Chapter Twelve

“On that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”  Genesis 7:11 NKJV

 

Wisdom cringed with each sword’s powerful plunge into Terra’s crust. Muscles strained in the Seraphim’s necks and shoulders as the Earth cracked and ruptured. Water gushed straight up in powerful fountains, spraying geysers. The solid landmass split and shifted. With each plunge, the Earth changed shape, water rushing in the crevices created by the swords to form separate landmasses. The heavens filled and boiled, finally bursting with moisture. It rained for the very first time.

 

Lust sashayed across the room, lounging on the arm of Lucifer’s throne, displaying all of her…attributes…for the room of fallen angels to see.

Folly gritted her teeth.

Vamp.

Subtle hissing sprinkled the room—Folly was glad she wasn’t the only one disgusted with the attention-grabbing whore.

“What news do you bring me, Lust? Good news, I hope?”

Lucifer shamelessly traced one finger up her leg.

Folly’s entire being shook as she clenched and unclenched her hands. That she-devil had no right to sit there. Lucifer had promised her—promised to get rid of her! What was she doing here?

Lust threw back her head in an affected laugh.

Folly rolled her eyes. Lucifer didn’t know a fake laugh when he heard one. Lust couldn’t stand the sight of him, but all she had to do was show a little leg and Lucifer didn’t care.

“News of the best kind, master.”

Lucifer raised a brow, an inane grin stretching his mouth wide.

“It is done, then?”

“It is.”

A low boom rattled the floor. Folly barely noticed it.

“The ship won’t float?”

A real grin creased Lust’s darkly beautiful face. Her blond hair shimmered in the dim light.

“The ship won’t float.”

Lucifer whooped and jumped to his feet, swinging Lust around in a circle. He let go of her too soon and she stumbled, hitting her back against the throne. She barely kept from falling. Anger and hatred flared on her face.

He turned away from her and faced those watching.

“Ha! There won’t be anyone left! There goes the maker’s precious remnant.”

He speared Folly with a triumphant sneer.

Folly would have hit him had she been closer.

He held out his hand to Lust.

“Come, my dear, tell me everything! How did you do it? Will they find it? Did any of the angels see you?”

Three loud pops thundered from close-by.

Folly glanced over her shoulder, a frown marring her face.

Steady plunging and crashing noises grew louder.

Lust froze, her fingers inches from Lucifer, and stared at the rock wall next to her.

Swirling and gushing surged from far away.

Lucifer looked annoyed, while the others gazed at the walls in fear.

Folly stared around her with wide eyes. The crashes came closer—the gushing, louder.

“Famine! Come here!”

Folly watched Famine scurry from the farthest corner of the room.

“What in the world is all that blasted noise? I can’t even hear myself think!”

Famine trembled and jumped with each new crash.

“Forgive me, my lord, but I do believe that is, uh, water.”

“Water?”

Lucifer stared at Famine like she had lost her mind.

Folly rolled her eyes even while she couldn’t help but think how close to the truth that was. For all of them. She was holding on to the last shreds of her mind with all she was worth.

Folly growled low in her throat while Lucifer impatiently waited for Famine to explain.

Infuriating. Was he really that stupid? Did he think the water she had seen was a trifling stream while some other catastrophe befell the creatures? No, when the creator did something, he did it big.

“Yes, sir. Water. It seems the maker has answered your plea for judgment in a rather, um, unconventional way.”

A grin crept onto Lucifer’s face and widened to a full-fledged smile.

“Excellent. Most excellent. Folly—”

A tremendous crack interrupted Lucifer as a rock wall slammed Folly into him. Water surged around them and twirled them apart.

Folly was battered mercilessly within the swirling tempest, her cries swallowed by the angry waters. She slammed into rocks and other fallen angels as she twirled round and round. Spots swam before Folly’s vision. A loose boulder smashed into Folly. She gulped water into her lungs and pain exploded all over her body.

The roaring finally stopped after what seemed an eternity.

Folly squinted, staring at the swirling bubbles surrounding her.

Water filled the chamber. Completely.

Her eyes drifted shut.

 

Shut up. Oh, please, just shut up.

Wailing, screeching, shrieking—it was loud and it was close. The noise surrounded her. Folly’s eyes fluttered open, and her lungs burst with pain. Spirits streamed past her, screaming in agony. Folly wondered at the sheer number of them as she squeezed her eyes closed. What did she care about ghosts when she was enduring such torture?

 

A year.

It had taken over a year for the waters to recede from Lucifer’s lair. And Folly had counted every second.

The entire time, Folly and her helpless companions had tumbled in the worst kind of torment. The water gagged them, choked them, refused them oxygen—but they couldn’t die. They could only survive in the worst agony Folly had yet known.

It wasn’t until Folly’s knees slammed against the ground—and she wasn’t spun away by the current—that Folly realized something was different. The water was—gone. Just like that.

Folly gagged and choked, spewing her stomach’s contents everywhere. For several days, Folly and her companions lay on the burning rock, vomiting and breathing. Nothing else.

Finally, Lucifer scrambled to his feet and up the winding tunnel to the surface.

