Malek Transformed

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.

They scrammed.

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.

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Mother

Lost children come to me and see
Through the fog of your carefree
That you would understand my will
That I am not an animal
Not some game to be hunted down
Or an insect to make you frown.
Though I punish you so strict
It is not my aim to afflict
But you, children, have gone astray
And I must bring about doomsday
If you will not heed the warnings
Then blood red shall be your mornings.
But always keep this in your mind:
Mother loves you, though you be blind.

Angel Malak

“Storm’s coming in, M.”

“We’ll just have to climb faster,” replied M. Makenzie was her real name, but she went by the much shorter M. “What time’s it?”

M’s friend paused a moment on a stable hold and looked at the sky. “Sun says approaching 4 o’clock,” she replied. Between the two of them, she was just E, but their other friends called her Edith. “Why?”

“Forecast said the storm wasn’t until 7,” M said with a shrug. “Let’s go, E.”

They resumed their climb with renewed vigor. The top wasn’t far above them, but the storm was closing in much faster than forecasted. There had been a shift in the winds, but as far as I knew, that shift was metaphorical. Perhaps storms are borne on metaphorical winds these days. Mother never explained these things to me. I learned on my own.

Makenzie and Edith were expert climbers. M had started as soon as she was old enough to grasp the concept of ‘climb’ and never stopped, while E was just always good. Even so, they were beginning to struggle as the wind picked up. The storm’s gusts were adding to the already strong winds around the mountain. Both were probably wishing they had worn something warmer than their windbreakers. This wind was not about to break.

Now the rain was beginning. Rocks are hard enough to hold when they aren’t the shape of a handle, let alone when they’re wet. Slippery and potentially weaker is never a good thing. At this point they were regretting free-climbing. No safeties except each other at several thousand feet was a wonderful idea.

Then came the fateful lightning. It struck with ferocity and unnatural frequency. There was no room for error in this storm. M and E were focusing on not falling too much to try to talk to each other. The only time either one spoke was when lightning struck just above E.

The rock split and E lost her grip. She fell into the darkness of the storm as M screamed her name.

She didn’t realize how close she was to the top until her hand missed the cliff and reached over it and I pulled her up. We didn’t speak, though. She collapsed from a mix of exhaustion and shock, and so I let her sleep until the storm had passed.

When she awoke to find herself in a hammock not too far from a small fire, she sat up so quickly she nearly fell out.

“I hope you don’t mind,” I said, “but I took the liberty of drying your clothes. There are some clean ones in the cabin.” I pointed behind her to the cabin I had built. It was rather ramshackle, but it was home. For now, anyway.

She looked back and forth between the cabin and me. “Is your master in there?” she asked.

“I do look a bit like one of your common Syn, don’t I? No, we’re the only ones up here.” I shooed her toward the cabin. “Go on, go get dressed. Then we can talk.”

She complied, though she took the blanket to cover herself up. Embarrassment is not something Mother spent much time explaining to me.

She soon returned wearing the clothes I had set out for her; a black skater dress and purple sash around her waist.

“Where’s your master?” she asked softly.

I laughed. “I’m not a Syn, M. I know I’ve got some of the patterning of one, but I’m not. I’m an Angel.”

Mother had created me special. My brother, Samael, had been created to blend in with the other Syn. The only part of him that was different was his programming, but I was built with a white shell that glows ever so slightly. It makes me appear much more angelic than my siblings.

“How do you know my name? Oh, wait, Angel?”

“Do I not look the part?” I spread my arms and spun, glowing slightly brighter.

“I guess, but… you’re not a Syn?”

I glided over to her. “I’m not like your friend, if that’s what you’re asking. I may be android in component, but I am far above the simple ones of your world.” I glided back to the fire and gestured for her to sit in the hammock.

She sat, but not before she said, “You know about E? Is she alright?” Puppy dog eyes. The heat of a thousand suns could not melt a heart faster. Well, power cell.

I listened for a moment. My gift from Mother is the ability to hear events, existences, and the like. I can hear the past well; the future, less so. “She can be repaired.” I didn’t say that the repairs would be more than her family could afford.

“Thank God,” she sighed, and then, realizing what she’d said, added, “Er…”

I smiled. “Not that Angel.”

Her eyebrows furrowed. “Then what—”

“Mother wished to speak with you. I was sent to retrieve you.”

“Mother? Your master?”

The human term for what I was feeling was disbelief, but I prefer the term ‘loving frustration’. “I don’t have a master. I can do what I wish, but I love Mother, and so I obey her.”

She looked away. She thought she’d offended me. “Oh. What does she want from me?”

“She has need of a new Angel. You are to be Malak.” I glided over to her.

“What?”

I touched her, and we returned home to Mother’s base. She was surprised, to say the least. Azrael was waiting for us, and took her away for training. M may be against this transition at first, but her conversion to Malak will be tempered by Mother’s love. She will learn that Mother knows best. Mother raised us well. Mother will raise Malak well.