John Tyler was by any standards a failure. A small time drug dealer and alcoholic who was full of scams but not the wit to carry them off. He hit his girlfriends, and was destined to die in a bar brawl at the age of thirty three, leaving no children or wife, or indeed anyone who cared for him at all.

However, aged four, he was blissfully unaware of his pathetic life yet to come, and was playing happily in the street outside his parents dull, but not inadequate suburban home. Had his great great grandfather, David Tyler been aware of his distant progeny's hopeless future, he probably wouldn't have been watching him.

But watch him he did, with interest that went above that of the doting patriarch. Clan Tyler was diminishing, slowly but surely, from a series of accidents that weren't, and far more blatant killings. His bloodline was slowly, but surely, being wiped out. This had been taking place over a course of years; whoever was behind it was patient, clever, and very skilled. The Police were aware of an ill-defined trouble, but had no motives, no suspects, and so no course of action.

So David Tyler soared above his ward, waiting equally patiently for the move that would show his foe's face. He didn't want the moment to come, but he knew it would, with a grim inevitability and resignation that came from nearly two centuries of living amidst his fellow man.

Then his viewing was distracted by a speeding pickup; windows blacked out and the nondescript grey paint job of a vehicle trying not to be noticed. It was building up speed as it rounded the corner and set a course for young John. There was no mistaking the intention; there was no pursuit, and David could almost feel the determination of the driver like a dark radiance. He waited as long as he could, giving hope a chance, but to no avail. He swooped suddenly downwards, so scoop the child to safety and chase the would be assassins.

As he dropped the child realised the incoming danger and rose to flee; David corrected his free fall accordingly. He was a mere twenty metres away when the truck's tyres began screeching, and the vehicle swung around. His eyes widened as a figure rose from the bed of the truck and swung a huge muzzle round towards him.

The moments were lost for a brief moment after that; he shut down all his sensors as a blaze of white heat tore over him, shredding his wings and bringing sensors down and system alerts up. He hit the ground hard, and as soon as the heat had faded, opened his eyes and tried to rise.

A large figure walked towards him, long coat swaying. "I wouldn't waste your energy, Angel-man." he said in a deep voice. David struggled regardless, but found his limbs were welded to the road, and he could barely move. "Why..?" He whispered hoarsely. "Why are you killing my family?" The big man spat, and the gob sizzled on David's scorching skin. "I couldn't give a damn about your family. I wanted you." He pulled out a fat, but stubby weapon, and aimed it squarely at David. "EMP. Don't worry, it'll be quick."

John Tyler, looked on, fascinated by the spectacle, innocently unaware he had just watched his oldest relative die.

Story Copyright 2001 MD, reposted with permission