Chapter 9.6 – Nephilim

Wendell and Amber surprise their teenage visitors with news that they’ve decided to follow them back to Sunset Valley, and stay at the estate for an extended visit.
 
This unexpected change upsets Flora, as she had likely been planning to repeat her attempts at diversionary tactics on the way home. Flora spends some time pouting as they head out on the road. But Adam manages to snap her out of it by recalling the highlights of their trip.
 
He says nothing about the memory he’d experienced while they were making out on the beach. It felt like he’d been away with Kacey for an hour. But in reality, he had zoned out for only a few seconds. Still, it was difficult to ignore the emptiness he felt at the pit of his gut about Kacey. Is it even possible to fall in love with a memory? Any excitement Flora had generated, instantly evaporated along with the memory. Adam was successful with a smooth recovery, by asking if Flora was prepared for the possible outcome of risky woo-hoo.
 
After cheering up, she giggles and thanks him again for the amazing vacation. Still, a few times on the way home, she attempts to steer the conversation toward planning when and where they can try it again; along with the proper safeguards. Finally, Adam explains that his beliefs revolve around waiting for marriage. At first she laughs, thinking he’s joking. But when she eventually realizes that he is serious, Flora changes the topic with a sly grin. She promises that  when the time comes, he’ll eagerly change his mind.
 
Flora’s parents (Mack and Evelyn Flaumel) had met while serving together on the Sunset Valley police force. They immediately hit Adam with a line of questioning when he delivers Flora home.
 
It feels like an interrogation at first, but they eventually lighten up, and he agrees to stay for supper. By the time the meal is finished, her parents are both satisfied that nothing had happened that wasn’t supposed to happen. This leads Adam to believe that the Flaumel’s are acutely aware of Flora’s somewhat carnal curiosity.
 
Before dark, Adam sits with Mr. Flaumel on the simple back patio. He thanks Adam for taking care of his daughter and being a man of his word. Fully expecting a lecture about keeping his hands to himself, Adam is surprised when the topic of conversation changes to Noah.
 
Police have been watching Noah closely in connection to a string of arsons. Actually, they were worse than arson. Someone had taken the time to transform a number of homes into elaborate death traps. In some cases, entire families had died. The problem, is that they only have a few inadmissible leads, but no tangible evidence linking him to the crime.
 
Adam sits silently pondering Mr. Flaumel’s words. This drastically overshadows any anxiety he’s been feeling about Flora. The episode with Kacey had provided some clarity in that regard. He understands now, that he values Flora more as his best-friend than girlfriend. Flora doesn’t invoke the same flutters he feels in his gut when he thinks about Kacey. But that’s hardly important now.
 
 Entire families killed …for what?
 
Gigantic creatures had ripped through fractures in spacetime, with help from an apostate who had been seduced by the promise of limitless wealth and power.  There was no warning. There was no mercy. The great tree of life, which had stood for eons, was being sieged. They swarmed like locust upon the Garden, leaving nothing but destruction in their wake (See Chapter 8.38.??).
 
The Nephilim had arrived.
 
A short time before the attack, a young girl had appeared in the Garden.  She possessed shining, golden hair and glowing blue eyes. Her magnificent, angelic wings burned with the brightness of the morning sunrise. She was powerful and mysterious; a harbinger among the Harbingers. She’d found a spot within the branches of the great tree, where the tiny, formless offspring of their kind lie incubating. She sat silently and expectantly; her shining, golden hair waving in the foretelling wind, and her glowing blue eyes fixed on some unseen subject.
 
Those glowing eyes filled with tears as the assault began. She vanished as quickly as she had come, taking the only things she was able to carry. A seed. And a branch of the great tree where she had gently transferred two of the formless offspring. Those two, a male and a female, would be the only survivors; and the last of their kind.
 
Adam frowns, staring intently at Mr. Flaumel. Then, after a long time, he quietly offers whatever assistance he is able to provide.
Corwin Bariman has been a very naughty ghost.
 
These must be lean and desperate times for the spirit, for him to make such a daring move. Noah had quietly listened to what the spirit had to say regarding Adam. But Noah was far more interested in what the Corwin didn’t tell him. For example, why would a ghost be so concerned about a silver-haired freak?
 
