Jump: The Fallen: Testament 1
witnessed the world you lived in. That angry mob is not my creation.” He pauses and closes his eyes for a brief second. Then he breaths in slow and exhales slower. “I am simply . . . crowd control. All of that. . .?” He tilts his head back and looks up. “I wish I could conceive of such misery—the vile putrescence you call life.”
    When he looks back down at me, I can tell he’s pleased with himself. And he tilts his head down farther, and then he rolls his eyes up and says, “Your life is a new beast of burden, never before seen in any eternity. Protection, compliance . . . submission to judgment. Some of you terrify—” He tilts his head back up and fakes a shiver through his shoulders. “You all scare the Hell right out of me.”
    I look up to see what he keeps looking at. Nothing up there but dark sky and the flicker of flames. Bet I can guess who’s up there, but then that would be. . . “So, why are you here?” I ask. “If you aren’t offering to. . .?”
    “About that,” he says. He unfolds his hands and points right at me, and all I can focus on is his finger. It feels like looking at the barrel of that PAIC’s big .60 cal, back on the roof. His voice is more serious now, though, “I’m not required to offer you anything. Technically, I already own you. You are part of the Word.” He looks up above his head. “Management does not approve of its subjects taking matters into their own hands—acting and thinking for themselves, you know.”
    I crane my head back and look above him again. For some reason, I can see the roof of the scraper this time. The one I just took a swan dive off. “I hear ya,” I say. “They don’t like it either.”
    He chuckles and it sounds like a raven cawing. Then flames roll up from his wings and above his head. “We’ll get to them.”
    Holy shit! I think. What the. . .? Then I think about it for a second . . . but I don’t know where to go or what to say next. Clearly he’s here, and if he is, then a whole lotta other shit is real too. If that’s the case—ipso facto—the jump pretty much fucked me . . . for good.
    He laughs harder now and I can feel the heat on my face. We both look back down and into each other’s eyes. “Amusing,” he says.
    “What is?”
    “For good,” he says. “Interesting that you should put it that way.”
    “What?” I’m trying to keep up. It might be my only chance at—hell, I have no idea what’s going to happen—lake of fire, Purgatory, some other shit. I do know one thing, it won’t be good.
    “Exactly,” he says. He’s more excited now—teacher who sees the spark in his student. Then he puts his hands back together. I think I hear his knuckles crackle. Like an old-world fighter, getting ready to clean someone’s clock. “You may be mine for all life’s eternity. . .” He lets the words linger in the air like doom. Tortured in Hell forever. That’s what he’s talking about. As unpleasant as it sounds, he could have done it by now. “. . .and that will have nothing to do with good. However. . .”
    “However,” he keeps saying that word. I know that nothing before it means shit. The truth always comes after. He’s weaving lies and truth in together. Whatever he says next, that will be the meat of it.
    “Ah, meat,” he says, “fresh meat. I like how you think.”
    I can feel the pressure as his thoughts work their way through mine. He’s infecting his way in and around an idea, and my head is dizzy from it.
    Maybe if I stay in front of him? “I jumped,” I say. “I know what that means. So let’s get on with—”
    “I told you,” he says. Then he gets a look on his face that I don’t recognize. And he looks up again. “It’s not quite what you might believe.”
    If it is who I think up there, this is going to get weird. It’s not every day that you get to see the face of God. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s just one day. Too bad I had to die to do that, too. What the hell am I going

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