Fire on the mountain

The drive back from L.A. had been quiet. In the vast expanses of the West, Reziphel was able to precisely determine the top speed of Dr. Lord’s car in varying road conditions. The old european car was blasting now downhill through the Rockies, and Reziphel spoke slower, his eyes unfocused and he looked almost relaxed. Speed calmed him. Apparently so did the blurry guardrails that overlooked 3 and 400 hundred foot cliffs.

Reziphel looked over to where Zenaniel was morosely slumped against the window, twisting a barbie doll’s head around, over and over.

“You’ve been pretty quiet, Z.”

The car slalomed around a hairpin. Gaudior was asleep in the back seat, somewhere in the Marches, no doubt.

The doll head stopped.

“Yup.”

A few more big curves, Lolo Pass fading behind them. The mountains were beautiful, the sky was a solid blue without a cloud in sight. They had been driving from gas station to gas station without interruption. Zenaniel had not said word one since they left. He scrunched around from where he had been leaning against the door.

“I just want to know why, Rez. Why does He allow them to even. To even…” He made a disgusted noise and bashed Barbie against the dashboard a few times, where a small worn place was developing from her previous meetings.

Reziphel pondered for almost a second, which was a long time in Ofanite terms. “You mean, why does He let Demons flourish? Or why does he let L.A. be run by them?” He shrugged. “Did you SEE the real estate prices there?” Like that explained everything. The prices were pretty evil, come to think of it.

L.A. had been one long tortuous gauntlet for Zenaniel. Demons, well most of them, were meant to be hunted down and slain. End of story. Except L.A. was… OWNED by Demons, lots of Demons. L.A. featured Demonic Barons, Princes, Word Bounds and all their disgusting coteries of hangers on and suck ups, including infernal soldiers and the poor unaffiliated humans who lived in that. that… place. Ugh. The three of them had to attend some movie about a Troll and make nice to the local Demon in charge. If Angels could get headaches, Zenaniel would have had a dozen. He ground his teeth, just a little. Demons.

“No, Rez, I meant why does HE let that poor Malakite suffer there?” There had been a Malakite in L.A. The poor Choirmate had been a walking wreck, shredded wings, bruises, burns and other injuries, which was no big deal. Angels were tough, and the Malakim, as Choirs went, tended to be the toughest. No, it had been the way the Malakite had just shuffled around and looked beaten. Like he had given up, not even caring about all the discords he wore. He was also an errand boy for a Baron. Punishment.

The Barbie head made a few more short arcs into the leather dash.

Reziphel was rooting around in the pizza box on the seat between them. He extracted a slice of Meat Lovers Special and swallowed an enormous bite. Ofanites did everything in a hurry. A sign blurred by the window.

YOUR SPEED IS was followed by a blinking digital number, 99. 99. 99. Zenaniel glanced over at the speedometer, which was well over 99. Maybe the sign thing didn’t go over 100. Sloppy.

Reziphel kept talking through the mouthful of pizza. “See, Z, there is a vast ineffable plan at work.” Zenaniel rolled his eyes and took a few more thwacks at the dashboard. Then he realized that Rez was yanking his leg. Reziphel had a gleam in his eye, and now he had started giggling.

“A plan?” Zenaniel frowned and smoothed his pink denim skirt and snorted, then his mouth quirked. Now Reziphel was laughing around another bite of pizza.

Michael. Asiel. Archangels. There actually was something behind the humor, since Reziphel’s Superior was an insane firebug musician who spent a lot of time in an active Volcano. Not all of Heaven was cathedrals, waterfalls and glades. Especially the part around Gabriel. Gabriel tended to brood.

At least Michael DID stuff.

“Stupid Dominicans.” Michael probably sent him on the trip to learn humility or something. Looking at the broken Malakite had certainly been illuminating though. He hoped it was a lesson and not a warning. He looked up at the cream colored headliner and tried to look stern, if a 7-year old girl vessel could. As if.

OKAY I GET IT” he paused and said, more to himself then anyone else, " I will not throw any Dominicans through the front windshield of their Police cruiser, any more." Thunk. Thunk.

Reziphel made a snerk noise through the last of the pizza.

They passed a car on the side of mountain with a flashing red and blue light bar. The driver was trying to get back into the driver’s seat, and he looked like he was in a hurry. The road kept dropping down the mountainside, looping and twisting back on itself in the evening shadows. The engine of their car was screaming, lightly.

Zenaniel flipped the Barbie over the backseat and pulled his Hello Kitty shirt straighter, like it was a cuirass. He glanced over at Reziphel to see if he had been listening.

Reziphel was looking straight back at him, serious now. “Unless they deserve it, of course.” Rez intoned. His Asiel imitation was almost dead on. They both cracked up, the tension was gone now and the laughs just kept on ballooning out of them, filling the car.

Gaudior stirred, looked at the speedometer and mumbled something about wheels and trouble.

Fire on the mountain

Sic Transit ednoria