Chapter 3 – Rebecca and Brandon
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” ~ Corinthians 11:14
There was something about Rebecca that was mesmerizingly sexy. She had a Brooklyn-esque toughness about her contrasted by an unmistakable femininity all packaged up in a porn star body. The garter of hearts tattooed on her thigh peeked out from behind fishnet stockings, competing against her cleavage for the attention of men’s eyes. A study in extremes, her eyes would beckon ‘come hither’ while the combat boots loosely cradling her ankles said, ‘don’t mess with me.’ She was pure Vegas, pure woman, and pure trouble.
She caught Brandon’s attention the moment he began his job at the casino, and after a few weeks of striking up conversations every time he restocked her bar, they began a solid friendship without the benefits he was hoping for. Over the next few months their relationship slowly grew. They worked the casino for most of the night, then played around on the strip until the sun threatened to come up. When the normal day-people started to appear, they would go their separate ways, sleep the sunlight away, and then do it all over again. They were young, having fun, and nothing else really mattered.
Their bond was strong, but each had a different perspective. Brandon was full on in love, but Rebecca had made it clear early on that he needed to back up a little. She played it off as a brother-sister type of thing, yet she teased him constantly in ways sisters can’t. She enjoyed his attention, basking in his affection and devotion. Yet she would always take it just so far, then hold back, and push back. Alex had resigned himself to it, willing to play the game, to wait for her, believing eventually she would confess she had loved him all along. Physically nothing had ever happened between them. The one night that Brandon had made a serious effort ended with Rebecca giving him a bloody nose, but his dreams have been filled with her sexuality ever since, regardless.
Then the Judges came.
Rebecca awoke to the pounding on the door, Brandon yelling to be let in. She had been sound asleep, dreaming about something she already couldn’t remember as she tried to figure out why the sun was up and so was she. The TV was still on from the night before, the local news showing the usual bullshit, always trying to make it seem like the world was about to end. Brandon’s insistence to be let in persisted in a way that seemed at the moment beyond rude.
“Alright man, geez…” she yelled still half asleep as she walked to the door, trying to close the robe she threw on that wouldn’t cover much anyway. As she unlocked the door she could barely get out of the way as Brandon burst through, quickly slamming it behind him and relocking it. Sweat poured from his brow as he leaned against the door trying to catch his breath.
Rebecca was still rubbing sleep from her eyes. “Dude, what the fuck?”
Brandon looked around the room quickly, barely even stopping to notice that Rebecca’s robe hadn’t really closed at all. His words were separated by gasps of breath. “You see all that, right?”
Her answer was entirely nonchalant as she turned and walked back towards the bedroom, closing her robe after realizing she had just shot Brandon more than the usual tease. “See what?”
Brandon turned and looked out the peep hole of the door, checked the locks, then went to the closest window to pull the blinds fully closed before following Rebecca into the bedroom. There she was looking out another window, watching police cars going by, sirens and lights on full blast. “Are they looking for you?” she said with a laugh as she turned back to Brandon. He met her with a dead stare as his breathing slowly returned to normal. “You really don’t know?”
Rebecca was reaching for her cigarettes next to the bed. “Know what? I know you woke me up in the middle of the fucking day.” Her lighter sparked and flamed and she drew heavily on her cigarette to light it, the first bit of smoke stinging her eyes as Brandon pointed at the TV.
“There! Look. Where’s the remote?” Brandon began looking around on the floor. “Where is it? We need the sound.” While he frantically kicked around shoes and magazines and bras, Rebecca reached under the bed pillow and pulled out the remote. “Here.”
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Brandon fumbled for a moment looking for the sound button, then quickly began pressing it. When it was suddenly too loud he looked around in a panic and lowered it as if he was afraid someone else would hear them. “Brandon, what the hell is wrong with you?”
Rebecca knelt down in the middle of the bed, a cigarette in one hand and her cell phone in the other. At first her eyes kept going back and forth between the phone and the TV screen, until the images on the TV were much more compelling. Brandon was flipping channels, every station in full ‘Breaking News’ mode. Every image was filled with panicked people and police cars filling the streets, chaos everywhere. Rebecca recognized portions of the Vegas strip and as she watched the TV several more police cars raced by the house, the screaming sirens momentarily drowning out the TV. “What the hell’s going on? Are they rioting? Is it a casino robbery?”
