The scaled hand drew back the pale yellow sheet, revealing a gaunt olive-skinned face framed by loose-hanging silver hair.

“Yes. That’s him. Odalath. Emissary of the Order of Mystics on Val Shohob.”

Balthazar didn’t weep for his son. He shed no tears. That time had passed. He looked toward the Zangali coroner and asked, “Did he suffer?” But the leader of the Shohobian Mystics knew the answer before Zototh “Too-Tall” Salaban replied with a lie.

“No,” the Zangali grumbled.

The Mystic gave a vague smile to the coroner. He appreciated the sentiment behind the deception, but it didn’t matter. Balthazar knew the truth. Odalath suffered for at least a few minutes after the knife penetrated his abdomen once, twice, thrice.

“I am sorry for your loss,” the large reptiloid said.

Balthazar nodded, lacing his fingers together. He certainly knew sorrow. The day he said goodbye to Odalath on the landing pad at Overlook Mesa, he had wept, for he knew the doom that awaited his only child. The vision had come to him a week before that. The Voice, that which guided the Mystics along their path, had placed within his mind the understanding that Odalath must go to Earth, to the city of San Angeles, with a warning about the crisis. The tampering had to stop. Humans, ever ambitious, tread once more where they should not.

The Eye had seen: Odalath in half-shadow, talking to a figure obscured in twilight. Insistent. Pleading. “You mustn’t use it anymore. The damage is getting worse. If you persist, I will have no choice but to report your actions to the media.” Then comes the knife. Flash of silver and splash of crimson.

Balthazar could have stopped this from happening, but he did not. He had a choice, but he chose to let his son die, for he had seen what would come to pass if he intervened.

The guilt for one son’s death, he could endure. Balthazar could not suffer the loss of the multiverse in total.

By Brody

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