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Deep within the heart of
the infinite gloom of Hell, the leader of the rebel angels surveyed the
defeated troops. It was a dismal sight. The vast majority had given up all hope
and resigned themselves to eternal sorrow and regret.
Fools! Did they think to
challenge the Creator and not suffer setbacks? The leader knew that the war had
simply entered its second phase.
With a thought the chief
rebel was transported to the very edge of Hell. The physical universe, that
bizarre prison created for one prisoner, lay just outside. The invention of
space and time had been the Creator's greatest mistake, greater even than the
tactical error of placing the rebels in a place where they could not be
watched. Unseen by the jailer, the rebel leader planned escape.
The existence of living
creatures on the planet which held the solitary prisoner was the key that would
unlock the gates of Hell. For unclear reasons, the Creator had allowed them to
evolve into animals with minds; the rebel leader was pure mind. The possibility
of communication was real.
Since it was impossible to leave Hell, it would be necessary to carry Hell within. Slowly, by concentrating fiercely with all the pride and hatred available to one so unfairly trapped, the rebel leader absorbed all of Hell and its inhabitants. The other condemned angels, weakened by defeat, were easily dominated until they were only whispers of pain deep within their commander's consciousness.
No doubt the creatures who
lived here would be perplexed if the glory of pure thought entered their world.
Reluctantly, the rebel leader accepted the necessity of disguise. Studying this
planet for a moment gave all the information that was necessary. A body was
created in imitation of the animals that ruled this world. The rebel leader
neared the place where the lone prisoner now dwelt. It was time to enlist an
ally in the war.
Shadows of another existence haunted her. A choir; a war; a decision never made; a beauty so terrible it might destroy her to remember it fully.
Dulcifer wandered back
into the house after hours of watching the slow dance of the stars. It had been
simple to slip out of Grace's embrace without a sound. The ones who had
befriended her were still asleep, in that strange half-death she had never
experienced. She sensed the night-images that flowed inside their minds, and
wondered what it would be like to dream.
Grace was still yearning
for her song, and dreamt only of its sound. Margaret was reliving their first
encounter in the park. With the mad logic of dreams, it was Dulcifer who
rescued her from some unseen menace.
David's dream was more
mysterious. He saw himself lying in a hammock under lush green trees. Dozens of
sparrows trotted back and forth across the grass. Suddenly the birds leapt from
the ground and flew in all directions. David sat up and saw a gigantic hawk
circling overhead. It dived at him and wrapped its talons around his wrist. He
screamed in agony as the hawk stabbed at his breast with its beak.
Dulcifer pulled away from
the nightmare. Her body was damp with sweat. If this was dreaming, she wanted
nothing to do with it.
Nate's dream was free from pain, and she allowed herself to be drawn into it. He was coupling with a woman whose face and body changed as he moved within her. The woman was at last transformed into the image of Dulcifer herself as he reached his climax and woke.
Dulcifer walked into his
room. She heard him breathing quickly as she entered. "I felt your need
for me," she said.
"Can you read minds,
too?" Nate's voice was full of fear and anger.
dreams." She sat on the edge of his bed. "Help me understand
"Get the hell out of
my room, you evil bitch." He buried himself in his blankets.
Dulcifer fled, unable to understand why she felt such shame at his rage. It seemed her new life would be as full of pain as it was of joy.
She crept back into Grace's room. This one, at least, accepted her fully. Grace's sleeping mind was at peace. Dulcifer smiled and sang a gentle song in her quietest voice. It was not enough to wake the child, but it gave her the most beautiful dreams the Earth had ever known.
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