“In the glorious expanse of the seven heavens, there exists infinite amounts of incredible phenomena. The third sphere of Heaven where those who love God and humanity dwell. The twelve wise men in the fourth. The warriors in the fifth sphere and the righteous in the sixth. The golden ladder in the seventh for those who devoted to prayer. But in the higher spheres of the Fixed Stars, you may see Mary and other saints. The highest sphere of all is the Empyrean, where angels dance in circles of light around the Light which is God Himself. Divine white roses flourish with life and positivity. Although Seraphim sing around God’s throne, seeing the Empyrean and its angelic guardians is just as spectacular. One the sabbath day, on the 7th day of the seventh month, our corner of reality is treated to an incredible sight. For it is said that Jesus Christ Himself will appear from a shining beam of light, bringing together souls from all corners of Heaven together. A divine sermon takes place in the sky, where Jesus and the Holy Spirit Dove will give each of us a divine message from God about our futures. This advice will give us much to think about in our long prosperous lives. Anyone can attend…” Yeshua’s Gist.”
Azrael, the Angel of Death, narrated the scene, a Bible in front of him. The images showed the Virgin Mary and the saints talking to various angels and souls. It showed Jesus with long brown hair and a white face and him wearing a worn white robe with a dove over his head. The sun, the moon, and all the planets aligned and formed the seven heavens, while the stars and angels brightened the higher spheres. Azrael curled up his hand and the images faded. An open Bible hovered in front of him, surrounded by gold magic.
“Well, at least it’ll be fun for the outgoing folk,” he mentioned.
He tucked in little Quartet Enoch, the swan princess who giggled. Quartet had white feathery hair and a dark face with green eyes. She wore a blue dress with halos on it. Her mother, Flora, had long black feathers; she was an avian nature angel.
Quartet’s room was white with blue trim on the ceiling. She had a princess bed with a gold sparkling canopy, and a gold crown design on the headboard. An overhead mobile showed an angel playing a trumpet, a star, a harp, and a flower.
“Daddy, can we go see it someday?” she asked, eyes wide in wonder.
“Of course,” said Azrael. “I promise. When the day comes, nothing will be able to keep me and your Mom from seeing it with you. Goodnight, my angel.”
“Goodnight,” called Quartet with a yawn. The Bible followed Azrael as he closed the door. Quartet wiggled in her bed and giggled with excitement.
0 0 0
Many years later, a teen Quartet work up, excited. On her calendar, she had drawn a Christian Cross and the smiling faces of her and her father and mother. She put on her green dress with black skulls on it, her gold crown, white jacket, and white boots. She greeted some golden singing roses that were in pots along the hall.
“Hey, Mom! Hey, Dad!” she called. The kitchen was empty. A halo flickered above her head.
She looked on the balcony. Black onyx pillars held several dome-shaped gazebos in a garden below. There was a tricking of a gold fountain with a statue of a raised sword with water gushing from the tip. No one save for a groundskeeper elf was present there.
Quartet walked all throughout the palace, her hand on a golden rail decorated with eye designs.
She finally spotted them out front in the courtyard. They were speaking in hushed tones.
They turned to her. “Oh, hello ‘Tet,” said Flora, brushing a flower from her black feathery hair. Her dress was various shades of green and made of feathers. Her angel wings were folded back, and a halo hovered above her head.
“Are you ready to go?” asked Azrael.
“Yes!” said Quartet.
“Go change into this,” said Flora. She showed Quartet a beautiful golden dress with diamonds on the front shaped like a Christian Cross between two white angel wings. There was also a pair of white high heels and gemstones to attach to her wings.
“Huh,” said Quartet. “I didn’t know it was that fancy. Still very nice.”
Quartet snapped her fingers and lifted herself magically into the air. In a flash of light, the fancy dress moved toward her and was on her. Her original clothes were back in Flora’s arms.
“Better,” said Flora.
Quartet lowered to the ground and smiled, but then spotted her dad walking away.
“Dad, where are you going?”
Azrael turned to her with a somber expression. “To attend to my usual duties.”
A bloody scythe appeared in his hand and his dark wings stretched outward as thunder crashed in the background for effect.
“But I thought you were coming with us?”
Flora sighed. “There has been…a slight change in plans.”
“Let me know how it goes,” said Azrael before vanishing into the darkness.
Quartet gasped. “The ceremony isn’t canceled, is it?”
“No,” said Flora. She waved her hand and a portal appeared. Both of them stepped through it and it closed behind them. They stood before a large gold palace with Hebrew letters engraved into the ornate double doors.
“Mom, what’s going on?” Quartet asked.
Flora gave her a look. “I should’ve told you this sooner but…”
“You know that you visit your father for the weekend once every other month, right?”
Quartet’s eyes went wide. ‘Sugar honey iced tea!’ she thought. ‘I completely forgot!’ She slowly nodded.
“Well, it’s that time again.”
