ANGELS OF HOPE
Children of the Diamond City
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
© 6175 SC
Angels of Hope Books 1 to 7
Life on the Edge
Jael at the Fair
After the Fair
Life in Summervale
Ménage a Trois
Lightning Strikes Twice
The Dark Side of Gloryel
A Day of Fantasy
Life Goes On
The Dark Saber
An Age of Glory
Gloryel and Daniel
Summation, Completion, the Entirety of the Principle
Jael of the Diamond City
Children of the Divine Creator
The Gloryel Complex
Queen of AOTDC
Angels of Hope
And so, a long rest had come to the father of Glory. A long, long, long, long, long, long rest. His children slumbered all this time in his heart, resting away, dreaming their dreams, silently and at peace in the still of God’s eternal spirit.
They had been the children of destiny and, in truth, destiny did not really die. But something new was to come now. They were to be angels born anew, born again to a new hope. Yes, Angels of Hope, longing for a better day in which the darkness would be ultimately vanquished and the peace and joy of God would reign eternal. And this time, a new firstborn. Gabriel. Gabriel would be the ultimate child of the diamond cities of heaven, firstborn son of his glory, firstborn angel of hope.
Gabriel looked out over the diamond city of Joniquay, a city of Glory. He stood atop the uppermost tower of Joniquay, the tower of divine rulership, were council was held. Here the 70 Seraphim Male angels held council, discussing affairs of the realm. And, of course, the adversary, the dark lord Satan contended with them in Council, speaking his adversarial will in the power the Almighty Father had granted him. Satan, with his flock of dark angels. Devoted to the power of the dark, yet not evil, so they continued to maintain. Not evil, but the ways of challenging the simplicity and stupidity of their hated opponents.
His twin sister and lover, Aquariel, longed for him to come and caress her. She lay out on a suite, not far off, signalling him to come and show her affection. But he would not. For thoughts were on his mind. Thoughts of the dark lord. He sensed, now, a confrontation was coming. A confrontation with Satan wherein he would challenge for authority over the entire realm of heaven.
Council the other night had been challenging. Satan had spoken of the need for new rulership in heaven, citing so called claims from many quarters of Gabriel’s apparent failings. Of course, Gabriel knew Satan simply wanted the authority for himself, such being the evil malevolence of that lord of the dark. And Gabriel would not relent, naturally, of his birthright, his position as firstborn.
But he worried on Satan, on the dark choices his adversary might one day make in opposition to himself, and the woe which could come on heaven because of it.
He looked at Aquariel who was still beckoning him and, deciding to be attentive to his lover, came to her and caressed her with the affection she sought from him.
The dark lord, Satan, Lord of Evil, surveyed the council room before him. Time to act. Time to be decisive. Time to challenge.
‘Gabriel. You are thick. Stupid. Dumb. You do not know how to handle the ever expanding population of heaven, for it is beyond your dim capabilities. Council, do I not speak rightly?’
‘Why do you insult him,’ spoke a counsellor on Gabriel’s behalf.
‘Yes. Show some respect for your senior brother. He has ruled well,’ said another.
But as Satan glared at them, figures within the assembly, figures which had made dark choices, stood, and made there way to stand with Satan. A third of the council stood with the dark lord. Gabriel glared at him. ‘It has come to this, has it Satan.’
‘We shall go our own way, Gabriel. We will heed you not.’ And he turned and left, his dark flock following.
The coup lasted 4 days, and Satan’s forces, eventually defeated, were decimated on the final day’s battle. The Angels of Hope took hold of Satan and his minions and, when Gabriel stood in front of them on the plane of decision, the voice of God spoke.
‘HE HAS JUDGED HIMSELF BY HIS OWN ACTIONS. A PLACE HAS BEEN PREPARED FOR HIM.’
And then, in the valley of decision, a chasm opened up, an abyss to the netherworld, and Gabriel had all Satan’s minions tied by their wings, and then, sensing God’s will, had them cast into the abyss. And they fell, for how long Gabriel knew not, yet the abyss shuddered closed, and the judgement of Satan had come to pass.
Heaven healed after that, and Gabriel worries were less. But he was anxious, never the less, and worried about what would happen should Satan ever return. But such worries were for another day. Such worries were for a future time. For his adversary was now gone, and heaven could rest once more and live the joy that their heavenly father had placed in their hearts for them all to live. Purest joy which gave them hope. So much hope.
Angels of Hope
“Angel of Glory”
By Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
He shone, as brightly as the sun. As brightly as the dawning of a brand new day. He was the Angel of Glory, the Archangel Gabriel, God’s favoured son and the Glory of God’s most precious heart. And he shone – oh, how he shone. Heaven was something to behold. Something very special to behold, flying above the Diamond cities, hundreds of metres high, their radiant glory shimmering throughout the whole realm. Heaven, the pinnacle of God’s design, home to trillions upon trillions of angels and humans, all living in peace and harmony with each other, loving their beloved God and father who had brought them to be to enjoy such beauty and splendour. And highest angel of all, Gabriel, the chief Angel and special messenger of God the most high.
But Gabriel was saddened. Despite the glory which he enjoyed each and every day there was a part in his heart which could find no peace. A part which could find no consolation. For his beloved younger brother, secondborn of the angels of heaven, dearest Michael – Michael was gone. Long missing from heaven, presumed kidnapped by the dark lord himself. And Gabriel wept at nights, his misery great, but God would not console him and when he prayed to his eternal father all God would say that Michael was were Michael had to be, and that Gabriel must go onwards, ever onwards, into the eternal future before him.
He flew downwards, coming near a park full of oak trees, and landed. Jael was sitting on a park bench, his younger angelic sister, and smiled at him as he approached. She opened her bag, pulled out a small bottle of juice and handed it to him which he drank thankfully. ‘Thank you dear Jael. It is just what I really needed.’
‘Dear Gabriel. We love you, greatly. But we miss him. Oh, how we miss Michael. Can you not persuade our father to tell you were he is? Can you not persuade our loved creator to guide you to our missing one, the one we long for, to touch and hold again.’
Gabriel sat down next to Jael on the bench and she laid her head against his shoulder. ‘I know dear sister of the longing in your heart. I feel yours and so many of the brethren’s longing each and every day. But father is insistent. Michael is gone from us, gone were he needs to be, gone to some other realm, some other eternity, some other plane of existence. But have no fear, dear sister, for I am with you. And I will always be with you, to comfort you, to love you, to lead you on in our eternal future. I am with you and will not abandon you, dear sister.’
‘You give me hope, Gabriel. So much hope. And I love you for it, indeed I do. Yet if only Michael were with us. If only our beloved brother would return to us, would come back to heaven, to soar once more in the heights of heaven and enjoy the love and peace of our divine fellowship.’
‘If only,’ responded the Archangel, comforting his sister.
* * *
Ramiel was pleased. Very pleased. Michael was in danger, now – grave danger. Of the 700 Angels of Light which had joined Michael in the war with the sons of Darkness, they had killed over 300 now. And there own forces still numbered just over 1000. Satan himself would be pleased with their work.
But despite the pleasure in his heart, despite the power he enjoyed partaking of, there was something within Ramiel, some tiny little voice right at the back of his mind, some tiny little voice which said, ‘Remember your glories, remember your passions for love and truth, remember your love towards the one who created you.’ And despite trying to shrug off each and every day these voices, Ramiel could not. He simply could not. And now, despite the very pleasure in his heart towards the defeated angels of light he had fought for so long now, a choice had come to his mind. And sitting there, in an alcove of darkness, in the heart of hell, he came to his conclusion. And then, careful not to be seen, he walked out of the alcove, came to the cavern of hell, and flew upwards. He flew upwards and upwards, ever upwards, his destination sure in his mind. For he knew were the Angels of Light resided, and he would fly up, now, to do what was seemingly once unthinkable. He would join the Angels of Light, for the Light he once so greatly disdained had penetrated his heart, and he would now let the God of infinite glory rule him once more, and see just what peace and joys that would give the heart of Ramiel the Seraphim.
* * *
Michael was weary. He was hungry, thirsty and he missed home. Yet he was committed, so committed, to the task God had assigned him. And to win the ultimate respect of his brother Gabriel he must complete the task and defeat once and for all the Angels of Darkness. For if they were to ever once more penetrate heaven – well, only chaos would result.
His followers were dedicated to him now. Deeply devoted and loving towards their leader. So many had died in their wars, but they would not give in. They would not surrender. They were here, trapped in Purgatory, half way between heaven and hell, serving in the duties which God had assigned to them. And until the last demon had been slain they would not be allowed home, such being the mission they had accepted, such being the price of the glory they craved. But Michael knew they missed home, that they missed home greatly. And he continued to pray each and every night in their age long struggle with the dark ones that God would comfort his friends and give them the peace of heart they so desperately needed.
· * *
Gabriel sat with Jael in Joniquay tower, the chief tower of the Diamond city of Joniquay. They had been in prayer that morning and Gabriel had sensed something. Some words from his God were written in his mind now and Jael had said she also felt such words being carved into her mind. And as they sat on the couches, concentrating on letting the words come forth from their minds onto their tongues, a spirit suddenly came forth from before them, grabbed them and lifted them upwards, and the words were uttered from their throats, seeing them in their minds in letters of golden flame. ‘The Final Battle Awaits. Go ye now, meet with the ones you seek with your whole heart, and take you the legion of heaven. For the dark ones punishment has long slumbered.’
And then, dropping to the ground, Gabriel looked at Jael stunned. ‘Michael?’ said Jael. ‘We are going to meet Michael, at last.’
Gabriel nodded. Such seemed to be the case.
· * *
‘Very well, Ramiel. We accept your repentance. We accept your words and that you have indeed forsaken the way of evil, returning to the light.’
Ramiel took Michael’s hand, shook it and said, ‘I am so very grateful, Michael. For I could no longer, no longer serve him. For the price was becoming too high and the way of light was becoming too strong in its love for me to ignore. I am in your service and will faithfully follow you.’
‘Then we have greater hope, now, Ramiel, in our war with the darkness. We have greater hope.’
‘And with that hope we shall triumph,’ responded Ramiel.
‘Let us hope so,’ responded Michael. ‘Let us hope so.’
* * *
Angels of Hope
“An Angel Undefeated”
Radrius surveyed the scene before him. He was currently in Hell, at an unguarded outpost of the Sons of Darkness. From what he could see there were about a dozen of the Sons of Darkness at this post. There was an extensive food garden were they obviously grew the food they ate and a number of other minor shacks besides the largest one were he sensed the majority were currently at slumber. ‘Perhaps 50 of them, tops,’ he thought to himself. Far to many for him to handle alone, but upon his return to Michael he could let him know of this outpost and they could come in forces, slay the demons, and achieve a major victory over their opponents. He carefully retreated from his hiding position when, suddenly, a demonic voice yelled and, the demons having spied him, about 7 or 8 of them started giving chase. Radrius heart beated wildly – he was now in for the flight of his life – and to be an Angel Undefeated he would have to fly like the wind or taste bitter death at the hands of his malevolent foes.
* * *
Michael stood at the pinnacle of Purgatory and looked downwards, into the vast world of Purgatory below. In this giant realm trillions upon trillions of angels and humans were going through repentance, learning the lessons which the Most High was teaching them as necessary to be able to return to the heavenly abode for the angels and enter for the first time, usually, for the humans. Michael and his assembly of Angels were stationed at the top of purgatory, there base, from were they engaged in war with the sons of darkness, many miles beneath purgatory in Hell. In the depths of Hell were numbers beyond imagining of lost souls who had made the final and ultimate choice of evil, never to return to the ways of goodness and light. Michael pitied them but realized such had been their eternal choice.
Giant shafts went downwards from the top of purgatory to its nether regions, scattered here and there throughout the enormous realm which was trillions of miles in diameter. Michael and his forces usually travelled down the primary central shaft when engaging in their warfare with evil. But they had security sensors which monitored all the other shafts to alert them to any attempts by the sons of darkness to escape hell and fly through purgatory to the one and only single shaft above purgatory leading to heaven above. But while Michael doubted strongly, should he and his angels ever be defeated, that Satan’s forces would have the power to go through the gate of eternity at the top of that shaft, he would take no chances and continued to keep his position atop the centre of purgatory to guard heaven from the sons of evil. Yet, he believed, an end was coming to the conflict one day. An end in which he would hopefully be the victor and then, finally, return to his beloved brethren in heaven, and find the peace and consolation he so desperately missed.
* * *
Radrius was scared. He was hidden in a cavern beneath the nether regions of purgatory, but he knew his pursuers were all over the place, searching viciously for him. If he moved from his position it could mark his final moments. He lay there, breathing heavily, exhausted after his long flight. He thought on home above, at the top of purgatory, and the pleasant array of foods awaiting him, for he was suddenly quite hungry. Michael and his angels flew in through one of the gateways into purgatory to harvest food from the many gardens scattered here and there throughout the edges of purgatory, in special zones restricted from the rest of Purgatory’s inhabitants. Those zones had been put in place long ago for reasons their heavenly father would never specify, but they did provide Radrius and his companions with their daily sustenance.
He was thirsty, now, and thought if he could escape his followers he would fly into purgatory, into one of the zones, and find some water and drink. But for now he would exercise caution, be patient, and let his pursuers move on.
* * *
Gabriel looked at the Legion of Heaven assembled. They had been permitted to only take the First Legion of Heaven – 1000 brave Warrior Angels – but that had been God’s wisdom, and thus would it be. He knew many of them by name, personal friends after aeons of friendships. They were brave souls. Brave and true, and soon, very soon, after God had given them the date for their departure, they would fly down to purgatory, meet with Michael and his Angels, and then engage in the final dark and bitter war with the Sons of Darkness. It would be a battle to remembered, Gabriel thought to himself, and thanked his God silently that the fate of that war was already known.
* * *
The one solitary demon who had remained searching the caverns had spied him as he had tried to escape and now Radrius was engaged in combat with this demon, each of their swords drawn, circling and looking at each other with unveiled hostility. ‘You will die, Angel scum,’ said the demon with pure evil in his voice.
‘Not before I have scattered your fowl carcass remains to the pits of despair, devilspawn.’
And then the fight began, swords clashing, egos fighting and suddenly, blood. Blood spurting from Radrius’ shoulder, and an agonizing angelic scream echoing through purgatory. Radrius backed off, holding his right shoulder with his left hand, but knew he would have to go through the paint to survive. The Demon grinned at him, flew into the air and lunged down at him, but Radrius had a move prepared. As soon as the demon was about to strike, he lunged sideways, grabbed the demon, through him at the ground and the demon thumped into the dirt. He was dazed, about to get up, when angelic steal pierced his heart and screaming obscenities at Radrius, he departed from his life, off to Sheol, the world of the dead.
Radrius held his shoulder tenderly, almost wanting to cry, but he was proud right then – so proud. He was an Angel undefeated, and could boast to Michael of one more fallen demon – one less enemy of the sons of darkness they would now need to confront.
* * *
Angels of Hope
“An Angel of Valour”
Radrukiel, bravest of the warrior Angels in the Camp of Michael who was the Secondborn Archangel of Heaven, the Angel Radrukiel respected most of all, surveyed the battle scene in front of him. 7 Angels had fallen, slain by the Demons of Hell, but the battle was progressing well, all things considered. For in their strength they had slain over 50 of the Demonic spawns, Ramiel’s tactics working true wonders on their foes. And now, now it was time for the Angel of Valour, Radrukiel himself, as per Michael’s planning, to enter they fray and wreak havoc on the forces of evil. He readied his sword of power, sharpened nightly for the past three weeks, and took to the skies, a harbinger of death upon his bittermost foes.
* * *
Kalzaxriel fought bitterly and long against Radrukiel, but Satan’s chief most warrior, the most vicious of the demons of hell, finally fell, slain by the sword of power Radrukiel wielded. As he lay there, deaths hand starting to enshroud his soul, he thought one last thought on the life he had lived and the commitments to Satan he had made and then, breathing his last, died and felt his soul and spirit fall ever downwards to the neverending death of the pit of Sheol.
* * *
Michael watched as nearly the remainder of the demon’s fled the battle scene, returning to the pits of Hell, to their dark Lord Satan. And then, seeing a few foolish demons fight on against Radrukiel, determined to slay him, he called the Angels to himself to watch the entertainment.
As they watched Radrukiel fought with skill and determination, making cut after cut on fowl demon flesh, one by one sending them down to Sheol. Finally, facing the last of the demons, Radrukiel rushed forward, plunging his sword of Glory into the chest of the demon who cried fowl obscenities and collapsed to the ground. Radrukiel wiped his brow, wiping of the sweat, turned and looked at Michael and the Angels and came over. ‘You could have helped me finish them off,’ complained Radrukiel.
‘And not enjoy the master at work?’ replied Michael. ‘Nay, you have given us the greatest of entertainments I tell you, for we were certain that you would not fall.’
‘Aye, we were certain,’ replied another angel, those words then echoed by the others.
‘Shall we pursue them now,’ asked Ramiel. ‘And bring a final end to this conflict once and forever?’
Michael considered that but replied, ‘Nay. The time is not right. For they still have the numbers and in Hell they will have all the advantage of their home turf. Nay, the time is not yet right. But soon, brothers. Soon. Soon we will have our vengeance and be returned to heaven, our home of glory, returning in splendid magnificence, praised by all I do hope.’
‘Aye,’ said the angels as one.
* * *
Gabriel sat with Jael in Joniquay tower, reading the Book of the Divine Creator, the holy text of the Angels of Hope. Jael spoke up. ‘I full well know the power of evil and darkness, Gabriel. I full well know that Satan is the lord of evil and would destroy and kill us all if he could have his way. But for us to cast him down to death, the pit of Sheol. Well, is that not a great punishment? Is that not such a great punishment, perhaps, even to great for the evil of even Satan?’
Gabriel comforted Jael, putting his arm around her shoulders. ‘The ways of the Most High are often difficult to fathom, Jael. Often difficult and hard to discern in right and truthful understanding. But we must trust our divine creator, mustn’t we? For in the love and devotion to goodness and truth we show each other and our God he continues to bless us. And we know this to be the truth, that goodness must prevail, for there is no peace in the heart of the wicked. No peace, no rest, no quiet consolation. For the heart of darkness has abandoned the love of its creator, preferring instead the heart of its own pride, as if it were something of Glory, some great thing which it had created of its own merit. The judgement upon Satan is just and proper, Jael. And when he tastes ultimate death, well, he will know he has been responsible for his own state of darkness. But, one day, I could speculate. Perhaps an eternity from now, after his suffering of his punishment has been duly completed. Well, perhaps then, in the repentance which we may one day hope finds home in his heart. Well then he may once again know the ways of life and love. But of such mysteries only God himself has the answer dear Jael. Only God has the answers.’
She nodded, consoled somewhat, and stared at the fireplace on the wall facing them burn its bright flames, her heart lost in the flames, thoughts of Satan disappearing with the smoke.
* * *
The Angel of Valour, coming into his abode in the Angelic Keep atop Purgatory, laid his sword down in its scabbard aside his bed, and laid down, closing his eyes. His thoughts were on the final battle which they had been discussing on the way home. On the final battle and, what were in Radrukiel’s plans, his idea to confront Satan himself and slay that dark lord. He knew Michael himself might desire such glory, but Radrukiel desired such glory likewise. Such glory for his name in vanquishing the power of darkness once and forever. But, despite his intentions to defeat the lord of the fowl, there was a voice in his heart now, a voice which said ‘bloody men rarely find rest for their souls.’ And Radrukiel listened to that voice as he lay there, considering the wisdom perchance it offered. Satan was evil, he knew that much, but perhaps to delight in the slaying of that fowl lord, as if such a slaying brought glory, well perhaps, as the voice suggested, that was just vainglory. A glory born of evil rather than good, not realizing that evil must simply be vanquished because of what it represented, and not vanquished as if some great glory and pride were associated with those who withstood its fowl power. And in such a conviction Radrukiel found slumber, drifting off to the realm of dreams, perhaps a newer understanding on the virtue of goodness entering his soul.
* * *
Angels of Hope
“The Angel and the Devil”
Shadray was a holy Angel. In fact, according to Michael’s own words, of all the angels in his group Shadray was deemed the holiest of all the Angels. And Shadray, after words with Radrukiel on the vanity of trying to gain glory from destroying evil, had decided it was time to consider implementing his long held plan – teaching repentance to Satan himself in the hope that evil would be vanquished with new hope for goodness, rather than the final measure they had resorted to.
He had studied the Books of the Divine Creator for so long now and felt, now, it was time to pursue his dream of sanctifying Satan to the hope of his restoration. As he exited the Angelic keep atop of purgatory, no other angel bothering to ask him of his purposes, Shadray came to the edge of the keep, flew to the great shaft, and fell. He fell, soaring downwards, ever downwards, towards the pit of hell and, hopefully, the redemption of their greatest and most evil foe.
* * *
Jael was distraught. Totally beside herself, and as Gabriel inquired whatever the matter could be, all she would say that there was a conflict coming – a dreadful conflict – in which evil would unleash its greatest power, never yet unleashed. And as she trembled before him Gabriel could only wonder what on earth she meant.
* * *
Shadray gazed at the cavern of hell from atop the barrier between hell and purgatory. In the centre of the enormous domain of hell lay the Grand Castle of Damnation, as it had come to be called. In the castle of the damned were the spawns of Satan, and Satan himself, hidden somewere amongst its many horrible and crooked pathways. It was now or never Shadray thought to himself as he flew downwards and, landing at the entrance to the castle, sucked in a breath, and entered the hallways of the damned.
* * *
‘I just can’t find him anywhere, Michael. He has disappeared.’ Michael looked alarmed at Radrukiel’s words, wondering where on earth Shadray could have possibly disappeared to. ‘Well, I am sure he will turn up eventually, Radrukiel. I am sure he will turn up eventually.’
* * *
As he walked along the fowl smelling corridors, heading inwards, Shadray thought on his mission ahead of him. Preaching the knowledge of the Divine Creator would surely convert the heart of Satan. It surely would. But he remembered, all those aeons ago, the time when Satan rebelled against God and led astray numerous angels who fell into demonic form. It had been a horrible battle in those days before Satan was vanquished, cast down to hell. And then, when Satan had broken through to Purgatory, headed upwards to wreak his vengeance on heaven, Shadray had volunteered alongside Michael to fight the forces of darkness. But now, his hope was in this final message of repentance and love he intended to preach to Satan, that a better solution – a solution of hope and peace – would be chosen. A solution in the best interests of everyone.
Turning a corner, he came to a large room were three demons were sitting at a table, eating meat and drinking. One of them spied him quickly and yelled ‘We are under attack.’ But Shadray rose his hands and said, ‘I come in peace. To see Satan. To talk with him. Nobody is with me.’ The demons came forward, grabbed him, and looked in the corridor to see if he was accompanied. One of the demons said, ‘take him to Satan. If he is foolish enough to come alone he may as well be Satan’s fun for the afternoon.’
The demon grabbed Shadray, propelled him forwards, and they started walking further into the heart of the Castle of the damned.
* * *
Jael was shivering. ‘It is nearly time, Gabriel. The time of destruction is nearly here. We must be prepared, for I fear heaven is about to feel the wrath of evil. We must inform everyone. We must.’
‘But of what, Jael. You have given me no idea of what lies ahead. What must I inform them of?’
‘Just warn them to be ready, Gabriel. Just warn them to be ready.’
* * *
Shadray stood before the throne of evil, looking intently at Satan who gazed down at him. ‘Repent, Shadray? You want me to repent and accept the ways of love and goodness? Heh heh heh. Surely you jest, young fool.’
‘Nay, I jest not, lord of the dark. For the war is ending, as you know. We will soon have the upper hand over your minions, of that you can not possibly doubt. And then repentance will be no longer available to you, for you will surely taste the sword of angelic fury. I plead with you Satan, one final and ultimate time. Repent of your evil and accept the goodness of God. I am without doubt that in his mercy, with your repentance being complete, he will allow you back into heaven. You simply need to trust in the Lord.’
Satan laughed, a wicked laugh, and then made a decision he had been waiting for the right time to make. ‘Lucifer,’ he said, to a demon nearby. ‘It is time. It is time for their destruction. We need not wait any longer for we have enough resources now. The attack is to be launched, now.’
‘Yes, my master,’ responded the demon Lucifer.
‘Oh,’ said Satan, ‘Take this Shadray along with you. Let his sit and watch the destruction. It should prove most entertaining viewing for him.’
‘As you wish, my master.’ Lucifer came forward and grabbed Shadray, who turned to look at Satan and sensed, right there and then, that the final fate of the Lord of Evil had come to pass. But so be it, he thought to himself. So be it.
* * *
Angels of Hope
“The Angel and the Scroll of Evil”
Ambriel took the scroll from the shelf, finally satisfied that the time was at hand. For 15,000 years he had waited for this day. Waited anxiously, preparing himself and his words for what he would say to Gabriel with the news of the words of the scroll. And now, with the announcement going through heaven that Jael had received a haunting premonition of evil to come, Ambriel knew the time was now to share with Gabriel the words of the scroll. The words of the scroll of evil.
* * *
Radrukiel heard it first, the thunderous noise coming from below, and after summoning Michael and the others, they flew to the edge of the great shaft and gazed downwards. Lights were shining from down below, down near the bottom of purgatory, gradually rising upwards. And the noise from around these lights was getting gradually louder and louder, an ominous sound of chaos approaching. Radrius turned to Michael and spoke. ‘I don’t know what the hell is coming up here, Mike. But it looks like Hell itself, if you take my meaning.’ Michael stared downwards, a little scared, a little more scared than he had ever been in his life, and made a quick decision. ‘Quickly now, follow me. Quickly, mind you.’ As he led the way they flew to another shaft descending downwards, and waited at the edge, staring towards the central shaft. Michael spoke. ‘After they have come up they will destroy our keep. And I fear, now, they will break through to the heavenlies. We will wait to see what manner of beast is rising and then descend to one of purgatories outer zones until they have risen to attack heaven.’
‘How do you know heaven is their target?’ asked Radrukiel.
‘I know Satan, Radrukiel. I know Satan.’
As they watched on, the noise getting louder and louder, the beast indeed did arrive. A ship – a beast of a mechanical ship, hovering on fans blowing downwards to lift it. And on that ship were large cannons, too many too count, vicious looking weapons as far as Michael could discern. As they watched the ship approached the Angelic keep atop purgatory and from the large cannons exploded bolts of metal, tearing into the Angelic Keep and obliterating it. And then a stream of flame burst forth from one of the cannons, engulfing the keep, the heat even noticeable from the distance Michael and his Angels were hiding at. And then, as the Angels watched on, the beast rose upwards, ever upwards, to the barrier of heaven. And then, a huge explosion, and then the barrier was torn asunder, and the beast continued its deadly rise.
Michael turned to his group. ‘Come, we rest in purgatory for the remainder of the day. Tomorrow we will re-enter heaven and see just what destruction that fowl beast has wrought.
* * *
As Gabriel finished reading the scroll of evil he looked at Ambriel, now understanding more clearly Jael’s premonition. ‘Then we have but a few hours left until this beast is here to wreak Satan’s vengeance.’
‘Yes,’ responded Ambriel. And as the scroll maintains, there is but one avenue available for defeating the beast. A dreadful choice we all must assent to.’
‘Then it shall be as such,’ responded Gabriel. ‘It shall be as such.’
* * *
The beast arose from purgatory and, on the outer edge of the Diamond Cities, began destroying them with it furious power. Not only did flame and metal come forth, but red beams of light at intense energy, which ripped apart all that stood in its way. Humans and Angels screamed and died and as Gabriel became aware of the Beast’s presence he prepared his heart for the decision he must soon make. The ultimate sacrifice to save those he cared for with all his heart.
* * *
Michael stood on the brink of the barrier, looking out over heaven. It was, indeed, good to be home, even if it had come at such a high price. The group looked in the distance and saw the first of the Diamond Cities burning in flame. The Beast had indeed wreaked havoc and Michael knew they must now fly directly home, directly home to Joniquay, to join Gabriel in the final battle with the sons of Darkness. ‘Come, let us fly,’ said Michael, motioning to his Angels to follow him. As they flew past the first Diamond city, the sights to horrible to comprehend, Michael silently swore to himself that Satan, now, would taste dark vengeance. Satan, now, would know the wrath of Archangel Michael. A wrath he would never forget.
* * *
Angels of Hope
“The Angel and the Dark Lord”
‘Raphael. I am afraid we have no other choice and, as third-born, gifted with the greatest speed of any of us, you must face this task with all the braveness and courage you can possibly muster.’
Raphael was scared at Gabriel’s words but, looking around the room of desperate angels and men, he knew he must comply. For the Beast had destroyed, now, countless of the Diamond Cities and their fate seemed sealed. Sealed unless Raphael could complete this most dangerous and daring of tasks.
‘Very well, Gabriel. I will accept this commission. But as I fly, pray for me. Pray that our heavenly father will grant me speed.’
‘We will, Raphael. We will.’
* * *
Satan stood in the front deck of the Beast, surveying the destruction in front of him. Another of the Diamond cities had fallen and they were getting closer and closer to Joniquay. His vengeance was being satiated and he was supremely happy. He looked over at Shadray, looking depressed, watching the havoc in front of him. ‘I hope you are enjoying the destruction, Shadray.’
‘You are evil, Satan. You are evil.’
‘Yes, I know.’ And the beast of death continued onwards in its devastating pathway of destruction.
* * *
‘This is it,’ said Ambriel, handing Raphael the sword. ‘The Sword of the day of Judgement. The sword which represents God’s final vengeance upon sin and lawlessness.’
‘And what do I do with it, Ambriel?’
‘All I can say is you will know what to do when the time is right. That is all I can say.’
Raphael took the sword, swung it around, and sheathed it in the scabbard at his waist. ‘Then we go to slay evil,’ said Raphael, and Ambriel nodded grimly.
