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Play with Fire

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In another world, perhaps the Antichrist would have been Adam Young.  A charming young man, he would have had love in his heart for his small, simple world, filled with his family and friends.  Perhaps this love would have been enough to stop Armageddon in its tracks, with a little help from an angel and a demon.

 

That is not this world.

 

Here, the demon gifted the child took far greater care of his responsibilities.  He flew the babe to the hospital on wings darker than the night sky. He did not acknowledge the human male outside, instead entering and presenting the basket directly to the Mother Superior.  The nuns did not try to stop him and let him do as he liked; they knew that this demon, pale and wraithlike in his black clothes and hooded greatcoat, took his job seriously. In this world, the plan succeeded and the Antichrist is Adam Dowling.

 

Five years later, Nanny Fell entered their lives.  She was a pale woman, soft spoken and serious with white-blonde curls and dark glasses covering her eyes.  In her black clothes, there wasn’t a speck of color to her and she appeared almost carved from marble. She made the staff’s skin crawl, but Adam adored her and what Adam wanted, Adam got.

 

From the time that Adam turned five up until his eleventh birthday, Nanny was a near constant presence by his side as she instructed, whispering in his ear.  She taught him about domination of course, and crushing one’s enemies and what power he possessed as King of this World. She also taught him the value of charm, how to manipulate and coerce, and how to tempt.  She kept his mind sharp, taught him tactics, how to lie like breathing and actually think his way through problems. Charm, deception, and cunning were her lessons, and her pupil soaked them up and gave them life with his sandy blond hair and sunshine smile.

 

On his eleventh birthday, his parents got him the dog he had hoped for.  That pitiful creature was eaten by a sleek, black hound with clever eyes.  With careful consideration, Adam named the dog Barcas for the Cathaginian general Hannibal.  Without a backward glance, Nanny Fell walked away, leaving her charge to end the world. No one paid any attention to her as she made her way to the edge of the estate.  Just before she hit the trees, vast black wings sprouted from her back, rustling her ghostly, platinum curls. With one mighty downstroke, she was gone.