The chairs they sat on hadn’t become any more comfortable overnight, nor had His desk become any less scarred and worn. Suspended above the door on the office wall behind them, God’s triple faced clock ticked away, breaking the silence of the room. ‘Then’, ‘Now’, ‘Here’, showed bold beneath each clock face in writing punched out in 1970’s era adhesive red dyno tape. A manilla folder was open in front of Him, and for the first time since they had been called in, He shifted his gaze from the out of date computer screen sitting on the left of His desk. Briefly staring at them sternly, He said “Hmmm, I’m not sure Death has told you everything concerning her hunt for Black Annis. I would imagine she has her reasons, sadly, regardless of whether she wanted you to know or not, I believe that not to divulge everything I have dug up thus far would greatly hamper your hunt.”
“Ok?” said Bast, not really knowing what else to say, whilst the other two maintained silence.
“It would seem that Mr. Darcy very nearly caught Black Annis about two weeks ago.” He began, “But, it would also seem that two days after Death became aware of His failure, the first time in over a thousand years incidentally, something out of character occurred. Coincidentally Bast, it was they day you died in The Then, and she bought you and” taking His eyes from her for a second to read something written on the top page of the manilla folder, “she also brought ‘Sardine’, which I believe is a cat whose chronically extended length of life very nearly matched your own, across with you.”
“Ummm, yes she did.” confirmed Bast, not really knowing, and much less liking the sound of the statements He was making. His intent stare unnerving her at the same time.
“You see ladies, that is the second time in the entire history of God, beast, and man that this has ever occurred. Why she has done this, again I know not, is perplexing from the standpoint that this is in no way a mistake, nor an accident.”
“On top of that, knowing your friendship with the Cat Sidhe, plus allowing you to remove Maude from her service to help courier you around, essentially offering you the ultimate vanguard. One with the enormity of historical knowledge of time, place, and intimate working of both The Then, Now which Maude possesses both consciously and subconsciously, is an oddity unparallelled by anything Death has ever done before. Plus, the physical safety, nay, protection that Maude can give.”
“Maude, have you ever told the girls of your original name; your birth name?”
“Ahhhh, no God, I have never thought it relevant.” she answered. “Plus, it’s not something I think about too much these days.”
“Well, now is the time to tell them who you really are.” stated God.
“Do I have too?” said Maude quietly, more to herself than to the God opposite her.
“Yes. Unless you would prefer me to, that is?”
With the eyes of Cat and Bast riveted to her, Maude gazed at the floor and shut her eyes. After an eternity for her, fifteen seconds for everyone else, she spoke in the flattest voice the pair had ever heard her use in their short association.
”I am Kali, the Goddess of Death.”
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