The double doors opened and there stood a tall, elegant swan angel. His eyes glowed dark green and his black feathery hair was in a tight bun. He wore a white suit with a high collar trimmed with gold with his sigil on his suit. Two swan heads looped around his neck. A red necktie was in the middle of his suit, and he also had a red cape behind him. Hovering above him was a halo with a red carnelian crystal in the center. His face was feathery white, and he had a hooked beak.
He revealed a small smile. “Hello, Quartet. It’s great to see you again.”
Among other rooms in the palace were other angelic members of the Shem HaMeporash. Some were humanoid but manly angels had features of lions, lambs, doves, swans, eagles, and other heavenly animals.
Quartet awkwardly waved back. “Hello father.”
“I see Azrael has let you slack off again,” Menadel muttered to Quartet as he strode forward. He briefly looked at Flora. “You know, Flora…if your daughter ever wants to fulfil her role better and spend more time with me…”
“That is, if you’re not preoccupied with the angelic council and half a dozen other things,” Flora remarked coldly. “I’ve said it before…Quartet stays with me and Azrael the most, since I’m married to him.”
“Which is a big mistake,” he seethed. “Falling for the angel of death who’s so unlike yourself.”
“He loves me for who I am. He didn’t hesitate to care for Quartet.”
“You were supposed to raise her during the time I was gone,” said Menadel. “I wanted to be there with you and her. But my duties to answer mortals’ prayers and monitor the inferior race of the Goetia demons was paramount.”
“Two months! And you called yourself a breadwinner husband,” Flora scoffed. “Just because we’re rich doesn’t mean you can go off and put more things on all our plates! I’m surprised you’re not on duty right now!”
“I wouldn’t miss this ceremony for the world,” he said. “And neither should you and Quartet. You were supposed to remain my faithful wife. If you were a mortal and cheated on me like you did…well, just be glad you aren’t one.”
“How low of you to suddenly degrade the very beings you try to help,” Flora narrowed her eyes. “Mortals were made in His image too, not just us angels.”
“Sinful mortals are like sinful demons…just as bad and more often than not, they become demons themselves. Hence why we need Quartet to be diligent with ensuring that no threats…”
“The only threat I perceive is your overbearing, straight and narrow attitude,” Flora spat. “She’s still a young teen!”
Quartet hid her face in her hands briefly as she watched the argument. Quartet knew whenever she was with her dad, she witnessed his detachment from her and his preoccupation with rules.
Hence when he said to Quartet, “I hope you’ve been practicing for the ceremony. There’s much to do.”
“Sorry, Quartet,” said Flora. “But you’ll be spending the weekend and ceremony with Menadel. I’ll meet you at the ceremony later.”
Quartet glared at her mother, who gave her an apologetic look.
Flora vanished through a portal, leaving Quartet alone.
Half an hour later in the ornate living room, Quartet’s back hurt as she stood rehearsing her lines for the ceremony. Being a princess, if she decided to attend, which she was, Menadel remined her of her important role to inspire her people. Quartet enjoyed singing and praising to her Lord…but eight times in a row was getting tiresome.
“He is Elohim, our benevolent, all-knowing Creator. Jesus the Christ is His extension, the savior of the human race and of Earth. Archangel Michael, He Who Is Like God, is His angel general and supreme protector, sword of flame the bane of all evil. Before there was only darkness, but God brought light and life. For all who are lost…for mortals lost in sin and for the denizens of Heaven seeking answers, you can always go to Him. Obey, pray, and serve each day…for He knows all of us best. His light is brighter than a thousand suns, the whole of this universe created by Him. Jesus devotes his life to Viv…”
Menadel raised his eyebrow. Quartet cleared her throat.
“Um, I mean to give, all He has to help rich and poor alike…”
“More passion. More faith,” Menadel pressed.
“Father, I’ve done this so many times now…” Quartet groaned. She flopped on a couch made of velvety red satin.
“It must be perfect, if you are to attend,” he said. “Heaven counts greatly on the influence of the Shem HaMeporash family. The ceremony starts in a few hours.”
‘Still cares about status over his own daughter,’ Quartet thought. She never thought she would have to do a speech.
“Can I take a break?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said. “After you finish your closing lines.”
Quartet sighed and continued.
“Don’t forget your choir song and pyrotechnic display afterwards,” Menadel reminded her.
After she finished, Quartet raced to her room upstairs. This room was vaster and more spacious than her other mansion room…not as homey. White pillars supported a large, curved balcony that was all her own. A gold chandelier with teal glowing crystals hung on the high ceiling. The ceiling itself was painted with Adam reaching out to God. (A replica of a famous mortal work of art). White marble swan statues were everywhere around the room and throughout the mansion, with Menadel’s symbol on them. Her bed was queen-sized, no signs of her familiar nature posters. But there were some posters of Jesus, clouds, and the Ten Commandments…almost like her father set up this room for her (he did.) When she was younger, Menadel was comforting in subtle ways, like when he sang the Lord’s prayer to her as a lullaby. Or the times when he said he was proud of her after teaching her some magic and flying. But Quartet figured that Menadel only saw her as a valued member of the Shem HaMeporash…not who she was deeper down. The weekends she spent with him were a tedious nuisance.
