Malak loved the darkness. It wasn’t because she could hide in it or because the nightmares hide in it. Malak loved the darkness because it was like a sister to her. She could confide in it, lie in its comforting embrace, talk to it about anything, and it would always be there for her.
Now, as she lay there in the darkness, she cried. Her mentor and brother was dead; killed by his own client. Sure, he could be an arrogant son of a gun, but he was good in the end. He was always loyal to Mother and his siblings. He loved them even in his pride, and everything he did, he did for his family.
Now he was dead.
But Mother will always have her Angel of Death.
The next morning was Malak’s first mission. When she awoke, Mother presented her with her own weapon. It was a katana-like sword, though the blade was black with a purple edge. It fit her. Malak still wore the black dress and purple sash she had been given on her first day in Mother’s family. This sword was her very own Schrödinger’s blade, just like her brother had had.
Mother transported Malak to her mission. It was in the trenches of World War III. Of course, the war wasn’t being fought in traditional trenches. This war was fought through the streets of towns and in peoples’ backyards. The only pits being dug were full of bodies.
Malak was hunting a Sinner officer by the name of Hobbes. As was the Sinners’ tendency, this officer was one of the Synthetics; an android. Malak could not understand the Righteous’ problem with the Syn, but then, her best friend had been a Syn before she found this new family. It wasn’t like she wasn’t biased.
She began in the basement of a bombed out house. When she ascended to the ruined first floor, she spotted exactly what she wanted. A group of Righteous soldiers had managed to capture a Synthetic, and were leading away from the front lines in hopes of interrogating it. How they hoped to interrogate a Syn, Malak couldn’t guess, but the Righteous were getting desperate.
The Syn were superior in every way to the Righteous. The shell that encased them and protected their internal circuitry were the closest thing to bulletproof as you could get. The soldiers themselves were perfect soldiers. They followed orders without questioning to a T and were expert marksmen. There was no doubt they were the superior in this war. For now.
So it is no surprise that the Righteous soldiers were on edge when a woman in a dress approached them with a sword in her hand.
“Scram, Righteous,” Malak said.
They raised their guns at her.
She ran forward faster than they could pull their triggers and cut the barrels off of their guns.
“Scram,” she repeated.
She unsummoned her sword and looked at the Syn. “Where is Officer Hobbes?”
“Under whose authorization do you request this information?” the Syn replied.
Malak was used to the humanity of the Syn from before the war, not this cold robotic tone, but war makes monsters of us all.
“The Angel of Death.” Even if it was her title now, it didn’t feel right. That was Azrael, not Malak.
“Authorization denied. Go to hell.”
There was some of the personality she had missed. Malak summoned her blade and swung it through the Syn, splitting it in two.
It looked like she would have to find Officer Hobbes the old fashioned way; walk through enemy lines and search for the headquarters. Not that she would be doing much walking. Unlike her brother, Malak could maintain her speed for prolonged periods of time. Whether that was due to Mother’s technological advances or was simply a limitation imposed by Azrael’s blindness, she couldn’t say.
She sped her away across the ruined town until she found what she was looking for: a heavily guarded point behind Sinner lines. Her love of the darkness allowed her to slip past everyone until she reached the command center. Several officers were standing around a digital map, and guards were at every entrance.
The mission parameters didn’t say anything about not killing particular people, so Malak went to work. She sped from guard to guard, officer to officer, until there was only one left. Officer Hobbes. Officer Edith Hobbes.
Malak stood across from her old friend on the other side of the map and unsummoned her sword.
“M?” E asked, with as much shock as a Syn can have.
“Malak. Makenzie is dead and gone.”
“What do you mean?”
“I found a new family. I am a new person, now.”
They both began circling the map.
“The Righteous? What about us?” Edith was slowly reaching for her gun as she spoke. “Does our friendship mean nothing?”
“No one is righteous. Even Angels have their faults. My fault was caring for those that are earthly.”
“Angels? What the hell are you going on about, M?”
“I would say that I’m sorry, but that would mean I care.” Malak leapt onto the table and summoned her sword.
Officer Hobbes drew her gun.
The bullet hurtled into M’s shoulder as the sword plunged into E’s power cell.
After she returned to Mother, Malak lay in the darkness, crying. It wasn’t the dull pain of the bullet wound or the sting of not being flawless. This was the loyalty Azrael had been rewarded for. This is what Malak lived for.
Malak loved the darkness. It wasn’t because she could hide in it or because the nightmares hide in it. Malak loved the darkness because she would never have to kill the darkness.