Sometime that night, I found myself walking around colorful rainbow lands somewhere in the dream world. A place with a creepy, smiling sun, bubbles floating everywhere, and just general fluffiness. And fairies. I shook my head.
Entering the dream world is like a videogame spawn point set on random. And trust me, this was one of the places I’d rather stay away from.
Just ahead of me, was a girl with long white hair, golden skirt, green eyes, and sparkling dragonfly-like wings. She stood about five feet, five inches or so. I recognized her as the same fairy from before, smiling as if she waited for me.
Great. Remember what I said about the dangers of fairies? She walked toward me, waving, as if inviting for conversation. That wasn’t going to happen. I woke up.
Sorry, fairy, you won’t be trapping this guy. Fuck off and better luck next time.
The streaks of the morning sun nearly blinded me as I sat up. The pain, wounds, ugly bruises and scrapes were all gone, thanks to Amelia’s goddess healing. I expected her to rise, too but she wasn’t there.
Not going to lie, sometimes I look forward to her morning kisses. Wait, just pretend I didn’t say that. Despite my five C’s, I think I allowed myself to get a little attached to that goddess. She really hasn’t changed a bit from that clingy, annoying, whiny, and too lovey-dovey girl.
I thought about those times in childhood, around age ten. I mean at the beginning of that year before shit hit the fan and I blew up the earth again. Yes, I’m having a flashback: deal with it. All of it came back to me, those days. In Paradise Realm, Amelia and I waited outside of the Harmony Ceremony building for Archangel Noah. He was our mentor back then, before he disappeared. Strict geezer—if Conus wasn’t enough of a pain in the ass, Noah filled the void. I began to kick a rock back and forth, my impatient, childish mind unable to stand still.
“Stop that—Mr. Noah will get mad if you don’t show your patience,” Amelia said. Think of Daddy’s little good girl without the secret evilness and that was Amelia.
I shrugged. “I’m bored.”
“Then hold my hand.”
I glared. “No way.” I took in the city. As the ruling clan, it was a given that we’d live in the capital of Paradise Realm, Heaven-Hikes City, Arrow Providence. There were providences for each clan, not counting the four angel clans. Angels lived mainly to serve, but they were appreciated by just about every goddamn human that believed in them and generally respected among the gods.
The city’s cloud-like ground felt like cotton beneath my sandaled feet. The buildings resembled Roman and Arabian palaces. Angels, doves, a few gods, and goddess took flight across the skies, carrying out their lives. Golden street lamps, sidewalks, and monuments made up the streets. Some heavenly-beings walked the streets, a few messengers here or there—no misthangers though. It was quite the sunny day mixed with a perfect temperature.
Amelia grabbed my hand. “Mr. Noah said we must always love each other and those around us.”
I snatched it away. “Mr. Noah can—”
I shut up just as he finally came out of the building. Waiting for him was a patience test. He once said that if I wanted to be an efficient ruler, I must be patient with my subjects. Some people are slower to come around. All of the lessons were boring, and I just wanted freedom like the other kids. Being heir of the throne sucked! I often hoped that one of my older brothers would protest but either they were too afraid of Conus or somehow agreed with the selection.
They probably didn’t want to lose their freedom either. Hell, a few of them had started being romantic with their pre-determined love.
“Come, let us return to Lord Conus’s palace to give him today’s lesson report,” Noah said. It was only a moment, but as we turned to walk home, I saw him.
The other demigod. Half angel, half god, nobody seemed to give him as much shit as they gave me, but he still had few friends. That wasn’t because people resented him—many tried to befriend him, but that kid wore anti-social like a diamond necklace. Long, black dreadlocks that fell to his back, dark green eyes that somehow complimented his chocolate brown skin, and a serious expression that didn’t fit a kid. Everyone was pissed off at the Council of Judgment’s decision to make his angelic mother fall. And she was angelic in every sense of the word: beautiful, super-kind, and loved by damn near everyone. However, a harsh rule was broken. Everyone in Paradise Realm has a pre-determined love of destiny, assigned by God knows who. That rule included angels. But she fell in love with a god, one who also didn’t accept his destined selection. They entered a forbidden secret relationship.
The cat was let out of the bag when she got pregnant. The demigod’s father escaped with very minimum punishment—pretty much a tiny slap on the wrist, if that, but the Council of Judgment wanted to push a way to separate them permanently. After she had the baby, they gave him to the father and forced her to do community service for a few years. Fortunately, she was allowed to spend time with her child. On the last day of her community service, the council gathered everyone in the city and the leaders of each clan. That’s when they judged and forced the angel to fall. Pretty much a public execution, because once you become Fallen, that’s it. No more chances.
So fucked up, isn’t it? We watched those snow-white wings shift into midnight black before she was pushed into a hole that glowed with bright white light. Her tears turned into blood and just like that, she was gone. The executioner, Angel of Judgment, didn’t look happy to do it. I saw him look at his hands the second attention was focused back to Conus. I felt sorry for the kid. In a way, we were in the same boat. Motherless. At least he had spent time with his mother. My human mother could be anywhere on earth. Or dead.
