Chapter 7: The Curtain Falls
Nicolas stood at two story tall floor window, staring down at the San Francisco skyline. He was easily 50 stories up, and couldn’t reconcile the fact that the Flood Building was only 12 stories high. Even though it was a mile to the north, he found himself looking down on the TransAmerica Building’s pyramid point. Looking up, he was so close the thin layer of clouds, he felt he could reach up and feel them passing through his fingertips.
“So no one can see us?” he asked.
Axiel walked to stand next to him. “Nope.The ARC doesn’t exist anywhere. It’s basically tucked just outside of existence.”
Nick made his way to the desk. “So is this… is this what heaven is like?”
“Oh no.” The Angel replied taking her place behind the desk. “This isn’t anything. The Heavenly Dimensions are kind of difficult to describe. The physical laws between dimensions vary.”
“Heavenly dimensions? As in plural.”
“How many dimensions are there?”
Axiel smiled. “I don’t think there’s a number big enough to represent The Everything.”
‘What’s the best away to describe it…‘ She thought for a moment. The Angelic Chronicler realized she was venturing down a rabbit hole with a human who could barely interpret the dimensional construct they were standing in. She had to ‘dumb it down‘ considerably.
“Think of your universe… I mean everything that was created in The Big Bang… as a grain of sand. The entirety of the vastness of the cosmos, condensed into one small spec of siliceous. If that grain of sand represents this universe, then an entire beach would represent The Everything. And on that beach, there are an infinite number of other grains of sand which each represent other universes. So… try to calculate the amount of sand on a beach, and you’ll fathom how difficult it is to understand The Everything.
“Well.. shit.” he replied, before he could stop himself. Did he just use profanity in the presence of an Angel?
Axiel laughed. “Yes. Very shit indeed.”
“What would the ocean represent?”
“Forget about the ocean.” she continued to laugh. “Just understand it’s ‘way big’ and you get the idea.”
Nicolas smiled back nervously. He couldn’t let her know that she had lost him at the part about the spec of sand.
Axiel leaned forward in her chair, elbows to desk and fists to chin. “So much for Cosmic Existence 101. Why have you’ve come all this way? Keep in mind my knowledge is limited. Any Angels assigned to this plane of existence have been purposely locked out of everything, except what I’m suppose to know. It’s physically impossible for us to interfere, or leak information that would alter human existence.”
“What the hell does that even mean?”
“It means that Angels aren’t allowed to give otherworldly information to humans. It means that each Angel has a specific purpose in this realm and cannot interfere in another Angels duties. Each Angel stands alone. We have no information of other Angels and their duties.”
“I don’t need interference. I just need some information.” He pulled out his phone and started to scroll through his notes. “There’s something out here killing supernaturals and humans involved in acts of crime. We think it’s looking for something, but we can’t anticipate any type of pattern.”
She leaned back. “So.. it’s targeting evil?”
“More like evil deeds.” Nick motioned for Axiel to keep scrolling on his phone. “It’s killed vampires, insectoids, ghouls... But it’s also killed humans.. everything from serial killers and murders, to shoplifters. I’m concerned that whatever this thing is, it has no filter. It can’t distinguish between genocide and petty theft. It’s only a matter of time before it kills a jaywalker or…”
Nick’s voice trailed off as he focused on Axiel’s face. She had on blank, staring at whatever she found on the phone screen. Her pale complexion had seemed to grow even paler.
She gently put the phone on the desk, face down. She stared at Nicolas as if she wanted to say something… but couldn’t.
“Are you okay?” he asked her.
She shook her head. “I sorry, I can’t help you with this.” She slowly slid the phone back across the table toward him, while still keeping eye contact with him.
“Come on..” he started the protest, but she quickly cut him off.
“I’m sorry..” her stare became more intense. “I told you the rules and I have no choice but to send you on your way… with no assistance.”
“You have to leave.” Axiel said again. “Good day, Mr. Poole.”
“Right.” he replied, grabbing his coat. “Sure.”
He started to head for the door, when Axiel spoke again.
“Funny thing…” she started. Nick turned to look at her, his hand still on the doorknob. “I don’t know if this will help you. But, I told you how beings from other dimensions can’t exist here. But that’s not entirely true. There are rare instances when beings from both above and below have crossed over. Each being was given a totem to keep in their possession. It acts as a protective tether, allowing them to exist in a foreign dimension. While it’s on their person, they are protected for a short time.”
She rose from her seat behind her desk and approached Nick. “If what you’re dealing with is a being from another realm, they might possess one of these totems. If it is damaged or removed from their possession, they’ll be torn from this world and dragged back to their own.”
Axiel placed her beautiful hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you, Nicolas.”
“That’s ok. Sometime we help and don’t even realize it.”
Nicolas opened the door and once again stepped into the nothingness. The absence of sound engulfed him again and the pronounced sound of his footsteps and heartbeat filled his ears. As he drew close, the outline of the elevator door reopened ahead of him.
“Strange…” he heard Axiel call out from behind him. He turned just before stepping into the elevator to see Axiel peaking at him through the ARC’shole of nothingness. “You’ve traversed the ARC twice and have yet to show any signs of stress to your person.”
Nicolas backed into the elevator. “There’s no stress. No sound… which feels pretty creepy. But nothing else.”
And as the elevator doors closes, he heard the Angel utter the word again.
The elevator quietly descended back to the Earthly realm. Still readjusting his ears to normal, Nick grabbed his phone to call Everett. As he unlocked his phone, the screen revealed the last image Axiel had seen before she put the phone down. It was the Everett’s artist rendering of the being he confronted on that highway.
The detailed rendering was the last thing Axiel saw. It must’ve been the thing that made her face go pale. He knew that meant she knew what the thing was… but couldn’t tell him.
His eyes when wide. His skin went pale. The pit in his stomach became a cauldron of sick and nausea. He reached for the opaque button to take him back up to The Top Floor, but it had disappeared. His time was done, and there was no way to access the ARC without reacquiring a passcode.
But to be honest, he didn’t need to talk to Axiel again. He had all the information he needed.
He knew what it was… and in all his time as an Apostate, he had never been so frightened.
A few moments later, Nicolas’ elevator opened to the ground floor. He stopped and tried to fight the panic welling up inside his stomach.
He quickly bypassed the security guard on the way out, but not before giving him the ‘peace’ sign. The guard reciprocated without looking up from his desk.
As he stepped outside onto the street, he quickly scrolled through his phone’s recent calls to find Alec’s number.
His call went straight to voicemail.
Suspended Police Officer Everett James hadn’t taken a sip of his Vanilla Latte in 15 minutes. He sat in the corner booth of the Starbucks people watching the cast of characters walk by him to get in line. Only hours before he’d discovered that most of the things that go bump in the night were actually real.
He’d been attacked by a giant rocky Hulk-looking thing in the morning (he called it Rulk in his head). It destroyed his car and threw him off the edge of a cliff while in the act of murdering a woman, who might have or might not have been a murderer herself.
And if that wasn’t enough, he’d just witnessed the transformation of the real live vampire before his eyes. Sure, Lana turned out to be a pretty cool kid, but still… fucking vampires!!!
Nicolas had left him on his own as he went to get the counsel of some Angelic Beings somewhere in the sky. Everett didn’t ask questions. He was still processing the event of earlier today.
The vibration of his phone buzzing brought him out of his creature feature catatonic gaze. He took a quick sip of his Latte and was surprised to find it so cold. He studied his iPhone Lock Screen and found a text message from Nicolas’ number”
“RUSTY KEG.. TURK STREET.. GO NOW!!!