‘Talk.” We were sitting in the back booth in the diner, Myra next to me, Emily on the inside seat facing her mom while Michael and I took the outside. There was no one in the diner but us, the cook and a Mexican kid washing dishes. The dinner rush was over, and the diner would be closing soon, so Myra locked the front door as soon as we came back in through the kitchen. She got coffee for all of us and a fresh towel for Michael’s nose, and we took over the back corner of the diner where we wouldn’t be disturbed.
“I said, talk.” I leaned into Michael and put a little more menace into my voice.
“Oh really, Adam, don’t try. You caught me off guard, and I need you, which are the only reasons you’re still mobile. I can kill you, remember? It’s what I do.” And he wasn’t kidding. Michael was the Lord’s enforcer, the one who dealt with anyone who broke the rules seriously enough for Dad to take a personal interest. I remembered.
“Mr. um, Michael. Please. Won’t you tell us what is going on and why you brought Adam back here after all this time?” Looked like Emily learned negotiation from her mother. 'Cause she sure as hell didn't get that silver tongue from me.
“Of course, since you asked nicely.” The little prick actually raised one eyebrow at me with that line. If I had any regrets about punching him in the snoot, they were gone.
“Now, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, there is coming a time of Choice, where a representative of humanity will make a decision between Order and Chaos, Good and Evil, the Light and the Dark. This human will decide the fate of all mankind for the rest of time, and it is up to you, Adam, to find him.”
“Huh?” Sometimes I’m less than eloquent.
“Was there a particular part that you didn’t understand, or was it just your general stupidity shining through?”
“Let’s take another look at the bit about me finding him. Why me?”
“Because you were there at the time of the first Choice, of course. Everyone who was there for the first Choice must be there for the final Choice.”
“So you’re saying that because I was there when Eve took the fruit…wait a second, you said everyone?”
“I believe I did.”
“Well, that’s gonna be a problem, seeing as how Abel’s suffering from a bad case of dead and Eve won’t be in the same time zone as me.”
“Your latest offspring shall fill the void left by your second son, and as for Eve, well, you’ll just have to be persuasive, now won’t you?”
“Cain, too, Adam.” Michael managed to lose the smug for just a minute at the mention of my oldest son. I hadn’t seen Cain in a long time, even for us, and it wasn’t a situation I was looking to change. Eve and I both had some issues with forgiveness: she couldn’t forgive herself, and I couldn’t forgive Cain. The last time we saw each other was the kind of meeting that country and western songs are written about, the kind of songs that feature destroyed bars, at any rate.
“No deal. I’m not going to put Even through that, I’m not going to deal with Cain, and I’m not going to let Emily get anywhere near either of them. Period.”
“This is not open for debate, Adam, son of God.” Michael turned The Voice on me, and his had more behind it than just a few thousand years of practice. His Voice came complete with Power, the kind that comes from a guy that sits on a big throne, and I knew that the floor was closed for debate.
I looked at Myra, then at Emily, and closed my eyes for a second. “This is tough. I know this is going to hard to believe, but everything he said is true. And we do have to do this. He can’t lie when he uses The Voice, and he can’t support a lie with it, either. We have to do this, and we both have to go.”
“Both? You mean all three of us, right?”
“Actually, Myra, you don’t have to go. Emily’s presence is all that is required.”
“Oh hell no! I sit here for almost 25 years waiting for my one true love, and the day he walks back into my life you tell me that he’s just going to ride off with my daughter and some snotty angel with a bloody shirt? Well you’ve got another think coming, Mr. High and Mighty Archangel, there is no way in hell this woman is getting left behind while Captain Immortal rides off into the sunset again. He’s stuck with me, at least until I get to find out if he snores too much or can’t figure out how to put the toilet seat down, and that means you’re stuck with me, too. And if you don’t like it, I can bloody your damn nose for you again real quick-like.”
“Adam, you always have had a taste for, shall we say, volatile women.”
“We can say that. And Myra’s coming with us. I just met this daughter today, so I can’t rightfully just swoop in and take her with us, can I? Don’t answer that. I know you’ve never been the most subtle of the seraphim.”
“Comes with the flaming sword, old chap.”
“Alright, all bullshit aside, where are we going? Where’s this guy who’s gonna decide the fate of the world?”
“Well, he’s not the first of our concerns. First, we have to find Eve. And she might not be as easy to persuade as you three. And she could be even less thrilled at my appearance,” said the angel.