By: R.J. Newlyn


As we trudged through the forest, enveloped in the silence that gathers before daybreak, I thought about Uriel and what he had said before Lily gunned him down. We reached the brow of a hill where the brightening sky opened up with its last stars fading, and it was then that I realised where I had seen his kind before.

I couldn�t have been more than four years old and was with my mother � on Europa I think; I remember ice fields with wide horizons and Jupiter�s red-brown globe high above us. She was there to meet someone and left me to play with the frost lizards while they spoke in low voices. On leaving, he smiled sadly at me and even at that young age I recognized the eternity behind his eyes.

It was only then in the forest, as everything was drawing to a close, that I realised he was Gabriel and that he had been telling my mother what would become of us. Afterwards, when I asked her about him, she would hold me close and cry into my hair. Annunciations are painful and I soon stopped questioning.

A blood-red moon hung low over the treetops.


As the pale sun rose for the last time, we encountered a couple of patrols. They sent out the alert as we brought them down (the forest fire was enough of a beacon in itself) but by then we had reached the entrance to the caves beneath their base. Born in the sun�s furnaces, the angeli hated the darkness and the few they sent in after us did not make it far.

The intelligence was reliable and we made contact with the small band of earth-folk who had been sheltering there � the last remnants of their kind, half-blind but excellent guides through the dark labyrinth which had once been streets and apartments in a bygone age.

All the while our enemies were still fire-bombing the entrance, believing we were nothing but a couple of fugitives in hiding. By the time the next alert went out, we had penetrated their base from below, annihilating all in our path.

At the threshold of the control center I saw the triumph in Lily�s eyes, but I caught her off guard and wrested the gun from her hand as their troops closed in.

�It�s over,� I said. �I made a bargain with them. Sorry.�


The lights in the control center flashed impassively as the commander turned away from Lily. From where I stood, I could see that she was still alive but the fire from his hands had taken half her face away. She had uttered no cry throughout the whole pointless process � the angeli weren�t after any information; it was cruelty pure and simple.

�You did well,� he said, turning to me. �We were worried for a while whose side you were on.�

�And the bargain?� I asked. �My parents?�

But I could see the answer in his eyes. Behind him Lily slowly raised her hand.

�Save your breath,� I said. �I�d figured as much.�

Tossing Lily�s gun back to her, I turned mine on him and watched a surprised expression freeze on his face. I caught him as he fell and slammed his hand down on the identification panel, punching in the access codes as I did so. As Lily despatched the rest of the guards, a reassuring rumble indicated that the missile had been launched.

�Well done,� she said, her face already beginning to heal over. �The Sun now?�

I nodded and we blasted our way through the roof.


Speeding past Venus, we swung the missile once around the planet for extra acceleration. The Sun, huge now, glinted on the shining metal tail fins. Behind us, a flotilla of destroyers trailed in our wake � we were outstripping them easily and were already well out of range, although I think they were still firing. I looked across at Lily and saw grim satisfaction in her eyes.

The angeli had a profound stupidity that comes with arrogance. They must have known about the missile, made on Earth all those centuries ago; they must have known what it contained. However, having taken over, all they thought to do was plant their base on top of it, annihilating all within their reach but forgetting the remnants of the primitive earth folk who huddled in the caves beneath and gave them no trouble. Our intelligence had been bought dearly; all we could hope now was to avenge those deaths.

But the angeli weren�t completely clueless. As we drew level with Mercury�s orbit, we saw their main fleet assembling � initially mere specks against the blinding white disc ahead of us but closing in fast. I felt Lily�s hand on mine and pressed it tightly.

1 2 3

Back To Home Page
Copyright © 2011 The World of Myth All Rights Reserved

Rate this Story