Murder mysteries, p.4
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Murder Mysteries, p.4

           Neil Gaiman
 
1 2 3 4 5 6
LUCIFER

  Who else are you going to talk to?

  RAGUEL THEN

  Maybe everyone.

  LUCIFER

  All of them? There must be thousands of us. Millions. You’d speak to each of us?

  RAGUEL THEN

  If I need to. It's my function. I cannot rest until I understand what happened, and until the vengeance of the Name has been taken on whoever was responsible. But I'll tell you something I do know.

  LUCIFER

  What would that be?

  /SFX/ WATER DRIPPING...

  RAGUEL THEN

  Carasel didn’t kill himself.

  LUCIFER

  How do you know that?

  RAGUEL THEN

  I am Vengeance. If Carasel had died by his own hand, there would have been no call for me. Would there?

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  He did not reply.

  (beat)

  I flew upwards, into the light of the eternal morning.

  /SFX/ SEVERAL BEATS, AND THE LA NOISE RISES UP...

  RAGUEL NOW

  You got another cigarette on you?

  NARRATOR -- LIVE

  Here.

  RAGUEL NOW

  Obliged.

  /SFX/ A MATCH IS STRUCK, THE CIGARETTE IS LIT, AND THEN THE NOISE FADES BACK INTO THE CITY OF ANGELS UNDER...

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  Zephkiel's cell was larger than mine.

  It wasn't a place for waiting. It was a place to live, and work, and be. It was lined with books, and scrolls, and papers, and there were images and representations on the walls: pictures. I'd never seen a picture before. In the centre of the room was a large chair, and Zephkiel sat there, his eyes closed, his head back. As I approached him he opened his eyes. They burned no brighter than the eyes of any of the other angels I had seen, but somehow, they seemed to have seen more. It was something about the way he looked. I'm not sure I can explain it. And he had no wings.

  ZEPHKIEL

  (elderly, wise, tired)

  Welcome, Raguel.

  RAGUEL THEN

  You are Zephkiel?

  /SFX/ LA NOISES COME BACK GENTLY THROUGH THIS NEXT SPEECH...

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  I don't know why I asked him that. I mean, I knew who people were. It's part of my function, I guess. Recognition. I know who you are.

  NARRATOR -- LIVE

  You know who I am?

  RAGUEL NOW

  That’s what I said, didn’t I?

  NARRATOR -- LIVE

  (pause, then) Who am I?

  RAGUEL NOW

  You think I came here by accident? You think you met me by accident? There are no accidents. Now.... You want to hear this story or don’t you?

  NARRATOR -- LIVE

  ... I want to hear it.

  RAGUEL NOW

  Damn right. So I asked him if he was Zephkiel. And he said,

  /SFX/ IN ZEPHKIEL’S CELL...

  ZEPHKIEL

  Indeed. I am Zephkiel. Yes. You are staring, Raguel. I have no wings, it is true, but then, my function does not call for me to leave this cell. I remain here, and I ponder. Phanuel reports back to me, brings me the new things, for my opinion. He brings me the problems, and I think about them, and occasionally I make myself useful by making some small suggestions. That is my function. As yours is vengeance.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Yes.

  ZEPHKIEL

  You are here about the death of the angel Carasel?

  RAGUEL THEN

  Yes.

  ZEPHKIEL

  I did not kill him.

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  When he said it, I knew he was telling the truth.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Do you know who did?

  ZEPHKIEL

  That is your function, is it not? To discover who killed the poor thing, and to take the Vengeance of the Name upon him.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Yes.

  ZEPHKIEL

  What do you want to know?

  RAGUEL THEN

  Do you know what Lucifer was doing in that part of the City, before the body was found?

  ZEPHKIEL

  I can hazard a guess.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Yes?

  ZEPHKIEL

  He was walking in the Dark.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Yes. Of course he was... You know. I’ve almost got it. It’s like having a shape in my mind, or a pattern. I’m just missing one piece...

  ZEPHKIEL

  Well, if I can do anything to give you your missing piece, Raguel.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Maybe you can. What can you tell me about love?

  ZEPHKIEL

  Love. Ah yes, love. Well, it’s what we call, an emotion...

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  And he told me. And I thought I had it all.

  /SFX/MUSIC, WIND, CHIMES, MUSIC.

  RAGUEL NARRATION (CONT’D)

  I returned to the place where Carasel's body had been. The remains had been removed, the blood had been cleaned away, the stray feathers collected and disposed of. There was nothing on the silver sidewalk to indicate it had ever been there. But I knew where it had been.

  (pause)

  /SFX/ THE RUSHING OF WINGS.

