Darkness. Emptiness. Void. There is nothing, not even herself. The world is gone. Everything has disappeared. She was scared. She wanted her Mommy, but she was gone too. She wanted to scream, to cry, but you can’t do that when you don’t exist. Finally, a light appears to save her once again.
Bethany opened her eyes. She screamed as she stared at her nightlight. Her grandfather had bought her that one to replace the one that was broken when he had fought with Bethany’s father. It was special, then, because it came from him. Now, it was special because it rescued her from her recurring nightmares. Even during the day, she found it’s presence comforting, but didn’t know why. Her mother ran into the room.
“What’s the matter, baby,” she asked, although she already knew the answer.
“I had the dream again,” Bethany replied, still crying.
“It’ll be ok, honey. These dreams will pass.”
Samantha wasn’t so sure, though. She had a premonition that her father and DS would come to her, but they hadn’t. Something had gone wrong. Her visions didn’t always come true, but they had only changed before when she had somehow gotten involved. This time, she did nothing and it still changed. Something bad was going to happen. All she had to do is figure out what.
After getting Bethany back to sleep, she focused herself. Normally, this is when she would see the future, but there was nothing. All she saw was darkness, a never ending void. She saw Bethany’s dream. Awakening from her trance, she knew why her daughter was afraid. She was afraid, too. Something bad was going to happen, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.
“Another eternal,” DS asked. “How many of you are there?”
With a wave of his hand, Shadow rendered DS unconscious. “Honestly, Life, I do not understand how you tolerate these creatures.”
“What the hell do you want?”
“I am beginning to see what Death was talking about. You have spent too much time amongst the mortals.”
“Either tell me what you want, or leave me the fuck alone. I don’t have time for this shit.”
“You have quite the gutter-mouth.” Christian took a menacing step forward. Taking the hint, Shadow got to the point. “You have been summoned to a gathering. Your attendance is mandatory.”
“Mandatory? Oh, really? And if I decide not to go?”
“You are well aware that we have the power to force you to join us, but we had hoped that it would not be necessary.”
“Who will be at this gathering and what’s it all about?”
“Every eternal shall be in attendance. As for what will be discussed, I cannot say. It was agreed that our topic will not be mentioned until we are all together.”
“What kind of bullshit is that?”
“Do try and control your temper. I am merely the messenger. Twenty-four hours from now, come to the Judgment Place. All shall be explained there.”
“I’ve got things to do. I don’t think I’ll make your little party.”
“Then you shall find the trip most unpleasant. I assure you, however, that you will be there.”
Christian started forward, but Shadow was already gone. He didn’t like this. Too much was happening at once. Something bad was about to happen, and he was stuck in the middle of it.
Gabriel and Father Michaels found a few new victims in the form of a gang of drug dealers. They spotted them on a street corner a few blocks away and decided to go over. Father Michaels waited across the street, while Gabriel approached them. He talked to the four men for a moment, trying to buy some product. Then, he scratched the back of his head, the signal for the priest to come over.
Before he arrived, however, Gabriel already had three of the men down. Father Michaels barely had time to shoot the fourth man, who was pulling out a gun, before Gabriel got to him. The crossbow bolt went straight into the man’s eye. Seeing that the last man was taken care of, Gabriel began finishing off the other men. The priest yelled at him to stop, but it was too late. They were all dead.
“What is the matter with you,” Father Michaels demanded. “You didn’t give them a chance to repent. All you did was slaughter them.”
“Didn’t we already have this conversation,” he calmly replied. “From now on, we do things my way. You got a problem with that, take it up with ‘God’.”
“No! I will take it up with you. These men were idolaters, spreading worship of drugs over that of the Lord. They needed to be saved, not murdered.”
“You test my patience, priest. I did what needed to be done. Period. Now, back off.”
“How am I to complete my quest when I am teamed with a demon,” Father Michaels mumbled, but not quietly enough. Gabriel heard him and started forward. Father Michaels was quicker and fired his crossbow. The bolt embedded itself into Gabriel’s forehead. He stopped in his tracks. His arm wavered as he went to touch it. Grabbing it, he gave it a tug and pulled it free. Then, he started laughing. “You can’t kill what’s already dead, priest,” Gabriel growled.
Father Michaels looked on in horror. He didn’t know what to do, so he did what he always did when he didn’t have the answers. He dropped to his knees and prayed. Closing his eyes, he whispered, “Oh, heavenly Father, please help me in my time of need. I do not know if I am worthy of your grace, but if I am, I ask you to give me the strength to face this evil.”
Gabriel, still laughing, came forward. Standing right in front of the priest, he raised his arm to strike. Father Michaels opened his eyes and looked up. Just as his arm started forward, Gabriel was flung back into a parked car. He began screaming and writhing in pain. The priest turned around and saw Death standing behind him. Finally freed from the pain, Gabriel looked and saw him too.
“We don not have time for this foolishness,” Death roared. “Events have occurred that force us to move up our timetable. Go to this address. Take care of DS as soon as you see him. It must be completed by this time, tomorrow. If it is not done by then, we are all in an enormous amount of trouble.”