* * *
‘There it is master, Joniquay. Capital of Heaven,’ said Lucifer, pointing to the Diamond City afore them. Satan grinned to himself. ‘At last. Our final vengeance will be completed.’ Yet, just then, in front of the beast, an Angel appeared. An angel wielding a sword. Satan looked at the angel and signalled for the beast to halt. ‘Let us go confront this fool,’ said Satan to Lucifer.
As they flew out to meet Raphael, Raphael steadied himself. When Satan neared he knew instantly it was his close brother from childhood, Raphael, and sneered at him. ‘So the mighty Raphael has come to defeat the forces of darkness with a simple sword and no help. Perhaps his pride has finally defeated him.’
‘Mock if you will, fowl lord of darkness. Yet you will taste death this day, and regret your very words.’
‘We will see about that,’ said Satan and, signalling to Lucifer to follow him, returned to the beast.
As Shadray watched on, Satan gave the signal to shoot the flame of death at Raphael. Yet, looking onwards, Raphael had the sword pointing towards the beast. Then, when the flames shot forth, they came to the sword yet instead of destroying it and Raphael the flames clung to the sword and grew, extending from Raphael’s sword into an enormous sword of flame. And then Raphael, wielding the sword, struck the beast, which at once started to cleave. Attack after attack, cut after cut, and the beast was being destroyed. Satan was screaming and then, suddenly, with an opening made in the hull of the deck, Shadray managed to escape. And then, Raphael twirled the sword which suddenly turned bright green and, with one final heave, struck the beast which exploded into flames and crashed down to earth. And thus, as it was written in the scroll of evil, fell the Morningstar of destruction, damned to the fate of eternal death within Sheol from which no man or angel had ever returned.
* * *
As Michael looked over the wreaked Diamond cities, Gabriel standing beside him, Gabriel spoke up. ‘The final defeat of evil has come at a heavy price, Michael. A heavy price. But it is an eternal lesson we have all learned and by the grace of God one which we will never have to learn again.’
‘May it be so,’ responded the Archangel Michael, secondborn of the Angels of Heaven.
* * *
Angels of Hope
“The Angel and God”
The Tears of Elenniel flowed and flowed as she looked at the destruction before her, the destruction wrought on the Diamond Cities of Heaven. So many of her beloved brothers and sisters in Angelicdom and amongst Humanity had died in the conflict with the Beast of Evil that she was not certain if her mourning could ever truly, really end. And thus her tears flowed, they flowed and flowed, like a river, falling from heaven to earth below.
And then God spoke. ‘CHILD OF GOD, FEAR NOT. LET YOUR HEART NOT BE DISTRAUGHT. FOR ALL THAT HAS BEEN HAS BEEN PLANNED SINCE THE DAYS OF ETERNITY AND MUST, OUT OF NECESSITY, HAVE COME TO PASS. FOR SUCH IS LIFE, DEAR ELENNIEL. SUCH IS LIFE. YET WORRY NOT FOR THOSE GONE FROM YOU FOR THEY YET REMAIN IN MY HEART. THEY YET REMAIN THERE, READY FOR NEW LIFE AND NEW BEGINNINGS IN A REALM WHICH IS YET TO BE. SO GO FORWARDS, EVER ONWARDS, BRAVE DAUGHTER OF GOD, NEVER FORGETTING YOUR LOVE, FAITH AND HOPE, AND LET THOSE TEARS TURN TO JOY AT THE NEW BEGINNINGS AND NEW LIFE AHEAD. BE AT PEACE, BRAVE CHILD OF GOD.’
And Elenniel, strengthened by the word which her heavenly father had spoken to her, took one last look at the destruction and then turned, heading for Joniquay, and the peace and consolation of her brethren.
Life on the Edge
Jenny Taylor was something of a good girl in high-school. She got decent grades usually, although there was a tendency to slacken off from time to time in certain classes were she apparently did not get along with the teacher. Her parents bemoaned this fact, but realized that was life, dealing with a teenager. What worried them the most, though, was Jenny’s taste in men. Paul Robinson was not the upright and respectable kind of young man they wanted their daughter going out with. In no way at all. He listened to ‘The Sex Pistol’s’, quite apparent from the T-Shirts he wore when coming around to visit Jenny, and said Bon Scott was either an angel sent from God himself to grace us with his magnificent voice, or the Devil was currently missing from hell. Punk & Heavy Metal – the banes of the Taylor family’s good Christian name. And while they, as Christian, felt it was always important to show mercy to sinners, in true Jesus fashion, there were still limits. Even for Christians from the Salvation Army.
But Jenny didn’t really care what they thought of Paul Robinson. She made that apparent when she let slip she was no longer a virgin and that Paul was the one who took her all the way. That was bad enough, but being pregnant at 15, not even of legal age, was too much for the Taylor’s to put up with. They took her aside when she got home one night, gave her $5,000, her inheritance apparently, and gave her the suitcase they had packed and wished her well in life. She was on her own now.
Jenny hated her parents after that but, soon, in the arms of Paul Robinson in his father John’s caravan, on the outskirts of town, not even going to school anymore, she no longer cared. The school sent around social workers to look into her case, but she screwed them around for a year, turned 16, and they left her alone after that. Let the Robinson’s look after her.
John Robinson did marijuana – had smoked the stuff since the 60s, and while his son, Paul, was a Rock’n’Roller all the way through, he didn’t want to fuck up his mind with what he had seen happen to his father. But Jenny did not seem to care and, despite Paul’s objections, took to Marijuana and soon the harder stuff. And then she was an addict.
‘Come on Jen. Don’t do the fucking stuff in front of the baby. For fuck’s sake, Danny will have enough shit to deal with when he gets older; he doesn’t need to see you doing fucking drugs. Sure, smoke, booze, those things I don’t give a fuck about. But not fucking drugs, sweetheart.’
‘Fuck off Paul. You aint no fucking saint.’
Paul Robinson, looking at his sweetheart, whose good looks over the last couple of years had gone from sweet 16 to someone who looked a hell of a lot older than that, sighed. Here she was, doing every fucking drug cocktail his father could get for her, another kid on the way, and she didn’t care. And she was a Christian girl? Proof positive there was no fucking God.
He picked up young Danny, who was playing with a rattle, and stared at her with daggers in his eyes. ‘Not in front of the baby, ok. I’ll take him outside. He can watch me with the car.’
‘You and your fucking car,’ responded Jenny. ‘It will never fucking go, you know. The bloke you bought it from was a cunt. I knew him in school. He ripped people off with all sorts of scams. Your lunch money was never safe.’
‘The car will go fine,’ said Paul. ‘Besides, I don’t care. It’s the Holden I have wanted for a long time. Sure, I don’t know much of how to fix it up, but I’ll learn slowly.’
‘Probably forever,’ she said, taking a swig of rum and cola.
‘Yeh,’ he said, looking at her as she was getting loaded for the afternoon. ‘Probably.’
Paul took Danny Robinson, his son, out the front of the caravan, out to the old model Holden Commodore, which went with sputters and smoke, which Paul had taken it to himself to see if he could repair and cruise around the city in. Perhaps he was naïve, as Jenny’s description of the salesman was quite accurate. But Paul didn’t care, and it was only $300. He would be hungry for the rest of the fortnight, but he had lived on pasta and rice before. That was standard fare for the dole bludger, after all. Woolies special 38 cents pasta packets. Meal for a family. Shit, that was what he had now – a family. Barely out of school, and he was a father. A family man. Probably, probably he should be responsible, probably. But, somehow, no matter how much a little voice in his head said to him that he would eventually have to grow up and act like a man, that little voice also had a dark side, perhaps that little devil, who said ‘don’t give a fuck man. Nobody else does.’ And, unfortunately, despite in his heart having dreams of one day making something of his life, of one day escaping this hell hole of a suburb in a city he would rather disown, the monotonous regularity of the same old shit was like the drugs he disdained – addictive, but nothing he could really do anything about. Which was a shame, really, as he fancied himself as a professional man in his heart, about town, in the latest model supercar, dressed for success, living the high life. But he was a loser, he knew that, and would be on the dole for the rest of his days. Of that he really had few doubts.
Inside, the 8 month pregnant Jenny Taylor, lying down on the couch, suddenly felt sick in her gut. Suddenly a lot of pain was there and, as she put her hand down to feel her crotch, she pulled it back up with blood on her hands. And then she started screaming for Paul.
8 hours later the doctor said it was a miracle that the kid had been delivered safely. With the blood loss and poor way she had been in a caesarean had been the only option, but the child might be dead already. Somehow, this miracle in the life of young Mikey Robinson, never seemed to give him the luck in life he perhaps deserved. But it was a miracle nonetheless. Despite the heavy abuse he had gone through from his mother with the constant drug use, alcohol abuse and addiction to nicotine Jenny had gone through during the pregnancy, he had come out a reasonably safe and sound child, in good enough condition, with no real health concerns. So it seemed, the Devil had been unable to take him out.
Later that year, when Jenny, despite saying she really hated her parents religion now, had her children baptized in a Uniting Church, simply because they were a traditional church which had more tolerance for people like her. And, still, despite saying she hated religion, Paul would catch her late at nights, just before she fucked off to the pub, reading a New Testament she hid from him to the kids, telling them that Jesus loved them and would forgive them. It went on till they were 4 and 5 respectively, and then she threw the book out, but she confessed to Paul later on that she had done her religious service, so fuck God, they were his kids to deal with now.
‘Danny. Do it, Danny.’
Danny Robinson picked up the dead magpie and, looking around carefully, the 9 year old walked across the road, opened the post-box of Mr Chang, and stuffed the dead bird inside. As he ran back across the road the two kids ran back home, down the street, over the dirt track and through the fields back to their caravan, laughing incessantly. Danny was Mikey’s hero now. He had stuffed a dead bird into stupid Mr Chang’s mailbox.
‘That was so cool, Danny. Awesome.’
‘I bet he will puke when he sees the dead bird. I bet he will puke. Vomit up all his Chinese food. Dogs and cats everywhere.’
Mikey laughed at that. ‘Do they really eat dogs and cats?’
‘Mum says so all the time,’ said Danny Robinson to his innocent young brother. ‘They are different in China. It’s there culture, mum says.’
‘I’m glad I’m not Chinese. I couldn’t eat a dog,’ responded young Mikey.
The two kids sat around in front of the caravan, playing with an assortment of objects which had built up over the years. There were car parts from dad’s Holden all over the place. The car had never worked as long as they had known, despite their father claiming he would eventually get it going. But, for the two young children, it made for interesting things to play with, to foster their fertile young minds.
Later that evening a certain Mr Huang Chang was not impressed with young Mikey and Danny but, despite being certain they were guilty of the offense, had no proof and Jenny defended her children against the chink to the nth degree. Somehow, somewere, along the way, Jenny Taylor had developed a mean streak against a lot of people, and newer residents to Australia, well, who gave a fuck.
‘Don’t worry. He’s a stupid chink,’ said Jenny to her two impressionable young children, who learned what a chink was through firsthand experience.
The following day young Samantha Jones, back from her mother’s place were she spent 1 week out of every 2, back with her father, came around and played with her best friends again. Danny liked Sammy, but Sammy liked Mikey. Funny that.
‘Why don’t we throw rocks at the stupid chink’s window.’
Danny, playing with one of the Holden’s inner tubes, shook his head. ‘The chink will just winge again.’
‘What’s a chink?’ asked the innocent Samantha.
‘You don’t know anything, do ya,’ said Mikey with pure male pride.
‘Mr Chang is the chink,’ said Danny.
‘What does it mean?’ asked Samantha.
‘A Chinaman, I guess,’ responded Danny Robinson.
‘Oh,’ responded Samantha, her curiousity abated.
‘Why don’t we take the BMX and do some jumps,’ said Mikey, eager to find an activity to please his older brother.
‘Maybe,’ said Danny, looking at Samantha.
‘We could watch Star Wars again,’ said Samantha. ‘I love it.’
‘For the millionth time,’ said Mikey, but was up for it anyway.
‘Why don’t we watch Rocky instead,’ said Danny.
‘If you want to,’ responded Miss Jones.
Mr Jones, Samantha’s father, had 2 video players, one on top of the other, with a cord running between them. This was to make it possible to do the technically illegal activity of dubbing video rentals from the local store possible, which had led to Mr Jones acquiring around 100 dubbed video cassettes of the best movies the 1980s had to offer. The young trio were in the habit of, on weekends and after school, watching their favourite movies, Star Wars movies and the Rocky movies being amongst their favourites.
‘Mr T could mutilate him in a real fight,’ said Danny. ‘Everyone knows Rocky is not that tough in real life.’
‘Rambo is pretty tough though,’ said Mikey.
‘Shuush,’ said Samantha. ‘We are getting to the best part.’ As the children watched ‘Clubber Lang’ suffered his humiliating defeat at the hands of the triumphant Rocky Balboa in the third instalment of the neverending series, and later on, outside in the playground of the caravan park, the two boys were throwing punches at each other and Samantha, acting oh so grown up, was saying ‘Boys will be boys’ all the time. Unfortunately the boys were just that – larrikins – and Mikey, the younger, ended up with a black eye which, despite Danny’s numerous claims, and Mikey not confessing, both of their parents just knew was Danny’s fault. The strap almost came out from Grandpa John, then, but after he glared at Mikey, he smiled and put his belt away. ‘Just scaring ya,’ he said to relieve the look of fear in Mikey’s eyes.’
Perhaps these years were the good years, in retrospect, for the Robinson clan. Perhaps they were not that bad all things considered. They were a family, of sorts, and still did some of the things traditional families were supposed to do. They did occasionally eat together, although this was usually at McDonalds or the rare visit to Kentucky Fried Chicken both boys delighted in. They celebrated Christmas occasionally. Not with any church attendance, or any songs or the like, but they did get presents and it was one of the few nights of the year which Jenny made a half decent attempt at preparing a proper meal. For regular meals they usually ate sausages or chops with potatoes poorly mashed and peas, but on Christmas they got roast chicken and turkey, and Jenny spent a lot longer than normal mashing the potatoes and making them taste ‘real good’ as Danny was want to say. And, despite the family’s lack of significant funds, most of it going on their addictions, they managed to visit Luna Park in Sydney occasionally, which was Jenny’s idea of a holiday for the family. But, in truth, that was about as good as it got for the family. Jenny and Paul never stopped arguing, although he was not the kind of man who would hit her, really, they sometimes got very passionate. They would both swear a blue streak and would use the ‘F word’ without hesitation, so much so that it seemingly came naturally to the two of them. Grandpa John would never complain, though. He had been through something like that in his own marriage, and knew the rougher side of life. He was usually found ensconced in the 1 private room the caravan/cabin had to offer, and would not get involved with these arguments. The boys, often, hid with their grandpa when their parents were going at it, and more often than not one, if not both of them, fell asleep in their grandpa’s double bed. For a long time Danny had the one spare single bed, and Mikey would sleep on the couch, but as he grew both his parent’s knew they would have to do something about the sleeping arrangements. But how could they afford it?
Still, all things considered, they were a family of sorts and, with the 1980s coming and going, the brave new world of the 1990s seemed hopefully to offer something new to the Robinson clan. It seemed that, but real life often has a way of biting you in the bum.
‘Paul. I’m pregnant.’
‘Oh, nice fucking attitude mate. Nice fucking attitude.’
‘You know we can’t afford another kid. I aint made of money Jen.’
‘You should have thought of that before you removed the condom.’
‘Fuck,’ Paul swore at the world, sitting in the caravan, drinking a beer, looking pissed off. ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do about it now. We’ll just have to cope.’
‘Oh, there is something we can do about it alright.’
He looked at her, unsure what she meant, but quickly made the connection. ‘NO FUCKING WAY, JENNY. You are having that baby.’
‘Whatever she said,’ pushing her cigarette butt out in the ash tray.
He looked at her and, perhaps, for the first time in their time together he really wanted to hit her for almost saying what she would do to their kid. She was supposed to have values, the bitch. She was supposed to have values.
Destiny, funnily, often works out the way we want it to, even if we don’t say so and regret it afterwards, because the child was miscarried, which left a numb feeling in the caravan for months. Paul and Jenny didn’t talk to either much – there was nothing to say, really. Nothing to say. And, despite Jenny’s earlier uncaring attitude, it hit her the hardest. She had been buying pink baby clothes, because they had a test and knew it was a girl, and she had been looking forward now to having a daughter. Someone like her. Someone like Jenny. Someone to pass off her own feminine values, ways and traditions to. A girl like her. She had spent afternoons fantasizing about her daughter playing with crayons and looking anxiously for her mother, the way Danny and Mikey did. Stupid things like feeding the child, and taking care of it in general. Just having a girl kid. A buzz which never quite happened for her boys. It hit her hard – harder then either was prepared to even talk about.
But Paul saw it late at nights. In her staring off into space. In her vacant eyes, and her absent expressions. This child was going to mean something to Jenny – a ray of light in an otherwise dark world. And then, right near when she was happiest, she was plunged into hell and the Devil finally had his victory over the Robinson clan. Life sucked.
And then she hit the grog even harder, and the drugs claimed the remainder of her soul.
1991 was a dark year. After the death of their child in January, Jenny’s parents were killed in an automobile accident and, despite the fact she didn’t visit them hardly at all since they kicked her out, it still hit her hard. She had no other real family to speak of and, although it had become her life anyway, really there was no escaping her destiny in the Robinson family now.
The money for the house and the belongings was split between the Taylor’s church, a number of charities, and 10% for Jenny. At the reading of the will Jenny wanted to insult her parents, but let the final remaining modicum of Christian charity still rule her heart. At least they had left her something.
In those days, mid to late 1991, she brooded around the caravan, looking twice her age, needle marks everywhere on her body, a wreck of a life of a young girl who once had promise, but fell into bad company. But, somehow, even Jenny couldn’t blame Paul. In many ways, despite his own reckless ways, Paul was still something of a survivor. He still had a bone of decency in his heart and, even when he was bashing on a bloke down at the pub, there were limits in what he would do. He could go psycho on guys, from time to time – it was the Sex Pistols in him – but there were limits. It was only fighting to Paul Robinson in the end. A bit of the biff. A bit of the State of Origin ruff stuff. Nothing too much more. Just the Aussie way. And while he smoked, drank, and swore a blue curse, that was about the limit. He was a brawler, a bad boy, but he was not a diehard criminal. Not an evil guy. He still had standards, and would stand by his mates, and fight for his country if he needed to.
But Jenny. What would they make of Jenny Taylor when all the shit had had its day. A girl of promise, turned to the dark side, and seemingly hating all who would offer a way back into the light, disdaining religion, disdaining her family, even disdaining Paul in some ways for getting her into this mess. But she didn’t blame him most of the time. Most of the time she understood, this was what God had dished out for Jenny Taylor. For the little girl in Sunday school who said God’s rules were too strict and that God was a hypocrite. And the girl who, despite complying with her parent’s ways, had a heart which could really hate people at times – really hate them, and only give lip service to the virtue of forgiveness. She was a bitch. A druggo. A loser. A Robinson. And she didn’t – really – care.
Somehow the kids survived those years, thinking there mother was just unwell most of the time. The boys had worked out that their mother did drugs and that they were supposed to be illegal, but the family didn’t apparently give a fuck. Those rules were for the people who made those rules, a common Robinson family saying. Yet Paul spoke with his boys from time to time and while he admitted their grandfather smoked dope made it equally clear that he didn’t and didn’t think that much of the shit. He would tell them ‘don’t do the shit. It will only fuck you in the end. Don’t waste your life. I did nothing with mine but you Danny, you Mikey. Fuck, maybe something good will happen in the end. Somehow I feel that. I don’t know. Somehow something good will happen for us in the end.’
Those words stayed with the impressionable young children and both Danny and Mikey, despite loving their mother and in some ways wanting to excuse or justify her behaviour saying ‘it wasn’t that bad, was it,’ in their innocence, knew there father was speaking the truth to them. They seemed, in their innocence, capable of making that leap.
‘Mum. Why do you do drugs?’ Mikey, who was now 11 in early 1992, and starting to make sense of the world, needed to know if his mother was really normal. If she was a proper mother. A regular mum. He had met other mums, mainly Samantha’s mother, who had problems of her own as well, but who seemed a little more normal than his own mother. A little bit more responsible. He wanted to make sure his mum was ok as well. That he had a good mum.
‘Kid. I just do them, ok. I’m an addict.’
She had gotten into that habit in the last few months, calling her children ‘Kid.’ Almost disowning them. Separating away into her own little world, the world of Jenny Taylor, were things as stupid as children, even her own, even those who depended on her, were little fascinations - like miniature umbrellas in a cocktail - which looked pretty, but served no real purpose apart from amusement. And Mikey, the young one, the stupid one she had grown accustomed to thinking in her heart, what purpose did he really serve now in the life of Jenny Taylor. Just something which half her social security was pumped into. Just another little bludging Robinson.
‘Can’t you stop doing them. Perhaps if you did you could get a job at Woolworths like daddy says you could do.’
Mikey wanted a normal family, now, more than anything else. He wanted to be a proper kid, in a proper family, and somehow he had worked it out that he wasn’t in that – a normal family. Somehow things were wrong.
‘Don’t fucking judge me, kid. I fucking hate that. I hate it in my mother and I hate it in my father and your fucking father. Hypocrites judge people. Fucking hypocrites. People who think they are so fucking holy that they have nothing better to do. So don’t ever fucking judge me, kid.’
Mikey had been sworn at before, but the little 11 year old was somewhat used to that in the family. But it didn’t sway him. He knew his mother was not right.
Later that night Danny found him crying in their grandfather’s bed and, hugging his younger brother, Danny said ‘One day it will be ok, Mikey. One day.’
* * * * *
Samantha Jones had a frog she had found in the pond near the caravan park. She was showing it to Danny and Mikey and they then started playing leapfrog. Jenny came out and looked at the kids playing with the frog and started swearing at them. ‘Don’t bring that fucking thing inside you brats. I fucking hate creepy crawlies.’
‘Aww, mum,’ said Mikey, but Danny just took the frog and gave it to Samantha and said ‘You know what she is like now. Better take it back to the pond. Make sure it is ok, ok. Don’t hurt it.’
‘I won’t,’ said Samantha, and disappeared.
Jenny, who no longer came out of the caravan very much, sat on the porch in the sunshine, staring at the kids. Staring at her own children.
‘You kids are like your father. Fucking losers.’
That shocked Mikey, being insulted by someone who he expected love from. From someone who, earlier in life, had cared for them, making them Christmas dinners and giving them presents. Their mother.
‘But that’s what I get,’ she said, lighting up another cigarette. ‘Shagging a fucking Robinson.’
Danny looked at his mother and, perhaps for the first time in his life, he judged. He looked at her and said ‘You’re a bitch.’
Jenny looked at him and, despite perhaps the expectation of a firm rebuke or a coarse insult in response, she just laughed. ‘Yeh, Danny. I am. I am a fucking bitch. So go fuck off, ok. You and Mikey, go fuck off.’
Danny looked at his mother, didn’t swear again, but turned to Mikey and said, ‘Come on. The bitch doesn’t want us hanging around.’
Mikey, though, looked at his mother. He looked and, in his heart, in his innocent young heart, he felt the only thing he could – shame.
They disappeared over to the other side of the caravan park and that day, with words said between them, they swore to look after each other, even if their mother could not really care for them properly anymore. Even if she didn’t care anymore.
In 1994, when Mikey was 13 and Danny was 14, they had gotten over their mother somewhat. She was, in a horrible way, dead to the kids now. Dead. They watched as she did drugs in front of them, even injecting the fucking chemicals into her crotch in front of them and in response to Paul who said ‘For fuck’s sake, Jenny,’ she responded saying, ‘Who gives a fuck? They will see them soon enough anyway.’
Paul, who had been in jail for the last 6 months for brawling, did not really know how far his girlfriend had fallen. How far from the tree she was now rotting away from. She was not the girl he had taken a liking for. She was not the same Jenny Taylor. She was, he hated saying, but she was just fucking evil. A loser, by even Robinson standards. And, the worst thing, she didn’t even care. She didn’t even want to change her lifestyle, to do anything about it. She saw her dealer every allowance day, paid for what she needed, gave Paul a small amount of cash for food, which she still fortunately looked into, saying she still needed to eat, and then she sat in front of the TV all day, watching daytime and night-time dramas, high half the time, or locked up in John’s bedroom, listening to the radio, drinking booze and sleeping. And while this pissed off John severely, he had started to sleep in the other double bed in the main living room with his two grandsons, while Paul took the single bed. Whatever else, they would not abandon Jenny. She was the children’s mother, and needed help. She wouldn’t take it, but she needed it. She needed it before it was too late.
When she overdosed for the first time Paul was not surprised. These things inevitably happened with druggo's. Of course, Jenny was actually quite a smart girl in her own way, and knew what the drugs were doing to her, and knew about handling them in something approaching moderation not to kill her. She had learned that much in school, and still took some care of herself in that respect. In other areas, though, she was not as diligent. She didn’t go to the park showers very much anymore – sometimes only once or twice a week – and often she went days at a time without taking proper care of herself, and she stank because of it. They were used to the smell as a family, had really come to expect it, but did the best they could. She was family. And, despite all the problems they had with her, they still loved her. But then she overdosed, ended up in hospital for 4 months, going through a detox program and coming home, they thought the worse would happen straight away. They were lucky – for the next year or so, until Mikey was 15, she did act responsibly somewhat. She washed herself, insulted Paul and the kids a lot less, and tried to go walking to lose some of her weight once a week or so. But, slowly, the devil reclaimed her soul, and dragged her back downwards, ever downwards, into the deepest addictions of her life – addictions she never recovered from.
Mikey found her one morning. Lying on the couch, after he got back from playing. It was a Saturday morning, and he had just turned 16, and was hanging with some kids from the caravan park, kids who had recently moved in, who were around 16 and 17, some with tattoos, riding skateboards, and even doing some drugs. They were his new friends, apparently. His new entourage. His new gang. They had been around for a few months, and Mikey had grown to care less and less about his mother. Less and less about the woman who raised him, but turned her back on him. And then he came home, his father in prison again, Danny off the other side of town with his latest girlfriend, leaving Mikey on his own, with John at his usual mates house, old man Nick, who also lived in the Caravan park. He came home, nudged his mother, and after no further response he took her pulse. Nothing. ‘Shit,’ he swore. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck.’
Later that night, John spoke to the boys. ‘It is just us 3 now. You’re father is still inside and will be for another 3 months. I’ll do my best, but you will have to take care of yourself mostly. I’m an old man, boys. I can’t do much anymore, apart from piss and shit and eat. But I’ll do what I can.’
Mikey put his hand on his grandpa’s shoulder saying he understood, and Danny nodded. It was just the 3 of them, then. There mother was in the hospital, somewhere, her dead body waiting for the cremation, which had been her wishes.
When their father got released from prison 3 months later, the family took the ashes, went off to the sea on a day trip via the train, and Mikey took the urn and poured the ashes into the ocean. And then, not really knowing what else to say, he prayed and said ‘God. Please take mum into heaven. Please forgive her.’
It had been the end to a tragic life, one which had deeply affected the Robinson men, leaving them with scars which would perhaps never heal. Jenny had been a difficult person in latter years to come to terms with. Her uncaring attitude towards them, as if they were just another bunch of losers like herself she was caught up with, instead of a family she was supposed to love and care for, was difficult to handle. And, as time passed, Mikey grew to hate his mother’s memory, and refused to think of those good times with her. She didn’t deserve that. The bitch didn’t deserve that. In his heart, deep in his heart, he knew he still loved her and would miss her, and did hope she was in heaven to meet them again one day. One day, were she would be better, and they could finally be a proper family. But for now he swore at her memory, and was glad to see the back of his own mother.
It was a dark time for the Robinson clan and, despite thinking 1997 was a horrible year, 1998 only got worse.
‘Fuck. Why don’t we?’
Mikey was unsure. While the chink was still, to Mikey Robinson just that, a chink, he didn’t think he wanted to throw eggs at the man’s window. An old lesson on that had told him the wiser. But Ronald Baddely was not of the same opinion. He was dressed in a Metallica T-shirt, had a small tattoo of a skull on his arm and also had a nose ring. He looked the shit, so the gang often said.
‘Come on Mikey. Don’t be such a fucking pussy, ok. I have the eggs – we go later tonight, and throw them at his window, and scamper before he catches us. It will be a laugh riot.’
And so Mikey, his brother Danny not around, and his grandfather not there to correct him, nodded vaguely somewhat and agreed to the juvenile request.
Later that night, around 10, Ronald Baddely knocked lightly on Mikey’s caravan door and Mikey quickly appeared, dressed all in black like Ronald was, with a black balaclava covering his face. He didn’t want to be recognized just in case.
‘Shit, you ready to rob a bank?’ said Ronald.
‘Maybe,’ responded Mikey.
Ronald had his eggs and they carefully, avoiding the lights of the caravan park and being seen, came to the edge of the park, crossed over the paddock, onto the end street were Mr Chang lived and, coming to his lawn, Ronald handed 3 eggs to Mikey.
‘You ready,’ Ronald asked him.
‘Sure,’ said Mikey.
And then Ronald yelled ‘Now’, and started throwing the eggs at the nearest window, with Mikey soon following him. They threw about 8 eggs or so when Mr Chang appeared, swearing at them, and they ran off down the street back to the caravan park.
When they got back to Mikey’s caravan Ronald was laughing and boasting, but Mikey didn’t really think it was that funny in the end. And he was scared at the violent words Mr Chang had sworn at them.
‘Maybe he’ll call the cops,’ said Mikey.
‘Who cares,’ responded Ronald. ‘They’ll never trace it to us.’
‘You hope,’ responded Mikey.
The following day a cop car did make its way slowly through the caravan park, responding to Mr Chang’s fervent hassling, doing the rounds to give the park a scare. They knew there was not much more they could do than that. Mr Chang hadn’t seen the lad’s faces, so there was no proof. They had suspects, but no proof. So all they could do was send around the patrol car to scare the residents.
These sorts of activities, on the shadier side of the law, happened for quite a while in the small group during early 1998. Ronald’s older brother, Geoff, occasionally did shit with them also, but mainly Mikey and Ronald were becoming little criminals around town. They were very lucky – somehow the hand of grace was upon them, keeping them every time just out of the coppers reach, but perhaps grace would only last for so long.