Azrael may have been gloomy and distant, but he had a softer, understanding side that seemed to be absent in her real father. Azrael also didn’t emphasis the religious aspects all that much. He mostly let Flora nurture her but was there for Quartet as much as he could.
At least, Quartet hoped Azrael was trying.
Quartet picked up her blue backpack with stars on it and slung it over her shoulders.
She then picked up a Bible on her dresser and flipped open the pages. There was no way she’d be dragged along to the ceremony by Menadel. She could already see Menadel parading her around just to make Azrael and other misunderstood angels uneasy. She looked much more like her avian mother and father than she did to the humanoid Azrael. Azrael was an archangel, similar to Samuel…important, but not always liked.
Quartet looked at her scroll of paper that read “Change Is Holy…the Benefits of a more Inclusive Christianity.” She absentmindedly opened a small portal and tossed the wrapped-up scroll through.
Then she concentrated.
“Take me to see my savior,” she said, visualizing Jesus in her mind. Then her mind got distracted.
The Bible glowed golden, and a white spinning cross appeared under Quartet. Tendrils of white spun and danced around her. Quartet’s eyes briefly glowed white, and she walked through the portal. The portal closed behind her.
0 0 0
At E.L.F. headquarters, a calendar hung on the wall. On one square, Docile had written, “Samuel?” with a drawing of a dark moon and a whip and a sad face. Others read “Jesus ceremony,” “Calm Sunday,” “Choir Practice,” “Good Friday For Coffee,” “Eww, Horses,” “All Complaints Day,” “Three Wing’s Day,” “Cash Wednesday!”, “Lent Rent Pay Day,” “All Sols Day,” and “Symphony.” In several squares, Docile had written “Have Them Talk.” That was circled in red on the current date. The calendar had a picture of Docile and his friend Veronica together at the beach.
Docile wasn’t having much luck in getting “them to talk,” a.k.a. Tirred and Timmid. They were still sour after their breakup at Uris in the Chasity Halo.
Tirred and Timmid were sitting on separate couches, arms crossed.
“Now guys,” Docile said nervously. “You know that both of you still have to work with me to save lives…”
The elves glared at each other.
“I brought you two here for a reason. We need to solve this dilemma so we can move forward. Let’s take turns telling each other’s sides of the story,” Docile said. “Who would like to go…?”
“I will,” Tirred grumbled.
“You didn’t even let our boss finish!” Timmid piped up.
“Who cares? I’d like to apologize and get it over with.”
“You’re gonna need to do more than apologize for spreading that nasty rumor about Docile!” she said.
“It’s true though, isn’t it? You let yourself be punished by Samael?”
“Yes, but there was no other choice,” Docile said. “His Bible is what allows us to get into the human world. The only reason why I haven’t fired you is that I’m giving you one more chance to prove yourself.”
“By not spreading any more rumors. By being nicer to your ex-girlfriend and co-workers. By…going on one more mission with us.”
Tirred smirked. “You’re always gonna keep me, aren’t you? You need me as a healer and fighter.”
“Well, I…I could always replace you!” Docile mentioned.
Tirred growled. “Replace me?! With whom?”
Purring came from the doorway.
Tirred fumed when Sunna skipped into the room. She wore white pants, a sky -blue blouse and little blue gems on her long brown braids. Her eyes were round and sky blue, her furry brown cat face lit up.
“Wha…no, not…not her! Are you joking?”
“Uh…” Docile looked over to Timmid who gave a thumbs up.
“No, mister!” Docile spat. “I’m not! It’s time for some tough love. Sunna’s a fantastic healer…her purrs are enough!”
“She’s a ditzy hippie and high on catnip,” Tirred scoffed.
“Go…back to your desk!”
“Urgh!” Tirred yelled as he stomped off.
Sunna swayed with a mystic air as she sang,
The land of love, the land of love,
All around us and above
All souls come from the land of love”
“Before time, a realm sublime
God made us all divine
Sent us down to explore
To create and love and do it more”
“Make friends, make amends
Our journey never ends
We do what we will
And we’re all loved still
All loved still, all loved still”
“Success to enjoy, errors to solve
God is change, we all evolve
We are harmony, we are one
All shall return when our lives are done”
“All souls come from the land of love
The land of love, the land of love,
All around us and above
All souls come from the land of love.”
Sunna sat happily at her desk as the three elves sat with open stunned mouths.
“She’s getting worse,” called Tirred.
“You know, sir,” said Timmid. “Adding someone new might be the right thing to do. It’s not good for business with customers that depend on us saving lives for them to have a…”
She raised her voice, “…selfish, inconsiderate bratty masochist in our office!”
Tirred seethed. “That does it!”
Timmid and Tirred stomped toward each other, Docile getting ready to separate them.
“Oh look, you have a visitor!” Sunna called to Docile, pointing to the doorway. The elves paused.
Walking through a golden portal was none other than Quartet. She froze as the portal closed behind her.
The elves turned to look in silence.