It had taken quite a bit of research, but Noah has gained a great deal of insight about his very distant ancestor. Now what he needs, is insight into why Corwin had come to him in the first place. After gathering a few “tools”, Noah cheerfully begins to walk out the front door. He frowns when he sees the unmarked police cruiser parked across the street. They’re not going to make this very easy.
 
Noah smiles, waves, then ducks back into the estate. He uses a back entrance, then darts down the bluff to the beach. He can see the cops running down the bluff to catch up to him. Noah laughs, finds cover in some thick underbrush, then disappears into the woods. It is fairly late when Noah emerges again near the warehouse.
 
Corwin was wise to avoid the graveyard. Inside the warehouse, his remains could easily stay hidden, virtually forever. But Noah possesses a secret weapon. His grandmother had documented, with amazing detail, her own experiences at the warehouse (see Chapter 8.4). Evidently, Corwin had stolen a valuable portrait of his son, Julian. Amber wrote about her frustration regarding this one, unsolved mystery. Why had Corwin placed the stolen painting in such a random location?
 
Noah suspects that it was not random at all.
 
The warehouse sees little use these days. It is still the hangout of choice for Sunset Valley’s scaled back criminal underworld, but huge sections of it remain unused. Noah creeps through areas that likely had not been occupied by a living sim for decades. It is a maze of crates and dilapidated equipment. Fortunately, Amber had conveniently written down the exact location where she had found the painting (Chapter 7.97.10).
 
Noah smirks when he reaches his destination and spots a mundane-looking crate. Without hesitation, Noah begins to rig the crate with an explosive device. He fully expects resistance, and had prepared himself for an appearance by Corwin.
 
But the fury with which the spirit rages onto the scene had not been anticipated. His startle reflex nearly makes him drop the device; a mistake that would likely have likely seen him joining Corwin in the afterlife. After the initial scare, Noah ignores the raging spirit. And when he is finished, he takes a few steps back.
 
He speaks simply and calmly, demanding to be told everything. Having no recourse, Corwin’s spirit complies. Noah listens for a long time, digesting a tale that seems too impossible to be true. Noah mercilessly presses every scrap of information from the ancient remnants of a man who, in life, was possibly more evil than he. Corwin has manipulated many sims in an effort to destroy Adam…
 
Reid Kimura: unbelievably intelligent, wickedly malicious, and wildly insane. He could have easily killed both fugitives, but insanity overpowered reason.
 
Ali Zalne: Allowed his lust for revenge and penchant for sadism to obscure his mission to destroy the entity.
 
Jon Buford: Brilliantly evil, and relentlessly meticulous. His perfectly detailed plans should have succeeded. And yet, they did not.
 
Michael Nava: Too stupid to see the opportunity he was given, and too preoccupied with hedonistic gratification to have been successful.
 
Khaliq Hasan: Nearly succeeded, but also nearly destroyed all of reality in doing so.
 
Brandon Logrus: Soulless, and so corrupted by decadence that he had ceased being human at all. He was slain by his own considerable arrogance.
 
Finally, the most recent sim; quite possibly the most petty and useless of them all, too worthless to be regarded by name. He’d killed his wife and only child in a bid for power. And in the end, he lived among the rats thinking he would escape his fate.
 
Noah would be an addition to this list, if Corwin were to have his way. Noah’s face becomes a grim and sadistic mask. Now Corwin will be the final entry. He squeezes mercilessly for the last remaining bit of missing information… WHY?
 
Corwin hesitates a moment too long. Noah triggers the device without so much as an instant of hesitation. It explodes, rocking the warehouse and creating a shock wave that sends Noah sailing across floor.
 
Corwin’s only anchor to this world was his urn. With it destroyed, he has nothing to resist the inescapable torrent that now carries him greedily toward eternal damnation. The scream he emits is not a thing that any living sim should be subject to. And still, Noah smiles.
 
A moment later, it is silent again; and the unspoken answer to Noah’s question stands, revealed, upon the very same spot where Corwin was destroyed. This was highly unexpected.
 
Noah stands and sizes up the gigantic, demonic figure towering fearfully above him. Resisting the urge to panic and run, he speaks to the creature with the voice of a sim who has come unhinged…
 
Now we’re finally getting somewhere…
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