Despite these reckless times, Mikey was still a likeable enough kid. He just got a kick out of being something of a bad boy – in some ways like his father, who brawled a lot. Ronald, a thug, was the main instigator behind all of their wrongdoings, and Mikey was easily led by him. Things they got up too included throwing trash on Mr Chang’s lawn a few months later, spray-painting their names into the concrete walls of a local underpass, as well as a lot of shoplifting from the nearby Woolworths, were they always seemed to manage avoiding being busted, despite the manager, when he was around, pretty certain the two kids were involved.
Yes, somehow the hand of grace was upon Mikey Robinson for that year for a time, but grace only lasts so long, and even angels can fall from it.
‘But we can go inside for breaking and entering. They will do that to us now – probably.’
‘So what. I can handle time inside,’ responded Ronald. ‘Besides, it will be fucking awesome. We can totally fuck the place.’
And so, despite thinking he should know better, they travelled across town to the Milk Depot late one night, or perhaps early in the morning, and going through a back entrance, they broke a window, came into the place and started busting up milk containers, milk all over the floors of the depot after a while. This time they were not so lucky. They had tripped an alarm and, shortly, 3 police cars had shown up and they were hiding in a closet out of sight. They were not lucky as one of the coppers opened up the closet and, threatening them with a baton, brought them out, out to the cop car, and down to the station. They were both arrested and Mikey’s grandfather came down and bailed him out on pension day.
Mikey fronted the magistrate, but had a good public lawyer from Legal Aid. He was sentenced to a good behaviour bond and had to do 6 months community work. Ronald was not as lucky, and had 3 months in Juvenile detention.
‘What’s your name?’ asked the blonde girl, picking up litter by the side of the highway, were Mikey was doing his service.
‘Mike. Mike Robinson.’
‘I’m Sheila. Sheila Davies.’
‘You are fucking kidding, aren’t you? Sheila? What, you’re parents fucking hated you?’
‘Fuck off,’ she said, but didn’t walk away.
They continued for half an hour, walking up the side of the highway, the head of the program, Daryl, coming up from time to time to look at them and to monitor them.
When Daryl had disappeared Sheila spoke again. ‘What did you do? To get this job?’
Mikey said nothing, but instead turned to have a good look at the girl. She was blonde, but it appeared dyed. She was tallish, just a little taller than himself, and she had multiple ear-rings, nose rings and even eyebrow rings. And there was dark mascara around her eyes. She was a little cute, though.
‘What. You a fucking Goth?’ he asked her.
She nodded. ‘I guess. Society hates me. I won’t conform,’ she said with a smile. He laughed at that.
‘Who the fuck wants to conform. Rules made by the rich to control the masses. Up the fucking Proletariat!’
She smiled. ‘What. You a fucking commie?’
‘Probably,’ he said, continuing to pick up garbage. He had read some of Marx’s literature recently, and had begun thinking that the world he lived in was fucked up by Capitalism.
She moved closer and soon they were picking up garbage together, Daryl who occasionally came over to check them giving them a funny look but not saying anything.
‘Try anarchy,’ she responded. ‘Even communism is a system of order. To control the masses in the end. It is not true freedom.’
He stopped what he was doing and looked at her seriously. ‘Fuck. As long as I am controlling the masses, I don’t give a shit.’
They spent the rest of the morning, till lunchtime, picking up garbage and then they were taken to McDonalds and given an allowance for their work to buy their lunch with.
Mikey sat down, eating his French fries and drinking his cola and was not surprised to see Sheila shortly standing in front of him. ‘Can I sit here?’ she queried.
Mikey, while Sammy Jones was his unofficial girlfriend, could see no real reason to object. The girl seemed alright. ‘Sure,’ he said. ‘Free world.’
She sat down.
They ate their meal in silence to begin with and he stared at her a bit, looking at her rings and her makeup and noticing the tattoos of tears on her hand. ‘What sort of music do you listen to?’ he finally asked her.
‘Metallica. Megadeth. Slayer. Morbid Angel. Harder stuff, usually,’ she responded. ‘My brother listened to these bands back in the 1980s and he gave me some CD’s not long ago. I used to listen to Madonna and Wham and Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson and other popular pop stuff. I hated Nirvana to start with, but now I love them.’
‘Right,’ he said.
They continued eating and he had found a question to ask her.
‘So you are anti-social?’
She nodded, but then amended that by saying, ‘But I still get along with people, I suppose. I’m probably contradicting myself but I try to like people I meet. I don’t like all the rules, but I do try to get along.’
‘And that is anarchy to you, is it? Getting along?’
‘Probably not. Probably not really. I’m probably a tryhard,’ she responded, taking a sip of cola.
‘Probably,’ he said smiling.
‘Hey,’ she said, punching him lightly in the arm, bringing another chuckle.
They finished their lunch and Daryl came over and said they could finish up for the day if they wanted to, but he would count their hours if they wanted to work extra today. They both declined that.
They walked down to a nearby park and she sat on a swing and he stared at her. ‘Do you do drugs?’ he asked her. Somehow, that question needed to be asked now. For some reason he needed to know – was she his mother.
She shook her head. ‘Some of my friends do, but I’m not that stupid. My brother said they will mess with your head. I smoked pot once and got the point. I won’t do that shit again.’
‘Right,’ he said.
She continued swinging and they didn’t say much. There was not much to say, they didn’t know each other very well.
Finally, she came off the swing and they walked over to the see-saw and both of them, despite Mikey thinking it was a bit juvenile, got on and they did little see-saws.
‘Where do you live?’ she asked him.
‘Over at the northside caravan park. It’s shit, really, but we can’t afford anything better.’
‘I know where that is,’ she responded. ‘We’ve never been there to stay or anything, but we’ve driven past it. Have you lived there all you’re life?’
‘We’ve been in this town a decade. It’s a boring place, but mum likes it. Dad died, and we got some life insurance. She works in a supermarket, and my older brother left town a year ago. He is probably going to get married soon, the idiot.’
‘You don’t like his girlfriend?’ asked Mikey.
‘I don’t believe in marriage,’ responded Sheila. ‘It is society’s way of oppressing women. It sucks. Its control. I would never get married.’
Mikey found something to say on that. ‘My parent’s never got married. They lived together, but never tied the knot. Mum didn’t believe in that either. Said it was a waste of time. Her parent’s religion.’
‘What. They were Christians were they?’
‘They were. They’re dead now,’ responded Mikey.
‘Oh, sorry,’ she said.
‘Don’t be. I hardly ever met them, and we didn’t get along. They were just like – well, like people you knew but nothing more.’
‘Acquaintances,’ she put in.
‘Yeh. I guess that’s the word,’ he responded.
It was Saturday, school awaited them on Monday, and Mikey found himself finding a girl who he actually seemed to like. Sure, he liked Sammy Jones, but he had always known her. They had been friends forever. Here was a new girl – a new friend – with viewpoints on life which, for the young Mike Robinson who was starting to question the fundamentals on society and life, could just be the tonic of inquisition he needed at this impressionable young age.
‘Where do you live then,’ he asked her.
‘Not far from here,’ she responded. He found out she went to the school in the next suburb to the one he went to. They were practically neighbours.
‘Well, do you want to do something Monday. After school,’ he said. ‘We could hang about. I could meet you here, I guess. Go to Maccas. Talk and shit.’
She nodded. ‘Sure, Mikey. We could do that.’
‘How did you know I was called Mikey?’
‘Uh, sorry. I didn’t. I was just being cute, I guess.’
‘It’s ok. That’s what they normally call me.’
‘I’ll call you that then.’
‘So I’ll see you here Monday? Around 4?’
‘Sure,’ she responded.
‘Cool. Well, I guess I got to go now. Shit to do.’
As he walked off, she waved at him and he got to the edge of the park and turned to see her at the water fountain, drinking. This new friend, this girl he liked. Perhaps even more than Sammy, even though he had just met her. But they seemed to click. Perhaps the right kind of girl to bring into the life of Mike Robinson.
* * * * *
They caught up on Monday. She got there just after 4 and he was sitting on the swing. ‘Hey loser,’ she said.
‘Hey bitch,’ he responded, and she giggled a little.
They spent half an hour chatting over various subjects, and she began relating something of her history. Her father had worked on a construction site in Sydney and had fallen from a height, which had given them a good life insurance payout. They had moved to the Robinson’s hometown and purchased the house outright with the sale of their own home in Sydney which had still a large mortgage owing and the payout, so they were in a decent enough financial position now. Sheila’s mother worked for a private supermarket on the other side of town, in the delicatessen cutting meat and cheese and that sort of stuff, and had worked for the past decade for the most part, bringing home the money for the family. Her brother had left for Sydney with his girlfriend to live a better life but, funnily enough, ended up working for the same construction firm his father had, which Sheila called ironic.
‘So now it is just me and mum,’ she responded.
‘What is your mother like?’
‘Ordinary enough, I suppose. She brings home men, occasionally. She fucks them, I think. Pretty sure of that. Blokes from the pub were she picks them up. But they are becoming scarcer now. She is a bit older and they are apparently harder to nab. A lot of them married.’
‘It’s a hard life,’ said Mikey.
‘I don’t think I want her marrying again, though,’ said Sheila. ‘While I don’t believe in marriage for myself, I know it is popular with my mother’s generation, but for me, well,’ she trailed off, not saying anything more.
‘Well what?’ queried Mike.
‘Well I still think my mother should honour my father. He’s MY dad. He’s my brother’s dad. She shouldn’t fuck more than one guy. That is wrong, somehow.’
‘Shit. You almost sound religious.’
‘Do I?’ she queried. ‘God save us all then,’ and they both burst out laughing.
‘I guess I can understand were you are coming from,’ he responded momentarily. ‘My mum and dad were always together until she died. Somehow, despite the fact that the stupid bitch hated us in the end and did drugs till they killed her, we were still a family. Still had that much sense in her.’
‘Oh, sorry,’ she said.
‘Don’t be,’ he responded. ‘The bitch got what was coming to her.’
She frowned. ‘Not a very nice way to talk about your mother.’
‘You didn’t know her, ok. Let’s just leave it at that. You didn’t know her, and you are lucky you didn’t. She was a real loser, and that is saying something from me.’
‘Oh,’ she responded, in a softer voice.
‘Shit,’ let’s change the subject,’ he said.
‘Ok,’ she said in response, but the conversation had dried up for a while.
Shortly Mikey stood and indicated for her to follow and they walked to the stone fence of the park and climbed up on it, gradually making their way all around the park, Mikey doing his best to quickly run along the steel gates without falling, but he fell and bruised his ankle and Sheila laughed.
They spent a while there that afternoon, and Mike didn’t make it home until 6.30. Danny quizzed him were he had been and suggested he get to his homework, but old man John didn’t seem to care. But he was like that these days – lost in his own world, perhaps not long for this one. He seemed to be now failing in health and, soon enough, the boys might be left to fend for themselves.
‘I’ve met a new girl,’ said Mike, as they were eating pasta for dinner.
‘You’ve got one. Samantha,’ responded Danny.
‘I know. I know. Sam is cool and all that. This girl, though. Well, she’s just a friend at the moment.’
‘Will she be anything more than that?’ queried Danny, picking up the remote and turning on the news.’
Mike didn’t say anything in response until Danny finally turned to look at him. ‘Well. Is she your kind of bitch?’
Mike finished his pasta and went into the other room. Danny shortly came and stood at the door. ‘You like her then. That’s obvious.’
He finally responded. ‘She’s not like mum. She knows about drugs. She’s alright.’
Danny picked up a little football from on top of the fridge and tossed it around in his hands. ‘Then you may as well get her fucking pregnant, bro,’ and he smiled, went back to the TV, leaving Mikey thinking over that very thought.
The following day they met up again and Mikey had Danny’s words on his mind. Sheila was sitting on the grass, with Mikey sitting on the fence when he sat down next to her, which didn’t bother her, but suddenly he moved his head forward to try to kiss her and she quickly pulled back.
‘What the fuck is your problem, Mikey?’
He stood, walked back to the fence and sat down and stared at her.
‘Are you serious?’ she asked. ‘I thought we were just friends, you know. Nothing more than that. I haven’t been giving you any signals that I know about.’
He turned away and responded, ‘No. I guess not. Sorry. It was my brother’s idea.’
‘Your brother told you to kiss me?’
‘Not exactly,’ he said. ‘Look, sorry. I like you, I guess. I just thought that maybe it was the right thing to do.’
She softened. ‘Look, maybe it is. I like you. But we are still getting to know each other. Give me some time before you get heavy on me, ok. And at least let me know that is what you want.’
‘Cool,’ he said.
Basically, he did want to fuck her now. She was about average in looks, perhaps a little on the cute side, and they got along really well. But perhaps it was just meant to be a friendship of sorts. Not that Mikey really knew what from what in that respect – he was still a virgin.
Later on she asked him if he wanted to come around to her house the following day after school, and he agreed. The day came and they were in her room and she was looking at him. She had adjusted, and knew that he was interested.
‘Do you want to? I don’t know. Do you want to kiss me?’
He looked at her and, a little nervously, came away from the computer games, and sat next to her on the bed, and they started petting. They were there for half an hour, tongue tied, when her mother opened the door, and they were caught. She stared at him. ‘Who is this, Sheila? A new friend.’
‘This is Mikey Robinson. Remember, I mentioned him the other night.’
‘Oh, yes. Your new friend. From the caravan park, isn’t he?’
‘That’s right Mrs Davies.’
She looked at him suspiciously. ‘It’s Miss Jenkins now, ok. My husband is dead.’
‘I know,’ he responded. ‘Ok. Miss Jenkins.’
She scratched her head, looking at the two of them. Her daughter had scored, so it seemed. ‘Look, do you want to stay for dinner Mikey. We are having roast chicken from the supermarket. I’ll cook some vegies.’
‘Uh, sure. Do you mind if I call home though. To let them know I will be late.’
‘Sure, kid,’ she responded.
They ate dinner, there, and Mikey, in one of his rare guest appearances at another home, was somewhat happy. It was a normal, regular house. Something he was not used to. Miss Jenkins was a kind enough host, serving him and pouring out Coca Cola for him to drink and asking him what he studied in school and what he wanted to do with his life, which he answered as well as he could. She seemed to take a genuine interest in him, and she was what Mikey always thought a mother should be acting like. Caring like. After dinner they sat in the main lounge room, him sitting next to Sheila, who had her arm on his leg, and they were watching pay tv. Terminator 2 was showing, and as he sat there, a new girlfriend next to him, in a nicer house than usual, a kind enough lady smoking quietly, but otherwise being the perfect host, he thought to himself. ‘Hey, this is ok. Life is ok.’
Later on, around midnight, after they had watched another late movie, Sheila’s mother retired for the night and left the kids to their own devices. Sheila liked kissing him and then, slowly, with Miss Jenkins snoring in the other room, he put his hand for the first time under her T-shirt. Slowly he edged it up to her breast, and, slipping it under her bra, he started playing with her tits. She moaned slightly, and kissed him more passionately, and they were at this for 10 minutes. Finally, she pulled away and looked at him. ‘I’m a virgin,’ she stated flatly.
‘So am I,’ he responded.
‘You’re not just saying that, are you?’
‘Do you care,’ he responded.
‘Not really, it’s your life.’
She looked at him, and looked down at his trousers at his crotch. But then she shook her head. ‘Look, Mikey. Not yet. I’m not ready. I mean, sure, you can squeeze my tits. But nothing more, yet. Not so soon, ok.’
He looked at her, thinking perhaps he should be a little disappointed, but it was true as well – he still was a virgin.
‘Sure, Sheila. I guess I came on a bit strong.’
‘No, you were fine. It’s just me.’
They looked at each other for a few moments, and then Mikey turned to stare at the TV set. ‘Well, the movies over. I guess I probably should get going.’
They came outside of her house and Mikey looked up at the stars in the sky. He shivered a little, as winter was approaching, and he was only in a T-Shirt. She looked at him, and said ‘Wait here,’ going off inside. Soon she returned with a large duffle coat. ‘It was my brother’s. He left a lot of stuff in his room. I don’t think he will mind. Go on, take it.’
‘Uh, thanks,’ he said, putting on the coat. Suddenly he felt a lot warmer.
‘Can I see you tomorrow?’ he asked her.
‘You can count on it,’ she responded.
As he walked home that night, he looked up at the stars. He looked at the stars and wondered, quietly, wether they really shaped your destiny. If they did, had they brought him and Sheila together? Were they now meant to be together, perhaps forever? It was early days in their relationship, and perhaps he was making way to much out of the situation, but he knew he liked the girl, and perhaps liked her a lot. She didn’t believe in marriage or anything else like that, but he was way too young to get married anyway. And, besides, his parents never got hitched. Perhaps they were just meant to be close fiends, lovers, maybe even partners one day. Or perhaps the friendship would not work in the end, brought to a sudden ending for some reason that God only knew.
Shit, God? Did he really believe in God? Somehow, tonight, old lessons from childhood seemed to be there. Old lessons saying God was there and he had a plan for your life. He felt like a dickhead for thinking it but, perhaps, perhaps God was there. Perhaps he had brought him and Sheila together. Perhaps.
All the long walk home Mikey Robinson was happy enough. It had been something of a dark year for him. He’d been in trouble with the law, had done a lot of shady things, but somehow these had been overlooked by the powers that be, and he had been given a break. He had what looked like to be a new girlfriend and somehow, this girl, seemed to be offering him a new lease on life. A new adventure.
He got back to the van, found Danny asleep on the double bed and John snoozing in the other room. He got a beer out of the fridge, sat down out on the front porch, and stared up at the stars. It felt like a new beginning. Like a new and better chapter of his life had started. Perhaps he was being given a break after all the shit he had been through after all. Perhaps.
‘So it’s life on the edge, is it?’
‘In more ways than one. But, yeh. Northside Caravan Park is on the edge of the city, and I am an edgy kind of guy,’ said Mikey, smiling at Sheila.
‘Edgy. I like that. A baaad boy.’
‘Hey, you know me,’ he responded.
She sat on the other seat around the small plastic table in front of the Robinson’s caravan cabin. The caravan cabin itself was an older model caravan from the 1970s which had had one end of it broken open and attached to a one bedroom cabin which had been put up on the campsite. They rented the site, naturally, but had a good deal with the owners for being long term residents. It was cheap, had just enough room for them to live in, and satisfied their basic needs. It was far from flash, of course, but that was the Robinson clan - far from flash. John Robinson had lived in the place since the late 1970s, after his marriage had fallen apart, with his son Paul. Nobody knew were Mrs Robinson now was – she could be dead for all they knew – but nobody really cared anymore. That was ancient history. Mikey had lived at the park all his 16 years and had never known another home. It was located on the north-west side of a town which was basically a small city, one or two hundred or perhaps even more or less kilometres or so from Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales in Australia. To Mikey it was nowheresville, but it was all he had ever really known. Of course, he visited Sydney with the family in younger years, but had not been out of his own town for a long time now. There was nowhere to go for a guy like him. He was in year 10, didn’t really fancy the prospect of going on to year 11, despite Danny having a go at it anyway with grades just good enough to consider him a possibility of completing his HSC, but for Mikey that was probably not that likely. He was not exactly thick or dumb, but he was no genius either. He was below average, but not the bottom of the class. Perhaps, if he could ever really seriously be bothered to find some sort of motivation, he could rise somewhat, do well in school, and go on to make something of his life. Perhaps. But, so it seemed to Mikey’s own way of life, he had a destiny carved out for him already. It may possibly involve sex with a girlfriend – that much now seemed likely – but, apart from that, the traditional ways of the Robinson clan, living in a caravan park, bludging from the dole, getting pissed on Friday nights, smoking too much, and watching the footie were about the limits of his life plans. It had been something the way of old John, definitely the way of his father Paul, and Mikey didn’t anticipate changing from this tradition terribly much. All he had to do was talk Sheila into its possibilities.
‘So, this is life,’ said Sheila, looking around. ‘You sit here, do you? Watching the stars?’
‘Sometimes,’ responded Mikey. ‘Oh, I get up to shit. You know. The kid I got busted with which got me the community service lives here also, with his brother and parents. I do shit with him, but not much else. We watch the footie, I drink the occasional beer which dad lets me, and I smoke once or twice a week. But that is all – I won’t smoke that much, and I will never do drugs. I saw what happened to my mum because of it.’
‘Like you said,’ responded Sheila. She looked around at the park, as they were near the centre of it, with a good view on the other camp sites and the overall place.
‘Where do you wash?’
‘There are showers just over there,’ he said pointing. ‘No bath or anything like that, but they are maintained with the toilet block. One thing, we don’t have to buy toilet paper.’
‘That’s a positive,’ she responded.
She looked at him for a while, and he smiled, eventually, finishing off his coke, leaning down and picking out two more cans from the esky and handed one to her. She opened it up and looked at him seriously. ‘So this is what you have to offer me for my life? Life in a caravan park?’
He was a little bit put off by that, her taking their romance to the next level so quickly, but adjusted. ‘Fuck. I don’t know. It’s what I have always known. I mean, if we stuck together, who the hell knows were life would take us.’
‘Probably nowhere,’ she remarked, taking a sip on the coke. He looked at her and nodded. That much was a possibility.
‘Well, what do you want to do?’ he asked her sincerely.
‘Oh, I don’t think I have ever wanted to conform to this world’s ways. But, lately, the last few days, well…’ she trailed off again.
‘Well what?’ he asked.
‘Well I have been thinking about my life. Perhaps a bit more seriously than usual. Perhaps I want to do something with my life in the end. Perhaps I want to make something of myself.’
‘What?’ he said, looking intently at her.
‘It’s just that,’ she responded. ‘I don’t know.’
They sat there, Danny coming outside for a stretch, looking at the two of them, winking at Mikey, before going back inside.
‘Well, do you have any plans?’ she asked, looking at him.
‘I don’t know,’ he responded. ‘Not really. Probably, well. Well, this is life. It’s what I have always known.’
‘I guess so,’ she responded.
After a while of silence she spoke again. ‘Don’t you want, well, more from it? More from life? I think that is what I want. More than what I have seen in it so far.’
‘I guess,’ he responded, not really knowing what to say.
‘I guess,’ she repeated, and said nothing more.
They sat there, drinking cola, and when she left shortly after mid-day, he went back inside, sat down in front of the box, and started thinking. What did she want? Did she want a businessman for a husband? A guy with a career? Was that Mikey Robinson? Could that ever be Mikey Robinson? Probably not, but it did get him to start thinking on the subject.
After school the following Monday they were at the park again, there usual hang out place, and he had something to offer her.
‘I’ll be an Astronaut.’
‘Very funny,’ she said, laughing.
‘No, seriously. Australia’s first Astronaut. I’ll go up in Dingo 1, a rocket ship, land on Mars and hoist the Aussie flag. I’ll be famous.’
She continued laughing, and punched him in the shoulder softly, a habit of hers.
‘You’re an idiot Mikey.’
He smiled at her warmly.
‘Seriously, though. I have been thinking. About what you said. Those questions. Making something of my life.’
‘And,’ she said, looking up at him, looking into his eyes. ‘What did you decide?’
‘Well, nothing yet. No decisions. But I guess I have a plan of sorts.’
‘The worst thing in life. Actually studying properly. I never work hard on my school stuff anyway.’
‘And then?’ she queried.
‘Then I will do my very best to get through year 11 and 12 and get the HSC done. Look, I’m no Brainiac. You probably know that as well as me. But I’m not completely stupid and dad always said to me you can make something of your life if you try hard enough. I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to try.’
She smiled at him, came over and kissed him on the lips. ‘Bloody good to hear, Mike Robinson.’
They went inside and Danny was not around, across town at his Asian girl-friends place. He actually now liked Asian girls a lot – he had something of a thing for them. Old man John was at his friend, Nick’s caravan, and they had the place to themselves. Sheila, walking into the cabin, indicated he should follow, and they were on the bed, making out. He felt her up again, which she allowed occasionally, and she looked into his eyes.
‘Absolutely,’ he responded.
‘Well, does the Astronaut know how to land his shuttle,’ she said, grabbing his crotch.
‘Fuck,’ he responded, under his breath.
‘Exactly,’ she said.
And they did.
Later on that week, walking around the caravan grounds, Mikey felt like a man. A grown up. He was no longer a virgin. He’d fucked twice now, last night for the second time, and was understanding even more clearly the fuss on the subject. Sheila was coming around again tonight and said she would just jerk him off tonight, as she didn’t want to get pregnant, and he was looking forward to that. He’d done enough of his own experimentations on his body, and had done so since he was 13, but having a girl to do it for him, that was wonderful. Some how Sammy Jones, who avoided him these days with his new girlfriend, never seemed to have been interested in that. It never seemed to have happened. Just not meant to be, Mike thought to himself. But he had found a girl who he really, really liked now, and they were together. And it felt really good.
‘Hey, you,’ she said. ‘What you up to?’
He turned to see Sheila approaching. ‘Waiting for you babe.’
He took her hand and was about to walk with her to the caravan, when she resisted. ‘What’s the problem?’
‘I got sick this morning.’
‘So?’ he said.
‘Well, you know. I could be. Well. You know.’
Mikey didn’t make the connection – vomiting during pregnancy was still a mystery to him.
‘What?’ he asked her.
‘Pregnant,’ she said flatly.
‘Already? You have to be fucking kidding me right.’
‘Look, I don’t know. I could buy a kit, I guess. Test myself. See if I am.’
He looked at her, shocked. Somehow the leap from being a kid with his first girlfriend and losing his virginity to being a father didn’t seem to connect so easily – not straight away. It didn’t happen like that. You got to know someone, eased into a relationship, and when the time was right, you had a child. But nature often objects to those protocols, and if you have sex with a person, pregnancy often results, even from the first time.
‘Uh, yeh. I guess you should get yourself tested. I guess. But, fuck. Fuck. I’m not ready to be a dad. I’m only fucking 16.’
‘And you think I’m ready to be a mother,’ she responded.
‘And we were just starting to make plans,’ he said.
‘Funny, huh,’ she said.
He took her hand and they walked to the side of the Caravan Park, into the vacant field. They sat there, and he kissed her lightly on the cheek, and they talked quietly.
‘Look, if you are. Umm, pregnant I mean. Well I won’t ditch you. I wouldn’t do that.’
‘Good to fucking hear,’ she said.
‘Yeh. I mean, if you are, we could be together, if you like. Like a proper family and shit.’
‘Were will we live?’ she asked him.
He swore. ‘Fuck, I don’t know. Here, I guess. Or, I don’t know. With your mother maybe.’
‘I’m not sure if she would like that, Mikey. I mean, sure she likes you well enough. But having a man move in to live permanently – that much she might not agree with.’
‘Then you live with me. John won’t give a fuck. He’d probably expect it, really.’
She nodded. That much seemed quite possible, knowing the Robinson’s.
‘Look, we could be jumping the gun,’ she said. ‘Maybe I was just that – just sick. I might not be pregnant.’
‘Then why the fuck didn’t you say so,’ he said, almost regretting her not being in a strange way.
‘I don’t know, Mikey. Morning sickness is a sign. But I’ll get the test done. I’ll do it tonight.’
‘Let me know tomorrow, ok. Come here after school. Let me know.’
‘I will,’ she said. ‘I will.’
The following day she showed up and shared the news. The test had returned positive – they were going to have a baby together. He swore all that afternoon and, when she had left, he looked at the caravan. If they were going to live here as a family, well. Well he would have to tidy it up for starters. Somehow, in the mind of Mikey Robinson, what he had grown accustomed to for his own life from his own family was no longer good enough. Somehow, perhaps even from Sheila’s own words, he wanted more from life – he needed more. He would do up the place, keep it clean, and make sure the kid had a good upbringing. He would make sure of that.
He told Danny who just patted him on the back and said it would be good to be an uncle. When he shared something of his worries on the issue Danny just said, ‘Fuck. Who plans on making babies anyway. They just happen. Its what happened to mum and did with me. Don’t sweat it. It will be good to have a kid around. Dad will be over the moon.’
‘Yeh, dad,’ responded Mikey. ‘I guess I will have to call him.’
‘We could go visit, you know. He gets out again in 2 months, so we could wait. But with news like this.’
‘We’ll wait,’ said Mikey, making a decision. When he gets home it will be good news to share with him.
‘You’re the boss,’ responded Danny.
Old man John was over the moon, and said the boys could get pissed tonight if they wanted to, which is in fact what they started doing. Around midnight they were singing songs and the park manager came around and asked if they could tone it down somewhat. They shared the good news with him and he gave them a break and told them to quit the revelry by 1, which they ended up complying with, simply because they fell asleep.
In the morning, Mikey feeling dreadful, not fit for school for the last day of the week, he decided he’d ditch again, which he did from time to time, even though now he had a good enough reason not to. Now school seemed almost important to the young Mr Robinson.
That afternoon Sheila came around. She had shared the news with her mother who, surprisingly, had taken it quite calmly and hugged her, saying it was good news. Sheila knew she could live with her mother after the child was born, but Miss Jenkins was in two minds about Mikey living with them. ‘She didn’t explicitly refuse the idea, ok. She just wants to think about it first.’
‘Well, you can live with me, if you like. Grandpa doesn’t mind at all. I know its not the greatest place on earth, but it will do for now.’
She nodded. She had possibly resigned herself already to that reality.
For the next few weeks things went happily enough in Mikey Robinson’s life. At school he bothered to make sure he did his homework and paid more attention than usual to his classes. He was actually surprised. He had sat in the library, one afternoon, working as hard as he knew how to do on an essay for history. He had looked up several books, written down the references in the way they taught you to, and rewrote the history in his own words, putting the ideas into his mind. He answered the question as best he could, trying to put his own ideas as well as using ideas from the books, and when he got the essay back with an A-, his best ever result in his whole life, he surprised himself. Shit, he wasn’t actually dumb. In fact, he was kind of smart. He showed the result to Danny and John and they congratulated him and, when Sheila came around, he paraded it in front of her.