“Um…hello,” Quartet said nervously. “I don’t think this is where the ceremony is.”
“Are you…Menadel’s daughter?” Docile asked.
Quartet stepped back. “Please don’t mention to him that I’m here! Sorry to bother you guys, I gotta go.”
She looked at her Bible pages, waved her hand again and another portal appeared. Her eyes turned white and gold energy swirled all around her. The elves stepped back and covered their eyes. Sunna looked on in curiosity.
‘Please let it be right this time,’ she thought.
“Wait,” Docile called, arm outstretched, “Maybe we should call…”
Quartet vanished and the portal closed.
“…Azrael…he’s not gonna like this,” Docile finished.
Docile grabbed Sunna’s fish-shaped rotary phone.
“Hello…Lord Azrael? Your adopted daughter just took a Bible and teleported to heaven’s knows where. We’ll find her as soon as we can, but we’ll need some help. Okay, bye.”
Seconds later, the office door opened by itself. There stood Lord Azrael, scythe and all.
“How did this happen?” he asked as he ducked under the short doorway. “She was supposed to stay at Menadel’s.”
“She just appeared in our office holding a Bible out of nowhere,” said Timmid. “Said she was going to a ceremony.”
“Hold that thought,” said Lord Azrael. He vanished into black flames and headed to the ceremony. Minutes later, he teleported right back, looking concerned.
“She’s not there,” he said. “She’s not back at the mansion either. Where could she go?”
Sunna padded over and sniffed the air. “N.Y.”
“Huh?” asked Tirred.
Everyone looked at her.
“What?” she asked. “I have a good nose.”
“New York?!” Azrael suddenly cried. “That’s in the mortal world! She could be in danger!”
“What are we waiting for then?” asked Docile. “Let’s go find her!”
“Disguises first,” mentioned Azrael. He chanted something and waved his hand. Teal light enveloped everyone in the room, and they rose up into the air. After several flashes of light, they appeared standing on the ground in their new human disguises.
Azrael appeared as a tall man with thick long black hair, a black goatee, sullen eyes and wearing a fancy all-black suit. He wore a skull ring on one of his pale fingers.
“Hello, Grimm Reaper,” Docile remarked as he stared at his form. He wore his usual uniform but now had white skin and short black hair and blue eyes. Tirred had white skin, thin black hair and darker eyes. Timmid had slightly messy white hair and blue eyes. Sunna, now an African American woman, admired her beautiful dreadlocks and brown cat-like eyes.
Azrael opened a portal and the group walked through. The portal closed behind them.
“Whoa,” the disguised elves said as they stared at the high towering skyscraper buildings around them. The Statue of Liberty stood radiant in the distance as people went on boat tours. The usual crowds of people were heading off toward Times Square for work, music, and shopping. Cars honked and yellow taxes maneuvered through the busy streets. Several gift shops were selling “Big Apple” and “I Love New Yok” shirts.
“The city that never sleeps,” Docile said. “Entertainment, everyone always moving and moving. Not so much different from Heaven.”
Timmid flinched at several thugs smoking and spitting in nearby alleyways. “Except for all the bad stuff.”
“And the misspelled signs,” Tirred grumbled, observing the “Welcome to New Yok!” signs everywhere.
“Sunna, sniff,” Docile said with a smile, marching forward.
Sunna intently sniffed a bag of catnip she had brought with her. She opened it and poured bits of it onto her tongue. Her eyes darted and her smile was one of bliss. A purr rumbled in her throat. The other E.L.F. members gave her sideways looks.
“Not that smelling!” Docile glared.
“Oh, right,” she said, pocketing the bag. “I still can’t smell anything in this city.”
“Can’t you do anything right?” Tirred spat.
“Can’t you be anything other than a nuisance?” she retorted. Timmid snickered.
“The next person I hear arguing will get a reduction in pay,” Docile warned. “Let’s go.”
The group walked by hot dog stands and men playing guitars on the ground. They visited “Rockiseller Center” where a beautiful Christmas tree was on display. Many people were laughing and ice skating around in circles. Holiday music played from the speakers.
“Christmas in July?” Timmid wondered. “I’ll take it.”
Timmid looked around and spotted a guy selling art. “Oh cool!” she said.
“Get some art over here!” called the bearded man. There were pastel oil paintings of dolphins and sunsets. There were keychains of the Statue of Liberty, Oscar award statues, palm trees, and a cartoon smiling glasses-wearing Vivziepop with blond hair and pink highlights in it.
Tirred rolled his eyes. “We’re on a mission, remember? That stuff is rubbish.”
“No, Tirred! I’m buying these!” she said in excitement. She handed the man some dollar bills and took several art and keychains with her.
“I’m a star at the Oscars,” she sang, pretending to use the Oscar keychain as a microphone.
Tirred rolled his eyes again and mentioned ahead of him. “Thanks to you, we just lost the group.”
“You’re no fun,” she said. “Let’s go find them.”
0 0 0
“Hey guys!” Docile called. “Check out this crazy costume!”
