Due to that “having a baby” stuff I didn’t post last Sunday when chapter thirteen of “Seven Archangels: Annihilation” went live over at MindFlights.com. (For new readers of this weblog, my novel is being serialized for free, one chapter a week, or you can buy it from Amazon.com through the link in the sidebar if you happen to be the impatient sort.)
Chapter thirteen is one of my favorite chapters, and it’s the one I fully expected to get a lot of flack over. Raphael has just been through the worst situation he ever will face, and he knows before it happens that it’s coming. To me, it’s heartbreaking to watch him doing everything in his power to prevent Jesus from giving the order, and no matter how desperate he gets, he can’t prevent it. Yes, he really did say what you think he said.
That scene came to me whole-cloth while I was folding laundry. I was only writing chapter eight at that point, but as I unloaded the dryer and folded clothes, every bit of that dialogue came into my head, and I kept it there for a few weeks while I wrote up to that point, and by the time it came out of my pen, it was pretty much in fully-formed, memorized state. I don’t think it had changed much from the first form that scene had taken, and every so often I still flash back to it and go over it in my head.
Chapter fourteen is another one I find jam-packed, but I have to ask myself whenever I go over that chapter, “Who is Mephistopheles talking to?” He’s alone in the dark, and the strangest thing happens: he’s talking to God. Isn’t that prayer of a sort? (He’s the only one of the demons who does that.) But then the second paragraph: is he still talking to God, or is he talking to himself?
Mephistopheles is the POV character when we watch Remiel’s break with reality, and for me, that works more effectively than being in either her head or Saraquael’s because Mephistopheles is so divorced from the heartbreak either one of them is feeling that he becomes something of an impartial witness. When Saraquael finally subdues Remiel (twisting her around mid-air so she gets hit with her own lightning strike) it’s Mephistopheles and Asmodeus who analyze the technique rather than anything else.
And finally, also in chapter fourteen, there’s that moment when Raphael faces Jesus again, in the aftermath of what happened in the Judgment Hall:
Raphael looked urgent. “I need to tell you—”
“Rapha’li, later.” Jesus kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll still be here.”
In other words, Jesus knows what Raphael needs to tell him. He knew all along.