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She placed her hands to gather, palms pressed to each other and spoke softly, rhythmically. It was not an uncommon or extraordinary act, but it was in the name of one who would never ask, who would never seek their own salvation. As the quiet whispering power spread from her lips, to her hands to her heart, it carved a path through the world never taken before. It bounced around then burrowed, seeking its target. Another portion broke off and went dancing up, carrying the message she sought to invoke.

*    *    *

At 5:28AM an Angel stretched at its desk the hum and mumble of calls and dispatches blurring in its ears. The “New Prayer” button blinked on the phone. There was no microphone on the headset that sat on its desk since prayers were never answered directly — something about red tape and keeping up the image. The angel put the headset back on, adjusted the biting ear piece and pressed the flashing button in front of it, readying their fingers over the keyboard to record the 232nd prayer of the day. They typed out the words almost without thinking, and when it was over, the line went blank and the Angel moved to file it away, then paused, then re read the prayer. This couldn’t be right. Their face went whiter than usual and their wings pulled together in a tense motion. They flagged it as a potential mis-call, as many people invoked higher powers when they didn’t intend to, but before they filed it, they made a copy just in case this came up again. If it did, they could bring it to the Serafim and if it didn’t then it would be an interesting conversation over drinks after work.

The next day the Angel came to their shift, went to their desk, and put on their headset. They spent their entire day listening, typing, filing, listening typing, filing. They glanced at the clock, it was 8:13AM, only 47 minutes left, then they could stretch their wings and be done. They knew that they all had to do their time in Prayer, but that didn’t make the chairs any more comfortable. They pulled on the headset and pressed the flashing button and stopped. They recorded the prayer just the same as the day before, the same voice intoning the same intention. The Angel swallowed, printed both prayers, took off their headset and walked to the door. Turning right, they started down a hallway of mirrors, and began the long, slow trek to the office of the Serafim.

*    *    *

They didn’t know what they saw at first and recoiled. They reached their hand out to touch it, then pulled it back sharply. The thing shined and vibrated strangely. It had come whistling in, at a different pitch, traveling along a different path, with a different tension to it. The prayer landed in front of them and stayed. They never stayed. It jumped and flitted forward. They had seen things like it but those had always bounced in, touched their hands, delivered whatever message or hope or request was held in their flickering half-existence, then made their way back out to the world, to either seek their target or fall apart as the sun touched their flimsy vessel. This one waited. Finally they took it in their hands and pulled it in close, unsure of why they did this. The glow melted in to their chest and spread a familiar but strange sensation through their body.

Quietly, the devil began to weep.