Azrael and Sunna snickered at Docile’s outfit. He wore a black jacket, a fake red pointed tail and fake stripped horns on his head. His mask over his face was an imp face painted red and white with fake sharp yellow teeth.
“This outta scare the pants off of any thugs around!”
A nearby woman screamed in happiness.
“Oh my gosh, everyone! Look! It’s New Yok’s Star, Blitzo!”
Docile glared. “What the buck is a Blitz…oh.”
In his costume, Docile glanced up at a billboard. An add was displayed, showing a menacing imp with a pistol and an open-mouthed grin. Flames were in the background and the imp was riding on a brown horse. The title read in black, “HORSING AROUND: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER! ™”
Docile was soon surrounded by a large crowd, lifting him up. “Help!” he cried.
“I’ll handle this,” Azrael grumbled.
“No killing!” Docile cried to him.
Crew and guards held the crowd back as a white van pulled up. A director with black hair and a black beard was eating a granola bar.
“Blitz!” the director called, flanked by towering agents. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you! You were supposed to be on set five minutes ago!”
Docile took one look at the director’s upside-down pentagram necklace and flinched. “No way! I’m not going with you!”
“Very funny,” he said. “Now get in the car.”
“No, put me down!” he cried as one of the muscular agents picked him up. One of his fake horns fell off and several fans fought over it. A boy tore off his shirt and his chest read “I LUV HB!”
“I’m Blitz’s…agent,” Azrael mentioned. “And I demand you…”
Azrael was also picked up and both were tossed into the back.
“Sunna! Find Quartet!” Docile called. Sunna nodded and leaped over the crowd.
Docile leaped forward, but the doors closed in front of him.
Before long, they were both dragged into the studio. Makeup artists began working on Docile.
“Let’s get him ready! He’s on in five!” called the producer.
“Five what? I can’t be on a sitcom!” Docile cried to no avail.
Docile was soon ready and standing next to Azrael.
“Alright, you’re on in 10…9…”
The producer vanished through the curtains.
“Why am I doing this? I can’t be on stage!”
“Just blend in so we can find Quartet,” said Azrael, pushing him gently forward. “Good luck.”
“And action!” called the director as the lights came on. Guitar theme music played.
Docile was on a stage that looked horrible. It appeared to look like a desert with cactus plants and fake dead bodies near his feet. There was an animatronic brown horse off to the side with one eye missing.
An actor with a demon mask was pretending to groan in pain. “Oh…Blitzo you horrible scum imp…you have any last mocking words?”
Docile froze on the spot. Sweating.
“Say something,” whispered Azrael as a teleprompter appeared.
Docile then read his lines half-heartedly. “Oh yeah, uh…no, the ‘o’ is silent you…fucking…asshole.”
After a moment, the audience laughed as screens overhead displayed “LAUGH” in green. Azrael laughed under his breath.
Docile improvised. “B-but don’t worry…God will take you where you need to be, away from your suffering so you can repent for your sins!”
After an awkward pause, the screens prompted the audience to laugh again, so they did.
Soon enough after half an hour, the audience began to get bored with the show.
“Oh, Kniffty,” said Docile, holding up a one-eyed black cat animatronic and reciting his lines. “You’ve done it again! You’ve cleaned up every mouse in this here Hell hotel! Very nifty of you to do so!”
The audience laughed half-heartedly. The cat animatronic let out a meow. “It’s nice to meet you! I’ve always wanted to make new friends!”
“Me too, kitty!” Docile said with a smile. “In fact, how about it’s time I give you a new home. Find someone to take good care of you!”
“We could take care of her,” said an actor dressed like a tall red man with antlers. He was followed by people dressed in black. “I always can provide a smile for those in need!”
Docile stared at the kitty animatronic…and a flashback came to him.
0 0 0
Back in Heaven, he was at a “HeavenCat Adoption Center.” There were kitty condos and fenced in yards for them to play in. Docile stared at a humanoid black cat girl with angel wings that looked like the animatronic. She only had one eye. Her furry siblings smiled at him from inside a box.
“They’re all so cute. And so…content. But…lonely.”
“Maybe you could adopt this one here,” said a fat cheetah lady, pointing to another open-window condo. “Long-lived, lanky and very low-maintenance.”
Docile peered into the adjacent condo and spotted a hairless pink cat with bent whiskers and a fish bone in its mouth.
“Uh, no thanks,” Docile said. “Someone more family friendly?”
“No problem.” said the cheetah lady. “We have a nice selection of other felines.”
“Who’s that?” Docile asked, pointing to another condo.
“Oh her?” asked the cheetah. “That’s Sunna. What a crazy little thing.”
Sunna was bouncing up and down and playing with a live mouse, much to the distaste of the quiet cats.
“Serious hyperactive qualities. I hate to say it, but once she turns 18 next month, she’ll be off on her own,” the cheetah mentioned. “We have food stamps and shelters though, so hopefully it won’t be too bad. Menial work is just as important, so…as long as she behaves, she won’t go homeless…”
Docile freaked out at the word “homeless.” He adopted her on the spot.
