Punched by an Angel
by Henry Wyckoff
A crossover between Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Millennium, and Touched by an Angel
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1984
Santa Fe was a tourist town nowadays, but unlike created Meccas such as Sedona, this place had a genuine history. It was a town that could actually hold its own through wars, change of command, and even language. Here, one could find rich New Yorker art merchants and those of Mexican and Indian descent doing a lot of the menial work. Catholic priests held mass and hippies rode in VW vans, singing, "This is the Age of Aquarius." A man entered the old part of town, on foot. Nobody seemed to notice him arriving, but he was there now.
He definitely wasn't a local, but he fit in nonetheless. It was the strangeness factor that did it. Not too many people walked into town wearing a winter trench coat (although it was perfect for the weather up here), wire-rimmed sunglasses, and long hair that reached past his shoulders. Those who finally reported seeing this man could remember that he'd had a frightening aura. He wasn't violent or angry, or anything blatant like that. They just said that they got scared looking at him. Not even the panhandlers talked to him.
He walked though the old part of town with an obvious purpose, and made it to the stone church, where an old priest still held mass on Sundays, once in English, once in Spanish, and once in Navajo. Standing in front of the old place, Latro could feel memories hit him from a much older time. For a brief instant, he was there for the first time, running and not walking. He had an arrow punched through his chest. The image was gone.
The church was empty, except for some tourists. Latro waited. He sat in one of the back rows and stayed without any sense of time. The hours passed and the visitors came and went, many of them taking pictures that included Latro in some secondary manner. An artist actually sketched him, and Latro didn't seem to care a bit.
What went through his mind only Latro knew, his face was that controlled. If they'd only looked into his eyes, they'd have seen sadness. His eyes were fixed on the cross, and every once in a while, he would look at his callused hands, then back at the cross.
By the end of the day, the old priest he'd intended to see came out to the pews. "Are you all right, son?" He was a short New Mexican Indian, his skin still unwrinkled and his frame covered with muscles that contradicted his age.
"No," Latro whispered back in Spanish. "I am not. That's why I came here."
"What's wrong?" the priest sat down on another pew. "Is there something I can help you with?"
Latro's eyes seemed to pierce his shades as he looked into the priest's eyes. "Why is it that it was considered sacrilege for David to ask to speak with God, directly? Why was it necessary for the prophets to speak to David? Why couldn't God have spoken directly to us? Why doesn't he?"
There were some obvious questions going through the priest's mind right now, such as where this was leading. "David was rebuked because of his pride. He somehow felt that it was below him to rely on a prophet, which could often be a troublesome affair for a king."
"In the Bible, God spoke to Adam and Eve directly. Was it their eating from the tree that cursed us to be separated from his Word?"
"Mankind is cursed to be separated from Eden, and with that separation came a separation from God, but that doesn't mean you can't hear him."
A newcomer entered the church then, almost looking like a grimy sea captain, except it was a set of land clothes that he wore. A wolf flanked each side of him, and a raven sat on each shoulder. One patch covered his eye. His smile, and the look from his remaining eye was demonic. Both Latro and the priest shuddered. The newcomer spoke. "Go on, old man. Tell him the rest."
"Rest of what?"
"Tell him that God curses the son for the sins of the father. Tell him that he'll favor Angels over mankind any day, even though Satan was also an Angel. Tell him God cares so little about man that he will allow anything to happen. Look in a history book to see the proof. If you were a father and creator, would you have allowed the Crusades or the Holocaust?"
The priest spoke back, "God allows these atrocities because he's giving man free will."
"Free will? Would you allow a child to exercise free will by killing another child with a gun in a childish squabble over what TV show to watch? Would you allow him to exercise his free will be sticking his finger in a light socket, or getting addicted to heroin, just to see what the sensation is like? We enforce boundaries about our children, but God places the wrong restrictions over us."
"Who are you?" asked Latro. He didn't seem as afraid of this man as the priest was.
"Odin. I was father of the Viking race, I heard your cries in the desert, and so I came, unlike God or any of his angels." He looked at the old priest. "It appears that you can't answer his cries for help, so I will." Out of his coat came a spear. "Gungnir, taste the blood of the cloth."
The priest backed up, tripping over the edge of a pew. The wolves charged at him, keeping him from running away and nipping at any exposed extremities.
Odin smiled at Latro, "See how much God favors his Angels? He doesn't even protect them from a mortal wound."
"He's an Angel? Literally?"
"Yes. He is Auric, the Angel of the Golden Voice, but he will be so no longer. You see, in a world where God cares about nothing, even his Angels can die. You just have to know how to do it." His spear cut through the air, cutting through the muscles just above the priest's kneecap.
The old man's screams tore at Latro. "What are you doing!?"
"Just giving this Angel a chance to press his case. It looks like he's just as helpless as a mortal."
Latro watched in horror as Odin used railroad spikes to crucify the priest on the church's cross. "Here, Latro. Finish him off."
Numbly, Latro took the spear and thrust it though Auric's heart. The blood ran down its length and splattered on his face. He swallowed a little bit of the blood unintentionally.
Odin pulled Latro away from the dead Angel. "You've had the instincts, but you just need a little bit of instruction. We're going on a little journey through the desert, and when you've emerged, you'll be ready to give God a message he won't forget."
"Why are you doing this?"
"God has it coming to him, and you're the first man with enough guts to pull it off." His smile was vicious.
It was still daytime, but it didn't matter to the trench-coated man walking through the front door. A bored cop stopped him, "Can I help you?"
The man nodded with a skeletal smile, "I'm here to see someone in lockup."
"Down the left, and you'll hit the sign-in sheet." The cop went on his way without even a second glance, not even wondering why he didn't give the guy the Third Degree.
* * *
Peter was eating the food he'd ordered from the Chinese place down the street. Not as good as his dad's, but he didn't have the luxury rght now. Something was tugging at him.
He didn't know why, but he got up and took his lo mein with him. Maybe Latro would be able to explain this . . .
It was just this strange feeling Peter was getting, like someone was tapping him on the shoulder and hiding behind the furniture. Nobody'd ever done that to him, but it still felt like someone was playing that game.
* * *
A blood-splattered face stared at him, laughing.
He ran. Something was wrong.
* * *
Latro sniffed the air, grimacing. "I hate Demons."
* * * *
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