Another channel change and Brandon found what he was looking for. It was a view from one of those high rooftop cameras used to show the weather, and from this view you could see way above the strip and most of the sky. Heavily clouded, it was clearly a storm, but the clouds were broken apart by wide gaps in which intensely bright beams of sunlight were coming through. Like spotlights they reached straight to the ground, moving along the strip with the movement of the clouds upon the wind. As Rebecca watched, something else suddenly came into view. Like the scene from the Wizard of Oz where winged monkeys flew from the witch’s castle, there were suddenly winged people flying through the openings in the clouds, riding the beams of light down to the ground. At first tiny in the distance, they looked like white birds, but thousands of them. Those that dropped closer to the camera could clearly be seen as human.
“Okay Brandon, you had me for a second. What is this really?”
“I don’t know. But it’s fucking real. They’re angels, but bad ones.”
Rebecca moved forward and sat next to Brandon on the edge of the bed. “Okay. Got it. The flying people are bad angels. Did you smoke some bad shit this morning, is that why you’re doing this?” Suddenly one of the angels landed on the roof directly in front of the TV camera. A woman, completely naked, and with her back to the camera the large wings were clearly a part of her, direct extensions of her shoulder blades. Rebecca stared transfixed as the woman turned and looked directly into the camera. She was normal in every way, even beautiful, but her eyes had no pupils. They were just solid golden color throughout, and as the angel reached out and grabbed the camera, the picture suddenly went to static. “Brandon, what was that, really?”
“I told you.” A few more channels flipped by all showing the same chaos in the streets, until Brandon stopped on a screen that had a news anchor talking as another police cruiser sped by outside the house.
“Turn it up” Rebecca told him as she drew heavily on her cigarette but didn’t exhale. As the TV anchorman spoke, a little square screen above his shoulder was showing the events occurring; only this wasn’t local. A national station, it was showing scenes from all over the country. “Look,” said Brandon, almost in a whisper, “that’s New York.”
“Shush…” Rebecca told him as she turned the TV up louder. The news anchor’s voice filled the room.
“Reports are starting to come in from several cities now, and it appears this may even be a global event. These…creatures, or whatever they are, are somehow coming out of the sky. We don’t know if they are aliens or something else. They appear to be angels, but they are attacking people, and somehow incinerating them. This video came in from Cincinnati and appears to show a woman being attacked in this manner right in the middle of the street. We warn you these images are graphic.”
The screen suddenly went full video, showing a woman struggling with one of the angels. This one a male figure, he grabbed the woman and pulled her in, his wings wrapping around her, trapping her in his grasp. They stood there for a few moments, until the woman disintegrated into a pile of ash that fell at the angel’s feet. A small but distinctive wisp of smoke rose up from his arms and disappeared into the clouds just before the screen returned to the news anchor.
“Videos like these are being sent in from everywhere. Here in Las Vegas, this footage is from local news channel KTNV 13. It clearly shows people being attacked at random as more and more of these….people….um angels…we don’t know what, keep dropping out of the sky.” Over the reporter’s shoulder in the small embedded video screen are similar scenes, with people being grabbed by the angels and being disintegrated into dust.
Just then the commentator placed his finger to his ear, pushing the little hidden speaker further into his head as he talked to someone no one else could see. “What’s that? You…okay…ok.” Then his eyes returned forward, looking again directly at Rebecca and Brandon. “We are now going live to our mobile team down on the strip at this very moment. Jill, can you hear me?”
The screen changed to a young woman with a microphone in her hand staring nervously at the camera. “Are we on? Jerry, are we on?”
“Yes, Jill, you’re on. We can see you, can you hear me?”
“Yes Bill, I can hear you. Okay so we’re…”
“Tell us what’s happening. What are you seeing?”
“Yes, well we were trying to report from….”
