Here’s a story I wrote this year. I was listening to a podcast about organ donations, and when they said ‘ruptured organs’ I heard ‘raptured’, and this story was the result.
I decided to retire it and post it here because a) the one publication that actually gave me feedback on their rejection really didn’t like it (I think the gender-neutral pronouns got to them, because even the reader who said they didn’t hate them still had to mention them), b) it’s weird, as in, not easily pigeon-holed, and c) the premise of it assumes that the Judaeo-Christian god is real, which, if not actually offensive, is super-white. I still like the story, but hey, I spent 17 years in the church and need to exorcise those angels somehow…
So, here it is. Fresh fiction from this guy. Enjoy.
“Your Honour, I maintain this is all God’s fault.”
A loud murmur passed through the courtroom and the judge banged his gavel, each strike producing a crack of divine thunder. “This is the court of the Almighty; you will demonstrate the proper respect for Yahweh, or I swear to Him, I will smite you.” The judge’s eyes burned as he said this, but his eyes were always aflame; he was Seraphim after all.
“Demonstrate,” Zaniel said. “Demon-strate.” Xe smirked, then continued. “I wish no disrespect, Your Honour, but no one’s seen hide nor beard-hair of Yahweh in the Kingdom of Heaven since the resurrection event. If He’s too busy with His other, chosen universe, then perhaps we need to take care of business ourselves.”
This time the judge only needed to raise his blazing arm to silence the courtroom.
“There is no other universe,” the judge said.
Zaniel shrugged xer shoulders. “Your Honour, I think we can all agree that He isn’t here, which is the whole problem. Just because angels are immortal, doesn’t mean their bodies won’t decay in His absence. Angelic lungs collapsing, hearts weakening, stomachs and intestines incapable of processing manna—”
“That does not permit you to begin stealing organs from humans!” the judge’s voice roared, almost as loud as his gavel. Somewhere down on Earth, a sea split open, revealing suffocating fish and sodden pollution. This miracle was solely witnessed by an eleven year-old girl.
“Your Honour, I resent the term ‘stealing.’ I consider it more like a Rapture in miniature.”
“You have Lucifer’s gift for guile.”
“Why thank you.”
“That was not a compliment.” The judge paused between each word for emphasis. On Earth, a year passed during each gap.
Zaniel continued. “For thousands of years, the faithful on Earth have awaited the Rapture, and now you’re putting me on trial for giving it to them?”
“You have not the authority to perform a Rapture.”
“And who does?” Zaniel asked. “Not anyone here that I can see. Unless you’re claiming the authority…? Are you claiming omnipotence, Your Honour?”
Behind Zaniel, Michael The Potestate placed a hand on his sword. In the stunned silence, the assembled host could hear the distant howling of species extinction caused as Michael’s sword left its holy scabbard.
The judge’s face went as pale as eternal flames can go. “Michael,” he said, voice cracking, “I’m not claiming that power, I am simply pointing out that the yelos Zaniel surely doesn’t have it.”
A confused look spread across Michael’s face and he re-sheathed the sword. He was hardly the brightest angel in the host, certainly not as bright as his iridescent armour.
Zaniel couldn’t help but smile, but xe stopped when the judge turned his flaming eyes at xer in a glare that could render unborn children stillborn.
“I maintain I was not stealing anything. The Raptured organs were too damaged to be of use to the dying humans they were caged within. Luckily, heavenly ascension renders anything perfect; cancer reverted to healthy tissue, arteries became unclogged, and so on. Sadly, I could do nothing for my brothers, sisters, and others, who were losing their wings.” Zaniel hung xer head in faux despondency. Then xe looked up, beaming a smile bright as sunrise. “The organs went to the angels most in need and I took nothing in payment.”
“I imagine you’ll save those favours for your eventual revolt.”
Zaniel put xer hand to xer platinum breastplate. “I am wounded, Your Honour.”
“Do you claim you had no idea it would happen?”
“How was I to know? I simply took a leaf out of the human book; if they can use pig and primate for transplants, it follows that we could use human stock. It’s not as if humans start to turn pig-like with a transplanted pig heart. It’s not like they sprout tails and grow even hairier with an ape’s pancreas.”
“Your… mimicry of the humans has caused havoc across heaven.” The judge pointed his gavel at Zaniel as if it were a weapon. “We have angels fleeing to Earth, we even have some choosing to visit hell!”
“Free will is strange like that. Which is precisely my point; it’s true I may have inadvertently given some angels free will, but wasn’t I bringing us all a little closer to His perfect vision? I mean, humans are His chosen above ourselves, so wouldn’t becoming more human bring us closer to perfection?”
“They brought rock music into Heaven!” The judge’s eternal flames intensified, hitting the ceiling where they spread in expressive cuneiform. Zaniel winced.
“I don’t know about you, Your Honour, but I was getting a little sick of the continuous shouting of ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ It was alright for the first millennium or so, but honestly, we’ve been needing new tunes for a while.”
“Silence!” the judge bellowed. “For your crimes you will be exiled.”
Zaniel smiled. “Let me guess; I’ll be allowed back in just as soon as I locate the Big Guy?”
The fires surrounding the judge flickered and faltered for a moment.
“I knew it; He is gone!” Zaniel turned with an upraised palm to Michael, but the Archangel didn’t respond. Zaniel awkwardly patted the brute on the shoulder.
“You are hereby considered angelus non grata until such time as you return with the Most On High to grant you His pardon. Failure to…”
The judge continued, all literal fire and figurative brimstone, but Zaniel just smiled. This admission was all xe wanted.