  RAGUEL NARRATION (CONT’D)

  I ascended on my wings, flew upward until I neared the top of the spire of the Hall of Being. There was a window there, and I entered.

  /SFX/ ALL SOUNDS CROSSFADE WITH

  /SFX/ INTERIOR OF THE HALL OF BEING, UNDER...

  RAGUEL NARRATION (CONT’D)

  Saraquael was working there, putting a wingless mannikin into a small box. On one side of the box was a representation of a small brown creature, with eight legs. On the other was a representation of a white blossom.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Saraquael?

  SARAQUAEL

  Hm? Oh, it's you. Hello. Look at this: if you were to die, and to be, let us say, put into the earth in a box, which would you want laid on top of you -- a spider, here, or a lily, here?

  RAGUEL THEN

  The lily, I suppose.

  SARAQUAEL

  Yes, that's what I think, too. But why? Spider - lily -spider- lily ...

  (sighs)

  There's so much to do, Raguel. So much to get right. And we only get one chance at it, you know. There'll just be one universe -- we can't keep trying until we get it right. I wish I understood why all this was so important to Him...

  RAGUEL THEN

  Do you know where Zephkiel's cell is?

  SARAQUAEL

  Yes. I mean, I've never been there. But I know where it is.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Good. Go there. He'll be expecting you. I will meet you there.

  SARAQUAEL

  I’m afraid it’s quite out of the question. I have work to do. I can't just...

  RAGUEL THEN

  (voice treatment)

  You will be there. Go now.

  /SFX/ STEPS, THEN WINGS

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  He said nothing. He backed away from me, toward the window, staring at me; then he turned, and flapped his wings, and I was alone.

  /SFX/ AS HE SPEAKS WE HEAR HIM TUMBLING THROUGH THE UNIVERSE, UNDER...

  RAGUEL NARRATION (CONT’D)

  I walked to the central well of the Hall, and let myself fall, tumbling down through the model of the universe: it glittered around me, unfamiliar colours and shapes seething and writhing without meaning.

  /SFX/UNIVERSE MUSIC...

  /SFX/ A NUMBER OF ANGELS ARE CHANTING LISTS OF WORDS, ALPHABETICALLY, WHICH WE HEAR AS WE FALL, MOVING FROM ONE VOICE TO ANOTHER...

  ANGEL VOICES

  (strange whispers)

  Interaction, Interest, interface, international, intervention, invasion...// Blue Monday, Blue Moon, blue Murder, Blue Noses, Blue Peter, Blue Pigeon, Blue Ruin, Blue Stocking, Blue Stone...// manannan, Mara, Marool, Melsh Dick, Melusine, Merrow...//aquatic, marine, maritime, oceanic, pelagic, pelagia
n, seaworthy, thalassic...///

  /SFX/ ENDS. RAGUEL BEATS HIS WINGS AND LANDS IN THE ECHOING HALL, UNDER...

  RAGUEL NARRATION (CONT’D)

  As I approached the bottom, I beat my wings, slowing my descent, and stepped lightly onto the silver floor. Phanuel stood between two angels, who were both trying to claim his attention.

  ANGEL #1

  Sir. Excuse me...

  ANGEL 2

  Sir. This won’t take long....

  PHANUEL

  One at a time. You first. Hmm. No. I don't care how aesthetically pleasing it would be. We simply cannot put it in the centre.

  ANGEL #1

  But it would looks so much better. And it’s very appropriate.

  PHANUEL (CONT’D)

  Background radiation would prevent any possible life-forms from even getting a foothold; and anyway, it's too unstable. You’ll need to completely rethink it -- maybe put it out in the Milky Way somewhere.

  ANGEL #1

  Yes, sir.

  ANGEL 2

  Sir? I have the colours you were asking for.

  PHANUEL

  Okay, let's see them. Hmm.

  (paging through them...)

  Well, I like the magenta. So that's Green, is it? It's not exactly how I'd imagined it, but. Mm. Leave it with me. I'll get back to you.

  ANGEL 2

  Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Phanuel?

  PHANUEL

  (brusque, dismissive)

  Oh. It’s you again. Yes?

  RAGUEL THEN

  I need to talk to you.

  PHANUEL

  Well, make it quick. I have much to do. If this is about Carasel's death, I have told you all I know.

  RAGUEL THEN

  It is about Carasel's death. But I will not speak to you now. Not here. Go to Zephkiel's cell: he is expecting you. I will meet you there.

  PHANUEL

  I am far too busy for such nonsense...

  RAGUEL THEN

  (voice treatment)

  Go.

  /SFX/ THE BEATING OF WINGS. UNIVERSE NOISE.

  ANGEL 2

  Excuse me, sir. Just out of interest, does this look like Green to you? Is it how you imagined green as a phenomenon?

