“Xavier!” Emile screamed out to the open space around him. He felt as though he were falling through an endless tunnel. The air was so cold it pricked at his skin. “Xavier!”
The man he loved… Xavier, where are you?
Emile heard his name in a faint reply. His eyes shut; too tired to keep them open anymore. His chest burned where the cross lay flush against his skin.
“Xavier,” he choked, realizing smoke drifted up his nose.
And then hands lifted him from under his shoulders. Relief came in the form of soft feathers wrapping around Emile. They chased away the burn in his lungs and the smoke trying to grab at his body.
“Hang on, little one.”
“Don’t give up now. Your time is short. Make the best of it,” Lim’s whisper reached his ear before Emile hit hard ground. “Show him love. Show them all.”
Confused, achy, and coughing, Emile struggled to roll off his back and sit up. Blinking a few times, Emile saw nothing, but stars. All around him, hovering close to his face and body, they moved with a single touch of his hand. When he looked down, Emile froze. Underneath him was nothing but space. He put his hand down to test if what he was seeing was real.
An unseen barrier blocked his hand from reaching out to a formation of purple and orange gas, glowing bright against the black of space. “Holy shit,” he breathed.
That’s when he remembered Xavier. If Emile was here, thousands of miles away from earth, a pinprick of a planet underneath him, then where was his love? Emile got to his feet, keeping his arms out for balance in case the barrier didn’t hold. Astounded, he found his feet firmly planted, suspended over the universe like a god of men.
“Did you think we would war before mortal men, who could hardly begin to comprehend what their eyes were seeing?”
Chills went up Emile’s spine. He turned to see Lucifer in his true demonic form, seated on a throne of blood and flame. Thick, rosy liquid seeped from his mighty chair, pooling around his feet. Flames scattered under his touch, sending ashes into the black nothingness around them. His horns gleamed against the dark backdrop of space, curling up and away from his head.
Fire danced in his eyes, entrancing Emile until he wobbled off balance. “W-where is Xavier?”
Lucifer snapped his fingers. A figure began to emerge out of thin air next to Emile. On his knees, Xavier came into focus and coughed until he was hoarse. Black smoke was expunged from his lungs via his mouth, rolling into the arena-like atmosphere.
Emile dropped to his knees, patting Xavier on the back. “It’s okay. I’m here.” He grabbed Xavier’s hand, hauling him to his feet.
He welcomed the half-breed’s desperate embrace and nuzzled his nose in Xavier’s shoulder. “Where are we?”
Xavier swallowed against Emile’s shoulder. “Limbus,” he whispered. “The edge of hell and the edge of heaven, it is a place of judgment for those who question their faith and loyalties.”
“Worse.” Xavier pulled away. “Much worse.”
“It is here where demons and angels have the right to battle for souls yet to be decided. It is the only place in all of my creation where he may have that right.”
The men turned to find the Creator seated on a throne of white. Upon closer inspection, Emile found the seat to be made of white rose petals that fell away in a gentle breeze, causing the floral fragrance to drift to him. The scent was the same his grandmother used to wear; the scent that haunted him and at the same time gave him strength. It wasn’t a coincidence. He knew that as he met the Creator’s eyes.
“Some theorize Lucifer created sin and tempted Eve to take the fruit, but the truth is, I did not create man in perfection as I did my angels. I created man with such infancy, so that they would grow and learn with their own freewill. Lucifer had no part in her decision. He had yet to fall from grace.”
The Creator looked through Emile, at Lucifer. Xavier and Emile watched the interaction, feeling the tension thick in the air. “He was so beautiful and perfect, my angel, my son of morning. I gave him power and free will as I did his brothers and sisters, but because of his beauty, he became arrogant and spiteful. He wished to exalt his throne above the stars of his father – to be more powerful than me and rule them all.” The Creator’s lips twitched into a smile. He elegantly glided off his throne; yards of ethereal white trailed behind him, creating a robe befitting the universal entity.
“It may be true, that here you sit, Lucifer, on a throne in the stars.” The Creator stopped. Amusement touched his ocean blue eyes. “But what you fail to realize, what you’ve always been too blind to see, is your throne will never ascend above this point or above myself, for everything you see is of my own making. I am power. I am everything. I am you. Do you not see, Lucifer?”
Enraged, Lucifer slammed a clawed fist on his throne. Flames burst from his hand, licking his skin. “My fire will consume every man, woman, and child. I will never stop fighting for the souls of my people.”
“My people,” the Creator roared. His robes billowed around him in anger. His eyes bled white. He raised a hand to Lucifer. “You wicked fool, your deceit and lies are no match for the power of my love. When they are scared do they pray for you to save them? When a miracle occurs, do they bless your name? Where do they chant your name and praise the works of your kingdom? Where are these men you rule, Lucifer?”
“It is quite simple. You have none.” The Creator dropped his hand, calming the swarm of fabric around him. “You have nothing but regret to show for your actions. It is why you bring this boy here, because he sees through you and yours. No matter his shortcomings or trials he has always turned to me. And through me, others turn to him. You are bitter one of yours has become entranced with him, seeking the beautiful light inside of him. You cannot let go because you are greedy and need to have the last word, even though there is nothing else to say. It is why we are here, in this place of trial. You wish to condemn this boy to a life of hellfire as punishment for leading your sheep astray. To let him live would make you look weak in the eyes of your…followers.”
The Creator rumbled, lifting his hands above his head. “But that sheep has the right to choose. He has the right to see the glory of my love versus the pain you offer up.” Dropping his hands in a rush, the Creator sighed. Behind him the stars glowed until an angel appeared from each and every one.
Hundreds of wings spanned over the magnificent galaxy before him. Beings with light coming from inside of them stood tall, shining down upon them all. The Creator’s army was more perfect than any word written in the bible.
Emile’s breath left him. He had no strength to stand before such a sight. His knees hit the barrier and his eyes welled with tears of wonder. Lim burned brighter than the rest, kneeling before his father with a sword at his hip. He turned his eyes to Emile with a smile; a knowing look transpiring such love and care.
The Creator extended his hands again. “I claim that sheep as my child, now, then, and forevermore. I open my arms for him to come. Strike against him and I will bring my wrath upon you.”
Emile looked up at Xavier. He couldn’t read the emotions on his face, but it was clear Xavier knew who the Creator was speaking of. But Emile knew no amount of standing there and hearing how much he was loved, by a man he didn’t know, would make Xavier give in. Emile knew what came next. He was certain of his purpose when he heard the first scream.
See you next week!!!!