Enigma (2/4)

** If you missed the previous part, please read it here: Enigma – Part 1 **

Sidaniel had heard rumors about Enigmas, knew the theory as well as the whispered horror stories. But to see an actual manifestation? It had, quite simply, never seemed possible. Even now he was reluctant to share his suspicion. Once spoken, there was no taking it back. If wrong, he’d never hear the end of it. If right, it would be worse.

He tried again. “It’s an E—exception. A treat, if you will.”

“Sweet or savory?” Raphizal licked his teeth.

“I’m afraid he’s not talking about dinner, Raph, but a more metaphorical tidbit,” Gidmihr said.

“Shame.” Raphizal slouched back, ash-toned wings draped over his chair’s backrest. “I like sweets.”

Sidaniel’s under-feathers bristled, fluffing up his wings. He wasn’t in the mood for the duo’s antics. “Are you teasing me?” he asked sharply.

Raphizal jumped from his seat into a taut half-crouch. “Are we?” The air surrounding him flickered and rained soot flakes.

“Orrr—derrr…,” the Chairwoman drawled, attention still on her puzzle cube.

Gidmihr pulled is his protégé back onto the chair and left a calming hand his shoulder. A flame-red glint had come to the chaos agent’s eyes and his beard’s smoke turned a shade darker.

“Teasing? No. We’re accusing. I bet you botched the evaluation. Why else would you omit soul 126? This is like the Evo Last case all over again.”

“Nonsense. For one, I was ultimately right about Evo or we would have seen effects by now. And—”

Laquiela’s puzzle cube, one side solved, clattered to the table. “Stooooop it. Both of you,” she sighed. Then she pointed to the red-black flame that had burst from Gidmihr’s goatee. “Better watch it, Gidmihr. You’ll only trigger the sprinklers.”

Gidmihr’s gaze stayed fixed on Sidaniel. His goatee-flame blazed, licking with a steadily growing black tongue. “You are trying to rob us. Again!”

Angel Laquiela snapped her fingers. A water globule the size of a grapefruit appeared in front of Gidmihr and, correctly anticipating his evasive maneuver, exploded into his face. Defying physics, the water refused to splash all over the room. Instead, it ran in a merry rivulet down Gidmihr’s chin and drip-drip-dripped onto the table.

“Ewww.” Shuddering, Raphizal moved his chair over.

“That. Was. Unnecessary,” Gidmihr pressed out.

Laquiela eyed him with a mix of amusement and pity. “We are not revisiting the Evo Last incident. I settled that. Forget it.”

“Ah, but I’m afraid, Madam Chairwoman, that I don’t forget, much less forgive. This—”

“Enough. Take it up to appeals; this is the Last Judgement, not debate club.”

“And yet we’d all benefit from—”

Laquiela snapped her fingers again. Gidmihr’s voice cut out immediately, but he continued to mouth away. The chairwoman’s eyes sparked. “Five hundred seventy-seven years. Three investigations. No findings. It’s time to let it go.”

“Time,” Raphizal repeated, idly examining his fingernails. “Time is a construct affecting only mortal minds.”

“Be quiet, Raph,” Laquiela snapped.

Raphizal fell into a mutinous silence while Gidmihr proceeded with his outstanding red-snapper-pantomime. Ignoring both, Laquiela turned to Sidaniel. “You were saying?”

“Ahh…,” Sidaniel stuttered. He loathed bearing bad news. “Where was I?” he hedged.

“Sweets,” Raphizal prompted. Laquiela twitched but kept her eyes on Sidaniel.

“Right,” Sidaniel nodded. “Case 126. It’s nothing like Evo Last, I think. Not much room for differing opinions in—”

“Differing-shmiffering,” said Raphizal. He had started biting off his fingernails, spitting the half-moons to the side, then growing them back immediately to start over. Next to him, a carefully composed Gidmihr pressed water droplets from his goatee.

The Chairwoman rolled her eyes and snapped her fingers a third time. Raphizal found himself fitted with mittens and a pacifier, both in neon pink.

“Unacceptable,” he mumbled past his new accessory.

Laquiela picked up her puzzle cube, inspected one of its jumbled sides, then turned the cube’s top layer clockwise in a show of forced calmness. “Sid? What’s the trouble? Unsolved business with third-party entities? Aura entanglement, daemon possessions…? Spill it.”

“Uhm, it’s actually worse. It appears to be uhm—undetermined?”

Angel Laquiela froze mid-move. “Come again?”

“Pick anything. Kindness, truthfulness, courage, patience, wit, valor. Soul 126 is smack on the line in all categories. A solid grey. Even after hours of drilling down, I couldn’t find a smidge of green or red.”

An odd expression flickered over Laquiela’s face. Amazement? Agitation? Anger? Sidaniel couldn’t say…

“So, how did you judge?”

“I—I didn’t. Yet.”


Suddenly, the air was charged, and electric currents ran along Sidaniel’s wings. He swallowed hastily. “Meaning, I can’t very well send it anywhere. It might be an En—”

“SILENCE!” Laquiela thundered.


The penultimate part of Enigma is up. Read it here.

3 thoughts on “Enigma (2/4)

  1. Pingback: Enigma | Katja Rammer

  2. Pingback: Enigma (3/4) | Katja Rammer

  3. Pingback: Enigma (4/4) | Katja Rammer

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