0 0 0
“No, no, no, no,” he said, back in the present. “You can’t have her. She’s my kitty and I love her!”
“The audience went “AWWW” as the signs flashed the message.
“Alright, Blitzo,” said an actress with a cigarette in her mouth. “Let’s finish up this show so Hell can get more ratings and sinners…”
She grabbed the animatronic but Docile held on tight.
“Let go of her!” he cried. He cradled the cat in his arms. He tossed off his mask, tail, horns, and costume, leaving his regular clothes on. The audience gasped as his human disguise fell away as well.
“Ahh!” the audience cried. “It’s a booger elf!”
Docile narrowed his eyes. “Really?”
The animatronic cat scampered out of his arms.
“Wait, come back!” he cried.
The crew and producers tried to grab him, but Docile sent them back with light blasts from his scepter. Azrael shoved more people aside and grabbed hold of Docile. “Let’s go find our daughters.”
The animatronic cat laughed evilly and with a paw swipe, cut one of the wires near the curtain. The prompting screens changed from “LAUGH” TO “AWW” to “FUCK,” in red.
To Docile’s horror, everyone in the audience stripped off their clothes and pounced on anyone nearby. Moans and groans and the sticky scents of semen and sweat filled the space.
It was pure chaos!
“I think I’m gonna barf,” Docile groaned as Azrael carried him outside the door into the blissful fresh air.
Docile jumped out of Azrael’s arms and hurled onto the pavement. He accidentally slammed the end of his scepter down onto the street.
The studio building erupted in a set of flames and explosions.
Docile and Azrael stared at the burning building in disbelief. After making the sign of the cross over their chests, Docile and Azrael hurried on.
0 0 0
Quartet looked around at the vast city she now found herself in.
“Where am I?”
“Hello!” called a man dressed like a duck. “Great costume!”
“Uh…thanks?” Quartet blinked, before brushing herself off and following the crowd of people.
“Excuse me?” she asked, several people who ignored her and walked on by. “Can anyone tell me where to find Jesus?”
“In Heaven, sinner,” replied a gruff old man who bumped into her on purpose. “The unworthy have no hope of seeing him.”
Quartet asked around some more. “Where can I find Jesus?”
“In your heart, of course,” said a blonde woman wearing a Christian Cross necklace and a red shirt.
“Where can I find Jesus?”
“He will come on the final days of Earth,” said an elderly woman. “He’ll save us all…I hope. Just be patient.”
“Where can I find Jesus?”
“Jesus? He ain’t real,” said a black guy. “Get your religious propaganda out of my space!”
“Where…can I…find…Jesus…” asked a tired Quartet.
“He’s over at this church of Latter-Day Saints,” said a red-haired man. “They do sermons every morning.” He handed her a church pamphlet.
“Thank you!” Octavia called. She raced over toward the church building and sat on a bench. A child next to her gave her a weird look.
“Don’t stare at the creepy bird lady,” said the child’s mother, pulling her child closer to her.
The sermon and lecture went on and on…but still no sign of Jesus.
Thoughts raced through Quartet’s mind as the pastor talked and talked.
“What kind of sermon is this? No music, no standing and clapping. No loud and proud ‘Praise Jesus!’ and harp playing like in Heaven! This is church, not a high school lecture! You humans are so boring.”
“Ugh, talking about funds for the church again? Don’t you people realize there are hundreds of starving and homeless humans out there? You have plenty of money…use it!”
“I already know my Bible verses and history. You don’t need to repeat the same thing three times.”
“Enough with the talks about Hell! Positivity is what makes people want to get closer to God. God is perfect and good; thus He should not be feared! No, don’t you dare teach children under five about Hell…heck teens can get traumatized by that crap.”
“Politics again. Abortion is bad? No gays here? Modern up, Christianity…Jesus accepts everyone!”
“You keep saying ‘Jesus will come!’ Well, where is He? I’ve been sitting on my feathery bum for hours…”
Quartet covered her mouth as everyone glared at her. She had accidentally said her last thought aloud.
“Heh, heh. May the Lord be with you, amen.”
Quartet scurried out of the church, groaning in frustration.
She continued walking until she spotted Altar-P, a Christian-themed clothing store. There was a beautiful art print of a swan resting in a golden fountain. A cross stood in the background on a hill as golden rays of the sun lit up the whole area.
Quartet admired the art and took a selfie. She posted on Gracebook, Heaven’s version of Facebook:
“Found this amazing art print in the window of Altar-P. Whoever made this masterpiece rocks! #earththings.”
The locations on her phone were Earth, Chasity Halo, Patience Halo, Humility Halo, Kindness/Loyalty Halo, Charity Halo, Temperance Halo, and Diligence Halo.
About half an hour after Quartet left, Sunna spotted the swan art print. She happily took a selfie and posted her picture on Gracebook:
“What a beautiful piece of art! You never know what you’ll find in the mortal world! #earththings.”
