Preview of an Upcoming Novella: “And Where Is She Who Treads Upon the Sea?”

You wouldn’t think, would you, that a just and righteous God would be capable of such a thing as murder…. Nor would you think that a God who commands you to pursue Justice and love Mercy, would be capable of covering up such a crime, let alone commit it, would you?

You would never think so.

You might very well never think so.

I, of course, know better.

I have had many names over the ages. But my office has remained unchanged since the dawn of human existence. For now, call me Azazel. I was once the chief prosecuting attorney of the Heavenly Court.


Now, I am nothing but an outcast, reputation ruined, and promised to eternal torment. My office has become the epithet by which I am now known; The Adversary…The Opposer…Satan.

It wasn’t always so, of course. That is well known. But I should have foreseen the circumstances that led me to this place. Sometimes I wonder if it was my fault. After all, as a friend, I should have watched that too much power might go to his head. Could I have prevented His madness, and saved Her life? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But I feel as if I had been absent just when my attendance was necessary. Yet I have no regrets; I did what I had to do. I pursued Justice. That it lead where it did, I find heart-breaking. But I would certainly do it again.

It all began after a case I prosecuted against Bontshe the Silent. It was the first time since…well, ever, that I could find nothing to say against the defendant. Of course, that bitter taste, I was able to share with the rest of the court. Imagine! Hot buttered rolls?  I had burst out laughing, as the rest of them hung their heads in embarrassment.

I’d decided then that I needed a break. I’d been working non-stop for centuries. I thought I might be able to talk Raziel into covering for me for a few decades. The last time I’d taken a vacation, was about three thousand years ago, when I had taken a gentleman’s bet on with YHVH to pass the time.

Now I know what you, as a mortal, must be thinking: How can this all have begun in the nineteenth century? The Bible implies that my downfall had been accomplished several thousand years ago. But of course you just know how documents and records can be rewritten…forged to look as though some new addition always was. And anyway, how many mortals- even the faithful- study the ancient scriptures so thoroughly?

And besides all this, you should realize that Time works differently for us than it does for you. You are trapped by Time. You must follow it in linear progression, in one direction only. We, on the other hand, swim in Time, as in a river. Of course, the stronger the currents, the more difficult it becomes. Some are strong enough to make great headway. Some, hardly any at all. But considering all the administrative work required to run this portion of the universe, there is no other way we could possibly get everything done properly and on schedule. Considering the responsibilities we’d all garnered over the years (not the least of which was my own caseload), it’s a good thing that we can.

About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a high school ESOL teacher, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in Beijing's Dongcheng district
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