled.  You have kept your word and told her the truth.’  Rachel looked stunned.  ‘What the hell was that?’ she said.  ‘What was that voice and that light.’  Satan looked at her, and then felt a change come over his body.  Gradually he changed form, coming into the angelic form he previously inhabited.  He looked at Rachel and spoke up.  ‘I love you Rachel, please believe me.’ Before he could say anything else, he was suddenly caught up in another light storm.  It dragged him up through the ceiling of the room, up into the air above the hotel.  And suddenly he was spinning in a vortex of light.  The sensation was familiar.  He had felt such a thing when he was originally exiled to Earth from the realm.  Soon there came into view a bright, glowing vista before him.  It was the golden city of the realm - once his home.  Soon he landed on the ground, and the light left him.  He was home.  He looked around.  Standing just before him was the Logos.  When Satan stood up, the Logos came forwards.  ‘Greetings Brother Samael.’  Samael was Satan’s name before he had fallen. It would seem it was now restored to him.  ‘Welcome home.’  The Logos came forward and hugged him.  Just then Satan, now Samael, noticed that there were actually a number of angels standing before him.  Sandalphon was there.  So was Aphrayel.  As well as his old friends Atros, Belzavier, Raznadore and Shadray.  They had all come out to greet him.  ‘Welcome home brother,’ they all said in unison.  ‘It is so good to see you.’  Samael smiled, and looked around.  He was home.  Whatever else, he was home.

 

Chapter Eight

 

In the next few months Samael adjusted to life once again in the heavenly realm.  It was a blissful feeling, naturally.  Totally unlike the difficult sojourn he had faced on earth.  The second week back he had been given an audience with the Father in the central throne room.  God had greeted his son, and welcomed him warmly back to heaven.  His atonement was now complete.  He had been returned to a full standing in the angelic community, and could now take up his previous position.

 

However, as the months slowly passed, and a year approached, Samael felt a longing in his heart.  It was Rachel.  The daughter of Eve, the woman who he had married and fell in love with – the woman he now felt an unbearably deep longing for.  Certainly, he had desired to return to the realm, now realising that had been the trade-off.  But he questioned in his heart wether or not he had really done the right thing.  Human love was so strange.  So compelling and so urgent.  Angelic love was much softer and patient.  Gentler even.  But, it was human love that, for Samael, ultimately held the most appeal.  Yet what could he do?  He now lived in the realm and could only visit Earth when sent there by his Father.  How could he return to his true love, Rachel.

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

At the end of his year sojourn back in heaven, Samael decided that he would act upon Aphrayel’s words.  He would see Father about his concerns.  It was his final hope. Perhaps Father would consent to Samael returning to Earth.  He at least had to try.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

 

The day of his appointment came and Samael fronted the throne room.  God was an omnipresent being, but related to the angels through the mediancy of the ever-burning fire situated atop of the throne.  God greeted him.  ‘Welcome Samael.  What is your business with me today?’  Father, as you know I came from Earth just last year, leaving a woman who had professed her deepest love for me.  However, I also love her, and that greatly.  The love is so compelling that I feel I can’t live without it.  I ask you, in your mercy, please return me to Earth and allow me to live out my life with the woman Rachel.  God was silent for a while.  However, he eventually spoke.  ‘Samael, I have searched your heart.  I know that this love is indeed true.  As you have atoned for your sin in my sight, I will grant you this request.  You will return to earth to live as a mortal.  When you die, you will be returned here to heaven.  Rachel may also live with you here in heaven when she dies, rather than in humanities paradise.  This grace I will allow you.  Go in peace, my son.’  Samael stared at the flames, until realisation of what God had said dawned upon him.  He had been successful.  Praise God, he thought to himself.  Praise God.

 

One week later, after having bid his friends farewell, Aphrayel came to his abode.  ‘Are you ready?’ she asked.  ‘As ready as I ever will be,’ replied Samael.  ‘Very well, let us go.’  Just then the familiar vortex of light appeared over Samael’s head.  It soon encompassed him and the familiar journey to Earth took place.

 

A few moments later, he opened his eyes, and looked around.  He was dressed in Jeans and a T-Shirt, and stood just in front of the Samaritan hostel.  He was back in Crossden.  ‘Thank God’, he thought to himself.  Looking at the sky, it was about midday.  He didn’t know what day of the week it was, but decided to try looking for Rachel at work.  He ran as fast as he could to the Social Security office.  Looking in through the window, he spied Rachel at her desk.  She seemed sad.  A look of despair was on her face.  Just then, Satan regretted ever leaving her.  Love was such an important thing he thought to himself.  He would never let it go again.

 

He entered the building, and came to her desk.  Without looking up, Rachel asked, ‘Yes, can I help you.’  Samael smiled.  ‘Yes, you can, wife of mine.’  Rachel quickly looked up, shocked at the person standing before her.  ‘Callodyn,’ she said.  ‘Is it, is it really you.’  ‘Yes, my love.  It is I.’ She got to her feet and ran quickly around the side of the desk, almost bowling him over, throwing her arms around him.  ‘Oh my dearest.  Callodyn.  Callodyn. I had thought I had lost you forever.  That day in the hotel – I thought it had been a hallucination.  And suddenly you were gone.’  Samael looked into her eyes.  ‘That was a test of heaven dear Rachel,’ he said.  ‘Perhaps both for me and you.   But it is over now.  And I will never leave you again.  I swear that to you.’  She continued to hug and kiss him, the absolute joy in her face giving pure happiness to Samael’s heart.  Samael had found true love.  True, pure and honest love.  Love that would last forever.

Epilogue

 

God considered the life of Rachel.  In due course, she would die, and with Samael join him in the Realm of Infinity, which would be her home.  Rachel was to be a special human.  And more than human – angelic.  He thought on the words she had once spoken, about the only love for God being an Israelite queen.  God thought on his nature, and understood his children’s perspective, which were to his mind in some ways opposed.  An infinite being did not relate in exactly the same ways that finite beings did.  It did not seek the types of relationships, or the same type of love, in the same way, that his creations did.  Many of them yearned for love – deeply.  But God had existed eternally alone.  Love had been in him – it surrounded him – it filled his life and soul.  Each moment he dwelt in spiritual bliss.  The creation of Angels and Mankind had been from a yearning, though, to express that love.  To let it have a medium, an avenue, in which he could share his heart and joy.  But that love needed to be tested.  It needed to go through certain trials and tribulations before it could be shown to be real – to be shown to be genuine.

 

Life on earth was part of that test and trial for his children.  In this life they would learn love and joy – yet because of the nature of evil, hate and despair as well.  Such was the reality of their condition, a reality he knew so well.

 

Rachel, a child of Israel, was, despite her thinking otherwise, to be his queen one day.  He had many queens, many beloved daughters and princesses – but Rachel was to be the lastborn of the Cherubim, and the firstborn of the Ketravim.  She, like Semyaza, Michael and the others, held a special place in his heart.  They were the firstborn, his beloved ones.  Other children did capture his heart in a way that they did not always do so, but they would be, due to their birthright, the honoured ones.  The ones set apart for a glory all their own.

 

Rachel was loved.  And in the destiny ahead of her, he would make her aware of the love that was felt for her.  Both his own, and that of many others.  Many others.

 

THE END


Rachel’s Lament’


Rachel Rothchild. She sat there, unmoving, looking into space. Looking nowhere, not wanting to see anything, wanting to forget. Wanting to forget about all the madness of love – love given, yet a love gone, and never to return. An impossible love, in the end. Stupid girl. Should have known better. They come, look all handsome, win your heart, and then they are gone. Taken away in some grand hallucination, and then left in an empty bed. Left to misery and lament, a lost love, forsaken.


Her mother Celia had tried consoling her, as had Jeremy, but to no avail. No, she would not be consoled. She could NOT be consoled. So she sat there, in her flat in Crossden, staring at the wall on a Saturday afternoon, depressed as fucking hell. Her mother walked into the room from her bedroom after a while, looked at her glumly, and decided she would think better of the situation and returned to her bedroom. But Rachel didn’t care. Hey, who gives a fuck. Eventually, not knowing what else to do, she took herself off from the flat, and walked out onto the streets of Crossden, not knowing were she was going, not caring. As she walked she thought on Callodyn’s gentle touch. She thought on his strong arms, his protective arms, his arms of love. And thinking she would never feel that love again she found herself on a bridge, looking down at the tarmac below, and stepping off, not caring, not caring.

*

It was a few hours later, gradually coming into consciousness in the hospital, that Rachel felt the pain in her back instantly. But she was alive. And, somehow, things felt better. She noticed her mother and her brother from the corner of her eye, and the priest. The Anglican priest, reverend Dawson, sitting with Celia, comforting her. He looked at her, noticed her waking up, and smiled.

She’s awake, Celia.’

Celia came over, stroked Rachel’s head, and said ‘Oh Rachel. Dear Rachel.’


As the weeks passed she recovered, and realized she had been prayed for. And so, coming out of the hospital, the doctors telling her to be careful with her back, she came to reverend Dawson and sat with him late in the afternoons, learning about Jesus. She quit her work after a while and her mother agreed to support her, but Social Security offered her a disability pension for her back problems, so she didn’t complain. Learning about Jesus, learning about his love and grace, was fulfilling. She was now getting better. Learning to rely on her saviour, a saviour which actually cared for her, which showed her peace and consolation, a saviour which ministered to her heart. She felt better. 14 months and her back had somewhat recovered. She ventured into social security, cancelled her disability pension and they simply offered her job back. She took it. She sat there one day, but Callodyn entered her head. And then a voice spoke to her. Without looking up, Rachel asked, ‘Yes, can I help you.’

Yes, you can, wife of mine.’ Rachel quickly looked up, shocked at the person standing before her. ‘Callodyn,’ she said. ‘Is it, is it really you.’

Yes, my love. It is I.’

She got to her feet and ran quickly around the side of the desk, almost bowling him over, throwing her arms around him. ‘Oh my dearest. Callodyn. Callodyn. I had thought I had lost you forever. That day in the hotel – I thought it had been a hallucination. And suddenly you were gone.’

Samael looked into her eyes. ‘That was a test of heaven dear Rachel,’ he said. ‘Perhaps both for me and you. But it is over now. And I will never leave you again. I swear that to you.’ She continued to hug and kiss him, the absolute joy in her face giving pure happiness to Samael’s heart.

*

Things don’t always go the way we expect them, Rachel. There is something about life. Something about this life we live. With all its dramas, complexities, and fates and destinies. Sometimes things happen which interfere and prolong our sorrow, perhaps in a way far longer than it was supposed to. But healing comes, Rachel. And Jesus really does love you. Whatever else remember that. Jesus really does love you.’

Yes, I know he does. I feel his love. Thank you reverend. Thank you.’

The laments of Rachel Rothchild came to an end. The darkness she had endured for too long, a time she could not speak of, in a void of nothingness when another heart perhaps had captured that of her beloved, the darkness had finally ended. And Rachel was now born again into a new hope of life, the ways of the old life gone forever.

The End



Aphrayel’s Torment’

Chapter One

Aphrayel sat in her room in the Realm of Infinity, thinking life pretty much sucked. Really, pretty much sucked. She had loved Samael, but the last few months, watching him through the portal with Rachel Rothchild, and now seeing them together at last, she wondered to herself wether she would ever get her man back. ‘Probably not,’ she sighed in her heart. Sandalphon, over by the window, looking out at the city, drinking his scotch, was unmoved by her sorrows. He seemed, in some way, oblivious to her suffering. Almost not caring really. But, so she felt, that was what the male angels had always been like. Harder – less sensitive – more preoccupied with their power games. No time for affairs of the heart and the needs of their maiden sisters who loved them so dearly. She didn’t want to, but finding herself walking down the steps, coming across to the library and up to the portal, she knew she could not fight the compulsion. Her eternal sorrow demanded such worship.

She stared glumly at the two of them, sniffing a little on her held back tears, wanting to cry and justify such sorrow, but a little part of her feeling better despite herself. She had accepted it in her heart. He loved Rachel, and that was the way things were. She sat down, looked at the shelf, picked up one of Dolphyel’s story books, and started reading. She sat there, going through the motions, not caring much. She sat there, reading, slowly coming into the life of the tale, and gradually forgetting her sorrow.

Time passed.

4 hours later she was half way through the book and an angel had put her lunch meal in front of her, but she had not yet touched it. The lead character was a female angel named Nebraldiel. She had overcome Satan’s torments, and had fought him in a fight, kicking him in the head and tying him up, hanging him from the tower of Azion. Aphrayel laughed at the irony, and silently wondered to herself if her brother Satan was still alive, still falling into eternity below. 4 more hours passed and she was finished the tale. Nebraldiel married Logos and was crowned queen of Infinity, and everyone loved her. She put the book down and, staring at her cold lunch, started eating, thinking on Nebraldiel. She herself had no interests in Logos, and really could not imagine it anymore. Once there had been something perhaps, but it had never occurred. Perhaps a maiden like Nebraldiel would one day win his heart. Perhaps. She went to the portal, looked through, speaking the words, and gazed upon Samael and Rachel at rest in each others arms. That was Nebraldiel and she had gotten Aphrayel’s logos. Lucky girl. She took her plate, returned it to the kitchen, and wandered out. And she wandered. For the rest of the afternoon, until it was dark, she wandered, going across to the edge of the rim, and wishing, suddenly, for something to preoccupy herself with. It was as if, now, suddenly, she had lost a focus. A focus on an aspect of eternity which gave it meaning, and on which plans had been built. And she knew in her heart that such a focus had been Samael. But that was ended, now. She knew that deep down in her heart that he would always now choose Rachel over herself. And so she needed someone new, but really could not imagine any of her other Onaphim brothers. Really, she couldn’t. But there was one. Just one she liked, a bit, now. Michael. The Seraphim Michael. He was conscientious, dutiful and caring. And a good example as the head of the Seraphim. He had been single without mating for so very long now that she felt, perhaps, perhaps Michael might make a good choice to hang around with. Now that Samael was irrevocably hitched with another, she needed a new man, and felt that it may as well be firstborn of the Seraphim.


Chapter Two

Gabriel of the Seraphim of Infinity sat down in the large pinball parlour of Nadrazon. The specialist one he had designed, just dedicated to Space Invaders. A humungous pinball parlour filled with 1,000 versions of the arcade game Space Invaders. It was based on Australian coinage from down on earth, utilising 1 cent, 2 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, 1 dollar & 2 dollar coins, the standard coins, but also utilised the collector rare coins published by the Australian Mint, using the $10 coin, the $20 coin, the $100 coin and the extremely expensive $200 coin. Realm credits were used to purchase the coins which were then used in the arcade machines. The 1 cent game of Space Invaders was simple. 1 life, 1 screen to complete. If you completed the screen without dying a ‘Congratulations’ flashed across the screen, and that was it. Not much, really, but nobody objected for just a cent. The 2 cent version was the same, with the option of entering a high score with your initials at the end. The 5 cent version offered an extra life. The 10 cent version offered 2 extra lives. The 20 cent version 3 extra lives. The 50 cent version 4 extra lives. The 1 Dollar version a total of 10 lives. The 2 Dollar version a total of 20 lives, and so on and so forth up to the mega $200 coin version which offered 500 lives and permanent storage of your score on the comprehensive all time list which, so Gabriel assured everyone, had been tweaked by God to last Googleplexian’s of millennias before being full of names and then only accepting new high scores for the list. Fortunately the games from the 50 cent version had a pause button with a password feature to allow you to continue them over many days, weeks, years or as you saw fit. It was a very basic Arcade, but amazingly popular now as so many people simply liked Space Invaders and hanging around Gabriel’s parlour with good food and a good climate. Michael was over on a 10 cent machine, trying his luck, working on his skills. Next to him, surprisingly to Gabriel, was Aphrayel, who had apparently been coming on to him for the last few weeks. Michael had taken it in good stead, but so far denied her all serious advances. And she was getting very frustrated from the looks of it. But she was a persevering type, his dear sister, and he admired her for it. He sat at the change counter, drinking a milk shake, watching Star Trek Deep Space Nine on a DVD TV set, when Aphrayel came up. ‘I need a $200 coin.’ Gabriel looked at her, and smiled. ‘Is this a tactic?’

None of your business. Here,’ she handed her credit card over to him. ‘Give me the coin.’H e processed it and handed her a $200 coin which he pulled out of the change drawer.

She then made for the centre of the parlour and sat down at one of the 3 large $200 coin machines, put in her coin, and started playing. Eventually, Michael finishing his game after about another hour, walked over to Gabriel who pointed towards Aphrayel. ‘I think she is trying to impress you. Give her a chance. She is our sister and a good sort, you know. I think she will never be with Samael again, so she might need someone. And I know you have always liked her.’

Michael looked at him, thinking over his role in the ecclesia of Logos. And thinking, in the end, Logos did not now forbid marriage or sexual activity for the Seraphim, that maybe Aphrayel would be the right one for him. He looked at Gabriel, looked at Aphrayel, and nodded. ‘Ok, Gab. But if it backfires I will hold you responsible.’

I don’t think anything will go wrong. I know Aphrayel. She has always had a sensible head. And I know you too, Mikey. You will stay faithful. Go for it.’

Michael shrugged, ordered a milkshake, and went over to watch his younger sister.

She smiled when he sat down next to her on the other machine, but said nothing. She would impress him now, and do her best. Or die trying, she laughed to herself.


Chapter Three

She loved him. She really did. But he was hard to nail. She was tormented by his stubborn refusal to bed her, citing he was not that kind of an angel, but she reminded him that he was, in the end, only an angel and still needed his sisters’ caresses and touch. And so, slowly, perhaps inevitably, perhaps inexorably, she wooed his heart, and one afternoon, sitting there together in her apartment, Michael made a move on her, and they spent the afternoon making out. He was still good in bed, she found out. She remembered the early years when they had been together, and he had, like the others, lusted after their sisters. But then Logos had separated them and called them to purity, and she had not known him since. But they were now together again, and she found something in Michael’s heart – something placed there by the ministry of Logos – that wasn’t found in Samael. A consistency, a stability, a solidity on life, a life with just a bit less humour and sarcasm, but with still a charm and sophistication that she had admired in the firstborn of the Onaphim. He was Michael, a nice guy, and sometimes it was good to go with a nice guy, not quite as much on the edge as the daring Samael. It was a different choice, almost from a different life in a way than she had planned, but it was suitable. Yes, it was definitely suitable. And thinking that, she smiled to herself, carefully checked that dinner was cooking properly, and looked out to Michael in the lounge hoping she had now find her forever life mate. But on that being the case, well time would only tell. Time would only tell indeed.

The End


Samael& Ariel

Chapter One

'You don't love me, Callodyn,' said Keri-Anne Noble, the Seraphim Angel Ariel of Eternity.

'Im not sure if I ever really claimed to,' responded Callodyn, the angel Samael. 'I thought this relationship was of mutual convenience. A love affair. A thing of passion. I'll never leave Rachel. She'll never find out about this, of course. But I'll never leave her anyway.'

Keri looked into the mirror, putting on her lipstick. They were dining out for the evening. 'I guess I have expected too much then. Too much from my lover. Who's shared my bed.'

'And I share Rachel's bed every night. You're more of a concubine.'

'Flattered,' replied the singer.

'Look, let's not get too serious. Yes, I love you. But I won't leave my wife. Men stray. Even the best of us. Even the worst of us. It's what we do - by nature almost. But we can be loyal creatures too. And I am that. These days. Loyal.'

'Fine. Then however long this lasts, so be it. Will you see me in Wellington next week? I'm coming up for a show, and it would be lovely for you to be there.'

'I'll tell Rachel I'm on business for the evening. Sure, I'll be there,' replied Callodyn Bradlock.'

'You're a gem,' replied Keri, finishing up with her lipstick.

'How do I look?' she asked him.

'Like a tramp on heat,' he replied with a grin.

'Charmed,' she responded.

And so they dined, another evening, another wild affair, and when he got home late that night, and got into bed with Rachel, she pretended to be asleep, but listened to him. And silently wondered.


Chapter Two

Jonathon and Lucinda. Friends of Callodyn and Rachel Bradlock. Members of Haven Noahide Fellowship. Ketravim to be.

'He thinks the world is full of evil. All the seed of the serpent, and that the children of God are the seed of the woman. That we are in a war of the sons of light versus the sons of darkness,' said Lucinda.

'Classic theology,' said Callodyn.

'A bit drastic an interpretation of the faith,' said Rachel. 'I don't think it is mean to be taken to such extremes. Those ideas are just symbols of good versus evil and right versus wrong. Not meant to be taken so literally.'

'Yet I see a hell of a lot of good versus evil in the world, and right versus wrong,' said Jonathon. 'Murders, rapes. Adultery.'

Callodyn thought on the last sin. He felt a little guilt, but brushed it aside.

'Theft,' continued Jonathon. 'And religious extremists, who quote the name of God to justify all sorts of cowardly behaviour.'

'Some people are people of passion,' said Rachel. 'It is the way of a human society. But to go and classify at as a grand cosmic war of heaven versus hell is just a little too extreme.'

'It is the way it really is,' said Jonathon.

'I think, as Rachel might say, people can get worked up a bit on religion. Let it go to there head somewhat. We live real lives. And make real choices. And,' he said, looking at his wife. 'Sometimes not all that wise a choice. But there our choices. And God can have his opinions, but its our life to live, not his.'

'Amen,' said Rachel.

Callodyn looked at Jonathon. 'Well, do you want to get the barbecue started?'

Jonathon jumped to his feet, and got to the griller, while Lucinda and Rachel went inside to get the meat for the barbecue, and to get ready the salad and drinks and things.

'I find religious passion is a phase of youth, very often,' said Callodyn.

'I'm 32,' said Jonathon.

'But you haven't been in the faith very long. Give it time. Give it some real life. You'll probably settled down somewhat in your thoughts as you get older. Passion is a thing of youth. Temperance comes with age and experience.'

'And evil remains evil,' replied Jonathon.

'I suppose it does,' replied the old devil, as the afternoon passed on a lovely summers day in New Zealand.


Chapter Three

'You've got convictions. What the hell is that supposed to mean?' asked Keri.

'That I feel guilt,' said Callodyn.

'For fucking me? I would have thought it would have been anything but guilt.'

'Technically adultery,' replied Callodyn.

'Didn't think you gave a damn,' replied Keri. 'Oh, well. Never mind then. If that is how you want it. Loverboy.'

'Look, I won't call it off just yet. But, I don't think its gonna last forever. As bizarre as it might sound, and equally hypocritical, I'm probably faithful in the end.'

'Don't I know it,' she said, as she continued to put on her dress.

'I have feeling for you Keri Noble,' said Callodyn. 'I don't know if its love, or whatever. But you mean something to me.'

'Wonderful,' she replied. 'I thought we had something. That you might move on, from your old life, to me.'

He shook his head. 'Not an option. I love my wife.'

'Fine she said. The fling, then. What else should I expect. 33 years old, singer, the age starting to show a little, no longer the kind of sterling reviews I once got. Hell, I'm practically washed up. So my lover boy has moved on. You know, it's not easy being a part-time singer of more mature songs in a world were teenie boppers have massive hits with banal pop singles. Sure I have my full time work to fall back on, and I need that, but I have a dream, still, you know. Living in America, maybe, one day. Always fancied Minnesota. I like the Minnesota Twins baseball team. But, I don't know. It doesn't always work out. I'll probably be singing these small joints and, before you can blink, be washed up, spat out, and forgotten before I had even become anything. Keri Noble. Life's greatest tragedy. Fuck, Such is life I suppose. And loverboy don't even want me no more.'

'Don't be silly,' said Callodyn. 'And you're far from washed up. You have a long career ahead of you.'

'I hope,' she replied.

'Friends,' said Callodyn.

'The word which ends all relationships,' replied Keri.

'Friends,' repeated Callodyn.

'Fine,' she said. 'But I'm having a piece of your arse tonight.'

'No worries,' said Callodyn. And they wined, and dined, and she did get a piece of his arse. But his thoughts were on Rachel and, despite his infidelity, he knew he would be faithful to her. Just not quite yet.

The End


Point of View

Chapter One

5999 SC - 2029 CE (AD)

'In world events today Jewish Ultra Orthodox terrorist group 'Shema' claimed responsibility for the assassination of Taliban leader 'Ranji Khalid'. In the words of the group 'Another enemy of freedom has found his reward today.' The news continued on, and Callodyn ignored it, looking at his wife. She'd finally noticed it as well. That she wasn't really aging terribly much. 'I should look older,' she said to him. 'You do remember who I said I was,' he replied, smiling a lot. She nodded. She knew the apparent situation. Tension in the middle east was pretty fierce in 2029. Spiritually, after literally millions of prayers for the region from the crazy end times Pentecostal's, the spirit there was intense. Israel had been dogged by Palestine and the rest of the Islamic world for quite a while, and there had risen up a natural defence mechanism in the nation. 'Shema'. It was from the Jewish prayer, 'Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.' And Shema had been knocking of Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders all over the globe. They were hard to find, and the international hacktivists group 'Anonymous' tacitly supported their war against Islam, as they made no threat against western freedoms, but in fact seemed to defend them. Throw in Pentecostal fundamentalist evangelical groups like Potters House and Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, who were evangelizing furiously in the middle east in anticipation of their lord's return, and you could cut the tension with a knife, to say the least.

'We'll be around a while yet. On this globe, sweetheart. And our time here is just about up. My lack of aging is starting to become noticed. The joke of youthful genes has gone on long enough.'

She looked at him. She guessed she believed him these days. 'Then what?' she asked him.

'Canberra,' he replied.

'Canberra?' she queried.

'Canberra,' he nodded. 'We go on holiday, disappear for a while, and show up in Broome in Western Australia with fake id's. Work to get into some jobs there for a while, get some legal mailing addresses, and then go to Adelaide, and get better jobs, with suitable references. And then Canberra and Public Service positions. ID established by then. In earlier years we were off the grid for a while. Our basic claim.'

She looked at him. He had it already figured out. Knew, already. Of course he did. Didn't he. Done it already. She always knew there had been something funny about the birth certificate he had shown her. But he had been cute. She had passed him anyway.

'Ok,' she said. 'Canberra it is.'

'We sell up here. Say bye to Jonathon and Lucinda. And on we go. It's time sweetie. It's time.'

'It's time,' she repeated. Yet again, another move. Here we go again, thought Rachel Bradlock, just a little bit sarcastically, mind you. Just a little bit.


Chapter Two

6000 SC - 2030 CE (AD)

'And with it's destruction, a new wave of hostilities all over the middle east. Yet Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon have resisted any incitations of riot, and cracked down on upstart groups calling for action against Israel. The dome of the rock's destruction is a significant moment in modern middle eastern politics, for whatever replaces it, should the perpetrators of the crime, terrorist group 'Shema', get their way, and a third temple emerges, then tensions are set to reach a truly Almighty level. This is Kyle Baker, signing off from Jerusalem.

Callodyn clicked off the Broome hotel room TV. They were in Western Australia, and had been there 3 quarters of a year. He, Rachel and Leopold had moved. Another new start. Another new beginning.

Rachel came into the room rubbing a towel over her wet hair. She had just been showering. 'You really believe, do you, that war is imminent?'

'Not sure. But something is going to happen,' said Callodyn.

'I think it will blow over, after a while,' said Rachel. 'Leo agrees. They'll not want to fight Israel. Nuclear weapon war, this time, I would imagine. If they really intend to respond. They won't. They'll get over it. Life will go on. They'll probably even accept this damn third temple which is planned.'

Callodyn agreed. He felt that was were God was leading his world, at the moment. Taheb said so all the time.

'We'll travel to Adelaide next week,' said Callodyn. '6 months is generally enough for this town.'

'I thought we were just starting to settle in,' replied Rachel. 'I was kind of liking it here.'

'I want to get established in Canberra soon enough Mrs Smith.'

'Rachel Smith. How very original,' replied Rachel.

'Calvin Smith has always liked his wife's name,' said Callodyn. 'And Leo Smith is a happy chap with his, so he tells me.'

'Very funny,' she replied, throwing a towel at him, and standing before him naked. 'You in the mood?' she asked him.

He looked at her, her still fine physique, and indicated for her to come over. She came over, and he had her sit on his lap. And he kissed her, and felt her up a bit, and then he did what the devil he does. And she didn't mind at all. Not one little bit.

Chapter Three

6024 SC - 2054 CE (AD)

'I'm not really sure if you should fear Alexander so much,' said Callodyn to David. 'I've always found him the most hospitable of person's. Considerate. Caring. I know he is the bloody Antichrist in the way he goes about ruling half the bloody Empire, but that is just him. It's what he's like naturally. I think, David, one day you will see more clearly who the real enemy is.'

'And what is that supposed to mean?' asked David.

'Usurpers of the crown,' responded Callodyn, and picked up his Jerusalem Times magazine, and started reading it again.

David looked at Callodyn for a while, a friend he had come to trust and admire from his Haven Noahide Fellowship activities in Canberra, and thought on what he said. Usurpers of the Crown? Jesus. He instantly knew he meant Jesus. Jesus was dead as far as David was concerned. He wasn't coming back. He was no threat.

'How's the old man's preaching?' asked David.

'Old Daniel? The grandfather?' asked Callodyn. That had become the way of referring to the 3 Daniel's. Grandfather, Father and Son. The Grandfather, hidden in mystery a lot, had actually been the one getting all the ideas for 7DF off the ground. He'd had a Daniel. Who ended up living at 29 Merriman Crescent also, and was taught to get qualifications to work in Australian Quarantine, which he had ended up doing, just like his father before him, ironically enough. Family traditions. Following in the footsteps of Dad. That was the old way of doing things. Old Daniel Daly wanted that continued.

'Yep, him,' replied David.

'He is as stable as ever,' replied Callodyn. 'I've grown fond of him as well. A very serious person.'

David smiled. 'They all are, deep down. Despite the humour they maintain.'

'But, hey, that's life, isn't it,' said Callodyn Bradlock.

'That's life,' replied David Rothchild, Messiah of Israel.

Callodyn was looking at the cover of the Magazine. The Third Temple. 'When the temple is built, Elijah is not far away. And precedes the Angel of the Lord, according to Malachi,' said Callodyn.

David looked at him. 'Elijah the prophet?''

'Supposedly. If the word is true,' replied Callodyn.

'That would be interesting, should it ever occur,' replied David. 'But I do have my doubts.'

'So did Moses,' replied Callodyn.

David looked at Callodyn for a moment, and then continued on reading his newspaper. 'Elijah the prophet,' he thought to himself. 'Who was he kidding. Poppycott and nonsense. The Torah of Moses. Nothing more, nothing less. Elijah the prophet. Jesus Christ. You have got to be kidding me.' And the world turned.


Chapter Four

6030 SC - 2060 CE (AD)

'Morgan Bradlock. Perhaps you fear him too much,' said Samael. 'You don't know who your friends really are in the end. Such a jew.'

David ignored the insult. 'One way or another, I know which team I am on,' replied David.'

'And what is that supposed to mean?' asked the old devil.

'What culture are you from?' asked David in response.

'I suppose the Anglo culture when it all comes down to it. It seems to be what has chosen me, more than anything else.'

'I'm a Jew. Jesus is a Jew. We actually stick together in the end. I don't suppose you will work that out for a long time, Anglo.'

Callodyn gazed at David, and a little voice said inside his head 'Long term viewpoint in David. Eternity. Thinks of where people's hearts will ultimately rest. When they get over pretensions of glory.'

'Well, be that as it may, I think you are making too big a deal about the Western Alliance. It's not a threat. We're the good guys, David.'

'Sure your are,' replied David Rothchild. 'And pig's might fly.'

'Bacon Airways. South New Zealand,' replied Callodyn, a smile on his face.

David looked at him with one of those looks. 'You call that a joke?'

'I try,' replied Callodyn.

'So, your back in New Zealand.'

'Government approved of it. We are handled by ASIO in Australia now. They get us to move around every few years. Not settle in to a place too long. Records officially amended and changed without the public's knowledge. When Leopold came clean and talked with the Prime Minister at a private club in Barton, and presented the evidence, he arranged things for us. Said he understood. Said he was of that faith. Said he wasn't even surprised, and had heard whispers and rumours of things all over the world. And people looking at figures like Alexander Darvanius the Second and Morgan Bradlock. And even David Rothchild. Questions in the public, now. Science saying long, practically immortal lives, could potentially be realized with the way society has cured most diseases. That answer seeming to satisfy most.'

'I prayed about that. A decade ago,' said David. 'When it was becoming obvious. For God to arrange things in a way in which the elect would be left alone.'

'Elect? You consider Alexander elect?'

'He is a vessel of God's purpose,' replied David. 'For good, or bad, because Torah will do both when sin comes into question.'

'Mmm,' responded. 'I think I see your point. Yes, we're back in New Zealand. I have my old comic store going again.'

'Good. And you look happy as well.'

'Ran into an old face in Christchurch. An old flame.'

'Cheating on my cousin, are you,' said David, grinning.

But Callodyn did not respond. He would not respond on that point. He could not, on that point.


Chapter Five

6130 SC - 2160 CE (AD)

'The thing is, David,' said Samael. 'I have a point of view also. You guys. You think you're better than us. The rest of us. It's Israel's position. It's God's position. He drew himself into his Israel-Centred environment, circumcised them, and exalted himself as the God of a holy nation and and a holy Kingdom of Priests. Said to the world, you are all gentile scum, we are much holier and better people than you, and you can all burn in hell. He is that far up his fucking arse on the Jews, its amazing. The pride and bigotry and arrogance in the old fart is unbelievable.'

'I'm sure that's a common view,' said David. 'I don't really care for it. We are just a nation chosen to serve God. We don't make much of a big deal of it in practice.'

'See, that's what you guys tell us. But that's what your rabbis tell you all to tell us to get us off your backs. But, in secret, you go around telling yourselves all the time how special each of you is and how important, and how much Hashem loves you all, and how wicked the gentiles really are and always will be. You are so far up your fucking arses it is amazing.'

David looked at Callodyn. He was correct. That is what the rabbi told him to represent in Judaism as.

'It doesn't matter. We are the chosen ones,' said David. 'We HAVE God's favour.'

'The thing is,' replied Callodyn. 'Do you think we really want it?'

David looked at Callodyn. 'Oh, better than God are you?'

'He's the one on the ego trip. Not us. We got over taking God seriously a long time ago. He is an old pride system, best left to fundamentalists who are yet to grow up. It is all he is good for in the end. So that is a message from Morgan Bradlock and Alexander Darvanius and myself to your own Team Israel. Kapiche.'

'I hear you loud and clear,' said David. 'Pass the chips will you.'

Callodyn passed the french fries to David and as they sat there, in McDonalds, in Jerusalem, Callodyn commented how pleasant a time of year it was in Jerusalem in the moment. David, generally, agreed.

The End


A Matter of Justice

7555 SC - 3585 CE (AD)

'It's a matter of justice,' said Samael to David Rothchild.

'We know they are not down there any more, you know,' said David. 'We're aware of it now. We've had drones down in that pit, looking over it. They can't find them anywhere. You guys have taken them back.'

'The redemption of Lucifer and Alexander Darvanius, so it appears, can not be handled by the Millennial Messianic Kingdom of God, to which Jesus has simply condemned them to a 1000 years of hell itself. We hardly agreed with your judgement.'

'Who gives a fuck if you hardly agreed with our judgement. Those bastards had it coming,' said David.

'Regardless of your opinion, they are our responsibility now. We will see to both their welfare, re-education and redemption. Something Israel and the Church, obviously, can not achieve.'

'Nor care to,' replied David Rothchild.

'As it would seem,' finished Callodyn Bradlock.