Sunna scrolled through the posts on her phone. Her username was “Sunlightpurring777.” Her “friends” were Veronica, Portal99, and Cool Cat. When she saw an identical post from Quartet, she gasped. She looked at Quartet’s profile. “Tet,” “Happy,” “Lover of Life” were her profile descriptions with angel emojis. She had 77 followers and followed 256 profiles.
Sunna noticed Quartet posing in front of a mansion that looked like a castle with towers. She headed over to it, but Quartet wasn’t there.
She traveled all over “New Yok,” looking at Quartet’s posts, trying to figure out where she was. She read Quartet’s posts and traveled to the various places.
“So, this is the Statue of Liberty! Wonder why it’s so green? #earththings.”
“It’s Christmas in July! Saw some beautiful lights and Christmas trees on display. Went ice-skating today, tried to do a spin…gotta see if I can magically heal my bruised knees. #funearththings.”
Sunna thought she saw Quartet ice-skating. She carefully went onto the ice but let out a cat-like yowl as she stumbled and waved her arms. “Whaaaa!” She slid on the ice on her belly…seeing the figure as just a teen girl with a wig and large glasses.
Sunna laughed nervously and got up on shaking legs. She had forgotten that she briefly didn’t have her supportive cat claws anymore.
Another post from Quartet:
“Why is New Yok called the Big Apple? I don’t see any apples around…save for that rotten one that guy is holding over there. #grossearththings.”
Sunna hissed at a hobo-man who had tried to snatch her catnip.
“What a weirdo,” several people muttered at Sunna.
Sunna spotted a Baset figure on display at another store. She was tempted to buy it…until she spotted a smiling Jesus figure with sunglasses near it. Knowing she could only honor one, she decided to skip it. She tossed in several coins and dollar bills into a homeless man’s cup. He promptly used the money to buy cheap beer.
Quartet’s next post:
“The people who destroyed the Twin Towers are probably sulking around as demons in Hell. Nice memorial wall, though. #sadearththings.”
A picture of a tired Quartet sitting on a bench:
“This city could use a proper clean-up and noise cancellation. Lots of crime, too. This world NEEDS Jesus, y’all! #whyearththings.”
Several dogs on leash barked loudly at Sunna, causing her to jump in fear. “Ahh! Stay away!” she hissed.
“Scaredy cat! Or should I say, scaredy bitch!” several men laughed as Sunna darted away from the growling dogs, her hairs on end.
Sunna was panting in exhaustion by the time the sun had set. Under an indigo sky was a golden church with a water fountain in front of it. The fountain had a spinning globe in the center, supported by two statue hands. She raced toward the church and turned a corner. Sunna arrived at a curved flight of stairs.
Sunna glanced at Quartet’s final post:
“Apparently, Jesus is supposed to make an appearance at this gold church, where he will come down and do His speech. Don’t want to use my Bible and accidentally travel to somewhere else unknown again. As a resident of Heaven, He should be able to see me.”
Sunna looked at the church in the background of Quartet’s picture…and it was the same one!
Just then, Sunna spotted a figure at the top of the stairs in a prayer position. The moonlight highlighted a familiar figure with feathery hair!
Sunna sighed with relief and transformed back into her normal cat form.
“Hey,” said Sunna, walking up the stairs.
Quartet turned around, tears in her eyes. “Hey. How did you find me?”
Quartet stood up as Sunna walked over.
“Your Gracebook,” Sunna replied with a smile. She held up her phone and scrolled through the church pictures. “Nice pics by the way.”
“Oh, thanks,” Quartet sniffled.
“Are you okay?” Sunna asked.
Quartet sat on the ledge as Sunna did the same. Quartet’s Bible and bag were next to her. “I can’t believe I was so stupid! I’ve been wandering all over New Yok City to find Jesus! I thought that I could find a spot where it’d be easier for Him to travel down to Earth. Now I’ve probably missed that fancy ceremony! And all I have now is this…smog-filled busy city!”
“Well, it’s not that bad,” Sunna replied. “It may not be like Heaven, but it’s unique in its own light. I mean,” Sunna shrugged, “It was kind of fun exploring around outside of home for the first time.”
“Yeah…you’re right,” said Quartet. “Oh, my dad’s gonna kill me!”
“Um…which one?” Sunna asked.
“Menadel for sure,” Quartet grumbled. “I’ll probably have to repent for my sins and stay grounded for a century! And…”
Quartet sniffed again.
“My other dad…Azrael…he’s so busy with work like Menadel, he doesn’t even care! I’ve waited for years to go to this ceremony, but now I won’t get to go with dad and mom.”
Sunna put a comforting paw on her shoulder. “Let me tell you something. Azrael may be busy a lot, but he is very worried about you. He’s here.”
“Looking for you right now,” Sunna mentioned. “Your mom probably is wondering where you are as well.”
“Urgh, now I feel so bad,” Quartet sighed.
“We all make mistakes, it’s okay,” said Sunna. “Azrael, Flora…and yes even Menadel…they may not always get it right when it comes to parenting. But I assure you…all of them are trying.”