“First Jill, are you okay? Is everyone there ok…”
“Yes, we’re ok. We were trying to report from the street, but I have to tell you it just got too crazy and we had to come in here. We’re at the old cathedral off 4th street.” Suddenly the woman spoke to her cameraman. “Jerry, get a shot out through the window.”
“What was that Jill? I think we’re losing you.”
“No Bill. I’m here. I’m just trying to get you a shot of what’s going on outside.” The camera repeatedly shifted from the woman reporter to a window several feet away. “Go Jerry. Go”
“So Bill, outside is pure insanity. People are everywhere in the streets in a panic. These things, these angels are still dropping from the sky and they attack anyone that gets too close. We just don’t understand what’s going on. We don’t know if it’s some sort of terrorism or …or…I just don’t even know. Can you see the camera shot Bill?”
The screen filled with a view of a stained-glass window. Solidly colored, there was no view of what was outside the glass, only the dark shadows and shapes of people randomly passing by the window.
“Jill….Jill..we can’t really see…”
“Jill we can’t really see what’s happening outside the window. Just letting you know.”
“I’m sorry Bill. Jerry…come back on me.”
The screen filled with the young woman again, a microphone in one hand and the other pressing her earpiece into her ear.
“Jill, is there anyone else in there with you?”
“Yes, there’s quite a few…”
“Jill? Did we lose …”
“No, I’m here Bill. Jerry, pan the room.” The camera shifts showing several dozen people inside the church, some standing around trying to see out the windows, most seated in the pews. Some are crying, some praying, some trying to make contact with loved ones with their phones. “As you can see Bill many people have sought shelter here, trying to hide from whatever that is going on out there.”
“Yes, and can you tell us…”
“Oh Bill… Bill?”
“I have someone here who’s agreed to speak with us. This is… father, come here…next to me.” As the camera returned onto the young reporter, she is joined by an old man dressed in the easily recognizable clothing of a priest. “Bill, this is father…I’m sorry, what was your name?”
“Steven. Pastor Steven Wiley.”
“Father Steven Wiley, Bill. He is the priest that runs the church here. So, Mr. Wiley, can you give us your take on what is happening outside? Some people are saying its terrorism, some are saying aliens, but many are now saying these are actual angels and this is some sort of religious event. Do you have any thoughts about that?”
Father Wiley looked to be around sixty years old. He had the pale skin of someone who didn’t get out much, and time had etched its years into lines upon his face. He looked stressed, but not in the same panicked way as everybody else. He had the look of someone locked in the midst of something dramatic, but not afraid of it. As he spoke his eyes darted back and forth between the reporter and the camera, as if he wasn’t sure to which direction he was supposed to speak.
“Yes, yes I think I can. I mean it certainly has the appearance of a biblical event.”
The reporter repeatedly shifted the microphone from herself to him and back again. “A biblical event?”
The priest leaned in towards her, subconsciously trying to follow the mic. The young reporter shifts it again, now more balanced between them. “Yes, I believe we are seeing the beginnings of the second coming. This is the early stages of the return of Jesus on earth, to usher the souls of believers into heaven. This is Judgment Day.”
“So, those…people, the flying people, those are real angels?”
“Yes, I believe so. This is all foretold in the words of God, the holy bible.”
“But sir, they are attacking people. It appears they’re actually killing people from what we can tell. I don’t understand, how you explain murder and genocide coming from Heaven?”
Just at that moment a loud thump on the front doors of the church caused everyone to look that way. The camera shifted onto the doors and lingered there for several moments; the image slightly shaky from the nervous cameraman. When nothing more happened, the reporter’s voice could be heard talking to him. “Jerry. Jerry! Hey…back on us.” The camera started to shift back to the reporter, but quickly swung back to the doors as a woman could be heard screaming outside. After several seconds the sounds went silent. “Jerry…over here.”
In Rebecca’s house, she and Brandon were completely transfixed on what they were watching. The bedroom was now quiet, except for the TV and the steady stream of police sirens off in the distance and occasionally passing by. Suddenly the voice of the studio news anchor came through again.
