Chapter Twenty Two
Word Count: 687
Agaton crossed the threshold between realms – his steps wide and sure, his silhouette emerging from the smoking ashes of a freshly fallen building. Where he stepped he left a charred trail, made by an invisible fire encompassing him and burning all things within reach. The smell of sulfur was everywhere and he reveled in it. The stars burned brightly above him against an onyx black sky. The moon was nothing more than a narrow slit, insignificant compared to the vastness of such aphotic space.
The earth realm was hideous, once – so full of life and sunlight; the truth of humankinds’ nature showing only in the darkened alleys late at night. It was one such darkened alley out into which Agaton stepped, the portal closing behind him. Bathed in the luminescence of the blood red moon, he bared his perfect teeth in a somewhat imperfect, albeit hellishly gruesome, sneer.
The ruins of the city stretching out before him, Agaton felt almost wild with the power at his disposal. His body was electrified with the energy coursing through him, scalding his muscles into a restless frenzy. He wanted a battle, he wanted chaos.
There was one thing on his list to do, first. One thing that trumped all the others. He took a left on Lower First and followed the scent in the air. It took him no time at all to find his brother, and black eyes met black eyes with the same static-filled tension as always.
“I see you wasted no time in dropping down to save the precious souls of earth,” Agaton said, a not-quite faint trace of mocking in his tone.
“I knew you wouldn’t be far behind,” his brother said, returning to the gas cans he was filling.
“Quite true,” Agaton answered, shrugging his shoulders. “Have you considered my offer?”
He watched passively as his brother’s jaw twitched with frustration. The words were low, barely a growl, but Agaton heard them easily, “I will never consider your offer, brother.”
Agaton smiled, though he knew to his brother it looked more like a scowl. “When will you learn that you’re fighting for the wrong side?” He crouched down beside his brother and idly began to help him fill the canisters of gasoline.
Without looking at him, his brother said, “I’ve never once questioned the side I’m on, Agaton,” and twisted the cap onto the final can. He stood up to his full height, looming over Agaton while he remained crouched, and added, “Though I believe you have.”
Agaton raised his hands as if demonstrating not to be armed, and said, “I’m just making sure you’re aware that you’re nothing more than fodder to Him,” as he rose to his own towering height. They stood evenly with each other, mere inches away, and there was more said between their eyes than could ever be said out loud.
His brother smirked, a hundred years of righteous pride gleaming behind those onyx orbs, and said, “It won’t be my body left to rot, Agaton, for I walk the holy path.”
Agaton laughed heartily and it was genuine, even pure, before saying, “Brother, you have always been blinded to the blood on your own hands. Gloves won’t cover it forever. Isn’t it time you ensure yourself comfort at the end of all of this?”
“I hold no illusions about my soul, brother,” he said, and the threat was clear. “I think you’ve been below ground too long to remember His compassion.”
They were at a standstill, and it was a familiar one. They’d been at the same standstill for the better part of a millennia. Agaton frowned, then, and shook his head. He’d spent more time than he’d ever intended to spend trying to convince his brother of the merits of Agaton’s choice; but it seemed it was falling on willfully deaf ears. He patted his brother on the shoulder once, and said, “I hope your death is at my hands.”
The look in his brother’s eyes made it clear that the meaning was not lost on him.
“I know it will be your blood on mine,” Judah said.