Your Rapture: Chapter One: It Takes Two to Tango

"Right. Monday morning everyone; time for the weekly meeting."

Javert hated the weekly meeting. He hated it almost as much as the bi-annual chicken dance festival and the monthly Jell-O-Power Stuff-O-Rama. The Stuff-O-Rama he hated most. Little old Lutheran ladies circled and attacked, stuffing him with their banana lime surprise. There was something in that which was definitely not banana or lime, or Jell-O of any kind, and he labeled it as merely the "surprise," and had no desire what so ever to find out what it was.

Javert hated Jell-O.

Of course, everyone else seemed to like it. He'd seen some people eat such mountains of the gelatinous goop he found it amazing they could walk afterwards. But then, everyone liked everything here, including the bi-annual chicken dance festival and the weekly meeting.

Javert took in a deep lungful of the aroma of the coffee cup he was clutching. If there was one thing he did like here, it was the coffee, but that was it. It never got above or below seventy two degrees, it was never cloudy, never rained, you could see the stars perfectly every night, there was ample to do and to see, and he was allowed to come and go as he pleased as a ghost, and he hated it all.

No, not all really...... Her he did not hate, but that was it.

"Right. That's all the news for this week. You are all dismissed to your small groups." Saint Peter banged the gavel against the podium, signaling the close of the meeting, which, once again, Javert had heard not a word of. He just sat in the back, looking glum, and was labeled a pessimist, which suited him fine. He raised the mug of the steaming brew to his lips when-

"GOOD DAY INSPECTOR!" Marius shouted, clapping him on the back, startling him so much, Javert jumped a few feet in the air, the coffee leaping out of the cup, splashing him, and then receding back into the mug, leaving not so much as a stain. Javert clutched at his chest, taking in deep lungfuls of air, twitching, eyes wide in shock.

"Gosh, Javert, think you need to cut back on the caffeine?"

"I don't need it! I'm fine! I can quit anytime I want! I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM!" Marius blinked. Javert blinked a few times, regaining himself, before slicking his disheveled hair back. "Anyway, the only reason I jumped is because you snuck up on me. What are you trying to do, kill me?"

"I hate to argue with you, Inspector, but you're already dead," said Fantine, who had dragged up a chair, staking this out as the small group meeting place.

"And you could hear dear Marius from a block away!" Cosette interceded, sitting down next to her mother.

"Alright, all of you. Enough of this fighting. Chief Inspector, please take your seat," Valjean said, a pad of paper and a pen in hand. Javert sat down, and Marius playfully stuck his tongue out at his back side. "You too, Marius," Valjean said warningly.

"Yes sir," he grumbled, sitting down next to Cosette.

The small groups were established by God, not only to try and nit Javert in and make him one of the pack, but they also had a practical purpose and every soul was in one. Each group was given five miracles for the week and they chose how to disperse them. They named a president and chose a new one at the beginning of each year. Valjean had been named one this year, putting him in charge of guarding the miracles, and writing down all important information.

"To begin," Valjean said, taking his seat and examining his slip of paper. "That little girl in Bangkok we helped out is doing just fine. The patient with AIDS died peacefully in his sleep last night, so that miracle was well spent. You may visit him in initiations....."

Valjean's voice trailed on and on, and Javert had ceased to listen until nine very important words came up. "Oh, and Javert? The Holy Spirit's found your daughter."

Javert sat up, blinking confused while the rest of the group turned and faced him, the looks on their faces almost as equally shocked as he was, and they were longing for details. Frankly, so was he. Daughter? What daughter? Since when had he had a daughter?

"Chief Inspector? Is there a madam you have not introduced us to yet?" Fantine asked slowly.

"Mrs. Javert..... Hm, no, it doesn't have a very nice ring to it, does it?" Cosette pondered.

"Cosette!" Valjean scolded.

"No, Mrs. Pontmercy is much better," said Marius, snuggling his wife in his arms.

"Agreed," she said with a giggle.

"I beg your pardon, but my last name on any female personage is hardly relevant!" Javert said, looking extremely upset. "How in hell do I have a daughter?"

"Well you see Inspector," Marius began, "when a man loves a woman-"

"Shut up!" Javert said, waving his arms at him to be quiet. "I know how it goes!"

"Apparently not well enough, because it takes two to tango," said Cosette.

"Honest, I have no idea how this possibly could have happened! I've never slept with anyone in my life! My whole principle was based on chastity!"

"I know how it happened," Valjean said solemnly. "Because you didn't sleep with a woman. You slept with a dog. A bitch, if you prefer the proper term."

All eyes turned once more and looked at Javert, who had gone slightly googly eyed. The faces watched him with expressions of mild disgust written on them, as though they'd found out what the "surprise" of the banana lime Jell-O was, and it was something slimy and disgusting, like a sardine, and when freshly caught looked at you with tiny beady yellow eyes saying "No, don't kill me! I have places to go, people to see, small little eggs to lay that will eventually be used as trout bait, and must continue living in my own toilet!"

"Wow, Inspector, that's kind of a kinky way to get your kicks," Marius said, his tongue hanging out slightly as though at any moment one of those "surprises" might come swimming out of his mouth.

"Marius, don't be crude!" Cosette scolded, hitting him upside the head.

Javert gave a small gurgling noise before promptly fainting.