  RAGUEL THEN

  Could be. Not my department. Tell me something.

  ANGEL 2

  If I can, sir.

  RAGUEL THEN

  That thing. What's it going to be for?

  ANGEL 2

  For? Why, it is the Universe.

  RAGUEL THEN

  I know what it's called. But what purpose will it serve?

  ANGEL 2

  (rebuking)

  It is part of the plan. The Name wishes it; He requires such and such, to these dimensions, and having such and such properties and ingredients. It is our function to bring it into existence, according to His wishes. I am sure He knows its function, but He has not revealed it to me.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Yeah. Well, I can see his point on that.

  /SFX/ALL SOUNDS CROSS-FADE WITH

  /SFX AND MUS/ ABOVE THE CITY: SOUNDS AND MUSIC OF ANGELS WHEELING AND CIRCLING AND DIVING. RAGUEL GLIDES, UNDER....

  LUCIFER

  (in background, under...) Wheel right! Now, gold squadron dive... and break! Second Phalanx up and left. Silver squadron spiral rise... wait for it... now! Bronze squadron, fill in, and hover, and rise... white squadron spiral, and break, and gold squadron rise to fill... and return to formation... and hold it... now bronze squadron, mark your man, and replace, and fall.... (etc -- ad lib if necessary)

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  High above the City a phalanx of angels wheeled and circled and dove. Each held a flaming sword which trailed a streak of burning brightness behind it, dazzling the eye. They moved in unison through the salmon-pink sky. They were very beautiful. It was -- you know on summer evenings, when you get whole flocks of birds performing their dances in the sky? Weaving and circling and clustering and breaking apart again, so just as you think you understand the pattern, you realise you don't, and you never will? It was like that, only better.

  (beat)

  Above me was the sky. Below me, the shining City. My home. And outside the City, the Dark. Lucifer hovered a little below the Host, watching their maneuvers, calling directions.

  RAGUEL THEN

  Lucifer?

  LUCIFER

  Yes, Raguel? Have you discovered your malefactor?

  RAGUEL THEN

  I think so. I hope so. Will you accompany me to Zephkiel's cell? There are others waiting for us there, and I will explain everything.

  LUCIFER

  (a beat, then)

  Certainly.

  (he calls)

  Azazel!

  /SFX/ FLAPPING OF WINGS

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  An angel broke from the circle; the others adjusted almost imperceptibly to his disappearance, filling the space, so you could no longer see where he had been.

  AZAZEL

  Yes, sir. You called?

  LUCIFER

  I have to leave. You are in command, Azazel. Keep them drilling. They still have much to perfect.

  AZAZEL

  Yes, sir...

  (he begins calling formations, under...)

  Wheel left! Now, gold squadron rise... and break! Silver squadron spiral fall... don’t anticipate... Bronze squadron, fill in, and ascend, and fall...

  LUCIFER

  Fare well. I shall not be long.

  /SFX/LUCIFER AND RAGUEL FLYING THROUGH THE AIR. AZAZEL FADES INTO THE BACKGROUND AS THEY FLY.

  LUCIFER (CONT’D)

  He's my second-in-command. Bright. Enthusiastic. Azazel would follow you anywhere.

  RAGUEL THEN

  What are you training them for?

  LUCIFER

  War.

  RAGUEL THEN

  With whom?

  LUCIFER

  How do you mean?

  RAGUEL THEN

  Who are they going to fight? Who else is there?

  LUCIFER

  I do not know. But He has Named us to be His army. So we will be perfect. For Him. The Name is infallible and all-just, and all-wise, Raguel. It cannot be otherwise, no matter what --

  (he breaks off)

  RAGUEL THEN

  You were going to say?

  LUCIFER

  It is of no importance.

  RAGUEL NARRATION

  We did not talk for the rest of the descent to Zephkiel's cell.

  /SFX/ALL SOUNDS QUICKLY CROSS-FADE WITH

  /SFX/ LOS ANGELES AT NIGHT. DISTANT TRAFFIC, CRICKETS, UNDER...

  NARRATOR

  I looked at my watch: it was almost three. A chill breeze had begun to blow down the LA street, and I shivered.

  RAGUEL NOW

  You okay? You’re not bored or nothing?

  NARRATOR -- LIVE

  I'm fine. Please carry on. I'm fascinated. it’s a whodunnit, isn’t it?

  /SFX/ CROSSFADE TO

  /SFX/ZEPHKIEL’S CELL. WE HEAR THE BEAT OF WINGS AS RAGUEL AND LUCIFER ARRIVE.

  ZEPHKIEL

  Ah. There you are, Raguel. I believe you must be responsible for my visitors.

 
1 2 3 4 5 6