Raven BlackRevelationsPage 1


"So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female," -- Genesis 1.27

"I quit!" Mike declared, bluntly.


"I quit. I hate you, I hate this place, you don't pay what I'm worth, and I quit."

"You quit?"

"I've said it twice, what are you not getting?"

"You've said it three times."

"I've said 'I quit' four times, I've only said 'it' twice."

"Three times now."

"No, twice. It was only once when you said twice."

"Three times now, then."

"That's true. However, you seem to be missing the point. I quit."

"Why not leave then?"

"I will," said Mike. And, throwing his official resignation letter onto the desk, he did.

Mike had been working as a programmer for LogicWare for only six months, but in that time he'd written two thirds of their three year project, and his four cohorts on the task had managed, between them, only half of the remainder. It didn't take a lot to see that logically, Mike's worth was four times the average of the worth of the other four - more, considering that their work could be expected to be ridden with bugs and

Books Buy It Cover

Raven BlackRevelationsPage 2

unforeseen glitches, and his could be expected to be pristine. One might expect a company named LogicWare to have managerial people capable of seeing that. One would be wrong to have such expectations.

One of the four cohorts wore the title "Lead Programmer", and, Mike knew, was earning half again Mike's wages. Two of the others also had wages in excess of Mike's, because they'd been with the company longer. Management would only hear what the Lead Programmer would tell them, and the Lead Programmer, of course, wouldn't want to make himself look bad. The other thing Management heard that day was, of course, "I quit." They heard it five times. At least, the skinny, vole-like manager, the one who was really in charge, the one who delegated everything not because he couldn't do it, but because he was lazy, heard it. The sub-manager, the heavy-set, red with high blood pressure one who really just does what he's told - he would no doubt hear about it later, when he asked why Mike hadn't been in for a while.

So it was that Mike came to be stalking out through the LogicWare offices, being looked at by his ex-coworkers without mistrust for the first time since a few days after he got the job, when they had discovered that he didn't want to talk about football, didn't want to go out and get drunk with them, and could program any of them into oblivion without even trying. And indeed, most of the time he didn't even try. He had aimed to do the amount of work he was paid for, and only boredom and some sort of half-unwilling work ethic got him doing the few hours work he would do each day.

He swept to his desk, barely sparing the others a glance, and collected the few possessions he had left there in the way of decoration and entertainment. A

Books Buy It Cover

Raven BlackRevelationsPage 3

small piece of blu-tak that he would mould into interesting shapes while thinking, or while bored. A tiny gun that launched tinier soft projectiles, that he had brought to fire at his coworkers, but which he had never really worked up the enthusiasm to use. A small metal eagle that he had stuck to his monitor with double-sided tape. A small U-shaped magnet that he liked to leave on the corner of his monitor to make the display distorted and interestingly coloured. This last, he was briefly tempted to leave taped under a desk somewhere where it would damage floppy disks, but he rejected the idea as more likely to cause trouble than to entertain him. With a final cheery "See you! Or not!" to his cohorts, and without leaving them time to answer, he grabbed his coat, spun into it, and left the building.

Squinting against the unaccustomed sunlight, Mike pulled a snappy pair of shades from the pocket of his coat, shook the limbs out, and gently but repeatedly stabbed himself in the side of the forehead with them, before resignedly using both hands to don them properly. Thus clad, he made an oddly foreboding figure - covered almost head to toe in items of black, starting at his unruly hair, closely followed by the frameless shades. His neck disappeared, hidden inside the coat by his habitual hunch that he had adopted years before as a way to prevent unexpected sunburn below the hairline. The coat flowed heavily to mid-shins, and if the coat was open, usually all that would be revealed was a plain faded black T-shirt, and some sort of black cotton trousers. Completing the image were a pair of aggressive-looking boots, chosen, like all the rest of the wardrobe, not for the aggressive look, but simply for comfort. The scariness was nothing more than a welcome side-effect.

Books Buy It Cover

Raven BlackRevelationsPage 4

Mike walked almost jauntily homewards. Having just quit a decent-paying job was no worry for him; he knew he could find another job if he needed, and for now, he didn't. While working this job, he'd saved enough to last him six months without even being frugal. His complaint about the wages wasn't a matter of need, or even of want - it was a matter of principle. His other given reasons, his hatred of the bosses and of the place, were far more pertinent to his quitting.

