My name as you know it is Gabriel. I do the Lord's work. Occasionally the work has its rewards -- and Mary was one such. I first saw her in the flesh at the fountain in Nazareth, drawing water. Like her ancestor David, like Adam who was fashioned of clay and mud, she was ruddy: dark-complected, auburn-haired, with bright green eyes. As a boy, David had killed Goliath, the last Nephil, the last scion of angel and man. I wondered how coincidental this was, in the scheme of the Lord.
She was young, no more than 16, and she knew me for who I was the instant my feet touched down on base earth and I permitted myself to be seen. I approached her, ignoring the murmurs in the Galilean crowd at the appearance of what they took for a naked man in their midst. Mary was the only one I was concerned with, the rest would be dust and legend before anything mattered. I'd sent her the dreams since she was a child. She knew her place in this thing.
But she ran. Like a human, like a mortal, like a woman, she ran. I moved the earth beneath my bare feet, beat my unseen wings against dry air, bringing myself to her home before she arrived. Silly little mudthings. They never make it easy on themselves. Sarai was the same way.
I would have to remember not to break her. The Lord needed this one.
"Go away," she murmured, her eyes on her hands on the jug of water, the contents of which she'd splashed every which way in her running. "I'm betrothed."
"You know why I'm here, Mary. You've heard the dreams. You've known today would come." I let my wings show, filling the one-room home, feathers brushing against the ceiling, flame filling the interstices and smoke darkening my pupils. "I am Gabriel, the Power of the Lord your God. The breath of my trumpet will sound the end of your world. I did not come to this place to be denied, child."
She clutched the jug to her. "But I have a betrothed!"
"And before him, you had a father. And before your father, you have the Lord. Your duty supersedes whatever ties you may devise in this world."
"But I don't ... want to."
I sighed. She didn't want to. What possessed her to think I gave a damn? Smoke filled the house, and when it cleared, time had slowed beyond the wall of black tendrils. The scheme required that she choose.
It did not require me to tell her so.
My wings unfurled and filled the sky as I shifted the Earth once more, bringing her wrists to my hands. The wings were simply for show: touching a mortal without killing her required reducing myself to my basest form, barely more than clay, no further above a human than a human was above an ass. It disgusted me -- but only for a moment. It thrilled me as well, feeling a heart beat in my chest, feeling air cycle through my lungs, the dust of the smoke cling to my feathers. Deep inside, in a place which was within me and yet not of me -- a place all men have but of which mortals remain largely unaware except when they speak of "impulse" and "instinct," "whimsy" and "lust" -- I felt a stirring. The creative urge. The essence, the becoming, the I AM of God.
Her eyes drifted downwards -- not from pure modesty this time, but glancing over my form. She was unaccustomed to seeing unclothed men, and my awareness of the God-seed within me had made me hard. It intimidated her, which was pleasant. I could taste the fear and anticipation surrounding her the way mist surrounds the River Jordan on a warm morning. Palpable. Musky. Sweet.
"You know the service required of you, Mary."
She tried to pull her wrists from my hands, and I tightened the circle my fingers formed. I could feel bone and tendon through skin, prepared to give way under my grasp; I relented enough to preserve her pain but keep her hands intact. She might arguably find need of them. "I -- have never known a man," she said. "If I go to my betrothed after ... you ... he will reject me. I will be shamed. He will not have me."
So that was the excuse she had chosen. "These things will not happen. Joseph will be addressed. I assure you he will have no difficulty acquiescing to the will of the Power of the Lord your God. You will have no shame because I do not wish you to. You will not be rejected because I will not permit it. All will be as I say."
My cock was tired of my mouth explaining.
I located the mattress she used for sleeping and thrust her towards it. Her shoulder struck the wall of the domicile, and would have fractured at the joint had I not stiffened the air around her, deflecting enough of the impact. I had forgotten how complicated sex was: like hammering a nail through an egg.
She scurried to her knees and against the wall, like trapped vermin, and I pulled her away by the ankle, taking care to leave it attached to her leg. "If you enjoy this clothing, you should remove it."
Mary blinked at me, and nodded violently, her hands fumbling at her clothes and pulling them off, pushing them far away from her as though she were afraid of bleeding on them. She was beautiful, in the manner mortals manage: the sort of woman Solomon had written of in his song when I'd known him, the sort of woman Cain had dreamt of while spending his nights in the arms of his wife. Wide hips sufficient for childbearing. Large, rounded breasts much lighter than the skin of her face and hands, as smooth as her well-turned thighs. Her green eyes widened as she watched me look at her. What disturbed her, I realized -- because deep inside her I sensed that she had long since resigned herself to this task and was only now having second thoughts -- was the enjoyment I clearly found in this.
