NPC Log Six: News Clips
Over US-23, Saginaw, Michigan:
The helicopter flies over US -23, giving the viewer at home a loving look at the traffic jam coming in from the Detroit Metro Area. "The traffic has been backed up for several hours," the voice over said, "as the curious and the seeker alike make their p ilgrimage to the warehouse where the so-called miracles were seen yesterday afternoon . . . "
"This is all a complete fabrication," the Cardinal Georgio Biotti said to the cameras, with a tight, annoyed little grin pinched his face. "It is also an affront against the Catholic Church to imply that I could have been involved with such an elaborate hoax. If you good representatives of the media would kindly question my staff, you'll discover that I was here in Washington looking after the interests of the Pope, sufficiently far away from the area to turn into a giant 'monster'. The young man who i s the ringleader behind all of this is very sad indeed, and in obvious need of serious mental help."
St. Mary's Hospital, Saginaw, Michigan:
Terry stood in the hallway, arms crossed, watching the media set up their cameras. He made some comments, trying to direct some attention his way. Outwardly, he grinned a large, friendly, grin. Inwardly, he frowned. Things, overall, were going hideous ly wrong, and he didn't mean this media circus.
"This is almost impressive," came a voice from right behind his left ear.
Terry turned, and stood, facing the small red haired man who was straightening his tie in the reflection of a large lens. "Angels always make for good television, Boss," he said.
"This is playing very well in our markets down below, if you know what I mean," the Prince said, almost offhandedly. "Very well indeed. Angels, especially getting all excited and rushing headlong foolishly into battle, do excellently with our audiences. Especially if they get slaughtered. The excitement! The blood pounding!" He turned toward his servitor. "What you really need is a soundtrack."
What I really need is a frontal lobotomy, Terry thought. But he didn't vocalize his opinion. "I need my staff, Boss. I need them brought up from Perdition."
"Fine, you got it." The Prince grinned a wide, cheesy, grin as he ran a comb through his unruly red hair.
"And I need some reassurance that, if we follow them into Andre's little hell on Earth, neither myself nor my staff nor anyone under my protection will get offed." Terry said.
"Well . . . " the Prince said, looking around with amusement, "I dunno. I can only do so much. Politics and all that." He snapped his fingers with inspiration. "I'll tell you what. You make the people under your protection out like heroic figures, an d get it on tape, I bet I can arrange something worth a bit of market share."
Terry's eyes drifted over to Dana as she walked through the door into the news conference. "I think I can think up something, Boss."
"Today, police reported possible suspects in the Alpena Papermill Slaughter, concerning the murder of half a dozen local residents less then a week ago, and my have linked these murders with those of several tourists in the Alpena region. Although the po lice claimed to have had the suspect in custody, they claim he 'slipped through their fingers' . . ."
St. Mary's Hospital, Saginaw, Michigan:
Anna slung her battle axe, and prepared to ascend to heaven. In her mind, she had been more or less a failure. Demons were everywhere, and she hadn't a chance to smite a single one of them in combat. They were like termites.
She was so looking forward to the heat of battle, but she never even got the chance. And what was so special about this particular demon that they needed her to guard him anyway? Demons were for sending back into the Pit, not for coddling. She was more then happy to do the honors, for the Glory of Heaven.
She couldn't figure out why this was all so important to her father, but he was adamant and never gave any answers. Just her luck. She made a note to ask his associates as she spent her essence and shed her mortal shell.
Outside of Denny's, Saginaw, Michigan:
Eddie tossed his briefcase onto the passenger's side seat and climbed into his rental car. He started the engine, and pulled out onto the highway.
He was pleased. He could report to his Lords that not all of the Servitors of Judgement were a lost cause, and maybe there was no real founding to the rumors that had been bouncing around Hades. The last things anyone wanted were rumors which were found ed in truth.
