The man who called himself the Archangel Michael smiled up past the cold black muzzle of the gun, flicking golden hair out of heaven-blue eyes with a toss of his head. "You can't kill me. If you do, you'll never find out what I know. What's in my head will be lost to you forever, by your own hand. You could never stand to lose that."

"What's in your head turned you into a monster. I don't want it," the magician said, and pulled the trigger twelve times.

He stood looking down at the corpse until the echos died from the cold concrete walls, then tucked the Seburo 6mm away and set to work. From his satchel he took a can of safety-orange spraypaint and confined the body and himself in a perfect freehand circle. Stowing the paint away, he kicked the lifeless limbs into a semblance of order, arms draped crisscross over the still chest. Four self-striking highway flares went at the corpse's feet, at the ruin of the head, and over the heart and loins, burning eye-hurting magenta and leaking scorched-plastic smoke.

The last instrument was a clear plastic bottle of clear fluid. The magician raised it in salute, then bowed his head. After a moment, he quoted, with utter certainty, "Bow down before the one you serve; you're going to get what you deserve," and flung out his arm. The splash of spirits glittered in the flarelight before falling in a sheet of blue flame.

As sirens rose over the fire noise, the magican and turned and walked quickly away.


This file was last modified at 1635 on 22Jun99 by trip@idiom.com.