Monday, June 27, 2016

The Woman and the Dragon (novel excerpt)

BREAKING NEWS! I recently finished a rough draft of my newest (i.e. my sixth) novel entitled THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON, which is a Milton-esque religious work of fiction loosely based on chapter 12 in the Holy Bible's Book of Revelation. I thought I would post an excerpt here on my blog in case anybody is interested in checking some of it out.


Here is a teaser trailer I made for the novel:



The excerpt below takes place in heaven after God has announced the birth of a man - Jesus - who will miraculously be born to a virgin Mary, save the world from darkness and then eventually help rule heaven and earth at God's right hand. Lucifer - God's fairest of angel's - has been humiliated by this news, for he was under the impression that HE would be the one to save the world from darkness, earn the honor of sitting at God's right hand and thenceforth rule the heaven and the earth.

Lucifer convinces himself and many of his brother angels that God's plans with Jesus are ill-conceived. He forms a rebel army and they start a revolution in heaven...




THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON (excerpt)


...

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

- Revelation 12:7
...


THE BATTLEFIELD

From a distance, it looked as though a swarm of locusts had scattered about the clouds but there was a distinct demarcation in the middle of this darkish mass that remained pure with white. On one side of the demarcation stood Fairest Lucifer's army of Rebel Angels whilst on the other side stood God's Angels lead by the brave Archangel Michael. The fairest Lucifer hovered ten feet over the frontline and raised his fist into the air. Then, upon the opening of his fist, the army of Rebel Angels let out a hiss. This was their war cry.

As for the brave Archangel Michael he, too, floated to the height of fairest Lucifer and met his foe eye-to-eye. But his intentions were not to taunt. For he wanted to talk sense.

"I give yee one last warning, Lucifer. Call this army off! For your cause is not just and your army is no match against ours."

"Unwise Michael, your words scare me not. Save yourself the breath, for I will never call off my army. But, alas, it is not too late to redeem your soul and join my ranks. With you on my side, others in your army will follow. And together we can overthrow the confused and ill God."

"Never will I do such a thing!"

"Come now, Michael. How is it that you can be complicit in God's plan? A man, Michael. A man is to be your king! What think you of that?"

"If that is God's plan, then that is God's plan. I shall be content in helping him carry it out."

"Words born out of an imprisoned mind. You say you're content but what you mean is you're complacent. An enslaved agent of God is all that you are. Free will is dead in your heart."

And, with those words, the Archangel Michael's face turned the color of beets and the fairest Lucifer couldn't help but allow a slow smirk to slither up his cheek. He knew his words had infiltrated the misguided Michael's mind, challenging his thoughts...and rattling his obstinacy.

"I stand with God," Michael said, though fairest Lucifer wondered if he truly believed it. "We all stand with God."

"Ah, then you are not the wise Michael I thought you to be. You're putting you and your troops in needless danger here. Angels ARE going to die, for that seems unavoidable if this battle ensues. And for what? All to maintain the power of a misguided God? Shame on you, dear Michael. You're smarter than this. This blood that is about to be shed...it will be on your hands and your hands only."

And, with that, the fairest Lucifer raised his other fist into the air and, with the sight of this fist, the army of Rebel Angels roared out a...

"Yaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!"

The locusts swarmed each other and the battle was on. Rebel angels battled against God's angels, sword upon sword. Never before was there so much beauty to such ugly actions.

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

Fairest Lucifer chopped off the wing of an angel named Metatron. Regret and compassion were overwhelming his conscience, but the fairest angel knew that said feelings were the enemy now and he would have to swallow these feelings in this very important time of revolution.

CLANG! CLA-CLANG!

With his compassion suppressed, the fairest angel felt a new burst of energy in replace of it. He felt like a war machine now, and he thought about nothing else except destruction and winning the battle. He relished this feeling. It made him feel powerful, yes, but, more importantly, it made him feel free...freer than he'd ever felt before.

CLANG!

He chopped off the leg of angel named Uriel!

CLANG CA-CLANG!

And then chopped off the head of an angel named Raziel!