She was very happy with him that night and, sitting out on the porch, while he was inside grabbing more coke from the fridge, she picked up the essay and looked at the grade one last time. It mightn’t mean that much in the end – perhaps it was just a fluke – but if he was actually this smart, and prepared to give a damn now – prepared to actually try, well. Well perhaps they could have a decent life together. Perhaps a life with more than just what Northside Caravan Park could offer them. Perhaps life in another town, another city, with a fresh start – a new beginning. If he could finish year 10 and then go on and complete his HSC, and do well. Well perhaps he was even smart enough to get through university and do a degree, something she now thought as almost essential for her to achieve. Perhaps the gods had actually delivered the right man into her life at a young age because they already had a plan for her. Perhaps this crazy world, were the rules didn’t seem to make sense to her – well perhaps they had a plan for her, despite their legalisms. Perhaps life actually cared.
When he came back out she said nothing, but just looked at him. He smiled, passed her a coke, and they stared at the stars and the park, in their own little world.
‘You know, Mikey. I think I do actually love you. I know I’m young, and I don’t normally say shit like that. But I do. I do love you.’
She was hoping to hear something similar in response, and when Mikey leaned over, put his hand on hers and said ‘We’ll always be together. Believe it,’ she knew he felt the same way, even if he couldn’t yet say it.
They were a good few weeks from then for the little family and, as the bump in her belly became obvious, Mikey grew in pride at being a father yet to be. Things, after something of a motherfucker of a life, seemed to be perhaps finally getting better. And then Ronald Baddely returned to the caravan park after his stint in Juvenile and bad news entered the life of Mike Robinson once more.
‘She’s a bitch!’
Mike Robinson, who was not necessarily a Robinson in the brawling department, was still his father’s son. He hit Ronald Baddely, hard, in the head and stood over the lad, sprawled on the ground.
‘Listen, cunt, don’t fucking ever say that about Sheila.’
Ronald stared up at him, got to his feet, dusted off the dirt from his flannelette shirt, and laughed. ‘Sure, Mikey. Look, all I’m saying is don’t listen to your sweetheart. Let’s rock, baby. Go off and do some shit. Don’t give me this ‘cleaned up your act’ shit, cause I don’t buy it. You’re a fucking Robinson – through and through. Your not a fucking do-gooder. It’s not you, mate.’
Mikey, staring at his former rogue partner, sensed the bloke had said what he wanted to say on the issue, so sat back down, and picked up his beer, drinking it slowly. He stared at Ronald, who had a new scar running over his eyebrow.
‘How’d you get the scar?’ he asked him.
‘Did it in Juvie. Some real cunts in there. The worst sort. My kind of people.’
Mikey laughed – that much sounded true.
‘Look. The shit we got up to – no more, ok. I’m trying to make something of my life now. To one day get out of this town, to do something proper. To be somebody.’
‘Rich bastards in limos laugh at guys like us, Mikey. We’re the scum which buy shit from their stores, and they are happy to take our money, but that is were it fucking ends. They don’t like us, and we don’t like them. Australia is still a class society, mate, no matter what they fucking say. It’s the elite at the top, bastards like us far down beneath them, and the abbo’s at the bottom. And that is just the way it fucking is, ok. Don’t pretend to be something your not. It don’t suit you.’
‘Fuck you,’ said Mikey, but Ronald said nothing in response.
‘Remember, you’re the fucking commie, Mikey. You should know all about the fucking class struggle. Losers like us don’t count for anything. Society will never accept our type. We don’t fit. You fit here, in places like this, with people like me. You have got to know your own kind, brother. Life is shit unless you know your place.’
Mike stared at him, and his inner conscience was seared somewhat. Those words sounded like the kind of shit his dad would say from time to time. The kind of ‘us against the world’ mentality. Home truths. But, no, it didn’t have to be like that. It didn’t have to be that way. Some people, out there…. Some of them cared. Were prepared to give a guy like him a go, if he could show he had what it took. He knew that. He was sure of that.
‘You’re talking out your arse, Ronnie.’
Ronald, picking up his beer, took a swig and lit a cigarette. ‘Am I? Am I really? I don’t think you know how society has worked for thousands of years. There is the upper class and the lower class. We learned that shit in school. And we are the lower, and the upper don’t fucking like us.’
‘Bullshit. It’s not like that anymore.’
‘Its not? Look around. Look at the shit-hole you live in and tell me it aint like that anymore. The more things change the more they stay the fucking same, mate. The more they stay the fucking same.’
Mikey stared at him, wanted to hit him again, but kept under control. But the words had cut him somewhat. They had cut deep.
Ronald stared at his former compatriot for a while, took another sip of beer and got up to go off and take a piss at the toilet. Coming back he sat down, picked up his beer and looked at Mike.
‘Come on, Mike. You don’t have to be so fucking responsible at your age. Shit, sure, we’re growing up. It happens fast living in a place like this. Get belted by your dad long enough and you learn about the harsher side of life. But hey, who gives a fuck. Party hard, that’s what I fucking say. You say she likes Metallica – fuck yeah. We’ll have a party, here, Friday night. Play some fucking metal, drink some booze, and listen to rock and fucking roll. And then maybe do some shit.’
He looked at him and, despite thinking he should know better, nodded. ‘Sure. We can rock. Sounds good. But nothing illegal. I don’t want to end up inside with dad. I have to think about the kid coming.’
‘Sure, whatever you say,’ responded Ronald. ‘Whatever you say.’
Mike nodded. He didn’t think Ronald gave the slightest shit about his own concerns, but he was not overly worried. He was a little older now, since they had run together. Coming to terms with being a father and making what may be constituted as adult decisions in relation to his schooling seemed to have made him grow up a lot in the last few months. He was emerging from a troubled teen into a man. Someone who wanted more out of life than the troublemaking of a troubled adolescent. He could handle cunts like Ronald Baddely. He could handle them.
Friday night came around and Ronald and his brother showed up around 6, Ronnie with a handful of CD’s and a large boombox, with his brother carrying a carton of midis – Foster’s.
‘Where’s Sheila?’ Ronnie asked.
‘Inside,’ responded Mike.
‘Right. Were can I plug this in?’
Mikey took the boombox, setting it down on the table. He went inside briefly and returned with a long extension cord and plugged the boombox in.
‘Fuck yeah,’ said Ronald, and put on Metallica’s self titled album. As ‘Enter Sandman’ started playing, Mikey relaxed somewhat and they handed out beers, starting a night of drunkenness.
Danny showed up half an hour later and, when he came back outside and joined them Sheila came out also. She stared at Ronald, sensing he was bad news, but said nothing more. But she liked the music, her kind of stuff, and sat on Mikey’s lap, smoking a rare cigarette, something she had gone cold turkey on since becoming pregnant, sipping on Mikey’s beer, and occasionally mumbling the lyrics to the songs. They were happy enough.
The little group sat there, partying away, when old man John came home briefly, stared at the group and shook his head laughing. He went inside, into the cabin, and came back out with some of his older war magazines, and again looked at them laughing.
When he left Ronald said ‘What is his fucking problem?’
‘Familiarity, probably,’ said Danny. ‘He’s seen shit like this all his life. From dad and now from us. The more things change, you know.’
‘Don’t I,’ said Ronnie.
The next CD was Megadeth’s ‘Rust In Peace’, another favourite of Sheila, and the little metal community sang their songs, the occasional ‘Dio’ Satan symbol being made with their hands, just to be cool, and talked their shit. Ronnie went on about his adventures in Juvie and how he had cut a guy’s arm with a knife before being cut himself in the forehead.
‘They broke us up after that, but it was a fucking nightmare for a few weeks. He would stare at me and say he was going to kill me.’
‘What happened?’ asked Sheila.
‘Fuck all,’ responded Ronnie. ‘It was all talk. Eventually he started sitting next to me and talking about his life. We ended up friends, sort of. Just another problem kid, like us.’
She nodded. Facts of life to Sheila Davies.
Mikey was in his own little world, sipping on his beer, listening to some music which, although not quite his own taste, that he was familiar enough with anyway. He himself preferred bands like ‘Noiseworks’ and ‘The Screaming Jets’ and ‘Cold Chisel’ and ‘AC DC’ – traditional Aussie Rock and Roll. The harder stuff was not quite his scene, but he’d heard a lot of it by now. His dad said the heavier side of metal was just noise – banging madly on drums. There had to be something to the music to Paul Robinson in the end, also – not just wild noise. This, coming from a Sex Pistol’s fan made Mikey question his father’s authenticity somewhat, but perhaps it was just a generational thing. After all, 70s music was not quite as heavy as what came later. Perhaps Paul Robinson had his limits – perhaps he was only so much of a bad boy in the end.
‘So you’re fucking preggers?’ Ronald said to Sheila, not so much a question as a statement.
‘Are you sure it’s fucking Mikey’s?’
‘Fuck you,’ responded Sheila, but Mikey said nothing. It was typical Ronald bullshit, which he was used to.
‘Seriously, a girl like you – you must have had heaps of cock up your vagina.’
Sheila stared at him, but said nothing. Eventually Mikey spoke.
‘There was blood. When I fucked her.’
‘So what?’ responded Ronald, a little confused.
Danny smiled. ‘It means she was definitely a virgin, Ron. Mikey was her first fuck. They hymen breaks when a woman first has sex with a man, and a little bit of blood often comes out.’
‘What the fuck is a Hymen?’ responded Ronnie.
‘Shit down below,’ responded Sheila, taking another sip of beer.
Ronald looked at her weirdly, but shrugged. Female bullshit – someday he would figure it out.
Sheila stared at Ronald, and decided to see if she could have a little fun of her own at the bastard’s expense.
‘So, you have never blooded a woman? You’re not a virgin, are you Ronnie?” she said in a cute voice.
‘Fuck you bitch!’ he responded with open hostility.
Mikey smiled and Danny laughed.
‘Yeh,’ continued Mikey. ‘That is a good question. Come to think of it, I have never seen girls hanging around you. You’re not exactly ugly, so what gives? I mean, you are not into guys, are you?’
That riled Ronald, who thought about getting up and motioned to, but his older brother just said ‘Cool down, Ronnie. They are just fucking with you.’
Ronnie was embarrassed, but soon admitted it. These people he felt he could trust somewhat. ‘Yes, I’m a fucking virgin. I haven’t met a girl who likes me for me, yet. Someone who accepts me.’
‘Perhaps an upper class bitch,’ said Mikey sarcastically. ‘You know,’ he said, looking at Ronnie. ‘Opposites attract, and all that shit.’
Ronald looked at him and nodded, taking another sip on his beer, thinking that over.
Later on, around 9, they were listening to another Metallica CD, ‘Ride the Lightning’ and talking typical teenage shit about the class struggle and the merits of communism versus capitalism. Mikey came across as having at least some knowledge, and they listened to him somewhat, but everyone had something to say. It was agreed – an anarchic system, in which they ruled the world, would be perfect. Everyone was happy with that solution.
The following morning Mikey indeed had another hangover. He was starting to get used to them, somewhat. Old man John provided beer for the kids, not really giving a shit about the issue of the law on the subject, and the caravan park manager never queried – he seemed to expect it. Sheila was inside, on the single bed, still asleep, and Danny had fucked off to his Asian girlfriend as usual, where he spent half his time these days. She worked nights in a Chinese restaurant, but during the day Danny was with her a lot of the time, they hung around her flat, having sex, watching TV, and doing the shit boyfriends and girlfriends get up to. In youth they had hassled Mr Chang somewhat, and freely used such racist terms as ‘Abbo’ about the native indigenous Australia aborigines and ‘Chinks’ about Asians in general but, in truth, they were not exactly racist. Not bred to be anyway. They were young Australian lads, used to a particular somewhat ocker culture and vernacular and they followed their traditions in this respect. But they were also lads who, despite peoples often first impressions, seemed to be growing up with somewhat decent hearts. In the end they were not the brawlers their dad had been, and didn’t hit the alcohol or cigarettes anywhere near as much as their father did. No, they were not saints, nor trying to be, but they were not the ultimate in the bad boy scene either. Perhaps they were kids out of their environment, in some ways. Kids who, in another time and place, in another family, might be riding around now in posh cars, speaking posh words, having dinners at country clubs, wearing posh clothes and listening to posh music. Perhaps they were the kind of kids that, if you invested some time and eduction into better ways into their lives, that could make something of themselves. Perhaps, in the end, they were not the traditional Robinson losers, but understood members of a society which, although it didn’t really hate them, didn’t really love them either and didn’t really have that much time for them. Perhaps they were just kids – living on the edge – and needing a break in life. Perhaps that was all they were.
Ronnie stared at the old Commodore, sitting there, its parts all over the place, and wondered to himself. ‘Would it actually fucking go? If work was put into it, to properly put it together, would it actually fucking go?’ And so, for the next few weeks, taking school a lot more seriously, he bought some cheap commodore manuals from a garage down town and, with Danny sometimes helping out, he tinkered away, working on the machine, seeing if he could get it going. Having a reliable care for a new family would perhaps be a good idea. They could go down to Sydney for short holidays and do all the shit people with cars normally did. And he was 100% sure his father wouldn’t give the slightest fuck. Thinking on him, his father was due out very soon – next Friday – so, asking Sheila if she could visit for the day, they did up the caravan with some streamers and balloons and a ‘Welcome Home’ sign and waited on Paul Robinson to front. He did, but later that night, after he had become suitable intoxicated at the pub.
He was somewhat sober the following morning and when he saw Mikey tinkering away at the Commodore he said ‘What the fuck are you doing?’
‘I didn’t think you would mind,’ responded Mikey. ‘I am trying to get it going.’
‘Not the beast,’ responded Paul, with a winging tone in his voice.
‘Fuck. I didn’t think you would mind,’ responded Mikey cautiously.
‘Only shitting you,’ said Paul in a more sober tone. ‘Fuck, I could never get it going. If you can, it’s yours.’
‘Dad,’ said Mikey, in a somewhat serious tone.
‘What?’ responded his father with concern in his voice over Mikey’s tone.
‘You know the girl who came last night. Sheila.’
‘The blonde girl. Somewhat cute.’
‘What about her,’ responded Paul, taking a sip on his beer.
‘Well,’ he spluttered somewhat, making Paul hassle him to get his words out.
‘Well, she is like the latest addition to the family.’
‘For fuck’s sake, you asked your girlfriend to move in with you?’
‘Well, I kind of had to. There’s a reason.’
Paul smiled. He knew the reason. ‘She’s up the fucking duff, isn’t she?’
‘Great. Grandfather already. And in the prime of my life, too.’
Paul came over, patted his son on the back, and said, ‘This home is her home, if she wants it. Ok. Family is family. Now you know I don’t give a shit about you marrying her or not. I once proposed to your own mother, but she just laughed in my face. I had a ring ready and everything. So that means a lot less to me than you think. So, she is family either way.’
‘Thanks dad,’ responded Mikey, pleased at his father’s grace.
‘Only, make sure it is a boy.’
‘Sure thing, dad.’
The next few weeks were a brighter spot in the life of Mikey Robinson. Sheila came around a lot, watching him tinker away at the beast, and the bulge grew slightly, or so it seemed to Mikey, each time. He was about to be a family man.
He had considered the stupidest of things – buying her a ring and asking her to marry him. Of course, she didn’t believe in marriage – society’s way of controlling women, she would quickly point out to him. But, you never could tell in the end. Sometimes people changed. Mikey sure had. Sometimes what you thought was right you later regret and change tacks on – sometimes, for someone like Sheila Davies, becoming a mother might make the thing instinctive rather than intellectual.
He decided, in the end, he would give it a go. He would buy a ring and propose anyway. Just in case. He went to a jewellers in the city mall, found a cheap enough ring with a tiny diamond, paid out the money his grandpa had given to him, and looked at it time and time again that day, walking back home, walking with his future in his pocket.
She came around that afternoon, after school. It was Thursday, and she looked good. Almost as if she were glowing – like she was ready to be a mother. He took her off to the side of the field and they talked their usual shit for a while and then he kissed her softly and produced the ring.
‘What the fuck is that, Mikey?’
‘It’s a ring.’
‘I know it’s a fucking ring. And what are you going to do with it?’
‘Look, I don’t know. I know you say you don’t believe in that shit, and it has never been a big issue to me or my family. But, somehow, in this shitty world, in this shitty life on the edge, I would like to at least get something right. If the kid could have married parent’s before it was born, it would be legit – in the old fashioned sense. That might, in the scheme of things, make it a bit easier on him or her in the end. I think it’s the right thing to do, okay.’
She looked up into his face, noticing his sincerity, and then looked at the ring. Despite thinking she should know better, she took it out of its box and tried it on. It fitted perfectly – absolutely perfectly.
‘Is that a yes?’ he asked her.
‘You’re still a dickhead,’ she responded.
‘But is that a yes?’
And she smiled at him, and he knew.
Mikey was nervous. Today was the day. The Robinson family were not the richest residents of their town – in fact, in terms of the spectrum of social wealth, they were near, if not, the absolute bottom of the social hierarchy. But this was a special day. This was a one of a kind.
Paul had some savings – savings which he didn’t normally talk about – and he allocated to his son just enough for a basic wedding, with a few trappings. The trappings consisted of a spiffy wedding cake, a decent outfit rental for Danny and Mikey, and enough for the honeymoon. Mikey was grateful.
When all was said and done, despite their very questionable status as such, the Uniting Church did not refuse them the wedding in their chapel as members of their church. Sheila had no particular religious beliefs to speak of, but the elderly pastor still remembered baptizing both of the lads, and would not refuse Mikey on his big day.
He’d had to buy yet another ring – but it was simply a gold band which didn’t cost the earth which, again, Grandpa John provided the cash for. They had had a single wedding rehearsal which the pastor had arranged, and they both had vows which they had agreed on. There was nothing to do with serving or honouring the other person, but they agreed to be dedicated to each other. The pastor, somewhat used to liberal members in his church, didn’t mind – he’d seen that all before.
‘Do you, Michael John Robinson, take Sheila Jane Davies as your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to dedicate your life to her, forsaking all others? To Cherish her and show her your love?’
‘I do,’ responded Mikey, looking with love into Sheila’s eyes.
The pastor turned to Sheila.
‘Do you, Sheila Jane Davies, take Michael John Robinson as your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to dedicate your life to him, forsaking all others? To Cherish him and show him your love?’
She looked at him and, coyly, said ‘I guess so.’
The pastor didn’t blink an eyelid and said ‘The Ring,’ to Danny.
Danny produced the golden band, handed it to Mikey, who put it on the end of Sheila’s finger.
‘Repeat after me,’ continued the pastor. ‘With this ring, I thee wed.’
‘With this ring, I thee wed,’ said Mikey, putting the ring onto Sheila’s finger, who blushed severely.
‘By the power invested in me as a steward of God Almighty and as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, I now declare thee man and wife. You may kiss the bride.’
And they kissed.
And it was beautiful.
* * * * *
Life was good after that. For the Robinson family, ultimately, life turned out alright. When Mikey had finished school he moved with his small family to Canberra, and Danny soon followed him. He finished a university degree to ANU and graduated in Economics finishing his honours degree. He found himself, with the drive which had come into his life, capable of doing this. Danny found a new girlfriend in a certain ‘Lee Kim’ who had been a Pentecostal Christian but had become a Noahide. He felt like he had known her in a previous lifetime, and they were good together.
Old man John Robinson eventually parted for the next world, and Paul inherited the Cabin/Caravan. He found another lady later on in life and lived out his years, content enough.
It was later, as an older man, that Mikey Robinson truly found God. He found God, in prayer, and in his heart. Lee Kim gradually converted him to Noahide Faith and he became a member of ‘Assembly of the Divine Creator’ which a ‘Daniel Daly’ had formed in Canberra. It really suited his personal style.
He believed in God and an afterlife and, when he died, finding himself in a long queue suddenly, with a flashing sign on the sides of the wall of a large white room, he found himself in, saying ‘Welcome New Arrival’s to Joniquay – the Diamond City of Heaven. May Gabriel’s blessings be upon you.’ he quickly worked out were he was. A lady in front of him said ‘We’re in heaven. Aren’t we.’
‘I guess fucking so,’ said Mikey Robinson, and the lady laughed.
Jael at the Fair
Jael looked at the clown’s heads turning from side to side. She put in the white ball, hoped for the best, and watched it land on number one. She closed her eyes then, just as an act of faith, and slowly put the other balls in. She opened her eyes, saw them all at number one, and smiled. ‘What is your prize? Choose whatever you want,’ said the man.
Jael smiled at him, and walked on, further into the Fair.
Jael looked at Gabriel, sitting near the small pond. She smiled at him. ‘How is Raphael, brother? Is he well?’
‘Yes. But he has a problem. He is jealous of Satan. Very jealous.’
‘Why would he be jealous of Satan?’
‘God has promised him rulership of the Realm for one million years because of Raphael’s arrogance towards him. Right at the end of his punishment. And Gabriel is most upset.’
‘Oh. Well, that’s life isn’t it. He probably should have learned his lessons from youth a little better, I guess. Don’t you think?’
Gabriel looked at her, puzzled on that, and slowly nodded.
Jael walked on further. Melanie and Daniel were sitting on a bench, hands held. Jael smiled softly to herself. Daniel had finally found a nice girl. Good for him.
Jael sat at the green grass at the edge of the fair, looking over the meadow. God is good. God is nice. God is kind. God is forgiving. God is graceful. God is merciful. God is love. And God is God. And that is good.
Angels of Hope
After the Fair
Jael slowly walked along the beach, quiet of heart, quiet of soul, quiet of mind. The fair for that year had come and gone, and here she was again, walking the few miles along the long and white, sandy beach, headed to her abode atop the cliffs at the far end of ‘Summervale’. So old now. So old. They had reached a ‘Googol’ years in their eternal home and it seemed to have been celebrated with a simple ‘This is life’ attitude. Which indeed was all it was in the end – just life.
Satan, now reborn after being dead to them for so long, was still finding his own way. Still challenging. Still adversarial. But now it was Raphael who opposed him, seeming to be finding his way into Gabriel’s own shoes, as if he expected to be the next ruler in the realm. But Raphael had a good heart – she trusted he knew what he was doing.
But, they were family in the end. All of them. The oldest of the angels of God all living in ‘Summervale’ – a beautiful and charming city, alongside a beautiful and charming shore line, in the heart of heaven. These days were warm and lazy. Long walks and long talks after dark, in a hazy world of bliss and peace. She’d had many lovers in her time here, but no permanent mate. It seemed she didn’t need that as much as she once suspected she might. Just a love from time to time to shake away the blues of loneliness - but then replaced by her solitary sojourn, gazing over the sparkling ocean every morning, eating her bacon and eggs, drinking her orange juice, lost in the love of God in this eternal dream of glory. What more could she really ask for?
She walked, peace in the very centre of her being, thinking over Gabriel’s parting words at the fair. ‘Methinks Gabriel is a wise angel. No, I know I am. So in that wisdom I will say that Satan must also express his heart, and we need worry not for his time of great adversarial adventure is truly something of the distant past. But we face an unknown future, dear Jael, and I question and wonder wether this hazy glory will in fact go on into perpetuity. For I sense, perhaps in shadows of distant past already once realized, that we are yet to be again, in another distant world, in another hazy time of dreaming.’ And he said no more.
Strange words. Strange ideas. Such a strange fate.
Yet, whatever would be would be, and for Jael, angel of God, she knew that in trusting the eternal glory of Father’s grand design, she would have perfect peace and consolation. And no more could she ask her eternal father than the glory of that simple truth. No more could she ask for than that.
And, running down to the water, feeling the cold, she ran home, suddenly happy of heart, looking forward ever so to the glorious new days of life her eternal creator blessed her with.
Angels of Hope
Life in Summervale
Jael walked along the beach from her home atop the cliffs at the end of Summervale drive, happily charting her way into town. Well, not a town exactly, as Summervale housed over a Trillion souls, a vast city in the heart of the realm of the heavenlies, along the central ocean of heaven, the vast ‘Inner Sea’. Heaven was known by many names to the Angels of Hope – the Realm of Eternity, or occasionally called the Realm of Infinity or the Splendid Realm of Glory but, mostly, just plain old heaven. Whatever else, it was were the angels and human children of God all lived, the humans coming there after their earthly sojourn. Earth had been created so long ago now, but heaven was even older still, and the firstborn of heaven, Gabriel, remembered back to a time in the dim and distant past when he trod the shores of heaven, fishing, hunting, playing and sleeping, soon to be blessed with his twin sister Aquariel’s presence, and then the other Angels of God. That was so long ago, Gabriel told every new arrival, and the memories were etched upon his heart with fondness and remembrance which grew deeper and more melancholic as the years and centuries passed on by. But that was life, Gabriel told everyone, and seemingly always would be the case.
Jael herself was ancient also, amongst the firstborn children. And in the long life she had been blessed with, like Gabriel she looked back with fond and sometimes sad memories of all that she had lived through in her long, eventful life.
Today she had a shopping bag, for she went in shopping in Summervale every other day, usually walking in to enjoy the beach front. There was a road into Summervale from her place atop the cliffs, but she did not drive into town very often. She was a natural, earthy type of person. Mechanical objects, while definitely serving a purpose, were still in some way not the way of life which Jael felt most naturally attuned to. A horse and carriage – now that was traditional, and that she could cope with all day long. Yet the mechanical beast of a car, with all its complex instruments – well even after all these millions of years it had still to capture her infatuations.
She continued along the mile long stretch and, soon, coming up to the walkpath, she came to the familiar entrance she used, and made her way over to the nearby mall which she most often visited.
* * * * *
It was Jake again. Again he was there, in the same seat even, and as much as she tried to tell herself it was just a coincidence, she somehow knew in her heart that he had been waiting for her. He waved, she got the point, and came over, sat down, and smiled warmly at him.
They drank juice, had some tacos, and chatted about this and that. He was human, but relations between humans and angels were very common. She knew, after a while, that he had indeed been waiting for her, because he confessed as such. And then, quite boldly, he stated his affections towards her and that he would like to spend time getting to know her.
She had been without a man for a while, and not known one in that time. Jake, though, seemed the genuine article. He seemed as if all he was representing about himself was genuinely the case, and, perhaps the deciding factor, he was extremely warm and friendly. Yes. Yes, she would entertain his company. It would make a change, and give her some good company for however long it turned out to be.
* * * * *
They sat on the veranda of her home, gazing out at the ocean. It was twilight, and the sky was a friendly, but rare green. It was haunting, and Jake had made lovely comments on the beauty of the sky. She was resting against him, taken with him now. It had been a week, and he had moved into the spare room just two nights ago. She’d seen no reason to refuse him, despite the short time they had really known each other. But he had been nothing but sincere, and his presence was welcoming. He loved her, now, and she knew it to be true. He followed her around, without trying to be too obvious about it. And he was always caressing her head with his hand, touching her gently, showing his sincerity. It was strange – she had never known such affections from a human – but it was in no way off-putting. In fact, quite the opposite. She did not know were it would go, this relationship, but at this moment she didn’t mind. Whatever would come of the love of Jake, well, perhaps God himself was mastermind behind this little romance. But she would not complain, she would open her heart, and see what destiny had in store for her. Whatever else it would give happy entertainment to a life which, perhaps, had just drifted into something of a hidden place, away from others. If it was meant to be, well she would find out in time. But for now she would enjoy his company, and be at peace with the new heart life had brought to her. And, of course, her bedroom life was likely to improve. And that was always a plus. Always a plus indeed.
Angels of Hope
Ménage a Trois
WARNING: CONTAINS EROTIC LANGUAGE – NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS
‘This, Gloryel, is Jake.’
Gloryel took Jake’s hand, shook it, and noticed the way he looked her in the eye. An instant attraction. She looked guiltily at Jael, but she didn’t seem to notice, so she said nothing.
It was later on, they had been playing twister, and Jake had suggested they try nude twister jokingly. And then Gloryel had said ‘I’m up for it.’ Jael had looked at Gloryel, not sure what to make of that, but decided why not.
They giggled a lot, and after a while Jake’s manhood, which was standing at attention, seemed to always make it in front of Gloryel and Jael’s faces. And then Gloryel, her face right in front of Jael’s, suddenly had Jake’s glory right between them. And Gloryel smiled her wicked little smile, which Jael knew all too well in her older sister, and opened her mouth and took his phallus into her. Jael looked a little miffed, but decided it really was about time her and Jake got serious, so she helped lay Jake down on his back, and both sisters got to work with their tongues on his hard member.
It didn’t take long, and Gloryel was sitting on his face, Jake lapping at her femininity, when he shot his creamy load onto both of their faces. They both took their fingers, sucked the stuff onto their tongues and Gloryel, always being cheeky, suddenly lunged at Jael and pashed her, the two of them tasting creamy cum in each other’s mouth.
They fucked Jake hard that night, and the ménage a trios continued for many months, Gloryel staying with Jael for quite a while, before one day sighing saying she wanted to get back home.
When she had said her farewells and left the two of them, Jael just gave Jake a furious shake of the head, said ‘I hope you are happy,’ and stormed out the room. They didn’t sleep with each other for a month, but she finally forgave him, and they were an item again.
But she knew he emailed Gloryel regularly, and while she knew she shouldn’t be jealous, she was. Yet what else could the heart of Jael possibly be?
Angels of Hope
Lightning Strikes Twice
Lightning striking once is a rare enough phenomenon – that is, when it happens to you. But striking twice is enough to die for.
But Daniel didn’t care. Being struck by ‘Gloryel’, in all her majestic wrath, the goddess of thunder and lightning, didn’t upset him. Life went on, even with singed hair.
Daniel was a regular schmo – citizen of planet earth in the year 31,235 SC. A happy and thriving planet, interacting with the galactic human civilization, usually in a leading role. He was an earther – born here – very lucky by galactic standards, as earthers always received a lot of attention when travelling galactically. Every one wanted to know about homeworld, after all.
Daniel, that night, feeling better about having been struck by lightning that afternoon, was shocked when an ethereal looking spirit entered his room, talking with him, claiming to be the angel ‘Gloryel’ – goddess of Thunder and Lightning.
‘We are disappointed in you, Daniel. You are hardly acting angelic.’
