Chapter 49

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I sat down in the nearest chair. Closed my eyes and put my hand to my head. It was just too much.

I knew we’d committed a terrible sin. But… it wasn’t out of choice. We were just… scared. Scared of losing our wings. We made a mistake, and now… now we have to pay for it with our lives. It didn’t seem fair.

We could deny it. Alex was right; nobody would believe Flutter over us. We could… we could accuse her of being a false prophet, and then–then she’d be put to death instead of us.

She didn’t deserve that. Not one bit. If anyone was going to be executed, it had to be us. I couldn’t let her go down for our sins.

Maybe it won’t be so bad, I tried to tell myself, God says this won’t count against us in our judgment, so… would I get in? Would He let me into Heaven? I’ve been faithful. I’ve gone to church, I’ve paid tithes, I’ve–I’ve killed dragons in His name… I’ve been doing everything I was told to do, everything to be a good angel and earn God’s grace. If the prophet thing doesn’t count, then the only other thing to count against me is killing those dragons. I was told it was for the greater good of God, but if it was just murder… if I’m a murderer in His eyes…

I looked over at Alex. What would happen to him? The Church would make sure he can’t come back to life. And he’d be judged. And… he’s a pagan. The best–the very best–he could hope for would be Limbo. And that would be if he weren’t an angel. As an angel, he’d be held to the same standards as me, and he’d surely go to Hell.

I clenched my fists. I couldn’t let that happen.

“There’s another option, you know,” Alex said.

I blinked. “There is?”

“Your power. You could–you could force Flutter to keep it a secret. Avoid the confrontation, avoid getting her into trouble.”

“Yeah…” I nodded. “I–I think I could do that. But… if someone else exposes us, and they find out she knew…”

“Then she’d die with us. Yeah.” He sighed. “There are no good options here. We’re just going to have to pick the least shitty one and go with it.”

“Hey.” A thought occurred to me. “If we’re mortal gods, then… what happens when we die? Do we get judged like other mortals, or…”

“I don’t know.” He shook his head. “I honestly don’t know. Every time I’ve died before, I just went to the Otherworld for a few days. But… that was all temporary. If I’m not coming back… I don’t know what will happen. Maybe it’s the same thing, maybe we’d just keep living on as spirits in the Otherworld.” He gave me a half-smile. “That wouldn’t be too bad, assuming we don’t get split up.”

“Do you think that’s what’ll happen?”

“Yeah. I–I think it would be something like that. If we existed as spirits before we became mortal, then it makes sense we’d become spirits again when our mortal bodies die. But who knows? Maybe there is a more powerful god that will hand down judgment on us. Or maybe there’s nothing. Maybe it’s the end of line. Maybe…” He laughed lightly. “Maybe the whole world’s got it backwards, and this is the afterlife. And spirits die and become mortal, and then die again and there’s nothing.”

I smiled. “Pretty short afterlife.”

“Yeah.” He smiled back. “So… what do you wanna do?”

“I guess…” I swallowed. “I guess we should just turn ourselves in, and hope that the afterlife works out for us. I don’t want to drag Flutter into this. If God wants us to die, then…” I shook my head. “He’s going to find a way. So we need to accept our fate.”

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