Scene Fifty Eight
In which a character returns to the best home he has known
Devlin was in two minds about absolutely everything. This wasn’t normal for him; he always saw dozens of alternatives beckoning him away from whatever task he had undertaken, but the way forward was always clear. The way was always to stick to the mission, to follow the goals. He was still thinking like that, but now he seemed to have two missions.
The first was familiar, find Mr Greg, stop him from being present for the reading of his uncles will, win Charlotte’s mother’s approval, and marry charlotte.
The second mission was new, he thought it was new, it was pulling him along too and it was strong. It seemed to involve seeking out evildoers and smiting them, it didn’t seem to come with a way to complete the mission; presumably he was just meant to keep doing it until he ran out of evildoers.
He could fly now as well; he wasn’t sure when that had happened. He had a vague idea that this was something he had always done, but he didn’t have any memories to support that idea. Devlin was confused, and tired, and he didn’t know what had happened.
There are certain instincts that all humans have, and the instinct to go home when we are hurt is one of the strongest. Devlin didn’t really have a home; he felt absolutely no love for the house he had grown up in, but an image did form in his mind. He felt pressure between his shoulder blades, like someone giving him a friendly shove out the door, and the landscapes started to wizz past.
There was the jet or the husk of it anyway. Devlin realised that he had never given the jet a name. That seemed like a real oversight now, a living thing deserves a name, and Devlin had thought about the jet as being alive. It was all too late now, he thought, it may have been alive, but now it very dead.
He let himself fall towards it. As his feet touched the fuselage he felt a lot of the worry leave his mind; he was safe here. He sat down and felt the heat of the metal hull.
Nature was already taking it back he saw, the joins where the wings had been were blossoming a furry coating of rust, and enterprising creeper plants were climbing over any place low enough to reach. Devlin didn’t really want to stop it; the same thing would happen to him one day.
“I knew you’d come here” someone said, “You took much longer than I thought you would.”
Devlin did bother to turn around, he had been wondering when he was going to see Johnson again. “What do you want?” he asked, he was feeling moody, and he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to talk to Johnson or to be left alone.
“You’re my partner” said Johnson, “I felt it was my job to come and find you”
That answer seemed very suspicious to Devlin, it sounded like it was tailored to his own thoughts. He wasn’t really sure of his own thoughts anymore. “Well now you’ve found me” he said, he didn’t say anything else.
Johnson was still standing behind him, “Do you want to know what happened to you back at the tower?” he asked.
Devlin thought this was a stupid question, he nodded glumly.
“Apparently” said Johnson, “The students were trying to summon a cherub. They managed it, but then you broke into the circle and it possessed you”
Devlin remembered the felling of hot lead being forced down his spine and didn’t say anything.
“The Cherub has to leave voluntarily, and according to what they told me, once an angel has a toe hold in this world it won’t leave voluntarily. So there’s really no cure.” Johnson watched for a reaction to this bad news.
Devlin didn’t respond at all, he didn’t even move.
“The Cherub should be affecting your mind apparently” Johnson pressed on, “Are you feeling more violent, and vengeful?”
Devin moved his head slowly, he might have been nodding.
Johnson sounded like he had given up. “I’ll be waiting inside the jet” he said, “in case you return from catatonia”
He waited for a response, but when none came he walked away.
Devlin sat where he was and felt the heat of the sun.