A Lanceolate Sequel
By James Walker
"Meet you at the Haloes?"
"Check. How's he doing?"
A chuckle. "He's learning...come and join in."
Hanging up, the chuckling Djinn looked around the apartment. It looked nice.
Very nice. He'd been careful not to disrupt that. Anything out of the
ordinary would have spoilt the effect. He'd moved things around - a little.
Just enough to let the owner know that their home had been violated. Helping
himself to a cup of coffee, he waited for his attuned angel to arrive.
"What the... oh. Reggie."
Rose had just arrived home, a Gardener in tow. Finding a Djinn in his living
room wasn't what he'd expected. Still, it could be worse - and soon would
"Hello Rose - pleased to see me?"
The angel tried to manage a smile. "I should be."
The Djinn noted the evasion with amusement - the Seraph was learning fast.
"I felt the need to talk, so I thought I'd impose on you. You don't have a
problem, with that? I can leave if you want..."
"No, that's fine...I'm glad you came to me! I was hoping that we could
"Oh, I don't want to talk to you, angel. You've been endangering our
corporeal operations, you see. Very annoying. We need to plan for the
future. But there's something special about not being able to fight in your
presence. So I've invited all of the demons who I normally can't talk to
face to face to join me in your living room - we can have a nice, peaceful
discussion on how to work together against Heaven."
Rose looked at him in disbelief, and then smiled. "Yes, why not. It won't
hurt for your friends to learn how beneficial resolving things by talking
can be." Silly demon, she thought. Have you forgotten my resonance? Divulge
all of your plans in front of me - and as everyone there will know that I
can't lie, I can drop uncomfortable truths into the conversation.
"No, it won't will it? No one gets hurt in your presence. Don't you just
love that?" Reggie turned towards the nameless Soldier. "I'm sitting in
front of you - a demon - with centuries of cruelty behind me. I know
thousands of things to do to my victims, ways to torture their bodies in
incredible agony, and I can't use any of them. As long as Rose is here,
you're safe; safe from every physical agony known to Man - or Angel - or
Demon. Completely safe...there's nothing I can do about it."
"Do you feel safe?"
The Soldier was shaking. Rose spoke: "He's telling the truth, for once. He
can't hurt you."
"I didn't say that, halo!" the Djinn hissed.
"No, I did. You're safe, protected by the Word of Flowers."
"Yes..." the Djinn continued, in his hissing voice. "I'm safe, too. Very
special, that feeling. No one in Hell feels like this. No one. They can all
be killed. I can't be. As long as Rose is here...I'm safe. There's no way to
get rid of me.."
The Soldier was no fool. He couldn't remain within a few feet of Rose for
the rest of his life: true safety meant getting rid of Reggie. But that was
impossible; the Djinn was as safe as he was. And the Djinn could follow
Rose; he'd heard rumours of the Djinn ability to track people. Reggie looked
into the Soldier's face, and read the Fears...
"Actually," he said in a quiet, musing voice, "you can spend the rest of
your life within a few feet of Rose."
No fool, the Soldier realised that all that required was for him to die the
moment he was no longer protected.
Reggie leaned back. "Why don't you make a pot of tea? Given that we can't
fight, we may as well be sociable." He felt happy. Nightmares wasn't about
to doing horrible things to people. Death, The War, Fire - they would be
helpless here, unable to hurt their victims. But Nightmares - Nightmares was
about what could happen. Quite frankly, a defenceless victim was no fun at
all, because if it could happen, it would. No false hopes, no dread, no
worries - just pain. Quite boring. Where was the anticipation, the dread?
Here - sitting in a Flowerchild's living room, bending the brain of her
loyal human lackey, preparing him for a night in Beleth's realm. And
watching the angel slowly understand...
"Tell me, Rose - do you speak Helltongue? When demons from all over the
world need to talk, it's the only language we have in common. No? Well, I
could always teach you - it wouldn't cause you that much dissonance.."
The bell rang. "My fellow demons are here. We will plot and plan in a
language you do not understand, and our planning will hurt Heaven. Calling
for help won't achieve anything: whether the police or a squad of Malakim:
they cannot fight in your presence, so we will ignore them. Your Soldier
will either leave - and be an easy target; or stay, and be so horrified by
what we are that he will be easy prey when he sleeps."
"And then...you will have failed. For I know what you fear: returning empty
handed, having failed in your chance to prove to The Sword that you are
actually useful. Were they here instead of you, things would be different. A
knight in shining armour: that's something to drive away Nightmares."
"But not you."
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