There had been a judgement day. In 7500 SC. And Alexander Darvanius, who by then ruled the world, had marshalled his forces in conquest of Israel. Yet divine intervention had occurred, and the beast had been slain, and Jesus reigned in triumph, for his millennium had come to be, and the beast was in the pit. But a funny thing happened, thwarting prophecy somewhat. Reality. Daniel and Daniel of HNF had found Alexander and Lucifer in the pit, had brought them out, hidden them in the hiding places of the Seven Divine Fellowships, and they were currently being re-educated in the wisdom of Daniel, which saw it more of a matter of getting along with the likes of Israel and not trying to piss them off too much. They had a bit of divine favour after all.

The thing is, though. There was the final piece to fall. Damien. Damien Bradlock. Satan himself. At the end of the Millennium. And that was, in truth, the ultimate Judgement Day. And for that, they had a plan.

'How are we going to do it?' asked Alexander.

'We infiltrate the enemy,' replied Samael. 'Two Sheep Amongst the Wolves.'

'Two sheep amongst the wolves?' queried Alexander.

Samael's grin summed it all up.

The End


One Fine Devil

7600 SC - 3630 CE/AD

'I am the olde devil,' said Callodyn to Rachel.

'Your just an old fart of a comic collector, with a dodgy golden age superman collection, a Batman collection which lacks any significant key issues, and a trillion Phantom's nobody wants,' replied Rachel Bradlock, his wife.

'The Phantom's could pick up in time,' replied Callodyn, as he sat down with latest comic price catalogue from Overstreet's, the annual thing Volume 4 for the year, and started pricing the small pile of quite old comics in front of him.

'Why never at guide price?' asked Rachel. 'Always 20% above. They'd sell a lot better at guide you know. I know you don't pay much for them.'

'It's a tough world,' replied Callodyn. 'A profit needs to be made somewhere along the way.'

'You buy at 45% of value and sell at 120% usually. That's massive profit.'

'Prices fluctuate a lot. They go down a lot of the time now, especially mid-range comics of 2 to 10 centuries age. Unless the demand is there for a character at any point, despite their age and prior valuation, prices can drop a lot, even in one year. Just very little demand. We have a huge world population, and its still increasing, and that has always absorbed the current back issue supply, which has still risen in value, but usually unless Buck Rogers has something to say, they drop a lot now in the mid range.'

'Buck Rogers?' she queried.

'25th Century comics,' he replied. 'Everything from there and older always holds its own in the market. Technically a dwindling supply, because occasionally a comic comes out of the polybag by some diehard, gets enjoyed, used up, and finishes its life cycle. But as you know comics have generally maintained their limited status nature for the new issues, which are the first printings, and apart from the Trade Paperback volume prints, you don't really get second printings of the things much. So 25th Century supply is the name of the day these days, the early classics, and most investors and speculators won't touch much else. Collectors? They don't care. If they want a mid range series, I can often get them for peanuts. For example, 'Batman: Blaze of the Black Cowl's Justice.' 400 issues after the movie from 3 centuries back. It was massive, the first 150 odd issues all at number one on the charts before fading. It's as common as muck. I can secure the entire run for peanuts. Practically the price of a Steak and Chips from Ojo's. It's that cheap. Mid-range. Nobody wants them much. Usually only to read, and they won't pay much when they do. Filler, not killer.'

'Fascinating,' replied Rachel. 'So how much is your Golden Age Action Comics number 12 worth now then?'

'Superman is still the traditional favourite. Batman hasn't edged him for centuries. Number 12, from checking a few months back, is about 400 Sectillion US Dollars. Worth about the cost of a 100 story Skyscraper. Not much Golden age left, you see. It's mostly withered away.'

'Thought of selling it?' she asked, as she buttered her toast, and put jam on it.

'My baby? You want me to give up my baby?' queried one fine devil.

'I thought Leopold was your baby,' said Rachel, smiling.

'That bastard child,' responded Samael. 'He is evil, I tell you.'

'Like father like son,' smiled Rachel.

'Well,' said Callodyn, looking at her soberly. 'You think its time to sell the sucker, then?'

'I wasn't serious,' she replied.

'No. No, you were. I guess so. I have reaped a return. We can buy that place in Manhattan you have always wanted. The old heritage estate.'

'Ooh,' she replied. 'You wouldn't would you.'

'I know a Japanese collector. Executive at Sony. He can afford the cash, and is willing to pay.'

Rachel's eyes misted over. Dreams of living in Manhattan in an ancient bungalow slash mansion, which was the pride of the north side, looking over the river.

'You are one fine devil, you know,' said Rachel, smiling warmly at him.

'Tis the truth,' he said, and gave a bow, and wondered just how much he really could get for his ancient Golden age glory.

The End




 

The Cherubim Rachael

 

Daughter of Eve’

 

 

Prologue

 

The Cherubim Rachael was on God’s mind.  She was the missing one – the one the whole angelic community of the Realm of Eternity longed after to find – in a sense – completion.  God knew that the number of Cherubim was complete, but he also had long ago planned the next community amongst the children of the Realm of Eternity.  They were to be the ‘Ketravim’.  The Cherubim Rachael would come into the fulfilment of that work in a most significant way.  Rachael had existed in God’s heart for a great and long while – but her birth had not come into any of the realm’s he had created.  She was a Cherubim – an angel – but her birth would not be within the angelic community but, instead, within the human community.  She would begin as a human being – that would be her birthright.  But her angelic spirit would grow within her until, through what he had planned for her destiny, she became the Cherubim Rachael

Chapter One

 

Rachel Bradlock.  That is your name then, is it?’  Rachel looked at the customs officer at the Sydney airport terminal.  ‘Well, yes it is.’  ‘And are you single, partnered or married?’  ‘I don’t know if I can answer that,’ Rachel replied, the tone of sorrow in her voice apparent to the customs officer.  ‘It’s a straight-forward question, dear.’  ‘Well, my husband is, well – missing.  He was with me – and then he was gone.  And I have never seen him since.’  ‘So he is a missing person then.’  ‘Something like that,’ she replied.  ‘Did you report that to the UK Police?’  ‘Yes, they have all the details.’ ‘Fine, well, everything in your luggage appears to be in order.  You are cleared for entry into Australia.  We hope you will enjoy your visit and remember, Australia gladly welcomes all visiting internationals.  Enjoy your stay.’

 

Rachel picked up her luggage and started making her way towards the terminal exit.  Although the final part of her trip from Heathrow airport was to Canberra, she had decided she would travel via bus from Sydney to Canberra, instead of flying down.  She had travelled that way when she had first visited Canberra in 2001, seeing her cousin Daniel Rothchild, her Uncle Alexander’s son.

 

With the disappearance of Callodyn, she needed to talk with the deepest friend she had which, surprisingly, was not her mother Celia.  Daniel had visited Rachel in Crossden a number of times since Rachel was very young.  He was nearly the same age as Callodyn, which perhaps meant something to Rachel.  Daniel always put Rachel’s heart at peace and rest.  He was a strong believer, like her brother Jeremy, in the power of God.  Daniel had attended Pentecostal churches since a young age, and prayed fervently for his cousin, always encouraging her to love others and to practice mercy, friendliness and gentleness.  He was warm and kind-hearted and wished the very best for her in life, so he always told her.

 

Daniel was now a firm Messianic Pentecostal.  A Jewish, torah-observant, Christian.  Growing up, like Rachel, he had been brought up a nominal Church of England follower.  Their family were Jewish converts to Anglicanism from the mid 1800s.  The old story in there households was that ‘old Eli Rothchild’ had been given a vision of the ‘Christ’ and had seen to it that his family were to be saved.  The actual story of that encounter had been retold in many different forms, which often made Rachel question just what had actually made Eli convert.  She assumed she would find out in the next life.  Her uncle Alexander had moved to Australia a few years before Rachel had been born.  Daniel had spent his life there, visiting Wales often.  Like his family, he attended the Anglican church until 13 years of age, at which point he joined the Canberra ‘Grace Christian Fellowship’, and stated he had ‘Really’ found God.  Whatever that meant, his change in behaviour had generally been noticed, from that of a shy, gentle lad – to a passionate, outgoing young man, full of life.

 

And now he attended the synagogue in Canberra every Sabbath to honour ‘El Shaddai’s’ ancient covenant.

 

Rachel felt that Daniel really needed to ground himself on something and stop changing religions all the time.  In there conversations she told him time and time again that ‘Stability’ was essential in a religion.  Continuity of faith needed to be practiced.  Daniel defended himself by stating that his faith had changed with new understanding, but Rachel was unconvinced, being of the view that all Religions were basically the same in the end – they all went back to God – and that it didn’t really matter the choice you made, as long as you stuck with it.

 

Coming through the exit of the terminal, Rachel hailed a Taxi.  She asked the driver to take her to the Hotel she would be staying at, before leaving for Canberra the following morning.  She was very tired and needed to rest before the last leg of her journey, although that would only have been a few extra hours anyway.

 

As they drove through Sydney, she looked out over the city she had seen a decade earlier.  It seemed the same – very little change.  Although she assumed she would probably not know any changes, even if they had been pointed out to her.  And she noticed something as well – something which her beloved had pointed out to her in the months before he went missing.  Something about the ‘spirit’ of a place in what he called ‘animistic’ terminology.  It seemed, and now that she had become aware of it, had come to agree, that places – peoples – animals – cultures – all had a spiritual reality associated with them.  What was often called the ‘ambience’ of a place was, in reality, a very tangible spirit – an essence – which could be felt and which was very readibly discernible to people once it was pointed out to them.  Especially as they became aware of other differing spirits – spirits which they often reflected later that they had known all their lives.  These spiritual feelings were quite tangible to Callodyn, so he had told her.  To him, they had been alive.  A very active and real part of his life.  Rachel, who had found the subject a little different at first, quickly came to understand exactly what he said, noticing the spirit in Crossden as compared with Beltingham.  And then noticing, something which she had presumably taken for granted all her life, all sorts of other familiar feelings and sensations – sensations that came and went through her life, especially rekindled ones from childhood.

 

For Rachel, such realities gave her a reason to reshape her views on the spiritual realm.  She had generally always believed in God – but had never really been taken to a great ‘spiritual’ awakening.  For her, God had been something of an old ‘Father’ figure – or perhaps ‘Grand-Father’ figure.  Remote and distant.  Not interfering with humanity in any real way, but doing his job of being that old ancient of days to whom appropriate hymns were sung.  The God of old England – ancient Yahweh.  And in this idea of God, any real spiritual realities were, while technically admitted as being true, not really believed upon in the heart.  Recently, she had summed up, that while she did believe in God – she hadn’t really any evidence to show that it was anything approaching the ‘Living’ kind of faith which Jeremy her brother spoke of.

 

But what Callodyn had taught her had started to change her thinking.  What she felt were the spiritual realities that really did appear to be noticeable in life, made her start to believe that maybe God was alive in a way that she had previously not even granted him the right of being.

 

As she was being driven through Sydney to her Hotel, she indeed noticed the ambience.  It felt familiar.  It was, essentially, the same she had felt a decade ago.  And it was so Australian in nature to her.  Like the land – the people and the culture.  Everything about the spirit felt like it had molded the nation and made it as it wanted it to be.  Made it to reflect its own nature.  Such was the same, so she felt, for Crossden and Beltingham, as well as Wales and the other places she was familiar with.

 

Soon she arrived at the Hotel – or more precisely, Hostel, if the term was the same in Australia.  It was part of a growing chain throughout the world that had also found a home in Crossden.  The ‘Samaritans’ hostel.

 

She chose it specifically because Callodyn had stayed at that place back in Crossden, and she wanted to be reminded of her love whenever and wherever possible.  Callodyn had shared with her the unique story of the founding of the chain.  Since she was young, when it had first come to Crossden, she had assumed like everyone else it was named after the ‘Good Samaritan’ of Christ’s parable.  But, apparently, no.  It was founded by the actual Samaritan movement itself, something which she knew next to nothing about.  They were, so Callodyn said, a very inward focused tiny little sect of the Israelite – not Jewish – but Israelite people.  But, so they now said, the Taheb had arrived and was starting to work out into the world to fulfil his people’s hopes and dreams.  Callodyn said the ‘Taheb’ was similar to the Jewish Messiah concept, but not quite the same.  Whatever else, Rachel had found them extremely loving in their business ethics, showing real and genuine concern for everyone who came their way.  They were greatly dedicated, as their mission statement said, to healing the lost, lonely and broken-hearted.  And of course, the soundtrack to the musical ‘Joseph and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat’, seemed to be mandatory listening almost whenever you were at the hostel.  Something to do with ‘Joseph’, Callodyn had said.

 

Entering the hostel, unsurprisingly, the soundtrack was playing softly over the in-house speakers.  She smiled to herself – they were consistent, at least.

 

At the front desk, a young lady of about 19 or 20 greeted her.  ‘Hello friend.  Have you made a booking or are you looking for a room for the night?’  ‘Yes.  My name is Rachel Bradlock.  I have booked a room for tonight.  I rang a few days ago from Wales.’  The lady looked at the computer screen in front of her and started tapping away at the keyboard.  ‘Rachel Bradlock, was it?’  ‘Yes – that is I.’  ‘Yes, as you requested, room 22.  I see you have paid in advance, so that pretty much covers it.  You are allowed a number of free local calls from the telephone here at this desk, generally at our discretion.  We try to allow as many as people need to make to run their lives to a reasonable extent.  We can’t afford astronomical phone bills, so there is a limit.  But generally you can make as many local phone calls as you want.  For international, though, we can’t really afford that in the budget.  We are totally a not-for-profit hostel, aimed at serving the general public.  But we don’t live on air either, and still have to cover basic costs.  So, if you want to make international calls, you will have to leave a deposit.’  Rachel thought about that, and then realized she was extremely tired, and guessed she could call her mother from Canberra tomorrow, although she didn’t mind paying.  ‘No, that will be quite fine.  I don’t really need to make any phone calls.  Well, I am quite tired.  Do you think you can show me to my room?’  ‘Of course, Rachel.  Do you mind if I call you Rachel, or would you prefer Miss Bradlock?’  ‘Mrs Bradlock, actually.  But, no, I don’t really mind either way.  Whatever you prefer.’  ‘Well, I like to use the first name here in the hostel – we try to actually be very informal and friendly in the Samaritans hostel.  So I will call you Rachel if you don’t mind.’  ‘That is perfectly all right by me,’ replied Rachel.

 

The lady took a key from the wall next to the desk, and started making her way towards the side stairwell.  ‘My name is Cindy.  It is great to meet you Rachel.’  ‘Thank you, Cindy.  It is a pleasure to meet you as well.’  Cindy smiled, and continued up the stairwell.

 

This is the room – mostly the same as nearly every Samaritan room worldwide.’  Rachel looked inside.  It seemed, as Cindy had said, extremely similar to Callodyn’s room.  The same basic decoration – the same beds – and the same Gideons’ Bible sitting on the chair, which now made Rachel a little curious.  ‘Cindy, from what my husband has told me, the Samaritans are some sort of Jewish or Israelite religion.  Why the Christian Bible?’  ‘Oh, it has the Torah as well, Rachel.  In relation to the rest of the scriptures, Love knows no boundaries that it cannot cross.  I am a Samaritan Noahide, which is almost in a way contradictory, as Samaritans are generally Israelites.  But I hold to the same basic religion as the Samaritans and follow the covenant of Noah.  However, the Taheb teaches us that Love – pure honest and true love – is the only thing that will ever reach the heart of mankind in winning them to the truth.  So if we have the truth, our works must stand the test of the most scrupulous inquisitor.  So we do not try to divide away from Christianity.  We accept them and want to live in perfect peace, harmony and love with them.  That is our call in life.’  ‘Oh,’ replied Rachel.  ‘I understand now.’  ‘Are there any other questions Rachel?’  ‘Not at the moment.  Well, thank you Cindy.  Hopefully I will see you before I leave.’ ‘Have you been to a Samaritans Hostel before?’ asked Cindy.  ‘Yes I have,’ replied Rachel.  ‘Well our layout is generally the same worldwide.  You should generally be able to find your way around to everything you need.  I will leave you now.  Take care.’  Cindy excused herself and left the room, closing the door behind her.

 

Rachel looked around the room.  Nothing seemed in any way surprising.  She sat down on the bed and thought on things.  ‘Perhaps a shower,’ she thought.  She took the towel nearby and made her way down the hall to the showers.  She closed and locked the door, undressed and turned the showers on.

 

10 minutes later she emerged, feeling refreshed.  Showers, as they usually always did, had a way of making her feel better.  She put her clothes back on and returned to her room.  She walked over to the window and looked out at the street below.  There seemed to be an art gallery across the road.  She might look at that tomorrow morning before she left.  She looked out at the busy city.  The noise of traffic and regular city life abounded at this time of day, a noise she was not completely used to.  Crossden was a much quieter town than the hectic life of Sydney.  But the city life did seem to have a sort of humdrum to it.

 

She yawned, and decided it was time for sleep.  Undressing, she put on her nightgown and got into the single bed.  She looked up at the ceiling, thinking of this and that, mostly about Callodyn, while sleep slowly drifted in.

Chapter Two

 

The Dream had been strange, quite strange.  She had seen a large crowd, ever so large.  And all of them were, as dreams often had a way of telling you without words, angels.  A word had been spoken to her – the solitary word of ‘Ketravim’.  That word had been spoken when the crowd had been in her mind for a number of moments, perhaps seconds, although time was perhaps difficult to measure in dreams.  Then, after that, many of the apparent Ketravim appeared to her and smiled at her, each showing her love, each treating her with great honour.  And at the end, one particular angel appeared next to her – one who did not appear to be one of the Ketravim, but a different type of angel.  He had spoken these words, ‘You are Rachael.  The very last lastborn of the Cherubim, but the firstborn of the Ketravim.  You are a most special angel, dearest Rachael, and we love you dearly.’

 

Sitting at the breakfast table of the Samaritan’s hostel, finishing the Australian version of ‘Weet-a-Bix’, simply called ‘Weet-bix’, the box of which was covered with pictures of famous Australian cricketers, Rachel thought on her dream.  It was ever so strange.  One thing did puzzle her.  The name she had been called had been spelt with an ‘a’ before the ‘e’ which was not the same as her own name.  She did not really know why she knew that, but in the dream it had been apparent.

 

Cindy, who had shown her were everything was, walked through the doorway of the kitchen and sat down opposite her.  Rachel had risen early that morning, around 6.00 am, to make sure she didn’t miss her early bus.  She had found Cindy at her desk, which surprised her a great deal.  Cindy had explained that she lived at the hostel, and often rose early to make sure she could help with any potential problems the residents had.  It  was quite friendly and professional of her, Rachel thought.

 

You know, Rachel,’ Cindy began.  ‘The wife of the Taheb’s name is similar to yours.  Her name is Rachael.  Not the exact same spelling, though.  It has an ‘a’ before the last ‘e’, unlike in your name.  But it is a popular name, so variants aren’t that surprising.’ Rachel looked at her, stunned at what Cindy had said.  ‘Rachael?  With an ‘a’.  Your kidding, right?’  ‘No, Rachel.  That is how you spell her name.’  Rachel burst out in laughter, amazed at the coincidence.  Cindy looked at her, puzzled at the reaction.  ‘What’s so funny, Rachel?  Why are you laughing?’ ‘Oh, Cindy.  Maybe it is just this place, or maybe that is just the way life is, but there are often strange coincidences in life.’  Cindy nodded, happy at the positive look on Rachel’s face which had not been there the previous day.

 

What time is your bus?’ asked Cindy.  ‘I am catching the bus from Parramatta, which is not far from here.  I looked on a map on the internet back home, and the distance is only about 1 kilometre, so I thought I might walk the distance and wait for the bus at the station.  The bus leaves at 8.00 am, and I am quite sure that it will not take me more than about 40 minutes to get to Parramatta, so I still have some time up my sleeve.  I am going to leave shortly, though, in case I see anything worth stopping to look at along the way.  I will probably have a look at the art gallery across the street.  There seemed to be a number of pieces in the window, when I looked yesterday.’  ‘Tell you what,’ said Cindy.  ‘If you like I should be able to get you in to see the art gallery.  The owner is there by 6.00 just about all the time, although they don’t open until 9.00.  But he occasionally lets me in to look over new exhibits before and after hours.  I have known him for a couple of years now, and we get along really well.  I am sure he will let you in to look around if you like?  Shall I call him and ask?’ ‘Well, if it is not too much trouble, that would be very kind of you.  Thank you Cindy.’  ‘Think nothing of it.’  Cindy got to her feet, and went over to make the call at the telephone on her desk.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Gazing out over the fields alongside the highway from Sydney to Canberra, Rachel felt a little bit better about life.  Laughing that morning had made her feel a little better, which Patch Adams would certainly testify to.  And the art at the studio had been a pleasant experience.  But, for Rachel, the bus trip so far was heavenly.  They had just passed ‘Mittagong’, were they had stopped briefly to pick up some passengers.  There were a number of stops before Canberra, the main one of which would be at Goulburn, were they would be having an early lunch or late morning tea break – perhaps ‘brunch’, so the driver had said.  The proper lunch break was, for passengers going past Canberra, to be held at Canberra.  Of course, that was Rachel’s last stop in her journey from Crossden.  So far, in this trip, looking out over the fields travelling from her elevated position gave her a feeling of comfort or perhaps joy.  Although she had travelled on passenger buses before, she had not done so for many years, and had forgotten how pleasant such trips could be.  She felt excited to be simply travelling down from Sydney to Canberra.  It just felt good, in a very simple way.

 

She had with her, as reading matter, a copy of the ‘Samaritan Torah’ which had just the previous year been translated into English.  Cindy had given her a copy.  The Torah was simply the ‘Pentateuch’, which was the first 5 books of the Old Testament, as Christians called it.  Cindy had explained there were a number of textual differences between the Samaritan Torah and the Jewish Torah, but the basic text did not really change.  It was essentially the same legal code, and also essentially the same historical tale.  Cindy had asked her, when travelling down to Canberra, to read from Genesis 1 to Genesis 11 verse 9.  That portion was what Cindy referred to as the ‘Rainbow Torah’ or ‘Rainbow Bible’.  It was a section of scripture which the Taheb had stated was of ‘Great’ and ‘Particular relevance’ to all mankind, who he referred to as ‘Noahides’ or ‘Children of Noah.’  Cindy had asked her to pay particular attention to chapter 9, which contained what she called ‘the rainbow covenant’.  Rachel had read the chapter carefully, after having gone through all the previous chapters’ tedious details of serpents and curses and genealogies and floods.  While she had read the Bible previously, she had not paid as much attention as she had that morning.  Strangely enough, she sensed a basic morality tale at work.  A culmination, so she thought, had been worked towards by the ‘God’ of the tale, with the giving of the ‘covenant’ signifying the relationship which was to stand with mankind after that point.  Rachel thought on her own faith, which was, essentially, based on this foundation.  The New Testament she did understand to be the ‘New Covenant’, as Callodyn had shared with her from time to time.  He had told her a few times that he did not hold, technically, to the New Testament, but did hold to certain Old Testament views.  She wondered to herself if the ‘Rainbow Covenant’ had anything to do with his views.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Daniel Rothchild sat in the waiting section of the Jolimont centre, waiting on his cousin.  There were a couple of cafes at either side of the waiting section, and he had just finished a latte, which was his favourite drink of late.  His girlfriend, Jessica Goldstein, was in the newsagent just behind were he was sitting, using one of the internet terminals to do her usual web-surfing.  Rachel had rung him that morning, and given him the time of 1.20 pm for the arrival date for the bus into Canberra.  He had arrived with Jessica, who had driven them in her car, at around 1.00 pm.  Jessica had decided to do some net-surfing, so Daniel decided to order a latte and await his cousin’s arrival.  At 1:22 pm a voice came over the speakers announcing that the coach from Sydney had arrived.  He walked over to the newsagent, and motioned for Jessica to come and join him.  She finished up what she was doing, and came and stood with her boyfriend, near the door to the bus yard.

 

A few minutes later, after a number of people had come through the doorways, Daniel spotted his cousin with her one suitcase in tow.  He put up his hand to identify himself, and Rachel came near.  ‘Daniel.  You haven’t changed much.  Just like the last photo you sent me.’  Daniel stepped forward and hugged his cousin.  ‘You look as radiant as ever, dearest Rachel.  A precious daughter of God.’  Rachel blushed at his comment.  Daniel turned to the lady standing next to him.  ‘This, Rachel, is my girlfriend Jessica Goldstein.  We have been dating for about a year now.’  Rachel smiled at Jessica and put out her hand.  ‘It is a pleasure to meet you Jessica.’  Jessica shook Rachel’s hand, and responded ‘The pleasure is all mine, Rachel.  Daniel has told me quite a lot about you, and it is great to meet you in person.’  ‘You must tell me how you two met, Jessica.  I look forward to hearing that story.’ Daniel took Rachel’s suitcase, and indicated for Rachel to follow him.  ‘The car is not far from here.  We are still down in Macarthur in Tuggeranong.  177 Merriman Crescent, as we have been for years.’  ‘Still at home, Daniel?  Haven’t you thought about moving in with Jessica?’ ‘What!  You mean live in sin?  Surely not!’ Rachel was about to apologize for her words, then noticed the slight smile on Daniel’s face, belying the sarcastic words.  ‘Stop teasing your cousin, Daniel.’  Said Jessica.  She turned to Rachel.  ‘Daniel has actually been thinking about moving in with me just recently.  He feels we know each other well enough now so that it is not too much of a problem any more.  Despite what he said to you, he doesn’t worry about any ‘living in sin’ issues.  More of a ‘wanting to make sure it is the right person’ issue with him.  He has told me he doesn’t want to move out just to move back home.  He wants to make sure it is the right person first.’  ‘That is perfectly understandable, Jessica.  He is perhaps showing some maturity in that decision.’  ‘I suppose, Rachel.  But, perhaps, he is just being a little too serious.  If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.  Life goes on, after all.’  ‘I can see you two will get along,’ said Daniel.  ‘I’ll probably be ‘threes-a-crowd’ after a while.’  Rachel and Jessica laughed at Daniel’s comment.

 

Reaching the car, Daniel put Rachel’s suitcase in the boot, and they started their way through Civic, destined for the south side of Canberra.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Rachel smiled at her uncle Alexander’s comment.  She did not want to smile, but felt it was best to put on a brave face.  ‘Yes, uncle Alex.  I am sure that wherever Callodyn is, he is thinking of me.’  ‘I am sure he is Rachel,’ replied her uncle.  ‘Rose and myself have been praying for Callodyn and yourself over these past few days.  We have asked our Pastor to make mention of you in his prayers.  Reverend Grayson’s prayer’s are often answered when we ask him to pray for us.  The man has a special place in God’s heart, I am sure of it.  I have also asked the local pastor of the Lutheran church down near the shops to keep you in his prayers.  These days, we are not so entrenched in ‘Anglican only’ and visit a number of the other local churches.  The Church of the Good shepherd, which is the local Lutheran church, is the closest church to us, so we often visit there and fellowship with their community.  We have even been occasionally going along with Daniel to his namesakes down at number 29, with these ‘Noahide’ meetings they have started.  ‘Noahide? asked Rachel, her curiousity aroused.  They have Noahide meetings here?’  ‘Just started recently,’ said Alexander.  Only a small home fellowship, though.  Noahides are a tiny movement worldwide, so Daniel tells me.  But if you want to know about that, ask your cousin.  He started the fellowship with Mr Daly from number 29.  Mr Daly is an observant Noahide and occasionally visits the synagogue in Forrest, which is were he met our son.  But ask Daniel if you want to know about that.  I am sure he can tell you whatever you need to know.’  ‘I may do that,’ Rachel replied.  ‘Well, if it is alright by you, I wouldn’t mind resting for an hour or so.  It was a fair trip and I am still a little tired from the last couple of days of travel.’ Rose Rothchild got up and motioned for Rachel to follow her.  Rachel followed after Rose, who led the way to an upstairs vacant bedroom.

 

Rachel, I am sure you know were everything is.  You can use the bathroom whenever you want, and there are towels on the bed.  You have a good rest, and I will come up at around 4.00 pm to wake you if you are sleeping.  Unless of course you would prefer I didn’t.’ ‘No, that is okay.’  ‘Good.  We are planning on going out tonight to have a meal down at the Viking’s club restaurant in Erindale.  It will be the five of us.  Alex, myself, Daniel and Jessica, as well as yourself.’ ‘That sounds good.  I will look forward to it.’ Rose looked at her, thinking on her words, before continuing.  ‘You know, both Alex and Daniel are quite religious.  Daniel gets it from his dad.  It is not surprising, considering their Jewish blood.  I was raised an Anglican, but was never overtly religious.  If they go on too much about religion, just ask them to back off a little.  They can usually take a hint.’ ‘No, its quite okay, Rose.  At the moment I am actually, I guess, getting into something of a religious phase.  It probably won’t last forever, but for now spiritual things seem to be quite important to me.’  ‘Yes, Rachel.  I know what you are saying.  At times in our lives we ask the big questions.  It is not sensible to continually ask them, though.  Eventually we need to get on with our lives.’  ‘Yes, I know what you are saying,’ said Rachel, seemingly in agreement.  ‘Well, I could use that rest.  So I will see you in a little while.  I might sleep or I might not.  But wake me if I do.’  ‘Will do, dearest.  You take care.’  Rose patted Rachel on her shoulder, and left to return to her husband downstairs.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

So, what is Love, Daniel?  What is Love?’  Daniel, chewing on a piece of steak, pondered his father, Alexander’s words.  Rachel had been sitting quietly, enjoying her meal, but was enthralled at the conversation.  They had been discussing the cricket match just finished on the big screen, a twenty20 spectacular between Australia and England, which had gone right down to the wire, with a phenomenal big 6 from one of the Aussie batsmen near the end of the batting order from the last ball, resulting in a tied match of 201 each.  The 6 had brought a ‘Man I love this game’, from Daniel, a comment his father had picked up on, questioning the nature of what love was supposed to be about.  Rachel, finishing off the last of her Calamari rings sat looking at Daniel, curious as to what he would say.’  ‘Well, obviously, as we seem to agree on, it goes beyond Corinthians thirteen,’ began Daniel.  ‘That chapter presents the heart of love, as Paul sees it.  But I am quite sure he never intended his audience to think that that was the final summation of what love was all about.  There are, I think, so many other qualities which speak about love, which Paul would obviously have known.  Of course, we can talk of definitions.  Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament, had, if I recall, 4 words for love.  Philio, which means a brotherly type of love.  Eros, which means a sexual type of love.  Agape, which means affectionate love, and one more which, for the life of me, I can’t remember.  Each of these words is translated as ‘Love’ in English.  But, as you did ask, What is love?  Is it an emotion?  Is it feelings?  Is it something more than that?  Is it something deeply spiritual?  Something fundamental to the whole meaning and purpose of life?’  ‘That it could be,’ said Alexander.  Our God is a God of Love, John says in his epistle.  C S Lewis commented on that in ‘Mere Christianity’, which is probably my favourite non-biblical Christian tome.  If God is the creator of all things, and he is love, do we then find our ultimate meaning in love?  Is that what we are destined for?’  ‘You two sound just like each other,’ said Jessica.  ‘What I believe is that Love comes from the heart.  Whatever is good within you and what goodness you give out of yourself and share with others shows what your love is.  It is different for each person – as different as there are souls in the world.’  Daniel looked at his girlfriend.  ‘That is very profound, Jessica.  I knew there was a reason I liked you.’  He looked over at Rachel.  ‘What do you think Rachel?  What do you think of Love?’  ‘That when it is broken, it is not easily mended,’ replied Rachel.  Rose nodded.  ‘That is so true, Rachel.  So true.’

 

Chapter Three

 

Rachel looked up at the building.  She, with Daniel and Jessica, were visiting the Australian war memorial in the suburb of Campbell in Canberra.  They had come early that morning, and the museum was not due to open for another few minutes.  They’d had breakfast together in the café near the museum, and planned a few hours to look over the various exhibits.  Daniel had explained that the War Memorial was one of the major tourist attractions for Canberra, alongside the Questacon, the Floriade festival, the National Art Gallery, the National Library, the National Museum and various other attractions.  In the few minutes before the museum was to open, they had scouted around the various outside exhibits, and Rachel found herself staring up at the main building.

 

Daniel had shared with her that each year on what was called ‘Anzac Day’ a morning church service was held at the memorial to commemorate the brave Australian and New Zealand soldiers who had perished in the Great War, also known as World War I.  He had commented to her that the average Australian bloke was not really a spiritual type of person, but that such a bloke did take his cricket and football seriously, and that Anzac day had a deep significance.  Australian schoolkids celebrated Anzac day each year, being the subject of many school reports and presentations.  The ‘Anzac’ motif was a defining and shaping part of Australian society.  It was a ‘true-blue’, ‘dinky-di’, ‘Aussie’ thing.

 

Rachel’s great-grandfather had died also in that war, being amongst the British troops which the Australian’s had since come to seemingly dislike.  The ‘Brits’ were the old enemy, especially in the fiercely competitive ‘Ashes’ series of Test Cricket.  Events like ‘Gallipoli’ and ‘Bodyline’ had shaped an Australian attitude towards what was once perceived of as the ‘homeland’, the grand old ‘Empire’.  ‘Wingin Poms’ were not hated explicitly, but there was an undercurrent of resentment in the land from many inhabitants.  In general, though, Australians gave everyone a ‘fair go’.  This attitude was part of the culture, and soon found its way into new immigrants, who were now a well established part of the new ‘multicultural and tolerant’ Australia. 

 

English people were not, really, in the end, hated or despised.  It was more of a rivalry, especially in sports, and the Australian attitude of ‘mateship’ was still appreciated by visiting English men and women.  Daniel had been born in England, but had come to Australia when he was very young with his Father and mother.  He barely remembered England, and was not overtly patriotic towards the place.  He had visited occasionally, mainly to see his cousin Rachel, but did not really explicitly identify with the people or its inhabitants.  He had shared with Rachel that he was, so he had come to believe, part of God’s Kingdom.  Part of God’s empire.  Earthly kingdoms and empires would eventually give away to the Kingdom of God, something which Christ had been quite explicit on.

 

Rachel, in her current spiritually inquisitive mood, had thought on that issue.  She considered herself a proud Welsh lady, having a number of Welsh bloodlines within her, and being born in Crossden hospital in the heart of Northern Wales.  But she of course could never forget her family name of Rothchild.  It was a strong and passionate Israelite family.  Of course, most Rothchild’s were either secular or Jewish in faith, only a small percentage actually being Christian.  But Jewish faith, while not seemingly from her perspective as passionate as Christian faith – which had never bothered her given her upbringing and attitude to religion – still, technically, embraced the reality of the Kingdom of God as well.  Callodyn and her cousin Daniel had both shared with her that the Rabbis taught that, through the Torah, the Kingdom of God was established on earth.  That the laws of God brought peace and lawfulness to mankind.  Daniel had taught her that the author of the ‘Book of Daniel’, which was supposedly the prophet himself, clearly taught the prophetic emergence of the Kingdom of God, triumphant over beastly worldly empires.  Rachel had been curious about that issue, but had realized that in the Samaritan Torah she now had with her, the Book of Daniel was of course not included.  That book was part of the Old Testament, or the TENAKH as her cousin had called it.  Thinking over the issue of the Kingdom of God, Rachel had thought on the issue which, for Christians anyway, seemed to be the fundamental issue, that of Salvation.  As every believing Christian could tell you, salvation was bought for the church by the blood of Christ at Calvary.  And the church established the Kingdom of God on earth, being the substance of the Kingdom which was based on the simple fact that they had the proper relationship with God and were allowed entrance into the Kingdom, simply because they had been forgiven by the blood of Christ.

