The angel carefully plucked one of the fruits that already had some of the black rain on it. He held it up to his face, which was a mixture of horror and intrigue.

"There is life in the rain." he said as he sat it on the ground gingerly. Michael was already looking over it. Isaac's arm throbbed. The stinging in Isaac's arm was spreading quickly and causing tears to form.

Vlad came up behind him to see, and Isaac went with the crowd. He wasn't prepared for what he would see.

The black water had thickened to where the name black molasses was more appropriate. It wiggled slightly, and it seemed to be deflating. He knew he had seen something like what was on that fruit before, but now was no time for thinking. No, if he tried to think, he probably would make himself believe he was mad.

They watched it wither for a full minute, and when it seemed it was completely spent, it slid off the fruit. All except for little black dots, dozens, maybe hundreds of them.

"They feel like insects." the angel suddenly said, freeing them all of their revery. "But the life force... Well, I've only felt that in one other place." He grimaced at his own words, and Michael seemed to have caught on. What am I missing? Isaac wondered.

He turned away from it, hoping he could think better without the thing in front of him. He noticed something immediately.

"At least it's stopped raining." he said. The smoke like clouds were still there, hovering if possible even lower than before. No one seemed to take notice. He looked at the three of them, standing over the fruit like it was some kind of fascinating science experiment, his arm still burning. He wished he had a bit of water to at least wash it with. Or drink. Definitely drink.

Then two things came to him. He knew exactly where he had seen that sticky black gunk on the fruit before. At the bottom of the canyon, he had gotten stuck in it. It had felt like it was sucking him in, but he thought he had imagined it. The second, however, was more urgent.

"Sedusa!" he yelled. This got the others attention. He looked around, from tree to tree, and yet there was no sign of the mermaid. "Sedusa!" Vlad echoed. "Where has she gone off to this time?" the angel sighed. He spread his wings and flew off into the sky.

"Sedusa!" Michael called once the dust had almost completely settled. "How could we have missed her leaving, Michael?" Vlad asked. "Were we really so caught up in all of this that - "

"I don't think we missed her." Isaac interrupted. "She was here, we looked away, and she was gone. Even if she had tried to sneak away, we still would have heard her leaving. And it's so flat." He left the end of his sentence off, gesturing to the wide stretch of flat land around them.

"Well then what on Thrae happened?" Vlad demanded. Isaac wondered momentarily what 'Thrae' was, but this was no time for questions. "I never said I knew that part. But you know I'm not wrong."

Vlad began talking two or three times, stumbled over his words, then finally gave up. Instead, he went over to the fruit and smashed it under his hoof.

Isaac screamed and jumped back. At least 4 dozen white insects were sent flying from the purple fruit. Black liquid started oozing out of their skin and they wiggled frantically, but the parts where it didn't come out fast enough changed color from white to brown. Once they had turned brown, they wiggled even faster, then stopped moving altogether seconds later. Soon, they were all standing around an army of dead, brown insects.

"Those... those were..." Isaac stuttered.

"Yes, I believe they are one in the same." Michael said. "These little things have been living inside of our shadow doubles."

With a freezing downdraft, the angel dropped from the sky. He seemed frightened. He looked like he had just been through a few rounds with a professional boxer, and there was a gash on his side. he was panting like he'd just run a mile.

"Zanaria. He's coming. He took Sedusa to the demon. And he says if any of you resist, she dies."

The End

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