Folly crawled after him, discovering how to stand again halfway there.

She could hear the others staggering after her.

Lucifer raced out of the pit, pausing at the crest into the valley.

The fallen angels tumbled into the blinding sunlight one by one.

“Quiet!”

The horde of tromping feet stilled behind him, a few shoved from their feet by others when they didn’t respond fast enough.

Silence stretched on for miles.

Folly strained her ears. The constant hubbub of humanity wasn’t there. Gone. Silenced forever.

Lucifer started to chuckle. His chuckles turned to roaring laughter, and he sank to his knees. Gripping the rocky soil, he clutched handfuls and let it stream through his fingers as he arched his back and howled.

Folly glanced quickly to Lust.

Her eyebrows were arched so high they were lost behind the blond hair swept across her forehead. She stared back at Folly in shock, her animosity momentarily gone. Folly was sure her face mirrored Lust’s.

Lucifer punched the air with his fist.

“What do you have to say for yourself now, huh? Every one of them—gone. Dead! Was it worth it? Was it worth casting out your most prized being for a few creatures that would last only a handful of years then be swept away?”

He stopped speaking and gazed all around him, soaking it all in.

“Well, guess what. I’ll take it. I’ll take this earthly kingdom you’ve given me and make it mine. I’ll make this earth everything I wanted it to be, without those puny brutes to get in my way. Thank you for your generous gift.”

He threw back his head and guffawed.

“Famine, Death, Fear! Scout the north quadrant. Religion, Hate…”

Folly glanced across the barren landscape, young shoots and saplings pushing their way out of the drenched soil.

A part of Folly mourned for the creature’s lives that had all been snuffed out so…simultaneously.

Where is this coming from?

Folly rubbed her arms, chilled. She turned to Lust.

“Guess you can build one of those temples and keep it all to yourself now.”

Lust sniffed and tossed her long, blond hair over her shoulder. Animosity was back. Big time.

“What good will it do me without a mass of worshippers?” She smiled slyly. “Maybe I’ll find the Garden and take it for myself.”

Folly shivered. Lust could have the Garden, if it still existed. Folly didn’t want to live in a place that reminded her of her first beating. She snorted. What didn’t remind her of a beating anymore?

Lust sauntered away, swaying her hips as she walked toward Lucifer.

Folly realized a second too late where she was going and rushed to overtake her. Jumping in front of her, Folly slowed and calmly walked toward Lucifer.

Lust elbowed her aside.

Folly shoved her, hard, but Lust caught herself before she hit the ground.

“Why, you,” Lust whispered through her teeth.

Lust wedged herself between Lucifer and Folly and snapped her leathery wings wide, smacking Folly in the face.

Folly grabbed Lust’s hair and yanked her away from Lucifer.

Lust shrieked, twisted away, then dove for Folly, fingernails outstretched.

“Enough!” Lucifer shouted.

His voice echoed all around the valley.

Folly shoved Lust away from her and stood close to Lucifer’s side.

Lust scrambled to Lucifer’s other side.

Lucifer stepped away from them, his disgust apparent.

“Vicious dogs,” he muttered.

Lust stuck her tongue out at Folly with a rude hand gesture.

Folly clenched her fists, wanting to tear that despicable face off of her nemesis.

“A boat? You found the boat! Where is it?”

Folly’s head snapped up at Lucifer’s frantic shouting.

“Look for yourself, master.”

Lucifer pushed the trembling fallen angel, Famine, aside. He beat his torn but heavy wings, forcing them to lift him into the air. He gained height slowly. Folly watched, mouth open, as he struggled to stay afloat, his twisted and broken wings fighting for each beat. Charred feathers drifted down with each flap of the once breathtaking wings.

Even broken, wounded, and only a shell of his former self, he was still so beautiful.

His eyes focused in the direction his spy was pointing.

Lucifer cursed.

Folly’s heart stuttered to a stop even as she strained to see what he was looking at.

A heavy ship rested on the crest of a tall mountain.

“Go! Now! Report back! Did they live?”

Famine scurried away.

He looked at other angels.

“Go see if there are any other boats, just in case. Be quick about it!”

Masses fled at his bidding.

His gaze trailed across the hordes then froze on Lust.

Lucifer dropped back to the earth, landing with a jarring crash. He carefully folded his broken wings and tucked them regally behind him. He made his way to Lust and stopped before her.

“I thought you had taken care of it,” he said in a low voice, eerily calm.

“I had—I mean, I did, master! There was no way the ship could have survived. I swear it!”

“Tell me what you did. Exactly.”

Lust trembled as her eyes darted around her. Her companions either sneered or looked away, not one offering support. Folly almost felt sorry for her. Almost.

“I—I, my girls—temple priestesses distracted him—the son—Ham, I think?—right at the most important part of the task. And he did—I mean, I did—he was so mad—it worked. He left gaps—there were gaps—I swear it—I saw it. The pitch didn’t cover—it should have sunk. The craft should have sunk.”

Lust blinked furiously, moisture gathering in her eyes.

