When a deathbed confession threatens to reveals a long-held political truth, a disgruntled guardian angel to a djinn proposes a test that will keep the secret a secret and redeem his dark charge at the same time. Melarchen of the Fifth Tier couldn’t be happier with his djinn’s progress toward the light, until the djinn exercises free will, the secret gets out and a human caught in the crossfire passes through death before he is dead.
Like all those who died before me and passed into the Collective, in an instant that cannot be parsed thin enough, the scrabble tiles of my soul clack home. All at once I understand. Oblivion and peace should follow. Except, I’m not dead yet.
Mel to Elyse, an Angel who has come to him for advice because her human charge is tempted by passion:
“You know the Five Tenants to Redirect Desire,” Mel said, turning to the traditional teachings.
“Yes, yes. I recite them practically in my sleep. Turn up creativity; turn down proclivity. Ramp religion, art and family. Shine reality onto fantasy. Long distance feeds false fronts. No chick flicks, no Disney, no problem.” Elyse ticked them off her fingers.
The djinn asking Mel how he knows what’s the right thing to do:
“How do you know there’s a right thing?”
“There’s always a right thing,” Mel said.
“But how can you tell that’s the right, right thing?”
Mel thought for a moment. “Well, it’s a weight, you see, a balance of Greater Good over your Charge’s desire. It’s a matter of consequences and sacrifice divided by the possible futures as seen in the present moment. A probability equation, if you will.”
The djinn’s face soured.
“You just know,” Mel said.