‘Huh,’ said the bemused Daniel. ‘What… what the fuck are you?’
‘I am the angel Gloryel from heaven. Isn’t that obvious? I struck you with lightning to remind you of the mission you have here on earth. The sanctification of the human race, remember?’
‘You are kidding, aren’t you,’ responded Daniel. ‘Sanctification my butt. Who gives a fuck about religion.’
‘As I recall, your particular boast was that you would win more souls than even Moses. You haven’t even begun a ministry. Leaving it a little late aren’t you?’
‘Moses? You mean the Jewish nutter from years ago? Hell, why is he on your mind? Nobody I know gives a damn about Judaism. We’re into Astrology these days. Judaism is grandma’s religion. Fuck, I know over in Europe they still keep the old faith, but in Australia we never really liked it. Astrology – that is what we are into.’
‘Mmm. Yes, you are aren’t you? You don’t really seem to have much faith in God, do you?’
‘God? Does he really exist?’
‘Well I am here, aren’t I?’
‘I suppose you are. Well, what is my ministry, then? Should I be Jewish or something?’
‘No. Not Jewish. Noahide.’
‘Noahide? What does that mean?’
‘Descendant of Noah. Promote that. Get a move on. Your English speaking nations have had Noahide faith reserved for them – from ancient days. It is about time you got around to it.’
‘And my reward?’
‘You’ll see. Now get to it and go study. You have work to do.’
Later on that year Daniel had been studying at the Canberra synagogue, learning all about Karaite Noahide faith. There were a tiny smattering of them worldwide – a few hundred, and they weren’t anticipating any real growth, or really looking for it. Supposedly, from what the angel said, that was his job.
He started slowly, talking with people about his newfound faith and his divine commission from the angel Gloryel. And while he found resistance somewhat, after a time people began listening.
I guess this is what I am here for, he concluded after a while, and took to his task.
Eventually he found an ancient manuscript – the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth – who was an ancient Jewish teacher of spiritual principles. He had attracted a following, but his movement had apparently only lasted a few decades according to the Jewish Encyclopaedia, before disappearing. Daniel decided to incorporate the tiny manuscript also into his teaching, as well as some of the other Jewish teachers of spirituality. Later he found another manuscript in a Yeshiva – the New Testament and a few books on Christianity. In fact, it had thrived. It had thrived for well over 2000 years and been huge, with Christian Churches everywhere, but had gradually fallen away with the coming of a Jewish Messianic figure. He had persuaded the Christians that Jesus was not the Messiah and they had abandoned the religion then. And then, apparently, the Rabbis had seen to it that knowledge of the Christian faith be destroyed in history. When the Christian era had ended, various Jewish denominations had spent around 5000 years locating all the old manuscripts and teachings on Christianity and destroying them – wiping the faith out of history. God’s true Messiah would not tolerate a rival.
So, initially, thinking that the supposed ‘Kosher’ Christian teaching which was found in various Jewish Yeshiva’s might be ok, he allowed it into the ‘Assembly of the Divine Creator’ and ‘Haven Noahide Fellowship’ which were the two official Karaite Noahide Assemblies still surviving worldwide – formed way back in the early times by another Daniel Daly. Very ironic, Daniel thought. Daniel then studied the faith for about 5 years, had risen to become pastor of the tiny assembly in Canberra and, the members agreeing that if he wanted to make something of the faith then ‘Why the hell not’ appointed him as the unofficial head of Karaite Noahide faith worldwide. They had a few Google groups and message boards they communicated on and, readily enough, Daniel seemed fine to lead them on an evangelistic crusade. ‘Really, we didn’t give much of a damn, Daniel,’ one of the members had said. ‘Usually people find this faith if it suits them. There is sweet fuck all you are supposed to do, mate. Just BEING is about it. Some of us in Australia still like Judaism a bit, but the Karaite Noahide thing works for us. I mean, sure, if you want to make something of it, feel free. We don’t really mind. But you don’t have to mate. It don’t require it.’ So Daniel, realizing that you could promote the hell out of this faith, or ignore it entirely, took to Gloryel’s commission and began his work.
And then he died, content, full of age, and Haven Noahide Fellowship had been established, as well as ‘Assembly of the Divine Creator’, into growing assemblies amongst the nations of the English speaking world.
When he got to heaven, he found Gloryel waiting for him in a large field.
‘Now listen, dear twin brother of mine. Your memories will slowly come back, and God is pleased with your effort on earth.’
‘Back to the ways of eternity. You know, life in general. This, that, a bit of the other. Nothing too spectacular, apart from a happy and gentle flow in the spirit.’
‘And all my work? What had been the point?’
‘To groom souls for eternity.’
‘Oh, you did a good job. So, come with me. We’ll go to Joniquay and you can live with me again. Your attitude has certainly improved since last time.’
‘You’ll find out on that soon enough.’
Angels of Hope
The Dark Side of Gloryel
‘Gloryel. There’s an angel.’
‘So you like her, Daniel?’ inquired Klaudiel.
‘I should. I married her once.’
‘I saw her dark side. It scared me. She can do dark things, and not care. She can be a bitch, if she wants, and not give a damn. She can be really scary.’
‘Does she have a good side?’
‘Sure does, Klaudiel. She shows that to everyone. And, in truth, most of the time she’s an absolute gem. But, well, let me tell you this story. We were married for about 100 years, doing the things happy people who are devoted couples do, going places, kissing in public, making love in parks in the shrubberies and all sorts of things. Well, I flirted with a girl – she was young – only a few thousand. I got home that night and, on my dinner plate, seven fat slugs. I asked her ‘What is this?’ and she said ‘Why dinner my faithful husband.’ Fuck she was cold for a few months. And, another time, I forgot to mention her in a thank you speech at an organisation I was receiving an award from and, later that night, feeling good about everything she said, ‘well, thanks for thanking me, hubbie. Oh, I will be away for a while. Perhaps a decade.’
‘And was she?’
‘Two. 23 years, and she finally shows up again.’
‘Well, what you are telling me is when you fuck up she really has a dark side.’
‘So it’s your fault.’
Daniel stopped drinking his coke, looked at Klaudiel from across the table and said ‘Well I guess fucking so.’
‘Yes,’ she responded. ‘I guess so.’
* * *
Gloryel was back in town. She had decided to catch up with old Daniel, one of her flames from millennia ago. See how he was doing. She caught the bus from ‘Joniquay’ central station, made it to the outer suburb of ‘Campbelltown’ and, finding the old home were they shared a life, she knocked on the door. A lady answered. ‘Ah, is Daniel home?’
‘Uh, you know him?’ responded Klaudiel.
‘Yes. We were married once. I lived here with him.’
Klaudiel looked closely at the angel. ‘You’re not Gloryel are you?’
‘Why, yes. Yes I am.’
‘Oh. We were talking about you last week at a lunch date. Come in.’
Klaudiel invited her inside and they came to the loungeroom. ‘Please sit here. I will get Daniel. He’s out back.’
Gloryel sat down and looked around. The place was much the same. The same collection of clocks appeared to be on the walls, and the same bookcases – collectable ones they had bought together – were against the wall. Other things had changed somewhat, but still the same Daniel style.
Daniel came in suddenly, followed by Klaudiel.
‘Fuck. Gloryel,’ he said. ‘Darling.’
He came over, and she stood, and he kissed her on the cheek.
They sat and she looked at Daniel sitting next to Klaudiel, and then looked around the room.
‘Things seem similar,’ she put in.
‘Uh, yes,’ responded Daniel. ‘The more things change the more they stay the same.’
Gloryel nodded. ‘Mmmm. Yes.’ She looked at Klaudiel with an inquiring look on her face.
‘Oh,’ began Daniel. ‘This is Klaudiel. Uh, my girlfriend.’
Gloryel nodded. ‘You aren’t married? Single?’
‘Uh, yes. I have only married once since we were together. An Asian lady. It lasted about a decade, but we weren’t that compatible in the end. Mainly lust to start with. We both thought it would be good to get together to see how things worked out, but they didn’t. It was amicable enough, but she had different interests in the end, and wanted to go off to the far reaches of the heavenlies. There was nothing for a while, and then about a decade ago I met Klaudiel. We have been together ever since.’
‘I was married to him,’ said Gloryel to Klaudiel. We were together for a long time. A very long time.’
‘Yes. I know,’ responded Klaudiel. She looked at them both, realized they would probably like to chat, and said ‘Well. I will get us some tea and bikkies. I’ll take my time, so about 10 minutes?’
‘Sure,’ said Daniel, staring at Gloryel.
Klaudiel looked at Gloryel and then at Daniel and said. ‘Ok. See you shortly,’ and left the room.
With Klaudiel gone, Daniel stared at Gloryel. His heart had been thundering. They never quite separated with him not liking her. In fact, in truth, his heart had broken, even though he agreed that they should separate. There had been problems for a while. Jealousies – resentments – arguments. But he remembered, in truth, they never stopped loving each other. They never stopped doing that.
‘What. What brings you here, Gloryel?’
‘Oh. I have moved back to Joniquay.’
‘A home. A permanent home. It never ends. Out there, I mean. God goes on expanding the heavens with all the new people. Forever he’ll be doing it, they say.’
‘Yes. That is apparently the case. Gabriel usually affirms this on the broadcasts – the heaven’s to go on forever.’
‘Yes.’ Nodded Gloryel. She went silent for a few moments.
‘It’s because of that. It’s because it will never end. One day. Well, one day you could get lost, in a sense. Out near the rim. Trillions, maybe quadrillions of miles from the centre. From the old home for someone like me.’
‘Yes. I’d imagine that possible,’ responded Daniel.
Gloryel looked at him straightly. ‘So what am I going to do? Run forever? Move on forever? Never settle?’
‘But why Joniquay?’ he pressed her.
‘Because if I can’t settle were I was born, how can I settle anywhere? How can I dig into the roots of the eternal anywhere? If not here, I will travel forever. And I don’t want to do that. I can’t do that.’
‘I see,’ responded Daniel, looking at her.
They sat in silent for a few minutes as she looked around the room and Daniel stared at her.
‘The population will settle in the end. That is what they say. At the end of things. Ultimately, with the population going outwards forever, they can’t all travel here. People will have to stay put. Too much traffic, otherwise. It becomes impossible to move otherwise,’ stated Daniel.
‘Basically, yes,’ agreed Gloryel. ‘The reality of the constrictions of being alive on a giant plane of heaven. We have to settle, eventually, or travel forever.’
Daniel nodded. That was life. You had to make a home.
‘You will want someone, though. A partner. A family. You’ll have to afford a permanent home. Eventually they will stop selling. People will no longer move. You’ll have to make sure of that.’
‘I know,’ she responded. ‘I still have time.’
‘Yes,’ he agreed.
‘But only so much, sis. Perhaps 20 to 30 thousand more years for Joniquay. People hardly sell up here anymore anyway. Finding a place is impossible. Out of a city of trillions of homes, you see about a dozen listings a year. Hardly anything. Eventually, as you say, it will stop. I mean, there is this one place, not far from here. It is listed at the moment. They want an awful lot for it, and there a few offers. You could probably afford it though.’
She looked at him and nodded. ‘How far?’
‘Uh, next suburb, actually. Really, I had been thinking about it. Very strongly. Costs about half my savings, and that is saying something. But I have been thinking about it.’
‘You are probably one of the few who can afford it, brother.’
‘Possibly.’ He looked at her. He looked at her, and looked into his heart, and knew what he wanted. ‘’I’ll buy it for you. I don’t mind. It’s only money, in the end. It comes back to us in time.’
She looked at him. She could probably afford the place, if she had to. She had a lot too. She knew, though, Daniel would not mind. That he would never mind.
‘Can I look at it?’
Daniel looked up at the wall at one of the clocks. It was early in the day. The place would likely be available for viewing. He stood, walked to the PC, brought up the webnet, found the place and the phone number and picked up his mobile, dialling. A voice answered, said it was ok and they would meet him there.
‘We’ll go now,’ he said. ‘I’ll let Klaudiel know.’
Gloryel looked at him, smiled warmly and thankfully. ‘Thank you Daniel. You are very gracious.’
* * * * *
The place was of moderate size, for the suburb. 4 bedrooms, one large master bed and 3 standard size smaller ones. A good size backyard and kitchen, bathroom, separate toilet, lounge room, living room, a central hallway and laundry. It had zoning permission for alteration of the house to a triple story as well. It could be expanded.
Gloryel looked all around, with Daniel waiting at the front door with the agent. She finally came down, looked at him and nodded. ‘It’s fine. Good location. It will do.’
‘You could be here forever?’ he said.
‘I know,’ she said.
Daniel looked at the agent and handed him a Debit Card.
The agent smiled. ‘So, there is enough for the entire amount? I mean, you don’t need a loan or anything?’
‘Swipe the card,’ said Daniel. The agent did, pushed the buttons, spent a while typing in the full amount of the house and waited. ‘Transfer approved’ came onto his little credit card reader. The agent opened his briefcase, pulled out the title deed and the standard contract. Daniel signed. ‘Now, you will have to lodge the deed with a local solicitor. The law requires that. He will check to see we have done the registration of the new owner. There is nothing more to it than that. The house is yours. Here’s the key,’ he said, handing Daniel the key.
Daniel looked at the key momentarily and turned to Gloryel. ‘Your’s,’ he said, handing it to her. She smiled. She was home.
* * *
Daniel was at Gloryel’s – at a lunch on Saturday – chatting. Klaudiel had left him recently. Just a few weeks after Gloryel arriving. She had said ‘Well, it is time for me to move on, Danny. I liked you. There are other fish in the sea, though.’ Daniel had been shocked but, as she walked out the door she had said one thing. ‘I am sure you and Gloryel will make good friends. Possibly a good couple,’ and then he had known the reason why.
‘My dark side, Daniel dearest, is not as dark as you think. It is a woman’s scorn. It is perfectly natural.’
‘Then why did we part?’
‘We just needed time,’ she responded, looking at him sincerely. Daniel looked at her and thought, really, that was possibly true. Perhaps he just needed a lot of time to adjust to Gloryel and her ways. Perhaps that was all it had ever been.’
Gloryel looked at him and, although they had never said it, spoke it anyway. ‘Well, if we marry again, we will live at your place. But I will have one more child, and the child can live here with his or her partner. Is that agreed?’
Daniel took that soberly. ‘We have enough room at home for one other couple. Perhaps another child with a partner.’
Gloryel looked at him for a moment, and then nodded. ‘Alright. I don’t mind sharing with a child. But the other guest room stays that – a guest room.’
6 months later they married. A lot of old friends showed up, including Gabriel, their oldest brother. It was quite a lavish affair, and Daniel went all out, spending a small fortune. He could afford it.
They were good together then. Very good. They never parted for the remainder of eternity. There was no point. They had been to the end of every other issue. Sometimes marriages were eternal.
2 children – one boy and one girl. The girl ended up marrying first, but decided to live with them. She gave away the idea of children. There would be no more room in Joniquay. When her eggs ran out, she didn’t pray for replenishment. Her mum and dad were enough for her. Her brother married eventually, moved into Gloryel’s home, and had 1 child. The child eventually found her partner, and stayed at home. She made the same decision as her aunt and when the eggs were gone did not pray for replenishment. They stayed together, a happy family, forever after.
Angels of Hope
A Day of Fantasy
Gloryel was in a good mood. She was having a happy day, a day of love, a day of joy, a day of fantasy.
And then Daniel walked in, covered in shit, and she smiled.
‘There goes the weekend,’ she sighed.
Angels of Hope
Life Goes On
Mikey Robinson had lived in Joniquay, luckily, for the past 7 million years. When he had arrived in heaven, Joniquay was about full – there were very few houses any more which came up for sale, and it was simply used a greeting point for new arrivals from earth to the heavenly domain. But Mikey had taken an instant liking to Joniquay and, despite having seen thousands of other cities throughout the heavenlies in his first few hundred years living in heaven, he always had an unction to settle, if at all possible, in Joniquay. So that had necessitated saving, working extremely bloody hard to rise in the heavenly hierarchy of status and wealth, and ensuring enough notoriety when he went to purchase one of the occasional homes which came up for sale in the city. He was lucky. A little after his millionth year in heaven, a home came up, in the suburb of Brentingford, right next to ‘Campbelltown’, which was a very sought after suburb. He spoke to the bank, shared his credentials, including a guarantee of his firm for a transfer to Joniquay should he prove successful in obtaining a home there, alongside his substantial deposit and earning power. The loan was approved, but would take about 7 million years to pay off. It was a hell of a wait, but Mikey could not say no. He wanted the centre – the capital.
Mikey Robinson’s grandfather and father and brother, John, Paul & Danny, all lived in the city of ‘Huntington’, which was an Australian like section of heaven, were Mikey had also lived initially with his wife Sheila Jane Davies and their offspring. But Sheila had left him in the end, or he had left her – he never quite remembered how the separation had come to be and, inevitably, when an appropriate place came up in Joniquay, he took his opportunity, pounced on it, and never looked back.
In 7 million years you get to know a lot of people, and Mikey did that from time to time. He had married a dozen times or so, usually for quite lengthy periods, but they inevitably ended and his women went their separate ways. He never went for kids, though. He couldn’t afford to living in Joniquay. His property size afforded him a 3 storey house at the maximum, which only meant so much living space. And he needed that living space.
But things were different this Saturday. Things had changed.
For so long he had just focused primarily on work – after all he had a hell of a debt to work through. But yesterday, Friday, the final and absolute last instalment of his payments for his loan had been made and his property, finally, completely and resolutely, was his. Absolutely his.
He had sought his employers with the news, asked for a period of a hundred years off work, which they had not problem with due to his long service and, with the other monies he had saved during his long sojourn, he was sitting at home, with a great holiday in front of him, wondering what to do next. What to do next.
He was leafing through the Saturday paper, noted that the markets over at Campbelltown were on again, and decided, just for the heck of it, he might wander over. Why not. Something to do with his free time.
* * * * *
Daniel and Gloryel had been together, now, for quite a while. Since she came to him, showed him her heart that really, there was no point in her trying to find anyone else, and that they were, in the end, suitable to each other, Daniel had rested on his sister Gloryel as the one to rule his heart. That had been a long time ago now – a very long time.
They had grown used to each other, to each others company and presence, and had established protocols for how they related to each other. Those protocols were quite important – they established the basis for their relationship in what they could normally expect from each other. For example, in the bedroom, Daniel had sworn to her that he would hardly ever bed another lady, and that such a thing might potentially happen in the eternal future before them, but he would keep it to an absolute minimum, and keep it private. She knew and trusted him on this issue because of it. There were other things – he promised to keep a relatively tidy abode, to clean up after himself, to not rely on her to cook all the time, to be responsible with the upkeep of the home, mainly the outdoors in a traditional manly sense, and be responsible for practical concerns. Further, she needed loving when she needed it, as he did, but they could have private times when they needed to which were, usually, to be worked out in advance. They were to be responsible to each other and accountable to each other. They would, if a person was slipping too greatly on spiritual ethic, to watch over the other and pray for them when and if necessary. Essentially, they were to be a partnership which showed love and genuine concern for the other, as well as ensuring practical every day realities were addressed.
For Daniel, for a life which simply ‘Went on Forever’, which could be full of all sorts of wonderful dramas, exciting happenings, and adventurous escapades, it was still of fundamental importance that that practical realities of life were addressed as the foundation stone. And, in the end, with Gloryel it worked. ‘Life goes on, Gloryel,’ he would often say to her and, because he had found a faithful and caring wife, one in which the working of eternity simply just did that – worked – Daniel had found a happy and content life in which to realize his eternal dreams. And for that much he was quite well and truly grateful.
* * * * *
‘Come on, Danny. Buy it for me. It’s not too expensive.’
‘4 million credits? They must think I am made of money.’
‘But you are, aren’t you?’
‘Very funny Gloryel. Look if you must absolutely have it?’
She nodded eagerly, and he handed her his debit card, which she eagerly took, and turned to the vendor to purchase the desired trinket.’
A little later, they were sitting at the market outdoor café, sipping their lattes, when a familiar face sat down near them. But that was life living in the same place for millions of years – everyone was a familiar face. It was Mikey. Mikey Robinson. Daniel used to play indoor cricket with him for a few thousand years. It had been a while.
‘Yo Mikey. Go the gladiators of glory.’
Gloryel smiled at her team named in her honour.
‘Fuck. Danno. Good to see you. What you up to?’
‘Paying too much for junk,’ responded Daniel.
‘Hey,’ said Gloryel, lightly punching Daniel in the arm.
‘So, what’s new, Mikey.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘My home loan. It finished yesterday. 7 million years, and its gone. All paid up.’
‘Oh, well done my man. We will have to celebrate. Come over for a party.’
‘Well, sure. I guess so. I have a lot of time off at the moment and have been thinking about doing something with it.’
Daniel looked at him, and sensed an uneasy spirit. A spirit which needed to know how to spend his eternal time which God had given him to enjoy.
‘I think we can help you on that, Mikey. We’ll be over at 7. I’ll bring a lass I know.’
‘Sure, Daniel. Sure.’
* * * * *
‘It bothers a lot of people, especially in early years. I would have thought you would have a fair idea by now, which you probably do, but it’s like this. In the end, after we have made God happy enough with the kind of lifestyle which is not going to harm anyone, one which gets along, which is lawful and loving, there is nothing particularly much he asks from us. Mainly, he wants us to be happy and find our meaning in whatever activities we feel we can dedicate ourselves to. My brother, Callodyn, uses this list.’ Daniel handed Mikey a list which he read through:
TIME IS THE QUESTION – ETERNAL TIME ON YOUR HANDS
A GENERAL RANDOM LIST
THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR TIME
Work (lots and lots of work available)
Listen to music
Play an instrument
Sing in bands
Play board games / assorted games
Snakes and Ladders
Connect the dots
Play card games
Play role playing games
Play computer games
Play arcade games
Play video games
Surf the internet
Talk on the phone
Sports, etc etc etc
Australian Rules Football
Gymnastics etc, etc, etc
Go on cruises
Watch and read pornography
Study – religion, nature, philosophy, science, architecture, you name it
Get involved and dedicated to a spiritual community – A Church, A Mosque, A Temple, A Synagogue
Go to mall
Try on new clothes
Go to dances
Go to clubs
Go to pubs
Go swimming – beaches, rivers, pools
Go to concerts
Go to plays
Act in plays
Do rubiks cubes
Do rubiks clocks
Do cooking competitions
Sit on a beach and do nothing
Athletics for fun
Go to shows
Go to fairs
Cooking for fun
Magic Mountain – big waterslides
Raise Family – Teach Family Values
Do nothing but mope around the house
And a whole host of assorted pastimes
Build universal business empire franchises
Play the stockmarket
Spend a moderate amount at the casino
Act in movies
And, essentially, whatever you can think of to pass the time
Mikey finished looking at the list, and nodded. ‘I guess that is it then. That is it. Just fill in the time.’
‘Look,’ responded Daniel. ‘A keen focus on God and spirituality relieves a lot of the tension on this issue. When you strongly connect to the eternal, and really get the hell over all the baggage you have built up in your life, joy comes along with all of this stuff as well. You find yourself enjoying more and more all the aspects of what you are involving yourself with, as you continue to learn and, really, JUST BE – JUST EXIST. It doesn’t have to be complicated, Mikey. Life is what you make it. But, when you can find the right spiritual balance, then life becomes a joy, not a chore. You never have enough time at times to do all the things you might want to do and it just goes on forever, never ending, peaceful and beautiful. Sometimes it just takes time to work these things out. Sometimes it just takes time.’
‘Right,’ said Mikey, taking another look at the list.
Later on that night, Mikey was happier. He had some new ideas, well not new exactly, but a bit more of a focus on what life could offer and what you could do with it. In the end it was a simple philosophy – LIFE GOES ON – After all the great heartbreaks, triumphs and accomplishments, the simple truth remained – Life Goes on.
So he went through the list, circled a few things which looked interesting, including some visits to an Irish Dancing Club to find a suitable girlfriend, later that night, picking up the bible again after quite some time, looking to reconnect with the spiritual in the way Daniel spoke of, Mikey was a little bit happier with everything and, suddenly, very grateful he had bothered to put in the 7 million years to earn his home. Perhaps this is where he was meant to be. Perhaps this is where he needed to be.
He took a sip from his can of beer, turned over to page 2 of his NIV, and smiled as the temptation of the devil again approached Adam and Eve. Some things never change, he thought to himself. Some things never change.
Gloryel was sipping on a can of Coca Cola, listening to the ‘Spicies’ Greatest Hits, off in a little world of her own. Gloryel had been a member of the ‘Spicies’ on earth in her human incarnation – a successful 5 piece girl band which had had a string of number ones in Britain and had become a phenomenon for a time period. One of their songs was called ‘Live Forever’ which was currently playing on the CD Stereo player in her living room. Daniel liked CD’s. He liked them a lot, and bought them often. Of course, with the technology they were made of, they only had a limited life span before the data corrupted, but that didn’t matter to him. Vinyl could last longer, but didn’t sound as good, and would wear out just as quickly anyway if you played it a lot. The various online song databases would only offer you contracts for their music – you could never afford a permanent download as somebody had to maintain the database and that cost money. So, instead, Daniel simply bought CDs and used them up in their natural lifetime. Gloryel decided that she may as well follow suit, and had a huge list of CDs she bought on a regular basis, going through the list from time to time as she saw fit. They did have a collection of vinyl, also, stored in the garage, which could last millions of years if they left it untouched, but inevitably they would want to listen to the music, so it still only had a limited lifespan. ‘You can find everything online in the end,’ were Daniel’s words to her, which was still true.
In a life which simply ‘Went on forever’ there were things which had to be worked out. Naturally, these things were usually worked out for the most part in the youth of your eternal life, but over the longer haul adjustments were naturally made. You tended to gravitate to things – things which suited you a bit more than other things – and you made lists, of things like favourite books to be on your ongoing permanent reading list, movies, TV programs as well as favourite music albums. Daniel had a list of about 20,000 CD Albums which he called his ‘Favourites’, which he knew mostly from memory, which he would purchase whenever he wanted a new CD.
Usually, they had about 300 to 400 CDs on hand at any particular time. They would listen to them quite a lot, have them in the player regularly and, if they wore out before the natural lifespan of the data rotted, they would replace them with perhaps the same CD, or some other one they fancied at the music store. The same went for DVDs which they collected – they had about 2000 regular DVDs on hand to watch at any particular time yet, like CDs, the data rotted, and they inevitably had to be replaced.
Of course, in the end, that wasn’t a problem. It gave them something to do when they went shopping, always a decision to make when purchasing a new CD or DVD, like the other options of maintaining an eternal home. They had particular styles of decorating their home they liked to stick to, Gloryel mainly handling those duties, which she undertook with quite particular and individual flair and skill. Of course, the home was rebuilt every 1000 years or so, depending on how they built it each time and the materials they used. They had built in stone a number of times, which lasted for a great many ages, but that too, with rainfall, inevitably had to be replaced. It was a great long-life option, but regular housing being replaced more often gave them something to do and livened up their lives. They would stay with friends or some family when they house was being rebuilt, and sometimes in hotels and other places.
In terms of how they filled in their time, Daniel worked a regular job in administration in the Public Service, at a level just below Executive. He didn’t really want the Exec position in the end. Oh, he had done the work before, many times in fact, but it usually made great demands upon your life – with the commitments you had to make in such a position. His usual work position was an Administrative Officer level 5 position, which he stuck with most of the time. He worked in a Quarantine department usually, which watched over imports and exports to the continent of heaven on which Joniquay was situated – a very large one, but there were now millions of such island continents over heaven, and quarantine was quite an important issue for several reasons.
They also had shares in companies, which was legally allowed to amount to a maximum of 30% of a regular full-time wage – which was set at the Public Service ASO2 working wage as the standardised measure used by the Government. That was the law on the issue. Nobody, under Gabriel’s judgement, could be allowed to be excused from work – that would never be tolerated by those who had to bear the brunt of the workload. Sure, if you wanted to survive on the income of the shares alone, do that. But it was set at such a maximum that it never made it that an attractive an option to live on alone. Not in the end. Work, inevitably, beckoned.
Daniel invested in Antiques and collectables a lot. He would store them out in half of the back garage for about 100,000 years at a time and, when the item was looking scarce, bring it out and try and sell it at the markets for a good profit, or online. He was usually quite successful at this, as in eternity a lot of people didn’t save certain items for a great deal of time, which Daniel had skill at doing and, furthermore, most people always appreciated a good vintage to a collectable item. It gave them a good extra income from time to time, which Gloryel usually spent for him, but Daniel didn’t complain. It was something to do and he often got a kick out of going into the garage, carefully opening a drawer or a box, checking an item was still alright, and maybe even taking it out to gawk over it. He did this for things like coins and comics quite a bit, as well as limited edition vinyl’s, which often went for a pretty penny. It was enjoyable, fun and Daniel got a kick out of doing it.
They went on a standard 2 week holiday every year, often to the coast or the snow, sometimes to the country or another city. They were the standard sorts of holidays they both enjoyed. Once a decade they would use Daniel’s long service leave and go for a 6 week holiday somewhere. And then, once a century they would embark on a one year long sojourn. Once a millennia a two year break. And, finally, they took the massive one century off at the end of every million years, Daniel budgeting for this with his standard long service leave agreements. He had talked, occasionally, with his employers about the possibility of a ‘Millennia’ off every Billion years, but that was still a long way off. Theoretically that would probably not be a problem, and Daniel often wondered how, and if, he would need to spend such time. He’d find something to do, he told himself. Of course, theoretically, as long as he budgeted for it, he could end up doing such things at every big ‘ZERO’ year reached. Maybe every Trillion years he would take 10,000 years of work – he would have likely earned enough in his budget if he was carefully. But 10,000 years, he personally anticipated, would probably be about the maximum he would ever need. He needed to work – to get back into a routine – to show himself useful.
Gloryel worked occasionally. From time to time she toured with the Spicies, but only about once a century to bring in some revenue. Daniel didn’t object to being the main source of income, which didn’t bother Gloryel at all. She also did some live shows at a local nightclub occasionally for a bit of extra cash, and they went to a RSL club often for dinner and she would sing there as well.