Her disturbance furthered that enjoyment. I could taste it again, rising off of her in waves, the mixture of fear and dread which had drenched the Earth in the first days of the Deluge, the cloud of anticipation which was a smaller cousin of the one which had been All That Was before the Lord drew essence from the formless and empty. Fear, dread, anticipation, anxiety: these were the media upon which creation was conducted. This was the darkness out of which light would shine. These were the legs, long and sinewy, quivering like startled fawns, between which the world would be reborn.
The music began.
Drumbeats in my pulse pounding against hers, the ineffability of my palm pressed to the flesh of her leg and moving upwards. Jittering stringed notes in her quavers as she babbled something which formed neither words no sense, as I tested her resilience, finding that balance between force and resistance, that perfect touch, that sweet spot of a note. The steady thrum of my wings beating back the air, beating back time and the world, enveloping us in my desire and will.
The music began and the impulse conducted us.
I drew my thumbnails along her inner thighs, writing the simple letters Enoch had taught us, giving names to things which had lacked them. The naming was as important to the act as the pain: name provided the form for shape to take, the mold into which substance was poured. Her skin buckled under my hands, becoming slick with red as she strained against the stinging of my language on her flesh, and I held her still with hands and air.
Mary whimpered, bound by firm air holding her down like a great weighted blanket through which only I could pass unhindered. I left only enough give to permit her breath: and only so much breath as I deemed necessary. I could hear her lungs working faster, taking short sharp breaths where they were denied the languid ones she had accustomed them to. Her fingers twisted, seeking something to grasp or push away, and I ignored them, letting them grip my hair as they found it and scratch at my impenetrable scalp as they wished, bending down to lick the blood clean from her legs.
The blood was important. The blood would be remembered. This thing we did, it would begin and end with the blood, and in between was little more than shadow and suggestion.
She tasted clean and sweet and coppery-bright, the way the dark side of a mountain tastes as sunrise hits its other end. In the blacks and greens of her fear there were the reds and oranges of desire and pain now, mingling together, the contrast brightening it all. My tongue cleaned my writing methodically, ignoring the impatience stiffened between my legs as I drew her closer and raised my head again, watching her as I nestled my crotch between her thighs.
This was the moment, the choice I did not see fit to inform her of: doom the world or do thy duty.
Her large green eyes knew nothing of choice and her voice formed nothing like words. She moved against me when I wished her to, and God-given instinct at last won out over her own will and pride. When I entered her, she was as wet as I was hard, as hot and mortal as I was cool in the shelter of my wings. Her hands slid down over the back of my head to clutch at my neck, as if to pull herself out from the blanket I'd laid over her.
I pushed down hard, letting weight and instinct do what force would have done too well: shove me inside her, deep inside her. My cock was troubled by no maidenly resistance because the Power of the Lord did not wish it. She had known no man, but she knew she was a woman: her legs spread for me, likely as she had seen some prostitute do, and her hips lifted from the mattress to meet my thrusts.
Her breaths were still hot and shallow, and I withdrew the invisible blanket of air -- but kept that pressure along her throat and chest, because I liked the way she sounded, the way she looked, the way she felt when she struggled to breathe. The reds and oranges became brighter, the greens deeper, as we fucked in a hollow of time, my hands pressing her wrists down above her head for no reason other than that she was more afraid of me when I did so.
Her hair twisted against the mattress as she tossed her head, still struggling, still acting as though she were unwilling despite having made her choice. I counterpointed every note of struggle with a drumbeat of hips against thighs; every whimper and protest was met with a fierce lash of flesh against flesh. I made it last longer than I had to, because I could. I took more from her than I needed, because I wanted to. I fucked her for pleasure because I am the Power of the Lord God and I have earned my few rewards.
And again there was blood. Not the blood of her maidenhood: I had told her I would preserve her against shame, and I was by nature incapable of breaking my word. The blood of her wrists twisting against my palms, of my teeth on her neck and collarbone, the blood of abrasions on her thighs where I had pushed, shoved, ground too forcefully, where in the thrill of the I AM I had forgotten how frail she was. She screamed with what breath I gave her, and when I began to pull away to tend to her she pushed back up at me: neither of us, in that moment, knew if she was trying to push me away or wanting more.
I gave her more.
I held her hair close by the scalp as I slapped her face hard enough to quiet her, and her hands alternately beat against my back and clutched motheringly in my hair as I suckled at her breasts, enjoying the power of turning flat discs of skin into hard dappled points with my tongue and lips and teeth. I drew blood again, unable to stop myself from doing so, and her moan of anguish was weak, drawn out by admirable will.
The impulse could no longer be put off. I held myself tightly against her and came, spilling the God-seed into her, feeling her muscles tense against me as it found what it needed deep within her. She cried -- wept -- shuddered, all but unaware of me still against her, waiting for these base urges to fade, waiting to stop wanting the taste of her salt on my tongue and the resilience of her skin between my teeth.
I left her, crying and shaking and clutching for something to cover her, as my wings beat back the daylight, the smoke dissipated, and I took flight.