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A Refraction of Light

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There is only one law God built into his creation: kill or be killed. Hunt the lion before he eats you. Destroy your neighbor before he makes war. Smash your brother's skull before he slits your throat.

Cain aims and squeezes the trigger. This is his calling, to raise the sword and axe, to blow the dart, to strangle with rope and pummel with rock. Thousands of years, hundreds of weapons, the same end result. Time and again.

The world slows as first one, then two bullets exit the chamber. The projectiles spin, piercing the air in endless pirouettes as they hunt their target. The archangel Amenadiel, afflicted with divine hubris, never sees what's coming, never thinks to be aware of his surroundings. But his companion, Charlotte Richards, knows evil. She looks. She sees.

She does not sit idly by, and this changes everything.

The bullets meant for God's favorite son sink into human flesh. A mistake, a simple mistake, one of many, but how far will these ripples spread? Will this be his undoing?

The ground swallows him. He's born again into a black room. No walls, no floor, no ceiling. A void.

Chloe Decker stands before him, naked. She holds out her hand, a diamond engagement ring resting on her palm. "I can't marry you, Cain. I'm sorry."

She never suspects the depths of his evil, but the brightness in her shines on the dark truth that is in him. Her allegiances lie elsewhere. A pentagram is carved above her left breast. Fresh blood drips from the star-shaped wound, which is backlit by fire.

The gun is still in his hand, and, suddenly, his arm has a mind of its own. "No!" he screams. He uses all his strength to try and stop it, but his arm raises straight and true. His hand turns the gun sideways. Chloe begs for her life as he presses the muzzle between her blue eyes.

"He can't have you," he growls. "You were supposed to fix me."

Cain squeezes the trigger, and Chloe crumples, blood and bone exploding from her head. This is his calling.

There is only one law God built into his creation: kill or be killed. Hunt the lion before he eats you. Destroy your neighbor before he makes war. Smash your brother's skull before he slits your throat.

Cain aims and squeezes the trigger.

Cain aims and squeezes the trigger.

Cain aims and squeezes the trigger.

This is his calling.