“Jill…Jill are you guys okay there?”
Jill answered as the camera shifted back to her and the priest. “Yes Bill, we’re fine. So, father, again, if these are angels from Heaven why are they killing people? That doesn’t seem very, um, holy, if you will, or what people would normally associate with angels.”
“Yes, well…to you it might seem like murder, but the body is just a vessel, the flesh belongs to God, and this is just their way to release the soul. This is all part of God’s plan for his children. This is how the souls of the believers and those judged worthy shall rejoin in Heaven, as the son of God returns to Earth. These angels, they are his emissaries, his Judges, sent to pass judgment on all mankind.”
“Well if that turns out to be true, what happens to people who aren’t Christian, or non-believers.”
Father Wiley looked briefly at the camera then directly at the reporter, using her name for the first time. “Tell me Jill, are you a believer?”
Jill appeared surprised at the question and for a moment she did not answer. Behind her, outside a stained-glass window, people could be heard screaming as strange shadows continued to run past the window. “Um, well. I didn’t really grow up in a religious household, father. I’m not really sure.”
Father Wiley first looked at Jill, then directly at the camera. “That’s too bad. You should try to figure that out, as quickly as you can.” From Brandon and Rebecca’s perspective, Father Wiley was now staring directly at them. “Everyone should.”
Rebecca’s cigarette just about fell out of her mouth. “Fuck, dude. Do you believe?” she asked, turning to Brandon.
“No. My parents were total atheists. Yours?”
Rebecca was staring at the TV as she answered, “Mine were felons.”
The scene on the television now took a whole new twist. The camera quickly turned back to the front doors of the church, which were now open. In the doorway stood a naked man with golden eyes, large white wings flowing out from his back. Most of the people inside the church started pushing and shoving their way to the opposite end, several bumping into Jerry causing his camera image to shift around violently. When it stabilized, Father Wiley could be seen dropping to his knees, near a few remaining people still sitting in the pews, their heads down in prayer. The angel just stood there motionless, as was Jerry’s camera.
“Jerry. Jerry… are you getting this?” Jill whispered.
Jill spoke into her microphone, a little quieter than she had been. “Bill, do you still have us?”
“Yes Jill, we have you. Is that one of those attackers we are seeing there?”
“Yes Bill, it appears to be.”
“It’s a little hard to see Jill. Maybe the camera can…”
“Jerry, we need to get closer.”
“I’m going to get closer. Just stay on me.”
“I don’t think you should.”
“Just stay on me Jerry. Bill, I’m going to see if we can get a little closer. Can you see me okay?”
“We can Jill, but maybe…”
“Stand by, Bill…”
Rebecca was lighting another cigarette, her eyes never leaving the TV. “What…the…fuck is she doing?”
“She’s gonna die,” was Brandon’s only response, until he heard a noise on the roof of the house. “Hey…you hear that?”
He paused for a moment listening. “Nothing I guess.”
Back on the television Jill was slowly walking past the kneeling Father Wiley, towards the doors of the church and the apparent angel standing there. Father Wiley made no attempt to stop her. His hands were clutched in front of him in a prayer form as he rocked back and forth on his knees mumbling bible verses to himself.
Jill approached the angel, slowly, her microphone stretched out towards him as far as she could reach, trying to not get too close. The angel took a step forward and two more Judges, both female, appeared behind him as all three moved deeper into the church. Jill quickly stepped back, tripping on her microphone cord and falling backwards to the floor. The male angel stood over her as the other two began moving toward the people in the pews. One of the females now stared directly at Jerry and his camera and began moving to him. To everyone watching TV, the angel was looking and moving directly towards them. A stunning vision, a perfect human form, she was beautiful, but with every step she brought death with her.
Rebecca let out a long slow puff of cigarette smoke as she watched. “They’re kinda hot though, right?” Brandon didn’t see the humor in it and said nothing.
In the last few seconds before Jerry’s camera went out, Jill could be seen in the background being embraced by the first Judge. As the female angel came closer to the camera, it suddenly fell to the floor and went to static as Jerry attempted to flee for his life.