Folly huffed and rolled her eyes. Tears? Seriously? What an idiot.

Lucifer leaned close, barking out each word.

“And when was the last time you checked to make sure these supposed “gaps” were still in the hull of the ship?”

“That day—a year ago—the day I came to report to you—the day we were swarmed by floodwaters. It was there; I swear it!”

He backhanded her. She fell to the ground with a cry.

“Get out of my sight,” he snarled.

Lust scurried to her feet and bolted, disappearing into the young trees of the fresh earth.

Folly’s shoulders shook with silent laughter. About time! Oh, but revenge was sweet.

Who’s our master’s favorite angel now?

Lucifer turned away and stood with his hands clasped behind his back.

As Folly studied him, her eyes drifted to his wings. She had thought he held them far above his head to show regal dominance. She never imagined he held them that way because they were permanently disjointed.

Folly eased toward Lucifer, pity and comfort moving her forward.

“Lucifer!”

Her attention snapped to Famine, tumbling over rocks in her haste.

“What of the boat?  Noah?  Speak!”  Lucifer’s harsh words resounded in the echoing valley.

Famine stood before Lucifer, panting.

“You’ve got to come see it for yourself, sir. You just won’t believe it.”

Fallen angels appeared from all over the globe.

“No other boats, sir.”

Lucifer nodded and started walking, his hunched gait breaking Folly’s heart. Maybe if he knew how much she cared for him, he wouldn’t be so cruel all of the time. Maybe he just needed to know someone was in his corner.

Folly just needed to show Lucifer that she really, truly cared.

She smiled as she strode boldly by Lucifer’s side.

She would show him how much better she was than Lust.

Climbing out of the bowl-like valley, Lucifer turned to his followers.

“Folly, come with me. The rest of you—stay here.”

Folly couldn’t help the smug grin she shot at Famine, who was already moving to join him. Famine’s chest heaved as she glared at Folly. She had been Lucifer’s go-to scout since he had established his rule on the Earth. She rarely missed details, so hungry she was to destroy god’s creatures. Folly laughed. Well, not anymore. Lucifer wanted her, not anyone else.

Lucifer walked away, and Folly jogged to keep up.

Once out of sight of the masses of disfigured angels, he once again unfurled his crackling wings. They flew in sporadic spurts, launching themselves with great leaps then landing with colossal crashes.

Lucifer knelt after a rather painful landing, breathing hard.

“Tell no one,” he panted.

“Yes, master. I wouldn’t dream of it. I can administer Death’s potions later if you like.”

His eyes snapped to her face, his words clipped.

“No one touches me but Death.”

“And Lust.” Folly smiled sweetly at his calculating glance. “Perhaps you should have someone look after you who actually cares. Someone who isn’t just after recognition from being at your side.”

His expression eased.

“Aren’t you, though?”

She glanced away.

“Help me up this mountain.”

Folly nodded, and together they climbed.

Halfway to the ship, they came to a gentle slope and heard braying, squawking, and the gentle hum of a few voices.

They peeked over the edge.

Folly’s jaw dropped.

Noah and his family—his wife, his three sons, their wives, everyone, stood around a well-built altar, lifting their hands toward the heavens.

“No, it couldn’t be. That’s impossible.”

Folly trembled at Lucifer’s quiet, steely voice. She stayed where she was, refusing to cower—expecting a fist to her head at any moment.

Lucifer opened his mouth, but the presence of the Almighty dropped out of Heaven and a voice boomed across the land.

“Never again will I send a flood to cover the entire earth. This rainbow will be a sign of the covenant between you and Me.”

It continued, but Folly turned to watch Lucifer.

Hatred clouded his face; he hissed unknowingly at the maker’s voice.

She readied herself to jump back at the first sign of violence.

The powerful voice bled into her thoughts.

Folly trembled at the love the maker openly showed for his surviving creatures. She had felt that love once. Then she had spurned it for hate, fear, torment.

Noah and his family scattered. His sons started digging what looked like a foundation for a large home.

Without a word, Lucifer straightened, turned around, and slid back down the mountain.

Folly hung back, reaching the bottom far after him, hoping he would forget all about her.

“Excellent.”

His pleased voice frightened Folly. He speared her with a maniacal smile.

“As long as the world endures, I will have a chance to kill, steal, and destroy the maker’s most prized possession—his creatures.”

Folly stood there, dumbfounded, as Lucifer walked away.

He—he wasn’t going to hit her? Wasn’t he just deliriously happy that the earth was his alone? What was he thinking? What was wrong with him?

Folly stayed far behind him as they crept over the rough landscape back to the cave.

 

Wisdom smiled and turned away. Noah would never know of the gap in the hull his son had left, or God’s goodness in sending Wisdom to repair it in the midst of the flood. He didn’t need to know. God had spared him, and that was enough for Wisdom.

 

Wisdom and Folly: Sisters by Michele Israel Harper, Chapter Twelve © 2014

Angel,s Breath by DiosaEMR on deviantART.com  http://diosaemr.deviantart.com/art/Angel-s-breath-270529123

Used with permission.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

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