Shamshael descended to the earth wreathed in fire, slamming into the town square. He raised the flaming sword above his head. The crowd surrounding him was frozen in shock. Rain began trickling on them, sizzling as it hit the red hot black stone that was now Shamshael’s skin. The thunder crashed in the heavens, and the full circle of the heavens sparkled with lightning. He cried out, in the voice of the thunderstorm and the seven thunders.“
“I am the servant of the one true God! Did you think that justice would sleep forever? Did you think that you could commit sin upon sin and there will be no recompense? Judgment has come upon you today! The Almighty has given your judgment into my hand. I was asked if I should destroy everyone in the city and I said no. I said I would kill the sinners myself. Otherwise, the innocent would suffer more than they already have. Fire has come upon you, and it will never stop burning.”
“Excuse me, Mr. angel sir!” A thin frail old man hobbled out of the crowd. “Speaking for all of us in this here town, I have to wonder what we’ve done that’s been so wrong and deserved our judgment. My wife and I have been going to church every Sunday for our entire lives. I serve on the vestry. No, I am not perfect, but I do not think that we warrant the devastation and destruction which you have promised. Can we work something out? Maybe we could do justice on the installment plan, maybe we each get burned or something like that. There’s got to be some kind of compromise in my opinion. Let’s submit this for mediation.”
Shamshael lowered his sword and stood with its point on the ground and his hands crossed on the hilt. He tried to strike a conciliatory pose, but his wings were ready for slaughter, and the arrayed themselves above him, as if to grab and strangle the man themselves.
“Justice you say? You don’t think I know you, Norman McCleary? I have seen your sins, all of them.”
Norman paled. “Now, I’ve had my weaknesses and indiscretions, but who hasn’t? I am but a human man. I have asked forgiveness for my sins, in the church of Urizen.”
“If you have served Urizen, you have served a false god, the devil below. I speak to you as the voice of truth, you ask for moderation. When you were the judge, did you give moderation? When Melinda Lomax was in Family Court, trying to get custody rights from her abusive husband, did you not require that she suck your penis and submit her nude photos to you in order to see her children?”
Norman began to quiver. “I, I, I, I’m sorry. Is it too late to ask for forgiveness?“
“Yes. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword.” With that, Shamshael lifted his blazing sword and with a single stroke sliced Norman in two from crotch to the tip of the skull, both halves flaming as they hit the ground.
Devastation commenced. He moved with incredible speed through the crowd. The owner of the hardware store, staring in shock, had almost forgotten the employees he’d raped in his back room. Shamshael drove a flaming fist through his chest, and his heart beat its last strokes in a burning crater on the pavement.
This city councilwoman who had paid to have her opponents’ children crippled was picked up bodily by Shamshael as he flew to the top of the highest building and released her, to splatter with a terrible crunch on the pavement.
The butcher had been quietly murdering his teenage boy assistants after he molested them. Shamshael grasped the base of his neck, bent him in two, and inserted his head into his own buttocks, until both his face and his buttocks were a bloody ruin. Not yet dead, Shamsher picked up the bloody heap and threw it into the nearby mountains.
When he’d gone through the crowd, he began going house to house, driving his fist through skulls, cleaving off arms and legs and throwing torsos into the street. With every sinner he killed, one less record of atrocities existed in his head. He moved closer to peace with every death.
Finally, there was one left. He broke open the chained doors with a single strike of his fist. He strode down the center aisle of the sanctuary, his wings filling the giant interior space. The Monsignor of the church stood before the altar, clinging to the side. He was hugely fat, as broad as a barn. “Must I suffer, when I have only served Urizen?“
Shamshael slowly approached him, his footprints charring the carpet beneath his feet. “Monsignor, you were a teacher at the boys school. You had no license to fondle and fuck your students. You had no license to destroy their lives. You have not served my God, Anokhi.”
Monsignor shouted “no!” Shamshael drove the point of his sword through Monsignor’s navel, moving through the abdomen until it embedded itself in the stone of the altar. The Monsignor was split in two, top and bottom. Shamshael broke the altar in two as well, and paused. Anokhi’s voice came to him.
“Good and faithful servant, you have done well. Two things must I ask of you now that the sinners have been cleansed from the city. You must descend to the bowels of this church, for in a dungeon there is my man, the Ancient, the Old Man of the Sea. You shall free him and bring him out. Then burn this sacrilege to the ground.”