 

Her cousin Daniel had maintained that Christ’s blood was the only ultimate way of salvation.  That without the blood of the lamb, death and destruction was the only other ultimate destiny.  He had shared with her that the Bible taught various things about destiny and rewards for those people who had served God and that all people throughout the ages would receive a reward in the world to come.  But he had been quite explicit that, while all of God’s children would receive some sort of reward, that for an eternal reward, for life everlasting, only through the blood of Christ could this salvation be attained.  He had shared with her his view that Jews and Muslims and people of other religions would inherit a portion in the world to come, but that it would only be for a limited time – or more precisely, a finite time.  Once they had received their reward, the day of Judgement would ultimately arrive, and unless they had accepted Christ while alive on earth, they would face destruction of body and soul in Gehenna – the lake of fire.  Only an intangible spirit within them would remain alive, which would return to God, as Solomon taught.

 

Rachel had taken Daniel’s teaching quite seriously.  Presently, while still accepting Christianity as her religion, she did have questions.  Her husband, Callodyn, had said he did believe Jesus was a fundamental figure in the plans and workings of God, but that he was not, ultimately, the true Christ.  And because of that he had not professed Christian faith to her.  This had not bothered Rachel, who had from a young age decided to not let religion interfere with her friendships with people.  Callodyn’s views had challenged Rachel a little, but he had never meant that to be his intent, or had never said anything to indicate so.  But, she loved her husband, and would accept him whatever his views on religion.

 

But, in the past two days, since the previous morning’s conversation with Cindy from the Samaritan’s hostel, Rachel had almost decided what she would pursue.  What religion she would look into and see if it was right for her.  Like her new acquaintance, Cindy, she would look into the Samaritan faith.  The figure Cindy had talked about, the ‘Taheb’, sounded intriguing to her, and she wanted to satisfy her curiousity on this subject.  In all its wonderful teachings and doctrines Christianity, to Rachel, seemed to somehow, perhaps, overly complicate life.  The Torah, she had found through skimming through it, was more direct.  Black and white, even.  It gave commands to be followed and punishments for failing those commands.  Rachel knew that God, though.  The cultural inheritance of her Israelite family knew the God of the Torah.  It was perhaps true what Callodyn had once told her.  The People of Israel were God’s child, as the scriptures taught, and he was close and personal to each and every one of them.  Because of that apparent reality, Rachel had felt that she would now look into the religion of the God of her people.  She would look into it and see what all the fuss had been about.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Coming to the road, she had run out of bicycle path, so walked down over the grass to the road.  She had risen early again, and was walking down from Macarthur, which was at the east side of Tuggeranong, down to Pine Island, which was at the base of the ‘Brindabella mountain range, on the western edge of Tuggeranong valley.  Daniel had been talking about the place, as he visited it often, and Rachel decided to walk down in the morning to see for herself.  Crossing the road, she walked southwards a little coming to the main intersection.  She continued westward for a few hundred metres until coming to the turn-off to Pine Island.  She followed the road along for another few hundred metres until she came to the main parkland of Pine Island.  Pine Island was a name given to a section of the ‘Murrumbidgee’ river that ran along the base of the Brindabella mountains past Tuggeranong.  Coming down to the edge of the river, she sat down on the sand, and started relaxing.

 

It was very quiet, the sound of the city being heard, which was a few hundred metres behind her.  She was essentially at the edge of Canberra and if she crossed over the river, she would probably be entering someone’s farmstead, although she was not sure.

 

She took her towel from the bag she was carrying and laid it out on the sand.  Taking her shoes off, she lay down on the towel and looked up at the blue and white sky above her.  It was near the end of summer in Australia at the moment, but Canberra was not the hottest part of Australia.  It was still early in the morning, and the weather, to Rachel, was ideal.  The air was cool and fresh, but not too cold.  Really, it was the perfect time of day to enjoy the river.

 

Lying there, her thoughts quickly turned to that of her beloved.  She had been not thinking of him directly the last two days as much as she had been back home.  The trip and the events of the trip had taken her mind off of him.  But now, in some quiet time, Callodyn entered her mind.  Was he really alive?  Did he really still care for her?  These questions had persisted in her thoughts, and her heart saddened often at answers she felt she must submit to – wether she wanted to or not.  Wherever Callodyn was, whatever he was doing, she felt that he had chosen to not return.  That he had chosen to live his life without her.  That the love that he had proclaimed for her had not been real – had not been true.

 

Rachel, though, could not express that attitude.  She had given her heart to Callodyn.  She had given her heart in a way that she could never give back.  She had committed in that marriage ceremony.  It had been the most pivotal moment in her life, and in her heart she would never, ever, revoke the decision – the commitment – she had made.  Callodyn was her love, that would remain true forever.

 

She rolled over on to her side, and silently sobbed for a few minutes at the way her heart was feeling.  Did other women feel like this when their beloved had left them?  Were other hearts broken as such?  Was she alone in the heartbreak she felt?  She supposed, although she would like to perhaps think otherwise, that others did feel such love.  She thought on all the marriages that had taken place over humanities life.  Of all the commitments and promises that had been made.  Surely, in all of those choices, many hearts had been broken.  Many had tasted the bitterness and loneliness of love forsaken.  She thought on her mother, Celia, who had lost her father Jonathon in the recent Iraqi conflict.  Celia had expressed the usual grief and widowed wife would show at the funeral, but had gone on with life and did not seemingly, to Rachel, seem lost without him.  She did say to Rachel from time to time that she missed Jonathon, which did show to Rachel that her mother’s felt something of the loss.  But for Rachel and her beloved Callodyn, she thought the pain of separation was oh so extreme.

 

She thought on that in her heart.  Growing up and with her previous boyfriends, she had never really felt like this.  Never really known the pain of a broken or disappointed heart.  But this pain she now felt was so extreme.  So alive and passionate.

 

She stared up at the sky.  She thought on her new religious preoccupation, and the ‘God’ of that religion.  Was he sitting up there, up in heaven, looking on at her?  What were his thoughts?  Was he even aware of Rachel and what she was going through?  Did he even care about her heart?  She had been taught all her life that God cared.  But if he did so, why had he allowed her to feel such pain?  Such sorrow?

 

She turned to her side again, staring down at the river, watching it travel along its course, destination unknown.  Lying there she thought on her beloved, and quietly drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Four

 

The drive down from Canberra to Cooma, which was about 100 kms south of Canberra had been picturesque.  The land was quite dry, but there was much bushland and the scenery was appealing.  Herself and Daniel had left early that morning to make the 10.00 am service at the Anglican Church in Cooma.  Daniel visited a number of churches besides his Sabbath observance at the synagogue, including churches in the districts nearby to Canberra.  West of Cooma was the alpine region of Australia, were it snowed in winter.  Daniel was a prolific skier and went every winter for a number of weekends.

 

Cooma was a town of around 8,000 people.  During the building of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, which provided electricity for much of Australia, the town had taken an influx of immigrants from around the world.  Along the central park of town, named Centennial Park, was a parade of flagpoles with flags from all of the nations which had assisted in the scheme.

 

The town was surrounded by hills and mountains, some in the centre of town.  The Anglican Church was near the centre of town, just up from the main street and along another street.

 

The service reminded her of her own church services back in Wales.  Like most other protestant churches, member churches usually followed a consistent pattern in the way they presented their services – not always, but quite often.

 

When the service had finished, Daniel left Rachel inside the church to chat with the congregation just outside the entrance, the usual practice in Sunday church goers.

 

Rachel was alone in the church and looked around.  It was a traditional building, made of thick stonework, something which Daniel had said was in some ways unique to the Cooma region.  The Catholic Church, and the Uniting church around the corner from the Anglican Church were built of the same types of bricks.

 

Standing at the front of the church she looked at one of the keyboards which was presumably used in the church service from time to time.  She wondered how many souls had sat down to play upon it.

 

The windows of the church were all of stained glass windows depicting traditional Church of England figures.  Wandering down to the back of the church, there was an alcove just behind were her and Daniel had sat.  She entered it and looked up at the stained Glass window.  It was of the Archangel Michael.

 

Rachel thought on Michael.  He was, to Rachel, a significant figure in her faith.  At 7 years of age, she’d had a dream of a figure which had called itself the Angel Michael.  It was a dream of youth – filled with the feelings that such dreams should be filled of, but it was one of the few dreams she remembered and carried with her throughout her life.

 

Callodyn had spoken of the Angel Michael once.  A valiant warrior – a strong and proud child of God.  Such were the words Callodyn attributed to this Angel, almost as if he knew him personally, which of course she knew could not be so.

 

Taking a last look at the window, she left the alcove and joined her cousin in conversation with the rest of the congregation.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Five weeks later Rachel felt she needed to return home.  She had asked her work supervisor for up to 8 weeks off, 5 of which she had in recreation leave, 3 of which she would take as leave without pay.  Her supervisor had approved of the leave without any questions.  He had commented that she was a valued member of Social Security, and could take as much time as she needed.

 

Rachel had been off work for 6 weeks now, and though she had another 2 she could use if she needed to, she felt that her purpose in Australia had largely been served.

 

A main purpose had been to see Daniel and find some consolation.  It was true, she felt, that consolation had come.  But the heaviness in her heart had not diminished, but only increased.  She missed Callodyn, now more than ever.  And while being in Australia seemed to take some of the pain away from being surrounded by the sites of Crossden were she lived with him, she felt that she now wanted to see those sites and face the pain more than living without it.

 

That morning she had rung the travel agent and arranged for her trip back.  She had a return ticket which she could use within a matter of time.  It was time, now, she felt to return home.

 

*   *   *   *   *

It is true, Rachel.  Broken hearts need time to mend.  I know, dearest cousin, that you believe in God.  I would encourage you to take that broken heart to God.  The healing and love you need can be found in him.  He will not let you down, Rachel.  He will not let you down.’  Rachel looked at her cousin seated opposite her in the Canberra airport café.  Her flight had been delayed about half an hour, so they had decided to share a cup of coffee in the café.  ‘God!  Bring my heart to God?  Well, no, I don’t think I could do that, Daniel.  My heart is personal.  Personal to me.  I know how you talk about God, as your best friend, as your comforter.  But he has never been like that to me.  Growing up, God was more of a Judge or King.  Not the personal friend which you and Jeremy go on about.  It is just not how I view God.  It is just not my way.’  Daniel considered her words.  They reflected, to him, a perspective about God which was not completely accurate.  Daniel felt Rachel’s perspective did show an aspect of God – but one which was not complete.  She did not know how much he did in fact love mankind and his children.  She did not know how personal and kind the love of God could be.

 

Why not take a risk, Rachel.  Why not, as the scriptures say, taste and see that the Lord is good.  You may be surprised at what you find answering your hearts dilemma.’  Rachel stirred a sachet of sugar into her coffee, which was not her usual practice.  She took a sip, thinking over how she would respond to her cousin’s words.  She looked out the window, looking at a taxi drive by, taking its passengers off to some unknown destination.  She thought that perhaps those passengers were happy.  Perhaps they had arrived in Canberra, and were off to see some family, some friends – some beloved one.  She looked over at Daniel.  ‘Daniel.  This God you speak of.  I don’t think – I don’t think I really know him the way you do.  Perhaps, one day, I might want to.  Maybe one day.  But for now, while I am looking into religion at the moment, that kind of, well, relationship for want of a better word, with God, is something I don’t know if I can manage.  I mean, he is God, after all.  He is not meant to be taken so personally.  He is meant to be revered.  To be respected.  Perhaps for some holy angel somewhere.  Some proud and noble Israelite queen.  Perhaps for her, some kind of love could be given.  But not to me, Daniel.  Not to me.  It is not the way it is for me towards God.  Do you understand what I am saying?’

 

Daniel took in his cousin’s comments, but felt that he would persist nonetheless.  ‘Perhaps you could be that Israelite queen?’  ‘Me?  A queen?  Hardly.’ ‘Do you know the heart of God, Rachel?  Do you know the mind of our creator?  A psalm I recommend is Psalm 139.  Part of it says, ‘you have searched me, and you have known me.’  The psalm goes on to say that even in the depths of hell, God know us – knows were we are, and what we are going through.  And in that knowing of us, his love remains constant.  Ever faithful and true.  Could you not get to know this God?  Could you not search him out and see for yourself the things people have often told you about him?’

 

Rachel took another sip of coffee before responding.  She noted the sweet taste, and wondered whatever had made her put in sugar, which was far from her usual practice.  ‘Maybe, Daniel.  Maybe, one day.  One day I may, as you said, taste and see that the Lord is good.  But for now my heart belongs to another.  For now it is only Callodyn which will fill my hearts desire.  God would be too much competition at this moment in my life.’

 

Daniel nodded, seemingly accepting his cousin’s words.  Silence surrounded them for a few moments, before the speakers announced that her flight had arrived.  She drained the coffee, and got to her feet.  Walking to the walkway were the metal detectors were stationed she turned to her cousin.  ‘Daniel.  Thank you so for your comfort these last few weeks.  You have been a godsend.  I will write you as soon as I get back to Crossden.’ She leaned forward and kissed her cousin on the cheek.  ‘Goodbye Daniel.’  ‘Goodbye Rachel.  I will pray for you.  Take care.’  She put her handbag on the tray, and passed through the metal detector without incident, before reclaiming her handbag.  She turned, giving her cousin one final wave, and made her way over to the departure point.  ‘Time to return home,’ she thought to herself.  ‘Time to return home.’

Chapter Five

 

Rachel looked at the steps leading up to her flat.  Her mother would undoubtedly be home, unless she was on one of her rare shopping trips.  She looked at the stairwell, and thought for a moment that it was just another labour in a life that had become almost unbearable.  But, despite her misery, life went on.  She had to continue in the pathway of life, and not give up hope.  Perhaps, eventually, things would improve.  Perhaps things would get better.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Rachel, you have to face it.  Callodyn may never return.  I pray to God that he is alive and well, and that he would be here if he could, but he just isn’t here at the moment.  You simply need to accept that.  Life goes on, sister.  Have some faith.’

Rachel looked at Jeremy, and nodded.  She didn’t want to be consoled.  She wanted to remain miserable.  She wanted to stay that way, pitying herself, even if nobody else would.  But she knew Jeremy was right.  She had to eventually cheer up.  And, yes, she would have to have some faith.

Jeremy is right, daughter,’ said Celia her mother.  ‘I believe that Callodyn will return, some day.  But not now.  I think he is just sorting himself out, or something like that.  Working out were his heart his.  He will come back to you, Rachel.  He loves you.  Don’t doubt that.’

I hope you are right, mum.  I hope you are right.’

Celia took a sip from the mug of coffee in her hand, and spoke.  ‘Will you be returning to work on Monday.  You had a long break down in Australia, and you have only been back at work for a month.  I don’t think your boss would like you to take too much more time off.’

I needed Friday off, mum.  I just couldn’t face work that day.  But, yes, I will be back on Monday.  We have selected a new girl for our now vacant administration office position, and she will be seeing me on Monday afternoon.  It will be very important to her, so I have to put aside my problems to make sure she hears the news she wants to hear.’

That is good, Rachel,’ said Celia.  ‘The work routine will help you overcome your sadness after a while.  It will occupy your thoughts.  Take your mind off of Callodyn.’

But I don’t want to take my mind off of Callodyn.  He is my husband.  I want him in my thoughts.’

I know, I know,’ said Celia, comforting her.   ‘But other thoughts need to be there as well, or you will just continue to work yourself up into a state.  Just get back into a routine and things will sort themselves out eventually.’

Rachel nodded, and took a sip from the mug in her hand.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Yes Lucy, you have been successful in your application.  In fact, we can use you pretty much straight away.  If you can start next Monday, we can offer you a six month contract, full-time.  The position is a basic administration officer position, which, with your certificate in office skills you have now gained, you should have no real problems in doing.’

 

Lucy Bridges smiled at Rachel’s words.  She had been unemployed since she had turned 18 and had spent most of her recent life at the Samaritan’s hostel.  In the past six months she had been studying at the Crossden Tertiary Institute, and had gained a certificate in Office skills.  She had pushed as hard as she possibly could on her typing to try and get a very good typing speed, and had reached 75 wpm by the end of her course, with which she was extremely pleased.

 

It had all taken her by surprise.  7 months ago she had simply been saving a bit of money to eventually pay for a bond for a room somewhere in outer London, if she could possibly afford it, and to pursue her acting dreams.  But one morning, in fact one she could quite vividly recall, being the morning after the night she had spent with Callodyn, she had woken up and everything seemed different in her life.  She had felt drive – inspiration – passion and intensity.  She felt a fire to really try and actually sort her life out properly, and no longer fool herself with childhood dreams.  She had kicked herself in the behind and decided to apply for the office skills course and work like a devil to do the absolute best she could.  She had decided to push to the limit of her talent and see what life would bring.

 

She had the fastest speed of all her fellow students at the end of the course, and her teachers had commented that 75 wpm was a superior speed to learn in such a short time.  Lucy had been pleased with herself.  Silently very satisfied.

 

When she applied for the temp position at the social security office, she knew she would have competition, given the recession was still going on, although recent figures suggested it was nearing an end.  But she believed in herself, and had gone all out to get the position.

 

Her interview had gone well.  On the interview committee had sat an older gentleman who had not identified himself, and Rachel had asked the majority of the questions.  When the interview was complete, Rachel had told Lucy that she had performed extremely well.

 

And now Lucy had the job.  She smiled at Rachel in front of her and said, ‘Thank you Rachel.  Thank you.’

Rachel nodded.  ‘You earned it Lucy.  You should probably go out and celebrate with your boyfriend, if you have one.’

No boyfriend, but, yeah, I think I will go out and celebrate.’

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

After Lucy had filled out the various forms required and left the social security office, Rachel returned to her desk, and thought on the day’s events.

 

Jeremy’s words had consoled her somewhat, but she was still miserable.  Almost more miserable than she had felt all that year.  She missed him.  So much did she miss him.  Was he dead?  Was he lying somewere in a ditch?  Was he on the streets again?  Were had he gone?  As she had done practically every day since his disappearance, she thought back to that day.  He had been right there in the room with her.  And then a booming voice had spoken and a strange light had appeared.  The moments following were all a jumble in her mind.  She simply could not remember any precise details, but she did remember herself sitting on a lounge chair in the hotel lobby, with the house lady offering her consoling words, and this seeming to have happened just after the voice and lights.

 

Callodyn had affected her heart.  She knew it was his humility that had entranced her.  He had no pride.  He did not boast or pretend to be something he was not.  And he totally and completely accepted her.  He never once judged her – he simply loved her.  He, she thought, was what a man was supposed to be.  Mature, responsible and grown up.  Over childish attitudes, and not obsessed with sex, which she thought every man was.  It was not that he was not sexual – he was – but he never ever pestered her on this issue, but simply let her lead on this issue.  And he was romantic and kind.  He cared for her and spoke fine things in life to her.  And of course, he was smart.  He never really went on about any particular issue, but through their conversations she had come to know that he seemed to know so much about life and history.  It was almost as if he was ancient in some ways, as if he had been alive for a thousand years.

 

She looked up at the clock on the wall.  5.21 it read.  She decided to close her workstation, which under policy was allowed from 5.20, unless they had customers.  She logged of her computer, and put on her jacket, picked up her handbag, farewelled her workmates, and left.

 

While she often drove to work, for a while now she had been walking the distance.  It was a couple of kilometres to her home, but she didn’t mind the walk, as it gave her thinking time.

 

She thought of Callodyn, and looked up to the skies.  ‘God, if you are out there – if you care – I am sorry, God.  I am sorry for whatever I may have done wrong in my life, in my heart.  But please, God.  Please.  Return my heart to me.  Please.’  She looked up to the heavens, and hoped beyond hope that her prayer would be answered.

Chapter Six

 

Samael stood on top of one of the towers of the Golden city, looking out at the city below him.  ‘Samael, how fares life?’ Samael turned to the voice of the one who had spoken.  It was the Logos.  ‘Jesus.  Life is, well, life I guess.  This place soothes the heart.  It is the heavenly domain, and I always feel better living here.  But there is something wrong.  Something out of place.’  ‘And what is that?’ asked the Logos.  ‘It is my love.’  ‘Has not Aphrayel been with you since your return?  She has been your constant companion, assisting you and helping you to adjust to life in our domain again.’  ‘Yes – Aphrayel,’ said Samael.  ‘Yes, I find peace with her.’ Logos looked at him.  ‘It is the other one, isn’t it?  The human female.  The Rachel girl.’  ‘Yes, Jesus, it is her.’  Logos came over and stood next to Samael, and turned his head to look out at the city before them.  He turned to Samael.  ‘Samael.  In the English language – the one you chose to adopt – your chosen name as a human was Callodyn.’  ‘Yes, I know Logos.  Do you have a point.’  ‘Yes, I do.  This name equates with the number 86.’  ’86?  Why 86?’, asked Samael.  ‘Well, counting A as 1 and B as 2 and so on, the numerical equivalents of Callodyn work out to 86.’ ‘Oh,’ said Samael.  ‘That is most interesting.  But, dare I ask, what is the point of telling me that?’  ‘Well, I am aware of another name, a name close to you, which also equates with 86 in the English language.’ Samael looked at the Logos, his curiosity aroused.  ‘Well.  What is that name?’  Logos looked at him and smiled.  He turned his head towards the vista before speaking again.  ‘I will let you work that out, Samael.  I will let you work that out.’  Samael looked at him, and looked away.  ‘Yeah, well.  Whatever Logos.  Whatever.’

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Aphrayel sat quietly beside the pond of Rageeta garden, at the northern most edge of the golden city.  She sat on the grass, drinking some melit water from the jug she had with her.  She sat there, staring at the pond, when she heard a voice hail her.  She turned to see Samael approaching.  She rose to her feet and smiled at her beloved as he came near.  He spoke.  ‘Aphrayel.  We need to talk.’  ‘Yes, Samael.  What is it?’  ‘My heart, Aphrayel.  It is broken.  It will not mend – it cannot mend.  It is missing a vital part – a part that must be restored to me.’ Aphrayel looked at him, and turned towards the pond, hiding her face from him.  There was disappointment there.  She knew she had lost him.  That she had not won back her love.  She turned to him.  ‘Go to Father, Samael.  He may allow you to see Rachel.  He is most gracious and merciful.’  Samael looked at her, and nodded, then turned and walked away.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

At the end of his year sojourn back in heaven, Samael decided that he would act upon Aphrayel’s words.  He would see Father about his concerns.  It was his final hope. Perhaps Father would consent to Samael returning to Earth.  He at least had to try.

 

The day of his appointment came and Samael fronted the throne room.  God was an omnipresent being, but related to the angels through the mediancy of the ever-burning fire situated atop of the throne.  God greeted him.  ‘Welcome Samael.  What is your business with me today?’  Father, as you know I came from Earth just last year, leaving a woman who had professed her deepest love for me.  However, I also love her, and that greatly.  The love is so compelling that I feel I can’t live without it.  I ask you, in your mercy, please return me to Earth and allow me to live out my life with the woman Rachel.  God was silent for a while.  However, he eventually spoke.  ‘Samael, I have searched your heart.  I know that this love is indeed true.  As you have atoned for your sin in my sight, I will grant you this request.  You will return to earth to live as a mortal.  When you die, you will be returned here to heaven.  Rachel may also live with you here in heaven when she dies, rather than in humanities paradise.  This grace I will allow you.  Go in peace, my son.’  Samael stared at the flames, until realisation of what God had said dawned upon him.  He had been successful.  Praise God, he thought to himself.  Praise God.

 

One week later, after having bid his friends farewell, Aphrayel came to his abode.  ‘Are you ready?’ she asked.  ‘As ready as I ever will be,’ replied Samael.  ‘Very well, let us go.’  Just then the familiar vortex of light appeared over Samael’s head.  It soon encompassed him and the familiar journey to Earth took place.

 

A few moments later, he opened his eyes, and looked around.  He was dressed in Jeans and a T-Shirt, and stood just in front of the Samaritan hostel.  He was back in Crossden.  ‘Thank God’, he thought to himself.  Looking at the sky, it was about midday.  He didn’t know what day of the week it was, but decided to try looking for Rachel at work.  He ran as fast as he could to the Social Security office.  Looking in through the window, he spied Rachel at her desk.  She seemed sad.  A look of despair was on her face.  Just then, Satan regretted ever leaving her.  Love was such an important thing he thought to himself.  He would never let it go again.

 

He entered the building, and came to her desk.  Without looking up, Rachel asked, ‘Yes, can I help you.’  Samael smiled.  ‘Yes, you can, wife of mine.’  Rachel quickly looked up, shocked at the person standing before her.  ‘Callodyn,’ she said.  ‘Is it, is it really you.’  ‘Yes, my love.  It is I.’ She got to her feet and ran quickly around the side of the desk, almost bowling him over, throwing her arms around him.  ‘Oh my dearest.  Callodyn.  Callodyn. I had thought I had lost you forever.  That day in the hotel – I thought it had been a hallucination.  And suddenly you were gone.’  Samael looked into her eyes.  ‘That was a test of heaven dear Rachel,’ he said.  ‘Perhaps both for me and you.   But it is over now.  And I will never leave you again.  I swear that to you.’  She continued to hug and kiss him, the absolute joy in her face giving pure happiness to Samael’s heart.  Samael had found true love.  True, pure and honest love.  Love that would last forever.

 

Chapter Seven

 

Rachel sat at Ateegar Pond on the southern edge of Crossden.  She sat on the grass, looking at the pond as the water ripples cascaded to the edge, to be replaced by another, in a seemingly endless supply.  She smiled to herself, looking into the pond.  She looked at the water, and up at the skies.  She smiled again, and laughed a little.  She was happy.  She was happier than she had ever been.  In her whole life she had never been so happy.  Never anywhere near so happy.

 

He had returned.  Her beloved – her heart – her life – had been returned to her.  Three nights ago they had embraced and she had felt the joy of reunion unlike anything else she had ever known.  It was a divine moment in her life.

 

Today, in her extended lunch break, she had walked down to Ateegar pond at the southern edge of Crossden.  Just to be alone for a little while, and to think.  But there was a specific reason.  She had come to pray.  Although she was, as she really felt, not overly religious, God had done something so kind – so very kind for her – that she knew she needed to thank him.  She needed to express her gratitude.  To thank him for the love he had shown her.

 

She had prayed the ‘Our Father’ when sitting beside the pond.  Then she sung ‘Amazing Grace’, Callodyn’s favourite hymn, from the songbook from her church, St Bartholomew’s.

 

And after that, all was well.  All was well in life.  Nothing could bring her down.  No world catastrophe, no great war, not even losing her job, should it happen.  Her love was back.  He had been returned to her.  Her dearest love, Callodyn, her heart and soul was back in her life.  And she thanked God.  She thanked him for the kindness and mercy he had shown her.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Callodyn looked at the child in his arms.  He looked at his beloved Rachel, who looked up at him from the hospital bed, the exhausted look on her face betraying the ordeal she had just been through.  ‘Well?’  she asked.  ‘Is grandfather’s name acceptable?’  Callodyn looked at her, and again looked down at the child in his arms.  ‘Young Leopold Bradlock,’ he said.  ‘You will be fine young man.  You will be a fine young man.’  Rachel looked at both of them and smiled.  She was exhausted, but she was happy.  They had a child and, in many ways, Rachel’s life was now complete.  She had family.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Leopold was baptized into the Church of England on the 1st of January, 2012, a few weeks after his birth.  He had not been baptized in St Bartholomew’s in Crossden, were Callodyn and Rachel had been married, but in the small town of Beltingham to the north of Crossden.  Beltingham was the place were the majority of Rachael’s family lived.  When old Abraham Rothchild had come to England from Germany in the early 1700s, he had settled in Yorkshire initially, but after a decade had moved his entire family, yet again, to Beltingham in Northern Wales.

 

Beltingham, so the local legends went, was the seat of ancient druidry in Wales.  In fact, the locals often called themselves ‘Beltanes’ and claimed that the pagan feast Beltane had originated in their small town.  This, though, was disputed by the town of ‘Bala’ in Northumberland in northern England.  The ‘Balan’s claimed that the ancient druid ‘Merlin’, who was, so the legend ran, born south of their town in a place called ‘Dolgellau’, had inaugurated, with the approval of the Welsh King Arthur Pendragon who at that time ruled over all of Britannia, the feast of Beltane, and established the council of the druids in Bala.  There had been, so the Balan’s claimed, countless rituals celebrating the feast, and in the Snowdonia national park, which lay just near Bala and Dolgellau, there were supposedly many sacred sites which had been dedicated to the feast.  But Beltingham adamantly affirmed that the feast had originally begun with them, and that in fact King Arthur, who had resided in Camelot in Wales, had sanctioned the druidry of Beltingham to inaugurate the feast to celebrate his wedding to Guinevere who, so the Beltanes claimed, had hailed from Beltingham, the daughter of a French lord who had migrated to Wales.

 

Rachel’s Grand-father, David, had shared all of this information with Callodyn after the baptism in David and Jessica’s home.  Jessica, although in her early 70’s, still worked in Beltingham library on Tweed street.  She had decided against retiring until a ‘later’ time in her life, and in the good health God had blessed her with, she maintained her work standards to everyone’s satisfaction.  Rachel’s other uncle, Frederick, had listened intently to his father’s words, offering various bits of information as the tales unfolded.  This conversation had taken place in the main lounge of David’s home, were the men had gathered to celebrate the baptism.  The women had congregated in the kitchen and living room of the home, while the various children were all outside.

 

Callodyn had met the various Rothchild’s at the wedding, at least most of them, but was now getting to know them more personally.  David had 7 children, 3 boys and 4 girls, 28 grand-children, and, now, a proud great-grandfather with young Leopold being the first of what he hoped to be many additions.  David’s 3 sons were Jonathon, the eldest, who had been killed in the recent conflict in Iraq, Alexander and then Frederick.  Jonathon was Rachel’s father and Leopold’s grandfather.  David talked much of Jonathon, the love towards his son quite apparent.  But most of his love, at the moment, was about his great-grandson Leopold, who had taken his middle name, which had been a name in the family for many years.

 

That day, Callodyn felt that he bonded with the Rothchild family, and later that night while in bed he and Rachel shared there stories of the day.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

As a 12 year old, Rachel thought Leopold was most unusual.  At 7 she had noticed that he seemed to have within him what she could only call a ‘dark streak’.  It was not a streak of evil.  Nor hatred.  Nor sickness nor any form of depravity or violence.  Leopold was a lawful and dutiful son.  He obeyed his parents and followed their traditions they taught him.  But she noticed that within his spirit was what she could only call ‘vengeance’.  It seemed as if it was defiance or aggression.  Not hatred or despisement, but determination.  A completely dedicated soul, as if he was determined to prove something in life.

 

And at 12 she noticed that it had not changed, despite her efforts to soften him, but deepened and darkened.

 

Callodyn had told her to leave the child alone.  That Leopold was under control and that his heart was a private affair.  Rachel reluctantly acceded to her husband’s request, but feared for her beloved Leopold.

 

In the faith which had been rekindled in her heart with Callodyn’s return, she prayed for her son.  She prayed that God would soften him and take away the dark spirit.  But as much as she prayed, she sensed the spirit constantly teaching her that Leopold was within God’s purposes and that she should accept him as he was.

 

So, reluctantly, Rachel accepted God’s leading, but looked on at her son and hoped for the best.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Rachel read the song lyrics from the CD that Callodyn had given her.  The band was an Australian band called ‘Taxiride’.  She had heard about them in Australia when Daniel had mentioned them, but had never taken an interest.  Daniel had sent the CD for their ‘Imaginate’ album to Callodyn and had suggested in the accompanying letter that he might like to give it as a gift to Rachel.  She particularly liked song number 3, ‘Everywhere you go’, of which she had seen the video a number of years back, and loved singing along to the song.  But her favourite – perhaps or perhaps not – was song number 7, simply entitled ‘Rachael’.  The spelling was one letter different to her own name, but she didn’t care. 

 

The songwriters obviously had put much effort into the song.  The song seemed deep and loving, and the ‘Rachael’ they spoke of seemed a hard to reach girl, a girl seemingly beyond their grasp.  She silently wished – or hoped – that they may one day find their beloved ‘Rachael’

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

A few months after his 12th birthday, Leopold and his best friends Alex Radrillion, and Justin Goldfire were off on one of their many usual adventures around Crossden, playing on the tracks of the now abandoned train yard.  Leopold had suggested they go to the yards and hang around.  It was a place they went as a trio from time to time, and today they had some cigarettes which they had stolen from the shops in town.  Leopold had dared Alex to steal the cigarettes if he could, to which Alex had reluctantly agreed.  Justin had said that it was wrong, but gone along with the idea anyway.  He sensed that Leopold was in one of his usual dark moods so thought best not to object too much.

 

They were up on the platform of the abandoned train station, coughing and spluttering over the cigarettes as they tried to prove their manhood, when they heard the sound of a gate slamming.  Heads turned they noticed a man in his early twenties coming towards them with a knife in his hand.  Justin spoke up, ‘Shit.  Hey we better run.  That guy looks nuts.’  Alex spoke, ‘Fuck yeah.  I’m out of here.’  Alex and Justin started walking away but Leopold just stood there, smoking the cigarette.  Alex looked at him.  ‘Come on Leo.  He might do anything to us.’  But Leopold just stood there, seemingly not caring.  Justin spoke.  ‘Look Alex, Leo has a point to prove.  You know him.  Let’s just leave.  His problem – not ours.’  Alex looked at Justin, and looked at the guy with the knife.  Who was standing about 30 metres away, looking menacingly towards them.  ‘Yeah, well.  Okay.  Sorry Leo.  Your problem.’ Leopold said nothing.  Alex and Justin stared at Leo for a few moments, and made there way onto the tracks, and followed them, leaving the area.

 

The man with the knife watched them go and then looked at Leopold.  He started slowly walking towards Leopold, tapping the blade of his knife against his hand.

 

Leopold stood there, watching him as he approached.  ‘Are you gonna use that knife?’ he asked him.  ‘What the hell is your problem kid – it’s a bloody knife.  I can kill you with this.’  ‘Go ahead – try,’ said Leopold.  The hooligan looked at Leopold, and looked into his eyes.  In there, for the briefest of seconds, he felt something.  A power.  A dark, furious, power.  A power, which the man knew, in some way, that in his choices in life, he served.  He knew that this child, whoever he was, was not to be tangled with.  ‘Uh, kid.  Look – no worries.  You seem like a great kid.  I guess I don’t need the money that bad.’  With other such apologies the man gradually backed away from Leopold.

 

Leopold stood there, watching  the man leave, refusing to move one inch.  When he had left the scene, Leopold relaxed a little.  ‘I am a Bradlock’, he thought to himself.  ‘And we do NOT back down.’  Silence, with the nearby leaves rustling in the wind, answered young Leopold.

 

Chapter Eight

 

When Leopold turned 16, he left Crossden high-school, and begun working with his Father, Callodyn, who was now the manager of ‘The Red Boar’ pub, were he had been working since coming to Crossden.  Something which both Rachel and Leopold had noticed about Callodyn was his quite slow ageing.  When Rachel had met Callodyn, he appeared to be the age he had said of 37.  That was around 17 or so years ago.  In that time, he really only looked if he had aged 4 or 5 years, and looked around 41 or 42.  And now, Rachel had been given an explanation for this slow aging process.  An explanation which Callodyn explained would necessitate their family moving from Crossden permanently very shortly.

 

Callodyn had introduced a friend he had called ‘Atros’.  Callodyn had stated that ‘Atros’ was an angel.  Rachel had laughed a little at his humour, and in that laughing she suddenly became aware of the hidden memories in her mind of the disappearance of Callodyn.  She remembered, then, what he had said.  That he was the old devil, Satan, and how he had disappeared in a bright light.  And so she questioned her husband, savagely, trying to understanding exactly what he had meant and, as she put it, ‘what the hell was going on’.

 

Callodyn had told her everything.  He had shared his stories about the Realm of Infinity, his prior existence, all of which Atros had confirmed.  But she remained doubtful until Atros had performed certain magical feats which then had her convinced.  The whole story about his test, his disappearance and then reappearance all seemed to make sense.  And so many things that Callodyn had said to her, and observations she had made, all gelled with this being the very truth of what her husband really was.

