"My Brother From Above": At the bus station in Coral City, a tall man arrives dressed in the attire of a religious acetic, announcing his intent to locate the devil, and bring him home.
- He's our brother now, you pious butthole. And I will happily kick your ass from her to heaven if you disagree.
- -- Katharsis
Appearing in "My Brother From Above"
- Elder York
- Coral City Police Department
- Officer Lowe
- Samuel (Dies in flashback)
Synopsis for "My Brother From Above"
At the bus station in Coral City, a tall man arrives dressed in the attire of a religious acetic, announcing his intent to locate the devil, and bring him home.
Meanwhile, Holly Fields and Sarah Rainmaker enjoy their first date together at a low-key ice cream shop. Sarah feels self conscious, though, about her having chosen a badly-off strip in the 'Tweens for their location. Holly assures her that this is her neighbourhood, and much as rich people might try to crush it, she and the other residents have banded together to look out for each other. She grabs Sarah and kisses her, commenting that she, at least, finds the place romantic.
At a nearby shelter, Christopher and Kulap Vilaysack are doling out food to those in need, and Christopher feels guilt at how happy he feels there, after having sinned against his family. Unfortunately his family has caught up with him, and he recognizes his brother standing before him, warning that it is finally time to come home. When Kulap tries to intervene, Jacob responds violently, bloodying his hands on her face. Horrified, Christopher agrees to go back and face judgment. Sadly, he cradles Kulap in his arms and apologizes, begging her not to come after him, and to forget about him.
Soon, Kulap and the rest of the The Movement have gathered in the park to discuss what happened. In the hopes of tracking him, Holly tries to follow trail left by his emotions, but she is struck suddenly by the intensity of Jacob's rage. It is so strong that it fills her up, and it takes Sarah's intervention to snap her out of it. Kulap suggests that they'll do better to track Christopher's emotions. She adds that she noticed feathers on the ground when Jacob came - and they weren't her feathers. Holly tries to ensure that Kulap stays behind to heal, but she insists on protecting her friend and getting back at Jacob for what he did to her.
In their home town of Hammond's Dell, Jacob lands with his brother, retracting his wings. It isn't long before Christopher is accosted by a town elder who spits that it was only thanks to Jacob's charity that he was allowed back. The other elders had wanted him cast out forever, but now Christopher could face judgment for the murder of his own father. For hours, Christopher knees in front of the cross in the middle of town and prays, asking God why he was made as an abomination.
As night falls, Jacob returns with the rest of the townspeople, carrying lit torches and warning that the time for God's judgment is at hand. He asks Christopher whether he acknowledges his sin, and through tears, he says yes - but he remembers none of what he did. The elder who approached him before warns that they have prepared a hot iron to brand and mark Chrisopher for his crime, and then he calls on Jacob to give testimony.
Jacob explains that he was born a gift from God - with the wings of an angel. He knew that he was meant to be an inspiration to others. He recalls the day that his brother was born, and while he claims that it was his mother who saw the evil in Christopher first, the truth is that he was merely jealous of the attention that his new brother was already getting, and told his parents that he had heard the word of God, and was told that his brother was the son of the devil.
He claims that when they were older, he tried to baptize away Christopher's evil and the burden it placed on their village. In reality, though, he had lead his brother out to a shallow stream, and tried to drown him in it, until he could force the evil to show itself. When he told his parents what he'd seen, their father behaved as he thought was best, and tried to flog the demon out of his son, but to no avail. Though his brother lies to everyone, Christopher cannot deny that he killed his father, even if he could do nothing to stop it.
As he retrieves the hot brand from the fire, Jacob orders that their mother be brought to watch the marking. Despite Christopher's protests, soon, Elder York has brought their mother Mary to watch as Jacob continues his tale, claiming that his father never gave up hope that scourging Christopher daily might help. All Christopher remembers is that his brother had come to him in the night and showed him his father's already dead body, claiming that it had all been Christopher's doing - that he had bragged about it as he was doing it. In truth, it was he who murdered their father, only to place further blame on Christopher. Of course, Christopher can't remember doing it, and he cannot prove his innocence.
As Jacob prepares to bring down the brand on Christopher's body, his arm is stopped by Katharsis' grip. The Movement has arrived, and Katharsis challenges him to a rematch - this time armed with her sword. The two winged heavy-weights launch at each other as Virtue and Tremor see to Christopher. Virtue explains that she can tell from Jacob's emotional energies that his story was full of lies.
As Jacob wraps his fists around Katharsis' neck, he is distracted by the call of Burden, freed of his chains and transformed into the demon inside him. In his massive hands, he grabs his brother up and states that he knows it was he who killed their father. Unrepentant, Jacob admits it, gloating that while he has the face of an angel but a heart of filth, Christopher has the opposite - but the people will always choose the prettier of the two. Unmoved, Christopher responds that in this state, he is not so angelic as Jacob believes, thrusting his brother into the bed of hot coals and searing his face.
Virtue snaps Christopher back to his old self as Katharsis warns the villagers not to come for them anymore. Christopher's mother ignores her, rushing over to Jacob's side and cursing Burden for what he did to her son. Virtue turns to the villagers and explains that neither Jacob nor Christopher is a demon or angel. They both have a genetic mutation that allowed them to manipulate their forms - as it happens, the forms they did take were the result of their upbringings in this place. It was these people who drove them to become what they did. As they all take their leave, with the village in flames, Christopher turns back once more, just to announce to his former family that he is gay. His new family will be more accepting of that fact.
- This book was first published on April 2, 2014.
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