Twilight in Heaven: Chapter 37

Rewritten 8/9/2023


Chapter 37

Death on Osret too. I grabbed a sheaf papers from one of the files Hoarfast had been reading, spoke Raln, and threw the papers. They cut through flesh like butter, nearly amputating Osret’s arm. The folders in his hand dropped, his arm fell limp, and it dangled from the shoulder on rope of flesh.

He screamed.

I grabbed a stapler, spoke Raln again, and prepared to spike Hoarfast’s head to the floor.

In the moment I paused, he took an opening and threw a short hook into my side, hitting the cold bane with unerring precision. That felt like explosions, freezing cold explosions, that reached up to send icicles through my eyes, chills through my brain, and frost through my veins. I crumpled, rolled over and gasped.

He tried to get up and couldn’t. He barely flailed over sideways to put his back toward me, and wiggled and squirmed the other way. His arms and legs spasmed.

I stood, fell, hit a chair, and pulled off the cushion. Priam had fully upholstered chairs, and this one had patterns of thick yarn. I could cut someone in half with something like that. Hoarfast got up again and fell sideways against a wall.

Osret grabbed him. The Celestial assassin tried to get his wits back, to clear his head enough to fight, but Osret hadn’t been rattled like he had. Osret shoved Hoarfast toward the dumbwaiter hatch.

“You do not fight crazy-guy!”

Hoarfast looked like he wanted to argue, but he wasn’t steady enough on his feet. Instead he grabbed the folders and let the Hemlin push him through the forgotten door.

I tried to get up, fell, and my legs didn’t work. That didn’t make any sense. I slapped them, grabbed Priam’s glass desk for balance, but my fingers didn’t close. I stood up, but my upper body didn’t stay over my feet. I slumped to the side, more upright than not, but leaning. When I tried to counterbalance torso and legs, I couldn’t get things going in the same direction, and my body made a wobbly S.

Osret looked back at me and dove through the dumbwaiter hatch.

I fell over.

It had only been one punch! And it wasn’t even a head shot. He’d gotten one body shot on me, and I felt like this.

The door slammed open. Someone put their shoulder behind it as they shoved, but with no one on the other side, the door banged against the doorstop.

In the doorway stood a suited man with salt-and-pepper hair and skin of cracked porcelain. He was a little taller than me, a little thinner, with a beard still black under the ears and nose but white around the chin. Long fine cracks ran over his face, hiding under his hair, and branching like the veins in marble. His hands had those same cracks, but they were pitted with tiny pieces missing. He wore a crisp gray suit with a emerald tie, and around the collar and cuffs, his suit had started cracking as well.

I grabbed the desk, heaved myself up, and stood there for a few breaths. I was going to have to fight this old guy. I could take him.

He stepped through the door and called over his shoulder, “Nevermind! It’s nothing.” He shut the door behind him.

I could still take him. I was standing up now. Admittedly, I needed a desk to do it, but I was standing up at least.

“Hroth Urmain.” Judicial Director Priam read my name tag as he moved to his chair. Keeping the desk between us, he sat down. “You do not look Tarsant.”

“I take after my father.”

“Over the summer we had a mentorship program, and I was assigned Hroth Urmain. I get about a third of the summer interns. Hroth was having problems because he didn’t show up to work on time, so I talked about motivation, discipline, and the importance of consistency for thirty minutes every other week, trying to find new and exciting ways to say, ‘Show up to work on time.’ He never did.”

“I grew a lot over the winter.”

“Let’s see. There’s blood by the door, but you’re not bleeding. Someone in here yelled Raln, so that must have been you.” He leaned sideways in his chair, looking around the desk. “I see my reading table has been destroyed, and there’s a hole in the wall. Splinters and rubble inside, but the boards are bent outward. People have gone through in both directions. There are no folders over there, but–” He looked down.

Just aside the doorway was a pile of papers, mildly blood splattered. I’d thrown them at Osret and nearly cut off his arm. Now they remained.

Priam picked them up, glanced at the title page, and looked up at me.

“So you must be Kog,” he said, and turned around the folder to show me my file.

It was the treason addendum.

Did I want to initiate on him and take the file right now?

Priam put the folder on the desk and put his hands on the arm rests of his office chair. A .43 Testament lay in his lap now, and that was a serious gun. He didn’t move toward it. He didn’t move toward the folder. He watched me.

Reading the room had been a cop thing to do. Guessing my identity had been a cop thing. Putting the file between us, showing me a gun, but sitting back and waiting was not a cop thing to do. I didn’t know what to make of this.

“I want that folder,” I said.

“I will let you have it. I’ll even give you a glass of rockblood. It soothes injuries.”

“If?” I asked.

“If you sit down and listen to me for a little bit.”

“Why would I do that?” I asked.

“Because, Mr. Kog, of the many unwise things I think you’ve done and the many poor decisions I think you make, I don’t think breeding dragons is one of them.”

I stammered. “I didn’t know breeding dragons was an option.”

“It isn’t. It’s treason.”

“I didn’t know that was a treason you could commit.”

“You are scheduled for an administrative hearing for it,” said Priam. He leaned back in the chair. The gun lay in his lap. It was a black steel thing that looked like a sledgehammer on a pistol grip. “I am scheduling the hearing. I was out trying to arrange one this morning.”


“We didn’t have a quorum. The chairman had a dentist’s appointment.”

“So… the meeting was delayed?”

“Maybe. Next time I might have a dentist’s appointment.”

And there it was.

I hate thinking in slow motion.

I could just take the folder and run, and I’d no sooner considered it than Priam said, “No one went out this door. There’s blood on the floor, so the fight was no mere distraction. None of the windows are broken. That means whomever you fought probably escaped through that little hatch. Now you can go chasing them in the dark with your injury.” He pointed at my side. “But Mr. Kog, does that sound like a good idea to you?”

“And you’ve already read the folder anyway.”


“Then I don’t see what you can do for me. If you’ve read the file, other people have. There’s a whole committee that went over it. And–”

Priam interjected, “Because, Mr. Kog, they didn’t read your file. We didn’t have quorum. No one reads unnecessarily around here. And this is your file. This specific one. If you were to take this to the roof and burn it with all the other strands of destiny that never happened, it would be gone. Your main file can be sealed.”

“But who compiled the file?”

“I did. Now, Mr. Kog, why don’t you take a seat and let me pour you a drink.”


Leave a Reply