 

Married to the Devil!’ she had exclaimed, to which Callodyn had replied, ‘Well I’m not that bad a Devil, am I?’ Rachel had laughed uncontrollably at her husband’s wit, and then hugged him.  ‘If the Devil ye be, the Devil ye be, dear Callodyn.  But I love you regardless.’

 

Callodyn had gone on to explain, in news Atros had shared with him, that Rachel was now made barren by God, but for a reason.  Their family would age to their mid 40s, but not beyond.  The three of them were to spend a great deal of time still on planet earth.  God, so Atros had said, had a destiny in mind for the three of them.  But not just this three.  Others were on earth at this moment – others who would be granted great ages – of which three of them were close friends of Leopold, Justin Goldfire, Alex Radrillion and Leopold’s girlfriend, Jane Talbourne.  God required, within a few years, for Callodyn to take Rachel, Leopold, Jane, Justin and Alex elsewhere – to start again.  For the time being nobody could know who they were or how old they were.

 

This upset Rachel, but she had known that it was still, nevertheless, the truth.  She knew Callodyn had essentially stopped aging, and felt that she herself, now in hindsight, for the last 2 or 3 years, seemed perhaps to have halted also in the aging process.  She would have to farewell her mother and her brother – something which would break her very heart.  But if that was to be, then that was to be.  She would simply have to cope.

 

Callodyn had announced their new destination – New Zealand.  Meeting immigration requirements to New Zealand was not too difficult for citizens of the United Kingdom, given their close alliance.  But they would do so with new forged identities, which Atros said he would arrange with Callodyn.  Heaven would assist them in their new life.  God would ensure that everything ran smoothly for themselves.  They simply had to arrange, within a few years, for Alex and Justin to accompany them – something which Leopold would be key to achieving.  And then, a new beginning.  A new chapter in Rachel’s life.  But, so Atros said, a day was approaching, in the not too distant future, in which many events would culminate – and Rachel would be given many answers to questions she had not yet, but definitely would, formulate.  For Rachel Bradlock, wife of the old Devil, a new future awaited.

 

Epilogue

 

God considered the life of Rachel.  In due course, she would die, and with Samael join him in the Realm of Infinity, which would be her home.  Rachel was to be a special human.  And more than human – angelic.  He thought on the words she had once spoken, about the only love for God being an Israelite queen.  God thought on his nature, and understood his children’s perspective, which were to his mind in some ways opposed.  An infinite being did not relate in exactly the same ways that finite beings did.  It did not seek the types of relationships, or the same type of love, in the same way, that his creations did.  Many of them yearned for love – deeply.  But God had existed eternally alone.  Love had been in him – it surrounded him – it filled his life and soul.  Each moment he dwelt in spiritual bliss.  The creation of Angels and Mankind had been from a yearning, though, to express that love.  To let it have a medium, an avenue, in which he could share his heart and joy.  But that love needed to be tested.  It needed to go through certain trials and tribulations before it could be shown to be real – to be shown to be genuine.

 

Life on earth was part of that test and trial for his children.  In this life they would learn love and joy – yet because of the nature of evil, hate and despair as well.  Such was the reality of their condition, a reality he knew so well.

 

Rachel, a child of Israel, was, despite her thinking otherwise, to be his queen one day.  He had many queens, many beloved daughters and princesses – but Rachel was to be the lastborn of the Cherubim, and the firstborn of the Ketravim.  She, like Semyaza, Michael and the others, held a special place in his heart.  They were the firstborn, his beloved ones.  Other children did capture his heart in a way that they did not always do so, but they would be, due to their birthright, the honoured ones.  The ones set apart for a glory all their own.

 

Rachel was loved.  And in the destiny ahead of her, he would make her aware of the love that was felt for her.  Both his own, and that of many others.  Many others.

 

THE END




The Celestyel Angel Aphrayel

Torn Asunder’

 

Chapter One

 

Another!!!!?’ Aphrayel stood there, stunned at her Father’s words.  Stunned, shocked and disheartened.  In the over two millennia since her beloved Samael had left her, now abiding in Sherwood Forest in England, she had oh so often craved his company.  To feel his touch, his caress, his love.  Yet her beloved Samael – now the fallen Satan, having been renamed after her Saruvim brother – was, in the destiny planned by her eternal father, to be with another.  And not one of her Celestyel angel sisters, but a human – a daughter of eve.  Such was the announcement her father had just made.  And in that announcement, her heart was torn asunder.

 

Dear Aphrayel.  I also ask you to be the one to share this offer of return to your brother.  I have sensed him in England and know that Logos words are true.  Satan has softened.  His heart is again showing compassion.  Yielding to the spirit of love and harmony.  And thus, if his heart can show true love to those of the children of Adam and Eve, if his heart can claim one true love amongst the daughters of mankind, then I will allow him to return to Azion.

 

Father.  Do you know…..  Do you know how I feel for Samael?  How the love I felt for him all those years ago still burns strong within me.  And you ask me to do this.  To let Samael seek another heart, another love.  How can you ask this of me Father?  How can you ask?’

 

Daughter. Samael is a creature, like yourself in many ways, yet his heart, dear daughter, you have yet failed to understand.  I ask you, Aphrayel, to trust my judgement in this issue.  In time you will understand.’

 

She stood there.  She stood there, unmoving, perhaps unwilling to move.  She wanted to object – to say no.  She wanted, as others before her had done, to defy her God on this issue.  Yet, in what he had just said, Aphrayel perhaps saw wisdom.  If the love Samael had for her was true it would remain as such.  Yet, if a daughter of men were to come between them, better it be known.  Better it be known for both their sakes.

 

Very well.  I will accede to your request.’

 

You may see him to declare his task at any time.  I leave it in your hands.

 

She stood there, in the throne room of Azion for a few moments, lingering to see if, perhaps her father would yield – would change his mind.  Yet, as she knew in her God, such things once decided would be.

 

She walked off, veering to the windows of the throneroom.  She looked at her abode and also at Samael’s, vacated for so many centuries.  She would shortly see her beloved.  Yet, when she did, she would keep her heart in check.  She would remain formal and not express her own heart.  Her own concerns.  She would let Samael show what he thought, and of that she would learn what she needed to know.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

That morning, after having played on his harpsichord as usual, Samael sat in reflection.  He thought on life in his exile, living in Sherwood forest, the place he felt most at home.  Another millennia, according to Logos, and he would be returned to Azion – the Golden city.  It was not, now, to long a wait.  But, as he did every day, his heart yearned to be returned to the place he had once called home.

 

A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.  He stood up and answered the door, wondering if it could be Logos or Sandalphon.  And, too his very great surprise, his one time lover and best friend, the Celestyel angel Aphrayel stood before him.  She was smiling at him, her face alive with joy and happiness.  ‘Greetings Lord Lucifer,’ she said, the sarcasm obvious.  Samael laughed at the title, but would not let it go unanswered.  ‘Lucifer?  Come now, I am far from being a Babylonian Prince.’  Aphrayel laughed at his joke, the allusion obvious to her.  Samael continued.  ‘My dear Aphrayel, what brings you to my earthly abode?’  Aphrayel, ever so happy to see her beloved, asked the question.  ‘What, no kiss for your one-time lover?’  Samael grinned a little.  As with the initial meetings with Logos and Sandalphon, with the great time that had passed since their last meetings, a space had come between them.  A space of, not so much not knowing, but worry as to how much they had changed and what type of person they were now.  And with his lover Aphrayel before him, he decided a formal approach may be the best way to start.  ‘Well, I had thought about it, but felt that such time has passed between us that such a thing might not be that appropriate.  Perhaps humanities ways are rubbing off on me.’  Aphrayel reflected on the comment.  She did indeed want the kiss but, understanding her mission, and the required formality, did not object to her brother’s words.  ‘I suppose that must be it,’ she finally said in response.

 

Well, are you going to invite me in, or must I stand here at the door into perpetuity?’  Aphrayel asked.  ‘Certainly.  Come in, come in,’ said Samael.

 

She entered the room and looked around the shack.  It seemed, in comparison to the abode her brother had once enjoyed, a far humbler affair.  A very basic wood shack with very little in the way of furnishing, apart from a rather elaborate harpsichord and 3 very nice bookcases.  She gave the harpsichord a quick look, wondering to its origin, but then turned back to her beloved.

 

 

Samael motioned for her to sit on one of the couches along the wall of his shack.  She sat down, and very shortly he spoke.

 

Now tell me, why the visit?  Is there some news from the realm that I should be aware of?’  Aphrayel considered her words and decided to be honest.  ‘Yes, I guess, in a way that is it.  I will get straight to the point.  Father has reviewed your situation.  He has received from the Logos such glowing reports on your progress that he has decided to give you an opportunity to end your exile early.  That is if you complete a certain task that he has set for you.’  Samael looked directly at her.  ‘To end his exile early’, he thought to himself.  ‘Could there possibly be any better news,’ he pondered.  ‘Yes, yes of course.  I would do anything to return to the realm sooner than later.  What is the task?’ ’  ‘Well,’ began Aphrayel.  ‘Father knows that you do indeed show affection to us angels these days.  But he is not yet satisfied that your heart is full of the love which he birthed you with.  Because of this he has set a test for you.  The task is this.  You will be made into completely human form – able to die.  And you will be given five years in this form.  Five years to show that your heart really does in fact love.  In this five years you must, to be able to return to the realm, find amongst the human beings one who calls you her true love.’

 

Samael looked at her.  ‘One who calls me my true love?  You mean I must marry a daughter of Eve?’  ‘No, not necessarily.  You will not have to marry her, but she must call you her true love - forsaking all others to love you alone.’ Satan thought this over.  It would be a challenge, certainly.  But such an opportunity it was.  He had to take it.  ‘Yes, yes, I agree.  It is certainly worth the challenge.  Anything to return to the realm.’

 

Well, before you get too carried away, there is one last requirement.  You must tell her of your true identity.  You must tell her that you are in fact the old Devil, Satan himself.’  Samael stared at her, slightly taken aback at that statement.  ‘But, but.  If I tell her who I am, surely she will have nothing to do with me.  You know my reputation amongst the humans.  They think I am the Lord of Evil.  No, what you ask is surely too much.’  ‘I am afraid that is the condition’ replied Aphrayel.  ‘Father was quite adamant on that point.  Naturally, it is a difficult decision.  So, I will return to you in three weeks at which time you can tell me your decision.  If you decide to go ahead with it, you will be made completely human and will have 5 years in which to find your true love.’  ‘Yes, yes,’ said Samael.  ‘I will need that time to think it over.’  With that said Aphrayel got to her feet and walked over to the door.  ‘I will see myself out, but I will return in three weeks.  My love, I hope you make the right decision.’  ‘Yes, so do I,’ said Samael.  ‘So do I’.iH

 

Chapter Two

 

Aphrayel sat in her abode in Azion, Sandalphon over by the side counter, enjoying his usual scotch.  Yesterday she had spoken with Samael and had told Sandalphon of the encounter.  Sandalphon had been permitted to visit Samael on occasions, when Father allowed, and had taken the news of Samael’s decision calmly.  In truth, such a matter of the heart bothered Sandalphon little.  Women were no great concern in the grand scheme of things to the firstborn of the Oraphim angels.  Certainly, they had their charms which he enjoyed, yet he did not give them the respect of intellect which he allowed his fellow male angels.  Yet, perhaps, not so much out of pride but rather from the way he was used to treating the opposite gender due to their usefulness for sexual pleasure.  Perhaps, as Aphrayel had considered from time to time, this diminished his respect for his Celestyel sisters.  Yet, in the many millennia she had known him, his love for them still remained true, regardless of his brutish mannerisms, which were all to common in the children of men.

 

Aphy.  Let it bother you not.  That is my advice.  Samael – well – like me he has been known to like a piece of flesh.  All those years ago when we first chased those human girls, he was as much a womanizer as the rest of us.  Apparently he had a child to one of them.  He mentioned that once, in passing.  We were drunk up late one night, and I don’t think he remembered he had told me in the morning, but I have never forgotten.  So he says, a woman from Cain’s line he had taken a fancy to and apparently gotten her pregnant.  Yet we were banished from our human delights before he could ever see the child and confirm the pregnancy.  Yet he was sure she was pregnant.’

 

Aphrayel looked at him.  She remembered those days, when the sons of God had first encountered the daughters of men.  They had filled their appetite on new flesh until Logos, as he inevitably would, forbade them from entering earth again.  Was it true that her beloved had sired a child?  Was he a Father?  She put the thoughts aside, and instead returned to her current melancholy.

 

With 5 years he would likely, and perhaps inevitably, complete his task if he chose to accept.  Her brother, so experienced in love-making and winning her heart would, she believed, if he chose to put his mind to winning a daughter of Eve inevitably win one.  Inevitably so.

 

Yet she also knew, as her father had not stipulated otherwise, that Samael merely needed the woman to love him.  Samael himself need not reciprocate such love.  That had never been mandated by her father.  And in that fact, Aphrayel hoped, prayed and believed that her beloved Samael would win the heart, yet never forget his true love.  On that desire Aphrayel placed all of her hope.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

When Aphrayel returned to Samael three weeks later, her brother had made up his mind.  The knock came to the door and Samael opened it, expecting Aphrayel, who indeed it was.  ‘Well, lover.  Have you made up your mind?’  ‘Yes, yes I have,’ said Samael.  ‘I will go through with the agreement.’ ‘Very well,’ Aphrayel said.  ‘Follow me outside, and take off all your clothing.’  Samael undressed and followed her outside.  Aphrayel led the way to a small clearing a few yards away from Samael’s shack.  ‘Stand there,’ she said, pointing to the middle of the clearing.  Samael did as requested.  She raised her hands and looked towards heaven.  Soon she spoke out in the angelic tongue.  ‘Yelti, yelti. Hada Samactani.  Sata Saruv Samactani.’  Suddenly a great wave of light shone down from above, encompassing Samael all around.  He was lifted a few feet of the ground and suddenly he felt his body changing.  ‘What was happening?’ he thought to himself.  Before he got an answer the light suddenly diminished, and he was dropped to the ground.  Instantly he passed out.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

As her father had requested, Aphrayel took Samael’s now human body and flew, ever so quickly to the place Father had designated, in a forest in northern Wales.  Reaching the destination, Aphrayel placed her beloved’s body, naked, upon the forest floor.  She looked at him, longingly.  He, now that he had indeed made the decision to go through with the task, would face true humanity.  And he, as Logos had already done, would find just what it was like to be human in every respect.  She looked over his body, prayed a silent prayer of protection to her father for him, and spoke the words to bring forth the portal to Azion.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

They are at rest, Aphrayel.’  Aphrayel nodded, but not really understanding what her oldest brother, the Logos, meant by such a statement.  ‘Humans are at rest at death, Logos.  I understand that truth.  Yet, where do they go when they die?  They certainly do not come here and I know of no place other than our home.’

 

Logos, sitting in his room above the temple and below the throneroom of God, considered his response to his sister.  They mysteries of life and the universe, it would seem, Aphrayel rarely questioned in great detail.  Perhaps this was just the nature of Aphrayel, or perhaps it had never been needed by herself to ask such questions.

 

Aphrayel.  My mother, Mary, whom much of the Church is truly devoted to, lives in a place away from us.  A paradise we of the Realm of Infinity do not travel to, can not in fact travel to.  As you do know, I am away from here very often.  Often for days and weeks at a time.  And I do not share were I go with my angelic brethren, despite the numerous queries.  They assume I am on earth, ministering to the church.  While this is true at times, at others I am in my Father’s eternal house.  A place, a realm, were I work with others to build the new universe – the new eternal home for all the children of mankind.  Others assist me in this endeavour.  The patriarch Enoch works with other angels who you do not know to build various communities awaiting the resurrection.  These angels, who no other of Infinity knows about, and I forbid you to share this news with them, live in a Realm called the Realm of Eternity.  It is, in many ways like ours, yet different as well.  And in that place, as strange as it may seem, are faces you may know.  Connected to this Realm – the Realm of Eternity – are portals which lead to new planets, alike Earth, were the resurrected humans will live.  Now, each of these planets has what I would term a netherworld or a Hades.  Every human, depending on race, culture, family and many other factors, is chosen to be placed in a particular abode of the dead in several of these planets.  And when the great day of the resurrection comes, they will come to new life on these planets.  New life in their eternal abodes.  It is in these netherworlds, dear Aphrayel that humans go to when they die.  Some are lucky, and already enjoy the life of these worlds, my mother included.  Yet some await in the netherworlds, awaiting their judgements and rewards.’

 

Aphrayel looked at him, quite shocked.  Eventually she spoke.  ‘Other Angels?  The Realm of Eternity?  But, but why have you never spoken of this.  Surely we should know such details.’

Father has asked me to reveal such things sparingly.  I have judged that in your need such information will comfort your soul, so have decided to give you this information.  Yet I forbid you, Aphrayel, from telling others this news.  It is for you alone.’ She nodded, now having some form of understanding were Samael, if he were to die unexpectedly, perhaps might go when he died.  ‘Thank you, brother.  Thank you for sharing that with me.’ ‘Be at peace, Aphrayel.  Be at peace.’  Logos touched her forehead, gently caressing her head with the love of the oldest child of Infinity, Aphrayel accepting the caress with the purity and love in which it was given.

 

Chapter Three

 

Aphrayel stood in the library of Azion, just north of the temple in the centre of the city.  She stood, gazing down into the viewing portal Logos had created to enable the angels to watch over humanity.  She knew not how it worked, but did know that whatever name she spoke of to be viewed, was brought to life in the calm water of the portal.  And the name she had spoken was that of Samael her brother.  Initially, when she had said his name, only a dim image had appeared.  And then she remembered Logos words and said ‘Satan’, after which he appeared far more clearly.  Such, she recalled, was the judgement of God on that issue.

 

She, as she had done these last few days, had been following her brother’s progress.  He had come from the forest to the town of Beltingham and then to Crossden where he now resided.  And one female human in particular, a lady called Rachel, had been associating with him.

 

The incident with the teenager Lucy had bothered her, yet Samael had had little to do with her after this incident, usually just speaking with her at the dinner table of the Samaritan hostel.

 

Right at the moment, though, she was concerned.  Some of the words Samael had been saying to Rachel expressed an interest in her above what Aphrayel desperately hoped for.  And now, Samael was in the abode of Rachel for the second time.  To say the least, Aphrayel was concerned.  She spoke ‘sound’, and the conversation between Samael and Rachel came alive to her.

 

So, I guess Callodyn, that is just life in Crossden.  It has its ups, its downs.  I am used to it and it suits me well enough.  It suits me well enough I suppose.’  Samael nodded.  He looked at the clock.  They had been speaking for a while now, and with Celia absent he was a little concerned of what Rachel may think, especially after her words the last time, so decided to call it a night.

 

Well, Rachel.  It has been great again.  Really fantastic.  But perhaps I should be going.  It is getting late, after all.’ He got to his feet before Rachel interrupted him, saying, ‘Sure.  You can go if you want to.  But you could, if you want to that is, stay the night.’  Satan assumed she was offering him a place to stay for the night instead of having to walk back to the hostel.  It seemed reasonable so he decided to accept.  ‘Umm, on the couch you mean?  Well, alright.  If you don’t mind.’  ‘Rachel came over to him, and gave him a short kiss.  ‘I wasn’t thinking about the couch, Callodyn.'  Satan was shocked.  Was Rachel really suggesting what he thought she was suggesting.  However, he soon came to the realization from the look in her eyes that she indeed was.  ‘Yes,’ he said.  ‘I think I can stay the night.’  She smiled and motioned for him to follow her.  She walked over to one of the doors and opened it.  It was her bedroom, of course, and it had a rather elegant double bed in it.  ‘Well, are you coming?’ she said.  ‘Of course,’ replied Satan, and followed her into her room.

 

She closed the door and looked at him.  ‘We will have to be quiet.  I’m a grown girl now, and my mum respects that, but courtesy is still important.’  With that said, she smiled, looked at him nervously, and started to unbutton her shirt.  At first he just stood there, stunned at what was going on in front of him.  But, after she motioned for him to undress also, he started taking off his clothes.  Soon they were both in their underwear.  Rachel got on the bed, and spoke.  ‘Callodyn, I haven’t been with a man intimately in four years.  So you will forgive me if I’m not up to scratch.’ ‘Don’t worry about it,’ said Satan, who smiled at her.  Tenderly he stroked her hair.  ‘Rachel, I really don’t know how to say this, but I think I am falling in love with you.’  Rachel looked at him then looked down.  After a moment she looked back up.  ‘Yes Callodyn.  I think, perhaps, I am starting to feel the same about you.’ Satan smiled and moved his lips forward.  They kissed, this time with mouths open, exploring each others hidden delights.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Perhaps for the second time in recent weeks Aphrayel’s heart was torn asunder.  She sat on her couch, Lovrayel her Celestyel sister seated next to her, encouraging her to drink some Orange and Lemon juice, while Sandalphon stood, as usual, over by the counter drinking his scotch.

 

It is as I told you, Aphy.  Samael does not have the heart like you think.  It is a male’s heart – a man’s heart.  Not a woman’s.  You girls devote yourself to a man and, I think, vainly assume he will return such love.  But sister, while we may say at times we love thee truly, and in fact there may be love, yet do not be so deceived into thinking the devotion you seek is in any way the equal to which you give.  Aphrayel, do not be so naïve.  We men are hard.  It is the difference, you see, between the sexes.  Men are naturally aggressive, forceful, outgoing.  Women are often the opposite.  It is why we are attracted to each other.  Do you see what I am driving at?’

 

Lovrayel nodded, affirming Sandalphon’s words.  ‘He may be an idiot, sis.  But Sandalphon’s words are laced with wisdom.  It really is what is different between is.’ Aphrayel, ever so melancholic, asked the question.  ‘So, what is your point Sandy?  What is your point?’  ‘My point is this, beloved sister.  Samael may fall for this Rachel woman.  He may express his love.  In fact he may express his eternal love.  And, in truth, he may love the woman.  But lass, know this truth.  He is a man.  He is a man.  And while he may say as such today, and for many a long year, his heart will inevitably wander, as they all do.  And in you, Aphy, while he may in deed love you, while perhaps not as you wish, but perhaps as you need, Samael will find a friendship.  A friend, from his youth, who he will always have in his life.  He will always want to be near you and around you Aphrayel.  You will never, really, lose him.  He will go with women, don’t doubt that.  But in you his sister he will find a comfort and a friend which will last forever.  It is the pragmatic relationship that you will both need.’

 

Lovrayel, having listened to Sandalphon’s words, found wisdom in her older brother’s statement.  She turned to Aphrayel.  ‘You know, as much as I hate to admit it, the big lug probably has a point.  It is what men are like.  It is their nature.  Perhaps if you can find some solace in that truth, Aphy, your heart will mend.

 

Aphrayel nodded, sipped on the juice, yet in her heart would not be consoled.  They were comforting words yet, perhaps, that was all they were.  They were not reality.  Her brother may in fact love the woman forever.  That was part of Samael’s nature – the seriousness with which he had been born.  And she doubted it would change any time soon.

 

Chapter Four

 

6080 SC (2010 AD)

 

Rachel Rothchild, Crossden resident for 26 long years, reflected on the simple fact that her silent prayer to God for a man may finally have been answered.  Callodyn was, to Rachel, perfect.  Not only did his life situation not bother her, she found it a comfort instead.  Callodyn was humble because of what life had thrown at him.  While she knew not that his tale of living on the streets was false, it was indeed true that his sojourn on earth had humbled the once proud firstborn Onaphim.  Yet, in this humility that had been born within the soul of Samael – having taken the human name of Callodyn Bradlock in his new human form – Rachel found a peace, a gentleness, and a strength which she desired, oh so greatly.  He seemed, in truth, wise beyond his years.  As if he had experienced much and instinctively understood that life was life – you took it as it came.  He was in many ways reserved about things, in conversations, in actions – yet in those reservations it was as if he instinctively understood what others saw in their actions and, in his experience, as if he had lived through such things countless times already.  As if he already knew how life worked.

 

His red hair suited his face, which was quite handsome.  He was shaven and had not grown any facial hair since she had met him.  Apparently this was his preference, which she secretly preferred.  Her father had, perhaps still in the old Torah tradition of the Rothchild family, worn the beard long and unshaven, as her grandfather in fact still did.  Though as a Jewish family this was not that surprising.  However, in the liberties of Anglican faith to which she had been raised, Rachel preferred the practice of a shaved face and a neat and trim appearance.  It is what she was more suited to and, thankfully, what Callodyn displayed for her.

 

It seemed to her, especially now that Callodyn was working and seemed to have the promise of a good future, that he would make the ideal partner for life.  The ideal person to be her husband.  In truth she loved him.  And in fact, quite greatly now.  His personality had won her, in fact, almost instantly.  So, if she dared, she would subtly broach the subject of marriage that evening.  Subtly let her new love know just what was on her mind.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Leaving the portal, Aphrayel’s heart was again in emotional torment.  Rachel had spoken with Samael and declared her love.  A love which Aphrayel, looking at the way Rachel always acted around her beloved, knew to be true.  And then Samael had likewise voiced similar love to Rachel.  And now Aphrayel felt that, perhaps, she had lost her love.  Perhaps he would be gone from her.

 

She sat down on one of the chairs in the library, her heart full of silent misery, not noticing the soft footsteps of Logos approaching.  He spoke her name.  ‘Aphrayel.  Sister.  Father would speak to you.’  She looked up at her brother, and looked into his face.  ‘Yes, brother.  I guess he might.  If he knows what Samael and Rachel have expressed, I guess he may.’

 

Logos reached out and took Aphrayel by the arm, leading her in a walk around the library.  Shortly he spoke.  ‘Sister.  I know your love is true for Satan.  I know you feel strongly for his heart, and his welfare.  And, in truth, I care as such also.  Yet this love, if it is to be true – if it is to be eternally true – must stand the test of time.  It must be tested.  It must be put through trials and tribulation which, not only does it not like, yet truly detest.  It must be put to the most thorough of examinations.  For, dear sister, if it is not true love.  If it does not last and overcome all obstacles – then it is not for you.  If Satan ultimately does not call upon your name – your heart – your love – then he is not yours, and never will be.  Yet a truth remains, Aphrayel.  A truth which means that you needn’t worry, you needn’t concern.  Whatever will be will be, Aphrayel.  Yet, if it is indeed meant to be – if your natures are to be one – then they will inevitably be as such.  In this truth you need not fear.  If he is to be yours, then time will lead him back to you.’  Aphrayel nodded, somewhat comforted by her brothers words.  Yes, in truth, she thought to herself.  Whatever will be will be.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Thus is what you shall say.’  Aphrayel nodded, understanding the task father had just set her.  God, it seemed, had been monitoring the situation between Samael and Rachel and had decided it was now appropriate for Samael to be reminded once again of the full terms of the requirements of his return to Azion.  To be reminded that not only must he child of Eve declare her love for him, but for him to tell her of his true identity – the ancient Devil.  This reminder Aphrayel was now to give to Samael.

 

She left the throneroom and started her way back to her abode.  Having returned, she went to the kitchen to get some Lemon and Orange juice, a juice she had been enjoying recently.  A knock came to her door, and she expected it to be Sandalphon, who usually visited her daily.  She found her older Oraphim brother, new bottle of scotch in hand, standing at her doorway, already slightly drunk.  ‘Driinghk with mmehh, Affie.’  She looked at him, and smiled.  She should probably tell him to go away so she could dwell in misery, yet, perhaps, getting drunk may be just what she needed.  So, perhaps against her better judgement, she invited her brother in.

 

Later that night, after they had made love, Sandalphon being one of the few of her brothers whose intimacies she still enjoyed, Aphrayel lay on her bed next to her drunk sleeping brother, looking up at the ceiling.  That was life, she thought to herself.  Sometimes, in ways unexpected, it fixed itself – and not always in the way you would want – but perhaps, despite its many flawed approaches, in the way you needed.  She looked at Sandalphon, realizing that while, in truth, her heart belonged to Samael, she loved Sandalphon – Sandy – as the brother who had remained her closest friend for many long centuries.  In Samael’s absence he was her main lover, he also partaking of Gemrayel’s affections, as he always had.  Yet, she did realize that despite the loneliness in her heart that only Samael could fill, Sandalphon – big hunking, brutally male Sandalphon – was also a dear and treasured part of her heart and soul.  And because of that she silently thanked God for the solace her older Oraphim brother brought.

Chapter Five

 

Aphrayel, having told Samael God’s judgement was still intact, had returned from earth and was now in the library watching Samael through the portal.  Samael had proposed and Rachel had accepted.  And Aphrayel, now used to the way her love had gone after another woman, watched on with a guarded heart.  The wedding had been traditional and Samael had looked the proper gentleman in his tuxedo.  And now, today, Rachel and Samael were in a hotel on the Welsh coast, having made love that morning, and reclining.

 

Aphrayel. Go stand in front of Samael’s abode.  You and others will be there.  Go there now.

 

Aphrayel, in response to the command of God, reluctantly left the viewing portal and walked out of the library through its northern entrance, to see other angels standing just in front of Samael’s tower.  Logos, Sandalphon and a whole host of the angels – probably most of them – stood in front of the tower.  She approached and made a query to Logos who explained that they were awaiting someone.

 

Moments passed, and then a vortex of light appeared in the sky just in front of the gathered crowd.  Slowly, coming through the vortex, was a figure – a figure which Aphrayel knew immediately – her beloved brother Samael.

 

Samael landed on the ground and looked around, almost as if he was not sure were he was.  Logos came forward and greeted him, as the other angels did in turn.

 

She looked on, and realization of what had happened struck home.  He must have kept the terms of the task, and now Father had brought her beloved home.  She had brought her Samael back to her.

 

After half an hour of various greetings and well wishes, Aphrayel made her way over to Logos, Sandalphon and Samael.  She made her way slowly, anxious to see him.

 

Samael turned towards her.  ‘Aphrayel!’ he said.  She nodded.  He then came forward and hugged his sister.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

She, sitting there with Samael next to her, Sandalphon over by the side enjoying his scotch, was blissfully happy.  So blissfully happy.  Samael was returned, and life was, finally, back to the way it should always have been.

 

I suppose, for such a long exile, I may have expected something more from Father in the words he spoke.  Yet he simply welcomed me home.’

Bah.  Worry not for such things brother,’ began Sandalphon.  ‘Father is glad for you to be back but life, Samael, goes on.  We knew you would return eventually.  Do not get me wrong, we are glad to see you back, but life has a merry strum here in Azion.  You will find yourself back in the routine.  Mark my words.’ Samael nodded, seemingly agreeing with those words.

Life is good, brother,’ began Aphrayel.  ‘I know that while you were on earth you encountered some of the harsher elements of existence.  But life in Azion is blissful, really.  I am sure, once you again accustom yourself to this life, you will be back to your old self.  This is your home of birth.  It is what you will instinctively understand very soon, I am sure of it.’

I guess,’ began Samael.  ‘I did have such a great sojourn amongst men, though.  It is most strange, in some ways, to actually be away from earth, now back home.  As if I had been uprooted.’

You’ll get used to it,’ said Sandalphon.

I suppose,’ replied Samael.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Yet her beloved, while seemingly at peace and joy in the great return to his beloved home, was not at rest.  He was not at peace.  And as the year slowly passed by Aphrayel sensed within Samael a yearning – a deep yearning – for something and, perhaps, someone.  She tried denying it for a while but, inevitably, she acknowledged that it was likely the woman Rachel who Samael longed for – desired to touch – to be intimate with again.  He did not explicitly state as such to herself but once, in lovemaking, he called her that name and Aphrayel knew her love’s heart was elsewhere.

 

A little while later, Aphrayel was sitting quietly beside the pond of Rageeta garden, at the northern most edge of the golden city of Azion.  She sat on the grass, drinking some melit water from the jug she had with her.  She sat there, staring at the pond, when she heard a voice hail her.  She turned to see Samael approaching.  She rose to her feet and smiled at her beloved as he came near.  He spoke.  ‘Aphrayel.  We need to talk.’  ‘Yes, Samael.  What is it?’ ‘My heart, Aphrayel.  It is broken.  It will not mend – it cannot mend.  It is missing a vital part – a part that must be restored to me.’  Aphrayel looked at him, and turned towards the pond, hiding her face from him.  There was disappointment there.  She knew she had lost him.  That she had not won back her love.  That, despite her constant affections towards him – her prayers to God – her purest love – that she had failed to win the heart of her beloved.

 

She turned to him.  ‘Go to Father, Samael.  He may allow you to see Rachel.  He is most gracious and merciful.’ Samael looked at her, and nodded, then turned and walked away.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

And then, no sooner had he been returned, then he was gone again.  Almost in a moment.  And yet again, the heart of Aphrayel, Celestyel Angel of the Realm of Infinity, was torn asunder.

 

She watched him in the portal from time to time – she watched him in his new life with Rachel.  She saw how happy – how blissful – how joyful his life was and knew that her brother was now at peace.  That he had found contentment for his heart.  Yet hers was not – could not – be as such.

 

She spent her days, neglecting her work duties, which Logos allowed her to, reclusive in her abode, even now occasionally partaking of some of Sandalphon’s devilish scotch.  She was – to state it bluntly – depressed.  And then one day, the most strange of announcements.  News which, for the community of Azion, seemed perhaps most unexpected.

 

Logos, of course, had become human all those years ago and walked in Israel – the redeeming Christ for mankind, still an issue of much contention.  Yet while Samael had preceded him in arriving on earth for any great length, he had followed him in his human manifestation.  For these things, a purpose had been stated.  Yet these two, it would seem, were not to be the only ones to taste human existence.

 

Samael’s wife, Rachel, had become pregnant.  Even now God was knitting together the fabric of life for the child within the womb of Rachel.  Yet one thing was necessary for this child – necessary in its very early developments inside the womb.  This child would be born with an Angelic spirit.  Born – in truth – as an Angel of God.  And, it would seem, God and Logos had selected one of her brothers to be born as this child.  And the one selected was the firstborn of the Oraphim, her best friend Sandalphon.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

You have to be excited, Sandalphon.  It is a new start – a new beginning.’  ‘Bah.  Such things are for fools like Logos.  He likes humans that much that he was happy to be one of them.  It is the last thing I would want to do.’ Aphrayel knew her brother would react this way, yet persisted.

You know, it is a little ironic.  You are to be Samael’s child.  You’ll have to call him, as the humans put it, daddy.’  There was just the faintest hint of a jibe in Aphrayel’s voice.  Sandalphon looked at her and, with a slight grin said ‘Shaddup’.  Aphrayel continued unperturbed.  ‘Little baby Sandalphon.  I am sure you will make the cutest of children.’

Sandalphon strode over to the window and looked out.  He took a sip from his glass and said, ‘It is so long now.  So long since I have been young.  Father tells me, you know, that each of us will go through this.  Each angel will taste the flesh of human life.’  Aphrayel nodded, already having been informed of that fact.

It is a new beginning brother.  A new life, almost.  And, perhaps, you will never be the same again.  Never quite the same old Sandalphon.’  He looked at her, looked out at the window, and muttered, ‘Yeh.’