The sight of all the angelic blood thrilled the fairest of angels whilst the sounds of the screaming energized him ever the more. He wasn't the same fairest angel anymore, there was no doubt about that. He was somebody different. And he liked this angel much, much better.


...

Time seemed to have suspended itself during the battle betwixt God's Angels and the Rebel Angels. But, alas, time had to have passed, for, soon, there were dozens of soldiers from both armies, lying in pieces, blood everywhere, such horror unfathomable. There weren't many living angels left but Lucifer had never felt so alive! He was stabbing angels through the hearts now whilst his own heart loved the destruction it was now capable of.

When, suddenly, fairest Lucifer met his match:

It was Archangel Michael, staring him down with a determination to end the battle for good.

"Look around you, Lucifer! Look what you have done! Look at the destruction, all the blood that is on YOUR hands...!"

Fairest Lucifer refused to look anywhere but deep into his now-sworn arch-enemy's eyes.

"...All because you longed to sit at God's right hand," Michael continued. "Ha! A set of greener eyes I have never seen! Your envy has turned thee into a monster!"

Fairest Lucifer felt his rage bubbling up to a boil. How dare that misguided Michael try to spin everything 'round and make HIM looketh the villain. He would not stand there and be guilted and shamed when 'twas the exact opposite that was true. Fairest Lucifer was the victim who wanted nothing but good. And it was God who so conditioned the angels into thinking HE was the villainous "rebel". O furious!

"Prepareth to die, Michael!"

Michael raised his sword and assumed his battle stance.

"For I but wait your move!" the Archangel declared.

And, now, if it wasn't for a slight feeling of reverence, fairest Lucifer would not have skipped a beat before he charged at God's army general. For Michael was no ordinary soldier, hence Lucifer's reverence for his former brother. Michael was the mightiest angel in all the heavens and his swordsman skills were unmatched by none other.

But, alas, all that was good in the universe was on fairest Lucifer's side. Justice and truth always prevailed and it was justice and truth that he was fighting for. Aye, justice was his God now and he knew that justice would empower him with an energy and skill that would far exceedeth Michael's.

"Yaaaaaaaaaaah!"

And, with that, Lucifer attacked Michael and Michael fought back. At first, Lucifer feared he had overestimated his own abilities because Michael was, indeed, tremendously skilled and appeared to have the upper hand. But then he realized that the fear was something he needed to conquer and it was only dulling the sharpness of his sword.

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

Lucifer knew that he'd need to sedate that devil in him that was doubt and replace it with rage and much of it. Indeed, pure rage would be the fuel that made the fairest angel indomitable. And 'twas not difficult to find the catalyst to trigger such rage. For it came in the form of thoughts and these thoughts were regarding the psychological warfare God had waged upon poor Lucifer. O how God turned his brothers against him, all because the Almighty Father was too obstinate to admit wrong and admit Jesus was a worthless human being unfit to save mankind. So, in turn, he maketh Lucifer out to be the villainous, treacherous betrayer! How dare he maketh him the villain! How dareth he!!!

CLANG! CA-CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

Fairest Lucifer knew not when it happened but, at some point, 'twas almost as though he left his body. Consciousness turned black, but his body still functioned on its own. All he knew was that he suddenly found himself with his sword held high above his head and his feet pinning the (now disarmed) Michael unto the battle floor. How this had actually happened he had no recollection. 'Twas strange.

Michael was nursing a wound in his side about eleven and two inches in length and he was shivering from the loss of his blood.

"Pl-please, Lucifer. You don't have to do this. For your sake."

"Ha! For my sake! A most intelligent way to mask your cowardice, General Angel. For MY sake, oh how thoughtful of you, Michael. Splendidly put!"

Hearing the nastiness in Lucifer's voice and...the...the pure hatred, the Archangel Michael could do nothing but just shake his head in utter dumbfoundedness. How that hatred had poisoned his former brother's mind was something he could just not understand.

"What hath happened to you, Lucifer?"

