Friday, March 25, 2016

Even God Has Regrets; or The Honest Mistake

Better than anyone, Claire knows that life is full of small yet important moments. These are instances in a person's life that alter their path, creating branches and shifting between present and future. In the face of such moments, that individual splits into two personas: who they were before and who they become after.

When Claire was six, she fell through the ice on Clary Pond and died for exactly forty-seven seconds. Before it happened, she was a precocious child with a head full of clever ideas and a love of My Little Pony. She was much the same after it happened, save for one thing: she awoke a future Prophet of God.

Now, what kind of a god makes a six-year-old girl into a prophet, you ask? A desperate one.

Ellie had seen the writing on the wall and suspected Lucifer was coming for Her. The only clue the Fates would give Her was a name and an idea: Claire Elizabeth Rogers, Prophet.

However...the Crone's handwriting had only gotten worse with age and what looked like a "g" was actually a "p" so is it really Her fault, then, that She anointed the wrong one?


"It's not like I meant to ruin your life, Claire!"

This isn't a valid argument. Ellies knows that, of course, but it's the best She can do on short notice. If the expression on Claire's face is any indication, though, it's not good enough.

"I was six! I thought I was getting a pony!" Claire throws a plate across the kitchen and Ellie steps aside, pottery shattering as it connects with the dark paneled wall.

"I cannot believe you just threw a plate at ME!" She ducks as a coffee mug follows. "It was an honest mistake, Claire!"

"An honest mistake?" Claire asks, breathless with rage. In that moment, with her red hair wild and her dark eyes manic, Ellie sees Claire's mother in her -- raging Celtic angel of vengeance and all.

"Yes, dammit. The Fates were very vague. All I had was a name. I didn't know exactly who I was looking for!"

"An honest mistake."

Ellie barrels on, unperturbed. "You fell through the ice and your mother begged Me to help. It happened very quickly. I was looking for your name and then there you were. I didn't realize -- not until much later -- that the last name was wrong. The Crone's handwriting..."

"I know," Claire says, the chill in her voice dissipating. "It's worse than the Catholic nuns'."

She nods. "Exactly."

"And it was an honest mistake."

"Of course. Yes."

"And You're very sorry for it."

"YES! You know I am."

"And You regret it."

Ellie pauses, then. She's being led down a treacherous path; She's seen Claire interrogate small children in a similar fashion, all calm waters and sympathy. She knows it's a front.

"And You regret it," Claire says again, the edge back in her voice.


Claire explodes like a box of angry bees. "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!"

Hope, Claire's elderly Grim, disappears and God wishes She could, too. But then, as She's looking for a place to hide, She remembers something vitally important.

She's GOD.

And She's done explaining Herself to a mortal employee.

"ENOUGH!" She bellows, waving Her arms across the kitchen. Silence descends over the house; the broken dishes fix themselves and return to their original positions on the counter. Claire watches with wide eyes, perhaps finally aware of just how ridiculous she's being, of close she's flown to the sun.

"You are a trial, Claire. You are a headache wrapped in shiny packaging and while I absolutely adore you, I do not love you enough to allow your temper tantrum to continue."

She snaps Her fingers and a three ring binder lands on the island between them with a loud resonating thud and the gentlest tinkling of a bell.

"This," She says, pointing to the binder, "is your Prophetic Services Contractual Agreement. You were six when you first signed it and I can see now just how unfair that was. Therefore, I'm giving you a second chance to review its contents." She snaps Her fingers again and a second binder appears, along with a handful of red pens and a bottle of Merlot. "Now, you and I are going to go through this contract -- line by line -- and revise it. Together."

Claire clears her throat, squares her shoulders. "Why do this?" she asks, the earlier violence gone from her voice, though the frown remains. "It's been almost thirty years."

Ellie smiles, bright as the sun, and a confused rooster down the street begins to crow. Hope reappears from wherever it was she disappeared to earlier and plants herself underneath the stool where God sits.

"Because I'm a good business woman, Claire, and I absolutely hate to see My employees unhappy."

"Except for Lucifer."

The smile grows mischievous and Claire, against her own will, finds herself joining in on it. No matter how disgruntled they may become with each other, Claire knew they'd always find common ground in making the Devil's existence a quaint piece of Hell (Hades & Purgatory).

"Except for Lucy."

Claire nods. "I'll get some glasses," she says.

"And the opener," Ellie adds. "I may be God, but I still have to open my wine bottles one cork at a time."