 

Chapter Six

 

5981 SC (2011 AD)

 

Callodyn looked at the child in his arms.  He looked at his beloved Rachel, who looked up at him from the hospital bed, the exhausted look on her face betraying the ordeal she had just been through.  ‘Well?’  she asked.  ‘Is grandfather’s name acceptable?’  Callodyn looked at her, and again looked down at the child in his arms.  ‘Young Leopold Bradlock,’ he said.  ‘You will be fine young man.  You will be a fine young man.’  Rachel looked at both of them and smiled.  She was exhausted, but she was happy.  They had a child and, in many ways, Rachel’s life was now complete.  She had family.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Aphrayel had not really expected it.  So soon after Sandalphon’s departure, and suddenly Logos announced that several more of the angels of Infinity would be becoming human.  And, surprisingly enough, that included herself.  Logos came to her abode and shared with her her new destiny.  She was to be born to, ironically enough, a couple who also lived in Crossden, very near to were Samael and Rachel had set up home.  They were David and Samantha Talbourne.  The Talbourne’s were an ancient English family, and David had moved to Crossden with his wife Samantha after a job lead which had proven successful.  Logos instructed her that the Talbourne’s, as so many were, were dear to God’s heart, and that in her destiny this family would be the best and most suitable home for Aphrayel to become part of.  Aphrayel trusted God so assumed that her Father’s plan for her would be in her best interests.

 

She pondered the news greatly in the few weeks before the incarnation.  She had seen Sandalphon’s birth via the portal and now knew she would be joining him.  And, of course, she would grow up in Crossden and, perhaps inevitably, get to know Sandalphon, Samael and Rachel.  Perhaps, it would seem, such was part of her destiny.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Just relax, Aphrayel.  Just relax.’  Aphrayel was surrounded by Logos and her Celestyel sisters, lying on a bed in Logos abode.  It was the time of the incarnation.  Logos had prayed first, and was now drawing a spiritual veil into the mind of Aphrayel.  ‘This veil, sister, will make you slowly forget your past.  Do not be alarmed, it will be slow and gradual.  And while it is happening you will drift off to sleep.  And after that, you will come into the life of the child in the womb.  Your new beginning.’  Aphrayel nodded, still a little nervous, but excited as well.

 

Her mind felt, as the veil entered, at peace and suddenly overflowing with a feeling of ecstasy.  She pondered various thoughts – as if all her life came to her at once – and in that encounter she sensed God present, teaching her a lesson.  Teaching her a basic lesson of what it had all been about so far and the purpose she served.  And right at that moment, it seemed, she had answers.  Answers, suddenly, to the millions of questions she had asked in life, about the purpose of it all.  Suddenly it was all so clear.  Suddenly it was all so beautiful.  Suddenly everything just made perfect sense.  And then, just as suddenly, she was gone – off to the new world, the new life – to begin again amongst the children of men.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

5981 SC (2011 AD)

 

David.  Come here, quickly.  You can feel it kick.’  David Talbourne came over to his wife Samantha and felt the child in her womb.  After a few moments he did feel it kicking.  And it kicked and carried on like that for a good few minutes.  ‘It hasn’t done anything like that before,’ said David.  ‘Why the sudden rush?’  ‘I don’t know, beloved.  It is as if the child suddenly came alive.  As if it was suddenly glad to be alive.’  ‘Well so it should be,’ said David.  ‘We love it to bits and will work damn hard to give it a good life.  The best of all lives.’  Samantha nodded knowingly.  Her husband often made claims, yet was always, as belied his character, willing to make good on them.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

5989 SC (2019 AD)

 

When she was 7 years old, Jane ‘Aphrayel’ Talbourne noticed the boy down the street.  Leopold, although he hung mainly with Justin Goldfire and Alex Radrillion, two boys she knew but really didn’t like that much due to their dangerous or reckless behaviour, seemed like the sort of boy she could be friends with.

 

Leopold’s parents had brought her family to dinner one night, when she was introduced to Leopold and his baby sister Rebecca.

 

Jane had felt very different at the dinner that night.  Of course, she had never met Leopold’s parents personally prior to that occasion, although she had seen them from time to time.  Yet there was strangely familiar about Mr Bradlock.  As if she had known him before.  Of course, she knew that could not be true, yet found these thoughts interesting – especially for a mind as adventurous as young Jane Talbourne’s had become.

 

Her daddy, David, was an accountant who worked for a chain of pubs, the main one being stationed in Crossden were she lived.  Apparently Mr Bradlock worked in the main pub, which was how he knew her daddy.  Over time they had become friends and Mr Bradlock had invited her family to dinner for the first time that Jane could remember (although, actually, she had been a few times in her younger years, but had forgotten the occasions).  However, now that she was getting a little older, Leopold stood out to her.

 

Leopold, for a young lady like Aphrayel, seemed to be the childhood friend she desired that would make a memory for her whole lifetime.  Jane knew she was not that popular a girl in school – she was teased and none of the other girls liked talking to her, nor the boys.  Leopold was in the year higher than her at Crossden School.  She noticed him there, as well as Alex and Justin, yet it was Leopold who normally attracted her interest.

 

Leopold seemed, like her daddy, a strong character.  Someone, for a young heart who sought such heroes in its life, that she could look up to and rely on.  She felt, which was perhaps naïve for someone so young, but she felt that in Leopold she would find a friend – someone who would take care of her and be kind to her.  Almost like the brother she never had.

One day, after school, and walking home (which her parents had allowed due to the very good crime record for Crossden and the short distance to home), Jane noticed Leopold, Alex and Justin playing over in the park on Smith Street, just around the corner from home.  Plucking up the courage, she came over to them to say hello.

 

Hi Leopold.  Hi Justin.  Hi Alex.’   The three boys looked at her.  ‘Girlie, girlie,’ yelled Alex, Justin soon joining in the chant.  Jane was about to walk away, disappointed, when Leopold came over to her.  ‘Don’t worry about them, Jane.  They are just teasing.  You can be friends with us if you like.’  Leopold turned to the other two.  ‘That’s ok, isn’t it?’  Justin nodded.  ‘Yeh.  Jane is alright.’ ‘It would be good to be friends with Jane,’ Alex agreed.

 

They spent the afternoon their in the park, playing for hours.  It was eventually Mrs Bradlock and Jane’s mother, worried out of their minds, who found them were they expected them to be.  ‘We have been worried sick Jane.  Have you been here all afternoon, playing with Leopold and his friends?’  ‘Yes mummy.  We have been having fun.  They are my new friends.’ Samantha looked at Rachel.  ‘We have a gang, it would seem.’  Rachel nodded.  ‘As long as they don’t turn out to be a gang, then it’s okay with me.  It would be good for Leopold to have a female friend.  And I have always hoped he would like Jane.’  Leopold, standing between his mother Rachel’s legs, looked up at his mother and said, ‘I like Jane, mum.  She’s fun to play with.’  Jane looked at her mother.  ‘Can we play here after school each day?  Can we, please?’  Samantha looked at Rachel.  ‘Well, is that okay with you?’  ‘I think it will be okay, Samantha.  I can check them from time to time and ask Hilda to keep an eye on them.’  ‘Hilda?’ ‘She is an old friend of my mother Celia’s, and lives just there,’ said Rachel, pointing to a house right next to the park.  ‘I think if she keeps an eye on them they’ll probably be fine.  Crossden is so safe these days.  Ever since that minor recession ended it seems as if crime has virtually disappeared from our town.  Grandma tells me it’s like the old days – when you trusted your neighbour and left your house unlocked.’  ‘Yes, I know what you are saying Rach.  Times have certainly changed for the better, fortunately.  I am so grateful we came to Crossden because of it.’  ‘mmm,’ nodded Rachel knowingly.

 

Later on, after dinner, Jane was finishing off her basic homework, to draw a picture of her mum for show and tell on Monday morning.  Samantha had brought out some charcoal and a large sheet of art paper for Jane to draw on.  Jane knew that her drawing was not very good, but perhaps instinctively knew that this was because she was young.  When she had finished, she brought it to her mother and said, ‘Do you like it mummy?’  Samantha looked at the picture and nodded.  ‘It is wonderful, Jane.’

 

That night thoughts of all kind were in the head of Jane Talbourne.  Thoughts of school, thoughts of her drawing of her mum, and thoughts of the Bradlock’s.  She thought on Leopold and felt, just maybe, she would find the friend – the kind friend – she wanted, and perhaps really did need.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Go on Leo.  I dare you.’  ‘Well if you say so, Jane.’  The four of them were just up from the playground, a hundred metres up the road, near the pipe which ran under the road into the murky darkness.  Jane had dared Leopold to venture into the pipe.  ‘Are you two coming?’ Leopold asked Alex and Justin.  ‘We’ll wait until you return.  You can be the scout,’ said Alex.  ‘Chicken,’ said Leopold, who started into the pipe.

 

The three of them sat there for a few minutes, as Leopold yelled out various things from inside the pipe, before the brave adventurer returned.  They looked at what he was carrying – a bright orange street traffic lamp, one of those used to ward off cars and trucks.  It was not flashing, however, and seemingly had been dumped there by reckless youths of latter years.  They all grabbed it, looking over it, trying in vain to make it flash – yet to no avail.  ‘I want to take it home,’ said Alex.  ‘Yeh, you would,’ said Justin.  ‘Well I found it, so I will decide,’ said Leopold.  He turned to Jane, got down on his knees and said, ‘Your Majesty’, presenting her with the traffic light.  ‘You dork,’ said Justin, Alex echoing.  But Jane was thrilled, and said, ‘Thank you noble Knight,’ in return.

 

They returned to the park, yet each of them planned on visiting the pipe some time later to see just what else lay hidden within it.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Now what, exactly, is that?’ asked David Talbourne to his wife Samantha.  ‘A traffic light, dear,’ his wife replied.  David nodded.  ‘mmm.’  He looked at Jane who was on the couch watching television.  ‘Is that your traffic light, dearest?’  Jane, while hearing her father speak was not concentrating, but intent on the episode of Ben 10.  David thought about repeating the question after no apparent answer, but Samantha said to let Jane watch her television.  David looked at the traffic light and said, ‘Now were on God’s green earth did she find that?’  ‘Who knows,’ was Samantha’s reply.

 

Chapter Seven

 

Logos sat in his abode in the temple of God in Azion, the Golden City.  Aphrayel was on his mind – now Jane Talbourne.  In truth Logos realized that Samael had fallen for the woman Rachel Rothchild and had married her.  Yet, in truth, he believed that there was, ultimately, one true love for his brother Samael, and he tended to believe that would be his sister Aphrayel.  They were, he felt, the most suitable of couples.

 

Sandalphon, now Leopold Bradlock, Samael’s human son under his human name of Callodyn Bradlock, would perhaps come between them to a degree.  Watching through the portal Logos realized that since their seventh years, the two of them – Jane and Leopold – had been inseparable.

 

Yet the love of his beloved sister Aphrayel – a love which had been torn asunder – would be healed one day.  Of that being the truth did Logos have no doubts.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

5994 SC (2024 AD)

 

When Jane Talbourne turned twelve, and was hanging in the Bradlock’s back yard with Leopold, Callodyn Bradlock arrived home early from work one day with some flex-time taken that he had built up.  He was speaking with his wife Rachel in the kitchen and noticed Leopold and Jane out back so decided to go and say hello.

 

The two of them were inseparable these days, as they had seemingly been since they were 7.  Over that time Callodyn had noticed things about them.  Character traits and behaviours which reminded him of his angelic brethren back home – a fact he found most interesting.

 

Coming outside, Leopold rushed past him, yelling to Jane that he would be back in a few minutes, saying a cursory ‘hi dad’ to his father.

 

Callodyn came out, nevertheless, and sat down on the porch bench, a little away from were Jane was sitting.

 

Jane looked at him.  She sat there staring at him for quite a few moments, which made Callodyn a little nervous.  After a while he spoke up.  ‘So, Jane.  How was school today?’ ‘Its holidays Mr Bradlock.’  ‘Oh, that’s right.  I was forgetting.  I suppose you and Leopold and Justin and Alex have had a good time of it, then?’ ‘Justin and Alex are away on holidays.  It is just me and Leopold.’  Callodyn nodded, understanding gained.  ‘I suppose you two must be good friends by now.’  Jane nodded.  ‘Yep.  Leopold is like my brother.  That is how I feel about him.  I couldn’t live without him.’  ‘Really?’ asked Callodyn, rhetorically.

 

Jane picked up a set of the Super League trading cards, which both herself and Leopold collected, and brought them over to Callodyn.  She stood next to him and started showing him some of her favourite Welsh players.  Callodyn, feeling her presence for the first time in a long time so closely, was startled.  It was as if he was in the presence of someone he knew – someone he knew intimately, and for many years.  Almost as if she was one of the angels of God, which he knew could not be true.

 

He looked at her, noting her face and thought instinctively of his sister Aphrayel.  She did not have Aphrayel’s looks, but, perhaps, could be the kind of child born to an Aphrayel, from his experience in seeing humans and their offspring.  She could almost be a child of Aphrayel he thought to himself.

 

He wondered to himself, just then, were his beloved sister was in life.  What she was doing, back home, in the Realm of Infinity.  He had thought of her occasionally, as he had most of his brethren, yet of course not constantly, so much so had he been enthralled with his new life with Rachel.  But Aphrayel had been on his mind from time to time, and he did miss his sister.

 

What are you thinking about?’ Jane asked Callodyn.  ‘Oh nothing, Jane.  Just an angel I once knew.’  ‘An angel.  You really knew an angel?’  ‘Well, perhaps,’ responded Callodyn.  ‘What is this card?  Is it a special one?’  Jane looked at the card Callodyn was holding.  ‘That is one of the foil cards.  They come one per pack.  Every player in the super league has a foil card.  They are hard to get for your favourite players.’ ‘Oh really,’ said Callodyn, looking at the card, but thinking of his sister Aphrayel.

 

Was she pretty?’  Callodyn looked at the card in his hand, although thinking of his sister.  ‘Sorry, what did you say, Jane?’  ‘The angel you knew.  Was she was pretty?’  Callodyn looked straight at her.  ‘She was just as pretty as you, Jane.  Just as pretty as you.’ Jane smiled, and gave Callodyn a hug.  ‘Thank you Mr Bradlock.  That was really sweet of you.’  ‘Think nothing of it, Miss Talbourne.’

 

They went through the super-league cards for the next few minutes, Leopold eventually returning with the set of Australian Rugby League cards that he had found in his room – something which he had bid for and won on eBay.

 

Later that night, Callodyn lay on his bed, next to Rachel, thinking of his sister Aphrayel.  He had been close to Aphrayel – so close – for thousands of years.  And then, not so long ago, they had met again after centuries of exile.  Yet at the time his heart had been pre-occupied with Rachel, so much so that he had not given his beloved sister the attention she deserved.  Since being returned to earth he’d had no news of the heavenly realm.  None of his brothers or sisters had contacted him since his being returned to Rachel and Crossden.  This had not really bothered him, though, as he was engrossed with his life with Rachel, Leopold and his daughter Rebecca.  They had consumed his heart since his return to earth.  Yet Aphrayel had been at the back of his mind from time to time, and right at that moment he wished, if it were at all possible, to be able to see his beloved sister, one who he had cared for so greatly.  Yet, seemingly, such a thing was not possible.  So instead he thought on her and gave a silent prayer to God for his sister’s life and well-being.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

5994 SC (2024 AD)

 

A little later on that year, after an incident in which Leopold, Alex and Justin stood up to a bully near the train-yards of Crossden, a favourite hang-out spot for the gang, Leopold and Jane were again in the Bradlock’s back yard.

 

Callodyn, arriving home, noted Jane sitting talking to Leopold.  He noted her from the kitchen window, and taking his dinner his wife had left him in the oven, as she had gone out for a bingo night with Samantha, Callodyn went into the main living room and sat in front of the television watching the nightly news.

 

After a while Leopold and Jane came inside.  They sat down in front of Callodyn watching the news.  Callodyn looked at them.  He thought on Jane and again thought on Aphrayel.  And then he thought back to the times he, Aphrayel and Sandalphon were together, enjoying their lives, usually in Aphrayel’s abode in Azion, the Golden city.  Perhaps, in a strange way, Sandalphon was replaced by Leopold and Aphrayel was replaced by Jane, and the three of them were together again.  He chuckled to himself on that idea.  Leopold as Sandalphon?  His son as his best friend.  Now that would be ironic.

 

Just then, ‘You know, those thoughts aren’t as strange as they may seem, brother.’  Callodyn jumped.  A voice had spoken.  He looked at Jane and Leopold to see if they had noticed something, but they both stared at the television.  Callodyn got up, nervously, wondering if he had really heard such a voice, or wether his mind was playing tricks on him.  He walked into the kitchen, grabbed a can of Coke from the fridge, and sat drinking it at the kitchen table.  Just then the voice spoke again.  ‘Well, how have you been, Samael?  How have you been, dear brother?  Miss us?’  Callodyn, then, recognized the voice.  It was his Ozraphim brother Atros – he was sure of it.  ‘Is that you, Atros?’  Just then, shimmering in front of him emerged, from a vortex of light, the firstborn of the Ozraphim angels – third seven of the Angels of Infinity – Atros, his younger brother.  When he had materialized, Callodyn stared at him, and finally spoke.  ‘Well, I never thought I would see you.  Of all the angels I would have expected Sandalphon or Aphrayel – even Logos himself – yet not Atros.’  ‘Don’t be so alarmed, Samael.  It would have been virtually impossible for Sandalphon and Aphrayel to have materialized right now.  A challenge even for the Logos to arrange that.’  ‘And why, exactly, is that Atros?’  ‘Because they are sitting in your living room.’  Callodyn tilted his head, walked to the doorway to stair into the living room, but only saw Jane and Leopold staring at the television set.  He returned to Atros and said, ‘Well, I do not see them, brother.’  Atros chuckled to himself a little at the irony of such a statement.  ‘Their not hard to miss, Samael.  They have been there for a while.’

 

Samael looked at him and then, slowly, as if a piece of a missing jigsaw puzzle fell into place – one which gave sense to the whole picture – he realized just what his brother Atros was driving at.  He stuttered, ‘Leopold….Jane…..  They, they.  They’re…’  ‘You guessed it genius.  Sandalphon and Aphrayel.  Really, I would have thought you would have figured it out by now.  You must be getting old.  To long as a human, I think.  Dulled your senses.’  Samael just stared at him for a few moments, and turned to walk into the living room, while Atros behind him said, ‘I’ll be going now, but I will return later on.  We have things to discuss.’  Samael barely noticed, as he was staring at his son Leopold, who was his angelic brother Sandalphon, and his son’s best friend Jane, who was his sister Aphrayel.

 

He sat down on the couch, staring at them, and after a few moments chuckled to himself.  ‘Aye, God.  You do have a sense of humour, don’t you.’  Leopold looked at him, asking, ‘What did you say dad?’  ‘Oh, nothing Leopold.  Just talking to myself.’  ‘Oh, right,’ said Leopold, returning his gaze to the television.

 

Callodyn looked at both Leopold and Jane and, inevitably, said to himself, ‘Well, it’s a small world after all.’

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

5994 SC (2024 AD)

 

Atros did in fact return to speak with Samael later on that year.  He spoke of the incarnations of several of the angels, including Raznadore, who was firstborn of the Abraphim angels, the eighth group of seven, of the angels of Infinity, who was one of Leopold’s friends, Alex Radrillion – as well as Shadray, firstborn of the Noahphim angels, ninth seven of the angels of Infinity, who was manifest as, unsurprisingly, Justin Goldfire, the final member of the group.  It occurred to him to ask whether his daughter, Rebecca, was one of the other angels of Infinity, one of his Celestyel sisters and, unsurprisingly, the name of Lovrayel was given in response to that query.

 

It was, indeed, to Samael, firstborn of the Onaphim angels of Infinity, a small world.

 

*   *   *   *   *

5996 SC (2026 AD)

 

Jane, sitting in the back yard of Leo’s house, sat staring at Mr Bradlock who was lying on a towel next to the pool alongside Rachel, sunbaking.  That kind of thing, given the fact that the weather in Northern Wales rarely suited such a thing, was rare.  Yet the pool was a heated pool, which meant they could enjoy it all year around, and now in the middle of summer, and on a hot day as well, sunbathing seemed a good idea.

Jane sat staring at Mr Bradlock because last night she had dreamed of Angels and Ghosts and Demons.  A very weird mixture of all sorts of things, in which Mr Bradlock had kissed her on the forehead, said he loved her, and rescued her from a gigantic dragon.  There had been nothing inappropriate about the kiss, but Jane had felt the love Mr Bradlock had expressed for her in the dream – felt it strength and devotion – and now stared at Mr Bradlock in the flesh wondering if he had dreamed anything similar.  Jane was now 14 years old, and starting to become a little more than curious about men.  Of course, both of her and Leopold’s families almost expected that the two of them may in fact marry when they got older.  They had been so close for so long that such a thing seemed, perhaps, inevitable.  Naturally Jane loved Leopold, a great deal in fact.  He was a headstrong, determined young man, not given to foolishness.  And he commanded the respect of others, who in fact looked up to his strong leadership qualities.  She did notice, though, a strong stubborn streak within him.  Almost a silent determination not to yield a piece of his heart.  Yet that did not bother her, and she loved him regardless.

 

She had noticed, strangely, that Leo’s father, Callodyn, seemed to never have aged since she had known him.  He should have now been around 50 years of age, yet looked only about 40.  Perhaps this was just due to a good diet, or perhaps there was some other mystery about Mr Callodyn Bradlock that he was not sharing with everyone.  It was indeed an item of curiousity for her, one she had discussed with Leopold, who had dismissed it without any real thought.

 

Callodyn was, although she knew she should not think such thoughts about a married man, yet he was quite attractive she felt.  She had entered puberty and had noticed boys and was not naïve about the birds and the bees.  Of course she was still a virgin, despite Leopold’s many recent attempts to change that reality.  They had kissed a great deal, and she had let him feel her breasts a few times, but nothing more.  Not yet anyway.

 

Yet, after last nights dream, she could not help feeling, despite herself, a little bit of lust for Mr Bradlock.  She knew she should dismiss such thoughts, which were not fitting for a Christian, but she entertained them nevertheless.

 

 

Later that afternoon, when everyone was inside, Jane said she wanted to go out the back to lie down and enjoy the later afternoon sun for half an hour or so.  After about 10 minutes of lying there, Callodyn came outside, heading over to the towels to pick them up to take inside.  She stared at him, noting his fine body, and asked him to sit and talk with her.

 

You know, Mr Bradlock, you are quite handsome.’  Samael looked at her.  He looked at her, knowing it was his sister and former lover and decided, despite his marriage, to allow this situation go were it would go.  ‘Thanks, Jane.  I do workout, you know.  Not fanatically, but I try to stay in shape.’ Jane looked at him and decided, if she was at all going to have that forbidden fruit she wanted, to be bold.  ‘You know, Leopold has tried to have sex with me at times.  I have let him touch my boobs, but nothing more.  Nothing more than that.’ Samael looked at her, and looked over her body.  It had been developing, so he had noticed, quite finely and beautifully.  ‘That is really not that surprising, knowing Leopold, Jane.’ ‘Yes, that’s true.  But, for my first time.  For my first time I want it to be exactly the right person, if you know what I mean?’  She looked straight at him, and lowered her bikini top a little to show her nipple.  Samael stared at it and her, understanding just what she meant.

 

Just then the back door opened and Rachel came out.  Jane quickly put her bikini top back up so that Rachel wouldn’t notice, and continued chatting with Callodyn.  Callodyn, nervously, stood and handed the towels to Rachel.  He turned to Rachel and said, ‘you know, Jane here has a very vivid imagination, Rachel.  A very vivid imagination.’  ‘I’ll bet,’ said Rachel, taking the towels and returning back inside.

 

When she had left Samael looked at Jane and thought on his wife.  He looked at the fine young figure of a woman before him, the new and lusty nubile flesh, and then thought, ironically enough, of one of the particularly relevant 10 commandments.  ‘Ah father, he thought to himself.  You do have your ways.’

 

He stood, gave Jane a look, and said ‘See you later,’ and returned inside.  Temptation, it would seem, was not the newest thing for Samael, the angel of Infinity.

 

Jane watched him go, disappointed, but realizing that she would have more opportunities in the future.  Perhaps not straight away, but inevitably a chance for her would come.  And if it did, she would take it with both hands.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

5997-6002 SC (2027-2032 AD)

 

When Leo began working at the Red Boar Pub alongside his dad after leaving school early at the age of 16, Jane was likewise tempted to quit school and look for a job.  Yet her father David and her mother Samantha insisted she finished her schooling,  and hopefully go off to a university education.  This, in fact, is what eventuated.  Like Leo’s mother, Rachel, Jane attended Cardiff university, studying a degree in English Literature.  She had strongly considered a sports trainer education and qualifications, as she really enjoyed Rugby League and was on the girls team at school, having been vice-captain for a couple of games due to her skill at the game, but her love for the English classics which David had raised her to read, alongside a natural creative talent in fiction, had led her to, in the end, take the traditional pathway of a solid degree in English.

 

At Cardiff university, in her second year, she was extremely pleased and happy to meet up with James Castleton, the famous author, who had written her favourite book ‘The Dark Side’.  James was visiting Cardiff University, upon the invitation from the Uni to speak at a lecture on inspiration for ideas.

 

Jane, beside herself at seeing her favourite author in the flesh, had sought him out after the lecture to introduce herself.

 

James, one of the children of heaven, sensed her spirit immediately, and knew she was the angel Aphrayel.  Yet, naturally, he would not share that information with her, as the Children of Heaven had never revealed their identities to the Angels of Infinity or Eternity.

 

James asked Jane if she would like to come out to dinner that night and meet up with a friend of his who had accompanied him to Cardiff, a certain June Middlesworth.

 

At dinner June, after having eaten through the entrée, June asked Jane a question.  ‘Jane.  Have you ever had any direct encounter with the divine?’  James looked at June and thought of asking her not to ask the question, yet realized that perhaps she also should.  ‘What do you mean, June?’ ‘God.  Angels.  Demons.  Have you ever met any?’  Jane thought on the question, a puzzling one, and answered honestly.  ‘Well, no.  Not really.  I am a Christian, though, and I do believe in God.  But the supernatural has never really been that much of an issue to me.  Why do you ask?’  James took over the conversation.  ‘Do you, Jane, know what you are?  Do you know were you are really from?’  Jane looked at James strangely, not understanding what he was driving at.  ‘What do you mean, were I am really from?  I was born in Crossden in northern Wales.  That is were I am from.’  James smiled, unsurprised at the comment.  ‘You, dear Jane, are an angel.  One of the Angels of Infinity if I am not mistaken, Aphrayel I think from memory.’  Jane looked at James, stunned at first, and then smiled.  ‘Oh, I get it.  It’s a joke, right?’  ‘Not exactly,’ said June.  ‘Jane, I am sure you see the news.  You know what is going on in the world, don’t you?’ ‘Basically, I guess,’ replied Jane.  ‘Have you heard of Alexander Darvanius?’  Jane thought on the name and realized who they were talking about.  ‘The next pope or something, isn’t he?  The one getting them all together, all the churches I mean.’  ‘That’s him,’ said June.  Now Alexander is, actually, an angel like yourself.  Not from the Realm of Infinity but the Realm of Eternity.  And he was, in truth, a dread angel.  An angel who caused great disharmony amongst the angels of the Realm.’ Jane listened, not quite believing, but listening anyway.  ‘Why are you telling this to me?’  ‘Just listen,’ continued June.  ‘There is an encounter coming, soon.  An encounter coming on planet earth in the years ahead.  An encounter between good and evil – light and dark.  This encounter is spoken of in scripture – in prophecy.  It is an encounter which has been brewing amongst the children of men for many years now – an encounter which will be, in a sense, a culmination – a resolution of things.’  Jane nodded.  ‘What is that to do with me?’  ‘The angels are key characters in this final encounter, Jane.  So much of what will take place is as a consequence for actions back in the ancient pre-earth days.  It is, in some ways, the end of days Jane.  The end of days.’

 

They talked for a while longer, June telling Jane about her and James various encounters with Darvanius, Grimlock, Brax and various other figures – divine and otherwise.  For Jane it was, in truth, a sudden and unexpected entrance into the world of demons, angels and magic – yet an entrance which, for Aphrayel angel of Infinity, was as inevitable as the eternal destiny before her.

Chapter Eight

 

6002-6007SC (2032-2037 AD)

 

When Jane had finished her degree in English literature, she gained work after a few months as an English teacher in a school in Cardiff.  She worked there for two years before finally winning the position of English teacher at Crossden High School.

 

Returning home was a heart-warming experience.  Of course, she knew that the Bradlock’s were no longer in town, nor was Alex Radrillion and Justin Goldfire.  They all had left Crossden within months of each other, and despite her attempts to find forwarding addresses, nothing but failed responses were gained.  It would seem that her best friends had disappeared off the face of the earth.

 

The news was becoming increasingly more interesting.  Dramatic, disastrous, but definitely more interesting.  All throughout the world, as the headlines made clear each night, disasters were now becoming frequent.  Environmental doomsayers were everywhere, stating the obvious truth that mankind had abused mother earth for so long now that her vengeance had arrived.  And not only environmental doomsayers, but the more traditional kind of biblical fundamentalists were rampant.  Her father, David, called them all ‘false prophets’, after what Christ had said would advent before his return.  David had been raised a regular Christian.  In his youth the second coming had been a non-issue by and large, with the accepted status quo that Jesus may show eventually.  But, perhaps even in spite of the culture he was raised in, the second coming seemed, perhaps, not that fanciful anymore.  They, living there in Crossden, lived it seemed in a haven, cut off from the rest of the world.  But out there, in that big bad world, it seemed as if the forces of darkness and the forces of light, just as James and June had said to her, were gathering for their anciently prophesied showdown.  As if the end of days truly had arrived.

 

She thought on the figure she had been studying on the internet ever since talking to James and June – Alexander Darvanius and his attempts to unite Christendom.  Alexander, it seemed, had been baptized in every Christian church known to mankind, practically.  Every major church, and probably most of the minors, claimed they had experienced Alexanders fellowship from time to time.  Alexander ran the Ecumenical centre for Monotheistic truth.  This organisation, with links to all major monotheistic religions, had been, since its inception, slowly gaining the approval of most of all the major leading religious figures.  Alexander dined with the Pope, the now ageing Peter the Second, regularly.  They both, it seemed, shared a common vision of one true world religion, united under the authority of Almighty God.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of Janes Church of England, likewise dined with Alexander regularly, as did leading Rabbis of the reformed Sanhedrin and various leading Imams throughout the Muslim world.  The Bahai had named Alexander the unofficial spokesperson for God in this day and age, faithfully undertaking the work of Bahaulla and the Bab, there revered prophets.

 

Alexander, from all that Jane had seen of him, was the most charismatic and intense person she had ever known.  In the speeches she watched online he was smooth and polished, as if he had dedicated himself to diplomacy since a newborn.  He spoke eloquently, fluently in 17 different languages, and was well received with leading politicians around the world.  It seemed, from Janes perspective, that Mr Darvanius would, inevitably, unite the church – and perhaps even the Jewish and Muslim worlds – under his authority, and claim that goal which he perhaps sought.  And, given the worlds current tension over so many of its concerns, the saviour they sought in Alexander Darvanius, he was completely willing to be.

 

One thing, though, June had maintained to Jane.  That Alexander, despite the appearance he gave the global village, was in fact none other than the greatest human adversary of all – the dreaded ‘Antichrist’.

 

Jane had studied this idea out in great detail, researching the biblical passages on the Antichrist, and compared them with the figure of Alexander and what he was intending to achieve.

 

However, the revelation, in truth, as it had for countless other souls over the centuries, stumped her.  For every church, it seemed, there was a differing interpretation.  And getting to the bottom of that prophecy and working out just what it really was all about was, perhaps, beyond the capabilities of Jane Talbourne.  Perhaps only God himself could teach her the truths of that most mystical and ancient of books.

 

Still, she questioned and wondered and, eventually, after praying one night for understanding, she found a knock on her flat door, opening it, to find June Middlesworth, of the Elect Church of the Living God, James friend who had taught her about her supposed angelic identity.

 

Jane had welcomed her in and, almost immediately asked her questions about Revelation – questions which she oh so strongly desired answers for.  June had taught her what, seemingly, was an apparent truth of the book.  The bible, taken as a whole, gave most of the clues to the interpretation of the final book.  So many new revelation students got carried away with this and that so-called great revelation that they had received, yet theories often fell apart when critically examined.  June had told her what she now felt was a basic truth.  God honoured proper and correct scholarly and honest study.  If you faithfully studied the entirety of scripture, trying to understand each book on its own merits, and then trying to understand the whole bigger picture of the entire library of books, you could gain understanding into the purpose of revelation and what the symbolism of major themes of the book meant on a world scale.

 

Of course, she shared with her various basic views on the text – ones which the worldwide Christian community had known of for centuries.  But there was some information that June, Jane honestly felt, was holding back.  As if she had a deeper insight into the revelation, one deeper than that of ordinary people.  And one that she was not willing to share that easily.

 

Jane spent the next few years studying out those theories.  While she was very dedicated to ensure her work as a teacher never suffered, the life of a single lady, flirting with men and partying, never seemed to eventuate.  Prophecy, it seemed, and the end of days, was the major preoccupation in the life of Jane Talbourne.  And as the years passed, and as she noted events in the bigger world, Jane felt that the ‘Bigger Picture’ of what Revelation was all about was slowly coming into her mind.  And with that bigger picture, decisions had to be made.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

6007 SC (2037 AD)

 

And so, Jane, what are your conclusions?’  Jane looked at June Middlesworth, and began her response.  ‘To say Revelation is one dimensional in fulfilment, perhaps, may not be exactly the case.  It has, I feel, potentially multiple fulfilments.  For example, in an allegorical sense the book continues to be true with the growth and existence of Christendom.  Christ reigns, the church is over 3 billion strong, and it may do so eternally.  In this sense the Kingdom of God reigns, and supposedly always will.  This, of course, is a very popular interpretation.  Yet, I feel, especially with the way the world is going these days, an ultimate fulfilment may be at hand.  The prophecy, in this sense, I feel is fulfilled in two major ways.  The first being that it is an age-long prophecy, from the ascension until the beginning of the millennium.  The second, that it is by and large fulfilled in the final tribulation period.  I sense that both fulfilments may perhaps be at work.’  June looked at her.  ‘Who is the beast, Jane?  Who is the beast?’  ‘Well, that, I suppose, is one of the fundamental questions.  This is my basic answer that I have come up to at this point.  The history of the bible is a history of God’s sovereignty versus, I guess, the Devils.  Yet the Devil’s sovereignty is seen in the Empire of the Idol.  The idol which opposes God’s sovereignty.  So much of the message of the Old Testament was Gods rebuking of the idol – that which opposed his own Kingdom.  Christ announced the beginning of God’s Kingdom, the necessary response to the idolatrous Kingdoms the devil has established worldwide.  While it is most definitely true idolatrous empires have been worldwide, I feel, in relation to the Revelation and the Beast, the empires talked about are significant scripturally.  Revelation 13 and 17 talk about a beast with seven heads and ten horns.  The book of Daniel, which is the basis for so much of the language of revelation, speaks of beasts as well.  These beasts, the book of Daniel teaches are empires.  Daniel chapter 7 teaches that there are four great beasts – or four great empires – which have arisen in opposition to God’s Kingdom.  These empires are usually ascribed these identities, which the book itself seems to interpret.

 

The first beast is traditionally Babylon – and the head of Babylon was the Emporer Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel served in Nebuchadnezzars kingdom.

 

The second beast was Media and Persia.  Chapter 8 of Daniel teaches that the Ram’s two horns are the united kingdom of Media and Persia.  So this kingdom is the second beast – the bear – of Daniel Chapter 7.  Darius the Mede, which was probably a term Daniel used to describe Xerxes, was one of many of the idolatrous heads of this empire.

 

The third beast was Greece – the next major player on the world stage in the area of the middle east and Europe, Africa and Asia.  The most famous Emporer of the Greeks was Alexander the Great, yet the various Antiochuses, who had names of blasphemy in their titles, were also significant rulers.

 

And the fourth beast – the one Daniel feared the most – was Rome.  And the head of Rome were the Caesars.