He wanted to pass it all off as another one of the Kobalite's little stunts. And they way things were going, it might be possible to take out that entire weak, sniveling, annoying Prince and his entire clan altogether soon. Without him, all of Shal-Mari might fall, giving way to a new form of power and balance in Hell. A better one, in his own opinion.
The Prince of Comedy himself was missing, and according to his spies and that useless Nakir, these angels were helping mightily to take out his Lieutenant, one way or another.
This would please Lord Asmodeus indeed.
St. Mary's Hospital, Saginaw, Michigan:
After all was said and done, Terry sat in a chair in the lobby alone, watching the people hustle by. He didn't even have the motivation to get a few of the camera hungry to sell their souls to Hell for their fifteen minutes of fame.
He chewed on his lip distractedly, and wondered where Dana had gone. He was becoming attached to the Cherub, and he didn't know if this was a bad thing or a good thing. It was an attachment thing, either way. He didn't want to think about if she liked him back, because he didn't want to suffer the backlash if he was wrong.
He thought about what Dai would say, and imagined the normal line of sarcastic ridicule to fill the void. And he worried. This whole Redemption thing, as far as he was concerned, was a bad thing. A very bad thing indeed. Heaven was no place for a self respecting young Lilim, and he should know.
Besides, he thought, he was looking forward to the day when his friend was going to stand up to Andrealphus for once and for all. The guy was nothing but a sleaze.
In Maxwell's car:
On the way to Caro, as people stopped for guns and flowers and money, Daimon(ique) dreamed in the passenger seat.
In the dream, the Lilim walked into a Cathedral, more beautiful then that of Notre Dame, more expansive then St. Peter's in Rome. She stopped and gazed at herself in the reflection of the floor to ceiling mirrors on either side of the hallway, and to her surprise, she was unchanged. The black hair in two French braids, the male cut black pinstripe suit with the badge of office on her left breast, the wide cobalt eyes, the emerald skin, the curling horns from either side of her temples. She was young, s till so very young, but her eyes belayed such pain. She frowned, an expression her face fell into naturally from long years of practice.
She walked through the Cathedral, staring up at the amazing artwork and the articulate statuary. Her footfalls echoed hollowly on the marble floor. And there were no other footfalls other then her own.
She walked into the main chapel, staring with disbelief at the enormous vaulted ceiling, and the beauty of the noon sun as it streamed in through the stained glass windows which depicted various Biblical scenes. The floor between the empty pews was strew n with the pedals of fresh flowers, and the air smelled of rosemary and lilac. She stared down the empty pews, and up to the deserted mezzanine where the choir, no longer present, was to sing their endless hymns to the nameless God. She gazed into the n eglected prayer niches, and the desolate meeting halls.
She strode off to the side, navigating pews, to stand before a small stand filled with rows of candles. Not quite understanding why, she took one of the matches offered in a bin on the side, and lit it. Then she touched the tip of the flame to a candle. She knew she was lighting it for someone she loved very much, but couldn't remember who this was, or why.
She turned suddenly, and with purpose the Lilim walked up to the pulpit. She stared for a few long moments at the enormous graven image of Christ hanging on the cross, his face contorted with the agony of the dying, staring with pain filled eyes over the congregation. She wondered, for no real reason at all, if this was too her fate. Then she turned to the podium, and saw before her a large tome, sealed with several seals. She walked over and placed her hands upon it. It was warm beneath her hands. It invited her to break them.
"Not yet. It is not time."
She raised her head suddenly at the voice. In the hall between the pews stood a figure, and her heart leaped. He smiled radiantly.
She uttered a small noise of utter joy, and hopped off the pulpit. She felt her heart rise, as the tide of love clouded her vision. She ran in the slow motion speed of dreams, crushing the flowers beneath her feat, into his open arms.
And before she could reach them, Maxwell's car hit a small break in the road, jolting the dreamer.
Daimon sat upright in the seat, trying to grasp the last threads of a dream. As it faded, he felt that he had lost something vitally important, but simply couldn't remember what it was. It was locked, inexorably, behind a heavy steel door of geases that even he himself could not access.