Enigma (3/4)

** If you missed the previous part, please read it here: Enigma – Part 2 **
** If you want to start at the beginning, go here: Enigma – Part 1 **

Laquiela sprang to her feet, excitement bubbling up in her chest. Maybe this was it—the moment she’d been waiting for. 

Hastily, she wiped a blooming smile from her face and instead resumed a façade of outrage and dismay. Struggling, she closed her eyes, fanning herself with her wings. Now it was up to her to act accordingly, to keep up the Enigma myth. She couldn’t mess this up. She opened her eyes and glared at the three angels at the table.

Sidaniel sat straight as a rod, eyes wide. Gidmihr, still voiceless, had dropped the lighter with which he had been drying his goatee, while Raphizal had clamped down on his pacifier.

Her outburst had shocked them well enough. Now she had to set the final challenge for the two junior council members. And that didn’t include Raphizal. Unfortunately, the ever-so-polite and conflict-averse Sidaniel had failed to ever demand his removal. Laquiela suppressed a chuckle. Throwing him out now would only serve the setting of the challenge and help underscore her message.

She took a measured breath and glared at the unsuspecting Raphizal. “Out!” she said, pressing the word through clenched teeth.

Surprised, Raphizal grunted in dismay.

“Now.” She made a shooing motion. It came off just as imperious and dismissive as intended.

Raphizal threw her a filthy look, but he didn’t argue. He kicked back his chair and went poof in a smoky cloud that rained down gnawed-off fingernails, a pair of pink mittens and a soggy binky.

Laquiela drew herself up to her full height and spread her silver wings. The air sparked with small energy bursts. “Sidaniel, I’m disappointed you’d stir up such a fuss over a slightly challenging client. And you, Gidmihr, need to stop harboring grudges about Evo Last. Move on. I will hear no more whining about such cases!” She gave both angels the most piercing stare she could muster. “As for the new case, you both will settle by tonight. Or else!”

Not waiting for any reaction, she folded her wings around herself and vanished with a blinding crack of lighting.

Sidaniel smoothed static from his feathers while he blinked hard against the afterimage of Laquiela’s exit. As soon as the last sparkle in the air faded, Gidmihr’s voice returned. “Astonishing temper,” he said. “Maybe I ought to recommend anger management?” Then the tip of his goatee self-ignited with a muted ‘pop’.

Sidaniel sighed, the sound coming from so low inside his chest that he felt the vibrato in his wings’ tips. He was tired. He was shaken. And worst of all, he was out of his depth. “I can’t believe you brought up Evo Last.”

Gidmihr ignored the comment. “So, I assume we’re talking about an Enigma?”

Sidaniel shuddered, then nodded. “Soul leaks, mood cracks, continuity fissures. If half of it is true, we’ll be putting out fires all over the place.”

“We like fire just fine.”

“Stop joking! This is serious!”

Gidmihr chuckled and steepled his fingers. “But it’s the only way to make your proximity bearable. Also, I’m sure it’s not really an Enigma.”

“No?” Sidaniel plucked a crystal ball from thin air and put it on the table. Inside revolved the transparent projection of a middle-aged man. Soul 126. “Prove me wrong. Go on.”

“Ha! He must lean one side or the other. He’s old.”

“I’m waiting.”

“Right, then. How about petty theft?”

A flurry of words ran over the sphere’s surface. Gidmihr skimmed the text. “Found a lost wallet, kept a tenner. Voila! First question hits.”

“You missed a cross-link. There.” Sidaniel pointed to a paragraph near the end. “Involved parties met again two decades later. Supermarket checkout line; former victim was short a tenner; he helped out. Wouldn’t even hear about repayment.”

Gidmihr scratched his head with the knee of his left wing. “The early years then. All kids goof sometime. Bet he nicked apples. Pears?”

“Plums,” Sidaniel confirmed. “Neighbor’s tree. One hundred forty-eight, between age nine and seventeen.”

“I sense a ‘but’.”

“Aged eighteen, he planted his own plum tree. Neighbor’s tree got blasted by lightning. Fellow shares his plums. For free.”

“Let me guess,” Gidmihr drawled. “One hundred and forty-eight in total?”


“How about regular exercise? Excessive prayer? Polyamorous impulses…?” With each new attempt, more words ran over the sphere’s surface. Each time Sidaniel shook his head ‘no.’

“Blazes! Seems you’re right,” Gidmihr finally groaned. “Options?”

“I’ve been chewing on it for hours. I got nothing. If this Enigma were to enter any of the unearthly realms, I’d wager it would wreck the balance faster than a wrongly judged soul. The balance is incredibly delicate.”

Gidmihr’s goatee tip gleaming brighter. “Already up for a gamble, dear Sid? Quite the rapid moral decay.”


“Alright, alright. How about an RTS, say a miraculous revival? One more deed, and the matter is settled.”

Return To Sender is impossible.”

“Already been processed?”

“Cremated,” Sidaniel sighed. “But yes, if only he’d come here a week later, a day earlier… basically any other time.”

Gidmihr froze for the fraction of a moment. Then, a fiery spark sprang up in his eyes. “Another time, then. Come on, I know what to do.” He pocketed the sphere, grabbed Sidaniel by his robe, and pulled him into a smoke cloud.



This is the penultimate part of this story. What do you think will be the resolution?
Watch this space – I’ll be posting the ending this weekend.

Read the ending here!

One thought on “Enigma (3/4)

  1. Pingback: Enigma (2/?) | Katja Rammer

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