 

For the fulfilment of Daniel chapter 7, Christ slew the Fourth beast over time as the Church conquered the Roman Empire and turned Rome Christian.  The Vatican is a sign of Christ’s triumph, in this respect.

 

Now these four beasts, I feel, are part of the 7 headed beast of Revelation 13.

 

Taking the prophecy from an age-long perspective, if we look at chapter 17 it says that at the time of John’s writing the revelation, while living on Patmos, five beasts had fallen, and one remained, with another yet to come.

 

I feel that the one remaining at the time of John was Rome.  It was being ‘Slain’ by the church at this time and finally conquered over the following centuries.

 

Now for the five who were fallen.  I feel that the last three of these were the first three of Daniel’s beasts – Babylon, Media-Persia and Greece.  These are the three major beasts scripturally to have been idolatrous empires over the history of the bible at that time.  Of course, there were 2 initial beasts – the first two heads – that preceded Babylon.

 

Examining scripture to find empires of idolatry before Babylon which opposed God’s sovereignty leaves us with 2 major players.  First, prior to Babylon, was Assyria.  Sennacherib was a protagonist of the Israelites, and they were likewise an empire based on idolatry.  Assyria is the major empire of idolatry, scripturally, prior to Babylon.

 

That leaves us with the first head.  This, really, is not hard to guess.  One of the main reasons for God punishing Egypt at the Passover was due to the idol.  God was, so scripture says, punishing the gods of Egypt.  Egypt was the first head of the 7 headed beast.’

 

June nodded, having taken all that information in.  ‘Yes, Jane.  This is what our church has also generally concluded.  The identity of the heads, once revealed, seems generally consistent with what you have maintained.  Some argue that Babylon, the first head of Daniel’s four beasts, is also the first head of the 7 headed beast of Revelation.’  ‘Then who would be the five heads who have fallen in John’s time?’ ‘Well, John was prophesying from, in this interpretation, during the final tribulation period.  The five beasts who had fallen, in this interpretation, were possibly Babylon, Media, Persia, Greece and Rome – with Media and Persia as separate beasts.  Or Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece and Rome and another empire of idolatry having arisen and persecuted the church since that time.’ ‘And who would that be.’  ‘I’ve heard a number of theories.  But, regardless, what you have come to are the general sort of ideas true Christians hold to towards the end of the age.  It seems, to us, the generally received understanding.  Anyway, in your theory, who is the seventh head?  The one who would reign only a short while?’

 

Jane, who had been thinking over some of the ideas which June had just shared with her, came to her senses.  ‘Oh, yes.  The seventh head.  Well, I feel, based on the nature of the first 6 heads, and how they persecuted God’s people, the seventh head to arise, which would only endure a little while according to John, was Nazi Germany.  And the 7th Antichrist none other than Adolph Hitler.’

 

June nodded, very pleased with the results of Janes scholarly studies.  It pleased her when people, from her perspective, actually made a reasonable attempt to understand revelation properly.  To understand it in its biblical context.

 

They talked, then, that afternoon, going over various theories about prophecy and Christian life in general.  Watching the news together, the latest disaster only heightened their awareness of the biblical text.

 

It was an intense experience, delving into the mysteries of God that afternoon for Jane.  Yet life, she concluded, perhaps, would not be quite the same without, as strange as the thought may seem, a little drama and excitement provided for from the creator of the universe.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

6007-6008SC (2037-2038 AD)

 

Over the next couple of years, Jane settled into her life as an English teacher, always alert to the news and the latest happenings, but reminded to not let that interfere with her everyday responsibilities.

 

June visited her now and again, occasionally with James in tow, and they discussed various issues of prophecy.  James shared with her of his encounters with Darvanius, some of which shocked Jane.  Yet, scripturally, despite their claims, she could not place Alexander as either the Antichrist or the False Prophet.  His history, of that which was available, did not seem to fit up with their theory.  Mainly, due to the fact that Alexander was supposedly born in Nebraska in the USA, and not in one of the Kingdoms of the 7 heads were the two human beasts would likely arise from, June considered that Alexander was not the best candidate.  Perhaps he was something significant in scripture – perhaps.  But at this stage, despite June and James protestations, she took Alexander Darvanius at face value.  Perhaps, if she ever met him in person, she could form a better opinion.

 

As the years passed, one thing did attract her attention.  A figure in Israel amongst the Samaritan community – the Samaritans which had started the hostel in Crossden – was starting to gain greater and greater notoriety.  The Samaritans claimed he was the ‘Taheb’.  The great world redeemer.  In their tradition, based on the written Pentateuch or Torah alone, the Taheb was a messianic type of figure.  Yet not of the line of David which, apparently, was Jewish tradition and not Israelite tradition, the Jews, according to the Samaritans, being the promulgators of Judah’s ideas, Judah being one of the sons of ancient Israel, Jacob himself.  This, so it seemed, was where the name Judaism came from – form that particular son of Jacob.  In the bible much of the tension had been between the kingdoms of Judah and the northern Kingdom of Israel.  They had developed over time separate traditions, although the Rabbis constantly claimed that the Samaritan Israelites were not Israelites at all, but Assyrian by bloodstock – a claim which the Samaritans disputed.

 

Yet, the Samaritan Taheb had been bridging the gap between the two communities, and many Rabbis, it seemed, now accepted him as something of a messianic figure.  Yet not all.  There were those who claimed that the true Davidic Messiah would inevitably arise – the one who would be the true redeemer and saviour for the people of Israel.

 

And, of course, Messianic belief – those who accepted Jesus as Messiah – was still strong in Israel, many of them anxiously awaiting their soon coming king.

 

All, it seemed to Jane, was ready in the world.  All was awaiting something.  Some great and grand climax.  Everything looked forward to the great conclusion, as Iron Maiden, a band she now liked, sang about in one of their songs from their Dance of Death album.  Everyone, it seemed, was awaiting a great and eventful day.  A day in which God showed just who and what he was and those who he, in truth, favoured.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

At 26 years of age, in the year 2038, Jane sensed something about to happen in the world.  For three and a half years now, in the time she had been intently studying Revelation, the disasters in the world had been growing and getting worse and worse.  It seemed, in response to Jane’s inquiries, as if the end was finally at hand.

 

And then, one day, surfing the web, she came over an ancient Christian prophecy of the church fathers which spoke of the time of the end.  It stated, conveniently, that there were 2000 years of grace, 2000 years of law, and 2000 years of Christ – and then the millennium of 1000 years of rest – mankind’s Sabbath.  Looking at the calendar she knew that the 2000 years of Christ, if not from his birth, was probably marked from either the beginning of the Gospel, which would have been approximately 30 AD, or from the day of Pentecost at the beginning of the Church, which would have been approximately 33 or 34 AD.  No scholar, in her opinion, had concretely demonstrated the date for Christ’s birth, so as strange as it may seem, she tended to use 0AD as the best guide.  Which meant, if the prophecy were true, that the millennium was almost upon her.  And, to her way of thinking, this seemed quite possible.  Quite possible indeed.  The signs were in place.  Prophetic fulfilment could generally have been said to have come to pass.  All that, perhaps, awaited was the rapture of the church and the emergence of the final two human beasts – the Antichrist at the head of the 7 headed beast, and the spokesperson for the False Prophet beast.

 

And upon this reality Aphrayel awaited each day, nervously, knowing that time was ticking very carefully indeed.

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

That year, which according to the Taheb’s calendar was 6008 since creation, the Taheb made an official announcement on behalf of the people of spiritual Israel.  The Taheb, having just been accepted by the Sanhedrin, as the High Priest and intercessor in the role of Moses – the promised ‘Prophet’ Moses spoke of – with the building of the third temple finally complete, made this announcement.

To all the children of all the nations of the world.  All of us, children of Adam and Eve – children of Noah.  Israel, today, is born again.  We are again a Kingdom united.  And today, a Kingdom with one true King.  The King of all humanity, Almighty God himself, Mighty Shaddai.  The third temple, now complete, stands as a testimony to mankind of the saving grace of our eternal and Almighty heavenly Father.  It is on this temple – the sign of unity for all the children of God – that the sacrifice for the sins of the world will take place.  On the day of Atonement this year, not long from now, a sin sacrifice will be offered, for the first time, on behalf of all the children of mankind.  Every nation, every people, every person, will be presented to Almighty God and through our sacrifice we will ask our eternal Almighty father to forgive us.  To forgive us for the wrongs done to neighbour.  To forgive us for the wrongs done to other nations.  And to forgive us for our sins against him.  I call on you, nations of God, children of the Almighty, to present yourself anew to Almighty God, to accept the signs of the covenants of faith – the rainbow and the circumcision – and to walk in faith, purity and love with God and all the children of mankind.’

 

The announcement made the news headlines of many major papers and was on the television news.  It seemed that many religious communities worldwide looked to and respected this new Taheb – one who seemed, for Christians, so much like their Jesus and, for Jews, so much like their Moses.  And for Muslims, comparisons to Mohammed were, to a degree, restrained, yet so many of what had become known by the term of ‘Moderate Muslims’ looked likewise to the Taheb, one who had been so cordial, polite and kind to the people of the Koran.

 

The Taheb, it seemed, was God’s answer to the promised redeemer and saviour the children of mankind sought.  And, for a while, people over the planet were pleased.  The Taheb seemed to so many to be a living and active voice for the Almighty – a tangible flesh and blood reality – that a new spirit of peace and togetherness found itself working into the hearts of mankind.  A peace and togetherness which so many of the children of men, Jane Talbourne included, found such great delight in.  Yet, seemingly, not all.

 

Alexander Darvanius had, it seemed, been trumped.  His grand vision of the Church united, under Christ, with him as universal leader had been defeated by the appearance of the Taheb, who was the one the world now turned to.  Yet, he would not let this setback end him.  He would speak to the Taheb – he would meet him – and he would bring to a conclusion the questions so many people had about religion, truth and the nature of faith.

 

Jane Talbourne, then, watched Alexander Darvanius ever more closely and as the year 2040 approached, a culmination to events approached.  A culmination in which the lives of Jane Talbourne, Alexander Darvanius, and many others would be a witness to.  And a culmination which would bring the heart of Aphrayel and Samael, angels of Infinity, together again – to a reunion which would answer many questions for the angels of God.

 

But such is a tale for another day, for this one is now complete.

 

THE END


The Life and Times of Rebecca Bradlock


Prologue

A life can settle. In a routine. Not necessarily a rut, for Lovrayel the Celestyel, angel of the Realm of Infinity was never the kind to be in a rut. She was happy, bright, and above all loving. Her chief characteristic as an angel of God. But her life had become quite settled in the Realm of Infinity, a time, in the wisdom of God, to upset the balance of things a little. A time to give Lovrayel a few more experiences to add to her diary of life.

'Lovrayel. Come here,' said Logos. Logos, in essence, under God's authority, was the ruling power in the Realm of Infinity. Logos was happy. Giving Lovrayel the boot – joy of joys. She wasn't exactly a Samael – kicking her off to Earth wouldn't be a pleasure. But he'd give her a little boot, wish her well on her trip, and enjoy the praise of God for getting on with the job of another angelic manifestation. Lovrayel heard the message from her abode in the Golden City of the Realm of Infinity, marched quickly to the throneroom in the centre of the city, and found Logos standing in front of a portal vortex.

'Look at it,' said Logos.

'Sure,' she replied, and stood in front of the vortex, peering in. A swirling mist of mystery and wonder confronted her. Lovrayel was perplexed. Whatever was on the other side, she puzzled? She was about to find out. Logos pushed her in.

'Have a nice trip,' he said, wiping his hands, and she was gone.

Chapter One

The Celestyel angel Loverayel of the Realm of Infinity was born Rebecca Rachel Bradlock, daughter of Callodyn Bradlock and Rachel Bradlock nee Rothchild, in Crossden Maternity hospital, in northern Wales. Another of the angelic human manifestations, which was indeed part of the destiny of the children of destiny. She was obviously a pretty girl, which her parents noted from a very young age, and they doted on her, her brother Leopold not really jealous, because he liked having a little sister. She was not exactly bright, but not that dim – more of a slightly below average student they had ascertained by her third year in school. She had potential, but was not really one for Callodyn's exhortations on life's possibilities, which Leopold had responded well enough to so far. Her father, Callodyn, was in fact the firstborn of the angels of the Realm of Infinity, known by his angel name of Samael, serving beneath Logos in a sense, who was more a 'Son of God' sort of figure than purely angelic. Samael was the firstborn of the first 70 angels, the first 63 of them male, the final 7, the Celestyels, of which Lovrayel was one, all female. Callodyn had not really ever quite actually manifested on Earth – sort of been booted out, the Olde Devil, and had lived a long and ancient life in Britannya, before having come into human form from a spell placed on him by his lover angel, the Celestyel Aphrayel. He'd come to live in Crossden, after a bit of an adventure, had met Rachel Rothchild, married her, and worked in a pub, were he had made his savings from. He'd invested in shares, and was quite wealthy now, but their preternaturally long lives they had been living would be soon noticed, as Callodyn was aware of, so a planned visit to New Zealand one day, with change of Ids in time, was on the cards. Callodyn didn't yet know his daughter Rebecca was the angel Lovrayel in her very youth – that was still a mystery. But another of the angels, Atros, revealed that later on to him. Rebecca was not a shy girl. But she wasn't a brazen hussy, despite many of the Crossden residents suspecting their new citizen might end up being just that. By 15 she had ample breastage, ample stunning looks, and enough careful looks from boys, that people had a strong impression of what they might be dealing with. But, in case of point, this was quite far from the mark. Rebecca wanted a boyfriend. From her earliest teen days she wanted a boyfriend. She'd looked at Justin Goldfire and Alex Radrillion, her older brother Leopold's best friends, with such an intention many a time, but they just ignored her. She suspected they were more interested in Jane Talbourne, the girl who hung with the group of friends, the gang of sorts, and she never really thought herself jealous, but that was exactly what the younger sister was – jealous. It became obvious, in the end, what Rebecca's problem in attracting boyfriends was. Her brother Leopold. He had a nasty way about him, for he was old Sandalphon, Samael's old bestie, and this Callodyn did not know either till the revelation from Atros. And old Sandalphon's dark side was prevalent in the young Leopold Bradlock, somebody, as the kids in Crossden school would say, you didn't fuck around with. And because of his reputation, which he had earned, you didn't fuck around with his younger sister either. Period. So that was the life of Rebecca Rachel Bradlock. Pretty girl, who wanted a boyfriend bad, but couldn't land one to saver her life. And when she turned 19, having left school, but still at home, not yet employed, it became more frustrating than ever. When the hell would she get laid? When? If God existed she knew it was true he liked virgins till they were married, because she'd had bugger all interest over the years. He was punishing her for all her vanity she often thought to herself. And the more she bewailed her virginity, the more it seemed the boys were at a distance. A cruel irony of life she told herself. But, no, the time had come. She would take action. At last she'd take action. She liked Justin, she liked Alex. And if it came right down to it she would be as blunt and as obvious as she needed to be to get the job done. And then she would be a woman, and then she could be proud of her looks and beauty. That was the life of Rebecca Bradlock, her main concern of heart, and for the young lady, living in Crossden town in north Wales, nothing else was quite so important as that fundamental issue. Nothing at all.


Chapter Two

Rebecca Bradlock was jealous of Jane Talbourne. Jane Talbourne, the Angel Aphrayel manifested, was a nice girl, and Rebecca was a nice girl, but Jane was the tomboy who ruled with the boys she'd grown up with, and she needed a more serious attitude to achieve the results she desired.

'Bitch', she thought to herself regarding Jane. Jane fitted in so easily with the boys, and they didn't notice her at all. Damn them for not noticing her. They should. She was hot. They didn't though. Seemingly couldn't give a damn about her good looks. Leo, her brother, put them off. That was the reality of life she'd known forever. She thought Justin Goldfire and Alex Radrillion were, really, the coolest of guys, who deserved better than Jane Talbourne, and Jane acted so smug and superior amongst them as far as she was concerned. Well, maybe that was a bit harsh. Jane was just plain Jane. Just being herself. But, as said, she was jealous. She was 18 now, and time to show up the Jane girl. Time to get noticed.

'You know, Alex,' said Rebecca. 'I have nice breasts. Very firm. Quite large, if you have noticed. They are not fake you know. I'm no bimbo. The genuine article. 100%. Believe me.'

Alex Radrillion, the Angel Raznadore of the Realm of Infinity in his human incarnation, looked at them. 'Yeh, they're ok Bex.'

'Humph,' she said, and sipped on her vanilla milk shake. He didn't give a damn. Typical.

'Check this out,' said Justin Goldfire, the angel Shadray of the Realm of Infinity manifested. 'An Aston Martin EXEC 7. Boy its fancy.'

As the boys looked over yet another car magazine, the obsession they'd gotten into as of late, Rebecca yet again bewailed her virginity. She'd had enough. Time to be rude and crude, but sometimes if Mohammed wouldn't go to the mountain, the mountain would damn well got to Mohammed.

'Will either of you ever fuck me?' she asked out loud. The cafeteria seemed to hush a little on that outburst, but the chatter began again soon enough, a few turned faces considering the little group, but only briefly.

Alex and Justin looked at her. They were shocked. Quite shocked actually.

'Uh, I'm seeing a girl in North Crossden,' said Alex. 'You know. Can't Bex. Committed. It's going places. Besides, your Leo's sister. You know.'

'I'm dating a girl from Beltingham,' said Justin. 'Sorry.' It was a lie. She didn't know it was a lie, but took it at face value.

'Bastards,' she said under her breath. 'Aren't I pretty enough? What's wrong with me? Or must Jane always be your number one?'

'Jesus! We're not into Jane. Rebecca. I think Leo has her number. But seriously, you're gorgeous Bex,' said Justin. 'But – you're Rebecca. We can't do you. You don't screw your best mates girlfriend. Guaranteed to end every friendship. Especially Leo Bradlock. Son of the Devil if ever there was one.'

'For fuck's sake,' swore Rebecca. 'You guys are totally gutless.' Faces turned to her, and the waitress gave her a dirty look. She was doing that a lot these days. Swearing. It wasn't really her, but she was young. Young, dumb, and trying to grow up and using swears to justify herself. Everyone did that, she thought. Talked tough to be grown up.

'Try a dating agency or something. I don't know, get creative. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. You know, all that girl power stuff you are into,' suggested Alex, and the boys, losing interest, returned to studying their magazine. She sat there for a while, glumly, looking at them, ignoring the stares of the other patrons of the cafeteria who were obviously whispering about the troublemaker, wishing Leo her brother was with her to say it was all cool to the boys, and that Rebecca would be a great girl to be friendly with; but never mind. She wasn't their cup of tea. She could handle rejection. Couldn't she? Of course she could. She was Rebecca Bradlock. Prettiest girl in Crossden High. She looked in the mirror every night, and told herself just that – that she was beautiful. She was, in fact. Beautiful. Extremely, really. But no boy wanted her. It had been like that all through school. She was the Bradlock kid. Don't bother with her. Leopold Bradlock was not somebody to fuck around with. He had a rep, a rep he'd earned, and she was bad news because of it. She decided to change the subject.

'So, you guys looking forward to going to New Zealand with us all?' she asked innocently enough.

'I really don't know why your father is so insistent we move to New Zealand with you all,' said Alex Radrillion. 'I mean, ok. Leopold must have his best mates in his life if at all possible is a good enough reason, I guess, but gosh. All the way to New Zealand? You move on with life. Friends don't live each other's lives. It's just weird, you know.'

'Dad is weird like that,' said Rebecca. 'He always has his reasons. Nobody really understands them, but he has them. He tells me that all the time. He has good reasons for the choices he makes, and why we live how we live. He doesn't really tell me what they are, but he has them.'

'Well I'm looking forward to it actually,' said Justin. 'Apparently he's going to be getting into comics. That sounds alright. Wants us involved in some ways. Says its our destiny.'

'As said, dad is weird with ideas like that,' replied Rebecca.

'Wait till we get to Kiwiworld Rebecca,' said Alex. 'Look for a man then. He's probably some guy just around the corner. He'll be there before you can blink, and then you'll wonder why you made all the fuss you did. You'll find him Bexxy. Every girl gets her man in the end.'

'Sure. Whatever,' said the frustrated Rebecca Bradlock, looking at the two men she just couldn't land, even if she was brazen about it. 'Just around the corner,' she mouthed to herself, as she sipped on her milkshake and looked out the front of the Crossden coffee house cafeteria, watching the world go by, waiting for that guy to come into her life. The one just around the corner.


Chapter Two

She was in her room, her private abode, her sanctuary. Looking in the mirror.

'You're a hot bitch,' she said to her reflection. Her reflection looked back and, silently, replied 'But who gives a shit?' Pretty much, she replied to her imaginary self. Certainly not Alex Radrillion nor Justin Goldfire. Lovrayel's heart beat inside of Rebecca Bradlock, an old heart, but it was young again. When they manifested they were always like that, the angels. Young again. Born again. New again.

'You have everything going for you. Reasonable grades. Fabulous looks. A rich enough family, from what I hear dad whisper. You've got it all. But you can't even get laid,' she said to her reflection. Silence answered her. She stood, and walked around the room, playing with her plush toy monkey, and looked at herself again in the mirror.

'Are you too proud?' she asked her reflection. She sat on her bed, thinking that over. Her father, Callodyn, often spoke on the vice of pride. It wasn't really that good in the end. Told you you were something you weren't really. An overinflated opinion of oneself. She didn't think she was really that proud. The Devil was proud – not Rebecca Bradlock. Not a family trait either. Dad was the humblest soul she had ever met. Finally, she figured it out.

'You are too good for them, right?' she asked her reflection. 'That's it, isn't it? They don't want to try you on because they know you are way out of their league? That's it, isn't it?' Her reflection remained silent.

'No, but that is probably pride, right?' she asked her reflection. It seemed to somehow nod in reply.

She looked at her monkey. 'I don't have personality defects do I? Not a weird bitch, which people are too afraid to say 'You know Rebecca, your really a lovely girl, pretty and all, but you're damn weird you know. It's not that is it?' Monkey didn't reply either. She put him down, and sat on her bed. Well, who was this guy then, anyway? Was that what life had planned for her? A new hot guy? A spunk, ready to acknowledge her divine angelic glory, and praise her for what she really was? Hah, that was a good one. Angelic. With the swears coming from her mouth these days she was the daughter of Satan, practically. Hardly an angel. No, it was something intangible. Something weird itself, which she hadn't worked out yet. It couldn't just be the little sister of Leopold Bradlock who every boy in class was too afraid to speak to, let alone go out with. There had to be something more.

She sat there, glumly, and took her large brush, and looked at her dismal reflection, and started brushing. A knock came to the door.

'Rebecca?'

It was her mum, Rachel.

'Come in mum,' she said.

Her mother opened the door, looked at her daughter brushing her hair, and came and stood behind her, taking the brush, and began brushing Rebecca's hair.

'Mum. Am I ugly?'

'What kind of question is that?' replied Rachel Bradlock, a little disconcerted.

'A question from a girl who can't even get a date. Something's wrong with me. Something serious.'

'There is nothing wrong with you,' said Rachel, continuing with her brushing. 'There are countless guys who would go out with you. It's just that they haven't worked that out yet. You're a diamond, daughter of mine, and they are expensive things. God will find the exact right one for you. Just give it time.'

'Sure,' said Rebecca, but she wasn't impressed.

'How did you know dad was right for you? How did he find you?'

Rachel thought over that long story. Not something she really wanted to go into quite yet with her teenage daughter.

'It's a tale to tell, one day, Rebecca. But in all of our early time together, it was the right time in the end. Life found me at the right time, when it was time for me to settle down, and move on with life. You have got some living yet to do on your own most probably, but soon enough you'll have a child of your own in your arms. As your father says, learn to be patient.'

'That's the thing. I have been. I'm 19, and still a virgin. Life isn't fair.'

'Well I think it's a good thing that you are still a virgin. A good girl usually waits till marriage. There are some – choices – which are sometimes best not made till then.'

'Look, I'm happy to wait till marriage. But when?' asked Rebecca. The frustration in her voice was quite apparent.

'When the time is right,' said Rachel. 'You know, as it says. A time for everything under heaven. It will happen. One day. When the time is right.'

Rebecca looked at her mother in the mirror, and silently agreed. When it was time. Yes, she guessed so. She wished that day would come today, but she probably had to listen to her mother. That was what life was saying to her. When the time is right. Something to learn, she guessed. When the time was right.

'Anyway,' said Rachel. 'You might find him soon. A lot sooner than you expect. The move to New Zealand. It's happening, now. Very soon. Just a few more weeks, now.'

Rebecca looked at her mother, a little bothered at that, but had long ago accepted her father's decision. She couldn't leave her family to stay behind in Wales. They were her support. They were her everything. And while she had other relatives in the local area, and was grown up enough at 19, she still felt like a little kid in many ways. Still needed her mum and dad to advise her, and tell her what to do. Still that beautiful little girl her parent's had doted on all her life.

'Come down to dinner when you are ready,' said her mother. 'There is strudel for dessert. Your favourite.'

Rebecca smiled at her mother in the mirror, and looked at her reflection once more. 'When the time is right, remember. Don't screw me over.' Her reflection remained oblivious.


Chapter Three

They were in the skies, flying British Airways from Heathrow to Auckland. Then on to Christchurch from there, where her father had bought a house. Rebecca was in a good enough mood – new beginnings often did that – brought you a new perspective in life. And, while she was missing Wales already, it was not a huge feeling. Most of her loved ones were coming with her, except for Jane Talbourne, thank God. A new beginning, a time to start all over.

'It's a lot of blue,' said Rebecca, looking out the Boeing Jumbo Jet window. She was in the window column of seats, her mother next to her in the middle, Leopold on the aisle seat. Behind them were Alex, Justin, and Callodyn her father. Rachel, sitting in the middle seat between Rebecca and Leopold bent over and looked out the jumbo jet window.

'Yes. It is,' she said, and returned to her normal sitting position.

'We're rich now, aren't we?' asked Rebecca.

Rachel looked at her. 'Why do you ask?'

'Dad seems to talk a lot about company investments and blue chip shares and things. I hear him from time to time. He mentions figures like Hundreds and Thousands of Pounds a lot. I even head a figure over a million once.'

'He's invested for a long time,' said Rachel Bradlock. 'We don't talk about it though. It's mostly security for the family. Not wild spending money.'

'Right,' said Rebecca, happy enough with that information.

'Yeh, we're loaded,' said Leopold. 'But we're moving to frikkin New Zealand, so its a step down in the world.'

'I'm sure you will love New Zealand. I've been told its beautiful,' said Rachel. 'Just don't expect instant glory. It might take a while to grow on you. New places can be challenging, but you learn to love them.'

Rebecca continued staring out the window. 'What am I going to do there, mum? I don't have any friends there. I mean, sure, there is you and dad and Leo. But I had friends back in Crossden, and I will have to start all over.'

'We're coming with you,' said Alex in the seat behind her.

'It will be all a laugh,' said Justin, seated next to Alex. Callodyn, in the first seat next to the aisle, next to Justin, smiled. It would be a new beginning for all of them.

'Yeh, great,' said Rebecca.

'You'll fit in,' said Rachel. 'Just give it time. I trust your father. This is the right decision he is made. You might not understand now, but you will one day.'

Rebecca sighed. 'Fine,' she said. She gave up with the ocean view after a while, and pulled out the word find book in front of her in the back of the seat facing her.

'You won't be doing puzzles all the time,' said Rachel. 'There will be plenty to do. You might meet someone.'

'Yeh, right,' said Rebecca. 'And the Devil rides air-planes as well I'd bet.'

Callodyn, seated behind her, smiled.

'It will work out,' said Rachel. 'Just you wait and see.'

Rachel did a few words, and then put the puzzle book back were she found it, and put on her ipod. She was listening to Jessie J.

'Take me down like a domino,' she sang softly to herself. Sitting there, lost in her own world, she thought about life. She'd spent it all in Wales, a proud Welsh girl, and had had a good childhood. But she'd wanted a boy since she was about 12, and nobody ever showed up. They didn't want to fuck around with the Bradlock girl. Leopold was not somebody to mess around with. She knew that oh so well. But what was their problem? She was beautiful, right? She certainly thought she was. Sure a knight in shining armour would conquer the beast of Leopold Bradlock, and relieve her of her virginal frustrations. But as of yet nobody had the balls to do it – literally. She imagined she would be old and grey, living in a convent, devoted to the Lord Jesus, singing Alleluias and praying rosaries, even though she was an Anglican, and saying yes mother superior, no mother superior, three bags full mother superior. It made her smile, and she often thought she should become a Catholic and tell the world to go to hell and all its Rebecca hating ways, and do just that. But, in the end, she would be patient. Trust God, she supposed, if he really existed, and see what life would eventually give to her. Just be patient, and her knight would come, on a white horse, bright and glorious. And with a large bank account to she sometimes giggled to herself, but she would take whoever loved her in the end. So, New Zealand, here she came. And let the Kiwi boys beware. Sitting there, still bored, she reached for one of her comics from her backpack. 'Poison Darksword Quarterly' from 'Satellite Fire' comics. 'Satellite Fire' was an awesome comic company. They published her favourite 'Indie' comics, including 'Bat-Warrior the Living Bat', which was distinctly different from Batman, and mainly for mature readers. 'Unholy Inquisitor' was another favourite, a demented ex Catholic Bishop, who was on a mission to destroy all the heretics in America. They were two of the anthology titles which featured in 'Poison Darksword Quarterly,' but her favourite was 'Henchmen of the Apocalypse,' about Viking warriors thrown through time to the end of the world in a war with the Beast, who was attempting to destroy Valhalla. It was full of brawny swordsmen and lusty maidens, and she thought it was great stuff. Dad had been into comics for a number of years now, mainly Indies, but he loved DC Vertigo comics, especially the Lucifer title, which he, again weirdly, said brought back all kinds of memories. Just the kind of thing her father said. She didn't know what lay ahead of her, as she looked through the art and pictures of her comic, which she mostly did, and didn't bother reading the stories a lot of the time, but she thought on her father, and realised he was the head of the family, and that he made the decisions. Bizarrely, she didn't really mind anyway. She knew it was a new beginning, and perhaps that is exactly what she needed. To find a guy just for her. A new beginning, a new kick-start, and a brand new boyfriend. Hopefully, she smiled in her heart. Hopefully.


Chapter Four

She sat there, in a comic store, in Christchurch, in New Zealand, totally, fucking, bored. So fucking bored. Gee, wonderful. Selling Batman comics, which most of the audience wanted. Riveting lifestyle dad. Usually twenty-something males, but a lot of females as well surprisingly, and the blokes were often overweight, single guys and geeky sort of looking fellas, whose comic adoration was compensation for the forlorn love life. This she suspected as true. No proof, but she strongly suspected it. Nobody really attracted her. In all the guys that came through, there was always this or that issue which put her off them. Not quite what she had in mind. Not quite what she had expected. They had regular customer standing orders after a few weeks of opening, customers who subscribed to one or more monthly comics, and she sat there throughout the days, using the cash register, totalling the comics, always reminded of the price they cost in Kiwi dollars because the comics, mostly, had an American price on them, remembering whose standing order was whose, because they had started using a numbering system for the filing cabinets the comics were stored in, so they could re-use the folder when a customer left, but it wasn't working very well. It was fidgety work, but she got used to it quickly enough. She was young, capable of learning, and it pretty much was her first real job. Posters of superheroes were all over the shop, and action figures and trade paperbacks and, of course, comics – stacks and stacks of comics. Dad had bought out a few large comic collections he had found advertised to get the ball rolling from around the nation, and that was the chief back issue stock. She questioned selling them at a low cost to start with, but it was just customer satisfaction to start with, her father had said: profits could come later, and they wanted to build up a clientele which could find what it wanted most of all. She knew the lingo well enough, as she'd been into comics since her mid teens. She even had an old Batman T-shirt from the first movie which her father had asked her to wear, as that looked cool and would attract the custom they were looking for. It was not 100% her scene by any means. She was an indie girl, and the mainstream DC and Marvel, which proliferated the back issue department and standing orders were not quite her style. Superheroes? A bit to simplistic for Rebecca Bradlock. She was, really, a barbie doll of a girl, and she knew it. And while Barbie might indeed have a comic of her own, which her dad had given her a few copies of, she was not exactly taken with reading up on the bimbo. But Callodyn her father paid her, and she was saving, and life rolled on. It was a job. She did it.

'Excuse me Miss. Can you tell me how much this costs?'

Rebecca had been in a daydream, and looking up noticed the man in front of her with a large trade paperback from the store.

'Multiversity,' she said, regarding the title, smiling at the guy. 'Still popular title. I actually read that,' she said. She was lying. 'It was great. You got a winner there.' She put it through the scanners. '$280,' she said.

'Humm,' he said, thinking it over. 'It's a bit pricey, but yeh, ok. I'll take it. Been after it for years.'

She did the bill, and said thanks, and watched him as he walked out the store. Cute guy. Too cute for comics she felt, but it took all sorts. A short while later, though, he walked back in, and stood at the front counter looking at the store vaguely, but glancing at her a little as well.

'Uh, yes,' said Rebecca. He looked directly at her.

'You're new. Here. In Christchurch,' he said. 'The store is new. You're from England or something, from your accent.'

'Wales, actually,' she said. 'I'm Welsh.'

'Right,' he said nodding. 'Uh, well, my name is Kalan. Kalan Lyant. Look, I know I've only just met you, but do you mind if I ask you do you have a boyfriend?'

Rebecca slipped on one of her legs a bit, shocked, but straightened herself immediately. It was what she was looking for. But what she hadn't quite expected so suddenly.

'Heaps of them,' she said. 'But they are all back in Wales. Isn't that such a shame,' she said, in a cute voice. She was lying again.

'Right,' said Kalan. 'Well, uh. If they are all back in Wales, do you object to going out on a date with me? If there is no other lad from around town your dating that is.'

'Might be ok,' she said, feigning casual disinterest. She was attempting to be cool. 'What, where would we go?'

'Movies. And Maccas,' said Kalan. 'The new Batman movie starts Thursday. We could go see that.'

'Ok,' she said instantly, although not really that delighted in immersing herself yet again in the world of the Batman. 'I'm free Friday night. Take this,' she said, handing the store business card to him. 'It has dad's mobile number on it. Don't worry though; he's cool. He'll put you through to me. Ring me Friday afternoon. I'll stay home all day. He'll pass you right on.'

'Ok,' he said, a little hesitantly, taking the card. 'Oh, and if you don't mind me asking, what's your name?'

'Rebecca. Rebecca Bradlock,' she replied. She smiled at him, and batted her eyelashes a little. Guys always liked that. She knew guys always liked that.

'Well its great to meet you Rebecca. Umm. I guess I'll see you Friday I suppose,' he said.

'I guess you will,' she said. He looked at her, and she looked at him, and she knew he liked her.

'Uh, yeh. Well, I guess I'll be going. Got my comic after all,' he said.

'Cool,' she said. He turned to go, and he tripped a little over the rug at the entrance to the store, but she did her best to refrain from giggling. He waved to her, hiding his embarrassment, and left. She watched him go, a little dumbstruck by finally meeting a guy who had the courage to ask her out. It was all she ever really had wanted. She stood there, fantasising about meeting him again, and maybe touching him, and even kissing him, but the next customer tapped the counter, a fat guy looking for his standing order, who she knew all too well, and she said 'Shit', then got on with the rest of her day. But Kalan was on her mind. Boy, was he on her mind.


Chapter Five

'Dad's a cop,' said Kalan. 'Hopeless one though. He's had that many demerits over the years. Stuck on foot patrol, usually. But he's at top increment, and mum earns a packet, so the family does well.'

'Mmmm,' said Rebecca, sipping on her coke. They were at McDonalds, and had seen the movie earlier. It was late, just before closing time, and they had old fries which had been sitting on the heater for ages. The final food of the night, but she didn't care. She was with a guy who liked her. That rarity overlooked all such complaints, especially one as insignificant as old Maccas fries.

