Annihilation: chapters 16 and 17

MindFlights has posted chapter seventeen of my novel Seven Archangels: Annihilation. Yesterday I also got word that it’s been reviewed again, and it’s even a nice review, but I haven’t had the courage yet to go look at it. 🙁 If you check it out, let me know if I should curl in the corner sobbing.

We’re coming up on the most intense chapter I’ve ever written (you’ll get that in a couple of weeks) but for now, the buildup is palpable. At the end of chapter seventeen, you know something Bad is about to happen.

Right now, Remiel and Mephistopheles are carrying the story. In chapter 16, you get Remiel on the rebound from a close encounter with a piercing parlor. This is another area where I expected to get flack, but so far I’ve only gotten one person who insisted Remiel must be evil because she has pierced ears. And listens to rock music.

(It takes a lot of backbone to have an argument with an author that the character she wrote is clearly evil while the author is saying, “No, she’s a good guy. I love her. Really, Remiel tugs at my heart in a very special way. You’re wrong. Remiel would sooner die than sin.” And yet, I had this conversation.)

In the second part of chapter sixteen, you end up with this as my favorite moment: a completely nonverbal discussion between Gabriel and Uriel. Uriel hardly ever speaks; Gabriel can’t. Between the two of them, though, the whole conversation unfolds with a sweet gentleness and a keen mutual understanding.

Chapter seventeen brings us a terrified and torn Remiel, and now she learns the worst: her twin is able to influence her without her knowledge, and that’s how they were able to capture Gabriel. It’s hard enough seeing her brother without thinking he’s still connected to her. After he reveals this, Remiel concludes that no one wants her, not even God. And she runs.

This is where my heart is broken for her. She can’t make it all go away, but she can’t figure out how to stop the train wreck of her life. She feels responsible, tainted by association with her brother, and now this. Her reaction, “Nothing could ever hurt enough now,” is her at her lowest. After this revelation, she can’t trust herself any longer.

At the end of chapter seventeen, Lucifer fires up Beelzebub in an effort to get him to motivate Mephistopheles. Since they’re both Seraphim, that’s “fired up” as in literal fire. Lucifer plays him like a cheap flute, and by the end, Beelzebub is jealous, humiliated, and furious that Mephistopheles may be slipping out of his control (or possibly even deserting him.) Lucifer tells him to “take care of” the problem, and Beelzebub fires out of there like a rocket.

I know, I know: Mephistopheles is a demon. He’s in Hell and he hates God and he’s the one who designed the process to destroy Gabriel. We shouldn’t feel bad for him, right? Except, we do. I do. Even writing this scene, I was getting shivery because really, the wrath of a jilted Seraph isn’t something I’d want to face. As for what’s going to happen… Well, you’ll need to wait another chapter or two.


  1. xdpaul

    It’s a good review. You’ll like it.

    It has one suggestion for an org chart which might be fun to think about putting online.