“So, umm, are you going to not kill me now?” I asked, feeling fairly sure the answer would be yes, but not positive.
“I have no reason to kill you now,” Azul said, “and several reasons to want to keep you alive.”
“Oh, that’s good. Umm, what are they? And what are you? And why is the world coming to an end?” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sound at all hysterical by that last question.
“The Sleeper stirs,” he said matter of factly, like that explained everything.
“Oh, right,” I said, brimming with sarcasm, “of course, a man with horns and gun wants me to become his business partner or something because ‘the Sleeper stirs’. It makes so much sense when you put it that way.”
“That phrase means nothing to you?” He seemed shocked.
“You don’t know about the prophesied awakening of the Sleeper? You don’t know who the SLEEPER IS!?” By this time, Azul’s eyes started to look kind of wild, and I was glad that his gun was out of his reach.
“No. Is that clear enough for you, or do I have to use my sarcasm voice again?”
I admit it was rude of me, but I hadn’t expected Azul to slap me.
“Ow,” I said, rubbing my cheek. It stung.
“Godless heathen!” he screamed, “Do not talk of the Sleeper that way!”
“ …Um, okay.”
This day was really starting to suck.
We sat in silence. Azul helped himself to a second cup of coffee.
“Would you like to raise up from your pit of woeful ignorance?” he asked, like he was promising to bestow some glorious gift on me.
I thought about it for a bit. It wasn’t like I could just leave, and I definitely wanted to be on his good side. To, you know, avoid violence and all.
“Sure,” I said, “why not?”
“In the beginning,” he began, “there was nothing.”
“And then it exploded,” I interrupted, “We learned it in school.”
“It exploded?” Azul asked incredulously, “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Don’t interrupt me. In the beginning - ”
“ - This is going to be a long story, isn’t it? I hate those stories that just go on forever without saying anything.”
Azul sent evil glares in my direction.
“In the beginning, there was nothing. Nothing, and the Sleeper awoke. As His eyes opened, so did light spill forth, traveling outwards from Him and illuminating the universe -”
“- Which was empty? Right? Because there’s only nothing.” I was getting the hang of this story.
Azul emptied his mug of cooling coffee onto my lap. I decide that should probably be my last outburst.
“In the beginning, there was nothing. Nothing, and the Sleeper awoke. As His eyes opened, so did light spill forth, traveling outwards from Him and illuminating the universe to its farthest reaches. But its emptiness displeased Him. He was alone and disdained the feeling. He wept, and His tears, shining, glistening spheres, permeated the galaxies. From his long, flowing locks, he spun a sphere, and set in floating in the firmament. He breathed life into it. He observed. He hoped this life would grow into perfect companions for His might. Companions would serve, honor and love Him. But He knew this would take time. And so, having created the light, and the planet, and life on it, the Sleeper rested, to attend the creation of his perfect companions. The Sleeper slept.”
And he thought nothing exploding was ridiculous? I mean, I could barely resist smirking at the sheer weirdness of his story. What kind of god is that impatient? Or that dependant on companionship? You would never fear divine justice. You would never pray to a sleeping god. In fact, I reasoned, you would probably forget about him entirely.
“But though the Sleeper created the ancestors of His perfect companions, He also created something darker. These were the hideous creatures of horns and thick scaly hides, with wings of blackest feathers and cloven hooves. These were the diablos, and it was they who would test the other life. It was they who try to lead the others astray. For when the diablos had been defeated, then would the Sleeper awake, knowing that the planet had brought for life which was pure and fit to serve Him.”
“So, people are the other life? And we’ve managed to become pure and godly?”
“No,” Azul said, “why would you assume that? The sheer arrogance of your race astounds me.”
“No,” I said firmly, certain I had it right, “we have to be the other life, because, we exist and we’re not diablos.”
“Speak for yourself. Anyway, you’re not getting the point. The other life is everything on this planet that is not of the diablos. Plants, animals, everything. Even viruses.”
“So, a virus has become godly and pure? That seems kind of …” I was trying to avoid the word ludicrous, but I didn’t know what else to say.