'I have a younger sister, and a much older half brother to dad. He's actually nearing retirement now. Matt his my older brother's name. He lives in Auckland. A cop as well, ironically. Not so pathetic, though. In Internal Affairs. A cop's cop.'

'Cool,' said Rebecca.

'I guess your dad runs the comic store,' said Kalan.

'Something like that,' replied Rebecca. 'We moved only recently from Wales. A town called Crossden. He worked in a pub there. But he's rich. Investments.'

'Right,' said Kalan, taking that in. 'Brothers? Sisters?'

'Just an older brother. Leopold. He's sort of protective, and boys have been often put off. But I love him.'

'Sounds great,' said Kalan. 'So, what did you do in Crossden? You're 19, right. I think you said that.'

'Yep. 19. I went to school in Crossden my whole life, and then left, and never really did much else. Not till we got here to New Zealand, when dad opened the comic store. Now Batman is my reality.'

'So you like Batman, huh? Cool,' said Kalan.

'Uh, sure. Yeh, yeh the Bat. He's awesome,' she said, lying right through her teeth.

'Do you have dreams?' he asked. It was obvious to her he liked her. He couldn't keep his eyes off her, and had looked so many times at her breasts that she had lost count.

'S'pose,' she replied. 'Sure. Make a name for myself, I guess. Haven't ever really thought about it. Just stuck with my family and left it at that mostly.'

'Oh,' he said. 'I'm a frikking milkman,' he said, a little embarrassed. 'Milk deliveries in south Christchurch. Boring work, and a lot of activity, but I stay fit, and the pay is ok. It will do till something better shows up.'

'If you must have a dream,' she said, munching on her fries, looking in his eyes. 'You have hazel eyes,' she said.

'Uh, yeh. Hey, so do you. Coincidence, huh?'

'What is your bloodtype?' she asked him.

'A positive,' he replied.

'Me too. Isn't that amazing?' She was O in actuality. 'Starsign?' she asked.

'Libra,' he replied.

'I'm a gemini,' she said. 'Libra's and Geminis get along well from what I understand.'

'If you believe all that,' he said.

'Of course not,' she replied carefully. 'But its a bit of fun.

He looked at her, suddenly struggling for something to talk about. The obvious thing came up. 'What comics do you like?' he asked her.

'Well, to tell the truth, mainly Indie ones. Poison Darksword Quarterly from Satellite Fire is my favourite. I have every issue. I look at them all the time.'

'Don't think I know that one,' he said.

'Oh, it's British. The catalogue doesn't have it,' she said. 'Minor British Indie. I love it, though. It's all black and white, but really cool.'

'Sounds cool,' he said. 'I sort of collect mainstream stuff. DC. Marvel. Sometimes Image. Not much else.'

'Right,' she said. 'We get a lot of that in the store.'

'I'll have to check out, what did you call it? Poison Sword?'

'Poison Darksword Quarterly,' she replied. 'Yeh, I'll show you my collection some time.'

'Great,' he replied.

'Great,' she said.

He looked around the cafe for a while. She sort of understood. They were just getting to know each other, and conversation didn't always flow freely at first. She decided she'd lead for a while.

'So, you like me?' she asked him.

'Yeh,' he said. 'Your gorgeous.'

'Cool,' she said. 'We get along pretty well I think.'

'Wanna come over to my place next week,' he said. 'We'll do some adventuring.'

'Awesome,' she replied. 'What kind of adventuring?' she asked, eyebrow raised.

'You'll find out,' he said. She tilted her head. She'd wait and see then.

She looked at him, and he looked back. She smiled. He smiled back. He seemed a bit more relaxed now.

'Your cool,' he said.

'Yeh, you too. You too Kalan.'

And she meant it.



Chapter Six

'This is Zedekiah Taylor. But his friends all call him Zad,' said Kalan. Zedekiah was actually the angel Xaddadaxx from the Realm of Infinity in his human manifestation.

'Hey Zad,' said Rebecca.

'Hey,' said Zad.

'He'll be joining us on our adventure today,' said Kalan.

'What adventure?' asked Rebecca. They'd already had an adventure, the previous Friday night date, which went very well, and now she was at Kalan's place, who still lived with his parents, the following Saturday afternoon.

'Dragon Warriors! What else,' said Kalan, showing her the Fantasy Role-playing books. 'You will be Darya of the Bronze age,' said Kalan. Zad snickered on that. 'And I will be Hurok of the Stone Age. Zed will be Eric of Zanthodon.'

'Fascinating,' said Rebecca. She did not want to comment. It wasn't exactly her scene, but for a guy who loved comics what did you expect.

And so, for the next five hours, she learned the rules of Dragon Warriors, and actually got caught up in the game after a while. It was weirdly enjoyable.

'Just a sec,' said Kalan, and disappeared. Soon he returned with 5 books in his hands. He passed them to her. She looked at them.

'Oh, I see. Zanthodon books. By Lin Carter. 'And I'm the Darya girl?'

'You seem to fit the bill,' said Kalan, smiling. Darya of the Bronze age was a voluptuous blonde on the cover of one of the volumes, dressed in a pre-historic and quite revealing outfit, obviously the reason for Zad's chuckle.

'She's a bimbo,' said Rebecca. 'Quite obviously.'

Zad looked at Kalan. No words needed to be said.

'Can I read these?' asked Rebecca. 'They look – interesting.'

'Uh, sure,' said Kalan, a little hesitantly. 'But be careful with them. They are quite old and expensive. Hard to get these days. Daws finest science fiction.'

'I'll be careful,' she promised.

Soon they were lost back in their adventuring, and they managed to get a long way into the adventure before Darya was killed, and then they gave the game away.

After Zad had left, they were in the back kitchen, and he was looking at her, drinking a can of beer.

'You are hotter than Darya,' he said.

'Do tell,' she replied.

He took that for a sign. Slowly, gingerly, he came forward. Soon they were right in each others faces.

'I bet you do it better than Darya,' he said.

They kissed then. And they kissed for a while. And they went out into the lounge room and kissed there.

After they were finished with their snogging, he sort of put his hand on her breast, and she left it there for a few moments, thinking. Considering. But she pulled away at last, and looked at him.

'Your cute. And I'm not saying you're not the one, because you might be. But not yet, ok. Not yet.'

'That's ok,' he said. 'Probably not ready yet myself.'

'Are you a virgin?' she asked him. He nodded. 'Me too,' she replied.

'You're kidding,' he said. She kicked him for that. 'Sorry' he said. 'But kind of hard to believe. You're gorgeous.'

'Fearsome big brother. No boy at home would touch me because of it.'

'Lucky me,' he replied.

She grinned, and played with her hair. 'Next Saturday? I'll come around. We'll do this again. A different book next time.'

'Sure,' he said.

When she left, she had the book in her handbag which she had bought with her, and riding home on the bus, she took out the Darya volume.

'Darya of the Bronze age indeed,' she said. 'Unbelievable.'


Chapter Seven

'So Rebecca Bradlock has a boyfriend. She must be relieved,' said Alex Radrillion, sitting at the breakfast table at the residence of the Bradlocks.

Callodyn looked at his daughter. 'Kalan? Kalan Lyant? That name rings a bell.' Kalan was the name of one of the Angels of Infinity, who Kalan Lyant was in fact that angel.

'He's a good guy, ok,' said Rebecca, blushing a little. 'And you could have had me Alex. So don't get jealous.'

'Not jealous sweetheart,' said Alex, eating his Weet Bix. 'Happy for you if anything.'

Justin looked at Callodyn and Rachel, and decided to dare the question. 'Have you slept with him yet?'

Callodyn put his toast down, and looked at Justin, then looked at Rebecca. Rachel also looked at her daughter.

'Why are you all looking at me?' said Rebecca. 'That is nobody's business. Thanks Justin,' she said.

Callodyn continued staring at his daughter for a moment, then resumed eating his toast. 'I'm sure she'll know when its her time, Justin,' said Callodyn Bradlock. 'A woman usually does.'

Rachel sipped on her orange juice. 'Your old enough to know,' she said to her daughter. 'I'll leave it at that.'

'Thanks,' said Rebecca, and stuck her tongue out at Justin.

'You could be grandparents any day now,' said Alex.

Rachel looked at Callodyn. He shrugged a little. 'When the time comes, I'm sure I'll be happy with a grandson,' said Callodyn.

Rebecca kicked Alex under the table.

'Do you have a name for your kid?' asked Justin.

'Justin!' said Rachel. 'Leave Rebecca alone. It's a sensitive subject.'

'If its a boy, Anthony,' she said. 'And if its a girl, Rachel like mum. But I'm not pregnant. We haven't done it yet.'

Callodyn sipped on his coffee, looking at the paper. He was actually relieved.

'I'm going to my room,' said Rebecca. 'Enough with the Spanish Inquisition.'

She was in her room for a while, when Rachel came in. She sat down next to her daughter.

'You'll know when the time is right. He sounds like a nice guy. He could be the one for you. If you must know, your father wasn't my first. But I hadn't slept around much when I'd met him. I do regret that he wasn't, but part of me also accepts that those are the choices you make, and you need to live with them. Later on, though. Later on in life you might think thoughts like that, and that you would have done things differently. So be careful whatever you choose.'

'Thanks mum,' said Rebecca, and hugged her.

'I'll be proud of you whatever you decide,' said Rachel.

Rebecca beamed at her mother.

In the end, she dated Kalan for a long time, but it never quite got to that. Anything more intimate than snogging. And then they were doing it again. Leaving New Zealand, headed for Australia this time. Justin and Alex had noticed something – they weren't aging. And then they were told certain truths about their lives, and who they were, and while they chuckled, certain angelic manifestations gave them the proof they needed. False Id’s were soon prepared, and they both made their way to British Columbia, a destiny later on in life in a Judgement Day of sorts waiting upon them also. But the Bradlocks were headed for Australia, and a new beginning once more.

As they were flying over the blue. 'It's blue,' said Rebecca.

'Yes. Yes it it,' said Rachel.

'I might find an Aussie lad this time,' said Rebecca.

'Yes. Yes you might,' said Rachel. 'But you never know what the future holds. Kalan might still be part of your destiny, you can never tell. I've always thought there was something different about him. Maybe you will meet again.'

'Maybe,' said Rebecca, and looked out at the big blue ocean one last time, before putting on her headphones, tuning in to the Spice Girls, and getting lost in 'Viva Forever' yet again, as the plane flew happily through the skies. Another fine day in the Life and Times of Rebecca Bradlock, another fine day for a Child of Destiny.

The End


The Life and Times of Leopold Bradlock

 Chapter One

 6008 SC (2038 AD)

 ‘Leopold Bradlock.  Do you really love me Leopold Bradlock?’ ‘Look, Jane.  I didn’t traipse half way around the world to see you for nothing.  Of course I love you.  But the question is do you love me?  I still remember, you know.  The way you look at my father when mother is not around.  I still think you have something for him.’  Jane Talbourne turned away, too embarrassed to say anything.  Eventually she turned to look at Leo.  ‘Well, what have you been doing in New Zealand then?  Making a good living I hope.’  Leo smiled.  That was just like Jane – to change the subject when pushed.  But he would let it go.  ‘Yeh, dad and I are in business together now.  We own a chain of 3 comic stores in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.  The Dragon’s lair comics and collectables.  Doing bloody good business as well.’  ‘Comics?  Why comics?  That doesn’t sound like Callodyn.’  ‘No, not really.  Me neither.  He went to a comic convention and saw the kinds of prices they can go for after only a few years if it is a key issue.  He started collecting them for a few years and began reading the various magazines on the subject.  And business is now doing well.  Big opportunities if you know the right price to sell the product at and if you know your key target audience.’ Jane nodded.  At least they were doing well financially by the looks of it.  ‘So why have you chased me down, Leo.  Seriously, I want to know.’  ‘Brax asked me to.  Told me you were connected to the family, now, and wanted you taken care of.’  Jane looked at him, slightly puzzled.  ‘Brax?’  Leo looked at her, and decided to share something of his recent adventures.  ‘Brax works for Alexander Darvanius and his son Alexander Darvanius II.  I think he is Alexander I’s son in some sort of way.  Illegitimate I think.’  ‘Alexander Darvanius!’ exclaimed Jane.  ‘You can not be serious.  Do you know just how many shady connections there are to that name?  I have been researching him for ages now and he is trying to rule the world as far as I am concerned.’  ‘Believe me, Jane, they know all about you and your research.  It doesn’t bother them.  They say you misunderstand the family and its intentions.  Quite honorable they maintain.’  ‘Well I know people who would say otherwise, Leo.  Who would definitely say otherwise.’  ‘And who are they?’ asked Leo.  Jane thought about that and decided to share what she knew.  ‘James.  James Castleton and a friend of his, June Middlesworth.  They were involved in a number of situations with the Darvanius clan and James nearly died once because of it.  They watched James for years before leaving him alone.’ ‘Well, I don’t really know what that is all about, Jane.  But they have been nothing but friendly to our family.  Look, yeah, I know.  At first they just watched us and we were worried a lot. That might be what James was going through.  But they started talking to us and sharing a little of their vision for the future with us.  I think if this James fellow got to know them a little bit better he would have less concerns.  I mean they have helped us out a lot.  Brax gave father a cheque for $500,000 New Zealand dollars – simply a gift from the Darvanius foundation to family.’  ‘And exactly how are they family?’ ‘Dad is a Bradlock.  There are strong connections with a John Bradlock and his son Damien Bradlock.  Alexander II knows them well.  They are part of the Alpha Gamma Delta corporation.’  ‘Oh.  So Callodyn is related to this John Bradlock, is he?’  ‘Something like that.  I was not told the official story, but they are apparently family in some way.’  Jane took in this information.  It somewhat allayed her fears about Alexander Darvanius and his son.  Perhaps they were just misunderstood.  But she still had suspicions.

 

They chatted on that afternoon sitting in a Crossden café near the social security office.  Later they took a walk through Crossden visiting the old neighbourhood and they came back to the Talbourne family home were Jane lived again.  Leo enjoyed catching up with David and Samantha and the four of them chatted about old times.  Jane asked Leo if he wanted to stay the night, to which he agreed, declaring that he was in town for a few weeks anyway.  Primarily to catch up with Jane for he had things he wanted to discuss with her.  Personal things.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

They walked along the edge of the oval, watching the juniors play a traditional game of cricket, Leo taking minor interest.  ‘So really, nothing serious, huh?’  ‘Not really, Leo.  No major boyfriends.  A few flirts, a tiny bit of romance, but nothing to write home about, if you know what I mean.’ ‘That is basically my story as well.’  ‘So is that it, then?  You have finally come home to claim your girl?’ Leo looked at her, smiled a little and put up his hand to brush a curl of her hair from her face.  ‘Why else, Jane?  Why else?  Unless you are in love with my father, that is?’ Jane grabbed his hand and, deciding not to answer, caused them to both sit down and turned his hand over.  ‘Let me tell you your fortune,’ she said smiling.  They both looked down at his hand.

 

Your life line says you will live for millions of years.  Millions and millions of years.’  He smiled.  She was being very kind.  ‘And children.  My God, more than King David.’  ‘Really, Jane.  And just how many.’ ‘Too many, believe me.’  ‘And does the hand say anything about the mother of all those children?’ Jane looked at him, still holding his hand.  ‘Just that she is beautiful, Leo.  Beautiful and that she loves you.’ Leo nodded.  He hoped so.  ‘Well, how rich will I be?’  Jane giggled and returned her focus to the hand.  ‘Oh, wealthy beyond your wildest imagination.’  ‘Oh, I can imagine a lot,’ replied Leopold.  ‘Well wealthier beyond even that,’ smirked Jane.  ‘Let’s hope so,’ responded Leo.

 

The continued carousing most of that afternoon and around 4 found themselves in the café again, Leo reflecting on some of his recent history.  ‘Well, we started slow in New Zealand.  Mum gained work as a receptionist and Dad worked as a fisherman for some time.  Bloody hard work he always tells me.  We started in Christchurch, but later moved to Auckland were we still are.  And now we have the comic business and are making a small fortune every year.  A big eBay business as well.’ Jane nodded.  ‘And how did the Darvanius family come into it?’  ‘Well, dad noticed Brax watching him every now and then in Christchurch.  And then when we moved to Auckland he followed us.  Dad was nervous often, but eventually Brax disclosed his reasons for following us.’  ‘And those reasons were?’ inquired Jane.  ‘Like I told you.  Family connections.  Apparently John Bradlock is from Hull were dad comes from.  I think John actually might be my grandfather, but dad doesn’t confirm that.  Damien Bradlock is definitely John’s son, so I guess dad and Damien are probably brothers.  That seems to be the connection.’  ‘And how does the Darvanius family come into this?’  ‘Very old family ties between the Bradlock’s and the Darvanius.  They go back in centuries together in business.  From what Brax has subtley alluded to, both families are members of the Illuminati.’  Jane nodded.  ‘I could have told you that about the Darvanius family.  A suspicion of mine for quite some time.’  Leo nodded.  ‘So you have studied Alexander huh?  Anything I should know?’ ‘Just to be careful about them.  Very careful.  I have fears – biblical fears – about that family.’ Leo looked at her, slightly puzzled.  ‘Your not religious are you, Jane.  I don’t recall that being much of an issue to you.’  ‘Oh, you know.  Things change.’ ‘And how exactly does the Darvanius family figure into that?’ Jane looked at him but thought better about answering.  Perhaps there were things best not shared.  Best not shared until absolutely necessary.  She stood and motioned to him they were leaving.  She purchased a soft drink and as they started walking back to her house Jane decided to speak.  ‘Leo.  Do you believe in God?’  Leo looked at her strangely for a few moments, and turned away.  ‘No.  I mean, well yes, I guess.  I suppose there is a higher power.  But I don’t have any faith in it.  Not part of my life.  Why do you ask?’  ‘Well I do, now, Leo.  A great deal.  And I believe in the Bible as well, especially the prophetical sections.’  Leo nodded, not really interested in a religious discussion, but putting up with it for Jane’s sake.’  So what has that got to do with the Darvanius family?’  Jane looked at him and turned her head away.  ‘Well that is the question, isn’t it Leopold Bradlock.’ Leo gave her a funny look, but just walked on.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

Jane looked at the cheque in her hand.  It was for ₤100,000.  ‘100,000 pounds! Exclaimed Jane.  You can not be serious.  And this is a gift?  From Brax?’  ‘From the Darvanius family, actually.  They know you have been close to Callodyn and myself – best friends in a sense – and they want you to be taken care of.  Apparently, if you are ever in real need, you should let them know and they will help you out.’ Jane looked at Leo.  She was suspicious – very suspicious.  But the sheer weight of a cheque for 100,000 British pounds really did have persuasive power.  And now she was caught in two minds.  Certainly, she had all sorts of convictions about the Darvanius family.  But what proof did she ultimately have?  And with a cheque for 100,000 British pounds tempting her, it was very difficult for her to now say no to the family.  She stared at the cheque, undecided.  And then a little voice in the back of her mind said this.  ‘Do not worry about it.  Their family loves you.’  And so Jane, despite thinking she should perhaps no better, folded the cheque in half and put it in her handbag.

 

Trying her best that afternoon as they cruised around Crossden, taking in the sights, Jane could not help but thinking what she could spend the money on.  And later on that night, looking at the cheque, she reflected on one basic thing.  She was still a kid at heart and a big cheque made anyone smile.

 

The following day, Monday, Jane was due for school in her teaching position, but rang up telling the school she would be sick for the week and to call the fill in teacher.  The secretary wished her to get well soon and Leopold suggested they travel down to London for a week.  ‘Oh, can we go and see Lucy in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.  She is in the starring role.  She is doing so well for herself now.  So well.’  Lucy Bridges was an old friend of Callodyn’s and Rachel’s who had now found success as an actress on the London stage.  She had starred in a number of British movies, not yet tempted to try her luck in Hollywood.  She visited Jane from time to time in Crossden and Jane thought it the perfect opportunity to visit her friend in London with Leo tagging along.  Leo agreed to the idea and after renting a car they began the trip down to London.

 

As they drove from Crossden, heading east to England and then along the highway down to London, Jane looked out over the countryside.  Green, ever green seemingly, was England, just like Wales.  As a nation they were blessed with abundant rainfall and always lived an idyllic lifestyle.  But it was a colder nation, compared to Australia from what Rachel had once told her, but it was all Jane had really ever known.

 

As they drove down Jane thought she might cash the cheque with her bank when she got to London.  It was a blank cheque and wouldn’t take too long to clear.  Thinking over all the wonderful stores in the high end of London she wondered just what she would buy herself.

 

They stopped just north of London, having drove most of the day, and had a late lunch in a lovely English Inn.  Jane enjoyed the steak and kidney pie and Leo was enjoying his warm beer.  He had a little too much to drink that afternoon and Jane suggested they stay in the town for the night, to which Leo agreed.  She went off for a walk in the town after they had settled into the inn which had accommodation, and Jane found herself standing in front of her bank.  She took the cheque out of her hand and sat down on a bench in front of the bank, just looking at it.  She had convictions.  Many convictions.  So much of her was telling her simply to cash the cheque and not worry about it.  But part of her was asking her this, ‘Do you want to be a hypocrite?  Taking money from the Darvanius family to buy you off?  You know what they stand for?’  But despite thinking in the end that she should know better, eventually walked into the bank and deposited the cheque.  She could be wrong about the Darvanius family in the end, couldn’t she?  And that money looked awfully attractive.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

So how long have you and Tommy been married?’ Jane asked Lucy.  ‘About 2 years now.  Oh, we were girlfriend and boyfriend on and off for years, but I eventually came to London and the relationship disappeared somewhat.  But he tracked me down three years ago and after dating we married.  So I am Mrs Anderson now, and ever so happy to be.’  Jane thought on Lucy’s tale.  Lucy had married her first boyfriend, the one who had taken her virginally.  She thought on her own virginity and the hope she once had that Leopold would be the first to take it.  Perhaps, even now, with Leopold in her very presence, such a thing might soon become a reality.  Although Leo had made no moves on her she could not help but notice his stare from time to time.  Perhaps, even sooner than expected, he might be the one.

 

Well, you were excellent tonight Lucy.’  ‘Thanks Leo.  I am glad you two came.  We have been having sell-out performances for a while now, but there are always a few tickets left for the people to show up on the night.’  ‘If the price is right,’ commented Leo sarcastically.  ‘No, they don’t come cheap,’ admitted Lucy.

 

Lucy invited them to a late supper with some of the cast at a nearby all-night café they regularly frequented.  All that evening Jane and Leo learned much of the life of Lucy Bridges especially the most surprising news of all.  Lucy had actually worked for the Darvanius family in New York a number of years previously.  She then disclosed very personal details about her relationship with Alexander Darvanius II.  Taking in the news Jane was not really surprised.  ‘He is a lion,’ said Lucy.  ‘Alexander is a young Lion, ready to devour all who would oppose him.  He thinks of himself as the true King of this human jungle, ready to kill all adversaries.  And believe me, when he is dressed in black and when those eyes look at you, you feel his power.  As if he is born beyond human men in some way.’ Jane nodded, taking all of that information in.  It sounded like the Alexander Darvanius her and June had talked about.  The one she expected to one day rule the world.  ‘Oh, yes,’ continued Lucy.  ‘He thinks he will rule the world one day.  Absolutely convinced of it.’  Jane nodded.  What a thing to just say, she thought to herself.

 

Later on Leo and Jane had found a hotel near the theatre and were in separate beds in a two bed bedroom.  Leo came out of the bathroom, pyjama pants on, but no top on.  He was half naked, his chest muscles rippling in front of her.  She looked on anxiously and noted how Leo looked a little somewhat like his father.  But only a little.  They were generally quite different in most respects.  But she couldn’t help but think of Callodyn as she was staring at his son, her once best friend.

 

Leo looked at her, noticing how she was looking at him.  And it dawned on him to ask the question.  ‘Jane.  Well, you know.  Jane.’  ‘What?’ she asked nervously.  He came down and sat next to her on her bed.  He took her hand and spoke softly to her.  ‘You know I love you, Jane.  I will always love you.  Always.’ Jane looked downwards.  Somehow she knew that in all eternity before her that statement had always and would always remain true.  He continued.  ‘If you want romance tonight.  If you want some of the pleasure of the flesh, well, I am happy to oblige.  I guess it is the real reason I came to see you.  Apart from delivering the cheque I wanted to know if something might happen between us.  Oh, there have been girls in New Zealand.  But nothing serious.  Nothing serious yet.  But you are still important to me.  And I guess if there is any girl in the Heart of Leopold Bradlock, it is probably yourself Jane Talbourne.’ Jane nodded.  She appreciated his words and looking at him and realizing that perhaps no other should take her in the way she desired, she nodded to him.  She watched him undress and when he stood before her naked, she looked at his manhood.  She beckoned him towards her and, slowly, and passionately, she gave herself to the one who had claimed her like no other.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

Leo looked at the news.  ‘Another announcement from that Taheb figure,’ he commented to Jane.  ‘He is starting to become very popular.’  Jane nodded.  ‘Some think he is a messianic figure.  Supposedly the first messianic redeemer as he represents the Torah of the Samaritan community,’ she replied.  ‘First messianic redeemer?  You mean there are others?’  ‘From some certain theological perspectives.  Next comes the traditional Jewish view on the messiah.  The ‘David’ figure that Judah hopes for?’ ‘Judah?’ queried Leo.  ‘Ok, the Torah is the first five books of the bible.  The Samaritans hold to the torah alone and the Taheb represents the Samaritan community and the Samaritans, according to their doctrine, represent the northern kingdom of Israel.  Thus he represents the first messianic redeemer at the end of days.’  Leo nodded, understanding seemingly apparent.  ‘Next comes the southern kingdom of Judah’s representative.  The traditional Jewish Messiah, David.  David speaks for the Samaritan community first and foremost, acknowledging the importance and the pre-eminence of the Torah.  But then he goes on to talk of the importance of the remainder of the Jewish Bible, known as the Tenakh.  It is from the remainder of the Tenakh that the Judahic messiah, son of David, comes forth.’  ‘And what about Jesus?’ asked Leo, curiousity aroused.  ‘Jews reject Jesus,’ said Jane, ‘and consistently maintain no biblical basis for his ministry.  ‘And the response,’ asked Leo.  ‘Well, my position is that Jesus Christ represents reality.  Truth and reality.  Jesus went forth and did the actual hard work of winning the gentile nations to God’s kingdom.  In the practical sense he did the real work.  So I believe, personally, revelation will be fulfilled in the figure of Jesus.  Don’t get me wrong.  Israel has always by and large objected to Christian faith, and I 100% agree with them on their valid points of objection.  But Jesus will be Christ in the end, in a way not expected of by Israel.’  ‘So he is the third messiah, is he?’ asked Leo, taking an interest.  ‘Sort of, yes.  I guess so.  But why do you ask, Leo?  What interests you in this?  I thought you were spectacularly uninterested in this sort of thing?’  Leo considered that before responding.  ‘Well, uh.  Not really uninterested.  It just had never really mattered much before.  But what you are talking about sounds really interesting.   I mean, I guess I believe in God.  But religion had never meant much.  But these ‘Messiah’ beliefs, now that we have a ‘Taheb’ figure prancing about… Well it sounds interesting.  Something to try and understand.’  Jane nodded.  This was actually quite good, she thought to herself.  She enjoyed sharing the gospel as it gave meaning to her life.  Now, for Leo to take an interest.  Well it seemed as if all her studies might now actually mean something.

 

I actually have a lot that I could say about all of this, Leo.  That is, if you are interested.’  He nodded.  ‘Yes, very.  Not right at this moment, mind you.  But yeah. I want to learn more.’  Jane nodded, quite happy.

 

Later on that day as they toured around inner London, visiting the London Bridge, Jane was quietly buzzing.  She felt in some ways like a woman now.  It had gone from her now and she had joined an important club.  Now, silently, she was hoping that Leopold would make an honest woman of her.  That seemed to be the next logical step.

 

 

Chapter Six

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

Hey, Jane.  Look at this map.  It shows the three divisions of ancient Palestine in the time of Jesus.  Three divisions, exactly as you said about three messiah.  Judea in the south, Samaria in the centre and Galilee in the north.’  Jane looked at the map and nodded to him.  ‘So let me get this right.  The Taheb is the messianic figure which represents Samaria.  The Samaritan people.’  ‘Yes,’ said Jane.  ‘He is the one they have long expected.  ‘And for Judah,’ continued Leo, ‘they have long expected a ‘David’ figure.’  ‘That they have, Leo.  It is why they never accepted Jesus as the Christ.’  ‘But isn’t Jesus from Galilee.’  Jane looked at him, smiling.  ‘In fact, Leo.  The Jesus seminar consistently teaches that Jesus was probably born in Nazareth and not in Bethlehem.  Historical Jesus studies conclude that.’  ‘Which means, then, he is the Christ of Galilee.  The ruler over the third northern-most division of Palestine.’  Jane smiled.  It was exactly the theology she had concluded herself.  ‘Yes, that he is Leopold.  The third messiah in a sense.  I mean, there will never be another Galilean as popular as Jesus.  That is for certain.  He is the ruler for Galilee.  I have no doubts on that.’  Leo nodded, continuing to stare at the map in the New Testament Bible he had purchased that morning.

 

That afternoon they began their drive back to Crossden.  Jane noticed that all throughout the trip Leo was reading through the Bible he had brought, fascinated by its teaching seemingly.  ‘Didn’t Callodyn teach you scripture going up?’ she asked him innocently.  He once shared with me that he read the Torah a lot.  ‘Uh, yeh,’ responded Leo.  ‘I know dad read it a lot, but not much around us.  And he never tried to raise me with any specific religious values.  I think he wanted me to find my own way on that issue.’  Oh, responded Jane, now understanding.  ‘Did you ever see him pray?’  ‘Once.  Late at night when Rebecca was unwell.  I heard him pray to God the father to heal her.  And she got well a few days later.’  Jane smiled.  It did seem Callodyn was a man of faith, which made her glad.

 

Arriving back in Crossden Leo returned Jane to her house and said, ‘I will be staying at the Red Boar for a few days.  I want to read through some more of this book, but I will drop around in the morning.  We can spend the rest of your time off just hanging around.’  ‘That would be great,’ said Jane.  Nervously she leant forward and kissed him on the cheek.  ‘I love you, Leo,’ she said, hoping for a similar response.  He looked at her, smiled and left.  She was a little disappointed but hoped perhaps next time he would say what she wanted to hear.

 

That night she went through the family paper on the announcement of the Taheb.  He had announced that mankind had a special destiny in the heart of God and that it was now time to turn to their heavenly father in acts of charity and repentance.  She felt he sounded like a papal figure somewhat now, which is how he seemed to be currently appreciated by many.  She thought on his words spoken and felt them laced with ancient wisdom.  If he was indeed the first messianic redeemer which June and James also talked of then he was destined to live, apparently, 400 years.  In that time he could certainly have a great impact on mankind.  Time would only tell.

 

 

Chapter Seven

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

David was heartbroken.  Completely and utterly heartbroken.  His beloved had chosen another.  Robert Davies had won her, in the end, and David Rothchild was a broken-hearted man.  Currently he was in Cardiff at an international Law convention relating to quarantine law.  David worked in the Legal section of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, as he had done for a number of years.  Just recently he had been on leave up in Sydney with Justine Atkinson.  But Justine had now chosen Robert and David was crushed.  That afternoon, thinking he could not stomach another seminar, he took the car he had rented with his international drivers license and drove.  He just drove, northwards, not caring were he was going, but just wanting to take this lost highway and escape to nowhere.

 

A few hours later he spied a sign of the town he was coming into.  ‘Crossden.’  ‘This will do,’ he thought to himself.  A good as place as any to spend the night.  He found a pub called ‘The Red Boar’ and decided that looked as good a place as any to spend the night.

 

Standing in the shower, water rushing down on him, David sensed something about this town.  Someone lived here – someone important.  Someone he should have known in some way.  He did not know why he felt this feeling, but it was all around him, everywhere for a few minutes.  And then it diminished but he couldn’t help but think divine things had touched him.

 

The following morning at the pub breakfast table he spied a man on his table reading a Bible.  He decided to say hello just for the sake of it as he always enjoyed biblical conversations.  ‘What are you reading there, friend,’ he began.  Leopold turned to him and, just then, it seemed as if a golden halo was surrounding this person, but it quickly disappeared.  ‘Uh, just the bible mate.  I have been reading it a lot over the last day or so.  Really interesting now.’  David nodded.  Perhaps God was in the process of making a new convert, he thought to himself.  Perhaps this was in fact why God had brought him to this town, of all places.

 

My name is David.  David Rothchild.’  Leo turned to him then, mildly stunned.  He knew the Rothchild name well now, for his mother Rachel was of that family and he was half a Rothchild.  ‘You have to be kidding me.  My mother Rachel is a Rothchild.’  David looked at him just then, and suddenly made the connection of were the name ‘Crossden’ rang a bell from.  ‘Rachel?  Is she related to an Alexander Rothchild?’  Leo looked at him.  ‘I have an Uncle Alexander.  My grandfather Jonathon’s brother.’ David continued.  ‘Did they have a brother called Frederick, and was their father David?’  Leo nodded.  David smiled – this was his cousin.  ‘I am David.  Alexander is my father.  We live in Canberra.’  Leo nodded.  ‘Yes, that is were Alexander lives.  I haven’t seen him since I was tiny, but I know he lives in Canberra.’  ‘So we are sort of cousins, then.  Second cousins.’  ‘Small world, aint it,’ said Leo.  David nodded at that comment.

 

They chatted all that day and into the night, dropping around to Jane and then visiting Leo’s grandmother Celia.  ‘The rest of the clan are up in Beltingham, but we will go and visit Uncle Jeremy tomorrow if you can stay.’  David nodded.  He was cheered up, somewhat now.  He had met close family.  Family he had known about but had never really had the opportunity to go and meet.  And in the consolation of family somehow the loss of Justine Atkinson was being smoothed away.  At least he felt somewhat better, and for that he was grateful.

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

Jane, sitting with Leopold, was somewhat surprised.  It was Friday.  Late yesterday David had left, Leo’s cousin, and Leo had been in a cheerful mood.  But it was something else.  Something rather than just meeting his cousin David.  Leo had in some ways, changed.  All the time Jane had known Leopold Bradlock there had been an edge to him.  A dark edge.  Certainly he was a positive and friendly person, as Callodyn likewise was.  But there was an edge to him.  An edge of darkness which sometimes occasionally had frightened her.  But now, sitting with Leo at the Red Boar eating breakfast, it seemed as if that dark edge had disappeared.  At least for the moment.

 

So why are you in such a good mood, Leopold Bradlock.’  Leo smiled at the question as he was slowly devouring his breakfast of bacon, eggs and fried tomatoes.  ‘I can’t really say, Jane Talbourne.  I can’t really say.  But it as if in the last few days a weight has been removed from my shoulders.  A weight I had never really known was there, but which is somehow gone.  And I feel new, again.  Renewed almost.  Like someone has come along and hit my ‘refresh’ button.  ‘Sprayed you with the toxin of life, huh?’ She asked, curious.  ‘Something like that,’ responded Leo.  Jane, taking a bite of a hash-brown, staring at him, had her secret convictions into the change in Leopold Bradlock.  It had happened to her to, when she first got involved in biblical things.  It was if, after reading the bible, connections were made.  Divine connections.  Almost as if God had suddenly taken an interest in your life and was now in the process of redeeming you.  This, of course, was a traditional view.  But it seemed true enough to Jane Talbourne.

 

Well, what do you want to do today, Leopold?  What shall we possibly on earth get up to.’  Leopold smiled while he was looking at her, formulating an answer.  ‘Go were the wind takes us, I guess.’  She smiled.  It was a good answer.

