No good deed, p.1
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       No Good Deed, p.1

           Leigh Barker
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No Good Deed
Requiem for Eden

  (Episode 1)

  No good Deed

  Copyright 2014 Leigh Barker

  ISBN: 9781310914393

  No Good Deed

  Sometimes Life Can Get Weary

  Gabriel stood in the palace garden and watched the tree of life, as if he expected it to do something other than be happy for its existence, even if that existence was… well, a bit boring.

  He’d spent many hours in this garden since the Sodom and Gomorrah incident. Generally folks say happy hours, but what the weeding had done to his back was nobody’s business—suffice it to say it had given him some serious jip. But now Michael had forgiven his little, err, S&G indiscretion, shall we say. Overzealous smiting could happen to anyone.

  The reason for his interest in the life tree would have been a mystery to anyone passing by. After all, it wasn’t anything special, and there were far more interesting and flowery woody perennials dotted around the garden, but to another archangel it would have been obvious. The hint is in its name. Point being, it wasn’t—living, that is. Well, okay, it was a bit, but straggly and decidedly pathetic, and it was supposed to be the most important plant in the extensive garden. Gabriel was not a happy bunny.

  He crossed the neatly trimmed lawn and poked the tree with his broadsword—as if threatening it with a good stabbing would perk it up. When no sudden revival ensued, he turned on his heel and strode along the gravel path towards the arched doorway, his black robe billowing and looking suitably dramatic.

  The life tree watched the archangel go with relief and sore ribs. What kind of gardener pokes you with a sharp metal thing? And when you’re feeling like… well, a bit lifeless, actually. Not an easy task, you know, being a life tree. Big responsibility, especially since he was the only one, which in itself was a bit sad. Nobody to talk to, nobody with anything worthwhile to say, that is. The life tree sighed through its dried leaves. Well, there’s that tall, bushy thing over there, but she’s totally up herself, and boring, oh, boring. Who cares about squirrels?

  The life tree’s branches sagged a little more. And Eden took another tiny step towards oblivion.

  Good Intentions Pave the Road to Hell

  The old stork was tired, and frankly she was a bit fed up, what with all this flying about for no good reason. And the name the others had given her and her clan really got up her nose: The idiots who carry those screaming, smelly bundles. Of course, the others said it in Storkish, so this has to be a rough translation, though it’s near enough.

  Truth be told, today the two bundles she was carrying were extra smelly and noisy, and the constant screaming and gurgling was so irritating. The sooner she dropped them off, the better. Then home for a nice fish and frog supper. Yeah right, fat chance, with Him At Home doing the hunting. He’d be off with his layabout friends sunning themselves on the lakeshore. Typical.

  The storm was getting worse, if that was possible. The wind howled around her, and the rain was turning to hailstones the size of… ah, hailstones. Which also showed that all the noise and being thrown about was affecting her ability to… that thing that you do in your head… think? Yes, think.

  A vicious gust of wind caught her and flipped her onto her back. Not pleasant. She righted herself and squinted into the freezing rain streaming out of the black sky. The bundles dangling from her long beak were still protected by the weather screen, but maintaining the safety bubble in these conditions was exhausting, and she was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate. Lightning bolts passed by on their way to the ground, causing her feathers to rise, releasing their trapped warmth and chilling her even more. She checked her internal satnav. At least three thousand breaths. She would not survive that long, and worse still, the bundles would have ceased well before then, which, although a blessing for the quiet, wouldn’t go down well in her annual review. She made her decision, dipped her wing and turned, letting the howling wind carry her back the way she’d come.

  Almost at once, the hail turned back to rain, as if the storm god approved of her action. The wind lifted her and she spread her wings fully, surfing the storm to safety.

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