“I know it,” Sunna said. “Divorce…meeting Heaven’s rules and expectations…not always easy at all. But love always wins in the end. You know my song?”
Quartet shook her head.
Sunna’s eyes lit up and she sang a slower softer version of her previous song:
“All souls come from the land of love
The land of love, the land of love,
All around us and above,
All souls come from the land of love.”
Quartet’s eyes lit up as she heard the glorious sound of a choir from inside the church. The vocals supported the rest of Sunna’s song. Quartet leaned in for a hug and was further comforted by Sunna’s purrs. Her eyes closed.
“When you feel like the world breaks
Know that God forgives all mistakes
There is always love around you
Your soul family has found you
Let the loving universe guide you
to the truth that’s always inside you
The souls and stars are your friends
In a sea of love that never ends
That never ends.”
The girls hugged for a while, then separated.
“Thank you, Sunna, that was beautiful,” Quartet sniffed. Sunna felt like a comforting sister.
Sunna held out a paw and Quartet took it. “You ready to go?”
“Let’s get you home,” smiled Sunna.
Both of them opened the portal together, appearing in Central Park.
Docile gasped in happiness. “Sunna!”
Sunna and Quartet walked through, hand in hand before it closed behind them.
“Oh Dad!” Sunna raced over and hugged Docile. “Thank goodness you’re alright.”
From the shadows, a gang member pointed a gun at the turned heads of Sunna and Docile…
Azrael waved his scythe in an uppercut motion. With a scream, the gangster’s body tore in two and the two halves landed in a gory thud onto the grass.
He turned around, making his bloody scythe vanish.
“Quartet!” Azrael exclaimed.
Quartet lowered her head. “Hey, dad.”
Azrael pulled her into a hug. “Your mother and I were so worried about you!”
“I’m so sorry,” said Quartet.
“Why did you run away from Menadel’s? You know he was counting on you to be at the ceremony. And you know I haven’t taught you spells like that yet.”
“I didn’t want to go with him! I wanted to go with you and Mom! I tired traveling to the ceremony but…heh…it didn’t seem to work out…”
“Yeshua’s Gist. Oh, Quartet I’m so sorry…I thought that you going with Menadel was the right thing to do…since…he’s your real dad…”
Quartet hugged him again. “You’re my real dad! I’m just glad you’re here!”
Just then, under the moonlight, a man dressed like Jesus was surrounded by a crowd. He had a guitar in his hands and was singing “New Yok.” A bold “I’m J#1!” tag was on his chest along with a red apple sticker. A band sign read “Jesus and the Three Kings”, with a drummer, a keyboardist and a bassist playing beside him with crowns on their heads.
Several fireworks shot into the sky.
“If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere, it’s up to you! New Yok! New Yok!” he sang.
The crowd clapped and sang and danced along. Soon, Quartet and Azrael found themselves dancing to the music.
“It’s Jesus!” Quartet smiled in amazement at the guitar-playing saint. “It’s a miracle! I can’t believe He had time to come down to Earth for a visit!”
Azrael chuckled with a bit of an eye roll. “Still want to ask him about your future?”
“You know what? I’m happy knowing about the now,” Quartet said, staring into her dad’s eyes with love.
Sunna and Docile smiled happy tears and danced as well. Docile did a mental count and froze.
“Hey, where are T and T?”
0 0 0
Meanwhile in an alley, Tirred tapped his foot impatiently in front of the portal. Timmid was dragging a heavy bag full of CDs, art, Oscar statues, medals, trophies, and the like.
“Art is heavy,” she grunted.
“March, miss!” Tirred spat.
His eyes then went wide as he spotted a shadow figure point a gun at an oblivious Timmid. It appeared to be a gang member. From his scepter, Tirred fired a bolt of light at the figure and the figure dropped dead. More angry footsteps were approaching. Timmid looked around. “What was that Tirred?”
Tirred grabbed Timmid and carried her through the portal. She cried for her merchandise, but the portal closed.
0 0 0
Menadel tapped his foot impatiently. His eyes widened as Jesus gave out future advice to the last person.
“It’s an honor to see you again, sir,” Menadel said. “Perhaps you could grant me your wonderous wisdom?”
Jesus chuckled softly. “Sorry Menadel, but that’s all the time I have. I only get to the people that I feel called to.”
“B-but I’m the most prominent well-respected member of the Shem HaMeporash!”
“There were lots of children who needed my advice more. Even I can’t read everyone!” Jesus responded.
“Please, sir, I am worthy to be read!”
Jesus paused. “Say…it’s a shame your daughter couldn’t be here. I heard she had a great speech planned. Something about “a more inclusive modern Christianity?”
“Um…that’s the wrong script…”
“Is it? Because I think she sent me a draft earlier today.” He held up Quartet’s scroll. “I, for one, am super impressed! She’s truly a tremendous force…born under a great celestial alignment like Octavia from Hell. Here’s hoping she can make Heaven an even better place for all. Anyway, have a good day, Menadel!”
Menadel stood in disbelief. He growled and seethed. “Noooooooo!”