 

They spent the day walking around Crossden, visiting childhood haunts.  That evening they were at his grandmothers ‘Celia’s’ for dinner.  She was getting on a bit now, but still retained an elusive youthful essence.  Celia had delighted in David’s visit, ever so pleased to meet Alexander’s boy.  She was now talking about possibly visiting Canberra to see Alex, funds permitting.  Leo told her he would help out and Celia smiled.

 

That night, returning to the Red Boar, Jane subtley, in a womanly way, inquired wether Leo would like company for the night.  But he refused her.  ‘But tomorrow I would like to see you early.  I have something important to say to you, okay.  I will be around at about 8.  And I will take you somewhere special.’  Jane nodded, anticipation high.

 

Returning home Jane thought, in the way many women often thought, that this might be it.  The big question.  What would she say?  But of course, she would say yes.  Really, there was nobody else suitable enough.  So if Leo finally asked the big question she would assent and make her his wife.

 

 

Chapter Nine

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

I think, perhaps, there are words you wanted to hear.  And I do love you, Jane.  I do love you.  And under the best of circumstances I would have asked you to be my wife.’  Jane was smiling at Leo, sitting at the old railroads they had often frequented as children.  ‘But,’ she said.  ‘There sounds like there is a ‘but’ in there somewhere.’  Leo nodded.  ‘Yes, there is a but.  I don’t know what it is.  I really don’t.  But it is as if there is something saying to me, no Leo.  It wouldn’t be quite right.  As if you are a friend, and even occasional lover.  But in terms of marriage, well, it is not meant to be.’  Jane looked at him, and looked downwards.  She was disappointed.  Quite disappointed.  But if that was the heart of Leopold Bradlock, then so be it.  ‘Ok Leo.  I can’t really claim to understand your wisdom, but I will accept your choice.  I guess it was never meant to be.  Never meant to be that personal.’  ‘That is sort of what I feel, Jane.  That it was never meant to be that personal.  We are close friends, and always will be.  But it is as if there is someone else, someone closer to you, that I shouldn’t interfere with.  As if this person already has a prior claim on you.’  ‘And who would that be, Leopold Bradlock?’  ‘I don’t know Jane.  But someone important, that is all I can say.’

 

She cried a little that morning, walking back to her home with Leo walking a little ahead to give her some privacy.  He had broken her heart somewhat.  Of course she knew that she had a place in the heart of Leopold Bradlock.  But apparently that heart was holding out for someone else.  Maybe it was just an excuse he had, saying there was another for herself.  Perhaps it was just an excuse.  But perhaps there was another, as Leo had maintained.  Someone she was destined to meet one day, if she had not met him already.

 

Later that night, Leo having left for Cardiff and his flight home, Jane sat in her front living room reading the bible.  She had just read Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and thought of God’s love for her.  Perhaps the father of Glory had someone special planned for her.  Someone special, perfectly made for Jane Talbourne.  Someone to fit the bill for her exact desires.  And perhaps, one day, she would meet this perfect man.  Perhaps it was just all in God’s good time.  Perhaps that was all it was.

 

 

Chapter Ten

 

6008 SC (2038 AD)

 

What was in the heart of Leopold Bradlock?  Leo thought on that very thought as the plane was nearing New Zealand.  For so long he had assumed Jane Talbourne would, one day, be the love of his life.  As if they were destined to be together.  But in truth his heart had been taught for a while now that Jane belonged to someone else.  And that marrying her would be interfering in another person’s love life.  And so he would not marry her.  He would leave her be to find the love of her life in her own time.  Besides, he was now more interested in his studies.  His biblical studies of all things.  And the focus was the book of Revelation.  It fascinated him right at the moment.  If this was supposedly the word of God he wanted to do his best to try and understand the hidden meanings and riddles of this most strange prophecy.  Its language was complex and he had no idea what half of it meant.  But something in him was compelling him to study it.  To nut out its riddles and mystery and to understand just what it all meant.  Perhaps, in truth, for the heart of Leopold Bradlock, this current mystery would unlock the many secrets of his hearts life.  Perhaps this would be the start of a brand new journey.  Perhaps.

 

THE END



Callodyn Bradlock and Daniel Daly Discuss the Life of Salieri

Callodyn was in Canberra, and having a chat with the Advancing Noah Movement fellow, Daniel Daly.

'Callodyn. It's a great name,' said Daniel. 'I'm very jealous. I should almost use it as my Noahide name, if we really ever decided to copy the Hebrew idea and have Noahide names.'

'Fascinating,' replied Callodyn, the Angel Samael, and puffed on his ciggie.

'Anyway,' said Daniel. 'Teach me about Salieri. I'm a bit of a fan, and you know a bit about the fella.'

'Antonio Salieri,' began Callodyn Bradlock, 'lived from the 18th August 1750 to the 7th of May 1825. He was an Italian classical composer, conductor, and teacher. He was born in Legnago, south of Verona, in the Republic of Venice, and spent his adult life and career as a subject of the Habsburg Monarchy. Salieri was a pivotal figure in the development of late 18th-century opera. As a student of Florian Leopold Gassmann's, and a protégé of Gluck's, Salieri was a cosmopolitan composer who wrote operas in three languages. Salieri helped to develop and shape many of the features of operatic compositional vocabulary, and his music was a powerful influence on contemporary composers. Appointed the director of the Italian opera by the Habsburg court, a post he held from 1774 until 1792, Salieri dominated Italian language opera in Vienna. During his career he also spent time writing works for opera houses in Paris, Rome, and Venice, and his dramatic works were widely performed throughout Europe during his lifetime. As the Austrian imperial Kapellmeister from 1788 to 1824, he was responsible for music at the court chapel and attached school. Even as his works dropped from performance, and he wrote no new operas after 1804, he still remained one of the most important and sought-after teachers of his generation, and his influence was felt in every aspect of Vienna's musical life. Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven were among the most famous of his pupils. Salieri's music slowly disappeared from the repertoire between 1800 and 1868 and was rarely heard after that period until the revival of his fame in the late 20th century. This revival was due to the dramatic and highly fictionalized depiction of Salieri in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus (1979) and its 1984 film version. His music today has regained some modest popularity via recordings. He is popularly remembered as a supposedly bitter rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This includes rumours that Salieri murdered Mozart out of jealousy, when in reality, they were at least respectful peers. Salieri started his musical studies in his native town of Legnago; he was first taught at home by his older brother Francesco Salieri (a former student of the violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini), and he received further lessons from the organist of the Legnago Cathedral, Giuseppe Simoni, a pupil of Padre Giovanni Battista Martini.[2] Salieri would recall little from his childhood in later years except passions for sugar, reading, and music. He twice ran away from home without permission to hear his elder brother play violin concertos in neighboring churches on festival days (resulting in the loss of his beloved sugar), and he recounted being chastised by his father after failing to greet a local priest with proper respect. Salieri responded to the reprimand by saying the priest's organ playing displeased him because it was in an inappropriately theatrical style. Sometime between 1763 and 1764, Salieri suffered the deaths of both parents and was briefly taken in by an anonymous brother, a monk in Padua, and then for unknown reasons in 1765 or 1766, he became the ward of a Venetian nobleman named Giovanni Mocenigo (which Giovanni is at this time unknown), a member of the powerful and well connected Mocenigo family. It is possible that Antonio's father and Giovanni were friends or business associates, but this is obscure. While living in Venice Salieri continued his musical studies with the organist and opera composer Giovanni Battista Pescetti, then following Pescetti's sudden death he studied with the opera singer Ferdinando Pacini or Pasini. It was through Pacini that Salieri gained the attention of the composer Florian Leopold Gassmann, who, impressed with his protege's talents and concerned for the boy's future, took the young orphan to Vienna, where he personally directed and paid for the remainder of Salieri's musical education. Salieri and Gassmann arrived in Vienna on 15 June 1766. Gassmann's first act was to take Salieri to the Italian Church to consecrate his teaching and service to God, an event that left a deep impression on Salieri for the rest of his life Salieri's education included instruction in Latin and Italian poetry by Fr. Don Pietro Tommasi, instruction in the German language, and European literature. His music studies revolved around vocal composition, and thoroughbass. His musical theory training in harmony and counterpoint was rooted in Johann Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum, which Salieri translated during each Latin lesson. As a result, Salieri continued to live with Gassmann even after Gassmann's marriage, an arrangement that lasted until the year of Gassmann's death and Salieri's own marriage in 1774. Few of Salieri's compositions have survived from this early period. In his old age Salieri hinted that these works were either purposely destroyed, or had been lost with the exception of a few works for the church. Among these sacred works there survives a Mass in C major written without a "Gloria" and in the antique a cappella style (presumably for one of the church's penitential seasons) and dated 2 August 1767. A complete opera composed in 1769 (presumably as a culminating study) La vestale (The Vestal Virgin) has also been lost. Beginning in 1766 Gassmann introduced Salieri to the daily chamber music performances held during Emperor Joseph II's evening meal. Salieri quickly impressed the Emperor, and Gassmann was instructed to bring his pupil as often as he wished. This was the beginning of a relationship between monarch and musician that would last until Joseph's death in 1790. Salieri met Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known as Metastasio and Christoph Willibald Gluck during this period at the famous Sunday morning salons held at the home of the Martinez family. Here Metastasio had an apartment and participated in the weekly gatherings. Over the next several years Metastasio gave Salieri informal instruction in prosody and the declamation of Italian poetry, and Gluck became an informal advisor, friend and confidante. It was toward the end of this extended period of study that Gassmann was called away on a new opera commission and a gap in the theater's program allowed for Salieri to make his debut as a composer of a completely original opera buffa. Salieri's first full opera was composed during the winter and carnival season of 1770; Le donne letterate and was based on Molière's Les Femmes Savantes (The Learned Ladies) with a libretto by Giovanni Gastone Boccherini, a dancer in the court ballet and a brother of the famous composer Luigi Boccherini. The modest success of this opera would launch Salieri's 34-year operatic career as a composer of over 35 original dramas. Following the modest success of Le donne letterate Salieri received new commissions writing two additional operas in 1770 both with libretti by Boccherini. The first a pastoral opera, L'amore innocente (Innocent Love) was a light hearted comedy set in the Austrian mountains, and the second was based on an episode from Cervantes Don Quixote – Don Chisciotte alle nozze di Gamace (Don Quixote at the Marriage of Camacho). In these first works, drawn mostly from the traditions of mid-century opera buffa, Salieri showed a penchant for experimentation and for mixing the established characteristics of specific operatic genres. Don Chisciotte was a mix of ballet and opera buffa, and the lead female roles in L'amore innocente were designed to contrast and highlight the different traditions of operatic writing for soprano, even borrowing stylistic flourishes from opera-seria in the use of coloratura in what was a short pastoral comedy more in keeping with a Roman Intermezzo. The mixing and pushing against the boundaries of established operatic genres would be a continuing hallmark of Salieri's own personal style, and in his choice of material for the plot (as in his first opera), he manifested a lifelong interest in subjects drawn from classic drama and literature. Salieri's first great success was in the realm of serious opera. Commissioned for an unknown occasion Salieri's Armida was based on Torquato Tasso's epic poem La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered) and premiered on 2 June 1771. Armida is a tale of love and duty in conflict and is saturated in magic. The opera is set during the First Crusade and it features a dramatic mix of ballet, aria, ensemble and choral writing combining theatricality, scenic splendor and high emotionalism. The work clearly followed in Gluck's footsteps and embraced his reform of serious opera begun with Orfeo ed Euridice and Alceste. The libretto to Armida was by Marco Coltellini the house poet for the imperial theaters. While Salieri followed the precepts set forth by Gluck and his librettist Ranieri de' Calzabigi in the preface to Alceste; Salieri also drew on some musical ideas from the more traditional opera-seria and even opera buffa, creating a new synthesis in the process. Armida was translated into German and widely performed, especially in the northern German states, where it helped to establish Salieri's reputation as an important and innovative modern composer It would also be the first opera to receive a serious preparation in a piano and vocal reduction by Carl Friedrich Cramer in 1783. Armida was soon followed by Salieri's first truly popular success; a commedia per musica in the style of Carlo Goldoni La fiera di Venezia (The Fair of Venice). La fiera was written for Carnival in 1772 and premiered on 29 January. Here Salieri returned to his collaboration with the young Boccherini who crafted an original plot. La fiera would feature characters singing in three languages, a bustling portrayal of the Ascension-tide Fair and Carnival in Venice, and large and lengthy ensembles and choruses. It also included an innovative scene that would combine a series of on stage dances with singing from both solo protagonists and the chorus. A pattern to be imitated by later composers, most famously and successfully by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Don Giovanni. Salieri would also write several bravura arias for a soprano playing the part of a middle class character that would combine coloratura and concertante woodwind solos, another innovation for a comic opera that was to be widely imitated. Salieri's next two operas were not particular or lasting successes, of the two only La secchia rapita (The Stolen Bucket), deserves mention.[who?] A parody of Metastasian opera-seria it featured dazzling parodies of the high flown and emotive arias found in that genre, as well as bold and innovative orchestrations, including the first known use of three tympani. Again a classic of Renaissance literature was the basis of the libretto by Boccherini, in this case a comic mock-epic by Tassoni, in which a war between Modena and Bologna ensues over a stolen bucket. This uneven work was followed by another popular comedic success La locandiera (Mine Hostess), an adaptation of the classic and popular spoken stage comedy La locandiera by Carlo Goldoni, the libretto was prepared by Domenico Poggi. The majority of Salieri's modest number of instrumental works also date from this time. Salieri's instrumental works have been judged by various critics and scholars[who?] to lack the inspiration and innovation found in his writing for the stage. These orchestral works are mainly in the galant style, and although they show some development toward the late classical, they reflect a general weakness in comparison to his operatic works of the same and later periods. These works were written for mostly unknown occasions and artists. They include two concertos for pianoforte, one in C major and one in B flat major (both 1773); a concerto for organ in C Major in two movements, (the middle movement is missing from the autograph score, or perhaps, it was an improvised organ solo) (also 1773); two concertante works: a concerto for oboe, violin and cello in D major (1770), and a flute and oboe concerto in C major (1774). These works are among the most frequently recorded of Salieri's compositions. Upon Gassmann's death on 21 January, most likely due to complications from an accident with a carriage some years earlier, Salieri succeeded him as assistant director of the Italian opera in early 1774. In 1775 Salieri married Therese Helferstorfer on 10 October, she was the daughter of a recently deceased financier and official of the court treasury. Sacred music was not a high priority for the composer during this stage of his career, but he did compose an Alleluia for chorus and orchestra in 1774. During the next three years Salieri was primarily concerned with rehearsing and conducting the Italian opera company in Vienna and teaching. His three complete operas written during this time show the development of his compositional skills, but included no great success, either commercially, or artistically. His most important compositions during this period were a symphony in D major, performed in the summer of 1776, and the oratorio La passione di Gesù Cristo with a text by Metastasio performed during Advent of 1776. After the financial collapse of the Italian opera company in 1777 due to financial mis-management, Joseph II decided to end the performance of Italian opera, French spoken drama, and ballet. Instead, the two court-owned theaters would be reopened under new management, and partly subsidized by the Imperial Court, as a new National Theater. The re-launched theaters would promote German language plays and musical productions that reflected Austrian (or as Joseph II would have said) German values, traditions and outlook. The Italian opera buffa company was therefore replaced by a German language Singspiel troupe. For Joseph and his supports of Imperial reform, besides encouraging any first buddings of pan-national pride that would unite his multi-lingual and ethnic subjects under one common language; they also hoped to save a considerable amount of money in the process. Beginning in 1778 Emperor wished to have new works, in German, composed by his own subjects and brought on the stage with clear Imperial support. This in effect left Salieri's role as assistant court composer in a much reduced position. Salieri also had never truly mastered the German language, and he now felt no longer competent to continue as assistant opera director. A further blow to his career was landed when the spoken drama and musical Singspiel were placed on an equal footing. For the young composer there would be few, if any, new compositional commissions to receive from the court. Salieri was left with few financial options and he began casting about for new opportunities. However, in 1778 Gluck turned down an offer to compose the inaugural opera for La Scala in Milan; upon the suggestion of Joseph II and with the approval of Gluck, Salieri was offered the commission, which he gratefully accepted. Joseph II granted Salieri permission to take a year-long leave of absence (later extended) thus enabling him to write for La Scala and to undertake a tour of Italy. Salieri's Italian tour of 1778–80 began with the production of Europa riconosciuta (Europa Recognized) for La Scala (which was revived in 2004 for the same opera house's re-opening following extensive renovations). From Milan Salieri included stops in Venice and Rome and finally a return to Milan. During this tour he wrote three new comic operas and he also collaborated with Giacomo Rust on one opera, Il Talismano (The Talisman). Of his Italian works one, La scuola de' gelosi (The School for Jealousy), a witty study of amorous intrigue and emotion, would prove a popular and lasting international success. Upon his return at imperial behest to Vienna in 1780, he wrote one German singspiel Der Rauchfangkehrer or (The Chimney Sweep) which premiered in 1781. Salieri's Chimney Sweep and Mozart's work for the same company in 1782, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) would be the only two major successes to emerge from the German singspiel experiment, and only Mozart's opera would survive on the stage beyond the close of the 18th century. In 1783 the Italian opera company was revived with singers partly chosen and vetted by Salieri during his Italian tour,[29] the new season would open with a slightly re-worked version of Salieri's recent success La scuola de' gelosi. Salieri then returned to his rounds of rehearsing, composition and teaching. However, his time at home in Vienna would be quickly brought to a close when an opportunity to write an opera for Paris arose, again through the patronage of Gluck Salieri traveled abroad to fulfill an important commission. The opera Les Danaïdes (The Danaids) is a five-act tragédie lyrique; the plot was based on an ancient Greek legend that had been the basis for the first play in a trilogy by Aeschylus, entitled The Suppliants. The original commission that reached Salieri in 1783–84 was to assist Gluck in finishing a work for Paris that had been all but completed; in reality, Gluck had failed to notate any of the score for the new opera and gave the entire project over to his young friend. Gluck feared that the Parisian critics would denounce the opera by a young composer known mostly for comic pieces and so the opera was originally billed in the press as being a new work by Gluck with some assistance from Salieri, then shortly before the premiere of the opera the Parisian press reported that the work was to be partly by Gluck and partly by Salieri, and finally after popular and critical success were won on stage the opera was acknowledged in a letter to the public by Gluck as being wholly by the young Salieri. Les Danaïdes was received with great acclaim and its popularity with audiences and critics alike produced several further requests for new works for Paris audiences by Salieri. Les Danaïdes followed in the tradition of reform that Gluck had begun in the 1760s and that Salieri had emulated in his earlier opera Armida. Salieri's first French opera contained scenes of great solemnity and festivity; yet overshadowing it all was darkness and revenge. The opera depicted politically motivated murder, filial duty and love in conflict, tyrannicide and finally eternal damnation. The opera with its dark overture, lavish choral writing, many ballet scenes, and electrifying finale depicting a glimpse of hellish torture kept the opera on the stage in Paris for over forty years. A young Hector Berlioz recorded the deep impression this work made on him in his Mémoires. Upon returning to Vienna following his success in Paris, Salieri met and befriended Lorenzo Da Ponte and had his first professional encounters with Mozart. Da Ponte would write his first opera libretto for Salieri, Il ricco d'un giorno (A Rich Man for a Day) in 1784, it was not a success. Salieri next turned to Giambattista Casti as a librettist, a more successful set of collaboration flowed from this pairing. In the mean time Da Ponte would begin work with Mozart on Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). (For the famous relationship between Mozart and Salieri please see below.) Salieri soon produced one of his greatest works with the text by Casti La grotta di Trofonio (The Cave of Trophonius) in 1785, the first opera buffa published in full score by Artaria. Shortly after this success Joseph II had Mozart and Salieri each contribute a one-act opera and/or singspiel for production at a banquet in 1786. Salieri collaborated with Casti to produce a parody of the relationship between poet and composer in Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the Music and then the Words). This short work also highlighted the typical backstage antics of two high flown sopranos. Salieri then returned to Paris for the premiere of his tragédie lyrique Les Horaces (The Horatii) which proved a failure. However the failure of this work was more than made up for with his next Parisian opera Tarare with a libretto by Beaumarchais. This was intended to be the nec plus ultra of reform opera, a completely new synthesis of poetry and music that was an 18th-century anticipation of the ideals of Richard Wagner. He also created a sacred cantata Le Jugement dernier (The Last Judgement). The success of his opera Tarare was such that it was soon translated into Italian at Joseph II's behest by Lorenzo Da Ponte as Axur, Re d'Ormus (Axur, King of Hormuz) and staged at the royal wedding of Franz II in 1788. In 1788 Salieri returned to Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life. In that year he became Kapellmeister of the Imperial Chapel upon the death of Giuseppe Bonno; as Kapellmeister he conducted the music and musical school connected with the chapel until shortly before his death, being officially retired from the post in 1824. His Italian adaptation of Tarare, Axur would prove to be his greatest international success. Axur was widely produced throughout Europe and it even reached South America with the exiled royal house of Portugal in 1824. Axur and his other new compositions completed by 1792 would mark the height of Salieri's popularity and his influence. Just as his apogee of fame was being reached abroad, his influence in Vienna would begin to diminish with the death of Joseph II in 1790. Joseph's death deprived Salieri of his greatest patron and protector. During this period of imperial change in Vienna and revolutionary ferment in France, Salieri composed two additional extremely innovative musical dramas to libretti by Giovanni Casti. Due, however, to their satiric and overtly liberal political inclinations, both operas were seen as unsuitable for public performance in the politically reactive cultures of Leopold II and later Francis II. This resulted in two of his most original operas being consigned to his desk drawer, namely Cublai, gran kan de' Tartari (Kublai Grand Kahn of Tartary) a satire on the autocracy and court intrigues at the court of the Russian Czarina, Catherine the Great, and Catilina a semi-comic-semi-tragic account of the Catiline conspiracy that attempted to overthrow the Roman republic during the consulship of Cicero. These operas were composed in 1787 and 1792 respectively. Two other operas of little success and longterm importance were composed in 1789, and one great popular success La cifra (The Cipher). As Salieri's political position became very insecure he was retired as director of the Italian opera in 1792. He continued to write new operas per imperial contract until 1804, when he voluntarily withdrew from the stage. Of his late works for the stage only two works gained wide popular esteem during his life, Palmira, regina di Persia (Palmira, Queen of Persia) 1795 and Cesare in Farmacusa (Caesar on Pharmacusa), both drawing on the heroic and exotic success established with Axur. His late opera based on William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff ossia Le tre burle (Falstaff, or the Three Tricks), (1799) has found a wider audience in modern times than its original reception promised. His last opera was a German language singspiel Die Neger, (The Negroes), a melodrama set in colonial Virginia with a text by Georg Friedrich Treitschke (the author of the libretto for Beethoven's Fidelio) performed in 1804 and was a complete failure. When Salieri retired from the stage, he recognized that artistic styles had changed and he felt that he no longer had the creative capacity to adapt or the emotional desire to continue. Also as Salieri aged he moved slowly away from his more liberal political stances as he saw the enlightened reform of Joseph II's reign, and the hoped for reforms of the French revolution, replaced with more radical revolutionary ideas. As the political situation threatened and eventually overwhelmed Austria, which was repeatedly crushed by French political forces, Salieri's first and most important biographer Mosel described the emotional effect that this political, social, and cultural upheaval had on the composer. Mosel noted that these radical changes, especially the invasion and defeat of Austria, and the occupation of Vienna intertwined with the personal losses that struck Salieri in the same period led to his withdrawal from operatic work. Related to this Mosel quotes the aged composer concerning the radical changes in musical taste that were underway in the age of Beethoven, "From that period [circa 1800] I realized that musical taste was gradually changing in a manner completely contrary to that of my own times. Eccentricity and confusion of genres replaced reasoned and masterful simplicity." As his teaching and work with the imperial chapel continued, his duties required the composition of a large number of sacred works, and in his last years it was almost exclusively in religious works and teaching that Salieri occupied himself. Among his compositions written for the chapels needs were two complete sets of vespers, many graduals, offertories, and four orchestral masses. During this period he lost his only son in 1805 and his wife in 1807. Salieri continued to conduct publicly (including the performance of Haydn's The Creation, during which Haydn collapsed, and several premieres by Beethoven including the 1st and 2nd Piano Concertos and Wellington's Victory). He also continued to help administer several charities and organize their musical events. His remaining secular works in this late period fall into three categories: first, large scale cantatas and one oratorio Habsburg written on patriotic themes or in response to the international political situation, pedagogical works written to aid his students in voice, and finally simple songs, rounds or canons written for home entertainment; many with original poetry by the composer. He also composed one large scale instrumental work in 1815 intended as a study in late classical orchestration: Twenty-Six Variations for the Orchestra on a Theme called La Folia di Spagna. The theme is likely folk derived and is known as La Folía. This simple melodic and harmonic progression had served as an inspiration for many baroque composers, and would be used by later romantic and post-romantic composers. Salieri's setting is a brooding work in the minor key, which rarely moves far from the original melodic material, its main interest lies in the deft and varied handling of orchestral colors. La Folia was the most monumental set of orchestral variations before Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn. His teaching of budding young musicians continued, and among his pupils in composition (usually vocal) were Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonio Casimir Cartellieri, Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert and many other luminaries of the early Romantic period. See: List of music students by teacher: R to S#Antonio Salieri. He also instructed many prominent singers throughout his long career, including Caterina Canzi. All but the wealthiest of his pupils received their lessons for free, a tribute to the kindness Gassmann had shown Salieri as a penniless orphan. Salieri was committed to medical care and suffered dementia for the last year and a half of his life[according to whom?]. He died in Vienna on 7 May 1825, and was buried in the Matzleinsdorfer Friedhof on 10 May. At his memorial service on 22 June 1825 his own Requiem in C minor – composed in 1804 – was performed for the first time. His remains were later transferred to the Zentralfriedhof. His monument is adorned by a poem written by Joseph Weigl, one of his pupils:

Rest in peace! Uncovered by dust

Eternity shall bloom for you.

Rest in peace! In eternal harmonies

Your spirit now is set free.

It expressed itself in enchanting notes,

Now it is floating to everlasting beauty.



Ruh sanft! Vom Staub entblößt,

Wird Dir die Ewigkeit erblühen.

Ruh sanft! In ew'gen Harmonien

Ist nun Dein Geist gelöst.

Er sprach sich aus in zaubervollen Tönen,

Jetzt schwebt er hin zum unvergänglich Schönen.

In the 1780s, while Mozart lived and worked in Vienna, he and his father Leopold wrote in their letters that several "cabals" of Italians led by Salieri were actively putting obstacles in the way of Mozart's obtaining certain posts or staging his operas. For example, Mozart wrote in December 1781 to his father that "the only one who counts in [the Emperor's] eyes is Salieri". Their letters suggest that both Mozart and his father, being Germans who resented the special place that Italian composers had in the courts of the Austrian princes, blamed the Italians in general and Salieri in particular for all of Mozart's difficulties in establishing himself in Vienna. Mozart wrote to his father in May 1783 about Salieri and Lorenzo Da Ponte, the court poet: "You know those Italian gentlemen; they are very nice to your face! Enough, we all know about them. And if [Da Ponte] is in league with Salieri, I'll never get a text from him, and I would love to show here what I can really do with an Italian opera." In July 1783 Mozart wrote to his father of "a trick of Salieri's", one of several letters in which he accused Salieri of trickery. Decades after Mozart's death, a rumour began to circulate that Mozart had been poisoned by Salieri. This rumour has been attributed by some to a rivalry between the German and the Italian schools of music. Carl Maria von Weber, a relative of Mozart by marriage whom Wagner has characterized as the most German of German composers, is said to have refused to join Ludlams-Höhle, a social club of which Salieri was a member and avoided having anything to do with him. These rumours then made their way into popular culture. Albert Lortzing's Singspiel Szenen aus Mozarts Leben LoWV28 (1832) uses the cliché of the jealous Salieri trying to hinder Mozart's career. Ironically, Salieri's music was much more in the tradition of Gluck and Gassmann than of the Italians like Paisiello or Cimarosa. In 1772, Empress Maria Theresa commented on her preference of Italian composers over Germans like Gassmann, Salieri or Gluck. While Italian by birth, Salieri had lived in imperial Vienna for almost 60 years and was regarded by such people as the music critic Friedrich Rochlitz as a German composer. The biographer Alexander Wheelock Thayer believes that Mozart's rivalry with Salieri could have originated with an incident in 1781, when Mozart applied to be the music teacher of Princess Elisabeth of Württemberg, and Salieri was selected instead because of his reputation as a singing teacher. In the following year Mozart once again failed to be selected as the Princess' piano teacher. "Salieri and his tribe will move heaven and earth to put it down", Leopold Mozart wrote to his daughter Nannerl.[40] But at the time of the premiere of Figaro, Salieri was busy with his new French opera Les Horaces. In addition, when Lorenzo Da Ponte was in Prague preparing the production of Mozart's setting of his Don Giovanni, the poet was ordered back to Vienna for a royal wedding for which Salieri's Axur, re d'Ormus would be performed. Obviously, Mozart was not pleased by this. However, even with Mozart and Salieri's rivalry for certain jobs, there is very little evidence that the relationship between the two composers was at all acrimonious beyond this, especially after 1785 or so, when Mozart had become established in Vienna. Rather, they appeared to usually see each other as friends and colleagues, and supported each other's work. For example, when Salieri was appointed Kapellmeister in 1788, he revived Figaro instead of bringing out a new opera of his own, and when he went to the coronation festivities for Leopold II in 1790, Salieri had no fewer than three Mozart masses in his luggage. Salieri and Mozart even composed a cantata for voice and piano together, called Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia, which celebrated the return to stage of the singer Nancy Storace. This work, although it had been printed by Artaria in 1785, was considered lost until the 10th of January 2016, when the Schwäbische Zeitung reported on the discovery, by musicologist and composer Timo Jouko Herrmann, of a copy of its text and music while doing research on Antonio Salieri in the collections of the Czech Museum of Music. Mozart's Davide penitente (1785), his Piano Concerto KV 482 (1785), the Clarinet Quintet (1789) and the 40th Symphony (1788) had been premiered on the suggestion of Salieri, who supposedly conducted a performance of it in 1791. In his last surviving letter from 14 October 1791, Mozart tells his wife that he collected Salieri and Caterina Cavalieri in his carriage and drove them both to the opera; about Salieri's attendance at his opera The Magic Flute, speaking enthusiastically: "He heard and saw with all his attention, and from the overture to the last choir there was not a piece that didn't elicit a 'Bravo!' or 'Bello!' out of him. Salierli and his music were largely forgotten from the 19th century until the late 20th century. This revival was due to the dramatic and highly fictionalized depiction of Salieri in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus (1979), which was given its greatest exposure in its 1984 film version, directed by Miloš Forman. His music today has regained some modest popularity via recordings. It is also the subject of increasing academic study, and a small number of his operas have returned to the stage. In addition, there is now a Salieri Opera Festival sponsored by the Fondazione Culturale Antonio Salieri and dedicated to rediscovering his work and those of his contemporaries. It is developing as an annual autumn event in his native town of Legnago, where a theatre has been renamed in his honour. In 2003, mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli released The Salieri Album, a CD with 13 arias from Salieri's operas, most of which had never been recorded before. Patrice Michaels sang a number of his arias on the CD Divas of Mozart's Day. In 2008, another female opera star, Diana Damrau, released a CD with seven Salieri coloratura arias. Since 2000, there have also been complete recordings issued or re-issued of the operas Axur Re d'Ormus, Falstaff, Les Danaïdes, La Locandiera, La grotta di Trofonio, Prima la musica e poi le parole and Il mondo alla rovescia. Salieri has yet to fully re-enter the general repertory, but performances of his works are progressively becoming more regular. His operas Falstaff (1995 production) and Tarare (1987 production) have been released on DVD. In 2004, the opera Europa riconosciuta was staged in Milan for the reopening of La Scala in Milan, with soprano Diana Damrau in the title role. This production was also broadcast on television. In November 2009 at the Teatro Salieri in Legnago occurred the first staging in modern times of his opera Il mondo alla rovescia, a co-production between the Fondazione Culturale Antonio Salieri and the Fondazione Arena di Verona for the Salieri Opera Festival. Salieri has even begun to attract some attention from Hollywood. In 2001, his triple concerto was used in the soundtrack of The Last Castle, featuring Robert Redford and James Gandolfini. It is a story that builds on the rivalry between a meticulous but untested officer (Gandolfini) serving as the warden of a military prison and an imprisoned but much admired and highly decorated general (Redford). The Salieri piece is used as the warden's theme music, seemingly to invoke the image of jealousy of the inferior for his superior. In 2006, the movie Copying Beethoven referred to Salieri in a more positive light. In this movie a young female music student hired by Beethoven to copy out his Ninth Symphony is staying at a monastery. The abbess tries to discourage her from working with the irreverent Beethoven. She notes that she too once had dreams, having come to Vienna to study opera singing with Salieri. The 2008 film Iron Man used the Larghetto movement from Salieri's Piano Concerto in C major. The scene where Obadiah Stane, the archrival of Tony Stark, the wealthy industrialist turned Iron Man, tells Tony that he is being ousted from his company by the board, Obadiah plays the opening few bars of the Salieri concerto on a piano in Stark's suite. Salieri's life, and especially his relationship with Mozart, has been a subject of many stories, in a variety of media. Within a few years of Salieri's death in 1825, Alexander Pushkin wrote his "little tragedy" Mozart and Salieri (1831), as a dramatic study of the sin of envy. In 1898, Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov adapted Pushkin's play, Mozart and Salieri (1831), as an opera of the same name. A hugely popular yet heavily fictionalized perpetuation of the story came in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus (1979) and its Oscar-winning 1984 film adaptation directed by Miloš Forman. Salieri was portrayed in the award-winning play at London's National Theatre by Paul Scofield and in the film by F. Murray Abraham, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the part. Abraham depicts Salieri as a Machiavellian, Iago-esque character, who uses his connections to keep Mozart as the underdog and slowly destroy Mozart's career. The play does not portray Salieri as a murderer but rather has him hastening Mozart's demise through a series of plots, leaving him destitute. Salieri is characterized as both in awe of and insanely jealous of Mozart, going so far as to renounce God for blessing his adversary; "Amadeus" means love of God, or God's love, and the play can be said to be about God-given talent, or the lack thereof: Salieri is hospitalized in a mental institution, where he announces himself as "the patron saint of mediocrity". Salieri's supposed hatred for Mozart is also alluded to in a spoof opera titled A Little Nightmare Music (1982), by P.D.Q. Bach. In the opera, Salieri attempts to poison an anachronistic Shaffer but is bumped by a "clumsy oaf", which causes him to inadvertently poison Mozart instead and spill wine on his favorite coat. Patrick Stewart played Salieri in the 1985 production The Mozart Inquest. Florent Mothe portrays Salieri in the French musical Mozart, l'opéra rock (2009). Ian Kyer's first work of fiction is the historical novel Damaging Winds: Rumours that Salieri Murdered Mozart Swirl in the Vienna of Beethoven and Schubert (2013). The HBO period drama telemovie, Virtuoso (2015), directed by Alan Ball, is largely centred around the early life of Salieri. In episode 324 of The Simpsons, a spoof of Mozart's life is presented, where Lisa plays the part of a Salieri who goes mad living in Mozart's shadow. Here, it is suggested that the two composers are related. At the end of the short, the real Lisa points out the inaccuracy of the portrayal, particularly the exaggeration of the conflict between Mozart and Salieri.' And Callodyn finished with that, lit another cigarette, and puffed away.

'You know so much about him,' said Daniel Daly.

'He was a man dear to my heart,' replied Callodyn Bradlock.

'Indeed,' finished Daniel Daly.

The End