He came in, grinning from one side to the other of his gap-toothed head. (He was very proud of that missing tooth, lost in a fight with one of them – a fight he won, on that occasion.)
“Boys,” he announced, “it’s time for a holiday!”
We stared at him, open-mouthed. A holiday! This was unheard-of. He had never allowed us so much as a minute’s relaxation in the past few millennia. All the time he was urging us to keep fighting, never let our guard down, lose no opportunity to strike a blow against the opposition.
Lately, the opposition’s activity had intensified, and we had been ordered to intensify ours. Never for a moment had anyone imagined they would ever hear him tell us to take a breather, let alone a holiday.
“You gone mad, boss?” came a voice out of the semi-darkness to my left. “You said we can’t let up for a moment. He might sweep in and eliminate us all if we rest on our laurels.”
“He’s not going to do any sweeping of any kind again, ever,” the boss replied. “I saw it with my own eyes, a couple of nights ago. They nailed him up to this big wooden affair – it was so funny, you should have been there – nails right through his hands and feet. I had to laugh, those hands that created all of this, with big nails banged right through them. I knew it was a fatal mistake when he decided to turn himself into one of them and go down to that earth place where they live. As long as he was tucked away in heaven we had no way to get back there and attack him. But as soon as he carried out that crackpot idea, I knew he was ours. No, boys, he’s breathed his last. And yes, before you ask, we will go back and do some mopping up. Now that he’s out of the way, we can play whatever havoc we like with those pathetic creatures of his. But just for now, let’s savour the moment. Let’s have a well-deserved holiday.”
We all lay back, laughing and cheering, as the enormity of what had happened began to dawn on us.
“I can picture it now,” said someone on my right. “All those souls we couldn’t touch before – the babies, the ones who trusted him for their defence – we can bring them down here and have some real fun with them.”
“Oh yeah, the babies,” someone else responded. “Can you imagine, torturing a baby? We’re going to have fun like we’ve never had before.”
“And that planet he made for them,” added another. “We can start by drying up all its water and shrivelling all its plants. It’ll look a right shambles by the time we’ve finished with it.”
The boss sank back with a sigh of contentment. “Ah yes,” he mused. “Chaos. We’ll take it right back to the chaos before his spirit started brooding over it all and putting it in order. Utter chaos and destruction, that’s what we’ll make of his handiwork – after our holiday.”
We nodded, picturing this happy state. And yet it didn’t make us happy – not really happy in the way that the opposition knew how to be happy. It just gave us a sense of victory, superiority. Happiness, I supposed, came from having a purpose, creating some good. And that was something we could never do. We could only undo, pervert, destroy. A sense of revenge, that was the closest we ever came to what they called happiness.
My thoughts were interrupted by a sudden ear-splitting crack, like the sound of the fabric of the universe itself breaking asunder. There was a horrifically bright light like daggers in my eyes, and instantly he stood there. We could all see the holes in his hands and feet where the nails had been. The boss let out a ghastly, unearthly scream and fell backwards, insensible. The shining figure leapt forward and stood with his foot on the boss’s throat, pinning him to the ground. In that split second we knew the game was up. There would be no holiday, and no celebration. We were all doomed.
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