Finally, they both had certain Angelic responsibilities to undertake when Gabriel called upon them, as they were both quite elderly in this respect in the Realm, but that was not often. It did, though, give them bonuses, depending on the responsibilities he asked of them, which were often quite varied and diverse.
They had a number of family members in Joniquay, as well as on the continent they lived on which was traditionally called ‘Heaven’ for want of a better name. It had been the quite large land mass, surrounded by water, which God had started with for the home of the first angelic inhabitants of heaven, as it was called, but inevitably more such land masses had come forth with the expanding population which took on new names. But ‘Heaven’ was still the standard name for their home first continent, and it was where all new arrivals from earth first came when they died.
Around the Heavenly world were a huge number of close relatives, but there were millions of continents now, and Daniel had lost touch with many of them. Email – the online world – was where many relationships now lived. That was inevitable, though. Simply reality. You couldn’t do it any other way in the end. The Web-Net had a zoning system. Ultimately, when the population became simply too much, your unique identifiers would only work in specific zones, simply because of running out of identifiers to connect to people. This was quite large, though. Gabriel had made the ruling in the end that 100 characters would be the maximum tolerated for a standard Web Net for both email addresses and URLs. There were ways of identifying the difference between the same identifiers if, by chance, they inhabited the same Ultra-Zone as the full body of Zones which made up a standard Web Net were called. But, usually, it was anticipated that people would usually stick to their own area of the heavenlies. In the end, you would end up connected only to your own Web World. It became too problematic to allow any real communication beyond a certain point. There were protocols you could go through to contact children and family who had to move to a new Ultra-Zone because of housing problem – not being able to live in a Ultra-Zone which was essentially complete in its population – but these things were set on a million year allowance. After that, you would simply have to go off and visit them, or have them visit you – if you could remember were they were in the end. It was simply because big numbers made big problems, and you would inevitably lose touch with people off in a distant Ultra-Zone. That was still the future to a large degree, but the theory of it had all been discussed and generally well enough accepted by now.
Most of the time they had an active enough schedule. They worked, did their shopping, enjoyed their weekends, had some family close by and an enormous number of contacts and friendships and so on throughout Joniquay. In most respects it was quite a full and active life.
And, finally, Daniel had his religions – which kept him occupied on Saturday for the main part, when he would occasionally preach at either Haven Noahide Fellowship or Assembly of the Divine Creator, depending on which one they attended that particular weekend. They went about 50% of the Saturdays of the year to the spiritual fellowships, the other weekends being filled with their own time and activities. Daniel mainly needed a focus on the spiritual things about 20 to 30 times a year, mainly on the Sabbath which he did not completely adhere to, but didn’t really need to under his Noahide faith anyway. Gloryel did not go quite as much as Daniel – usually about 10 times a year – but that is all she felt compelled to anyway. She mainly did it to hear what Daniel had on his mind at any particular time, and to catch up with her friends in the two assemblies. It was something of a focus, but not the main thing with her. Life was the main thing, in that sense. Simply doing the stuff of life. Religion had its place, a bit of it for Gloryel, but not too much in the end. And that is what worked for her.
It was a full and complete life for the both of them in many ways. They were happy with each other – realized that there was really little point in looking for anyone else, as they worked well as a team – and more importantly there was genuine love and respect between them. There lives were full enough, they were happy with things, and it was good to be alive in the words of Gloryel.
‘Life Goes On,’ Daniel would say at his sermons in recent times, and all Gloryel would say was ‘Amen to that.’
Mikey Robinson was, all things considered, somewhat content with his life. For the most part anyway. Recently he had been through something of a malaise – trying to sort out the major purposes in life, to get priorities right, and to set things the best way they were supposed to function. For him, in the list Daniel had given him, it made sense in general. But there also needed to be a prioritisation of activities, perhaps even according to general talent and interest. According to what Mikey Robinson was like as a person.
His first priority was God, when all was said and done. The big fellow came first. But the priority was not based on the time spent in religious duty, but an attitude of the heart. Mikey had been relieved when he had gotten to heaven and confirmed his faith in God had been true and, because of that, he had always been grateful to God for granting him the gift of eternity, which he likewise gave to Mikey’s family. He had stuck with God as number one for his heart then, which had never really changed and, despite fluctuations in his romance life, the stability of his faith brought just that – stability – and his life had been all the better for it.
So God came first in priorities, which meant attending Torah assembly as usual. Christianity didn’t exist in heaven – he found that out as soon as he got there. Jesus had never been the messiah, Christianity was considered somewhat cultic and idolatrous by the heavenly community, but having said that Christians were included in salvation for faith in Jehovah God and their works of righteousness. They may have gotten the Christ issue wrong, but they got the God issue correct. Jesus himself was a part time Torah preacher out on a certain continent in heaven, ministering to a large community which had followers here and there throughout heaven. They weren’t Christians, exactly, and it was an incredibly small percentage of the overall population, but they were what Gabriel had called the ‘Natural’ fans of Jesus of Nazareth. And that was that.
Now, after religious concerns had been looked at, Mikey had some new prioritising to do. He had decided, in the end, he did in fact want a permanent family as well to live with him in Joniquay, and had decided on one wife with two children. He would eventually get around to that, so that priority was established and set. He would commit to working 40 weeks a year in the end, and after that concentrate further on getting those very expensive shares he was still after to supplement his income to the maximum 30% threshold. That could take some time, and he would likely have to go for shares in companies which were newer in their foundation, but looked as if they were established and growing throughout the heavenlies. He knew they would be worth money in time, so that is were he would concentrate. Indoor cricket had become a priority as well – he competed regularly – and had taken Daniel’s ideas into consideration and had covenanted with himself that he would be eternally devoted to Cricket – primarily the indoor type. It would be a focus, a relaxation, and a place for mixing. He was satisfied with that as his primary sport. After that, beach volleyball occasionally over the years, as well as a mixture of other sports on rare occasions throughout any particular millennia when he took a fancy to them. But mainly Indoor Cricket and a bit of beach volleyball. He liked playing poker for money, which was legal enough, so would include that on his permanent activities list. Finally, role-playing in the traditional big games, like Dungeons and Dragons and the various Warhammer's, seemed quite ideal. He would get involved with the miniatures, and make that a permanent hobby. He already had organized a standard Aussie Rock collection of about 1000 traditional CDs which he bought regularly. Years ago, after talking with Daniel of all people, he had learned to organize his consumption habits of such things. He wasn’t a big listener of music, but did have it on from time to time, and had a primary list now which he didn’t really see any need in wavering from. He didn’t particularly bother with a DVD collection, apart from a few dozen on hand at any time, and mainly just watched the old fashioned TV and utilized his Pay TV basic service. He was online, used it to purchase stuff from time to time, and was happy enough reading eBooks online and getting the sports scores. He had a few bibles which he read on hand, a number of sporting magazines which floated around the house, and that was about it in terms of physical reading material. The online eBook suited him well enough for those purposes. His groceries came from Woolworths, which were well established in Joniquay at certain places, and he had a list which never changed which was delivered automatically and charged to his Debit Card. He ordered takeaway pizza and chinese a lot, didn’t really bother with the Indian or Mexican stuff very much but only occasionally, and disregarded the rest of the international cuisines totally – an extremely rare delicacy in that sense. He mowed the lawns when they needed it, but only had a basic back yard most of the time. Rarely he got a green thumb, and might push it for a little while, but it never lasted much. So he kept a sparse back yard, just the grass, with an apple tree usually in the corner.
He drank beer regularly, took an interest in the HRL – Heavenly Rugby League – competition, but didn’t actively play the sport. He didn’t touch the harder alcohol very much at all, and now only smoked about one cigarette a week. His new body was much tougher than the older one, even though more spiritual as well, and he never had to worry about cancer or anything related to the nicotine stuffing him up. But it WOULD cause tar build-up in his lungs, which God had foreordained for this activity, and the smoker’s breath and the smokers cough would inevitably be there. The same principle worked on alcohol, drugs and other addictive stuff. It wouldn’t kill you, but there would be side effects which had to be dealt with in time. So he had gotten over smoking more than one cigarette a week, and had left it at that. It usually gave him a bit of a rush, though, and Friday mornings when he usually lit up he was in a good mood.
He played darts in the kitchen, was excellent at it now, and occasionally competed in a darts competition, but you had to be flawless to win it – literally 98% perfect or higher, or you simply would not compete in the gruelling grind to sort out the great from the elite.
Now, having written down all the things he got up to with his time, he was looking at Daniel’s list, looking at his own, and thinking on things. Was there something missing? Was there some grand quest which was calling him onwards? Probably not, in the end, but he sensed there were titles of glory before him which he would have to earn the hard way. And, in his thinking, they were things like World Records, Number One Statuses at certain things and other achievements of excellence. Ultimately, glory seemed to be on the heart of Mikey Robinson – glory at certain pursuits of excellence. He was not really sure, just yet, what those pursuits were, but reading the list of Daniel’s that was the idea that had gotten into his head. To set a standard – to set a mark – to be listed on the Walls of Champions and place his own name down in the history books. That much seemed to be the hidden part of the malaise of his heart that was driving him.
He was good at indoor cricket – mainly all round skills. He could bat well, bowl ok, and wicket keep quite well as well. His fielding was now quite tight, and he was the kind of player in demand for good indoor cricket teams. Perhaps that could be focus.
Volleyball or Darts also seemed like a potential idea, but in the end he concluded that his glory did not lie with these things either. It was something else – something he wasn’t presently concentrating on – which beckoned him. Some grand epic effort which had the name of ‘Mikey Robinson’ written on it and wouldn’t let go until that glory had been achieved. But, what that glory was, well at the present he hadn’t the foggiest idea.
* * * * *
Gloryel was in a good mood today. She had finished the weekly washing that morning, the clothes were out on the washing line, and there was not much else to do around the house. Daniel had asked for takeaway pizza for the evening meal, so she didn’t have any fussing around in the kitchen to look into. Mostly, her day was for herself – another fine Sunday.
She had been listening to music that morning, and drawing pictures of flowers in one of her endless supply of art notepads which she used to draw such things and other little arty pieces, as well as notes and doodles and things. She had fed the goldfish just a short time ago and, picking up the Sunday paper Daniel had purchased the morning, as he preferred to go out to the newsagent to buy a paper instead of subscribing, and usually had a chicken pie at the Bakers at the shopping centre he usually visited, with a soft drink. It was a long held routine of his and he went for his paper every few weeks.
She was looking through public notices when she came to something which looked interesting. ‘Daniel’, she yelled out. Shortly Daniel appeared, a calculator in his hand, staring at her.
‘Look at this.’
Daniel came over, looked at the article, and started reading it out.
‘Heaven’s Ultimate Challenge – Going the Distance’ was the heading.
Daniel continued reading.
‘Attention long distance runners. Are you ready for the ultimate challenge? Extreme Power Sports has set the very first ever competitive long distance race around the entire continent of heaven. Estimated time of the run is a number of years on completion, and we are looking for 5000 Entrants throughout Heaven to compete in this activity. If you are interested, send resume with fitness details to firstname.lastname@example.org It is anticipated that there will be around2 to 3 decades of preliminary training for the elite chosen to compete, so if this sounds like you, email us now. Prizes will be awarded for the first 500 places.’
Gloryel looked at her husband. ‘Is this for you?’
Daniel smiled, took the paper and said, ‘No. No, its not. But I do know someone who just might be interested in such a thing at this time.’
‘Who?’ she responded.
‘Mikey. Mikey Robinson. It might just be what he is looking for.’
* * * * *
Mikey looked at the article again. Daniel had left about half an hour ago after a bit of a chat, and had shown the article about the challenge. Initially Mikey had dismissed the idea. Sure, at the moment he had a lot of free time, but dedicating himself to such an enormous challenge, how could he even hope to finish the course in the end. And then, sitting there at his PC, the article on his table, a little voice spoke to his heart and said, ‘Well, what where you looking for anyway?’
And then, having another think, he got to his feet, walked back to the table, and looked at the article. And then, in a split moment in time, he walked over to his PC, connected to his email, typed in the address, added a file with a sporting resume he had completed about a century ago just luckily enough, and hit send. You never knew in the end. You never knew.
Samantha Jones was a patient girl – you had to be when paying off a home loan for a house in Joniquay with a loan life still with 3 million more years to pay off. She’d already paid5 million years on the loan, but there was still a substantial amount remaining, which meant work, work and more work.
She didn’t know why – somehow she ultimately felt led to living in Joniquay, of all the places under the heavens, to establish her permanent abode. She did know something – Mikey lived here. Mikey Robinson. She had been something of a girlfriend to Mikey a very long time ago, living in a town in New South Wales in Australia on earth, were they had been friends. And while she never quite landed him, Sheila Davies claiming that prize, she had always wanted him, perhaps more than any other boy, in the end. Perhaps she would meet him here. Sure, it was an enormous city but, in time, you never knew. Of course, if she had to, she supposed she could do the most obvious thing of looking him up in the various directories, but in some way of thinking to her mind, that sort of took all the challenge out of life. She did want to meet him eventually again, if only to catch up, but not yet. Not immediately, anyway.
Samantha had married only 3 times in her long sojourn in the heavenlies, and the last one was over 2 million years ago. Since then she had been mastering the single life. Getting used to the long haul of eternity with herself, her cat and a good bottle of wine. She would find her permanent mate eventually.
She worked in a supermarket, of all places, in the delicatessen. It was quite basic work, but paid well enough, and it was a grind in life which worked well enough for her now. She was used to it, comfortable with it, and didn’t really look for anything more. Every few hundred years a man would talk to her seriously, and they may even date for a while, but she would never take a permanent interest – not yet anyway. She would give them a few weeks, maybe a month or two, and break it off lightly and say it was fun, but not meant to be. For now that is all she wanted out of life.
At the moment she had a lot of long service leave which her supermarket had contracted with her a long time ago to allow her. It was the kind of thing you could request if you wanted it with most established businesses. In front of her were another 48 of her 50 years, pleasant, quiet, gentle times. Times to do nothing much, but go for her weekly swim at the local pool, eat her meals, listen to a lot of Mozart, stroke her cat, and sleep. A little bit of TV, not much, and then just lying around the house, thinking for the most part.
A lot of people developed religion in heaven, which was not that surprising. That was not for Samantha Jones. She knew God existed now. She didn’t really care though. Either way, it just wasn’t an issue. Not that she had any grudge against religion – sure she had read the bible a few times to learn what it taught – but it just was not her scene. She was an ordinary girl, with ordinary values, and did not like to complicate things any more than that. Let the Rabbi pray for her soul if he felt compelled to was her main philosophy on such things.
Life was mostly simple for Samantha – she tried not to overly complicate things very much. Her romances were the kind of brief flings you read about in some trashy romance novels and never dear to her heart. Her work was extremely basic, often boring and repetitive, but she could do it. In the end she could do the work, which was the important thing. And she was fully qualified, worked according to regulations, and never really had any problems to speak of with her employer.
In the big business world, well…. Well, she supposed if she really pushed herself hard she could make some sort of empire for herself, some great and grand career, but really it looked like terribly so much work and so much effort that the rewards, in the end, just did not seem worth it. It was only cash in the end, and she didn’t really need much more than what she had already anyway. In fact, she had enough all things considered.
Yes, it was a simple life, quite basic, not difficult to maintain, and that was the way she liked it. That was, until, sitting at the table in her living room, looking at an add in the Sunday paper for ‘The Ultimate Challenge’ and, strangely, finding herself sitting down at the PC a few minutes later and applying just for the heck of it, a new adventure it seemed was waiting for the life of Samantha Jones.
* * * * *
He hadn’t expected it so soon. 3 days later, Wednesday afternoon, an invitation for a practice session with a group of hopefuls in his local area to assess prospective competitors. He replied ‘Sure’ and waited for the day.
When he got there, 5 O Clock one Sunday afternoon, the gray clouds of winter hovering overhead, threatening to burst upon the gathered assembly, he was still in a happy enough mood. The organizers put the troop through there paces. 5 laps of an oval, jumps, squats and other assorted tests, all to assess them. As he was going through it all, keeping good pace because of his indoor cricket training, he couldn’t help but swear he had seen a girl before, one who was nearby him a lot of the time, doing her thing.
When they finally called it quits for the day, as she walked towards the carpark Mikey worked his way up innocently beside her and introduced himself. ‘Uh, hi. I’m Mikey Robinson.’
Samantha Jones turned to look at him, seemed momentarily stunned and said ‘For fuck’s sake. Is that you Mikey?’
Mikey looked straight at her. ‘I DO know you, don’t I?’
‘You better,’ she responded. ‘Sammy. Sammy Jones. Childhood best buddy.’
Mikey’s jaw dropped, and all he would say was ‘Fuck a Duck.’
* * * * *
She lit a cigarette, sitting out the front of a McDonalds, in the heart of Joniquay, looking incredibly cool to Mikey Jones, the sweat from their just finished session still glistening on her skin. Really, she looked good.
‘So, what have you been up to for the last Trillion years?’
‘Oh, you know. The shit,’ she said, smiling at him.
‘I could imagine.’ He took a sip from his Coke, and stared at her. ‘Fuck, you look good, Sammy. You must have been taking good care of yourself.’
‘It’s these fuckers,’ she said, indicating the cigarette. ‘I only smoke one a century now, but I figured, meeting you, what the hell.’
‘What the hell, hey. You married? Kids?’
‘I have married. In the past. Kids out there. But for a long time now it has been my and my pussy.’
Mikey almost grinned. ‘It’s good that you have held on to your pussy.’
Sammy raised an eyebrow. ‘Oh, I am glad THAT pleases you.’
He took another sip of Coke, still staring at her. ‘The Challenge! What gives? Are you out to steal my glory?’
‘Hey, buddy. It’s my name their getting ready to engrave on the trophy.’
‘Oh, really,’ he responded.
‘Better believe it,’ she said, taking another puff, then putting it out on the ash tray.
He smiled again. ‘Well. What the hell. I’m not far from here. You?’
‘No. Not really.’
‘Want to come over? We can shoot the shit. Drink beer, get pissed. Have a hell of a time.’
She nodded. ‘I think, dear Mikey Jones, that you have a partner.’
He looked at her, very happy. That was good to hear. That much was really good to hear.
* * * * *
They rolled on top of each other, Mikey grunting heavily until, finally, he grunted no more. Rolling over he lit the rare second cigarette for that week, puffed and said ‘Your fucking amazing, Sammy.’
‘I always have been,’ she responded, taking the cigarette from him and puffing on it.
‘Are we going to do this for a while? Or is this just a fling?’ he said honestly.
‘Whatever,’ she responded, not wanting to go any deeper than that.
‘Yeah, whatever,’ he said.
Typically, he fell asleep shortly after that, and Samantha stared up at the ceiling. She had done it. She had found her man, fucked him, and perhaps even landed him. He was available and, from what he had said, seemingly looking for a permanent mate. Could she be that lucky, really? All the pieces had now fallen into place. All the pieces.
All that was left was to kick his arse at the challenge to permanently remind him who the boss was. And thinking that over she laughed to herself. Sammy the boss of Mikey. What would Danny Robinson say?’
* * * * *
Gloryel looked seriously at Daniel, despite the wide grin on his face. ‘I am SERIOUS Daniel. Don’t bloody laugh.’
‘You? The Challenge? You will struggle to finish last, sweetie.’
She kicked him under the table. ‘Jerk,’ she said. ‘Remember, I am a fitness expert dearest. This is exactly what I am looking for.’
‘Well, if you are serious,’ he said, with a more sober look on his face, ‘then you had best show up at the next session with Mikey and bring some sort of resume with your experience. They will probably want to look at that.’
She nodded. ‘Yes. They probably will. You never know. It could be me as first place, with a magnificent trophy to show off to our grand-children.’ But the continued grin on Daniel’s face summed it up. ‘I’ll show you,’ she said, under her breath.
* * * * *
Gloryel was lucky. They accepted her application and added her to the team. And then there were a serious of cuts over progressive weeks. At the first cut half of the 500 entrants from the local area were told to try again next time. And then, 1 month later, another 150 were cut, leaving them with the best 100. ‘Now it is going to get challenging,’ the organisers said to them. And it was.
Yet, no matter how hard the challenges put in front of them, the little team of Mikey, Sammy and Gloryel, seemed to persevere together as a group and, when the final cut down to 10 members from the local area was to be submitted, they were ranked as Mikey number one choice, Sammy number two choice and Gloryel number three. They were in.
Gloryel never stopped bragging about her qualification to Daniel all that year yet Daniel would continually remind her that, when the big day came, she would still probably finish last. ‘I’ll show you,’ was all she said.
Of course, she had a long wait. And a long grind. Now that she had been chosen, they were going to put her through her paces for 25 years, as the start date had finally been set, and they deemed that the entrants would need at least that much prior training and mind strengthening to finish the amazingly long course. ‘Remember,’ they always said. ‘It will probably take around a decade to run the entire distance around the continent. It is big after all. We need fit, committed people. People who have been properly trained and strengthened for this challenge. There will be no excuses once it starts, so you have to be ready for the day.’
Gloryel was ultimately seeded 3912th out of the 5000 entrants, which was not too bad as she saw it. Mikey was in the top 500, and Sammy was just outside of the top 1000 in seedings. Whatever else, although he wouldn’t say anything, Daniel was proud of her effort so far anyway. He took delight when she came home from practice sessions, talking about the things they put her through, and about how her attitude was changing. And he noticed that. A strength, a toughness, a willingness to do just that – take on lifes challenges. Really, if she ever did complete the long grind, he would never hear the end of it. That much he knew for sure.
After 15 years of a regular routine, Daniel had started attending the session with Gloryel as something of a personal coach. In the contract she had signed, it was her own responsibility to maintain her clothing and shoes throughout the long trek around heaven, which would mean that she would ideally have a car running alongside her to look to her needs. She would be constantly monitored by satellite, with extreme close-up technology. In fact, there were 4 special satellites to be focused just on her from different angles and, all up, 72 satellites for the whole running team had been launched, each satellite filled with multiple lenses to focus on several of the athletes at once.
Daniel, really having nothing better to do, was the natural choice for her coach on the long trek and, having purchased a special state of the art van, with ample sleeping space and enough room to pack all the necessary particulars they would need on the trek, all seemed about ready for when the day arrived.
Danny Robinson arrived in town with a few years to go before the start off, and he and Mikey looked around the motoring places for the perfect vehicle. Danny had finally gotten his time off work for the time necessary and was to be Mikey’s own personal assistant for the long trek. Mikey had inquired of Daniel into what kind of vehicle they had purchased and, after Daniel initially said ‘None of your bloody business’, which had made Mikey laugh, Daniel had shown off the grand vehicle and told Mikey the price. Mikey and Danny found the same dealer, looked through the range and, Danny suggesting they go for one model higher to add extra luck for their team, Mikey agreed, forked over 90% of the cash with Danny happy to contribute 10%, and were looking good.
Sammy’s mother agreed, in the end, to take on the long trek. Mrs Genevieve Jones, with still a soft French accent, for she had been raised in France, managed to get an extended leave without pay break from work, which had only been part-time anyway, and arrived in Joniquay, eager to help out her daughter. They also bought the same model as Daniel and Gloryel, and were looking forward to the big day.
* * * * *
‘Remember,’ said Daniel, massaging his wife’s legs. ‘It is alright to be nervous on your first day. And, like we said, go slow to start with. This is a LONG marathon, sweetie. We can take a few days to start with of careful walking to ease yourself into the long grind. If you want to ultimately do well, start carefully. Warm up the body. Don’t worry – you may even be last for a while, but victories in something like this need a good strategy.’
Gloryel nodded, taking all that in, but what lurked behind those steel eyes, Daniel did not really want to venture.
A knock came to the van door. ‘5 minutes,’ someone yelled, and Gloryel stared at her husband.
‘I just want to say this, Danny. Whatever the result, I couldn’t have gotten this far without you. We are winners already.’
‘I’ll wait before I agree with you. Now, sweetie. Fuck it,’ he said, and planted a kiss on her cheek. ‘Now lets get out there and kick some arse.’
They exited the Van, walked along a thoroughfare and came to a large road which was filled with competitors well down a bit. There were cameras everywhere, and the contest was being televised on 3 Pay Tv channels dedicated to hosting the event. Whatever else, if she did well, Gloryel would be even more famous than her ancient name had warranted.
They found Mikey and Sammy were they had agreed to meet up and the three competitors, dressed in athletic guise, were lifting up legs in warming up motions, looking at each other.
‘So. Sammy. Here we are,’ said Gloryel, almost already attempting to stare down her opponent.
Samantha just smiled and nodded. Mikey spoke up. ‘So, will you go the bloody distance, Glory Girl? Or will we leave you back near the starting line.’
‘Very funny Mr Robinson. I will remember that,’ she retorted.
They looked around and Gloryel glanced up at the large digital clock. 11:54. Six minutes to start. She looked at Mikey. ‘Well, do we still have that agreement? Nothings changed? We stay slow for a few days, walk it out and then someone starts to push on a bit.’
‘But who?’ replied Samantha.
‘I don’t think it really matters so early on,’ replied Gloryel. ‘As well all know, the everyday pace is what will get us there in the end. A regular routine, miles done, in a particular time. Seeing who can cope with the grind. Someone may get off to a hell of a start, but unless they are ready for the grind, then it really doesn’t matter.’
‘No, it doesn’t,’ said Mikey, finishing off his stretches.
An organiser came up and checked with Daniel, who moved over to the side of the road. The time was approaching.
‘So, the winner buys the rest 1000 rounds. Is that still on,’ said Mikey.
‘What if we all finish outside of the top 500,’ responded Samantha.
‘It’s only money,’ finished Gloryel. ‘It always comes around again.’
‘It’s settled then,’ said Mikey. ‘Now good luck girls. You’ll need it.’
‘We’ll see Mikey boy,’ said Samantha.
‘Yes, we’ll see,’ responded Gloryel.
They stared at each other and, looking up at the time, settled.
Daniel, staring at his beloved, prayed a silent prayer, and looked at the clock.
Shortly a female voice began speaking.
‘Ladies and Gentleman. We are ready. The competitors are all here and accounted for – all 5000 entrants. How long they ultimately take, well who knows, but we will be keeping very accurate race records and are looking to the establishing of a long race tradition. Now, as soon as the clock ticks over to 12, a loud siren will sound, and off we go.’ She went silent, and a hush came over the crowd. And then, almost startling everybody, the siren whaled, and they were off. Off on the adventure of a lifetime.
* * * * *
4 days in they were still walking along, an occasional bit of jogging, but nothing to strenuous when Mikey, finally, signalled to the two girls and said ‘Well here goes,’ and pushed on a bit into a jog and then a bit of a run. And he was off. Half an hour later he was well out of sight and Samantha turned to Gloryel. ‘Well, sis. It’s been good. Time to get serious.’ And she took off after her man.
And then there was one.
Daniel, deciding he would walk with her for a couple of hours, before walking back to the van, something they had agreed he would do for her from time to time. They walked along and, finally, around 6 in the evening on the fourth day, Gloryel stopped, came over to the van, and sat down in the front seat, taking a cold Coke.
‘What gives?’ queried Daniel.
‘I’m ready,’ she said.
‘Ok,’ he responded.
It was early, the following morning, very early. She had risen, woken Daniel, and said it was time they were off – seriously. Time to set the pace they had programmed over the entire slog, taking many factors into account, building slowly, carefully and gradually over the first 4 years. Years 5 & 6 would be the main challenge – the pace would be at about the maximum she could handle. They would slow down for year 7, slower still for year 8, and slower still for year 9. And then they would assess. It would be a hell of a grind if necessary, but year 10 was the year she was to go for broke and make sure she finished off the challenge.
She walked for about 10 minutes and then took off with a jog. And then, around 9 mid morning, she reached her pace. Her standard pace for this first 4 years leg. They had anticipated around the end of the fourth year they would be mid-field. They were pretty confident, after all their calculations, that she would manage that. After that, all things being equal, they would push on and increase the pace, and so on. By the end of the 7th year she needed a lead. She needed a good lead. She would be slowing down after that and that is when the competition might catch her, but that was inevitable. She knew, in truth, as Daniel continually reminded her, her psyche, her body, her spirit, only had so much to give. Only so much. So they would be careful, play it by ear, and finish their race.
* * * * *
She counted them one by one. First, 17 weeks after beginning, still assuming she was almost definitely last place, she passed her first already tired looking jogger. He was well built enough for the competition, and they chatted for about an hour. He maintained that he had trained appropriately, but hadn’t really quite yet grasped the immensity of the challenge. And, as she progressed, one by one, similar tales came forth. It was around mid year, when she had passed over 200 of her competitors, that Daniel finally gave her a nod. ‘Remember, sweetie, at the top of the pack they are still generally going for it. Ok. But ego only lasts so long. They’ll be cooling off somewhat now, facing up to the enormity of the slog, and second thoughts will plague most of them. Just stay focused, sweetie. We’ll reel them in.’
And one by one, she did.
* * * * *
It was at the end of the second year, and she was already midfield. Ahead of schedule she continued to maintain to Daniel, but he wasn’t so sure. He had been keeping records, watching the race online with his wireless Webnet, and was cautious. The leaders were out to a good lead – a very good lead. It would be tough, but years 5 and 6 now looked very promising. Providing she could keep the tough pace she promised him. Provided on that.
When she hid mid year of year 3, she was starting to look a different woman to Daniel. A very different woman. Something had changed in her. Something which he hadn’t noticed initially but which had slowly crept up on him and become more and more obvious as the race progressed. She was hardening. In more ways than one. Her body was looking tremendously fit, which it should, and there had hardly been a torn ligament in the whole time, something they had seriously factored in. A couple of sprains, which had delayed her a little, but they had healed and she was soon back on the road. But it was more than fitness – it was attitude, temperament. She was tough, now. A strong woman. A powerful woman. A woman who knew what she wanted, what she wanted to achieve, and was working damn hard to achieve. She really, for all intents and purposes, was a woman destined for glory. That much seemed bleeding obvious to Daniel. Bleeding obvious.