Keeping to the shadows where possible, as he always did to avoid the heat of the sun, Mike amiably paced, thinking what he would do, either with his new free time, or with applying for more interesting jobs. He had a lot of scope for job-hunting, since he had nothing to tie him to any specific area. Not that he didn't have relationships - his girlfriend just wasn't nearby, and any move he might make would probably bring them closer together. Similarly his friends were scattered far and wide since he and they had gone their separate ways at the end of education.

The truck came out of nowhere; one second Mike was crossing the street, the next his body was bouncing along it, leaving wet marks in its wake.

"Ow," Mike tried to say. As far as he was concerned, he said it. Since there was nobody around to hear, he might as well have. He didn't have long to contemplate that this would be his last word. The truck driver burst out of the truck, all apologies.

"Oh God!" he said when he saw Mike's body. "Oh God, I'm sorry!"

Mike didn't hear, couldn't hear, would not hear again, and the truck driver knew that his apology would be no

Books Buy It Cover

Raven BlackRevelationsPage 5

use. "And there's blood on my truck!" he muttered, semi-incoherently. "Christ, I'm in trouble."

As it transpired, the truck driver really wasn't in a lot of trouble. Certainly not as much as Mike, who was suddenly dead, or his girlfriend, who suddenly had a dead boyfriend. There had been no witnesses, so the driver's explanation that Mike must have unexpectedly leapt into the road, because he wasn't there a moment before, was met with sympathy - especially after the testimony of Mike's ex-manager, who said that Mike had recently quit without warning, and stormed out, seeming terribly depressed, and the testimony of his ex-coworkers, who said they wished they'd thought more about what Mike had meant when he had said "See you! Or not!". Clearly, in their minds, this had been an intimation that he would be ending his life.

"He would have told me," muttered ex-Mike's girlfriend at the funeral. "He wasn't depressed. He was going to visit me tomorrow."

"Did he tell you he was going to quit his job?" asked her mother, feeling cruel to be attacking the dead man at his own funeral, but wishing to help her daughter see the truth.

"That wasn't important. He had savings. Being dead is important," argued Cathy, holding back tears. "Even to him."

"How can you know, with a man who would quit his job without telling you?"

"I know!" Cathy snapped, because she didn't. "I just know."

Mike's funeral had been paid for by his parents, using his savings that had reverted to them upon his death. They knew that he didn't put any value on funerals, that

Books Buy It Cover

Raven BlackRevelationsPage 6

he would have been happy to be chucked in a river, off a cliff, into space, left to rot in the top of a tree, whatever, that he didn't care. They knew that he would have liked his savings to go to someone that he cared about - probably Cathy, or maybe to some of his less well-off friends. They knew, but they couldn't bring themselves to do other than a proper burial. As the coffin-bearers traipsed the long path to the grave, Mike's parents felt guilty for spending his money on this, guilty for encouraging him to move out as young as he had, guilty for whatever they had done that had driven him to suicide. Still, they didn't for a moment think of putting his money where he would have wanted it to go.

As the coffin was hefted into the hole, one of ex-Mike's friends was muttering to another, "He said I could have his skeleton if he died, and they're burying it. What a waste." The second friend hushed the first, but with a wry smile, because Mike had undoubtedly meant it. Nobody cares what you want when you're dead, unless you set it on paper, and Mike had never been one to set anything on paper. He rarely even set things in computer data, except when he was being paid to.

The holy guy, whatever denomination he might have been (Mike's friends would always pretend to be unable to tell the difference between one religion and another), started in on a speech about Mike's virtues, and how he'd now be with God in Heaven. "Not that guy's God, I'm betting," the friend whispered. "Hell no. Not if he has any say," replied the other.

"Does anyone else wish to say anything?" asked the white-robed person, eventually.

"May I?" asked Cathy.

Books Buy It Cover

Raven BlackRevelationsPage 7

The overly verbose holy man stepped aside, and gestured her to the microphone.

"Mike," she began. "Mike was a great guy. He was honest, loyal, straightforward, honourable," her voice cracked slightly, "He was a nice red suit."

Mike's friends all smiled sadly at the reference to one of Mike's favourite sketch-comedy moments. His family all frowned, completely failing to comprehend. The holy guy ostentatiously scratched his nose, so that his hand covered his mouth.

"He would never do anything he perceived to be wrong," Cathy continued, "And if there's an afterlife... if there's a deity listening... you better put him somewhere good, because he deserves it."

She stepped down, to scattered confused applause, and the church chap, frowning, returned to the podium.

"Let us pray," he said.

Books Buy It Cover

Back to coverNext Chapter