The question rattled fairest Lucifer at first, though he tried his best to remain stoic as he stood before his enemy. 'What hath happened?' Why, enlightenment, that was what happened. Free will and free thought, those happened as well. Transcendence of God's spell - that, too. All THAT was what happened to fairest Lucifer. And there Michael was looking up to him like HE - the fairest angel - was the monster. Stupid, ignorant, narrow-headed angel!

Fairest Lucifer gripped his sword and was about to finish off the ignorant Archangel. But he was having difficulty doing it. Had compassion returned to him?

"Finish him, Lucifer!" screamed a fellow Rebel Angel. Why it was Beelzebub. "Finish him!" the Rebel screamed again.

Some of the other rebel angels had now gathered and they, too, were hissing for fairest Lucifer to finish off Archangel Michael. Lucifer knew that it was imperative that he display leadership and strength. For that was the only way to keep his soldiers energized and their morale high. Compassion was weakness and no soldier follows the lead of a weakling.

So, with those thoughts in mind, the fairest angel brought the sword down to finish off his foe. But...

KA-BOOM!

There was a tremendous explosion that made Lucifer and the other angels nearly jump out of their wings. Then, there was a howling sound of wind. Followed by a shrieking whistle. And then another...

KABOOM!

The rebel angels looked unto the not-very-distant skies and could see a great fireball floating high into the air. And, with this fireball, there came a blood-curdling scream.

"O MISERY!!!"

Then, Lucifer and the other rebel angels could see a soldier running their way. The angel was engulfed in flames and, as this angel got nearer, Lucifer identified the doomed victim. It was a rebel. Why, it was...

"Moloch..."

Indeed, Dearest Moloch was screaming in agony.

"Help me, Lucifer! Help me! O horrible! What hath happened?!"

All Lucifer and the other Rebel Angels could do was stare in shock.

"Help me!" Moloch kept screaming. "Help me!!!"

And those words were the angel's last words in the heavens. His wings had burnt to such a state that they were no longer fit to hold Moloch in the high vibrational energy of heaven. He fell right betwixt the clouds and screamed his way unto the earth.

Astonished, the Rebel Angels raised their swords high into the air and prepared to defend themselves from whoever or whatever had made a victim of their rebel brother.

And this was when they heard more whistling...

More howling...

...and then another KA-BOOM!

This time, Belial was the victim of this monstrous magik. The rebel angel was propelled about three-hundred-and-thirty-three feet into the air before falling back down and dropping right through the clouds. Lucifer could hear Belial screaming for him in unimaginable desperation but the screaming faded as the Rebel Angel fell his way further through the heavens.

Then, there was more whistling. There was an energy, some sort of ghost-like force weaving itself in and out betwixt the Rebel Angels. The angels kept their swords high and pivoted their bodies towards the sounds. When the howling moved to their left, they moved to the left. When the howling moved to the right, they turned to the right. But it was a confusing, disorientating energy playing tricks with their ears.

"What is it?! Mammon shouted.

"Dark magik!" Beelzebub hissed.

"Coward!" Lucifer screamed at the energy. "Show yourself!"

And, with that request, the whistling ceased and a mass formed right before his angelic eyes. Why, there was God manifesting Himself into the shape of one furious wizard-like formation. His arms started growing, and growing...and growing about ten feet out and his hands started rotating faster and faster and faster. They gradually transformed from a physical mass to a gas and then...

FLAMES!

Beelzebub and Mammon had seen enough. They dropped their swords and made a run for it.

But they didn't get too far.

KA-BOOM!

Oh, such horrible shrieks fairest Lucifer never could have imagined in his wildest of nightmares. The screaming curdled his bile and he almost thought he would vomit. The angels burned and screamed and then they, too, fell betwixt the clouds unto the earth.

Astonished and in horror, Lucifer turned unto God and saw that the Father was peering deep into fairest's eyes and torturing his soul with His gaze. With his fellow rebel angels gone - cast out of heaven - Lucifer no longer had to appeareth the leader, for there was nobody left to lead. Thus, he dropped his sword, got down to one knee, and he spake:

"Forgive me, Father! For I have sinned!"