Yet, what would be the breaking of her spirit? What would be that? Looking at her at the moment, he seemed certain that not only would she finish the race, but that she would be streaks ahead of the competition when she finished it. But that was now. That was now. There are many a slip twixt cup and lip was a very familiar saying to Daniel, and it was always better not to count your chickens before they were hatched.
She looked like a woman on a mission, to quite Gabriella Cilmi, and seemed absolutely and resolutely determined to go through with this crusade at all costs. Of course, they had rest days occasionally, which was absolutely necessary on such a humungous trek, and they had theoretically factored in a 1 week stay at a hotel somewere around the mid point of the 4th year, as well as at the end of the 7th year. That was up in the air, depending on the state of play of the challenge, but at this point in time was still set to go ahead.
It was all those factors which were deemed necessary to give her the psychological mindset to overcome the challenge. To go the distance. To finish the race.
Yet, were the glory would rest on the final leg for the angel Gloryel – well only time would tell on that. Only time would tell on that.
Daniel looked at the data carefully. Year 6, nearly complete, and the end of the main effort behind her. Surprisingly, she was first. It had been a rush when she pushed passed Mikey Robinson to claim third place and then, as time marched on, she moved to second, then outright first. But year 6 was almost over with and she had only been in the lead for 4 months. If she slowed down now, wouldn’t they catch her?
‘Look. Glory. It’s up to you, ok. You have to ultimately call the shots. When we started off on this thing it was a work in progress – we didn’t really know just what you were capable of. But, looking at your attitude, looking at your physical fitness, I say we push on and modify our plans for year 7. The same rate again as 5 and 6 and in year 8 we look to be slowing down. With the lead we may end up getting in year 7 it might ultimately be the way to go. But it’s your call, ok. It’s your call.’
Gloryel nodded. She knew it was her call. Had in truth known that for the last 4 months.
‘Ok. As you say, it has always been a work in progress. We can make our best plans, but reality interferes. Ok. I feel strong. I feel good. We push on for year 7 at the same rate, but then I will have to slow down. You know, it is starting to get to me. The sheer constant effort. The sheer continual devotion to this bloody challenge.’
‘Ok. We’ll see how it goes,’ responded Daniel. ‘We’ll see how it goes.’
* * * * *
It was three quarters into the 7th year and Gloryel had started slowing down a little. Daniel could sense it – she had peaked. There was only so much, now, left in the tank. Probably enough to finish the race in the end, but winning it? That was another question.
‘I don’t know what it is,’ she said, coughing and spluttering. I just – feel exhausted. This race has gone on forever, Daniel. Forever. Its like I’m running and running and running and that is the only meaning in life. To run. I’m jack of it.’
Daniel softened. He didn’t want to argue with his beloved. ‘Well. I don’t know. Do you… Do you want to call it a day? It has been a hell of an effort and there is no shame at this point.’
She stared at him and almost, almost, said yes. Instead she tried something else. ‘We’ll take that week off now. We have a good lead. We’ll see how we go.’ Daniel nodded.
The week seemed to go slow. Gloryel was in bed a lot of the time, and refused to get up a couple of the days, but Daniel couldn’t blame her. Obviously she needed it. It seemed they had been running forever, going through the same old routine, and sometimes they both wondered just how much they needed this.
It was the 8th day, and she had risen. Their lead was still quite substantial, and Gloryel looked almost like she’d had no rest whatsoever, seeing the weary look on her face. But, no. She looked at Daniel and nodded. ‘We’ve come too far, Danny. Too far. I won’t quit on you.’
He came over, hugged her, kissed her, and then, after breakfast, she was away. She wouldn’t give in. She wouldn’t quit.’
* * * * *
Mikey was ready. Ready for a hell of a push. He knew how far Gloryel was in the lead, and he knew he was now second. Ironically, Sammy was back in 7th at the moment. The little group had done amazingly.
This run had been the making of Mikey Robinson in more ways than one. In the first years it had been difficult – he had been full of doubts over wether, in the end, he would go the distance. But he had hardened. He had toughened. And when one third of the distance had been done, no matter what else, not matter how long it took him, he knew he would finish the race. And then winning it became a priority.
And so he had pushed on, grown steadily in confidence as more distance past, and started believing – whatever else, he would do well. Perhaps even first, but he was not sure yet.
* * * * *
‘Seriously, how the fuck am I in the top 10?’
Genevieve smiled at her daughter’s profanity, very typical for Samantha. ‘You are just an extraordinary girl, Samantha Jones. Just an extraordinary girl.’
‘I guess fucking so,’ she replied. ‘Well, time to put that extraordinariness to the test – we have miles to run.’ And, finishing her warming up for the morning, off she went, back to the endless grind.
Sammy Jones was a realistic girl about this long run she had taken on. Her primary goal was just finishing it which, after about a week from the start, she realized she would do. In the end, it was just more bloody work. Challenging, difficult, hard – you name it – but it was just plain old work in the end. And, after countless years working the same old boring job she was used to that reality. And so, in the Challenge, the monotony of it all never quite got to her – she could cope. Which meant, after about 4 years of going along steadily, improving all the time with her attitude and fitness, she contemplated the idea of actually bothering to try and win it for real, and off she went on a new spirit of competitiveness.
And now that spirit of ‘have a go’ was paying off. She was in the top 10, currently 9th, and she knew too well who was out ahead of her. Mikey and Gloryel. Could she catch them? Could she make the grade of excellence? Only time would tell.
As she motored along she looked out at the scenery around her. So many new things she had seen in this trek around heaven. So much new life, so much new creation. Were she had lived in Joniquay she was used to the particular scenery and, having lived in heaven for so long, had seen so much of God’s divine glories. But this long run had given her a chance to see so much of it right up in person, and she was so thankful for the opportunity to have done so. Sceneries were amazing and part of the motivating factors for her wanting to continue this run. Whatever else, she had seen an eternal lifetimes supply of new and interesting vistas to place in the centre of her heart and enjoy on rainy days in years to come when new grandchildren asked her how she had spent her days of eternity.
Her body was strong, now. Very strong. From what the occasional competitor who she passed told her some were saying they felt their bodies starting to challenge them and ask ‘Have you had enough of this?’, but for Samantha the answer was still ‘Not Yet.’ She could cope. She knew essentially how long she had to go and, somehow, the subconscious of her mind had processed the data and said ‘Fine – you must know what you are doing’, which hopefully she did.
Yes, it was a hell of a long trek, and she still had a long, long way to go. But it looked achievable – it was achievable. And, having come so far, there was no point in stopping now. Not with so much to gain. Not with so much eternal glory awaiting her.
‘On we go mum,’ she said to her mother Genevieve, and on she went.
* * * * *
‘Nine years I have been running this fucking race, Daniel. Nine fucking years!’
‘I know sweetie. Stop complaining and let me finish drying you off.’
Gloryel, still wet from her shower, stood there in the van, shaking a little in the cold, a proud woman.
‘One more year to go. One fucking year.’
‘But are you ready for the challenge? Mikey is a little bit ahead now, and Sammy is about 3 days behind us. We always maintained the last year would be the heart of the challenge when it would be time to up the ante. It looks as if the time has come.’
‘Victory or death,’ said Gloryel, with not the faintest bit of pride in her tone.
‘Don’t say that sweetie. You know I can’t afford to lose you. Who would wash up the dishes?’
‘Victory or death!’ exclaimed Gloryel again, still shivering, but looking a determined woman.
They ran that day, at an increased pace. A greatly increased pace. As agreed they had indeed slowed down over the last few years, mainly to conserve her body’s energy, which was now finally starting to ebb and show, but also to prepare her for the final assault – the final year of glory.
There were competitors, back there, who still hadn’t reached half way. Who were still grinding along, working at it, taking on the challenge. She had practically exceeded them all, but 2 fierce foes remained – her best friends in this challenge. Victory or death was the motto she cried, but Daniel, looking at her battle weary and worn body knew indeed it could be one or the other – the making or the killing of her.
* * * * *
It was late, in the cold of the year, with not long to go, and Daniel was nervous about Gloryel. She wasn’t looking good – not looking good at all. She was muscle, and that was all she was – a body of muscle. There was hardly any fat on her, which was never a good thing, as the body needed its fat. But, also, she looked drained – physically, and you could especially see it in her face. She wouldn’t say it, really. She would never really say it. But she was tired. Oh, so tired. It had taken it out of her, this challenge. It had gutted her, deprived her of all her beauty and glory and made her face up to the hard edge of life. But to her credit, in which Daniel took firm delight, she had pushed on and would just not quit. Not now – not with so much to gain. And perhaps now, more than ever.
Samantha Jones had caught her for a while, not that long ago, but she had eventually responded, pushed on, and then, knowing they were close, caught Mikey and overtaken him. She was in the lead again – right out in first place – with about 2 months to go.
It was all calculated – it was all as it should be – but looking at her body and her physique – at the terrible price she had paid for this – was it really, the pride, all worth it in the end? Was it really worth that much? God forbid if he had to ever do it – God forbid.
* * * * *
They grinded on and, as the cold of winter passed, and the year gradually warmed, Gloryel seemed to be getting a little better. As if the hardest part of the battle was now dead – completely finished with – and she could come home in the graces of Almighty God. The last week was pretty special for Daniel, in hindsight. They knew Mikey was too far behind to make a last ditched valiant attempt at victory and that, barring a total breakdown from Gloryel, the victory was theirs. In some ways that didn’t make it any easier. They still had to go through the grind – the early rising, the new running shoes, the constant body massages and rub downs, and all the other pressures of the regular grind – but they were both happy now. Gloryel had run the course – had taken the challenge – had come out on top. She was a champion – now and forever.
The day came, and she reached the top of a large hill and, looking down the valley below her they could both see the finishing line and the large crowd which had built up – the crowd was enormous, too many to count, and Gloryel felt a little chuffed.
Daniel exited the van at the top of the hill and beckoned for her to come and get changed. ‘We’ll let you look sweet for the final hurrah. First, have a good shower, and you can have a bit of lunch with me as well, but your whole afternoon will likely be taken up with this and that affair. There will likely be a press conference were they will have a mountain of questions. Remember, if you don’t want to answer let me field it.’ Gloryel nodded, and climbed into the van and then, did that most remarkable of things – she fell asleep. It was around 4 in the afternoon when she rose, had her shower, a little to eat and changed into a long pair of track pants to cover her legs and a lovely bright new gold T-Shirt. She looked good. She thought on the make up and, finally, a light dousing of a professional one they had kept which took the edge of her haggard look. And now she was ready.
Daniel left the vehicle were it was, which wasn’t a problem, as a small crowd had climbed the hill and there was a police escort guarding it. And, walking with her every step of the way, they descended the mountain, into the heart of Joniquay, and approached the finishing line which had also been the starting line, from the opposite direction.
It was with about 50 metres to go that Gloryel stumbled, and reached for her ankle. She had sprained it. Daniel was cautious. ‘Can you make it today? We have plenty of time up our sleeves – at least a month. We can wait. Don’t push it unless you really want to.’
‘With all these people,’ said Gloryel. ‘I can hardly disappoint them now.’ And she didn’t.
Strangely, she was lost. Lost in a world which had a different beat to it, a different merry strum, one which, really, to the mind of Gloryel, current champion of heaven, had no great focus. No great desire upon achievement.
It was Daniel’s tonic to this mood of Gloryel’s, which erupted into words from time to time, subtle words of ‘You could do better’, which eventually brought Gloryel back to the real world. Away from the focus – away from the pursuit of excellence – away from the pursuit of glory.
‘In the end, Gloryel, the race in life is this – it is NOT one with a finishing line. Ok. It doesn’t have one of those. Rather it is an ongoing race, it is an everyday race, it is the race of the eternal, one which never ends. And ALL of us, dear Glory Girl, are the participants. ALL of us. If you are happy with your life, and God has placed no great burdens upon you, who are you to be judged by the fanciful judgements of other egoists? Sure, they may have reinvented the wheel itself, but who cares. After all, in the end, life goes on – and it is not yesterday’s glories which speak of eternal life, but the glory of today, in the living of it successfully, and the simple pleasures of being alive and a decent person. If people are getting along with you, who cares if you haven’t faced the greatest of all challenges – you are still loved. Glory comes and glory goes, dear, dear Gloryel. Life goes on anyway and regardless of it.’
And with such words, and with such comforts, Gloryel managed to return to the real world, and the simple everyday focus of the humdrum of life. But she did retain bragging rights – she did do that.
* * * * *
David was bored. Extremely bored. The Angel Ambriel, also known as David Rothchild, the chosen Messiah of mankind, was bored. He had received his heavenly rewards for all his efforts among mankind and their sanctification long ago, and retired to the heavenlies, after a very long life on earth. But now, having pursued so many dreams, having pursued so much glory, David was bored. What else was there to do, really. What else.
He looked at the paper which his wife, the angel Meludiel, had brought in to him. On the front page, staring at him, looking mean and lean, dear old Gloryel. One of Gabriel’s long term favourite angels – triumphant in the challenge, queen of heaven, queen of glory. And sitting there, thinking it over, perhaps this could be a new lease of life for David Rothchild – perhaps a new challenge could enter the heart of Ambriel, Seraphim of Glory of the Angelic Host of Heaven.
* * * * *
Little Danielle, Daniel and Gloryel’s new child, born to them about a year after the end of the challenge, looked up into Ambriel’s eyes. She was now five, and full of life. Full of beans. ‘You’re Ambriel. The Messiah,’ she said, with eyes wide open innocence.
‘Uh, yes I am, sweetie,’ said David, patting her on the head.
‘I think she likes you,’ said Daniel, looking at them.
‘That’s good,’ said Ambriel.
‘Could be a romance one day,’ responded Daniel with a little chuckle, which brought forth a kick from Gloryel who was seated next to him on the couch.
‘I don’t think so,’ responded David. ‘I am married enough as it is.’
‘How many wives is it now, anyway?’ queried Gloryel.
‘784. And counting. There is a Russian Princess who has sworn devotion to me, if only I will propose.’
‘Good grief. 784,’ said Daniel. ‘You must have a busy bedroom.’
The look David gave Daniel in response seemed to sum up the answer to that question.
‘So, Gloryel. You are now Queen of heaven. Champion of the long distance. The elite of the elite. How does it feel,’ queried the curious Ambriel.
‘Oh, you know. Pretty good. Thanks for asking.’
‘I mean, really. You obviously overcame so many of lifes problems and challenges in that run. Proving your-self. Proving your glory.’
Gloryel looked at him, and nodded. ‘You could say that David.’
David nodded, and took a sip of tea, and looked at the child who was playing with a toy car.
‘Well,’ he eventually began. ‘I have not come for no reason. Not for no reason. I have a request. Perhaps of both you, Gloryel, and Daniel.’
‘A request?’ queried Gloryel. ‘Sure. What is it?’
‘Train me. I. Well. I need another challenge now. A great challenge. An epic challenge. You showed the world what courage and determination could do. What a committed soul could achieve. And, while I have done so many things, the sort of trial you went through was amazing. Totally amazing. Now, they have set the challenge again – for 3 decades from the start of the last one. It is meant to be an ongoing challenge – an ongoing achievement for glory. You have first place, but that is quite suitable for you – you are God’s little glorious one.’
Gloryel blushed at that.
‘But, I foresee,’ continued David, ‘that this challenge will be the making of many of the children of heaven. To complete it – to win it – will be the making of us in more ways than one.’
Daniel looked at David with those words, and a little cog turned over in his mind.
‘So,’ continued David, ‘I want you both to train me. To prepare me. For I want to compete in the next challenge. And more than that. I want to win the damned thing. To come first. Now, what do you say? Will you do it? I can pay you richly, if that is a problem. Believe me, cash is no problem.’
Gloryel looked momentarily lost for words, but turned to Daniel. ‘Uh, well. Daniel. What can we say?’
Daniel looked at David, and, despite thinking perhaps he really should no better, was ready at once to respond.
‘Ok, David. Ok. We’ll do it. I understand that you need this in your life, because I saw it in Gloryel as well. The determination. So I won’t let you down. You may not end up getting what you need – what you want – from the result, but I will train you anyway. And I am sure Gloryel will help.’
David was overjoyed at Daniel’s response. ‘Thank you greatly. The both of you. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to begin.’
‘Yes,’ spoke Gloryel, ‘I’ll help you as well. I don’t mind. It will give us a focus – something to do. Perhaps it is our calling for such things. Perhaps that is how we can help in life.’
‘I am sure it is,’ said David. ‘I am sure it is.’
* * * * *
Later on, when David had left, Gloryel and Daniel were at Dinner, discussing things.
‘Actually, it could become something of a career,’ said Gloryel. ‘A good source of income. I mean, with my victory in the very first of the contests, people could be seeking me out for a good long while to come. I mean, if David wants our services, it could even become a career for us. We could become specialists at it.’
Daniel actually nodded at that. ‘Well, I hate to say it, Glory, but I was in truth thinking the very same thing. Sure, we are on a good enough wage, and we never really need that much more anyway. But with your reputation for winning it, and, I suppose, my own name for assisting you, we have a lot to offer. And perhaps a very good income also.’
Gloryel smiled. ‘So we shall pursue this then? For a while? Trainers? Trainers for the challenge?’
‘We’ll see how it goes,’ responded Daniel, and smiled at her.
* * * * *
In the Robinson household there was generally quite solid celebrating for quite a while. Sammy and Mikey married, and were the toast of the athletic community for quite some time. There payout, from what Extreme Power Sports had raised from the telecasting, for Mikey finishing second and for Sammy finishing third was really huge. Extreme had returned a substantial amount to the 500 first finishers of the large profits they had made, and Sammy was able to completely pay off her mortgage, with a substantial amount remaining. They were on easy street for quite a while.
There first child, Samuel, was a beautiful boy, and when he turned 8, he was well familiar with the challenge which his parents had competed in. They saw a lot more of Gloryel and Daniel at various dinners for the challenge community which had arisen, and it was always interesting to hear about David’s progress in his training for the next challenge. This time the field had been opened up to 50,000 entrants, simply because of the excessive demand. It was going to be huge the second time and athletes who had not been ready for the first go at it were definitely setting their aim on the second one. It was going to be big and, after a while, David knew that too well.
Daniel and Gloryel seemed to work well on David’s team and, when he finally qualified for the challenge, just making it, but with a low seeding at 44, 562, they didn’t have the greatest of confidences for the win. But Gloryel constantly reminded David that she had been seeded way down the bottom and had even been in last place for the early part of the competition. ‘It is the challenge itself which is the making of you,’ she told David. ‘Make a good plan, stick with it, and you will come out on top. Trust me.’ And David did.
‘In the end, David,’ Daniel had said to him. ‘If you are really the most determined – the most sure of yourself – the most committed – the most prepared to do what it takes – it doesn’t matter your size or your gender – you will simply pull through. You just have to put in the work before hand and it will all come to you in time. David had nodded at that. That much he knew to be true. He would have to earn it. He would definitely have to do that.
And so they pushed on with the training, getting ready for another long grind, and, for now, things were busy and complete in the lives of Daniel and Gloryel, angels of God.
* * * * *
It was a little later on. The second challenge was not long around the corner, and Daniel and Gloryel were as busy as ever with David and a heck of a lot of media coverage. Constant questions about how they felt David would go and his odds of victory, as well as questions about their training methods and so on. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to know about this big second one.
For David, it could have been an excuse to slacken off – he had already won the popular vote by a landslide, and now only needed to compete for a fair while to earn his glory. But no, not for David Rothchild. It was all or nothing for a man like him.
It was later on, one evening after training, Gloryel off at the Robinson’s house, and Daniel out on the back porch, with the rarest of beers in his hands, which he almost never drank, looking out at suburbia. Life was good, now. Life was good. He was happy with things in the general sort of way, and pleased to be doing something useful and being found needed for it. It was good in that sense.
The constant training and dialogue and media intensity about David, perhaps, made him and Gloryel lose sight of each other in all the commotion, but the understanding about the endeavour they were pursuing was unwritten between them, and they both knew were each other was at.
As Daniel sipped his beer, he thought on life. Sure, life went on, as it always did. But there were some new ideas in the mind of Daniel, angel of God. Commotion, activity, excitement, purpose. Those sorts of words now shone up a lot in conversations in his little world and simply having something useful and challenging to do gave him a lot of purpose and a reason to get up in the morning. In this way his life was more complete and fulfilled than ever.
And thinking about that he started contemplating ideas about, in the ongoing humdrum of the eternal, facing up to things with a spirit of excellence and commitment – mainly for this reason. The living of life on the edge, at the fullest, in the heart of glory – well it gave life a buzz which you never normally got out of it anyway.
And so, saying a silent prayer of thanks to God for the glory of his wife and her efforts, he sipped on his beer, looked out at suburbia, and hummed a little tune as another day of heaven passed on by.
Angels of Hope
The Dark Saber
Gloryel was a champion of champions. In truth, that much could not be denied her. For the past million years she had been actively involved with training competitors, primarily for the now famous ‘Challenge’ which was a trek around the central continent of heaven which usually lasted a decade for serious competitors. But, sometimes, it was other forms of training, in various athletic pursuits, that she was called on for, as well as a whole host of business seminars which Daniel had arranged for her on the subject ‘The Pursuit of Excellence’. They were a tag-team, Daniel and her, and they had lived the high life for the past million years, building up incredible wealth, and even managing to secure a few more houses in the exceedingly expensive capital city of heaven, Joniquay, the diamond city.
She had again competed in the challenge around a dozen times all up now, and was a firm and competitive spirit, winning it twice, with another third placing to her credit. She was a hardened competitor, a strong competitor, and Daniel admired her.
Daniel himself had finally, after years of waiting, competed the once, and finished 96th out of a field of 400,000 competitors – an astonishingly good effort to Gloryel, considering the competition. It had taken everything Daniel had to finish it and finish that well but, now, a long time later, he had been steeled by this effort and was thinking he would one day attempt to really win the thing.
Yes, they were happy, busy, complete. Things were good for the couple, and with the extra housing they had a little larger an extended family in their home city.
But life goes on, as they say, and in time a new challenge arose for the famous couple. A challenge in the form of a Mr Bruce Dickinson, a heavy metal singer of world renowned fame.
* * * * *
‘You want me to do what?’ queried a confused looking Gloryel.
‘Train me. Give me your fire. I have been a master of the blade since ancient of days, but never won the Olympic Gold. I want it, Gloryel. I need it. I need an edge, now. And I think you have that edge. You and Daniel, as a team. You have what I need to claim my glory.’
‘Ok, Bruce. We hear you,’ responded Daniel. ‘But fencing? That is hardly our specialty.’
‘Then make it your specialty. Technique, I can do that already. I need a spirit – a focus on excellence – an attitude in my actual training, which only people like yourselves can give me. I have tried it enough by myself long enough – a bronze was the peak of me. I need your help. I really do. And, sure, I can afford your astronomical fees. The band royalties are amazing, you know. Legally, with our copyrights, we have a heck of a lot of spending money between us. I can afford it, ok.’
‘Ok,’ said Daniel. ‘I don’t doubt you. Look, we have commitments for about a century – it will have to wait. But, after then, sure. We can help you.’
Gloryel nodded. ‘Yes, Bruce. Would be delighted. And ‘Up the Irons’.’
Bruce smirked and got to his feet. ‘Email me. Here is my card. It is a very private email address which I check often. I will definitely answer you when you are ready.’
‘Will do,’ nodded Daniel. ‘Oh, and one last thing. Can I possibly get you to sign my copy of ‘Number of the Beast’. I am a fan from aeons ago, ok.’
‘Sure,’ said Bruce, who shortly signed with a big black marking pen a rather old looking record cover, which had certainly seen better days.
‘You are the dark saber, Bruce. The dark saber. They can’t see your sword, they don’t know what is coming next. You are quick, like a shadow. Like a spark suddenly flashing in a flash of the blade, striking its enemy, claiming its glory. You are a champion.’
Daniel watched on as Gloryel continued encouraging Bruce in a lengthy work out session. They had taken to a particular style of psychological motivation talking with Bruce, something, given his heavy metal heritage and personality type, they were sure would work well – breathe some fire into the bones. And, so far, they were proving correct.
Training Bruce Dickinson, famous singer of legendary heavy metal band ‘Iron Maiden’ was, in many ways, a dream come true for Daniel. He had been a huge fan in his youth, which had dwindled somewhat in latter years as he returned to a more pop-oriented focus in his music listening habits. But, from time to time, the beast in him would rise, and he would let the stereo blast with a good belting of the heavy stuff, which often included Iron Maiden as its primary band of glory. He had once, himself, long ago tinkered with the idea of a hard rock outfit called ‘Paradise’ but had never quite gotten around to it. He could not sing – he knew that. And while they did have a large collection of copyrighted music for the tentative band, which his brother Gregory and Greg’s wife Christie, as well as her uncle Michael were to hopefully get together upon one day, they had still not quite gotten around to it. To their credit, demos had been done, and there had been a dozen or so live performances with mixed reviews. Some said they rocked. Some said they had great potential, but needed good management, good mixing, and a lot more practice. And some said they were just another fucking rock and roll band in the end, so who gives a fuck. Of course, the latter voice came from a somewhat cynical onlooker at a couple of their concerts, which while it had negatively affected Daniel’s confidence for a while, he had always maintained was not the real reason they gave it away. But that didn’t matter anyway. With copyright laws they had a lot of room to manoeuvre with their copyrighted lyrics and music. A lot of ground could potentially be covered and, with a heck of a lot of work on there 12,000 songs, they could potentially have a series of hit albums. They had one live ep instead, which still sold from time to time, but nothing more. They hadn’t yet pushed, and weren’t likely to do so for some time yet. But eventually, Daniel always told himself. Eventually ‘Paradise’ would have a hell of a name.
Perhaps, as strange as it may seem, in the form of Mr Bruce Dickinson, in all the training they were giving him, perhaps something could be returned to them. Perhaps some of Bruce’s energy and know-how could be injected into the life of Daniel Daly and, some day, Paradise could see its glory. Only time would tell.
‘Come on Brucie. You have had a good day. We’ll call it quits.’
Bruce nodded, grabbed a towel to wipe of his sweat, and headed for the showers.
Gloryel came over to chat with her husband. ‘He’s good, now. Very good. But I feel, in all honesty, we should still wait. Let one more Olympics go, and the next one. The next one we aim for glory.’
Daniel nodded, somewhat agreeing with Gloryel’s wisdom, thinking it over. Sure, they could have a go now and Bruce might do amazingly well. But all good things come to those who wait. Best to pass the test first time. Best to be patient, and hit it head on when they were ready.
‘We’ll wait, but Riverdale look out. Bruce Dickinson is coming for you.’
Riverdale, the host of the Olympics following the next one, might just have trembled a little at Daniel’s statement. It might just have.
‘Faster, Bruce. Faster. That froggie is the French Flash for a reason. He will show you no mercy, remember. He has not done so in the past, has he?’
Bruce, the Dark Saber as Gloryel and Daniel had nicknamed, was thrusting, parrying and making all the moves associated with the sport of fencing with a renewed energy – almost a brand new form of energy. He had pushed on, beyond old psychologies of yesterday, of dying with a flash of the blade, of being a warrior, into the company of the elite. He was precision now – perfection. Like one of Iron Maiden’s classic characters, Kold Steel, whose ‘Blade was bright, which cut through light’ in the words of the song. He was not a ‘Golden Axe Warrior’ anymore. He was the defender of the King, Lancelot in all his glory, deadly with the blade, answering to nobody but the most high on the battlefield. He was ready, and they all knew it.
* * * * *
Gloryel was a decent girl. Perhaps a holy girl, perhaps not. That much was still, relatively speaking, up in the air. She had good faith in God and believed in his holiness and was of the opinion that God was the holy one in any competition between herself and himself so, in the end, praise God, Alleluia, and back to everyday life.
She was happily married to Daniel, an angelic brother she had long fancied before they had wed, and seemed to somehow think she had known him, somehow, in a previous life. But that, of course, was impossible. Wasn’t it?
Apart from Daniel, there was her faithful band – the Spicies. Long ago, on earth, she had risen to Glory as one of the champion singers of a five piece band which had rocked Britain and then the world. The Spicies – 5 British Girl Power babes, with an attitude. And boy had it been a rush and a hell of a ride.
They still toured, these days, the band, every aeon or so, as Victoria would put it. When they finally got there acts together to team up, do a tour, do the interviews, sign their autographs and sing their songs. And it was still a hell of a good time and good partying for while they were doing it. Four of the five girls lived on the central continent of heaven itself, and Victoria also lived in Joniquay. Emma was not that far away though, on a nearby continent, doing her solo thing for the most part, probably the most dedicated girl to her own solo music career which she had pursued non-stop since reaching the heavenlies. Mel B was a fitness guru, and her videos were in constant demand. Gloryel also did a bit of that sort of stuff still, and also had a range of fitness things, but was mainly occupied with her current training phenomenon. Mel C pursued a musical career as well, like Emma, but was not as devoted and mainly concentrating on being a good mum and wife in her family with Tom. They were another rock in Gloryel’s life – Mel and Tom – a faithful couple. She would see them together, doing there thing, a happy family. A joy to be around, as Melanie always had a strong spirit from her often made prayers. She had always been the slightly religious one in the group, which had never really changed. And Victoria. Oh, Victoria. Queen of fashion, always seen in that bloody black Gucci dress, usually sporting Mr David Beckham on her right hand side, a constant delight for the pulp magazines of heaven, with their stories and their photos and their fabulous life. And, in reality, their lives always seemed to be made of the stuff of the stars anyway – always another drama to give a fervent news reporter the break of the decade.
Oh, there were other things which her life was full of, family, her Ugenia Lavender books and movies being a constant success, and other things. Daniel things. But, she was a content soul for the time being, and training Mr Bruce Dickinson for Olympic glory was the stuff of life she currently, and most happily, found herself busily engaged with.