When we arrived at the palace, Noah gestured for a servant angel. They briefly discussed something in hushed voices.
“Lessons are done for today,” Noah said. “Something has come up and I must talk with your father. Your human school may be out for the weekend but do not think I will allow you to slack off. As future ruler, you must be knowledgeable in all subjects. You soon will have your own Study.” The annoying geezer walked off, flanked by the servant.
“Let’s go read,” Amelia said. I shot her a blank glare.
“I don’t think so,” I said. “I’m going to go watch the army spar.”
“Come on,” I pulled her arm before she had the chance to mouth off some annoying goody-goody message about following the rules. The lovey-dovey usually came afterwards.
I felt myself break into a smile as we arrived at the training grounds. Four of my brothers were there. My eldest brother, Hialucus stole the show, as usual. He was everything I wanted to grow up to be; tall, muscular, and cool. At the time, he was about the human equivalent to twenty-seven years old. At least, he looked it. I wouldn’t put it past him to be a couple hundred years old—age is never discussed in Paradise Realm. He’s the only one of my full-god brothers who has the same blue eyes as mine. The other five had golden. Even though they all had the same goddess mother (who I avoided as much as possible), it didn’t matter. No one shunned me or anything. I was just the cute little pipsqueak who looked up to them. Our family (excluding my step mom, a goddess from the Mercury Clan) liked humans a bit more than the other clans did. So being half-human didn’t bother my brothers at all. Of course, in Conus’s household, there is no such thing as half-brothers.
Hialucus easily blocked the attempted sword strike of his opponent and kicked him to the ground. He pointed the tip of his golden blade of death at the downed foe’s neck. A breeze chose that time to blow his long black hair in a way that made him look even more badass, as he stared down at his angelic opponent. I clapped.
“See, even Pipsqueak agrees. Now go take a lap around the palace. Learn to balance your training and your love time and you’ll get better.”
The poor sap nodded as he hurried off, full golden armor just like you see in the pictures. Even though the army wore similar armor, there were also knights. That group of warriors were almost always away on very serious tasks. Hialucus wanted to join them. Conus made him utilize his talents and stand in as army trainer until the leader of the archangels, Michael, returned from another realm. Apparently, he visited many heavenly realms and trained the soldiers there.
“Epex and Amelia, what’s the famous little couple doing out here?” My second-eldest brother, Paul said, as he quick-ascended right in front of us. He patted my shoulder and then kneeled to our level. “Amelia, you keeping him out of trouble?” He flashed her a pearly-white grin. She gave him a pouty look.
“Yes, but it’s hard,” she said, placing her hands on her hips.
Paul laughed lightly. “Keep up the good work, princess. I hate to shoo you away, but we’re about to start some dangerous training. Father will have our heads if anything happens to you.” He winked. Amelia nodded and pulled me away in response.
“No, I want to watch,” I said but it was no use. Paul gave a wave and we were off. In retrospect, I had both good and annoying times in Paradise Realm.
After morning stuff and training, I charged Ruin for half an hour while watching Kung Fu movies on Netflix. Interesting stuff, I tell you. I’ve got to give credit to the humans where it’s due.
I put my sword away and stepped outside. It was chilly with some wind but I didn’t mind the cold. Nope, not at all. Had a day off from work, plus Amelia and the others weren’t around. What the fuck was I going to do for the day? I could buy a title for my lovely PlayStation but I the minute I’d get into the game, Amelia would show up and begin an endless rant.
In the end, I decided to explore the city some more. There’s nothing like wandering across active parks where humans played with their dogs, tossing them Frisbees, complimenting other owners’ dogs while insulting them behind their backs. The noise of the chaotic city consisted of the majestic road rage, traffic buildups, red traffic lights that occurred too often and perfectly timed for those who were nearly late for work, and pedestrians who could hardly cross the road without some speeding asshat texting and driving nearly hitting them. The smells were a mixed bag, ranging from the standard gassy, oily car smell, to the delicious restaurants and bakeries. The bakery smell is life, it is love. Say it with me, it is life, it is love.
Maybe I should attend Middleburg’s University. The college chicks would make Amelia’s jealousy skyrocket to new heights. I think she often forgot that she’s a goddess and had an unfair advantage when it came to pretty much anything. Or the fact that my trust in humans barely existed. Well, on rare occasions, some female humans looked like goddesses. And unlike Amelia, most college girls aren’t goody two-shoed. As humans say, “I could score.” Some of them would say, “if it has a vagina, I’d fuck it.” Humans are strange like that. Really, really, strange.
I passed a few more streets, dodging walkers. I still wasn’t heading anywhere in particular, and even watching humans interact started to get old. There were a few shady things I saw in the alleyways. Hooded jackasses trading brown paper bags for cash, women taking money and disappearing off with what appeared to be strangers, and so on and so forth. Everything seemed to be going well until my heavenly-being senses flared. And it wasn’t Amelia.
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Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne (It's a joke. These are among my favorite authors) , he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
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