Warnings: language warning, lack of editing warning
You don’t kill angels with guns. Demons, either, for that matter. It’s like trying to kill a dinosaur with a match stick- all it does is tickle a little, if they even feel anything at all. Throw a nuke their way, maybe they’ll get a burn, but whose gonna roast a continent in hopes of taking out a single soldier in an army?
The government calls them ‘spontaneous weather phenomena’, because of course the government would rather pull a story out of their asses than try and sell the truth that we’re all gonna die in some jumped up celestial grudge match.
One or two angels, or demons, and you can ritual their asses back to wherever they wandered from. But battles are never that clean. It’s an all-out, balls-to-wall brawl that gets more crowded the longer it lasts. Too many angels, and the spell gets unwieldy. If you catch it early, maybe you can minimise the damage. That’s the hope, at least. But it’s damn hard to know exactly where it’ll start, so how do you draw a sacred circle without getting noticed? How do you light the sacred herbs, speak the incantation, in the middle of a warzone?
Maybe people don’t notice through the dust and debris raining down like Hell on earth, but it’s a warzone. And it’s damn hard to make mojo happen when bigger, badder magics are slamming towards your face.
The truth is that we can’t stop the battles, no matter how much we want to. You can run in, guns blazing, but it’s useless and you’re gonna die. You can run in, warded to the point you look like a toddler has attacked you with a Sharpie, and it’s still pretty close to useless. Maybe you save one person before you cop an angel blade through the throat, or a demon sword. Or maybe it’s a stray bit of building that collapses your skull. Wards don’t save you from debris, after all. And is the life of one random person worth the life of someone who has devoted their lives to helping those most in need?
It’s not a polite thought, but sooner or later, it’s a question that needs an answer. What life means more than another? And what sorry son of a bitch gets left to make that call?
That would be me.
The comms go to static, the next line clicks over just in time to hear Macy letting loose with more curse words than even I thought her capable of. She’s inventive, too.Strings them together like Shakespeare on the worst kind of day.
“Boss, we’ve got a problem.”
“Breanda.” Of fucking course it’s her. No one does suicidal idiocy with the same kind of flair. “She’s headed West with a people mover. She’ll be passing your convoy in two minutes if she stays at this speed.” Diddly fuck on a seesaw.
Jim’s listening in, of course. He’s not meant to, but it’s there in the tense shoulders and the hands clutching gun like he’s tryna ring its neck. He shoots me the most unapologetic look he can muster- he could work a rodeo with those mustering skills of his- and waits for orders.
“Change of plans, people. Gotta go see the sights a while. Jim’s in charge.” I don’t wait for the chaos to start, just up and run before Macy’s lecture can ruin the moment. She tries, though.
It’s pointless trying to stand in the road and make a kamikaze stop. They don’t. It’s kinda their thing. Instead, you hope they slow around the bends enough for you to try a heroic, stupid kind of jump. It’s tempting to pray to God, even though I know he stopped listening years back.
Breanda doesn’t slow. She takes the corners like she’s personally offended by each and every one, all screaming tyres and smoking brakes. There’s no keeping up, no stopping. Trying is the quickest way to wear me out.
“Macy, she’s driving like an idiot. Can you get me in her ear?”
“Sure thing, Boss.” Crackling, more about the magical interference than the tech, and Breanda’s voice sounds like she’s surrounded by crisp packets being stomped.
“Hey there, Macy? How’s tricks?” You can hear the desperate behind the shit-eater grin. She can play at being a reckless idiot all she wants, but the kid is scared. Good. She should be
“Not Mace, kid. Stop the fucking truck.” She breathes out, long as a prayer and twice as broken. I wish I could see her. Wish she could see that I wasn’t angry.
“You know what happens if I do.”
“Same thing that happens if you don’t. You can’t stop what’s happening.” It’s cold comfort when it’s your home town about to be bitch-slapped from on high. “Kid, you know this isn’t going to help them. You know that. So stop the truck.” She’s back on the straight now, tail lights a glint in the afternoon sun.
“Kid, I gotta sit here and watch a town of people I like get hit. Don’t you make me watch you die. That ain’t fair. You think your friends need to see that shit?”
“So what? I should watch my fucking family die? That fair?”
“We told you to stay home.” It’s the wrong thing to say, and if I could, I’d choke to death on those words. “Bree, stop. Or at least stop long enough for me to catch up and come with.”
Macy’s voice cuts through, loud and panicked. “Bree, there’s debris in the air. You need to stop. Please, please stop.” There’s not a hint of slowing.
In the good times, time speeds up, robbing you of fun. But the bad ones? It slows right down so you can see, and anticipate, and do not a goddamn thing about it. The debris hurtle like meteors in the movies, too fast, too big. Too fucking much. Bree veers left, right, tries to slow and slows just enough for one bit of fuck knows what to hit the passenger side.
The truck slams to the side, vanishes out of sight. She can’t hear me shouting her name, I’m guessing, but I hope anyway. I’m running, then, shouting her name until Macy’s shouts break through the haze.
“Boss, stop! You’ll die, too. You can’t go in there!”