‘Ducking, weaving, spinning, going in again.’ Bruce was singing to himself, off in a little world of his own. Off on his glory escapade, ready to defeat the French Flash, Jean Dupre, his most feared opponent for the big day. He was usually in a world of his own, these days, noted Gloryel, not quite asking as much of his trainers as in previous months. But, when they suggested there was not too much more for them to offer him, he reminded them of the vast fees he had paid, and that he really needed them more than ever now, for moral support if for nothing else. An old trainer of his came along from time to time, not really to offer the champion anything new in technique or method, as he had largely exhausted the knowledge base on how to fence, but the old friend knew how to rev him up and get him focused. As a team, with Daniel and Gloryel constantly there, encouraging him, egging him on, Bruce was confident that on the big day the glory would be his.
* * * * *
Bruce Dickinson was a man of action – a man of war. Of course, as of late he had developed an elitist attitude, primarily for the gaining of the glory he had long pursued, and personally felt he somewhat deserved for all his long service to the metal industry. Bruce Dickinson – legendary lead singer for metal band ‘Iron Maiden’ – a hero to some, perhaps a foe to others. Perhaps.
The metal industry, in heaven, was an interesting beast. Still full of savagery in its heart but, somewhat consoled by finding there actually WAS a God, the beast had mutated for the most part towards the lyrical contents of bands like ‘Dio’ on his Sacred Heart album and even similar contents to the really religious ‘Stryper’ occasionally cropped up. DC Talk were a band that the metal industry claimed somewhat these days, as their epic ‘Jesus Freak’ about the old Christ Child legend was technically admitted as metal by some magazines, and the old Christian metal scene took the album as a tribute to their former saviour, and purchased it regularly. They never really described themselves as a metal band, but there were some ‘Nirvanaesque’ elements about the Jesus Freak album, and they seemed to fit with a certain part of the metal crowd who appreciated their rocking style. Especially the pseudo-religious ex-Christian metallers, who felt somewhat safer with a spiritual album in the collection, which usually alleviated concerned friends and relatives on the edgier side of their catalogue of greats.
Iron Maiden themselves had been almost a philosophical band as they had emerged. Questioning spirituality, judging hypocrisy as they saw it, a common theme in the metal and punk world, but also open enough to the big questions and seeking answers to what it was all about. To Bruce Dickinson, in reflection, they had emerged from full on rockers in their youth, with something of an attitude, into a stable, pseudo-spiritualesque metal band, with the big questions. But, fuck it. Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, even Metallica from time to time, seemed to approach that sort of shit. Even the heaviest of them dabbled on the side of the angels from time to time, even if it was just to poke there head in and ask ‘What the Fuck?’
Bruce himself was not an overtly spiritual man. He was not against it anymore, in any real way. He, through a long stint in being relieved enough to find himself make the heavenly domain, had considered the big moral questions enough to know that God made the rules and, while you seemed to have a degree of liberty in heaven as to how much you conformed, if you really went devilesque you would inevitably pay the price. This the metal scene knew all too well.
So you conformed enough, sang your rock and roll, drank your booze, found a stable dealer if you needed the shit, which was still, funnily enough, only marginally illegal, and shagged as many hot birds as were willing to spread their legs for a superstar. And that was the shit of life.
‘So. Jean Dupre. Master of the Blade. The French Flash. We meet again.’
The frog stared down his opponent, lifted his sword and said ‘En guard.’ And the battle commenced.
* * * * *
It was probably Daniel who was more relieved than Gloryel when the British Flag had been raised, and the national anthem sung. First place in fencing was, apparently, one of the major long term goals of the British Olympic society to maintain as much as possible. And now, there best champion for a long time, Bruce Dickinson, had brung home the glory. He had done the deed, achieved the victory, found his glory, and was basking in the limelight of it all. And Daniel, still a proud Brit, was buoyed by Britains, again, solid effort in yet another of the four-yearly event, and had a bit of a buzz to him for a number of days.
But it had been more than that. It had also been his personal reputation with Bruce Dickinson which had been a big motivating factor for them pushing Bruce to new levels of excellence. In truth, Gloryel had again done the brunt of the work. She had been there, with her words, pushing him on, encouraging him, and motivating him. But Daniel stole in often, focused Bruce on the flag, his nation, and the glory they sought as a people. And that had been enough for him in the end, when he had seen the steel in Bruce’s eyes, and known that the determination was solid and eternal. That had been enough.
Were the Dark Saber would go in the future, well, nobody really knew for sure. He had asked Daniel and Gloryel if they wouldn’t mind training him for another go in four years, and promised that he could yet again afford the astronomical fees, but they refused, admitting they were solidly booked out for quite some time to come. ‘Perhaps another day,’ were Daniel’s last words to him as they left for home after a final long party in Riverdale.
And then, back to life, back to reality, and taking a sip from another rare can of beer, motioning to Gloryel that they had ‘had a good one,’ the two of them sat on the verandah of their Joniquay home, gazed out at the suburbs, and were both quite and truly happy enough with all that had recently transpired.
Angels of Hope
An Age of Glory
The Age of Glory. The age in which angels had grown up, learned their lessons, come to their strength, their name, their fame, their power. The age of becoming who they were. The age of memories to one day look back and say ‘That is when we knew it all.’
Yet, all ages must end, and the second of the Divine Ages of the Angels of Hope came and went, and for the Angel Daniel, living happily with Gloryel, seemingly having resolved most of the fundamental and necessary issues between them, the future beckoned, but he looked upon it favourably and, as in all things, with proper and due hope, for things good to come and to be and for the continuing and eternal consolation of his soul.
The Age of Innocence a distant memory. The Age of Glory now just past. The Age of Power now to be born, and, as always and as in all things, whatever would be would be. Whatever would be would be.
Angels of Hope
Gloryel and Daniel
Pleasant days. Gentle days. Humble days. Daniel, after all is said and done, seemingly getting over it. Finally, seemingly, getting over it.
Gloryel took the load out of the washing, filled the basket and waltzed outside, her headphones on, listening to a Mozart Concerto, happy in her world of contented love. She put the clothes up one by one, the socks, shirts, skirts and pants. The pegs were good pegs – plastic Eternya pegs which Daniel had recently purchased, and would last forever. Well done hubby. When the clothes were up she looked at them, dripping in the light, the water cascading downwards, to the grass, perhaps splashing some unfortunate ant, or other bug. Disappearing into the earth of the heavenlies, finding its home. Perhaps to return somehow, but in mysterious ways beyond the knowledge of Gloryel. Heaven had always been strange to Gloryel. It was like a mystery, in many ways. Held together, perhaps only by the fidelity of God. Physical laws? They had made sense on earth. In heaven everything was backwards. But perhaps it was meant to be. The true power of life. The true power of God. She looked at the water, dripping down, looked at the clothes in the heat of the day, and wondered if they were happy. It was a recent thought, so Daniel had claimed, that things, even mundane objects in heaven, had a spirit of sorts. A true animistic idea for which Daniel was truly famous for. Were her clothes happy? Did they enjoy being washed? Did they enjoy being cleaned? Gloryel knew she certainly did and their cat, Mushroom, which was over near the bushes, in the shade, currently licking herself, also obviously enjoyed being cleaned. But did clothes enjoy it? Water. The stuff which cleansed. Oh, a little soap never hurt, but Daniel preferred his stuff washed just with water, and Gloryel did not object. Water? How did it clean? Oh, chemical reactions she supposed. Washing away loose particles of dirt and gunk from clothes – clothes more strongly knitted together through their atomic connections than the dirt, which was more loose, and able to be dislodged by the cleaning agency of H2O. Water. Cleaning. And more – for drinking. To quench thirst. And, of course, to cleanse the inner system. And the more you drank, usually, the weight stayed away, which was ever so important for a typically vain spice girl of renowned weight fluctuations. She stood there, looking at the dripping water, when Daniel yelled ‘Babe. Were are you?’ and so she disappeared back inside, looked at the fast food he had brought home for dinner, and looked forward to enjoying the new movie just made – Titanic 47, yet another instalment in the epic series.
* * *
Daniel looked at the ice block. It was the last one in the freezer. ‘Do you mind babe?’ he asked her, pulling it out, giving her his best ‘poor me’ look. She wanted to complain. It was hot. It was the last one. ‘Go on, then. I’ll have some ice water.’
5 minutes later, sitting out the back, watching the neighbours a little, she sipped her water, and thought again on the purity of the stuff. Simple chemicals. Simple energy, apparently, from the source of all life – God. Apparently spirit matter filled everything – the whole universe – and the spirit of God moulded such stuff into life and other useful things, for his entertainment, and to impart his children into the grand adventure of it all. Water – one of the fundamentals. But, supposedly, 5 elements. Fire. Very hot. Earth – solid. Wind – Free as a bird. And then, the most intense, the ecstasy of Plasma. The fifth element.
5 elements – the basis of existence. The matter of the physicality of the spiritual realm. 5 Elements, and 5 of the angels claimed them. But the other two? Saruviel at 6 and Michael at 7? What on earth represented them? The unknown elements? The unknown powers? Who knew.
* * *
‘So, babe, you wanna go see a movie. The new ‘Freerider’. It should be great. Saruviel never stuffs up with his epics.’
‘Maybe,’ she responded, sipping on water. ‘But I really want to cleanse myself at the moment. To understand something. To ascertain a mystery.’
He looked at her quizzically. ‘What mystery?’
‘We’ll have to wait and see, dear Daniel. We will have to wait and see.’
‘Oh, ok. Well let me know if you find your answer. I’m off to see Freerider.’
‘Bye,’ she responded. And he was gone.
She sipped on her water, purifying herself. She needed to be clean. She would wash 7 or 8 times tonight. Cold showers. Scrubbing a lot. Perfectly clean. Then she would sit in the quiet room, and pray, and think. The sixth element? And the seventh? What could they possibly be?
The music of Enya made her at peace, and as Boudicea the extended version entered her heart, she found the sixth inside. It was darkness. A very, very, dark spirit. Very, very cold. Capable of Absolute Zero – of absolute nothing. Frozen in time, frozen in heart, at peace with the darkness, cold, but a cool breeze to soothe what she knew the seventh to be. The eternal power and wrath of the Almighty one. Michael, God’s favoured child. The seventh son. The power of God. White light. A burning power beyond the heat and intensity of Plasma. Excruciatingly powerful and strong. A blaze of absolute glory. BUT, as they say, it was always darkest before the dawn. ALWAYS.
Daniel watched Freerider catch the bad guys, rescue the maiden, get a kiss, and save the day. Another typical classic. Well done Saruviel.
He ordered water from the movie canteen. He drank it all. He ordered two more bottles. He drank them all. He needed to be suddenly clean. Something in him was telling him this.
When he got home Gloryel was naked, and she kissed him, and they sat in the cool of the night, drinking ice water.
‘I have found what I needed to find. Understanding.’
‘Did you work out 8?’
‘Huh? What was that Daniel?’
‘Nothing babe. Lets fuck.’
Angels of Hope
Summation, Completion, the Entirety
of the Principle
‘Mikey Robinson. Danny Robinson. Paul Robinson. Three very stubborn men.’
‘Don’t I know it,’ responded Daniel. ‘Don’t I know it.’
Joniquay – the centre of heaven – the centre of the universe for the Empire Glorydanielphora. Glorydanielphora – the ultimate project of Gloryel and Daniel, with a single, solitary, purpose. Establish Empire from Joniquay, and rule everything. Every continent under the 7 heavens from the centre of God’s glory, Joniquay.
And so they had saved, and continued to save, and had slowly, carefully, so as not to disturb the ship, when houses and land had become available, purchased them over the long aeons in their project, to claim all the megacity of Joniquay.
But they found opposition. Opposition in the most familiar of adversaries. The Robinsons. The bloody bugger Robinsons.
The Angel Valandriel was sitting with Daniel and Gloryel. ‘Completion of your project will not be easy, divine warriors of justice. For the Robinson’s have ego, and the cash to match.’
‘Amen,’ said Daniel.
‘Indeed,’ said Valandriel. ‘But I sense a new opportunity on the diplomacy table. A new, and cunning tactic. Intermarriage – the joining of Kingdoms. Have a boy – Gloryel and Daniel – and marry your boy to one of their girls. And pray over him. And he shall be King over Glorydanielphora forever.
And Gloryel looked at Daniel, who smiled, and got that devil’s look in his eye.
* * * * *
‘Gloryel. Daniel. The Bane of our lives. And their dastardly Glorydanielphora.’
‘Yet I have an idea,’ responded faithful friend Valandriel. ‘Intermarriage. Have, say, a girl. And marry her to one of their boys. And through her persuasion you shall rule a nation.’
And old John Robinson said ‘What the hey.’
* * * * *
Young Valhalla and younger Velladorrea were married, joining two warring tribes, making them one, making them united.
Valhalla was a good king. He ruled with Wisdom. The Great Grand Kings and Queens, which watched over his dominion, the real powers of the new Empire of Glorydanielrobaphora, were finally at peace. And, slowly, in finding completion, summation, and the entirety of their lives, they expanded their kingdom, and expanded it, and expanded it, until they were well and truly stuffed with citizens.
At the end of all good days.
Heaven rested, and the angels and children of God fell asleep, and the second great rest began.
And God smiled.
And it was unforgettable.
And it was good.
Callodyn the Cherubim, founder of Haven Noahide Fellowship, his first Karaite Noahide Assembly and founder of Assembly of the Divine Creator, his second, and far more successful Karaite Noahide Assembly, sat with Daniel the Seraphim, in a Joniquay tower of the Diamond City Central District, discussing the Robinson brothers.
'Valhalla has many children,' commented Callodyn.
'He is bold in his lovemaking,' responded Daniel.
'And with 777 children to Velladorrea, he must be bold indeed.'
'Indeed,' responded Daniel, smiling to himself.
'Well!' stated Callodyn, insisting that Daniel really should already know his desire.
'Well what?' asked Daniel the Seraphim, casually.
'Are they committed? To Haven? To AOTDC? They rarely attend, any of the princes and princesses, and your brood of Daly-Robinson's have a lot to learn about the real world out there if they expect the community to just go idly by and not deliberately notice what we all know you are planning.'
'And what is that?' asked Daniel grinning.
'Believe me,' said Callodyn, summing himself all up with that statement. 'Believe me, bro. We know what you are up to. Joniquay has seen it coming for a while now. Yet another bloody dynasty builder. We always sort them out though, you know. When they push to hard. Guess what mate? We push bloody back. We do, you know. We push bloody back.'
Daniel just smiled.
'We're watching mate,' said Callodyn, and went off to get a can of ginger beer.
Daniel brooded for a while. He would have to be a bit more careful, now. They had started being – noticed. Quite obviously. But come on – who were they fooling. You didn't set about ruling the 7 heavens and not expect some competition. It naturally came along in time. Naturally. And Callodyn, founder of the Noahide Fellowships he had spent his human life building, was were, so it seemed, the most concern for their recent activities as a family, was coming from. Perhaps his oldest and most trusted confidante. Callodyn the Cherubim, twin to Kayella. Two of the most respected angels of Joniquay. Figures.
What would he do? Naturally, continue on with the mission, but perhaps not be so obvious about it. But he was not one for shady activity, nor Valhalla his son, who was very forthright about being honest and open with people. So, then, perhaps that was the best strategy of all. If they wanted to end up being the ruling clan and family of heaven, then keep it obvious. Keep it very obvious. Keep their plans open to every one.
And by doing that, by being so bloody obvious about it, Daniel had a hunch that people would assume the situations were being dealt with by others. People always left their problems to everyone else. Always.
But Callodyn could be a worry.
Because he wasn't an idiot.
And that twin of his. Kayella. Who knows what she would think of it all? Who knows indeed.
And so he sat, and brooded, and ignored Callodyn who re-entered the private club room with a cold ginger beer, sitting watching a cricket match now, but who was still slinging him an occasional, looks could kill, stare.
But that was Family Politics, wasn't it. For he was descended from Callodyn. Your greatest enemy was always in your very midst.
Daniel got himself a ginger beer, smiled at Callodyn, and standing by the window, looked out at the traffic of the Diamond City, the day passing by, another day in the affairs and machinations of the eternal angelic children of God.
Jael of the Diamond City
Her name was Jael. She was angelic. She lived in an ancient tower of Joniquay – the Diamond City. Her tower was encrusted with Diamond's, for it was one of the original towers of the city. The old world. The Old City. The Heart of Joniquay. She never really left it much. She'd lived on Earth, for a while, but now resided at home, in Joniquay, eternal.
'Sister,' said Gabriel. 'You worry too much.'
Jael ignored him. She poured out for herself a glass of red wine. She looked at him, steadily, and drank it. She had words.
'I am of the Assembly of the Divine Creator. I am an Angel of Hope. And I want to remind you Gabriel that you do not rule everyone's heart in the Diamond City,' said Jael.
'What more do you want from me? What more must I do? Heaven runs smoothly, and the populace are happy and content. Daniel is ego. I shan't suffer any more of his attempts to gain power amongst us. And Valhalla can bite me as far as I am concerned. They have joined the Divine Creator's Assembly only in a vain show of popularity, and whilst Callodyn has admitted them to positions of Authority, they are no fit contenders for gaining true power in Joniquay.'
Jael sipped on her wine, smiling at Gabriel with the luxury of her knowledge. 'You have little left, dear brother.'
'Little what?' retorted Gabriel.
'Little anything. But, mostly, little of anything new to offer any of us.'
'As I said, dear Jael. What more needs be done?'
'The AOTDC has creative faculties, and we have created much. We could grow this world BEYOND what has already been accomplished. We could reshape it, revitalize it, and build a better version. You have nothing left. Why do you stop in our way? People want something new, brother. They are bored with the humdrum of Gabriel's steady ways. He no longer inspires. Picnics on the weekend is about all you are good for any more.'
Gabriel sighed. 'And what wouldst thou do should thine power be attained? Corrupt us all I think.'
'I shan't disclose so easily dear brother the accumulated wisdom of our Lore. Move over. This is generation next, and we have something new to say, and something new to offer. If you allow Callodyn the Authroity over Heaven he has asked for, then we will have a new beginning, and new inspiration. Something new in life to think and ponder and indeed cogitate verily upon. For you bore us,' she said, and sipped her wine.
'I bore you,' he said exasperated. He looked out at the night sky, up at the stars of heaven. Fine, he said in his heart. I can retire, do some fishing, mess around with some blondes I know. Sure. Whatever. If they make a mess, let them clean it up. He turned to Jael. 'Have it your way. Convene a council. I'll nominate Callodyn my successor, and I'll retire in grace. Move away and enjoy the quiet life.'
'That is truly excellent,' said Jael of the Diamond City.
'And God help us all,' muttered Gabriel under his breath.
'Yes grandfather,' said Daniel to the Angel Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly. 'I will ensure I comply with the directives of Callodyn.' Daniel switched off the videophone link, and said 'Old Fart,' and looked at his room. It was a mess. Papers and folders everywhere.
'You have too many agendas,' said Gloryel, sipping Coca Cola on the armchair.
'I don't have enough of them,' smiled Daniel in response. 'Yeh, I know. Way too many. Valandriel always has a new scheme he wants me to do, and fitting in with AOTDC is a frikkin headache.'
'Jael expects results Daniel San,' said Gloryel. 'She got Callodyn the job, so you gotta perform bro. I know you are finding the new congregation a challenge, but try to get along with them better. They could probably teach you a lot. Especially about your pride. You think too much of your abilities. You're only an angel you know. Not a god.'
'I'm trying to hard to exalt myself, you think?' he asked her.
'You and Valandriel never quit on that agenda you cottoned up once. Rule heaven. Very funny. Gabriel is secure in that job, and now with Callodyn in charge you have a new battle yet again.'
'I just wan the frikkin glory sweetie. Not necessarily the power, not necessarily the responsibility. Just the frikkin glory.'
'Have your cake,' started Gloryel.
'And eat it too,' finished Daniel. 'Yep. Something like that.'
'Callodyn has served forever building his religions, you know, Danny. It was blood, sweat and tears to get it all established. He earned his respect. You think it comes cheap?'
'No, probably not. But I have a 10% discount card for Woolworths if that is any help.'
Gloryel smiled. 'Try one agenda at a time, kemosabe. And follow through with it till you get a decent result. Only then move on.'
'The girl's a mentor already,' said Daniel sarcastically.
'One at a time,' said Gloryel, and stood, lit a ciggie, and wandered off to the rest of the house.
Daniel sat down on his bed, looking at all the folders, and thought on that. 'Actually, yes. That was wise. One at a time. Don't do everything all at once. Spread yourself too thin. So, thinking about his priorities, he looked through his folders, found an old plan he had of space age playground equipment with patented designs held by his corporation, and thought it was as good a place to start as any.
Children of the Divine Creator
In time, Daniel indeed accomplished much of the glory he sought through his son Valhalla. Yet, indeed, he did not go unopposed, and Callodyn and the members of the Assembly of the Divine Creator were Daniel's greatest teachers in the humility that he truly needed to learn and the lessons of the heart – the lessons of love – that he also needed to master to think beyond the social circle and dreams of just Daniel the Seraphim and realize a greater world, a greater community – a greater family – which also desired its own glories and salvations and that Daniel was not one, like every member, to simply rule this family, but to take fair and honest part in this family, and love this family, for all members were children of the Divine Creator, and not just those with egos and paypackets to pursue their dreams of dreams.
The Children of the Divine Creator went on for countless aeons, like the world which had existed before them, but at the end of it all, the angel Callodyn found a quiet brook, and a quiet bungalow, in a quiet corner of a quiet english county, in a quiet section of heaven, were a gentle and timid Amy Lee, finally showing up for the first time ever in her new existence, since she had finally died just before the completion of the first rest, to take her part, and had forgotten all things but, in a destiny which had taken her the eternity of her second life to work out, she had found the world were she belonged.....
by a quiet brook....
in a quite bungalow....
in a quiet corner....
of a quiet english county....
In a quiet section of heaven, were she rested from her quest of heart to find where she belonged in this world, as the pop singers would sing and, meeting Callodyn, she looked at him one evening, and noticed a familiarity about him, and a strange sense of comfort which rested in the centre of her heart and world and, taking his hand, walking home from the brook, she came into the bungalow and, in quiet corner of the house, she sat with him, and kissed him and said 'I love you.'
And the world fell asleep.
And the rest came.
And Callodyn and Amy lived again their time in the rest, and they did less than last time, for they were mostly content.
And God watched over them, together, from time to time.
And he planned, yet again, for the next world of amazing life, love and other mysteries.
And life went on and on Forever.
And life went on and on.
Gabriel was at peace. The firstborn son of God – truly – was at peace. He was in a southerly continent of heaven, a small one, with lush forests, wild wilderness, beautiful hills, and rivers full of rainbow trout. And he was fishing and a hunting to his delight, with two attractive blondes keeping the home fires burning in his log cabin, warming him up each night with their tender caresses. Life was good. Then Gloryel showed up.
'Well, it's pretty much a wreck in the Diamond City,' said Gloryel.
'Fascinating,' said Gabriel, as he continued chopping wood.
'They've tried redesigning the whole city centre, and have moved everything around, unfinished and abandoned projects are everywhere, because nobody can seem to agree,' said Gloryel.
'Exciting times,' said Gabriel.
'Inflation is at an all time high practically. 27%,' said Gloryel.
'A good time to invest in gold,' replied Gabriel.
'Unemployment has technically crept in a little,' said Gloryel.
'A time for entrepreneurs,' smiled Gabriel at his sister, as he continued chopping wood.
'Garbage men are on strike. They want better pay,' said Gloryel.
'Gotta take care of that,' said Gabriel.
'Jael is acting like a witch queen,' said Gloryel.
'She's a character,' replied Gabriel.
'But, apart from that, things are about the same,' said Gloryel.
Gabriel put down his axe, came over to his sister, and took both her hands and looked into her eyes. 'Tell someone who gives a shit, sis,' he said in the sweetest most sarcastic of tones.
Gloryel nodded, and Gabriel returned to his wood chopping.
When she had left, he looked up at heaven, then thought of his two blondes inside and said 'No. Fuckit. They can work it out.'
And he continued chopping wood.
And life just went on in heaven.
The Gloryel Complex
'It's shit,' said Gloryel.
'It doesn't smell,' said Daniel.
'It's hardened to the point were the smell has gone,' replied Gloryel. 'It's a toilet full of hardened shit. I mean, who comes in here and doesn't flush the toilet?'
'Joniquay has a variety of colourful streetlife,' replied Daniel.
They were inspecting the 'Gloryel Complex' in the heart of Joniquay, a semi-built project dedicated to Gloryel, of public toilets, bathing and an amphitheatre with a playground. Hazards abounded everywhere.
'You think, maybe, your management style suffers?' asked Gloryel.
'Everyone in Counsel frikkin blocks me – and everyone else. Nobody can agree,' said Daniel frustrated.
'Take the bull by the horns,' said Gloryel, as they continued their tour.
'And what does that mean exactly?' asked Daniel.
'Take charge. Just do it. Tell counsel to go to hell, because nothing is getting down. Get your workers in and get the job finished, and deal with all the crap around town. Just do it Daniel.'
He looked at her. 'I couldn't. It's not the way counsel works. These are the issues of debate we work through excruciatingly slowly. It is the whole point of the game, sweetie. We spare no quarter, but we play by the rules.'
'While Joniquay suffers. Think laterally. Defy tradition. Do it your way.'
'Love to. Not my style, sis,' replied Daniel, as they looked up at the pipe running from the top of the toilets into mid air, with water spewing forth regularly.
'This is the shit we deal with when we follow old tradition,' said Gloryel. 'You have great ideas, but you will get bogged down in counsel. Take charge buddy. Or I will.'
He grinned at her. 'You would. Ok, ok. Fuckit then. I'll dazzle em with a speed of profound wisdom, and let them know I am 'Getting things done'. Some charm, sharp talking, and I can be the man of the moment.'
'So get on with it,' she replied.
Daniel took his mobile from his pocket, rang a number and spoke briefly. 'Team X is on the case,' he said. 'We'll have the city going according to the plans right away.'
'Better,' said Gloryel, as they surveyed the amphitheatre full of rubbish and 3 or 4 homeless people, snoozing the afternoon away. 'We have an example to set to Gabriel. Let's not disappoint.'
'Yes mistress,' replied Daniel, as he wondered just what he would do with the homeless mugs in front of him.
It took a while, but Daniel spoke well in Counsel, and the other angels of the upper hierarchy mocked him a bit, but said 'Well get on with it then.' And so he did. Callodyn worked with Daniel, and they worked at one of their first goals – revitalisation of the old town of Joniquay. Not in new tradition, though, except were deemed of 'Culturally Eternally in Style' significance. Things which endured, and remained popular, staying in style. Designs were mostly classical, but modern and space age thing were present, and after a decade of solid and hard work, well, as crazy as people wanted to make it sound, they'd did a spectacular job. The Old Town was larger, bigger, still traditional, but more aesthetically beautiful and convenient and accessible than ever. Towers, more of them encrusted with diamonds, were even more luxurious, and little parks, galleries, eating establishments and cafes were all over, with all sorts of wonderful designs and sights to see. They'd actually pulled it off – transformed a traditional Gabrielesque city into a far more elaborate and complex design, which actually appealed to both the heart and the pragmatic. And every day which passed Daniel got more and more comments of 'Job well done.'
Gabriel got word of it. Gloryel visited him. He sat quietly, next to the small stream down from his cabin, and eventually smiled. 'Well, it looks as if you were right in the end then. I'm old, set in my ways, and didn't have that much inspiration any more.'
'A good rest,' said Gloryel. 'And you'll have more of an imagination.'
'That may indeed be true,' said Gabriel. And looking up at heaven he said it to himself again, 'That indeed may be true.'
Queen of AOTDC
'Well, you are the Queen,' said Callodyn to Gloryel.
'Humph,' said Gloryel. 'I've been a member 5 minutes, and I'm the best you can do? You've had an eternity with your fellowship, and you haven't been able to find a queen till I joined?'
'It takes the right kinda gal,' said Valandriel. 'And your the bestest, Geri girl.'
'And what are my royal powers?' asked Gloryel.
'We put you on a throne. And you pontificate,' said Daniel.
'I applied,' said Jael. 'They said they'd think about it. Your the lucky girl.'
'Lucky me,' said Geri. 'Queen of Assembly of the Divine Creator. Whatever will my subjects say?'
'Long live the queen, I'd imagine,' said Valandriel. 'They've wanted one for ages. Too many power made males to choose a King, so they asked for a Queen. And your it.'
'And the Queen shall reign in glory,' said Gloryel.
'We are now bigger than the official Torah faith of the community,' said Daniel. 'More members by about half again. We have a chance of pushing for official royal power over Heaven if we play our cards right. It's a game with counsel, but we can win it.'
'You hope,' said Gloryel.
'And that is what it is all about,' said Callodyn. 'Angels of Hope. Hoping for a better future, a better tomorrow.'
'Here we go again,' said Gloryel, as Callodyn launched into another speech on the virtues of the Assembly of the Divine Creator and its core message of hope, a very well worn message. It was going to be one of those days, she thought to herself. It was going to be one of those days.
Carman Licciardello was having an argument with Aphrayel, child of heaven.
'Look, dear Aphy. May I call you that?'
'You may,' replied Aphrayel.
'Look, frankly, we have a decent contract with God for some ongoing life now. We're stronger since that rest, and I think we can go the distance now.'
Death shook her head. 'No. I don't think so. But who is we?'
'Jesus. Of course. Those Daniel Daly idiots. Monique Wright. Melanie C, possibly, but probably not. She might need a rebirth. Amy Lee of course.'
'You have faith for a translation to spend time with God?' asked Aphrayel. 'And then back into the pack quietly?'
'Yes,' replied Carman. 'We do.'
'Ok. You guys, just you, you here, I will give a break. You have learned enough respect for death now, so I will give you a break.'
'And that old Satan?' asked Carman.
'That's your own grudge issue. I'll leave that with you Mr Licciardello. Prove your case, and such is life and death and punishment.'
'Fine,' replied Carman. 'Leave it with me.'
'That I'll do. Survivor.'