God stood there doing nothing. Just peering and torturing Lucifer's soul.

"I have not been myself, Oh God! The devil hath taken hold of me, I know it!"

God still said nothing.

"Oh Father, I need your help! I must exorcise that terrible demon from my soul. For what you have seen was not me! But I'm still in there somewhere and I need your help!"

And it was after those latter words that God simply shook his head and extinguished his wrathful flames. Then he turned 'round - almost in disgust - and started walking away.

"Please don't forsake me, God!"

But God kept walking.

"God!!!!!!"

And it was then that Lucifer felt the rage again, rising up from within and burning his throat like acid. How things had come to this point was beyond him. And it wasn't his fault, not in the least. Yet, there he was kneeling and feeling abashed and...and begging for forgiveness. HA! Things were all twisted, for it was God who was to blame for all this happening. But, no, there was God walking away all high and righteous, shaking his head at fairest Lucifer in disapproval and disgust. That fiend!

And, almost without thinking, Lucifer gripped his sword, jumped unto his feet, spun 'round seven hundred and twenty degrees and then hurled the sword at God.

God knew the sword was coming before Lucifer had even thrown it. He grew about thirty-and-three feet in height and swatted the sword away like a fly. Then, he was furious, and he manifested His flames with his ten-foot arms. Lucifer immediately knew that he had made a bad move, though he hadn't been thinking logically. Something else had taken him over.

But it mattered not. For he was now doomed. He knew this.

KA-BOOM!

...

The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

- Revelation 12:9
...

THE SKY

It was a clear, black and beautiful sky. And then in that sky appeared a star. The star seemed to grow in size. Bigger. And bigger. And even BIGGER.

Then, the star started to make a sound. And it wasn't a good sound. Why, the star seemed to be screaming!

This was no star.

The star was the angel formerly known as "fairest", though he had lost that title forever. Now he was just Lucifer.

Lucifer was on fire and he was falling from the heavens. And spinning. And screaming.


IN THE DESERT

The desert sky was crystal-clear and so blue on the horizon it could have easily been mistaken for water. But then there was an anomaly. Something was falling from the sky. Something bright. 

A meter? A comet?

Neither.

It was Lucifer. He was still ablaze. And he was still screaming.

Lucifer plummeted into the desert sand with such force that a cloud of dust rose almost a mile in height. Now that he finally had a means to extinguish himself, he rolled 'round in the sand until the last of the flames were smothered. His skin was so raw and the sand stuck to the stickiness of the burns.

Soon, the fire was out but he was charred and steaming. The intense desert sun beat down on his burns. So much pain! O the pain!

But he wasn't alone with his misery, nor was he the only scream to be heard in the desert. The dust from his fall dissipated and he saw that his other fellow fallen brothers were but yards away from him. Some of the rebels were still screaming whilst others were moaning and those too weak to moan were whimpering.

Lucifer sat upright and tried to transcend his pain. All he could smell was a horrible, putrid odor. Burnt flesh or hair. Sometimes it even smelled like sulphur. After much effort, he rose unto his feet, stumbled around hither and thither and fell a few times, but eventually got to a point where he was sturdy enough to remain standing.

Then he tried to fly on out of the forsaken desert, though he could only get ten feet in the air before he fell right back down to the sand, flat on his face. He made a second attempt. But he had the same outcome. His poor wings were broken.

And, then, there was a voice:

"Luc-thi-fer, what hath happened?"

Lucifer turned unto the shivery voice and saw a charred angel standing before him. The angel was so dreadfully burned that it took poor Lucifer several moments for him to recognize the face. Was it? No, it couldn't have been...

"Moloch?"

'Twas, indeed, Moloch all right. Poor, dearest Moloch! His nose was dangling from his face and his ears were so burnt that they were now but triangular and horn-like. And as for his wings? O his wings! They were gone. Completely burnt away. Lost!

The poor Moloch kept shivering, frightened to the point of crying. But he was still so hot from heat that his tears were but vapors.

"Wha-t hath ha-ha-happened?"

