Twilight in Heaven: Chapter 35


Chapter 35

I wasn’t really upset. I was a little hungry, but after thinking about it for a bit, I was fine. I’d had two breakfasts, but yesterday had been rough and I’d skipped meals. I felt fine.

Calmly I paged through the next few parts of my file. Since Intercepting Fist’s use of Terminal Sanction had been deemed unwarranted, Fate had covered everything up. They told everyone my father killed my mother, tried to kill me, and had ultimately killed himself. Nivale had taken me in but put me up for adoption. She’d been seventeen.

I didn’t really remember her. Maybe. Kinda? When I strained, I got a few images, but those might be imagined.

Intercepting Fist’s appeal went nowhere. It didn’t get rejected; it didn’t happen. The paperwork had been put in, but no hearing occurred, no appellate court convened, no judgment was passed down. The statute of limitations had passed.

I flipped to the index. No further mention of Hyrthon or Aethionema appeared. Of course. That was fine.

Life in foster care had been utterly miserable. It had prepared me for crime. I broke into my first house at age seven, was hustling on streets before ten, and bounced in and out of homes that had no place for me. No one loved me, no one missed me, no one cared until age twelve, at which point I’d been placed with my last parents, Hau and Mariam.

They had time. They paid attention. We got into fights about things like table manners, and Hau made me help him in the garden because he liked having me around. I wished things had been different.

But they weren’t, and twelve is old to get real parents. Their home was been small, and they had other kids, fosters and biologics. A few years later I’d left to go to Northshore, but I was always welcome. Mariam was even a little annoyed I didn’t visit more. She fussed. Hau wished I did, but he understood. Not me, not foster kids, not how I felt about him, just that kids grow up, they don’t visit their parents enough, and they go see things.

Hau and Mariam were the only truly good people I’d ever known, and that thought made me tear up.

I’d always tried not to think about any of this stuff much, and I’m usually pretty good at it.

I sat in my old office that smelled of mildew and damp carpet, and stared at a wall. Nothing moved through my head. I heard old creaks in the walls. I think the building had mice. I picked up an ink-stick and twilled it in my fingers. This was a good one. It had some heft to it.

Oh right. I was here about the treason.

I went through my file again. A great deal of it covered the legal precipitate of my parents’ murder, Fate’s cover-up, and so forth. Most of the rest had been excised from about the time I met Seraphine, and that made sense.

I realized I hadn’t thought of Seraphine in quite some time, which was a bit odd considering I’d been madly in love with her. I still was.

I’d been busy, and I was good at not thinking of stuff.

How did I feel about all that?

Still fine.



I had to do something about the treason.

They did kill people over that.

Out of curiosity, I flipped to one of the addenda and skimmed through my future. I had a fate. The office would make sure I was destined for something. It should be in my file, at least a summary. I hoped I warranted a disclosure.

“Kog has not warranted specific fate within Destiny. However, he seems like an idiot, so this omission need not be corrected.”

“Really?” I yelled at my file. I flipped to the author’s notes. “Oum of Typhon, you couldn’t have written that a little more professionally? ‘Kog’s fate isn’t written by Fate because he’s a mortal’ would have been fine! You had to throw I’m an idiot in there too?” I flipped back to the narrative and started muttering about who would rue the day.

Seeking to distract myself, I went to my biographical addenda and looked myself up. Best case, how much time did I have? Realistically, probably less than a week and most of that filled with torment, but from an organ perspective, how many years did I have until….I was scheduled to die when I turned thirty six.


This sheet was double-sided with ink on both sides. Some small hand had written my fate in spidery script, a mere few years left if everything went well. I was scheduled for organ failure at age thirty six. It was my kidneys. They’d go first, my blood would turn toxic, and my end would take less than a week. I’d be unconscious for most of it. A honey-dew addendum had been added and excised from my file.

Individual people don’t have a ‘thread’ in the Loom of Fate; it’s more like a cord. I’ve never seen the Loom itself, but people who work in Fate have. Stories get told. A person’s cord is a whole bunch of threads bound together, and they’re highly, perhaps, infinitely, subdividable, worked by the great Pattern Spiders. Originally made of clockwork, the Spiders have long since become something else, though no one knows quite what. These files are a first approximation of the cords.

The honey-dew addendum had been attached and removed from my internal threads, the fiber of each organ. Those fibers had burned out. Divine fibers got replaced. Mortals don’t.

I wanted to swear again, but this time the irony stopped me.

The ink-stick twirled in my hand.

Very calmly, I was very calm about everything right now, I added a zero to my life expectancy. There was a little space left. I could fit another zero in there. I did.

I initialed the modification in my finest handwriting and pressed a ‘SEALED’ sticker over it, holding the sticker firmly to the paper with my sweaty hands for several minutes. The numbers were clearly visible. The authorizing signature was not. Would it work?

Worth a shot.

Back at the File Request room, I clipped my file to the string and sent it out to be lost among the paperwork. It might get filed again. Probably by an intern. I had better than even odds on getting that document back in the system.

But nothing mattered, because the treason addendum of my file was with Judicial Director Priam. That was the interesting bit. That’s the bit I wanted. And I couldn’t go walking up there, because they had guards by the official people.

I leaned against a wall, thinking. The wall was sticky. Moisture had gotten into the paint, and it was vaguely adhesive. I leaned away from the wall, had to pull my skin free, and wiped my arm down. Little bits of gray and white paint stuck to my arm hair. This place was disgusting. No one cleaned it.

The silence got very loud, my thoughts turned slow, and I made words in my head without the casual ease of normal thought but deliberately. It felt like breathing when you’re thinking about breathing.

No one had been down here since the end of summer, when the interns left.

And not ‘no one but really the cleaning staff and security.’ No, no one had been down here since the interns left. And when we’d left, we dropped our IDs in a drop box. The drop box was down here in the basement.

I walked thirty yards, found the drop-box, and went to work on the cheap lock with ingenuity, a paperclip, and a misspent youth. It took me ten minutes to get access to two dozen IDs, more than half of which weren’t expired. Security often puts expiration dates years into the future so they don’t have to keep reissuing them. I took Hroth Urmain’s badge from the stack, clipped it to my shirt, and put the unexpired ones in a brown lunch bag I found under a desk. Judicial Director Priam worked in Amber Melis Tower.

This was actually a dumber plan than I thought it was, and I knew that while I did it.

I didn’t care. I wanted to die.

But I felt fine.


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