New York City

Present Day: 2005

There are times when I can almost here my mother calling me, but these times are few and far between. Mostly, the only callings I hear are those of male dogs, always looking for a bitch to score with, or other females, some with litters, telling me to back off their section of dirt. And if it's been a while since I ate, I hallucinate I see the ghosts of the people buried where I live.

Oh yes, I live in the cemetery. Nice place, cemeteries. Quiet, calm, practically deserted. But I'm forced to stay on the louder, more dangerous, less rat infested, and thusly less food infested, part of the cemetery by a local pack of wild dogs that run the rest of the burial ground. A few of the males have hooted and hollered such things as "Hey baby! Bring your sweet tail on over here and join the pack! You're more than welcome!" But then the females are giving me looks of "Don't even think it." Most of the time I just end up ignoring them, nose in the air, like I'm such hot stuff they could only get in their dreams. Besides, my father was purebred.

Or so I imagine. Mother always said so. That's the only way you ever realize you had such a thing as a father, through your mother. No, I have seen a few pairs stay mated for life, but most of the time it's just a bunch of one night stands and fuzzy memories. Once you get your next one nighter you don't even think about the old one. Or so I'm told. Heck, if it wasn't for a mother, some girls could go right ahead and mate with their father, and no one would no the difference. I'm not one for incest, but a few of my rare and occasional friends have no problems with it what so ever. They just go right ahead and breed.

But I'd recognize my father.

At least I think so. It's nice to pretend to. See him, and know him, and say "Hello, my name's Brianna, and I'm your daughter." And he'd say "Yes, I know. Whatever happened to your mother? She was the loveliest dog I've ever seen, and we were going to be pairs for life, but we got separated. I've been looking for you for a long time, Brianna."

Of course that's ridiculous. How on earth would he know my name, and it is very unlikely that a purebred, pet dog would stick around with some mutt like my mother.

Oh, but she was pretty! I don't think there was another dog prettier than my mother in the course of history. Or at least, I don't think there was a crossbreed, half-starved mutt ever prettier than my mother. I wonder if my father thought so......

Mother had told me the story so many times, it's a wonder it isn't burned into my brain, like a tattoo. Maybe it is. I'd roll my eyes into the back of my head and see, but it doesn't work. I've tried.

My mother, her name was Colette, was some sort of mix of collie and retriever, with a few other breeds mixed in. Unless you go way back, it's normally impossible to find anyone in anyone's pedigree that's pure bred.

But mother said he was.

Mother always wanted to be one of those fine, elegant Collies that had the talcum powder fluffed into the white part of their feathering to make them even whiter. The kind that sat at the feet of old ladies and looked elegant, maybe with a string of pearls, or diamonds around her neck, named something unimaginative, like Missy, because what else would an old lady name such a dog? She'd be the kind with the perfect pedigree, with the loveliest puppies, and all that.

Mother used to say I was the loveliest puppy, when it was just the two of us. My bother and sister died when they were little, and I hardly remember them. I was the only one that lived. And mother called me the most beautiful puppy there ever was, and that I had my father's ears (if she really even remembered what they looked like), and one day, some purebred male would pick me out the way one did my mother.

She never knew his name. She was lying in an alleyway, trying to sleep, when down the street came the nosiest dog she'd ever seen! Even though she could tell in the lamp light he was ebony black, he looked gray and paled, as though he'd seen a ghost. He looked behind him, his eyes wide in fright, quickly skidded down the alleyway, knocked into the garbage can, frightening him even more, and knocked against the brick wall.

She said he was purebred, not that he was graceful.

She stood up, staring inquisitively, and gave him a sniff. "Hello?" she had asked him.

He jumped back again, and there, flashing in the lamp light, was a collar! A real one! It was leather, with a brass buckle and everything! It even had tags with his name on it! She recognized the letters, but could not put them into words, but she told me what the letters were so many times that, should I ever know how to read, that will be the first thing I spell! They went C-O-J-A-C-K. I'm sure it was a lovely name.

He was a black German shepherd.

"Who are you?" he stuttered, backing even closer against the wall.

"My name's Colette. What's yours?" she answered.

"I'm... I'm not exactly sure..." he said, looking around, as though he were looking for a way to escape.

"Oh dear, you hit your head harder than I thought..."

"No, you see, I'm not supposed to be here. There's this girl, and she gave me this collar, and she changed my name, and it's the third name I've gotten in the last forty eight hours, so I'm a little confused, and– "

"Hush," she said comfortingly, managing to get closer to him without startling him too much. "Of course you're not supposed to be here. You've got tags. You've got a home."

And then he said....

Oh no! I don't remember what he said! I've begun twirling about in a circle, as though the rest of the story's attached to my tail. What happened then! What happened then! I must remember! I've got to remember! I feel like crying. That story's the only thing I have left of my mother.... And my father. No, no, no! I know it! It's in my brain somewhere!

I begin to scratch my ear, as though this might speed up the thinking process. Remember, remember, remember!

I can't!

It's not fair! It's just not fair! And on top of that, it's begun to rain. I think I'll go to that old alley way. There might still be a cardboard box there to help keep out the rain. It's the alley I was born in. The one my mother met my father in.... At least I think so.... It's been such a long time, I..... I can't really remember.....

To Be Continued.....