Lucifer just stared at his dearest friend, his mouth agape. He could not muster up the words to answer such a question, for he was in shock. Poor Moloch was shivering so hard now that little pieces of ashed flesh were falling to the desert floor like dead leaves on an autumn day.

But, then, another voice:

"There he isth!"

The voice was angry and had a lisp. Lucifer turned to see his fellow Beelzebub leading a pack of what-appeared-to-be angry angels. O terrible! The angels sizzled and steamed and, oh, the smell! What a rotten, horrible smell!

Beelzebub was pointing at Lucifer and he was seething with rage.

"Look what fate you brought upon usth, Lusthefer!"

Poor Lucifer could see that Beelzebub's tongue had been burnt away and this was why he was slurring all his words. Seeing how angry all his fellow rebel angels appeared, the formerly fairest Lucifer secured himself on his feet and assumed a guarded stance.

"Your cause wasth but a lost one!" Beelzebub screamed. "And, with it, we are lost, too!"

Then the rebel angels hissssssthed at Lucifer. The formerly fairest angel thought it best to try and diffuse the situation.

"Dear Beelzebub, nothing hath been lost but one battle! The revolution is not over. Our cause is alive and well. We will prevail!"

This was when the angry Belial stepped forward to scream in poor Lucifer's face:

"Our wings are broken! Heaven hath been lost!"

"But in no time we'll grow new ones!" Lucifer rebutted. "And heaven will be regained!"

"Lies!" screamed another one of the angels. It was Mammon and he was furious. "It's lies you speak, Lucifer!" And then the angel dropped unto his knees, looked unto the heavens and pleaded for forgiveness. "Father, forgive me! Please forgive me!!!"

Lucifer scoffed at the pathetic Mammon.

"Pray not to God. For he is the devil!"

"No, Lusthefer!" Beelzebub screamed. "YOU are the devil!"

Such an accusation took Lucifer aback. As preposterous a notion as it was, being called the devil still shivered him at the core.

"Oh, Beelzebub, do watch what you say."

"You tricked us with your words and your charisthma. 'Fairest' Lusthefer - HA - I think not! For you, oh angel, ARE the devil. You are Sthatan in disguisthe!"

And, with those words, the friends-turned-foes hiiiisthed at Lucifer and seeeethed and then they surrounded their deceptive leader.

Lucifer searched for sympathizers, though he could find not one. He even called out to Moloch, but his dearest friend just stood and shivered, abashed, aghast, confused and afraid.

"Get him!" Beelzebub screamed.

Lucifer had no choice but to assume a battle stance. And then he fought the Rebel Angels when they attacked. Relative to his former brothers, Lucifer still had quite a bit of energy to expend and he fought them with reluctant fervor, for he did not want to fight his former rebel soldiers.

In many cases, fighting them was almost too easy, even felt unjust. For the rebel angels were in very poor shape. Many of their body parts were so burnt that, when he punched them, his fist broke right through the char. Pretty soon, there were pieces of ash floating all over the place and the smell! Oh how that burnt hair and flesh smell was just so terrible!

Soon, most of the fallen angels were beaten to the point where they were just rolling around in the sand, moaning and trying to reconnect their broken parts. As for Lucifer, he gave one of the angels one last punch that actually shattered an entire rib cage. This was shocking to him and he decided to back off.

But there was nobody left to fight him anyway. Everybody was rolling and moaning, except for poor Moloch who just stood as a passive observer in a timid state. Lucifer glanced at his surroundings and could see nothing but desert for as far as the eye could see. Then he took one last look at his dearest friend Moloch and would have cried himself had his tear ducts not been rendered useless by his heated flesh. He knew he was alone now, perhaps forever. God had successfully alienated him from his brothers and now here he was with broken wings, stuck on the earth.

But, alas, the war was far from over. He wasn't going to give up. He was never going to give up.

And, with one last nod to his dearest friend Moloch, Lucifer turned to venture into the desert. He would find somewhere to regroup, gain back strength and then the war against God would resume.

This was all far from being over.